USDA Investing to Expand Measurement and Monitoring of Soil Carbon on Working Agricultural Lands

Dan Environment, Greenhouse Gas, Soil, USDA-NRCS


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $8 million in four regional partnerships across the nation to support and expand measurement and monitoring of carbon in soil on working agricultural lands and to assess how climate-smart practices are affecting carbon sequestration.

Here in the Southeast, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will be working with American Climate Partners on a regional project on soil organic carbon stock monitoring. It’s called the Southeast Region Deep Soil Carbon Stock Partnership and Monitoring Project: This $2 million, four-year project in the NRCS Southeast Region will support and increase soil carbon stock monitoring through a public-private partnership between American Climate Partners, land-grant universities and their extension services, Carter Farms, LLC in Orange County Virginia and other organizations providing technical assistance to historically underserved communities.


The goal of the project is to train producers on how to assess and monitor the effects of climate-smart practices on soil carbon sequestration and on the benefits of these practices. It includes the implementation of a new Conservation Evaluation and Monitoring Activity (CEMA) offered by NRCS. It provides financial assistance to producers for measuring soil organic carbon stocks before and after the implementation of a conservation practice or conservation plan. A qualified individual will use a hydraulic probe or excavation method to sample soil to one meter depth or restrictive layer. The soil will then be tested for organic carbon and bulk density to provide organic carbon stock levels to farmers and ranchers. These partners will play a critical role in training individuals on the sampling methodology and informing producers about the CEMA opportunity.

To learn more about this project, click here.