March 6, 2019
Doug Karlen, - an amazingly productive, creative and thoughtful soil and water conservation research scientist at the USDA ARS National Lab for Agriculture and the Environment in Ames, IA, - retired on March 2, 2019. A wonderful and very fitting retirement celebration was held on that day in his honor in Kansas City, MO that brought together many family members, colleagues and friends to recognize the great career that Doug has had as well as the many ways he touched so many people with this integrity, passion, and his simply superb ability to build and lead teams and conduct integrated soil and crop management research over his forty-year career with ARS. For folks who do not know Doug, he was truly an exceptionally productive and influential scientist and leader in the development of soil health indexes and technology transfer programs, sustainably increasing crop yields, and using agricultural crops for bioenergy production. Not only was he a Fellow in the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America, but he also was recognized as an ARS Distinguished Senior Research Scientist and recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement and Hugh Hammond Bennett Awards. In addition, Doug was truly a very good friend to CASI and the work that we've been doing here in California. He came out to work with us on some of the very early soil quality indexing efforts that he and his then Post-Doc, Susan Andrews, pioneered way back in the early 2000's and since then has also returned for a number of very nice meetings and discussions with various CASI groups. We salute Doug Karlen, a true friend and very good person!
UCCE Master Gardener and longtime CASI member, Tim Sullivan, paid a very nice visit to CASI's NRI Project field in Five Points on March 1st, as part of the site's “Friday Open House” program. He is a retired real estate appraiser who worked extensively throughout the San Joaquin Valley's West Side region during his professional career before also becoming a Master Gardener and avid gardening instructor in the Fresno area. CASI's Jeff Mitchell hosted Tim at the 20-year old NRI Project field where the two of them talked about learning opportunities and future training programs for students in the classes that Tim teaches for urban gardeners. They also viewed up close the changes in different soil properties and functions that have occurred following the NRI Project's two decades of being in place. CASI sincerely thanks Tim Sullivan for taking time to come out to our long-term study site!
February 22, 2019
Local organic farmers, Steve and Ben Beck of Kings River Produce of Hanford, CA took part in CASI's Friday soil tour open house viewing program at the longstanding NRI Project field in Five Points on February 22nd. The father-son farming team grow a range of organic vegetables at their extensive acreage near Coalinga and adjacent to the Naval Air Station Base in Lemoore. They were keen to exchange ideas for soil care and soil function improvement with CASI's Jeff Mitchell who took them out to see how soils have changed after twenty years of no-till and cover crop management at the NRI site. We have invited the Becks to take part in our CIG organic reduced disturbance project and we look forward to ongoing interactions with them in the future!
February 22, 2019
Brady and his brother, Riley Holder, farmers in Laton, CA in California's San Joaquin Valley, came out to Five Points where they visited the NRI Project fields as part of CASI's Friday soil tour program and they also sat down with CASI's Jeff Mitchell to plan their application for a project with CDFA's Healthy Soils Program (HSP). The two brothers are hoping to submit a project proposal to CDFA for the state agency's new round of Healthy Soils Program projects. In their application, they hope to receive funding from the HSP to enable them to set up a farm demonstration of cover cropping in their farm's corn and alfalfa rotation fields. They discussed details of their application with Mitchell and intend to prepare the final aspects of their proposal during the coming two weeks.
Paicines Ranch machinery experts visit NRI Project field in Five Points!
February 22, 2019
Machinery experts, Ky Cooper and Marc Luff of Paicines Ranch, visited CASI's NRI Project field in Five Points and examined a number of Workgroup pieces of equipment as part of the Friday open house soil tour series that has been underway at the site since February 15th. Cooper and Luff work together at Paicines with farm manager, Kelly Mulville, on new reduced disturbance regenerative agriculture approaches. The three of them recently also took part in the CIG Project planning meeting at Paicines that preceded the cover crop workshop that many CIG participants attended. They were specifically keen to learn what CASI farmers and researchers have done in the past with reduced disturbance crop production approaches for a range of crops. With CASI's Mitchell, they inspected an array of reduced disturbance implements including no-till drills and planters, two cover crop rollers, a number of strip-till implements, no-till transplanters and high residue cultivators. Then, they also examined the NRI Project field and the differences in soils that now exist in the four systems that have been evaluated in this study since 1999. CASI looks forward to continued dialogue and interactions with Luff, Cooper and Mulville about reduced disturbance production techniques and we thank them for their visits to our CASI site in Five Points!