Friday, October 19, 2018

We're not just in Oregon anymore. Oregon Kiln Spreads to Kansas!

Biochar workshop coming to Norton
Written By: Lisa Herman
Photo By: Lisa Herman
Published: Friday, October 19th, 2018
Next Wednesday, October 24, the Norton Community Garden Coalition, along with the local Twin Creeks Extension, will be hosting a biochar workshop for individuals interested in using biochar as a value-added component in composting, gardening, farming, windbreak management, or improving their soils and rangelands. The workshop, “Biochar: Know It, Use It, Make It”, will be held at the Bullseye Event Center, 118 South Kansas Avenue, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
*** To read this article in its entirety, please pick up your copy of Friday's edition.
Students from Mr. Garrett Beydler’s high school vocational agriculture class recently made, using specifications provided by Wilson Biochar Associates, the Oregon kiln which will be used next Wednesday in a demonstration on how to make biochar. Pictured here is William Gassmann in the front, and in the back, from left to right, are Mason Schulze, Dylan Goss, Bryndon Wentz, and Nathan Nelson.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Upcoming Biochar Workshops in Nebraska, Kansas and Eugene, Oregon

Kelpie Wilson's Fall 2018 Workshop Schedule:
I will be giving multiple-day workshops this fall in Nebraska, Kansas and Oregon. Here are the basic schedules and registration info. All events are free. Event posters can be downloaded from my website at
Great Plains Biochar Initiative Workshop Series
Tuesday, Oct. 23 Chadron, NE 8am – 3pm
Chadron State College, Sandoz Center Atrium
1101 Main Street | Chadron, NE 69337
Wednesday, Oct. 24 Norton, KS 9am – 1:30pm
Bullseye Event Center
118 S Kansas Ave | Norton, KS 67654
Thursday, Oct. 25 Pratt, KS 8am – 3pm
Pratt Community College
348 NE SR 61 | Pratt, KS 67124
Heather Nobert
T: 402-472-2941
Long Tom Restoration Council Workshops
Biochar: Know it, Make it, Use it
November 6, 2018 | 9:30 a.m—2 p.m.
Indoor Workshop | FREE
1820 Roosevelt Blvd. Eugene, OR (City of Eugene Parks and Open Space offices)
Come learn from biochar consultant Kelpie Wilson about how biochar works in soils; how to make biochar and use it in agriculture, forestry, restoration and remediation applications; and biochar kiln design and combustion principles. Learn from USDA-Agricultural Research Service staff about the results of agriculture and soil remediation trials using biochar. And, contribute ideas and questions to ongoing dialog about incorporating biochar creation into local habitat restoration projects.
November 7-8, 2018 | Outdoor Demonstrations Oak Habitat Restoration Project Locations in the Long Tom Watershed
Join Long Tom Watershed Council staff and local partners to help with or just watch the work to create biochar from slash cut during thinning to restore oak habitat this summer and last. Come for one or both days.
Questions? Interested in helping? RSVP: Katie MacKendrick - 541.214.0389 /

Monday, April 2, 2018

Final Deliverables for On-Farm Biochar for Composting with Manure

During the course of this three year project, we manufactured more than 30 kilns and made about 75 cubic yards of biochar that got used in cattle barns, goat barns, rabbit hutches, chicken coops, horse stables, alpaca barns, worm bins and outhouses. We did many pot trials and several field trials with the resulting biochar composts. Read all about it in the final technical report and the practice guidelines we wrote with You in mind!

Deliverables from the NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant: On-Farm Production and Use of Biochar for Composting with Manure:

Final Technical Report

Appendix: Field and Farm Reports
Appendix: Practice Guidelines (all guidelines in one document)
Practice Guideline: Using a Flame Cap Kiln
Practice Guideline: Kiln Construction Drawings (Oregon Kiln and Ring of Fire Kiln)
Practice Guideline: How to Use Biochar in Barns
Practice Guideline: How to Use Biochar in Compost
Practice Guideline: Plant Bioassays to Evaluate Biochar Compost
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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Successful Biochar Demo in Eugene

O.J. Romo and Scott McKain demonstrated a double wall Ring of Fire and a Weber barbeque for the Lane County Master Gardeners March 3. It was a bright group with lots of probing questions. Included was a retired biochemist and Forest Service people. A terrific potluck meal followed. Thanks for the opportunity!

Monday, February 26, 2018

UCC Welding Students Complete Kiln Drawings

A big shout-out of thanks to Ian Fisher's students at the Umpqua Community College Welding Department! They have completed a set of drawings for the Oregon Kiln and for the Ring of Fire Kiln. Please share these far and wide. These are open source designs created by the Umpqua Biochar Education Team.

UBET Kiln Drawings are:
Open Source Design: Attribution-Share Alike CC BY-SA

Download the drawings here:

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

New NRCS CSP Enhancement Supports Biochar Production

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has a program to support conservation practices, called the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). From the NRCS website:

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) presents a significant shift in how the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides conservation program payments. CSP participants will receive an annual land use payment for operation-level environmental benefits they produce. Under CSP, participants are paid for conservation performance: the higher the operational performance, the higher their payment.

The CSP has been re-designed in recent years and is now more friendly to smaller landowners. However, there is still a high bar to enter the program, and it requires landowners to work closely with NRCS staff to design conservation programs for the land.

The essence of the program is an annual payment to reward conservation efforts and encourage additional conservation activities. These activities are also called "enhancements" because they enhance the ongoing conservation practices of the landowner.

From the NRCS website:
Enhancements are management activities that go above and beyond the minimum conservation practice standard requirements helping the producer achieve a higher level of conservation.

A new NRCS CSP Enhancement now supports biochar production as part of larger activities around vegetation management. Here is a summary of the new biochar enhancement:

Enhancement Code: E384135Z
  • Cause of Resource Concern: Wildfire Hazard, Excessive Biomass Accumulation
  • Title of Enhancement: Biochar production from woody residue
  • Enhancement Description: Utilizes woody debris remaining after fuel reduction harvests or wildfires to create biochar. Biochar stores carbon and is a useful soil amendment that improves SOM and water-holding capacity.
Here is the list of Enhancements:  Download Activity_Lists

And a detailed description of the E384135Z Biochar Enhancement:  Download E384135Z update

The payment for this enhancement is on a per acre basis. Payment is listed on line 335 of this NRCS payment schedule:   Download FY18_CStwP_01192018

In order to take advantage of this opportunity, landowners will have to have a good idea of how to implement the biochar activities supported. This will require knowledge of how to use biochar kilns, how to prepare and stage feedstocks, and how to integrate biochar logistics into a logging or vegetation management plan.

Wilson Biochar Associates produced a recent report for the North Dakota Forest Service as an example of how to estimate resource needs and costs for this kind of biochar activity. This report was based on experiences working with UBET members on various projects, including our Drew Veg Project:
WBA Converting Shelterbelt to Biochar-1 Download WBA Converting Shelterbelt to BiocharLoRes