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Episode 15: How Land Use Impacts Hydrology in Texas Shrink-Swell Clays

METER research scientist, Leo Rivera, discusses the ups and downs of his hydrology research in the shrink-swell clays of Texas, why the collapse of a video store got him interested in hydrology, how he got caught on camera by Google Maps, the interesting development story behind the SATURO infiltrometer, and much more.

Notes

Leo Rivera operates as a research scientist and Director of Client Success at METER Group, the world leader in soil moisture measurement. He earned his undergraduate degree in Agriculture Systems Management at Texas A&M University, where he also got his Master’s degree in Soil Science. There he helped develop an infiltration system for measuring hydraulic conductivity used by the NRCS in Texas. Currently, Leo is the force behind application development in METER’s hydrology instrumentation including the SATUROHYPROP and WP4C. He also works in R&D to explore new instrumentation for water and nutrient movement in soil.

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The views and opinions expressed in the podcast and on this posting are those of the individual speakers or authors and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions held by METER.

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Transcript

BRAD NEWBOLD  0:00  
Hello everybody, and welcome to We Measure the World, a podcast produced by scientists, for scientists.

LEO RIVERA  0:08  
You know, when you think about measuring soil hydraulic properties, people don't always think about soil chemistry, the chemistry of the water that they use. And so we had to get our water source from the site that's local, that best representative of the water that's going into the field. And we also went through a lot of water sometimes like we went through. At one point in time, we went through 1000 gallons in one day doing measurements, which is a lot of water.

BRAD NEWBOLD  0:34  
That's a small taste of what we have in store for you today. We Measure the world explores interesting environmental research trends, how scientists are solving research issues, and what tools are helping them better understand measurements across the entire soil plant atmosphere continuum. Today's guests Leo Rivera operates as a research scientist and director of client success at Meter Group. He earned his undergraduate degree in agriculture systems management at Texas a&m University, where he also got his master's degree in soil science. There, he helped develop an infiltration system for measuring hydraulic conductivity used by the NRCS in Texas. Currently, Leo is the force behind application development in meters hydrology instrumentation, including the HYPROP and WP4C. He also works in r&d to explore new instrumentation for water and nutrient movement and soil. And today, he's here to talk to us about his soil infiltration research at Texas a&m University. So, Leo, thanks so much for being here. 

LEO RIVERA  1:31  
Thanks, Brad! 

BRAD NEWBOLD  1:31  
You've traveled a long way.

LEO RIVERA  1:33  
I'm excited to be here and talk about some of the stuff that I'm really passionate about.

BRAD NEWBOLD  1:37  
Great. Yeah. So we wanted to start off just by giving us a background or a little, little kind of taste of of your background, what got you interested in science in general? And what led you into soil infiltration research?

LEO RIVERA  1:50  
Yeah, that's a great question. You know, it's funny, I was thinking about this, what really got me interested in science was, I actually was taking my intro to soil science at Texas a&m, taught by Dr. Tom Hallmark at the time. And at that time, I was still in Ag Engineering and ag systems and kind of focused on that. And that class really helped me find something that I actually had a passion for, and a love. And it just introduced me to a world that didn't know and I think most people don't really know, soil sciences, is a field you can go into. But that class showed me that after I got done, I decided I was like, Well, you know, let's dig into this a little bit more. And I decided to take a job as a undergraduate student worker, with Christine Morgan. From there, I just really started finding like, why love soil science. And it just took me back to a lot of the things that I remembered as a kid, you know, especially growing up in the desert, playing out in the desert, spent a lot of time out on bikes, dirt bikes, just messing around and learning about the soils out there. And really just how unique they were in the desert ecosystem itself is just really cool. You dig down and you see these argillice layers, and you're like, oh, wow, what's going on here? What happened? Why is it? Why is all this clay down here, and as a kid, I didn't really know. But now I've learned so much more about how soils form and all those processes. And then really what got me interested in hydrology and soil physics was actually during this time, when I was taking this class, there's a big storm that came through El Paso, a big rain rain event, the runoff and all the erosion that occurred from that actually went up eroding the foundation away from a blockbuster at the time, we're gonna go way back blockbusters doesn't exist anymore. But it eroded the foundation away from underneath that Blockbuster and and actually collapsed inside and in the middle. I was sitting there looking thinking about that. I was like, that's so cool. Like, exactly. Exactly. But the process that happens there was just really neat to me. And that's really what got me interested in soul physics. I think just being an inquisitive person. I think science draws a lot of people in because we want to learn more about what happened. Right? So right, yeah.

