Scoping Plan - Agriculture Sector

This page last reviewed March 23, 2015

California's agricultural sector contributes to statewide greenhouse gas emissions – approximately eight percent in 2012.  The state’s agricultural GHG emission inventory includes on-site emissions from livestock (enteric fermentation and manure management), rice cultivation, energy use (including fuel combustion), crop residue burning, and soil management practices (fertilizer and manure applications).  The primary GHG emissions from agriculture include methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), and black carbon.  In addition to being a GHG emissions source, agriculture can also be a carbon sink, where carbon is stored (sequestered) in both crops and soil.

There are many GHG emission reduction and carbon sequestration opportunities that could be realized in the agriculture sector. However, because of limited research, and the wide variety of farm sizes, animals, and crops produced, there are few one-size-fits-all GHG emission reductions or carbon sequestration strategies for the agriculture sector.

In order to achieve AB 32's goals for 2020 and beyond, ARB approved the First Update to the Climate Change Scoping Plan (Scoping Plan Update) in May 2014 to guide ongoing implementation of AB 32.

The Scoping Plan Update contains the following recommendations for the agricultural sector:

  • Convene a government/farm community stakeholder workgroup to establish GHG emission reduction targets.
  • Develop a California-specific GHG tool to estimate emissions and sequestration potential from all on-farm sources.
  • Recommend strategies to reduce GHG emissions associated with farm irrigation use.
  • The Dairy Digester Workgroup will develop recommendations for a methane capture standard.
  • Research GHG emission reduction benefits of highly efficient farming practices and potential farmer incentives.
  • Evaluate data from the Long Term Irrigated Lands Regulatory Programs. 
  • Convene a state agency workgroup to engage land use planning agencies regarding farmland conservation.
  • Strengthen technical assistance programs and incentives to help agricultural reduce GHG emissions.
  • The Bioenergy Interagency Working Group will pursue actions contained in its Bioenergy Action Plan to promote the input of digester biogas into natural gas pipelines and bioenergy onto the electric grid.

Please visit the Scoping Plan page to get updates on the progress of the interagency workgroups.

For questions or comments contact David Mallory at (916) 445-8316