Re: Natural Resources Conservation Service -- CONSERVATION PRACTICE STANDARD SOIL CARBON AMENDMENT #nrcs #carbon #amendment

Tom Miles

NRCS needed a standard to guide the use of biochar so we used the definition of biochar adopted by the Association of American Plant Food Controls Officials (AAPFCO). AAPFCO is an organization of officials in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico intended to harmonize standards for soil amendments and fertilizers. 38 individual states develop standards based on AAPFCO standards and definitions. In 2012 we requested that AAPFCO adopt the simple IBI definition of biochar. In 2016, after more than three years and active participation in a working group (3 meetings each year at different locations around the country) a definition was put to the general membership and adopted. California and some other states have used the AAPFCO definition in their labelling requirements for biochar. (There is a similar organization for feed, Association of American Feed Control Officials, AAFCO)


Ron Alexander, Alexander and Associates, NC, informally represents biochar at the AAPFCO meetings. He has given us a roadmap for modifying the AAPFCO definition if necessary. He has also written an excellent guide to labelling requirements for biochar in the US.


Developing the AAPFCO definition was the result of many volunteer hours and donated expenses by USBI volunteers and funding and staff contributions from IBI. It is a political process where representatives of competing products, who are often very informed scientists, lobby government officals for terms that favor their products. Voting is restricted to the officials. We learned that the process requires attendance at all meetings. Future work on standards and definitions at AAPFCO and other organizations will require substantial budgets for staff or consultants fees and expenses.     




Tom Miles

Executive Director

U.S. Biochar Initiative

"Promoting the Sustainable Production and Use of Biochar"


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From: <> On Behalf Of ROBERT W GILLETT
Sent: Monday, January 20, 2020 5:48 AM
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Natural Resources Conservation Service -- CONSERVATION PRACTICE STANDARD SOIL CARBON AMENDMENT #amendment #carbon #nrcs


When you compare this to the latest EU fertilizer regulation, it looks like the U.S. is surging ahead in allowing the use of biochar from a variety of feedstocks, though it advises biochar of >60% carbon to preserve extant P. It also requires bio-solids to be mixed with biochar or compost. The respective quantities required to meet the bio-solids standard will be a determinant as to how much this increases the demand for biochar.

Robert Gillett

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