The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $8 million in four partnerships to support and expand measurement and monitoring of carbon in soil on working agricultural lands. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will work with Iowa State University, Michigan State University, American Climate Partners and University of Texas at El Paso on regional projects on soil organic carbon stock monitoring.  

The selected partners will support implementation of a new Conservation Evaluation and Monitoring Activity (CEMA) offered by NRCS, which provides financial assistance to producers for measuring soil organic carbon stocks before and after the implementation of a conservation practice or conservation plan. A qualified individual will use a hydraulic probe or excavation method to sample soil to one meter depth or restrictive layer.  The soil will then be tested for organic carbon and bulk density to provide organic carbon stock levels to farmers. These partners will play a critical role in training individuals on the sampling methodology and informing producers about the CEMA opportunity. 

The Iowa State University partnership titled "Know Your Carbon Landscape: Data for Consistent Monitoring of Soil Carbon" is a $1.99 million four-year project that will be conducted by a team of university educators, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) researchers and stakeholders who will design materials and deliver training on NRCS’s Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) Stock Measurement standards and the benefits of monitoring SOC stocks using a three-prong approach: website, printed materials and field demonstration sites. 

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