Carbon farming’s overall objective is to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.
In practice, by using various agricultural methods ranging from crop rotation, cover crops, and reduced tillage to precision nitrogen application, farmers aim to contribute to tackling climate change.
An EU official told EURACTIV that the Commission intends to kick-start and upscale carbon farming actions by land managers to incentivise practices on natural ecosystems that increase carbon sequestration.
“These actions will enable the land sector to contribute to the Union’s mitigation efforts, paving the way for a policy of negative emissions in the future combined with strong co-benefits on biodiversity and the provision ecosystem services,” the official said, adding that a legislative proposal for the certification of carbon removals is due for the last quarter of 2022.
In this European Special Report, EURACTIV and its partners across Europe will examine the prospects of carbon farming, its application on national level as well as the challenges EU farmers are expected to face.
Agriculture stakeholders see a shift towards carbon farming in the European Union positively but emphasise that details over financial incentives for EU farmers must be determined for its proper rollout.
British farmers have set an ambitious strategy to reach net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in agriculture by 2040. But for all farmers to be able to contribute, the government should step in and provide the necessary means, the National Farmers' Union of England and Wales (NFU) told EURACTIV.
While carbon farming is a priority for the German government, farmers say they are not doing enough to support measures financially. Environmentalists add that some of the promoted practices have limited climate value.
With its low carbon strategy, the French government aims to green agriculture through the development of carbon sequestration in soils. French farmers salute the strategy but call for stronger aids for the transition to be financially sustainable.
Spain seeks to maintain carbon in soils destined for agriculture in its strategy against climate change with the support of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). However, producers demand more funds to compensate for their efforts.
Carbon farming practices could help Polish farmers cope with permanent drought as they could increase the productivity of their yields, an expert has told EURACTIV Poland.