Soil Health Institute to develop soil carbon measurement and monitoring system

The Soil Health Institute (SHI) has been awarded $3.25 million from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The funds will be used to develop an integrated soil carbon measurement and monitoring system called the DeepC System. DeepC will provide standardized carbon sequestration monitoring needs for carbon markets in agriculture. 

The system includes in-field measurement tools, an optimized spatial sampling algorithm, and machine learning that leverage the current infrastructure of national soil spectroscopy libraries. Users will be able to obtain rapid measurements of soil carbon stock.

safarAccording to SHI Chief Scientific Officer Cristine Morgan, PhD, the technology will benefit farmers and ranchers by reducing the time and cost for measuring soil carbon, thereby supporting their participation in carbon markets. 

"Soil probes, equipped with sensors that proximally measure both carbon concentration and bulk density of the soil as the probe is pushed into the ground, are an ideal way to measure carbon stock and change along the soil profile rapidly, nondestructively, and cost-effectively. The integrated DeepC System combines sampling design, proximal sensing, and machine learning to obtain rapid, non-destructive measurements of soil carbon stock and flux," Morgan explains.

"At the Soil Health Institute, we address a full range of issues to advance adoption of soil health systems, from conducting the science to providing local farmer trainings and setting up farmer-to-farmer mentoring networks. This is an example of how we are developing new technology that will help farmers, too," Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, CEO of the Soil Health Institute says.

The Soil Health Institute ( is a non-profit whose mission is to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement. The Institute works with its many stakeholders to identify gaps in research and adoption; develop strategies, networks and funding to address those gaps; and ensure beneficial impact of those investments to agriculture, the environment and society.

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