Wednesday, November 30, 2016

NRCS CSP Program Biochar Enhancement

See the list of conservation enhancements supported by the NRCS CSP Program, here:

Scroll down and look for:
CONSERVATION ENHANCEMENT ACTIVITY E384135Z Biochar production from woody residue

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Report from the Field

Don Morrison reports: "The 55 gal reservoir is just the right volume for quenching the coals from the 5' kiln by raking and spraying. I also liked the ease of tipping the kiln and dumping by one person with cable attached to handle and 4-wheeler. Next I tried the dry snuff method using the lid sealed with dirt. I use a little bit of water to knock the flames down and then put the lid on. Came back the next day and there were still a few hot spots that need some water to put out. But the char was basically pretty dry. Dry char is lighter and easier to unload than wet, sticky char."

This is how we burn slash in the Oregon Kiln
55 gallon water tank was enough to fully quench this 200 gallon kiln if you dump, rake and spray
An alternative to water quench is the dry snuff. Add a little water to cool initally and then place the lid. Seal the lid with dirt and wait overnight. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

New Biochar Kiln with Turbulator is a Thing of Beauty

A new device from ace inventor Scott McKain:

I have added a turbulator to the exhaust to produce a cleaner burn. It is cut from a piece of stainless and mounted to the wok cowling. Visually it works well. Notice the feedstock is almost cordwood size. I plan to build a similar unit for radiant heat and hot water.

Here are the pics:

NRCS New CSP Program Includes Biochar

While it is not mentioned in this press release, the new CSP program includes payments for making biochar from woody waste. If you are interested in enrolling in the CSP program, contact your local NRCS office.

Release No. 2016.11.005
Todd Peplin, Farm Bill Specialist
Tracy Robillard, Public Affairs Officer

NRCS launches new and improved Conservation Stewardship Program

Apply by Feb. 3 with the Natural Resources Conservation Service

Portland, Ore., Nov. 15, 2016— The nation’s largest voluntary conservation program is getting even better this year with the launch of the new and improved Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
CSP helps farmers, ranchers and family forest owners maintain their existing conservation efforts and adopt additional activities to address natural resource concerns.
“CSP provides incentives for farmers who are already being good stewards of the land and helps them take their conservation efforts to the next level,” said State Conservationist Ron Alvarado. “The changes to the program will give participants more flexibility and choices to adopt conservation enhancements that fit their operation, plus the program will be more transparent and understandable for producers.”
NRCS is now taking applications for the 2017 CSP sign-up. The sign-up deadline for 2017 funding is Feb. 3.  Applications can be submitted at a local USDA Service Center.
In Oregon, CSP applications will be ranked and prioritized for funding within five geographic zones. Eligible applications within each zone will be evaluated based on national, state, and local ranking questions. Read more on the Oregon CSP webpage.
NRCS Oregon enrolls an average of 300,000 acres of working agricultural lands into CSP every year and pays an annual average of $6 million to program participants statewide.
Nationally, NRCS has enrolled 70 million acres of working agricultural lands into CSP. This translates into thousands of farmers and ranchers who have made the choice to voluntarily enroll in the program because it helps them enhance natural resources and improve their business operation.
NRCS has made several changes to CSP this year, which include:
•       Focus on Conservation Planning: CSP now integrates conservation planning logic from start to finish. CSP helps producers better understand what resource concerns are being addressed on their agricultural operation and identify opportunities to address additional resource concerns. 
•       New Screening and Ranking Tools: NRCS developed new tools to determine stewardship eligibility and rank applications. These tools make the application process more transparent, logical and easy to understand. 
•       Additional Enhancements: NRCS has nearly doubled the amount of enhancements (more than 200) available for producers to choose from, which gives participants more flexibility to choose conservation activities that best suit their operation.
•       Consistency in Payments: CSP payments have been re-structured using consistent, straightforward calculations. Payments to implement additional conservation activities will follow set payment schedules similar to other NRCS financial programs.
For more information and to apply, contact a local USDA Service Center or visit the NRCS Oregon website at  
For the latest CSP information and updates, visit the national CSP website.

Friday, November 4, 2016

UBET Biochar Kilns - Data Collection

A number of UBET members now have the new biochar kilns made by UCC. These kilns were made for the NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant. As part of the work we are doing for this grant, we are investigating the economic costs of making biochar using these kilns. This includes recording the labor we put into the process and the biochar yield. At the end of the day, the returns from using biochar must justify the cost of producing it.

If you have a UBET kiln, or a kiln you have made yourself, please download and print out this Biochar Burn Data Sheet:

Please use one sheet for each session. Completed sheets can be mailed to:
Kelpie Wilson
PO Box 1444
Cave Junction, OR 97523

Or you can scan it and email it to me: