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Decode 6

Decoding Carbon and Ecosystem Services

We take your questions about carbon and ecosystem services and match them to the experts with the answers. Have questions? Ask our experts! Visit us at decode6.org.

Latest Episode

Practical Dairy Sustainability Tips for Immediate Impact

We’ve talked a lot about big changes on the horizon for dairy production in the last few episodes. This week, we’re digging into some practical on-farm tweaks dairy farmers can make to instantly impact their sustainability. Listen in as Tara Vander Dussen, a fifth generation dairy farmer and environmental scientist, talks us through hands-on sustainability tweaks for dairy farms. Water, electricity, and manure management are all candidates for small changes that can make big impacts to the whole farm’s overall environmental impact. Curious about carbon and ecosystem services and want to learn more? Check out Decode 6. We're you're source for unbiased, science-based, bite-sized information about carbon and ecosystem services.

December 11 • 15m 30s

Episodes

Practical Dairy Sustainability Tips for Immediate Impact cover art

Practical Dairy Sustainability Tips for Immediate Impact

We’ve talked a lot about big changes on the horizon for dairy production in the last few episodes. This week, we’re digging into some practical on-farm tweaks dairy farmers can make to instantly impact their sustainability. Listen in as Tara Vander Dussen, a fifth generation dairy farmer and environmental scientist, talks us through hands-on sustainability tweaks for dairy farms. Water, electricity, and manure management are all candidates for small changes that can make big impacts to the whole farm’s overall environmental impact. Curious about carbon and ecosystem services and want to learn more? Check out Decode 6. We're you're source for unbiased, science-based, bite-sized information about carbon and ecosystem services.

December 11 • 15m 30s
Muck to Money: Unraveling Anaerobic Digesters for Dairy Farms cover art

Muck to Money: Unraveling Anaerobic Digesters for Dairy Farms

Anaerobic digesters turn manure and other organic waste products into biogas and "digestate," a nutrient-rich product that farmers can use to add nutrients to fields. Digesters get a lot of hype, but how do they work? And when are they economical choices for dairy farms to install? Listen in as Lauren Ray, an agricultural sustainability and energy engineer at Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY, walks us through how digesters work and when they break even for farms that install them. As a bonus, she'll also describe the top things you should ask if you're thinking about working with a developer to install a digester. Curious about carbon and ecosystem services and want to learn more? Check out Decode 6. We're you're source for unbiased, science-based, bite-sized information about carbon and ecosystem services.

November 27 • 20m 42s
Curbing Enteric Methane with Feed Additives: Opportunities & Costs for On-Farm Use cover art

Curbing Enteric Methane with Feed Additives: Opportunities & Costs for On-Farm Use

A new feed additive is in the regulatory pipeline in the United States, well on its way to FDA clearance. It's called 3-NOP, and it's already in use in Europe under the name Bovear. This feed additive for dairy and beef cattle can cut enteric methane emissions by as much as 30%, and can make dairy and beef producers eligible for carbon markets. But how do feed additives like 3-NOP work? And are they cost effective? Listen in as Dr. Ermias Kebreab, a professor at University of California Davis and Director of CA&ES at the World Food Center, gives us an overview of how feed additives work, the current options on the market, and a sneak peek of research in the pipeline that could help reduce emissions of this potent greenhouse gas.   Curious about carbon and ecosystem services and want to learn more? Check out Decode 6. We're you're source for unbiased, science-based, bite-sized information about carbon and ecosystem services.

October 23 • 19m 17s
What We Know (& Don’t Know) About Enteric Methane Emissions cover art

What We Know (& Don’t Know) About Enteric Methane Emissions

When we think about emissions from dairy and livestock emissions, cow burps are at the top of the list. Those burps release methane, a greenhouse gas with 28 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Today, we're breaking down how enteric methane is formed in the guts of ruminant livestock, and new technologies that are helping us cut emissions.   Listen in as Dr. Sara Place, an associate professor of feedlot systems at Colorado State University AgNext, describes how enteric methane forms and ways we can reduce emissions.  Curious about carbon and ecosystem services and want to learn more? Check out Decode 6. We're you're source for unbiased, science-based, bite-sized information about carbon and ecosystem services.

