World Outreach

Soil Works LLC of Yankton has been named a global semifinalist Indigo Ag’s Terraton Challenge, a global effort to remove 1 trillion tons — a terraton — of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and use it to enrich agricultural soils.

A local business sees a global campaign as a way to further promote its work.

And so far, it’s paying off, according to an official.

Soil Works LLC, a Yankton-based agricultural company that does business across the world, was recently selected as one of 36 semifinalists in Indigo Ag’s Terraton Challenge. The Challenge is a global effort to remove 1 trillion tons — a terraton — of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and use it to enrich agricultural soils.

“We saw this as a really good marketing opportunity for us to gain more exposure for our products and services,” said Chris Kniffen, a Research & Development specialist with Soil Works.

Chosen from a pool of more than 260 applicants representing 44 countries, Soil Works submitted its report, Genesis Soil Rite (GSR) Calcium, as one solution to help remove one trillion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and use it to enrich soil globally.

In its submission for the Challenge, Soil Works was very specific about its work and how it relates to atmospheric carbon and the storage of carbon, according to Kniffen.

“With soil compaction and the wet year that we’re going to have in 2020, we thought this is a really good opportunity for a lot of farmers and big agribusinesses to offset some of their emissions,” he said.

Ultimately, there are possible financial incentives for farmers to use more regenerative techniques, Kniffen said.

GSR Calcium — the company’s flagship product — is an electrically available calcium which “has the potential to restore physical structure of the soil,” according to the Soil Works website.

The proper use of GSR Dormant Calcium, the site adds, can remedy compaction, high salts or alkali and low electrical conductivity.

The 36 semifinalists will move forward to the Incubation phase and will be eligible for up to $60,000 in grants and $3 million in contracts. Soil Works will join a virtual incubation cohort with access to mentors, review panels, expert speakers and real-world experimentation.

All semifinals will demonstrate their proposals at the Beneficial Ag 2020 in Memphis on June 17-18, 2020. One winner from each of the three tracks will be announced next October and will receive a $20,000 grant to accelerate their work.

The Terraton Challenge focuses on three critical tracks:

• Technologies that accelerate soil carbon sequestration,

• methods to quantify soil carbon,

• and innovative financial offerings that reward growers for capturing and maintaining soil carbon.

Soil Works hopes its continued work and inclusion in the Terraton Challenge will help local and area farmers see the benefits, Kniffen said.

“We service a lot of organic customers, and that’s definitely growing,” he said. “That can only increase our exposure.”

A wet 2020 could also open some eyes, Kniffen added.

“Our local farmers are going to have some pretty wet field conditions, and when you can reduce that compaction, it can have long-term benefits,” he said.

Ever since the announcement has come out, Soil Works has seen positive feedback, according to Kniffen. It’s made new contacts in places like Ireland.

“It’s really helped our international exposure,” Kniffen said.

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