Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation
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Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation

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CASI meets with California Almond Board

CASI’s Mitchell (center) flanked by Gabriele Ludwig, Jenny Nicolau, Spencer Cooper, and Carissa Sauer.(from left to right).

CASI Chair, Jeff Mitchell, participated in an introductory idea exchange meeting on October 11th with seven representatives of the California Almond Board at their headquarters in Modesto, CA. The meeting provided an opportunity for CASI and the Almond Board to learn about each other's ongoing educational programming and also to exchange ideas related to the California farm demonstration network and other farmer networks that have been developed around the country. The Almond Board has very active farmer education initiatives in place on a number of fronts. This meeting laid the groundwork for possible collaborative efforts between the Board's over 6000 California farmers and CASI's network of farmer, private sector, University, NRCS, and RCD partners.

Posted on Monday, October 17, 2016 at 10:21 AM

Fresno Farm Advisor Dan Munk hosts TKI Crop Vitality at NRI Project Field in Five Points

Dan Munk (light blue shirt and wide-brimmed hat at left) hosts Steve Vasquez’s TKI Crop Vitality at the long-term NRI Project study site in Five Points, CA
Veteran UCCE soil, water and cotton Advisor, Dan Munk, of Fresno County, hosted a group of sixteen agronomists who work with the international fertilizer company, TKI Crop Vitality, at the long-term NRI Project study site in Five Points, CA on Friday, October 14th as part of a California tour organized by former UCCE Advisor and currently TKI regional agronomist, Steve Vasquez. Munk shared with the group the research history of the NRI study and provided an overview discussion on water issues in California. The group's visit coincided with the 2016 harvest of grain sorghum that was conducted by local Riverdale, CA farmer, Connor McKean of McKean Farms.  
Sorghum grain harvest conducted by Riverdale, CA farmer, Connor McKean, at NRI Project study site on October 14, 2016
Preliminary findings for the 2016 sorghum crop indicate that there were no statistically significant differences between any of the four tillage and cover crop systems this year with yields being about 6100 lbs or 108 bushels per acre. Following last week's harvest intercrop tillage was conducted in the standard tillage systems ahead of cover crop seeding during the coming week in both the standard and no-till cover cropped systems. 

Posted on Monday, October 17, 2016 at 8:48 AM

CASI hosts Israeli entrepreneurs at NRI Project site in Five Points

Roi Adar and Yofesh Shoub of Israel.
Two Israeli entrepreneurs, Roi Adar, Deputy Director of AutoAgronom Israel Ltd. And Yofesh Shoub, of the Ministry of Agriculture, met with CASI researcher, Jeff Mitchell, on Sunday afternoon, August 28th at the long-term NRI Project site in Five Points to discuss opportunities for collaboration related to a number of technologies that AutoAgronom Israel is developing. In addition, the visitors participated in a tour of local farming areas before adjourning to Sal's Mexican Restaurant in Selma for a dinner discussion.

Adar and Shoub have been touring and meeting with prospective partners throughout California and return to Israel by September 1st.

Contact Jeff Mitchell at if you'd like more information on the projects and technologies that were discussed in this tour and visit.


Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at 8:19 AM

CASI Updates New State NRCS Staff on Key Ongoing Workgroup Initiatives

New NRCS Staff: (left to right) Minshew, Rolfes, Zahangir and Komar

Three relatively new USDA NRCS additions to the State Office, State Soil Scientist Tony Rolfes, State Agronomist Hudson Minshew, and Regional Soil Health Coordinator, Kabir Zahangir, along with Northern California NRCS Soil Scientist, Jim Komar, met with CASI Chair Jeff Mitchell on August 19th in the State Office in Davis to talk about ongoing partnerships and collaborative efforts.  The meeting provided an opportunity for  Mitchell to update Rolfes, Minshew, and Zahangir on work that our Workgroup has been conducting over the years and in particular with respect to the California farm demonstration network that grew from a prior meeting between CASI and NRCS on October 14, 2014 when the network was launched.  The get-together also gave everyone a good opportunity to begin to explore future opportunities for further expansion of collaborations.  The very long-lasting, excellent and very close relationships that CASI has held with NRCS throughout the State look forward now to working with this new generation of NRCS leadership.

