DDD Conference

3. Mr. Terry Hofecker

A Low Cost Field-Test Kit for Illiterate Farmers in Developing Countries

Soil1 LLC, USA

Agronomic agriculture is transitioning from an industrial/chemical paradigm to a sustainable/ecological paradigm affording the opportunity to transition pre-industrial, smallholder farmers directly from pre-industrial to sustainable climate smart farming practices.  Yet many of the 450 million smallholder farmers worldwide have no educational basis for grasping complex scientific paradigms and may even be illiterate. Using carbon-based testing, The Ohio State University has developed a low-cost, 15-minute soil health field-test that outputs results by color chart. This one-step test utilizes flocculation to decolorize soils such as terra rosa or muck soils, pH buffering to stabilize reaction processes, and permanganate oxidation to assess available carbon levels. Since active carbon has strong correlation to soil organic matter, biological nitrogen, and microbial biomass, the test results give a useful indication of regenerative soil health. These results can be input into a cloud-based app to give minimally-trained personnel an onsite carbon-conservative regenerative agriculture prescription. This technology is based on nearly 60 years of research by The Ohio State University on a large set of agronomic soils from around the world. Our next research phase is developing partnerships to adapt the core chemistry to the carbon cycle of dryland biomes.

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