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How Does Soil Biology Impact Nutrient Availability?

Managing soil microbes could be an excellent way to increase nutrient availability and improve nutrient health.

podcast
Optimizing Nutrient Cycling for Nutrient Dense Crops

Nutrient cycling has a profound impact on nutrient content in crops at harvest. What can farmers do to grow the most nutrient-dense crops?

podcast
Harnessing Farm Data: Practical Strategies for Optimizing Efficiency

Agricultural data expert Ben Craker shares invaluable insights on the importance of efficient farm data management, offering practical strategies to optimize agricultural operations and enhance overall farm success.

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Keep It on the Farm: Farmers Share Ways to Improve Soil Health

Get ready for a down-to-earth journey with three farmers who share practical strategies for keeping your farm’s topsoil right where it belongs—on your land.

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Better Aggregates, Better Soil: Farmers Dig Into Aggregates for Soil Health

A soil "aggregate" is a clump of soil particles that form around soil organic matter. They're a key indicator of healthy soils, and three farmers discuss what aggregates mean for their on-farm soil health.

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What Is the Impact of Cropland to Pasture Conversion (& Vice Versa) on Dairy Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Feed production is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gases from the dairy farm (after enteric methane). How does using land for cropland or pasture impact overall emissions?

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Are Cover Crops a Good Alternative Feed Source for Dairy Cattle?

Thinking of cover crops as an "annual forage" could help dairy farmers cycle them into their feed rotation.

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How Does Dairy Ration Protein Impact Manure Nitrates & Farm Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Balancing rations for dairy cows is the best guarantee of efficient protein usage and improved dairy sustainability.

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Can Cover Crops & No-Till Reduce Dairy Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Reducing dairy greenhouse gas emissions is a whole-farm task. Cover crops and no-till are just one part of the solution.

podcast
Practical Dairy Sustainability Tips for Immediate Impact

We've talked about a bunch of big changes to improve dairy sustainability, but what small things can you do right now to improve dairy farm water and electricity use?

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Can You Earn Carbon Credits on Pasture & Rangeland?

Four principles set the foundation for sequestering carbon in rangelands and pasture, but what are the options for carbon markets?

podcast
Muck to Money: Unraveling Anaerobic Digesters on Dairy Farms

Anaerobic digesters can turn organic waste into natural gas and nutrient-rich digestate. But how do they work? And when can a digester installation pay for itself on a dairy farm?

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How Does Applied Manure Impact Soil Microbes & Soil Carbon Sequestration on Cropland & Pasture?

Animal manure can boost microbial activity in the soil. It's a good way to add nutrients, improve crop growth, and promote healthy soils when used correctly. Check out this article for resources!

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Managing Dairy Cattle Rations to Reduce Nutrient Loss & Optimize Milk Production

Read on for principles, options, and management opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving water quality.

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No Till, No Problem: Farmers Share Benefits of Adopting Soil Health Practices

Changing farm management to use soil health practices like cover crops and no-till can be complicated. But these on-farm changes show some clear benefits for preventing erosion and improving soil for generations to come.

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Can Dual-Use Cover Crops & No-Till Make Dairy Farming More Sustainable?

Cover crops can be useful tools to capture excess nutrients. So what happens on a no-till dairy farm when cover crops are left on the field?

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Interpreting & Understanding a Dairy Farm’s Environmental Footprint Assessment

Say you're curious about measuring your dairy farm's emissions. An environmental footprint assessment is a great place to start.

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Soils & Policy #3: Carbon Markets

Carbon markets have gotten a ton of buzz. From a policy perspective, what are the strengths, limitations, and opportunities for carbon markets in the U.S.?

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Soils & Policy #2 : Direct Incentive Payments

Direct incentives are cash payments that can make it easier for growers to change their management practices. What are the strengths, limitations, and opportunities payment programs?

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Can Dietary Supplements Decrease Enteric Methane Emissions?

Yup, you bet they can--by up to 30%. Check out the article for details about how they work.

podcast
Curbing Enteric Methane with Feed Additives: Opportunities & Costs for On-Farm Use

A new feed additive is on its way to FDA clearance, and it can reduce enteric methane emissions by as much as 30% in cattle, with no side effects. Listen in for more info.

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What Software Quantifies Dairy Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

We've broken down where greenhouse gas comes from on the dairy; now, let's find out how we can measure GHGs.