BRAD NEWBOLD  3:57  
So yeah, so you get into Texas a&m University, and you've moved towards soil science? What were some of the specific research topics that you were working on? What were some of the problems you were interested in solving? And how do you go about doing that?

LEO RIVERA  4:12  
Well, you know, fortunately, I got to start out as an undergraduate student worker doing research, which I'm really glad I got to do, because it taught me a lot and really helped make me a better researcher anyways, because I got to start early. But we were the work that we were doing was always focused on soil physics and soil formation and how the two play together. So I spent a lot of time as an undergraduate student worker, actually working in the vertisols of Texas and exploring those shrinks whole soils and trying to learn more about how we can characterize them. And then how we can characterize. You know, like, for example, we were measuring crack formation in new shrinks will soils which is really interesting because it completely changes like the hydrology of the area when these large cracks open up. So we spend a lot of time trying to measure how can we quantify the amount of cracks that are opening, and model that to improve our hydrology models to better account for those cracks that are opening up, I also spend a lot of time helping other grad students at the time do their research. So we're just all over the place doing really fun things. And it was just great to get out in the field so I started with that. And then that kind of evolved into my master's work, which again, was focused on those same processes, Soil physics, and hydrology, and how that all plays together, it's, there's a lot of terms that are thrown around Hydropedology, or whatever you whatever you want to call it, but it's really just taking those two fields, the Pedology and soil physics and trying to bring those two worlds together and understand things at a bigger scale. 

BRAD NEWBOLD  5:40  
Right, so as you're going about this, looking at the shrinks well soils, you know, cracks, infiltration, all that kind of stuff, what were some of the specific measurements that you're looking at to try to answer those questions?

LEO RIVERA  5:50  
Yeah, that's a great question. I mean, we've we made so many measurements. When we focused on the work that we did, as an undergrad, we were actually out there physically measuring cracks. And so we had sites that were fenced off, and we would go out weekly, take water content measurements, using a neutron probe at the time, which was tons of fun, and then going out and physically measuring how deep a crack was in the width of the crack. And then we were doing that throughout this, like one square meter area. And we did that weekly. And so we had to actually characterize all of the cracks that had formed and try and quantify that crack volume. And so we were comparing that with the water content measurements to build our model. And so that was one way of quantifying hydrology and trying to impact that those were really some challenging stuff, but it was actually learned a lot of really unique things. And then going into my graduate studies, you know, we really want to dig more into the impacts of land use in landscape landscape position. On soil hydraulic properties, we were measuring things like hydraulic conductivity, of course. So we were using double ring infiltrometers at the time, and we were measuring bulk density, because what we're trying to do is take these parameters, so taking hydraulic conductivity, and compare that against things like bulk density, we'd characterize all of the soils that our sites, we did organic carbon content, we looked at the moisture released curves, we actually ran a device over all the fields to characterize the variability of the fields called lynnium, 38 devices, we were just doing a big bulk ECU map and characterizing that across the field. And that was really useful, because that's actually helped us select where to make all of our measurements. We were comparing okay, like what is actually impacting these bulky measurements, there was a lot of things. And I think in any study, there's you know, you have to make a lot of measurements to really understand what's going on. 

