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Current Projects

Development of a Carbon Farming Plan through Assessment of Tree/Shrub Agroforestry Data for Increased Production, Resource Valuation, Carbon Sequestration and Related Ecosystem Benefits. Farm research projects have been funded by the Missouri Department of Sustainable Agriculture and the Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education (SARE) project.  Description of this project on the SARE website.

Molly Gosness, GIS specialist, and arborist Nick Goergen explain conducting a tree inventory on Prairie Birthday Farm.


  • Crop Production: agroforestry, alley cropping, continuous cropping, intercropping, no-till, pollinator habitat 

  • Education and Training: demonstration, mentoring, on-farm/ranch research 

  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning 

  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, carbon sequestration, habitat enhancement, wildlife 

  • Pest Management: integrated pest management 

  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, organic agriculture, permaculture 

  • Soil Management: soil analysis, soil quality/health 

  • Sustainable Communities: community services, quality of life, urban/rural integration 


Proposal summary:

Problem:  According to recent climate reports emphasizing rising greenhouse gases, Midwest farmers face more weather extremes (heat, drought, torrential rains, humidity) with more crop diseases and pests coupled with the ongoing extinction of species.

  1. Ecologically sound land stewardship via carbon farming is best accomplished by understanding and acting upon the complex and interdependent value of ecosystem benefits of agroforestry land management.  Carbon farming is a collection of crops and agricultural practices that sequester and store carbon in the soil and perennial vegetation like trees/shrubs.  With carbon farming, agriculture is less part of the climate problem and more a critical part of the solution.

  2. Economically Viable   Quantifying carbon farming benefits is necessary to monetize agroforestry.   Agroforestry increases product value by providing multiple revenue streams from diversified sources, thereby expanding the definition of yield beyond “pounds per acre”. It prepares farmers to participate in emerging carbon markets. 

  3. Socially Responsible   Agriculture and ecosystems are necessary for survival. Agroforestry supports essential life resources (clean air, water, soil) for food production.  Our continued existence relies on the preservation and regeneration of healthy biological and ecological systems.  Conservation and valuing of ecosystems services can no longer be left to voluntary, undervalued, non-reimbursed chance.


Project objectives from proposal:

  1. Measure and increase carbon farming by focusing on the current and potential role of trees/shrubs on the farm.

  2. Identify, inventory, and map the farm’s existing agroforestry tree/shrub data.

  3. Analyze and monetize the carbon farming and agroforestry related ecosystem services.

  4. Design, develop and produce a carbon farming plan that values current agroforestry practices and increases carbon sequestration and storage for regeneration, resilience, diversity and sustainability.

  5. Share findings and obtain feedback through marketing, presentations, farm tours, exhibits, posters, apprentice and volunteer mentoring, local newspaper stories, social media and YouTube.

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