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2012/2013 Project Descriptions

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EPA Grant Number: SU835319
Title: Producing Biochar on Small Farms to Enhance Soil Fertility and Provide Heat

The Chesapeake Bay watershed, which stretches from New York to southern Virginia, is threatened by nutrients running off farms into tributaries. Students from James Madison University are working with four local farmers in the Shenandoah Valley, part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, to design and build custom systems that will use their wood and agricultural wastes to make biochar and compost this with farm manure to make an agricultural amendment. A charcoal like substance, biochar can be added to the soil to capture and hold nutrients for crops while limiting their runoff. The systems will have the added benefit of producing heat for the farm.

Challenge Area(s): Agriculture, Energy

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