October 9 • 16m 32s
Understanding (& Reducing) Dairy Greenhouse Gas Emissions cover art

Understanding (& Reducing) Dairy Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Dairies in the United States are responsible for about 2% of our greenhouse gas emissions. Where do those gases come from, and how can we reduce them? Listen in as Dr. Frank Mitloehner, a professor and air quality specialist in cooperative extension at the University of California-Davis, walks us through the sources of GHGs on the dairy farm.  Curious about carbon and ecosystem services and want to learn more? Check out Decode 6. We're you're source for unbiased, science-based, bite-sized information about carbon and ecosystem services.

September 25 • 13m 47s
Virtual Fence for Cattle Herd Management: Learning Curves & Opportunities cover art

Virtual Fence for Cattle Herd Management: Learning Curves & Opportunities

A virtual fence uses GPS collars and towers to create invisible movable barriers for cattle. It's an exciting technology--can you use it for intensive grazing? Keep cattle off sensitive streambeds? Save on hard fence costs? The possibilities are endless, but putting the technology into practice has a real learning curve.  Listen in as Anna Shadbolt, a research associate at Colorado State AgNext, talks with Andy Lawrence, a fourth-generation rancher in Colorado, about their experience using virtual fence with Andy's herd over the summer of 2023.  Curious about carbon and ecosystem services and want to learn more? Check out Decode 6. We're you're source for unbiased, science-based, bite-sized information about carbon and ecosystem services.

September 12 • 48m 30s
Measuring Soil Water Potential to Maximize Farm Water Use cover art

Measuring Soil Water Potential to Maximize Farm Water Use

Deciding when to irrigate can feel like half art, half science. Visual inspections, weather reports, and soil moisture can give you a pretty good idea when your crop needs more water, but soil water potential could help you make even better use of your valuable water. Soil water potential is, in short, the amount of energy it takes for plants to pull water out of the soil, and it's the real limiting factor for how much water in the soil your crops can use. Listen in as Leo Rivera, research scientist and Director of Outreach at METER Group, describes how measuring soil water potential can help you make the best use of your limited water resources. Curious about carbon and ecosystem services and want to learn more? Check out Decode 6. We're you're source for unbiased, science-based, bite-sized information about carbon and ecosystem services.

August 21 • 15m 44s
Can Blockchain Make Carbon Markets More Transparent? cover art

Can Blockchain Make Carbon Markets More Transparent?

Carbon markets have hit a few hiccups. One is transparency: how much are carbon credits worth and where’s the money going? Blockchain—a decentralized digital public ledger that permanently records transactions—could help. Listen in as Alex Taylor, Core Contributor at KlimaDAO and Strategic Advisor for Carbonmark, talks us through the possibilities opened wide by using a public, open, immutable digital ledger for solving the transparency problem facing carbon markets. Curious about carbon and ecosystem services and want to learn more? Check out Decode 6. We're you're source for unbiased, science-based, bite-sized information about carbon and ecosystem services.

August 7 • 21m 33s
Can Rangelands Store Soil Carbon? cover art

Can Rangelands Store Soil Carbon?

Rangelands take up a whopping 30% of all land cover in the United States. But we don’t really think of them as a carbon sink the same way we do crop land. So what’s the deal? Can rangelands store soil carbon? Tune in as Megan Nasto, Research Scientist at Working Lands Conservation, talks us through the potential for rangelands as a carbon sink. She’ll walk us through how to manage cattle to improve carbon sequestration in rangeland soils and what it would take to accurately measure the carbon those soils sequester. Plus, Megan will talk through some real-life examples of improvements she’s seen in soil health and ecosystem services from rangeland projects. Buckle up! Curious about carbon and ecosystem services and want to learn more? Check out Decode 6. We're you're source for unbiased, science-based, bite-sized information about carbon and ecosystem services.

July 24 • 18m 29s
Bounce Back Fast: Cultivating Crop Resilience Through Soil Health cover art

Bounce Back Fast: Cultivating Crop Resilience Through Soil Health

The word “resilience” brings sports movies to mind, with underdog teams grittily battling their way forward for a moment in the spotlight. But when it comes to agriculture, resilience is all about maintaining crop performance in the face of environmental stressors, pest pressure, and a changing climate. Underdogs, indeed! Tune in as Dianna Bagnall, Research Soil Scientist for the Soil Health Institute, talks us through the relationship between improving soil health and growing more resilient crops. As farming becomes ever more difficult in the face of unpredictable growing conditions, cultivating crop resilience is key to the livelihoods of farmers and maintaining yields to keep food, feed, and fiber production rolling. Curious about carbon and ecosystem services and want to learn more? Check out Decode 6. We're you're source for unbiased, science-based, bite-sized information about carbon and ecosystem services.

