Climate Smart Agriculture - Colorado
Producers and land managers are experiencing firsthand the impacts of climate change, which is caused by the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. With support from NRCS, farmers, ranchers and forest landowners across the nation’s working lands can contribute to climate solutions by implementing voluntary climate-smart conservation activities that reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and increase carbon sequestration on their individual operations while delivering agricultural products to the world.
While NRCS offers a broad suite of voluntary conservation practices and enhancements, the agency identifies a sub-set as critical to climate change mitigation. When applied appropriately, these practices may deliver qualifiable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and/or increases in carbon sequestration. Many offer co-benefits and ancillary benefits that help operations build climate change resilience while addressing other natural resource concerns such as soil health, water quality, pollinator and wildlife habitat and air quality.
NRCS climate-smart agriculture and forestry mitigation practices are divided into mitigation categories. These mitigation categories are:
- Soil Health – Reducing emissions and enhancing soil carbon sequestration.
- Improved Nitrogen Management – Implementing the 4Rs of nitrogen management and reducing nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas. The 4Rs are Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time and Right Place.
- Improved Livestock Waste Management Systems – Reducing potent methane emissions from manure.
- Enhanced Grazing Land Management – Reducing emissions and building soil carbon stocks in grazing systems.
- Improved Agroforestry, Forestry and Upland Wildlife Habitat – Building carbon stocks in perennial biomass and soils.
- Restored Disturbed Lands – Improving the quality of previously mined or degraded lands to increase soil and perennial biomass carbon stocks.
- Precisely Managed Water on Rice Fields – Reducing methane emissions from rice fields by minimizing methane production during the growing season.
Climate Smart Financial Assistance Opportunities
Producers interested in applying new climate-smart practices across their operations may be eligible for financial support through the NRCS conservation programs, including the Environmental Quality Incentives (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Download the NRCS Fiscal Year 2022 Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Mitigation Activity List to see the full list of mitigation activities outlined below, including practices available through EQIP and enhancements available through CSP. NRCS is continually evaluating and updating our conservation activities to ensure the latest data and quantifiable benefits are reflected. The list will continue to be updated to reflect the latest science and any practice modifications.