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Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems

Regenerative Agriculture Demonstration Lab (Rad-Lab)

The Regenerative Agriculture Demonstration Lab, known as the RAD-Lab, provides students with valuable field and lab assessment experience. They learn the process of sampling soil in the field, performing analytical measurements in a lab setting, and understanding documentation and data assessment. 

 Additionally, our goal is to provide a service lab for the assessment of soil quality and health along with food quality and nutrient density for farmers, our own projects, stakeholders and partners. Ideally, we will be able to demonstrate that growers who transition to regenerative practices improve the quality of their soil and the food they grow over time. 

 We also hope to help make soil carbon assessment and nutrient density assessment much more affordable and accessible. That will help growers more easily enter the carbon markets and gain more value for their efforts in transitioning to regenerative farming. We intend to help them develop comprehensive carbon farms plans. The data this lab provides will help them quantify the benefits of their practices so they can certify soil credits and sell those credits in the cap and trade markets. Essentially, they will need it to prove that they are accumulating carbon in their fields in a way that will help combat climate change. Our hope is that others will be able to replicate our efforts, thereby making access to these services more widely available. 

 The RAD-Lab provides the following physical, chemical and biological testing:

  • Aggregate stability 
  • Aggregate particle size fractions /fractionation
  • Quantitative soil color 
  • pH and electrical conductivity (EC)
  • Permanganate oxidizable carbon (POx-C)
  • Incubation experiments (evolved CO2 / soil respiration)
  • Total carbon and nitrogen assessment ​(currently not performed in-house but hopefully later in 2020
  • Hot water extractable carbon (in development)

These tests will help us support growers, our own projects, stakeholders and partners by monitoring for changes in soil carbon indicative of the farm's trajectory in meeting or missing their carbon budget.