If you'd like to join the Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) network of California farmers and partners who're working together to develop and evaluate practices for reduced disturbance vegetable production, please send an email requesting that you be added to our Collaborative Tools Network to Jeff Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org. He'll then send you an invitation to join. From that, all that you'll need to do is follow the instructions that will be given in the invitation, and you should be good to go! If you encounter any problems, please email Jeff Mitchell or call him at (559)-303-9689.
Farmers and other agriculture professionals interested in cotton are invited to a field day 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 26 to find ways to revitalize the California cotton industry.
The meeting will be at Teixeira & Sons Farm, 11323 Erreca Rd., Dos Palos. For free registration, email email@example.com or call (559) 303-9689. Lunch is included.
There was a time when cotton was king in California. Acreage reached a peak in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with more than 1.5 million acres in the Central Valley planted to cotton. The crop was California's most valuable agricultural commodity. Due to world market conditions, water limitations, state pesticide regulations, government policies on trade, and competition, annual cotton acreage is down to about 300,000 and shrinking.
“Cotton is an expensive crop to grow, but low in value,” said Jeff Mitchell, UC Cooperative Extension specialist. “High input costs and low commodity prices are a recipe for farm failure,” said Mitchell, citing David Montgomery's book Growing a Revolution – Bringing our Soil Back to Life.
Mitchell and his field day partners believe using sustainable cotton production methods will cut the input costs and open the door to fiber and textile buyers who want a product grown in a way that supports soil health, worker health and human health.
“The health of the whole system is increasingly important,” Mitchell said.
Traditional cotton production practices lend themselves to improvement. In the past, cotton was grown with open, exposed soil between the plants and applications of pesticides that inhibited soil biodiversity. A new approach would involve cover crops, surface residues and reduced tillage.
“The meeting will be a straight forward sharing of new information and ideas aimed at helping farmers avoid obsolescence and become more attractive to buyers,” Mitchell said.
On Thursday, March 26th from 9 AM to 1 PM, you will have an opportunity to participate in an event that will explore ways for keeping SJV cotton in the global marketplace.
By taking part in this meeting, you will learn about and see why a variety of soil and crop management approaches that are currently not widely used in cotton production in California may have relevance to your farms and your ability to access markets in the future.
In addition, you will have an opportunity over a catered lunch to interact directly with a representative of the Soil Health Institute in Greensboro, NC, and a number of textile and clothing brand people in a discussion of their initiatives for soil health-based cotton production and what these initiatives mean for how you produce cotton.
Needless to say, this will not be a “business as usual” gathering in which the same old topics are trotted out. Rather, the meeting will be a straightforward sharing of new information and a dynamic give-and-take of ideas aimed at helping you to avoid obsolescence and become more attractive to buyers.
We hope you will join us at Texeira and Sons, LLC, 11323 Erreca Road north of Hwy 152 just east of Turner Island Road.
Please RSVP via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Jeff Mitchell at 559-303-9689.
February 7, 2020
Dr. Ajay Nair, Professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University in Ames, IA, along with ISU Project Scientist, Brandon Carpenter, held a two-day orientation visit with Dr. Maurice Pitesky, Professor of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis and Sarai Acosta, a PhD student working, Israel Herrera and Nicole Tautges of the LTRAS (Long-term Research on Agricultural Systems) Program near the UC Davis campus and CASI's Jeff Mitchell to go over plans for their new NIFA Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative project, Integrating vegetable, poultry, and cover cropping practices to enhance resiliency in organic production systems. The goals of this newly-approved study are to successfully integrate crop-poultry production to build soil quality and fertility while reducing off-farm input and enhancing on-farm diversity in three major food producing regions of the country [Midwest, (IA), southeast (KY) and western US (CA)] and develop crop-animal integrated systems that lead to diverse crop rotation, enhance animal health, productivity, and welfare, and improve overall farm profitability of organic production systems. The work will be implemented at these three sites during the next four years and involves teams of crop and animal scientists at each location. The work in CA will be conducted in a one-acre block at the LTRAS facility and will involve three experimental systems that will be monitored for a whole host of crop, soil, and animal characteristics. Two of the experimental systems will involve the introduction of chickens at key points in the crop and cover crop rotation while the third system will not include chickens. During his visit, Nair went over project-wide protocols and the group ironed out implementation plans so as to assure consistency and uniformity across the three sites.
December 16, 2019
About twenty farmers and University research partners who have been involved with the CIG Project, Securing the future of highly productive organic no-till vegetable production systems in California (CA), that started in 2018, took part in a two-hour televideo conference discussion that looked at initial findings from soil sampling that was done at the end of 2018 at all participating farm sites. The discussion provided an opportunity for project partners to look at and discuss the significance of a whole suite of soil property determinations including pH, EC, carbon, aggregation, color, and phospholipid fatty acids. A summary of the initial data and results of these baseline samplings is available here. The next round of project farm sampling will be conducted at the end of 2020.