BRAD NEWBOLD  7:37  
And so with making a lot of measurements, especially looking at a landscape, you're looking at land use and all these kinds of things, that breathes variability within your measurement. So how did you, I don't want to say overcome variability. But how do you deal with it? How do you mitigate variability within your samples? 

LEO RIVERA  7:50  
Spatial variability is probably one of the biggest challenges in in field research, especially because there's a lot that can happen, we focused on three different fields that we're in three unique land uses. First of all, we had this beautiful USDA station that's been in the same land uses for over 60 years, something like that. So we had native prairie, a conventional tillage field, and then an improved pasture field that was just being grazed on those fields that are technically the same soil type. These were all Houston, black soils, when you run the em 38 device over that and look at the variability was huge, even though it's the same soil type. And there's so many factors that impact that. So it's like, okay, well, we've got to characterize all of this variability. And that's really was the fun part is we were looking at all of these things, trying to figure out, you know, how do we characterize really what's happening across the field and do that with a reasonable error. And so the only way really, at the time, and still, this is probably the only way to deal with this is you need to make measurements, and you've got to make a lot of measurements. But you need to know, Okay, where is my variability going to come from, hence why we did the EM 38 maps, but you can also look at soil maps, and see what those look like, understand your landscape position. And there are natural factors across different landscapes and how the soils form that are going to impact and induce variability, you're gonna have wetter spots, you're gonna have soil getting complicated, like due to erosion, or just movement below ground have different soil particles. So you have to understand what's going to impact that and then just trying to character try and characterize it to the best of your ability.

Right, with all this going on, then what are some of the broader lessons that you learned or the results of those studies?

Yeah, there's a lot that we can go into there. But, you know, I think one of the most important lessons I learned, you really need to plan your research project out well, you didn't know what measurements you want to take and why. And you want to try and take as many measurements as possible because it's a lot easier to take the measurements at the time while you're out there than it is afterwards. And you go and make this measurement which happens a lot. And that can postpone you know graduation. Push back your, your your finished date for your masters or PhD or whatever it is you're working on. So you need to kind of just plan things out well, and coordinate, you know, talk with experts in the field. You know, I spent a lot of time talking with my major advisor, the my, the people that sit on my panel, spent a lot of time talking with them, and just trying to get their thoughts on the different things that we were trying to do. And then probably it's just understanding the instrumentation you're using, right and its limitations.

BRAD NEWBOLD  10:23  
And along with that, I mean, soil science is fun for the soil scientists. Yeah. But for the broader audience, what were some of the potential real world applications for some of the work that you were doing?

LEO RIVERA  10:35  
Yeah, yeah that's great. Well, you know, actually, I want to go back to that undergraduate project. First, some of the work that we've done with that has actually had a really big impact on our hydrology models. So a good example is actually at that same facility that I did my graduate research work, we did some work as an undergrad. And we have these watersheds where we actually were measuring all the runoff. And we had one big storm event that came through at one time. And I think it dumped like two inches of rain in like two hours. So a pretty heavy rainfall event. No runoff was measured, none whatsoever, even at the highest, and at that high of intensity. But if you looked at the water content, the the antecedent soil moisture before the event, you can tell that it was dry. So that meant there was a lot of cracks open. And essentially what happened is all that water that came in just random, just cracks. And so what that works has allowed us to do is actually then better improve the hydrology models that will help us better predict things like okay, this much this rainstorm event coming up coming through, what is our risk of flooding? What is our risk of erosion? Like? What are the things that we, that real world implications of this type of stuff are flooding, erosion, nutrient loss, all these things. And so it's it's helped us improve models. And that work is being used now in I believe the model is the swat analysis, it's helping researchers now better model hydrology. So that's really cool. And then in our graduate, the graduate research that I did, you know, this is before soil health was a big thing. And it was, you know, trying to quantify the impacts of land use on soil hydraulic properties, and just soil properties in general. You know, one of the things that we saw was the field that had the best ability to kind of take all that water and infiltrate it and had the best, like hydraulic properties, if we were to say, Alright, our goal is we want the, the soil, the one retain a lot of water, to be able to hold it and have it there to be plant available. But we also want it to be able to infiltrate that water during intense string storms, to reduce runoff, because runoff just leads to a lot of problems. And obviously, the thing you would think about it, but the field that had the best properties was the native prairie. And that's because there's grass, there's microbes, everything's happy. Yeah. And so a lot of that preliminary work is like, essentially, is what now is built into soil health in general. And that's just a component of soil health, is understanding these properties, and the impacts that our land use and the way we use the soil, the long term stability of that soil, its long term producibility. And now finally, people are starting to think about this in terms of, okay, how can we better manage our soils to improve these properties, but also improve the long term productivity of the soil that it's actually going to stay there for future generations, right. 

