Compost Application for Carbon Sequestration and Compost Rebates

Gold Ridge RCD
3 min readJul 25, 2023

Since the announcement of the Carbon Sequestration through Carbon Application Pilot Program, the Gold Ridge RCD has been working with five agricultural professionals. The agricultural operation types include, one orchard, one crop farm, two rangelands, and one vineyard. Compost has already been purchased and spread at the participating orchard and crop farm. From these projects we are expecting to cover 50.1 acres, with a carbon benefit of 324.19 MT CO2e (estimated carbon sequestration). This carbon sequestration is equivalent to driving 831,077 miles in an average gasoline-powered car or planting 5,361 tree seedlings that have grown for ten years. Our partners at the Sonoma RCD were also able to fund 11 projects through this grant. With their 11 projects they expect to cover 340 acres, with a carbon benefit of 16,972 MT CO2e (estimated carbon sequestration), which is the equivalent of removing 3,777 passenger vehicles from the road for a year. Any updates we have regarding our compost project, or any of our other projects, can be found through the California RCD Project Tracker. The Project Tracker can be accessed here and found on our website.

Compost is a multi-beneficial, cost-effective effort that is of interest to many agricultural professionals. To help meet the demand for compost, and to reach statewide climate action goals, Zero Waste Sonoma (ZWS) has created their Compost Rebate Program. They are offering a 10% rebate for compost and mulch purchases totaling at least 30 cubic yards in ZWS’s fiscal year (Jul 1 — June 30), up to $25,000. The compost rebate is now also including the purchase of mulch! To learn more, visit their webpage here. They also host compost giveaways that occur at various locations. They are offering this service in Sebastopol on September 9th and October 14th. To learn more about the giveaways, visit their webpage here.

The application of compost is very beneficial for the soil, for increasing carbon sequestration, and for waste reduction. Compost benefits the land through improving forage production, increasing the soil’s ability to absorb and store water, improving soil organic matter, storing carbon for 10–15 years.

The carbon and water cycles benefit from compost adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil. This improves soil health and boosts plant productivity, with a potential 40–70% increase in forage production. The organic matter and enhanced root networks of the plants then increase the soil’s ability to hold on to water, and the ability for water to infiltrate the soil. This increase in vegetation then leads to more photosynthesis, which increases plant productivity to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in the soil.

The Resource Conservation Network gathers and shares the stories and ideas from its partners and colleagues. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the RCDs managing this publication.