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Carbon cycle - The worldwide circulation of carbon from the abiotic environment into living things and back into the abiotic environment.

Carbon fixation - The conversion of atmospheric carbon dioxide into organic compound by plants through the process of photosynthesis.

Cash crop - Crops produced for sale (such as cacao, rice, and wheat) as opposed to hay and other crops grown principally as feed for animals or as seed.

Cereal crops - Flowering plants of the family Poaceae (formerly Gramineae) that are grown to produce grain for human and animal consumption.

C-horizon - The largely unweathered layer in the soil located beneath the B-horizon. The C-horizon borders solid parent rock.

Compaction, soil - The squeezing together of soil particles by the weight of farm and construction equipment, vehicles and animal, and foot traffic. Compaction reduces average pore size and total air space in the soil.

Compost - A natural soil and humus mixture that improves soil fertility and soil structure.

Conservation tillage - A method of cultivation in which residues from previous crops are left in the soil, partially covering it and helping to hold it in place until the newly planted seeds are established.

Continuous cropping - One crop planting following soon after harvest, without seasonal following.

Contour cropping- The use of tillage that follows the contours of a slope, rather than up and down a slope. It helps prevent erosion and runoff.

Cover crop - A crop grown for its value as ground cover to reduce soil erosion, retain soil moisture, provide nitrogen for subsequent crops, control pests, improve soil texture, increase organic matter, or control erosion; also known as living mulch and green manure.

Crop residue - The organic material that remains in the field following harvest.

Crop rotation - The successive planting of different crops in the same field over a period of years, usually to reduce the pest population or to prevent soil exhaustion.

Cropping patterns - The yearly sequence and spatial arrangement of crops or alternating crops and fallow within a given area. The fallow crop may be natural or planted.

Cultivars (cultivated variety) - A variety of a plant produced through selective breeding and improved specifically for agricultural or horticultural purposes.

Cultivation - To mechanically loosen or break up soil, uproote weeds, and aerate the soil between rows of growing crops. Soil around crops is generally cultivated one to three times per season, depending on soil type, weather, with pressure, and herbicide use.