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Basic Principles for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions on Dairy Farms

Principles and strategies for reducing your on-farm greenhouse gas emissions, one small tweak at a time.

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Where Do Greenhouse Gases Come from on Dairy Farms?

Enteric methane, manure, animal feed, and farm resources are the four big sources of on-farm GHG emissions. Read on to find out how emissions compare.

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Manure to Renewable Natural Gas: The Economics of Anaerobic Digesters

Anaerobic digestion makes use of nutrients in manure and food waste, turning what could have ended up in a landfill into biogas that can provide electricity, natural gas, or even power for homes in nearby towns.

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Cover Cropping & No-Tilling for Sustainable Dairy Feed & Forage

Feed is the biggest cost for dairy farmers. Could using cover crops and no-till improve their sustainability and provide nutritious feed for dairy cows? 

podcast
What We Know (& Don’t Know) About Enteric Methane Emissions

Enteric methane is potent, short-lived, and a major target for reductions to improve the sustainability of livestock production.

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What Is Enteric Methane?

Methane is a product of enteric fermentation in a ruminant animal's gut. Read on to find out why it's important, and ways we can reduce enteric methane to improve livestock production.

explainer
Breaking Down the Growing Climate Solutions Act

The Growing Climate Solutions Act (GCSA) is a relatively new law that is uniquely positioned to help farmers evaluate and participate in carbon markets. Dive in and learn about what the GCSA includes and how it might help farmers.

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How Does Grazing Livestock Affect Carbon Cycling of a Cropping System?

Introducing livestock in a cropping system creates more ways for carbon to flow and transform. Read on for a better understanding of just how livestock change soil carbon.

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Improving Dairy Water Quality

Improving water quality on the dairy farm is all about keeping nutrients in the right place. Whether it's manure or fertilizer for crops, implementing cover crops, grassed waterways, and retention ponds can help. Check it out.

podcast
Understanding (& Reducing) Dairy Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Enteric methane and manure are the two biggest sources of greenhouse gases from dairy production. What causes them, and how can we reduce them?

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How Do You Manage Dairy Manure Storage to Reduce Methane Emissions?

Methane--a potent, short-lived greenhouse gas--is the major emission from dairy production, but manure management can help decrease the amount of methane from the farm. Dig deeper to find out how.

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Three Tips to Get Started with Agroecosystem Management

Improving soil health takes time, but trying agroecosystem management is a great first step. Watch Marshall McDaniel explain three tips for getting started with agroecosystem management.

podcast
Virtual Fence for Cattle Herd Management: Learning Curves & Opportunities

Virtual fence can create invisible, movable boundaries to help manage cattle herds. It's a new technology, and the possibilities are exciting. But there are a few learning curves--listen in as a producer and researcher talk about the benefits and hurdles of using virtual fence.

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Soils & Policy #1: Soil Health Initiatives

Policies aimed at improving soil health have been on the books for decades. State-driven soil health initiatives are one that have helped preserve soil resources and sequestered carbon in the process. But what are their strengths, limitations, and future opportunities?

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What You Feed Your Cows Impacts Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Dairy greenhouse gas emissions are driven by the production of feed and enteric emissions. Read on for some ways to improve greenhouse gas emissions through diet formulation and feed production changes.

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What Are the Benefits of Biological Soil Testing?

Biological soil testing--also called soil health assessment--is a great way to understand the whole soil ecosystem. Dig into the potential benefits of biological soil testing, including improved yield, reduced farm costs, and more!

podcast
Measuring Soil Water Potential to Maximize Farm Water Use

Deciding when to irrigate can feel like half art, half science. But measuring soil water potential can help make even better use of limited water by showing you how much water is actually available to plants.

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Manure as Fertilizer: Can I Decrease Applied Manure’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Learn about the different manure application techniques that can help you cut emissions while making the most of this abundant source of nutrients.

article
Can Remote Sensors Measure Soil Carbon?

Not directly--you're still going to need field samples. But there are some ways that remote sensing can help with monitoring. Read on to find out how.

podcast
Can Rangelands Store Soil Carbon?

Nearly 30% of the entire land cover of the United States is rangeland. Finding ways to improve carbon sequestration in rangeland soils can boost soil health, improve farmer profits, and make great use of potential untapped carbon sinks

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How Do I Conserve Groundwater While Irrigating?

