California Tag

Related ATTRA podcast: Using Cover Crops in an Organic Walnut Orchard University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources published a feature on California almond farmer Rob Schuh, who with his son-in-law Andrew Carroll is practicing regenerative farming on 210 acres of almond orchards in Chowchilla, California. Schuh began incorporating compost in 2015 and cover cropping in 2016, while also reducing inputs of synthetic fertilizer and chemical pesticides. These practices were part of an ecosystem approach that produced significant economic benefits and also helped Schuh rekindle his interest in farming. A 16-species cover-crop mix helps the soil hold water and reduces irrigation...

Field studies at University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources' Desert Research and Extension Center revealed that drip irrigation is not only more water efficient, but it can also dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the soil. In comparison to furrow irrigation, drip irrigation in alfalfa reduced per-yield soil carbon dioxide emissions by 59%, nitrous oxide by 38%, and nitric oxide by 20%. For sudangrass, drip irrigation decreased water demand by 49% and reduced soil emissions of nitrous oxide by 59% and nitric oxide by 49%. Researchers point out that the state of California offers financial incentives to help growers...

In partnership with the Soil Health Institute, the Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation Center has released a four-video series on soil health in California cotton production systems. The videos relate results from long-term research and grower innovations that revealed the soil-health advantages of no-till production with cover crops. The video series includes an episode on the history of soil health management systems for California cotton, an episode on grower innovations, a report on a 22-year soil research study, and a video that focuses on soil aggregate stability....

NCAT has extended the application deadline for its week-long Armed to Farm training in San Diego, California, until March 11, 2022. Armed to Farm gives veterans and their spouses the opportunity to experience sustainable, profitable small-scale farming enterprises and explore career opportunities in agriculture. At Armed to Farm, participants learn about business planning, budgeting, recordkeeping, marketing, USDA programs, livestock production, fruit and vegetable production, and more. This Armed to Farm training session will take place April 18-22, 2022. The event is free for those chosen to attend. Veterans from Western states will receive selection priority for this training. ...

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) will bring its Armed to Farm training back to California this spring. Veterans who want to attend the week-long training in San Diego can apply online now. Armed to Farm gives veterans and their spouses the opportunity to experience sustainable, profitable small-scale farming enterprises and explore career opportunities in agriculture. At Armed to Farm, participants learn about business planning, budgeting, recordkeeping, marketing, USDA programs, livestock production, fruit and vegetable production, and more. Participants gain a strong foundation in the basic principles of operating a sustainable farm. In addition, Armed to Farm attendees join a nationwide...

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) will offer its week-long Armed to Farm sustainable agriculture training program for military veterans in San Diego from April 18-22, 2022. Armed to Farm gives veterans and their spouses the opportunity to experience sustainable, profitable small-scale farming enterprises and explore career opportunities in agriculture. Participants will attend classroom sessions and travel to local farms for hands-on learning experiences. The event is free for those chosen to attend. Veterans from Western states will receive selection priority for this training. Applications are due by March 4, 2022....

Related ATTRA Publication: How to Add Compost on Your Small Farm The Federal-State On-Farm Compost Work Group launched an On-Farm Compost Resource Website that provides information and tools to help farmers and ranchers compost agricultural byproducts, including manure, while maintaining compliance with federal, state, and local regulations. The website is hosted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and was developed as part of a larger collaborative working group that was co-led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service, and California Environmental Protection Agency as well as eleven additional state and regional regulatory bodies....

Related ATTRA Blog: The Impact of Grazing Frequency and Recovery Period on Plant Diversity and Soil Health Researchers with the University of California found that grazing can play a role in protecting biodiversity and vulnerable plant species in California's vernal pool habitat. Vernal pools are seasonal, ephemeral ponds that are reservoirs of native plant biodiversity in California's grasslands dominated by invasive and non-native species. However, researchers noted that where pools had been fenced off to protect them from grazing, biodiversity was declining. They found that when cattle were allowed to graze under carefully controlled conditions, biodiversity increased. The cattle preferred to graze...

Terranova Ranch is dedicated to producing more than 25 premium quality crops as effectively, productively, and sustainably as possible in the central San Joaquin Valley of California. Toward that end, they have implemented a wide variety of conservation and regenerative agriculture practices, including sustainable irrigation practices and conservation hedgerows. In this video, Don Cameron, General Manager and Vice President of Terranova Ranch, discusses conservation hedgerows, including their benefits and challenges, along with do's and don'ts for hedgerow design and installation. Since planting these hedgerows just two years ago, Don has seen a wide variety of positive changes at the ranch, including...

Related ATTRA Publication: The Irrigator's Pocket Guide As some California farmers struggle with drought conditions, many Central Coast farmers can provide models of successful water conservation, reports the Monterey Herald. Farms that were threatened by saltwater intrusion decades ago have developed strategies for farming successfully with less water, such as recycling wastewater, using drip irrigation, and choosing crops that require less water. Some farmers use dryland techniques to produce crops that don't need to be watered for months at a time. Improving soil organic matter can also help the soil hold water longer....

In its first major public initiative, the Organic Agriculture Institute—a program of University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources—is conducting a statewide needs assessment for organic agriculture, as well as forming a knowledge-sharing network that connects UC experts with growers, processors, producer organizations, certifiers, crop consultants, community groups, and state agencies. This California Organic Agriculture Knowledge Network, or Cal OAK Network, builds upon the productive partnerships and knowledge systems established by organic growers and other stakeholders over many decades. The Institute recently received a planning grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to conduct a formal needs assessment...

California FarmLink is accepting applications for its "Resilerator," a comprehensive business curriculum designed for farmers, ranchers and fishers with at least two years of experience as a business owner. The Resilerator is like a business accelerator, but the emphasis is on long-term resilience and sustainable profits and practices. The Resilerator begins with each participant completing a Business Resilience Self-assessment. The next ten weeks cover topics including business structure, labor, land tenure, accounting, taxation, credit, insurance, and regulatory compliance. The course ends with setting realistic goals for improving business practices for the next two to three years. Applications for the 2022...

Powdery mildew has plagued vineyards since time immemorial. If temperatures reach between 70 and 85 degrees, chances are, powdery mildew has woken up from its slumber and is ready to infect your grapes. When left unchecked, this fungus can reduce vine growth, sabotage yields, and reduce fruit quality. There are all sorts of practices in our integrated pest-management toolbox that we can use to control powdery mildew. Prevention is always number one, but there are plenty of mitigation strategies we can employ as well. Here are some good examples:
By Katherine Favor, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist ...

For the past growing season, my staff and I have been involved with designing and managing a cover crop mix in pecan orchards in Northern California to attract beneficials, which provide some control of two species of pecan aphids.
Rex Dufour, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist...

The farmers' path to recovery will be long and hard, but they will not be alone. We know our region is one of many farming communities across the country impacted by storms, fires, and other disasters this season. If you have been recently affected, here are some ways to learn about and seek disaster assistance for relief and recovery.
By Ann Baier, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist...