Boulder County FAIR farmers Paul and Scott Schlagel manage the Quicksilver Farm. They helped to host a “Field Day” tour for Boulder County Parks and Open Space, which allowed citizens an up-close look at various agriculture innovation projects happening in the County.
Paul and Scott are partnering with CSU to run a carbon sequestration cropland demonstration on the Quicksilver Farm. FAIR farmers already utilize a variety of ag practices & technologies that allow for considerable carbon retention in the soil (check out this recent study for some data on their carbon savings). The CSU project allows for additional experimentation, as well as serving as an accessible demonstration for others to see carbon farming in practice.
The sustainable ag practices that Paul and Scott are utilizing on Quicksilver include:
- Supplementing with compost
- Planting cover crops
- Using nitrogen inhibitors
- Implementing minimum and no tillage practices
- Planting wind breaks
Nitrogen is also added through the sprinkler system, which is a practice that currently is likely too cost-prohibitive for individual farmers.
Carbon-smart farming practices have been used by Boulder’s FAIR farmers for a long time. Agriculture technology innovations (like certain GE seeds combined with targeted pesticide application) have allowed farmers to utilize conservation tillage practices, which have been a game-changer in terms of soil health and carbon sequestration.
According to a Boulder County study done by CSU in collaboration with Parks & Open space, local farmers using GE conservation tillage to grow corn released just 474 pounds of carbon dioxide from the soil, compared to 3,021 pounds (conventional) and 3,151 pounds (organic) of carbon dioxide by farmers who didn’t use the GE conservation tillage.