Groundwater is a limited resource in many areas, and irrigation is key to grow a healthy crop. Here are five tips to make the most of limited water.

podcast
Bounce Back Fast: Cultivating Crop Resilience Through Soil Health

Resilience is all about decreasing the impact of uncontrollable events--like weather, pests, disease, and drought--on crop yields and agricultural productivity. Discover how soil health can play a part.

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How Do Remote Sensors Work?

Remote sensing is a promising way to track all sorts of agricultural data. It's a useful tool for estimating yield, mapping boundaries, understanding soil types and properties, and giving early plant stress warnings. But how does it work?

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What Do Microbes Do in the Soil?

Soil microbes decompose plant matter, help aggregate soil particles, cycle nutrients, and much more. Discover the seven functions of soil microbes: read on.

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What Can Remote Sensing Tell You About Your Field?

Soil moisture, crop stress, nutrient deficiencies--you've got options! Check out all the different things you can learn about your field through remote sensing.

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Could Worms Help Cut Emissions from Dairy Waste?

Dairies produce 1.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the US, and manure ponds are a big part of it. Could running liquid dairy waste through worm beds help cut dairy emissions?

podcast
Improving On-Farm Return on Investment with Soil Biology

There are three pillars of agriculture: Soil chemistry, soil physics, and soil biology. New techniques for measuring soil biology are popping up, but what can they actually tell you? And will they give you a better bang for your buck on the farm?

video
Benefits Farmers Can Reap from Agroecosystem Management

The soil, crops, climate, plants, microbial, and animal life are all intertwined. Help them work together and reap the benefits of agroecosystem management on your farm.

podcast
Corn Stalks and Clover: Connecting Crop Residue and Soil Health

Crop residue is no waste--listen and learn how to use crop residue to feed soil microbes and add soil nutrients.

article
Can Growing Cover Crops in Corn Systems Increase Soil Carbon?

If every hectare of land across the globe included cover crops, we could sequester up to 192 million US tons of carbon every year. How can we get there?

podcast
Precision Nutrient Management: Boost Efficiency, Cut Input Costs

Precision nutrient management is all about “spoon-feeding” your crops just the right amount and kind of nutrients, just when they need them. Doing so can boost the efficiency of your inputs and improve your on-farm return on investment.

explainer
Understanding the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Program

The US Department of Agriculture has invested $3.1 billion in the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities (PCSC) program. What are the challenges and opportunities the PCSC affords for facilitating coordinated data collection and MMRV?

video
What Is Agroecosystem Management?

Agroecosystem management takes the whole agricultural system into account. Watch as Marshall McDaniel describes some of the co-benefits of this holistic approach to managing a field.

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How Does Compaction Impact Water Availability for Plants?

Soil compaction is the result of soil particles being squished closer together, reducing pore space and making it tougher for roots to grow and water to flow. Dig deeper into how compaction impacts water available for plant growth, and what you can do to prevent or fix it on your fields.

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How Do You Measure Soil Water?

Understanding how water moves through your fields can give you great insights into how plants might fare during times of excess rainfall, drought, and everything in between. Read on and find out how to measure your field's soil water.

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Cover Crop Benefits and Drawbacks When Water is Scarce

Growing cover crops can be a challenge in environments where growing seasons are shorter or water is less plentiful. But growers are seeing ecosystem service benefits using cover crops, and with some management changes, minimal drawbacks.

podcast
How Does Soil Health Impact Water Quality?

Soil is the medium for plant growth, regulates chemical processes, and filters water. So how does soil health impact water quality?

podcast
Too Much of a Good Thing? Nutrients & Water Quality

Nutrients are essential for us to grow food, feed, fuel, and fiber. But what happens when there's too much of a good thing? 

article
What Is a Carbon Footprint?

From driving a car to buying groceries, many parts of our daily lives make up our carbon footprint. And the scope gets even bigger when you consider the carbon footprint of a whole organization.

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What Is a Carbon Offset?

We'd love to say it's possible to completely cut greenhouse gas emissions. But industries like transportation and manufacturing will always produce some amount of greenhouse gases. Offsets are one way to help.

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How Deep Is Organic Carbon Stored in the Soil?

Changing management practices can help sequester carbon in the soil and improve overall soil health. But how deep does that organic carbon go?

podcast
What Are the Barriers Keeping Farmers Out of Carbon Markets?

Over 90% of farmers are aware of carbon markets, but only 3% of the surveyed farmers are participating in a market, according to a 2022 report by Trust in Food. Listen as Lee Briese describes some of the barriers keeping farmers out of carbon markets.