Posted on Monday, August 22, 2016 at 10:33 AM

2016 Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation Center’s Farmer Technical Service and Farmer Service Award - Ladi Asgill

2016 Innovators Award Recipient Ladi Asgill
In 2005, the University of California and NRCS Conservation Tillage Workgroup, now the Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation Center, established a series of Innovator Awards as a means for providing greater visibility to Conservation Agriculture pioneers in California. The criteria for this award are – demonstrated innovation and leadership in the development, refinement and use of conservation agriculture systems within the California crop production environment. Nominations are received and carefully reviewed by a Workgroup panel and a single recipient is announced in our annual conference.

The recipient of the Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation Center's Farmer Technical Support Innovator Award for 2016 is Ladi Asgill.

Ladi is the Senior Project Manager of Sustainable Conservation, a San Francisco-headquartered environmental organization that believes that protecting the environment can also be good for business.

The various climate, air, water and wildlife initiatives of Sustainable Conservation promote practical solutions that produce tangible, lasting benefits for California, and their success in helping to solve California's most pressing environmental issues is driven by powerful business partnerships, innovative solutions and trusted leadership.

Ladi is a highly capable, results-oriented, “can do” guy who has worked quite successfully with Mike and California Ag Solutions President, Monte Bottens, to make the FASTER FORAGE program successful. He has considerable intellectual capability and also is gifted with an almost insatiable desire to get things done. This is perhaps the single-most telling characteristic of Ladi, - his ability to quickly seize upon the essence of what needs to be done and to then marshal the people and resources to actually see the vision through to completion and success. Dare we say that he is rather well known within our CASI (Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation) Center workgroup for this and his very steadfast focus on results is a trait that not only often serves to get a group to bear down on a particular task at hand, but to also then pull together the specifics that are needed to actually realize the successful completion of the task, and to do so in a manner that endears him to his colleagues.

Ladi's employment as a Senior Project Manager with Sustainable Conservation has brought great value and recognition to this award-winning environmental organization in recent years. He has bulldogged a number of projects in their diverse portfolio that have been quite useful in terms of air quality benefits here in the San Joaquin Valley. I have worked together with Ladi on several of these efforts including some of the very early research and development related to conservation tillage options for Valley dairy farmers, the incentive-based “BMP Challenge” Conservation Innovation Grant project that we worked on here in California with a group from the Midwest, the development of CASI's strategic plan, and the ongoing biennial conservation tillage acreage survey that we've conducted since 2004. In each of these interactions that we've had with Ladi, we have found him to be congenial, a very good communicator, an incisive thinker, and a truly trustworthy partner.

Ladi has also been a stalwart contributor to the CT Workgroup in our annual presence at the World Ag Expo. He has spent much time at our booth and in representing our Center.

Ladi is also a proud Fellow and graduate of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation's “Class 38” cohort and he has taken quite a lot from his involvement and experience in this very good leadership development program. He interacts quite well with very diverse groups that include farmers, private sector groups, government agency representatives, and lastly, but certainly not least, the NRCS. He is perhaps THE most widely -known environmental organization representative at this time in the San Joaquin Valley and he has close, existing relationships with many people and groups who are and who have been active in the general air quality arena here in California.

The partnership that CAS has created with Sustainable Conservation and the tremendously successful working relationship that Ladi and Mike have forged together have been quite instrumental in moving strip-tillage forward in California's dairy silage production sector and it is because of the simply pivotal role that the two of them have had in this respect. They are tremendously deserving of this Special CASI Workgroup Service recognition at this time. CASI is proud to bestow our prestigious annual recognition to Ladi Asgill for his efforts in support of our Workgroup's goals.



Posted on Monday, August 22, 2016 at 10:26 AM

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