BRAD NEWBOLD  10:46  
So, when it comes to land use are you looking at like, land use when it comes to like farming, ranching, forage, you know, suburban, you know, development all all of the above? And then some.

LEO RIVERA  13:31  
yeah, so that's, you know, the main focus at that time was we're just looking at your basic typical land uses improved pasture, which is just your typical grazing, and then native prairie, which just means it's just, it's native grasses, there's really no grazing happening or anything like that. And then conventional tillage here, as we go further and dig deeper into it. We didn't do a lot of this work. But I did help the NRCS do some measurements at some different sites when they were doing soil surveys, and got the opportunity to measure in some fields that were actually in more improved management practices, but that were still being grown on. So strip tillage, or no tillage fields. And what was really interesting is the those two fields that that especially the strip tillage field, actually had really good really high hydraulic, hydraulic conductivity. So overall good hydraulic properties now, none that made it in my thesis, because that wasn't the focus of what we were doing. And that's more so what people are looking at now and in a lot of the soil health research projects, but yeah, what we saw was even even named in conventional agriculture, if you can improve the way you're doing things, whether it's no tillage or strip tillage, or cover cropping or whatever, you can improve those hydraulic properties. So that's more of an extension of what we were looking at.

BRAD NEWBOLD  14:58  
So you talked about issues with variability, he talked about being able to take a lot of measurements planning ahead. Were there any other I don't know, like issues or problems or challenges that popped up that maybe you hadn't foreseen in, in your research?

LEO RIVERA  15:13  
You know, the thing that really cropped up was just the amount of time it took to make the measurements, and just how much labor that actually took. Fortunately, I had some really great, that helped me a lot with my research. But I spent hours out in the field, I even had my wife out helping make measurements. So it was all hands on deck to get those measurements. And it just took a lot of time. I mean, we spent countless hours in the field. That was probably one of the biggest challenges, and then also just getting the equipment to work, right? I mean, we were working with, because we were trying to make so many measurements, we built a system to work semi automatically, to automate the measurements. So we could run three rings at the same time with two people, which, at that time, there wasn't a lot of people doing that. So we spend a lot of time in the field and in the Texas heat that can be rough. So yeah, and actually another interesting one was actually where you get your water source that, you know, when you think about measuring soil hydraulic properties, people don't always think about soil chemistry, the chemistry of the water that they use. And so we had to get our water source from the site that's local, that best representative of the water that's going into the field. And we also went through a lot of water sometimes, like we went through, at one point in time, we went through 1000 gallons in one day doing measurements, which is a lot of water. So yeah, just you know, those are the challenges that you don't maybe think of at the very beginning, but you definitely encounter as you're going through your project.

BRAD NEWBOLD  16:42  
So there's also a rumor floating around that you are out in the field so often that Google Maps has a picture of you doing during your research. Is that's true?