July 10 • 14m 33s
Preserving Tribal Lands with Carbon Markets: National Indian Carbon Coalition cover art

Preserving Tribal Lands with Carbon Markets: National Indian Carbon Coalition

Protect, preserve, and create economic resources. This is the mission of the National Indian Carbon Coalition (NICC), which works with tribal members and leaders to find new opportunities for tribal land. NICC works with tribes to develop carbon sequestration projects, protect tribal natural resources, and generate revenue for land acquisition and community development.  Bryan Van Stippen, program director of NICC, describes how carbon markets can create new sources of revenue, preserve land ownership, and combat climate change on the 56.2 million acres of tribal land in the United States.  Curious about carbon and ecosystem services and want to learn more? Check out Decode 6. We're you're source for unbiased, science-based, bite-sized information about carbon and ecosystem services.

June 26 • 14m
Improving On-Farm Return on Investment with Soil Biology cover art

Improving On-Farm Return on Investment with Soil Biology

There are three pillars of agriculture: Soil chemistry, soil physics, and soil biology. New techniques for measuring soil biology are popping up, but what can they actually tell you? And will they give you a better bang for your buck on the farm? Meri Mullins, technical account lead at Biome Makers, is our expert with the answers. Meri will walk us through why measuring soil biology is so important, how it can help you troubleshoot problem areas in your fields, and what it can do for your ROI.  Curious about carbon and ecosystem services and want to learn more? Check out Decode 6. We're you're source for unbiased, science-based, bite-sized information about carbon and ecosystem services.

June 20 • 20m 54s
Corn Stalks to Clover: Connecting Crop Residue and Soil Health cover art

Corn Stalks to Clover: Connecting Crop Residue and Soil Health

Crop residue is no waste--when left on a field, it's a great way to boost soil microbial activity and provide nutrients for the next crop.  Listen in as Dr. Jeanette Norton, a soil microbiologist at Utah State University, explains the benefits of leaving crop residue on the soil, the role of microbes in the soil food web, and the benefits of different residue types for supplying nutrients.  Curious about carbon and ecosystem services and want to learn more? Check out Decode 6. We're you're source for unbiased, science-based, bite-sized information about carbon and ecosystem services.

June 6 • 14m 54s
Hitting the ”Easy Button” on Conservation Practices cover art

Hitting the ”Easy Button” on Conservation Practices

Preventing nutrient loss and improving water quality go hand-in-glove. But actually implementing conservation practices like tile drainage treatment systems or bioreactors? Now that can be tough. Enter John Swanson, Water Resources Supervisor in Polk County, IA. John's team has used a "batch-and-build" method of getting conservation practices from concept to completion. With this method, John and his team have increased adoption of saturated buffers and bioreactors by 600%--listen and see how you, too, can "hit the easy button" on conservation practices. Curious about carbon and ecosystem services and want to learn more? Check out Decode 6. We're you're source for unbiased, science-based, bite-sized information about carbon and ecosystem services.

May 22 • 15m 55s
Precision Nutrient Management: Boost Efficiency, Cut Input Costs cover art

Precision Nutrient Management: Boost Efficiency, Cut Input Costs

Precision nutrient management is all about "spoon-feeding" your crops the right nutrients at the right time, improving efficiency and improving your on-farm return on investment.  Tune in as Carrie Vollmer-Sanders, the Sustainability Director for US Farmers and Ranchers in Action, talks us through the first steps you can take to get started with precision nutrient management on your farm.  Curious about carbon and ecosystem services and want to learn more? Check out Decode 6. We're you're source for unbiased, science-based, bite-sized information about carbon and ecosystem services.

May 8 • 16m 31s
How Does Soil Health Impact Water Quality? cover art

How Does Soil Health Impact Water Quality?

Soil supports plant growth, regulates chemical processes, controls and filters water--soil and water interact all the time. So how does soil health impact water quality?  Dr. Ron Turco, a professor and head of the Agronomy Department at Purdue University, is here with the answers. He'll walk us through the interactions between water and the soil, and how changing practices can help us keep soil, nutrients, and microbes in place, where plants can use them.  Curious about carbon and ecosystem services and want to learn more? Check out Decode 6. We're you're source for unbiased, science-based, bite-sized information about carbon and ecosystem services.