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How Do Data Flow Through Agricultural Carbon Markets?

Think four major players: farmers, project developers, verifiers, and registries.

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What Makes a Quality Carbon Credit?

Additional practices, permanence, verification, and registration. The perfect blend for a quality carbon credit!

podcast
What Is Additionality?

When we talk about carbon markets, "additionality" is one of those terms that's tough to avoid. But what is additionality? And what does it mean when it comes to agricultural carbon? 

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What Is Additionality in a Carbon Market?

“Additionality” is a huge component of verifying whether a carbon market is creating quality credits. It’s asking, “Is this project sequestering carbon or decreasing emissions in a way that would not happen otherwise?”

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How Does Weather Impact Soil Carbon Storage?

Adverse weather and extreme climatic events can hinder storage or even release large amounts of soil carbon.

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Who Earns Carbon Credits on Rented Land?

About 40% of all farmland in the contiguous U.S. is rented. So who owns carbon credits generated on that land, and how should owners and operators discuss entering a carbon program?

podcast
4 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Carbon Contract

Say you're ready to commit to a carbon program. But before you declare "love at first sight" and sign on the dotted line, there are a few questions you should ask.

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How Does Reducing Tillage and Adding Cover Crops Impact Farm Income?

Changing practices might come with some changing expenses, but how do these practices impact farm income in the long term?

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Can You Adopt Conservation Practices and Still Make a Profit?

Adopting cover crops and reduced or no-till can come with new expenses. But how do the on-farm economics really pan out?

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What’s the Difference Between Total Soil Carbon & Soil Organic Carbon?

Total soil carbon includes both organic and inorganic carbon. Soil organic carbon includes the once-living matter from plants, dead leaves, roots, and soil microbes, while inorganic carbon is mineral-based and much less responsive to management.

podcast
3 Questions to Ask Before Looking at a Carbon Program

Voluntary carbon programs are cropping up around the U.S. But before you join a program, there are a few things to consider.

article
What Are Scope 1, 2, and 3 Emissions?

Owned, direct, indirect, energy, supply chains--what in the world counts as an emission for each scope?

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How Is Soil Carbon Measured, Reported, and Verified?

Measuring, reporting, and verifying soil carbon requires accurate collection of soil data, reporting in standardized units, and third-party checks.

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What Are the Drivers of Soil Organic Carbon Storage?

After adding additional plant matter to the soil, the biggest driver of storing soil organic carbon is the activity of microorganisms like bacteria and fungi, followed by soil texture.

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How Can Cover Crops Help Sequester Soil Carbon?

Cover crops provide an additional source of biomass to the soil. More biomass means more opportunities to sequester carbon!

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Which Countries Are Using Agricultural Carbon Markets?

Brazil, European countries, and the United States are among those focusing on agriculture’s role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon.

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Who Are the Buyers of Carbon Credits?

Potential buyers of carbon and ecosystem service credits include any business, government, industry, or individual interested in decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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What Are the Differences Between Voluntary & Compliance Markets?

Both voluntary and compliance carbon markets are trying to do the same thing--generate and sell credible carbon credits. But key differences arise when buyers and sellers opt in compared to mandated systems.

video
Using Integrated Pest Management to Improve Crop Resilience

Integrated Pest management (IPM) is a strategy to manage pest and disease threats to your crops. But it could have bigger benefits—it’s also an important part of your toolkit to improve crop resilience in the face of extreme weather events and changing conditions.

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Improving Crop Resilience with Seed Treatments

Temperature, rainfall, weather, pests, disease—there are lots of circumstances that can negatively impact your crops. But seed treatments are one tool in your toolkit to improve crop resilience.

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How to Take Manual Soil Cores for Soil Carbon Measurement

Interested in finding out how much carbon is in your soil? One of the first things to tackle is taking manual soil cores.

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Which Agricultural Practices Sequester Carbon at the Lowest Cost?

Implementing cover crops and moving to no-till can make the greatest impact at the lowest cost, although the amount of carbon sequestered or emissions reduced and cost of each practice varies by region.

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The Soil Health Benefits of Cover Crops

Wayne Fredericks, a farmer in Osage, IA, adopted cover crops after many years of no-till soybean and strip-till corn. Watch as he talks through the impacts of cover crops on his farm's soil, and how cover crops and reduced tillage can be complementary practices.

