Iowa Learning Farms’ March Webinar Focuses on Biochar



AMES, Iowa — Biochar as a soil amendment will be featured during the Iowa Learning Farms’ (ILF) webinar, Wednesday, March 21, at 11:30 a.m. The webinar is part of the ILF-hosted series held on the third Wednesday of each month through Adobe Connect. All that is needed to participate is a computer with Internet access.

David Laird, an agronomy professor at Iowa State University, will discuss his research on use of biochar as a soil amendment. Biochar is a charcoal-like material that is produced as a co-product (along with bio-oil) when biomass is pyrolyzed. Laird particularly wants to know if soil-applying biochar to crop fields harvested for biomass improves long-term sustainability of bioenergy production.

As soil amendments, chars have been shown to increase soil fertility by improving nutrient and water retention, lowering soil acidity and density, and increasing microbial activity. In addition, energy production from biomass that stores carbon as biochar can be considered carbon negative. 

To connect to the webinars, go to: https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/. Laird will be able to answer questions from webinar “attendees” via the Adobe Connect chat box. The ILF website homepage contains links for archived webinars from previous months: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/Webinars/.

Iowa Learning Farms is a partnership between the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the US EPA (section 319); in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa and the Iowa Farm Bureau.

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Additional contact: David Laird, ISU Department of Agronomy, 515-294-1581