LEO RIVERA  16:50  
That is true. Yeah, actually, it's really funny, I was looking for an aerial image of our site to use for a presentation. And so start looking around, I start pulling up an image. And when I pull up an image of our field, and I see a speck in the field. Oh, that's interesting. I remember that being there. And so I zoom in closer on, and and I start looking at it like, oh, wait, that's me. That's our trailer, and there's our truck. There's the rings in the field, you can see all of that. And there's probably us sitting, just sweating. Some of those were good days. And some of those were hard days.

BRAD NEWBOLD  17:23  
From that all that time intensive work kind of developed the the beginnings of your thoughts and ideas towards what has become the SATURO here meter. So can you kind of shift gears and tell us a little bit about how that came to be, and how it moved from kind of idea to finish product?

LEO RIVERA  17:39  
Well, you know, fortunately, after I finished my graduate studies, I was able to get a job doing something that I really enjoyed, which was the product development side of it. I enjoyed as a grad student developing that system, and making it work. And when I came to Decagon, at the time, and now Meter, you know, I started talking with Gaylon, and, you know, when I first started working here, we start talking about, oh, what are some of the things that you worked on and, you know, talked about measuring soil hydraulic property, and we were like man we've got to be able to do that better, we've got to be able to come up with a better way to do that. And so Gaylon started thinking and doing a bunch of research and and, you know, my goal is was always like, how can we make this better? And that's the goal. And anything that we do here is how can we make the measurement better? How can we make it easier? How can we make it more accurate? What are the ways we can make it better? And so we started talking with Gaylon, and start brainstorming ideas and looking at we did a bunch of literature research and say, Okay, what's the stuff that's out there? What are the methods that people are using, and went through a couple of different options, but really settled in on what is known as the dual head approach. And that approach solves a lot of the pain points with let your typical deburring and photometer or your traditional single ring electrometer use, because it gets rid a lot of written, it simplifies a lot of things. One, we only have to use one ring, so that's less water that we have to use for the measurement and two it, because of that dual head approach. It it eliminates the guess factor. So typically, with most either the single ring a double ring method to correct for that three dimensional flow, we have to guess at our soil properties. And it's great if you guess it right, then you go on look at a table and like, Okay, this is my alpha value, this is what I'm gonna plug into the equation to correct to the soil activity and to correct for that three dimensional flow. But again, that's a guess. And the dual head method actually allows you to get at that parameter allows you to actually measure what that parameter should be. And so you're not guessing at things anymore. And so we actually talked with John Norman, one of Gaylons, old colleagues from the University of Wisconsin, he had done a bunch of work with this approach and showed us some of his measurements and what he did and talked through like, Okay, how are you doing this? How can you know, and at the time what they were doing And as they were adding water to get to that second height, and then they were letting it drain, and then they were running it at the at the, the lower pressure head, and then they would have to manually add water again, like, Okay, I like the approach the data is amazing. Well, this, how can we make this process better? And so a lot of that led into the, like, Okay, well, let's, let's get rid of the need to add water, let's just use air pressure and, and simulate the hydrostatic pressure head. And then we'll just maintain a constant level always. And that completely simplifies everything, you don't have to really monitor how much water is being added. As long as you make sure your water supply is there, then you're good. And it just simplified so many things about the measurement. And, you know, it probably would have reduced my water usage to I don't know, maybe 15% of what what we were originally using, just because it simply it was a smaller area. And it just, yeah, I mean, I I've never ran the numbers on how much water I actually used. But if I were to take a stab 300 measurements, you know, probably somewhere around 25 to 30,000 gallons of water. That's a lot of water. It's actually I don't know, it's the first time I've actually thought about that. So, yeah, I don't know. So that's a lot of that is what led into the thought process like, okay, let's just make this measurement better. And let's come up with an approach to do it.

BRAD NEWBOLD  21:33  
So yeah, a lot less water, lot less babysitting. Yes. As well, it was hard labor. So yeah, so how long? How long does that process take just from from first idea to the end? And and how many iterations? You know, did it go through?