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Maximizing On-Farm Solar Energy Harvest with Cover Crops

Growing crops is all about making good use of solar energy. Though many farms only make use of the sun’s energy from about May through September, Wayne Fredericks maximizes his solar energy harvest with cover crops, improving his soil health in the process.

podcast
What Are the Challenges for Measuring, Reporting, and Verifying Soil Carbon?

Carbon markets rely on accurate measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) of soil carbon to issue carbon credits. But tallying soil carbon can be tricky. How should we go about sampling soil for MRV? And what does it tell us?

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What Is Agriculture’s Role in Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Agriculture is often cited as a primary source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but crop production and land use account for just over 13% of food-related GHG emissions globally. Altogether, food production in every stage accounts for 26% of global GHG emissions.

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How Does Farm Management Impact Soil Health?

Healthy soils are teeming with life. Changing management practices to foster biological activity is the key to improving soil health.

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What Are Ecosystem Services?

The words “ecosystem services” capture all of those tangible and intangible ways in which human beings depend on, use, and benefit from the natural environment.

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How Much Farmland Is Eligible for Reduced Tillage or No-Till?

139 million acres of farmland in the US are still eligible to change crop production practices to reduce tillage, according to United States Department of Agriculture data from 2016.

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How Are Carbon Credits Priced & Sold?

Carbon credits in voluntary carbon markets are typically priced and sold by the market providers themselves. Like other consumer goods, prices for credits are influenced by supply and demand. As demand increases, so too could the average price paid per credit sold on the marketplace.

podcast
How Do You Measure soil carbon?

Agricultural soils hold great potential for sequestering carbon and improving soil health in the process. But how do you measure soil carbon?

explainer
Data Drives Decisions: Data Infrastructure for Climate-Smart Agriculture

Climate-smart agriculture relies on coordinating a complex suite of agricultural practices to provide ecosystem services, but measurement of these benefits is scattered. A national ecosystem services monitoring network could help.

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How Much Carbon Can the Soil Sequester?

The soil’s potential carbon capacity depends on soil type, climate, and management practices. No two soils will sequester carbon at the same rate or in exactly the same amount—different producers need to implement different practices depending on their land.

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What Are the Benefits of Increasing Agricultural Soil Carbon?

Increased soil water storage, improved biological activity, better soil aggregation, improved yield--these are just a few of the benefits of increasing agricultural soil carbon.

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How Does Carbon Cycle Through Agricultural Systems?

Carbon cycles through agricultural systems through plant photosynthesis, biomass decomposition, and animal production, with opportunities to improve carbon sequestration at each point in the cycle.

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How Does Crop Management Impact Carbon Sequestration?

Management practices either improve or set back soil carbon sequestration, beginning with the soil and moving through crop production.

video
Cover Cropping to Reduce Nutrient Loss

Wayne Fredericks, a farmer in Osage, IA, has been using cover crops on his farm since 2012. Here, he talks about his journey testing cover crops to help reduce nutrient loss and improve water quality.

podcast
How Does Carbon Get Into the Soil?

Sinking carbon into soil is a powerful tool in our toolbox to decrease or offset carbon emissions. But how does carbon get into the soil? And once it's there, how do we keep it there?

podcast
Story of Decode 6

Chris Boomsma, Director of Science & Strategy at the time of program launch, sat down to tell us: What is Decode 6?

article
Which Farm Practices Reduce Emissions & Sequester Carbon?

All aspects of crop production that involve keeping the soil covered, minimizing disturbance, and agronomic management can help sequester carbon and reduce emissions.

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What Is a Carbon Registry?

A carbon registry is the central component of a carbon market trade, positioned between projects that store or offset carbon and buyers that purchase carbon credits.

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How Do Agricultural Emissions Compare to Other Sectors?

Compared to other sectors globally, food production (including retail, transport, processing, farming, and land use) accounts for 26% of all greenhouse gas emissions as of 2019.

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What Adds to Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Emissions In the US?

Soil management is responsible for over half the greenhouse gas emissions generated by agriculture in the United States. Enteric fermentation—or gases created by livestock digesting their food—account for another 27%, and manure management another 14%.

video
Turning Cover into Cash

One barrier keeping farmers from adopting cover crops is the cost. But Mitchell and Brian Hora have turned their cover crop into an additional cash crop by harvesting mature standing rye over a growing soybean crop.

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How Does Changing Nitrogen Management Impact Farm Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Making small tweaks to on-farm nitrogen use can make a big difference in greenhouse gas emissions, water quality, and crop production.