Sorghum and Soil Health

The Carbon Sponge Hub at White Feather Farm has been awarded a 2024 Northeast SARE Farmer Grant to lead a network of five small farms in New York’s Hudson Valley region to continue to trial and evaluate white-grain, annual sorghum for yield and changes in soil health while also evaluating a suite of off- the-shelf field monitoring tools, including the microBIOMETER®.

The five farms are: Coming Home Farm, Foxtrot Farm & Flowers, Nimble Roots Farm, Sweet Freedom Farm and White Feather Farm. Sorghum, originally from East Africa, has great potential as both a human food and climate-smart crop capable of helping sequester carbon in soil. Farmers in regions where sorghum has not been widely grown, like the Hudson Valley, can take advantage of the plant’s ability to adapt to a wide range of conditions and provide ecosystem services on farms — especially increasing soil organic carbon — while also generating revenue.

Alongside field testing, Carbon Sponge will send samples to two professional labs and work with soil scientists to analyze results. The goal is to endorse specific tests and carbon targets for farmers. Carbon Sponge is interested in changing the profile of sorghum in the U.S., including where it is grown, how it is grown and what it is used for. A final report featuring the five farm case studies and recommendations for how to incorporate annual sorghum as a cash crop on a small farm and priorities for future research and investments will be published in 2025.

During the 2024 season, Carbon Sponge will host public workshops and community volunteer days to share research, like during Soil Fest at White Feather Farm on July 27.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *