Carbon Academy: OSU Extension

(Left to right) Dr. Roger Williams, Dr. Matthew Hamilton, Dr. Rattan Lal and Panel Moderator Mike Estadt.	Photo by Duane Gandelot

The Lal Carbon Center Holds the 2nd Carbon Academy

Nineteen extension agents at The Ohio State University from all over the state joined the Lal Carbon Center at Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory on April 10th for a Carbon Academy workshop. Dr. Asmita Murumkar, Assistant Professor and Ecosystems Services Field Specialist at Ohio State University Extension, played a pivotal role as the primary advisor for the workshop. Our team specifically tailored the workshop to extension interests to enhance soil carbon education and community engagement – a key objective of the Center’s Carbon Farming Alliance for Research and Management (C-FARM) project.

Extension agents from all over Ohio join the Carbon Academy workshop in the Waterman Priva Gathering Space. Photo by Duane Gandelot

Christopher Zoller welcomes attendees. Photo by Duane Gandelot Interim Assistant Director of Extension Christopher Zoller warmly welcomed participants and introduced the speakers and panel moderators. The presentation session addressed many aspects of soil carbon, including dynamics, forestry, modeling, policy, and business, to equip the extension agents to better advise and assist the farmers in adopting best management practices and enhancing soil carbon sequestration when desired. A panel led by extension agents provided an interactive platform for the audience to follow up with in-depth discussions on topics that intrigued them. The final event in the workshop was a demonstration of the photoacoustic greenhouse gas monitoring system.

Dr. Rattan Lal began the presentation session with a lecture entitled Carbon Farming: A New Crop, emphasizing the importance of considering carbon (C) management practices alongside other essential elements like nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Balancing the proportions of C alongside NPK in soil improves use efficiency of all these elements and creates a more robust soil over time.

Dr. Roger Williams elaborated on strategies for managing forests in Creating Forest Carbon Projects to Produce Carbon Credits. Outlining the factors that affect the total carbon stocks in carbon pools, such as growth, species composition, management, and age, he provided an overview of how forest carbon can be managed on the voluntary market to created carbon credits.

Dr. Murumkar, in her presentation Carbon Sequestration in Farmland and Co-Benefits, explained the myriad benefits that sequestered carbon provides in soils, from improved bioavailability of elements to water holding capacity. She also provided tools to better estimate and measure carbon in soil through modeling.

Dr. Matthew Hamilton followed with a lecture entitled Policy dimensions of carbon farming: How institutional factors affect practice adoption, highlighting the social and political processes that influence practice adoption. His talk encouraged the audience to consider the impact that networks have in disseminating information, as well as their roles within those networks. Dr. Ross Bricklemyer from Climate, LLC and Bayer, Inc joined remotely to share his presentation Bayer’s Carbon Program and our role in Regenerative Agriculture, describing the way Bayer incentivizes farmers to adopt best management practices.

Following the presentations, Assistant Professor Mike Estadt and Extension Field Specialist Elizabeth Hawkins moderated the speaker panel, allowing extension agents to share the questions, concerns, and challenges they face in encouraging farmers to adopt carbon sequestering practices – especially when those practices can impact a farmer’s bottom line. The discussion underscored the complexities of balancing economic considerations with environmental stewardship.

(Left to right) Panel moderators Elizabeth Hawkins and Mike Estadt chat with extension agents at the workshop. Photo by Duane GandelotThe workshop concluded with a practical demonstration of a photo acoustic soil analyzer for greenhouse gas measurement with Dr. Klaus Lorenz and Lal Carbon Center Lab Manager Kyle Sklenka and a short ceremony distributing certificates of completion.

We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all of the extension agents who attended our workshop and everyone who assisted in with the workshop: photographer Duane Gandelot, graduate student Prasanna Oruganti, Administrative Assistant Hannah Shively, Lab Manager Kyle Sklenka, Research Technician Brennan Spaulding, IT Support Specialist Jacob Garret, and Waterman Director Dewey Mann and Program Assistant Jamie Gothard. Their invaluable support made our Carbon Academy Workshop a resounding success.