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Carbon Sequestration: How We Capture Carbon Using Hemp to Create Healthy Fertile Soil on the Plains

Updated: Apr 3, 2022

Did you know that hemp is the number one carbon sequestering plant on earth? This is important because carbon gives soil it’s fertility. Out here on the plains of Northern Colorado, the soil is pretty hard to farm in. It has a lot of clay, and it is not very fertile. In order to produce crops, farmers need to add synthetic fertilizers. These synthetic fertilizers can cause a lot of issues in the gut microbiome. Issues in the gut or ‘Leaky Gut’, can be linked to weakened immune system, depression, mal-nutrition, spectrum disorders issues and emotional dis regulation.

Here at Heartland Farms, we take pride in our sustainable three prong approach to farming! We use only natural fertilizer (animal manure and composted organic matter like mushroom compost). We don’t use pesticides on our plants either! We allow beneficial insects and mother nature to work synergistically to create the perfect soil ecosystem! We crop rotate using hemp as our carbon accumulator and we don’t till our soil. Let me explain how our model works!

In 2020 we started our hemp crop rotation. 1 hectare (2.5 acres) of Hemp has the amazing ability to sequester 15 tons of carbon out of the atmosphere. In June we plant hemp in part of our designated crop area. Let it mature and then harvest in September/October. During the summer hemp works hard to pull carbon out of the air and transfer it to the soil. After harvest, we allow our field to ret (field compost stalks and grass) over the winter.

The following summer, we plant veggies where the hemp was cultivated the previous year. This gives the veggies nice fertile soil to live in until harvest! Then again, we let the field ret (compost) over the winter to get ready to plant hemp again!

Our third approach to sustainable farming is achieving NO TILL. When farmers till up soil, it releases carbon into the atmosphere. In an effort to retain carbon to create fertile soil and also reduce our carbon footprint, we drag the top of our soil to expose the raised beds and rake up retted grass and weeds (we use these for compost). We try to not let anything go to waste and if it can be used for compost, we will let it decompose in our field!

We truly believe that hemp can add so much value to farming and are looking forward to collaborating with fellow farmers to use our approach to cut costs, produce healthy produce and help save the environment while we are at it!

If you know a farmer that would be interested in learning more, please contact us!

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