April 24 • 12m 21s
Too Much of a Good Thing? Nutrients & Water Quality cover art

Too Much of a Good Thing? Nutrients & Water Quality

Nutrients are essential for us to grow food, feed, fuel, and fiber. But what happens when there's too much of a good thing?  Dr. Helen Jarvie, a professor at University of Waterloo, Canada, is here to talk us through the impact of nutrients on water quality. She'll tackle eutrophication, watershed conservation, and how we can preserve our non-renewable resources and improve water quality. Curious about carbon and ecosystem services and want to learn more?  Check out Decode 6. We're your source of unbiased, scientific, accessible information about carbon and ecosystem services.

April 10 • 13m 26s
What Can We Learn from Alberta’s Carbon Market? cover art

What Can We Learn from Alberta’s Carbon Market?

Back in 2007, Alberta (one of Canada's 13 provinces) instituted legislation to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from large emitters. Part of that legislation included an option to buy carbon credits.  So what can we learn from Alberta's carbon market? Join us as Sarah Sellars, a PhD student at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, breaks down the lessons we can learn from Alberta's carbon market. Have a question you want our experts to answer? Drop us a line at info@decode6.org. If you want to learn more about carbon and ecosystem services, visit Decode 6 for more free, bite-sized, unbiased education.

March 28 • 13m 4s
What Are the Barriers Keeping Farmers Out of Carbon Markets? cover art

What Are the Barriers Keeping Farmers Out of Carbon Markets?

Over 90% of farmers are aware of carbon markets, but only 3% of the surveyed farmers are participating in a market, according to a 2022 report by Trust in Food. So what are the barriers keeping farmers out of carbon markets?  Join us as Lee Briese serves as our expert with the answers. Lee is an independent crop consultant and CCA from central North Dakota. He provides agronomic advice to farmers, helping them build customized systems to grow and manage crops profitably.  Curious about carbon and ecosystem service markets and want to learn more?  Check out Decode 6. We're your source of unbiased, scientific, accessible information about carbon and ecosystem services.

March 21 • 21m 53s
What Is Additionality? cover art

What Is Additionality?

When we talk about carbon markets, "additionality" is one of those terms that's tough to avoid. But what is additionality? And what does it mean when it comes to agricultural carbon?  Join us as Scott Gerlt, chief economist at the American Soybean Association, serves up the answers. Scott breaks down what additionality is, what it looks like on the farm, and why it matters for producers and markets alike.  Have a question you want our experts to answer? Drop us a line at info@decode6.org.  If you want to learn more about carbon and ecosystem services, visit Decode 6 for more free, bite-sized, unbiased education.

March 14 • 10m 7s
What Is Agriculture’s Role in Decarbonization & Carbon Markets? cover art

What Is Agriculture’s Role in Decarbonization & Carbon Markets?

Decarbonization is the push to hit "net zero" or "carbon neutral." It's all about reducing or eliminating carbon emissions from manufacturing and energy production. But what does it have to do with agriculture? Join us as Jim Jordahl, a project analyst at Iowa State University's Bioeconomy Institute, walks us through the demand for decarbonization and agriculture's prime position as one part of the solution. Curious about carbon and ecosystem service markets and want to learn more?  Check out Decode 6. We're your source of unbiased, scientific, accessible information about carbon and ecosystem services.

February 27 • 12m 26s
4 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Carbon Contract cover art

4 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Carbon Contract

Say you're ready to commit to a carbon program. But before you declare "love at first sight" and sign on the dotted line, there are a few questions you should ask. Join us as Chad Hart, a professor of economics at Iowa State University, walks us through the four questions you need to ask before signing a carbon contract.  Curious about carbon and ecosystem service markets and want to learn more?  Check out Decode 6. We're you're source of unbiased, scientific, accessible information about carbon and ecosystem services.

February 14 • 13m 2s
3 Questions to Ask Before Looking at a Carbon Program cover art

3 Questions to Ask Before Looking at a Carbon Program

Voluntary carbon programs are cropping up around the U.S. But before you join a program, there are a few things to consider. Chad Hart, a professor of economics at Iowa State University, talks us through the three questions you should ask yourself before you join--or even look into--a carbon program. Curious about carbon and ecosystem service markets and want to learn more? Check out Decode 6.

