Iowa Learning Farms to Host Webinars During COVID-19 Pandemic

Weekly webinars will begin March 25; first will focus on corbonate and carbon storage in soils

March 20, 2020, 10:13 am | Jacqueline Comito, Hilary Pierce

AMES, Iowa — As field days and in-person gatherings are postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Iowa Learning Farms (ILF) will host weekly webinars each Wednesday at noon.

These new weekly webinars will supplement the regular monthly webinar series hosted by ILF and allow timely education on issues related to water, soil, wildlife and other conservation topics. The first webinar, Wednesday, March 25, will focus on carbonate research and the potential for carbon storage in Iowa soils.

Mark Rasmussen.Wind-blown loess soils of western Iowa contain a significant amount of calcium carbonate in the form of the mineral calcite. These soils are naturally calcareous due to the calcium carbonate that formed from minerals originally deposited in glacial parent material.

Some carbonate is present in the form of carbonate nodules, which can readily be seen in the soil profile. How much carbon is stored as carbonate in Iowa’s soils? Are there land management practices that degrade or stimulate carbonate deposition?

Mark Rasmussen, director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, will discuss these questions, as well as other aspects of the research being done on carbonate.

“We are interested in these nodules because carbonate minerals form one of the largest reservoirs of carbon on the planet and these minerals play a significant role in the long-term balance between atmospheric carbon and climate,” said Rasmussen. “A major focus of our study is to understand the biological and chemical processes that result in carbonate formation, including the carbon source used in its formation.”

To participate in the live webinar March 25, shortly before noon, visit or go to and enter meeting ID 364 284 172.

Or, join from a dial-in phone line by dialing 1-312-626-6799 or 1-646-876-9923. The meeting ID is 364 284 172.

The webinar will also be recorded and archived on the ILF website for viewing any time. Archived webinars are available at

A Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit (CEU) has been applied for, for those who are able to participate in the live webinar. Information about how to apply to receive the credit (if approved) will be provided at the end of the live webinar.


Original photo: Mark Rasmussen.

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