LEO RIVERA  21:48  
Yeah. So it actually went through a few iterations, we've probably had to early prototypes, and have worked with several interns to actually run these measurements. Fortunately, we were able to convince some of those interns to go back to grad school, and then they came back and work for us now as engineers, which is great. But it probably from the time I started here, it took probably six months to kind of just think of the idea. And then we probably spent a good two years iterating on it, and went through, yes, pretty sure through different iterations. And, and then kind of came down to the final, the final design, which is now the SATURO after about that three year period, and then it probably took another year, or two or two years or six months. So then if I took another year to finish the development and actually get it released. And so I believe we released this a true and or the dual head at the time in 2015. If I'm remembering that correctly. So yeah, that fits right with that timeline. Yeah. But yeah, it took a while. Got to play with a lot of different things, and we broke a lot of things.

BRAD NEWBOLD  22:56  
Yeah, I was gonna say yeah. So I mean, during that, you know, those years long development process, what are some of the other, you know, challenges, speed bumps, roadblocks that you came up against? Yeah. And yeah, how do you deal with those? Actually,

LEO RIVERA  23:07  
the biggest roadblock was the math. Really? Yeah. You know, we really had to think through the theory of how we were going to put this together and make it work. And so Gaylon took, you know, this is the beauty of Gaylon Bremen. He just he can sit and look through different equations, looked at the old Reynolds and Elric dual head equation, and then looked at some of the other work being done by John Nemo, and looked at the math and was like, Okay, well, I think if we combine these two things, we can actually simplify the math and actually make it work and simplify the process. And so is all of that some of this is written up in the in the manual, it's on the theory section of like, what we pulled together. But really, I mean, what Gaylon did there was really cool. And how he combined those methods. And outside of that, it was probably finding a pump that could meant so the problem with hydraulic conductivity is it's huge range, you can have something that's infiltrating at point 5 centimeters an hour, too 130 centimeters an hour. And to get a pump can manage those, that type of variability was actually harder than I would have thought. And so yeah, just sourcing the right parts, and then just validating it. And that that took a lot of time to just actually make sure what we were doing was working as we expected.

BRAD NEWBOLD  24:29  
Any other funny stories along the way.

LEO RIVERA  24:32  
Cache, you know, we worked with a couple of interns on this project. One of them if you say their name in the company, Kalyn Wacker. Everybody knows him, man. He's got the most unique laugh. But it's not that it wasn't the stories about the instrument. It was actually the people that we got to work with on the project. So it was really great is Matt Klinenberg who's now a mechanical engineer all So worked on that project. His dad is Gerard Gutenberg is a soil physicist. So it was really cool to connect with those people. It's really neat to work with another soil scientists on and kind of bring that together.

BRAD NEWBOLD  25:11  
Do you see improvements there that like, in the next generations of SATURO? Yeah, what can be improved upon?

LEO RIVERA  25:18  
You know, this is funny, but this is probably there's two things that I'm really proud of about this device. One, the most exciting thing I see is when I look on, for example, I get on Twitter, and I see people posting, like, we're having so much fun using this device, and it just makes things so much better. And, like, Wow, that's so cool to see that something I worked on and help develop is making somebody's research better, they're enjoying actually having fun with it, right?

BRAD NEWBOLD  25:45  
They're calling it a toy instead of a tool or you don't have to use this, it's I get to use this, how fun is that?

