WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2015 - The Organic Center wants little baggies of topsoil from as many U.S. organic farmers as possible to support a broad study comparing organic matter composition in organic fields, pastures and forests with that in conventionally farmed land.

The center is collaborating with Northwestern University researchers who’ve already amassed soil samples from conventional fields of every county in the country, explains Jessica Shade, the center’s science programs director. Her team has only about 500 samples from organic tracts. But with more than 14,000 organic farmers operating in the U.S., she expects she can get a lot more, though the soil must come from certified organic land. The project aims to quantify the sequestered carbon in organic farm topsoil samples for comparison with corresponding conventional samples to find differences in levels of humic acids, fulvic acids, and humin – the particles that harbor the soil’s sequestered carbon. The research is aimed at better understanding soil health.

So, Shade pleads: “Just two tablespoons of soil in a zip-lock bag and send it to us.” Farmers can click here for instructions and a one-page sample submission form.


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