January 23 • 11m 17s
Which New Technologies Could Impact Carbon & Ecosystem Markets? cover art

Which New Technologies Could Impact Carbon & Ecosystem Markets?

New technologies could be the next big step in helping agricultural and environmental service markets gain ground. But how? And which technologies will be most helpful? Listen as our guest, Nate Salpeter, talks us through the emerging technologies that might play a role in carbon markets.  Curious about the companies Nate mentioned? Check them out:  InnerPlant BioForceTech Skira If you want to learn more about carbon and ecosystem services, visit Decode 6.

January 9 • 31m 54s
How Do You Measure Soil Health at Scale? cover art

How Do You Measure Soil Health at Scale?

If you care about something, you measure it. Just as doctors recommend annual checkups, soil scientists recommend measuring soil health. But it's one thing to take samples in a single field--how do you measure soil health at scale? Dr. Cristine Morgan, Chief Scientific Officer at the Soil Health Institute, is here with the answers. Cristine talks through the soil health indicators you should measure, how you can do that over large areas, and how often you should measure to get accurate, helpful results. Want to learn more? Check out our website, decode6.org.  If you have a question about carbon and ecosystem services, ask us! Drop us a line at info@decode6.org or submit a question here.

October 26 • 15m 9s
What Are the Challenges for Measuring, Reporting, & Verifying Soil Carbon? cover art

What Are the Challenges for Measuring, Reporting, & Verifying Soil Carbon?

Carbon markets rely on accurate measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) of soil carbon to issue carbon credits. But tallying soil carbon can be tricky. This week, Dr. Jerry Hatfield is here to talk through the challenges facing MRV, and what those challenges mean for carbon markets.  Want to learn more? Check out our website, decode6.org.  If you have a question about carbon and ecosystem services, ask us! Drop us a line at info@decode6.org or submit a question here.

October 25 • 12m 3s
How Do You Measure Soil Carbon? cover art

How Do You Measure Soil Carbon?

Agricultural soils hold great potential for sequestering carbon and improving soil health in the process. But how do you measure soil carbon?  Dr. Jason Ackerson, a Research Soil Scientist at the Soil Health Institute, is here with the answers. In this episode, Jason talks us through sampling soil to get a baseline measurement of soil carbon stocks. He talks through the measurements you should take, planning your sampling setup, and keeping track of your data.  Want to learn more? Check out our website, decode6.org. If you have a question about carbon or ecosystem services, ask us! Drop us a line at info@decode6.org or submit a question here.

October 25 • 13m 26s
How Does Carbon Get Into the Soil? cover art

How Does Carbon Get Into the Soil?

Sinking carbon in agricultural soil could be a powerful tool in our toolbox to decrease carbon in the atmosphere. But how do you get carbon from the atmosphere into the soil? And once it’s there, how do you keep it there? Dr. Jerry Hatfield, retired Laboratory Director and Plant physiologist for the USDA Agricultural Research Service, is here with the answers. Jerry talks us through the agricultural practices that bulk up soil carbon stocks, how you keep it there, and the impacts we can have. Want to learn more? Check out our website, decode6.org. If you have a question about carbon or ecosystem services, ask us! Drop us a line at info@decode6.org or submit a question here.

October 24 • 9m 17s
What Is Decode 6? cover art

What Is Decode 6?

This week Chris Boomsma, the Director of Science & Strategy for Decode 6, sat down to tell us: What is Decode 6? You’ll hear about the journey that inspired our mission to provide unbiased, science-based, and bite-sized content about carbon and ecosystem services. You’ll find out why we chose the name “Decode 6” and what you can expect to see from the Decode 6 platform on our podcast, website, and social media. The Decode 6 website officially launches on Monday, November 7th. If you’re in Baltimore, come see us! We’ll be at the ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meeting, with a Crossdiv Symposium on Monday, Nov 7th. The session is called “The Future of Carbon and Ecosystem Services Markets”, with featured speakers from the United States Department of Agriculture, the Soil Health Institute, Truterra, and the Certified Crop Adviser program. Join us at 1:30 pm Eastern in room 322, with a reception to follow from 3:30-4:30 pm. Subscribe to this podcast and get notifications—we’ll have new episodes on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month. And follow us on socials! If you have a question about carbon or ecosystem services, ask us! Drop us a line at info@decode6.org or submit a question here.

October 12 • 7m 13s
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