LEO RIVERA  25:51  
That's exactly right. And I like I never probably would have thought that I would like that's hopefully the type of impact I can have on the field is by helping develop instruments that people use and go out and solve big problems. And you know, from there, you know, it's super awesome to see people posting on Twitter that they love using it. But also, it's now been adopted by the NRCS. And I remember going out with those guys, and they hated making hydraulic conductivity instruments are like, Oh, this takes so much time, and I've got all these other things to do. And so now they have a product and a tool that they can just set up and let it run. And then they go do all their service stuff. Yeah. And so it's so cool that like just tie things back around with where I started, because my graduate research was funded by the NRCS, spent time working with them on measurements. And now we have a tool that they can use, and it works better for them. It's easier for them to use, they're, they're happy to use it. And I remember going down and doing some trainings with them on it. And they're just like, oh, this is so awesome. Like that, having that type of impact in the field, and also in the soil health stuff, like seeing it being used by the soil health institute, to do their North American research project. Like, it's cool to know that, you know, although I'm not in traditional academia anymore, the work that I'm doing is still impacting that and having a bigger impact on the field. Right. So that's the cool part.

BRAD NEWBOLD  27:11  
That's awesome. So how soon until SATURO is going to be industry standard?

LEO RIVERA  27:16  
I hope that is starting to become industry standard in the soil science world, we're seeing it use a lot more heavily. And it's being referenced in you know, as a tier one measurement for soil health properties. So I think it's getting there. But the the other world is the engineering world, and that's much more challenging because they're based on standards. Yeah, and changing standards is worse than trying to pull teeth. So I hope that we can eventually get those things changed. And because I think this is a tool. I mean, we talked with engineers that are able to use it, and they love it. Right. So hopefully we can get those standards changed and and get this more out there for engineers as well and hopefully help make their lives a little bit easier.

BRAD NEWBOLD  28:02  
Right so coming back full circle, who kind of specifically talked about SATURO and your work here at METER coming back to to, you know, soil science or soil infiltration research in general. How do you see the field is right now? And do you see that there's still room for growth for you know, for, you know, future discoveries, or is there you know, things that you would like to see changed or improved in the field as a whole.

LEO RIVERA  28:27  
In any scientific field, there's always going to be room for growth and for and for better understanding, as tools become more sophisticated. And we have more technology out there. Like really what we're doing is taking technology that's built for another industry and finding ways to integrate it into the soil science world, you know, finding ways to more rapidly characterize soil properties in general, not just hydraulic properties, like that's a part of it. And hopefully, we can continue to make strides in that area, make it easier to measure hutch, saturated hydraulic conductivity, may make it easier to measure unsaturated hydraulic conductivity in the field, and measure at depth and characterize actually how it's changing throughout the profile. Because, you know, as you measure the surface, that's just one part. There's a lot more happening down below that we need to understand. Really, the challenge is just there's so much to measure with rapid characterization of these properties. Like there's a lot of work being done with this NIR to try and characterize and build models to characterize these properties. But that's just a piece of it. And it has its challenges as well. I don't really know what the next next one is going to be. We have to just keep getting better and and find new ways to tie in what's happening even with remote sensing stuff like remote sensing is of key part because it helps us tie these points scale measurements with the broader field scale, what's happening and kind of have to wait and see where the field goals and you know where we go as a company as well and trying to help make those measurements.

BRAD NEWBOLD  29:48  
Any final thoughts or comments you'd like to share before we close here?

LEO RIVERA  29:53  
For me, I've really had the fortune of getting to work with some great scientists within the company. And as Researchers while at the university, the challenge we have is getting more people interested in the field and keeping that growth going. Because I think we have a really important field soil science and just you know, agricultural research in general is key for the stuff that we're trying to do. From there. I think education on how land use and how the decisions we make to manage property or manage our land and our soil can have a larger impact down the road. So we have to be less short sighted and think in the longer term. Those are the things that I think are super important as we continue to grow and, and evolve and try and make things a little bit better. Those are, those are the challenges.

BRAD NEWBOLD  30:35  
Definitely. All right. Well, our time is up. Thank you, Leo, for joining us today and sharing your your passion and your projects with us. For you in the audience. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at metergroup.com. Or you can reach out on Twitter @meter_env. Also you can view the full transcript of today's episode in the podcast description. And that's it for now. Stay safe. Thanks again, Leo. And we'll catch you next time on remeasure the world