- Author: Jeffrey P Mitchell
We would like to let you know about the formation of the California Farm Demonstration Evaluation Network, - a grassroots, locally-based effort that has been developed by farmers throughout the State, the Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation (CASI) Center, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, the University of California Cooperative Extension, and a variety of private sector partners to address the simultaneous goals of better farm management, greater farm profits, and increased farm productivity and sustainability.
The California network is modeled after a number of other farm networks that have been created in several states around the country as a means for providing opportunities for progress, the development of improved systems, and greater efficiency in face of the many challenges that agriculture faces today. Key elements of the California farm demonstration network are 1) participatory learning and adaptive, improved management based on sound science- and experience-based principles, 2) the public, voluntary showcasing of innovative systems developed by experienced farmer leaders, 3) a program of farm demonstration evaluations that employ monitoring, data collection, and analysis of findings, and 4) the use of proven, creative methods for sharing, discussion and communicating results and findings so as to scale up broader adoption of improved systems.
The network has a broad array of goals that it is pursuing that include the development of water-, climate-, and nutrient-smart systems for the State's diverse crop production environments. An initial series of network-sponsored farm visits that showcase innovative soil health practices of five Central Valley farmers is being conducted in June of 2016.
Information for these visits and for ongoing activities and opportunities of the network is available at the CASI website http://casi.ucanr.edu/ or by emailing or calling, Jeff Mitchell, CASI Workgroup Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (559) 303-9689.