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Science in action to improve the sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and food systems
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Author: Karen Hills

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Compost Emissions – More Than Just a Matter of Smell

Composting organic waste is, in many ways, a win-win scenario. It diverts waste from the landfill, while creating a valuable soil amendment (explored in my…

Municipal Compost Use in Agriculture: A Question of Cost and Value

Composting rather than landfilling organic waste, such as food waste and yard trimmings, has several benefits from a climate perspective. A recent study in Washington…

Boutique Biochars: Exploring Engineering Strategies to Increase Phosphate Adsorption

Biochar is produced by pyrolysis of woody (technically, lignocellulosic) materials. By controlling the conditions under which it is produced, researchers can engineer biochar to be…

A New Method for Measuring Plant Available Water Capacity Helps Document Benefits of Biochar-Soil Mixtures

Biochar has potential to draw down atmospheric carbon when applied to agricultural soils (as discussed in my previous article on this topic). There is currently…

Check it Out: Can Biochar Be Used for Carbon Dioxide Drawdown in Washington State?

In a recent study, Jim Amonette at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Washington State University Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources developed an…

Can fertilizer derived from dairy manure be used to produce raspberries with minimal food safety risk?

Whatcom County is in the northwest corner of Washington State and has a rich history of agricultural production. This region is the top producer of…

Exploring the Frontier of Improved Soil Health in Potato Production in the Columbia Basin

Guest Post By Athena Loos, Field Representative, McCain Foods - During the 3.5 years that I have worked with growers in my role as a…

Soil Health in Potato Production: Oxymoron or Opportunity?

A frequently used—at least, by soil scientists—definition for soil health is “the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living system to sustain…

The Devil is in the Process: Co-composting Biochar Could Benefit Crop Growth and the Environment

Biochar has the potential to sequester carbon and improve the properties of soils when used as an agricultural amendment. However, biochar will only be a…

Could Wood Plastic Composites Motivate More Investments in Climate-Friendly Anaerobic Digestion?

Picture this future scenario: it’s a hot summer day and you are sitting with some friends on their deck enjoying a cold beverage. You notice…
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