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Ranch awarded grant for carbon sequestration and soil health planning

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

A Wyoming nonprofit, Synergy for Ecological Solutions, made their first grant to Carbon Asset Network’s landowner member, Hellyer Ranch in Lander on June 16.  

This grant will enable the ranch to execute a customized plan for greater soil health developed by both Jim Hellyer and Carbon Asset Network’s Certified Professional Agronomist Neal Fehringer. 

The increase in soil health is a result in improving plant production, which causes an increase in photosynthesis. More photosynthesis removes additional carbon dioxide from the air and, in turn, releases more oxygen into the air and secures more carbon into the soil by increased root growth from more vegetative growth. This is the basis for carbon sinks and carbon sequestration, which is nature’s method of cleaning air. 

“Sometimes it’s not understood there’s a natural connection between improving our soil and reducing carbon in our air,” says Director of Carbon Asset Network (CAN) John Robitaille. “CAN works with the manager of the land to develop a customized, science-based solution to increase soil health and meet land goals. This is the new way forward.” 

The manager of the land, called land stewards, enlists in the You360 Program, which provides funding to develop the soil for one year. Land stewards can be ranchers, farmers or managers of any open land, such as parks or golf courses. This is not connected to any government program and the funding comes from donations to the nonprofit, Synergy for Ecological Solutions.  

“At Hellyer Ranch, we have taken some steps towards soil health, but with this grant, we can accomplish major goals,” says Hellyer. 

The nonprofit has developed a unique way to fundraise for climate wellness, using donated funds to clean the air, which empowers individuals and businesses to be advocates for the environment. 

“There are many people who wake up each day, concerned about our climate, and businesses are looking for ways to meet environmental, social and governance goals. Yet, until now, the only solutions offered were to eat vegan, recycle and perhaps protest fossil fuels,” says Robitaille. 

Synergy gives the opportunity to donate in order to improve soil health,” says Director of Synergy for Ecological Solutions Jeff Holder. “We encourage a change of mindset. Rather than wishing for a carbon-neutral future in the next few years or decades, let’s make a change right now – today. Finally, everyone can do something to have a direct impact on our climate.” 

In the You360 Program, donors can donate towards one acre of land for $30 per month or $360 per year. The one-year commitment funds pay for agronomic and soil testing and development, with the lion’s share going directly to the land steward.  

The funds are often used for additional equipment, such as a no-till drill, or for fencing and labor to help with mob grazing – a proven carbon sequestration practice.  

“We celebrate this new way to help ranchers improve their soil,” says Wyoming Stock Growers Association Executive Vice President Jim Magagna. “With funds from CAN, the rancher is able to adjust their operation with the result of healthier soil and healthier land.”  

This article is courtesy of Jeff Holder and John Robitaille of Encore Green Environmental. For more information visit, or 

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