Stewardship of the land is an integral part of our life at Stemple Creek Ranch, and sharing our sustainable practices with others benefits us all. That's why we were pleased to have a group of visiting agriculture delegates from Mexico tour our ranch in early June. Hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this distinguished group of leaders was interested in learning about our partnership with the Marin Carbon Project (MCP).
Established in 2007, this innovative non-profit is conducting scientific research aimed at discovering ways to harness atmospheric carbon (a biproduct of global warming), and use it to improve soil content on farms. If successful, these efforts will increase the capacity and long term productivity of agriculture systems worldwide. We live in exciting times!
Last fall, the MCP asked three West Marin farms to participate in a ten year-long trial carbon farming program. Stemple Creek Ranch, along with our friends at Straus Dairy and Corda Ranch, was proud to be chosen as a test case. After completing an initial soil sampling and assessment, organic compost was spread over a portion of our pastureland to help capture the carbon in our soil. This beneficial practice helps to retain moisture and improve the growth of our natural forage.
Working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the project’s task force identified specific management practices that enhance the carbon collection process. These practices include conservation efforts like creek restoration, preservation of riparian habitats, planting trees, and creating natural windbreaks.
We are lucky. Loren’s dad, Al, was a leader before his time in conservation. He and Loren have worked hard to restore and preserve Stemple Creek, which runs through the basin of our ranch to the Pacific Ocean. We have also planted new trees which serve as windbreaks and habitat for native wildlife, and we practice rotational grazing that naturally fertilizes our fields and promotes healthy soil.
The results of the project to date have exceeded expectation, and Loren was thrilled to share this exciting experiment with his fellow colleagues from Mexico. We are honored to be a part of the Marin Carbon Project and hope that as we continue to learn from each other, we foster a spirit of stewardship that reaches beyond borders.