- Author: Jeffrey P Mitchell
Students from UC Davis and CSU Fresno presented summaries of work they're involved with at the long-term NRI Project study site in Five Points, CA as part of a soil health tour stop for CDFA's Board of Food and Agriculture on August 8th. Anna Gomes, a UC Davis undergraduate student working with Drs. Daniele Zaccaria and Jeff Mitchell on her senior thesis (along with Stephanie Lew, an Environmental Sciences student also at UCD), and Aldo Garcia, a USDA-NIFA undergraduate research intern working with CSU Fresno professor, Dr. Anil Shrestha, and Jeff Mitchell, had opportunities to briefly share their research work with CDFA State Board members during their visit to the NRI Project field. CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, Deputy Secretary Jenny Lester-Moffitt and CDFA Science Director, Dr. Amrith Gunasekara, were part of the tour group as well as a range of Board members who are appointed by the Governor. UCCE Fresno County Advisor and long-term CASI member, Dan Munk, welcomed the group and led the presentation program at the NRI field that included an introduction to the project's outcomes and findings that was provided by Jeff Mitchell, a discussion of efforts related to reduced disturbance production practices by CASI member and Leopold Conservation Award recipient, Dino Giacomazzi of Hanford, CA, and a summary of an innovative private sector strip-till and precision planting service by Silas and Matt Rossow of California Ag Solutions of Madera, CA. Long-term CASI member and supporter, Eric Kueneman, former Global Director of FAO's Conservation Agriculture programs in Rome, Italy, also took part in discussions with the CDFA visitors. In addition, the group discussed opportunities for scaling up the adoption of improved performance, conservation agriculture, healthy soils and climate smart systems through efforts that are underway with the California Farm Demonstration Network.