ASGA Call #52 Replay: April 6th, MNL on the Benefits of Solar Grazing for Soil Health and Carbon Sequestration

Audrey Lomax and Tom Karas of Minnesota Native Landscapes (MNL) lead a panel discussion on the results of their exciting new soil carbon research on solar grazing and ecosystem improvement showing how solar grazing improves soil quality and carbon sequestration as well as positively impacting plant biodiversity and pollinators.

Audrey discussed MNL’s current work with solar grazing, while Tom and Sujith Ravi from Temple University broke down the results of the soil carbon study and how they conducted it. They were joined by Jeremy Gilbertson and Jake Janski, also from MNL, who discussed their study on managed grazing’s impact on pollinator plant health. Finally, James McCall from NREL reported on their ongoing research with MNL on vegetation at three solar sites in Minnesota.

The solar carbon study was conducted jointly by MNL, Temple University, Enel, and NREL.

→ Read the full report here

Hosts: Hosting this month’s webinar were Kevin Richardson (ASGA), ASGA’s Outreach Coordinator, and Michael MacDonald, the farm manager of Churchtown Dairy and an ASGA Advisory Board Member.

About the Speakers

Audrey Lomax, MNL is the Grazing Manager at MNL. She is a food systems professional who focuses on ecological livestock grazing and has a passion for education. Contact Audrey at

Dr. Sujith Ravi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth & Environmental Science at Temple University. He is a broadly trained environmental scientist interested in understanding the impacts of land use change and disturbances (natural and anthropogenic) on ecohydrological processes in terrestrial ecosystems, in the context of land degradation. Dr. Ravi is currently investigating the environmental impacts (on land and water resources) of large-scale solar infrastructures and exploring opportunities for integrating solar projects with agriculture/range/biofuels. The goal is to facilitate low-impact renewable energy designs by exploring the feasibility of agricultural/range co-location  or “Agrivoltaics” opportunities at multiple test sites. Contact Sujith at

Tom Karas is the Business Development Specialist at MNL. After ten years dedicated to constructing solar projects of all kinds in the Midwest, Tom came to MNL to help expand the footprint of the premier solar vegetation company in the Midwest. Originally from Michigan and Central Michigan University, Tom came to the bright solar landscape in MN in 2010 to continue a career in clean energy. Working out of an old farmhouse on the edge of the prairie with a spunky Golden Retriever, Mack, and wife Katy; Tom enjoys anything outside including gardening, hunting, fishing, and riding his fat tire bike through the soybean fields and trails. Contact Tom at

Jeremy Gilbertson is a Development Specialist with MNL working in the next generation of MNL to seek new opportunities to heal the earth. Contact Jeremy at

Jake Janski As MNL’s longest tenured employee, Jake is invaluable resource and highly regarded throughout the restoration industry. Jake has written and implemented hundreds of studies, restoration strategies, and vegetation management plans throughout his career. He regularly shares his knowledge of over 20 years in the ecological restoration industry through guest lectures, seminars, and speaking engagements. In managing MNL’s field service divisions (Construction, Vegetation Management, Conservation Grazing, and Red Rock Fire), Jake applies his broad spectrum of experiences to successful restoration and management of our region’s plant communities and natural resources. Contact Jake at

James McCall is member of the Resources and Sustainability Group in the Strategic Energy Analysis Center at NREL. His interests include techno-economic analyses for various renewable technologies, economic and employment impacts, and systems analysis associated with the energy-water-food-nexus. Prior work experience was as a researcher at a utility law think tank at ASU and a project manager/facilities engineer for an upstream oil and gas producer. Contact James at

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