July 24, 2016
A final summary of the many lessons that surfaced during the five farm visits that were held back in May and June is now posted at the CASI website at http://ucanr.edu/?blogpost=21603&blogasset=85918.
Additional farm demonstration evaluations are being established and we hope to have more opportunities to share this work in the near future. If you are interested in becoming involved with the farm demonstration network, please contact us at (559) 303-9689.
Tom Willey's "Down on the Farm" 88.1 FM KFCF Radio Interview with CalCAN's Renata Brillinger and CASI's Jeff Mitchell on California's GHG emissions offset programs and the California farm demonstration network
An audio archive of the KFCF 88.1 FM radio program of Tom Willey's "Down on the Farm" segment for July 1, 2016 that included interviews with CalCAN's Renata Brillinger and our own CASI's Jeff Mitchell is now posted at the CASI website. This hour-long interview included discussion of the State's GHG emissions offset programs by Brillinger and information on our farm demonstration network from Mitchell.
The radio program can be heard by clicking on this link: http://casi.ucanr.edu/video_updates/radio_updates/
Karlen and Susan Andrews, who worked with him as a Post-Doc ecologist for several years before leading the early formation of the Soil Quality Institute with NRCS, have done quite a lot of work in California on soil quality and published several research papers on work they collaborated with California scientists on the topic based on work conducted in Five Points and Davis.
Upon being introduced to our California farm demo network and its goals, Karlen offered a number of insights based on his own experience and familiarity with efforts similar to ours in other states.
- reach out to representatives in different areas that may have interest in what we're doing ("systems enhancement")
- make sure we emphasize "baseline, baseline, baseline" information gathering and data collection
- consider very carefully and thoughtfully how data generated from the effort will be organized, archived, available in a database (there are a variety of data entry templates that Doug will send us leads on)
- consider approaching key private sector potential partners such as Monsanto (as in the Midwest Soil Health Partnerships effort
- consider partnering closely with appropriate ag-related groups and entities who can do better at 'driving' information events and at generating farmer participation and turnout
- consider involving what Doug termed "short-line" manufacturers in our programs and events (not necessarily the mega-companies, but smaller, affiliated companies)
Following the focused discussion, several folks continued their discussions with Karlen for a luncheon by the NRCS State Offices in downtown Davis.
We thank Doug Karlen for taking time to meet and talk with us. It was most productive and helpful.
A video summarizing the farm visit at Sano Farms is available at the You Tube link below.
Wednesday, June 15th, 2016
T & D Willey Farms, Madera, CA
The fourth in our series of five farm visits that are part of the California Farm Demonstration Network will be taking place this Wednesday, June 15th, beginning at 10:00 AM and winding up at about 11:45 AM at the farm of Tom and Denesse Willey at the southwest corner of the intersection of Road 20 and Avenue 14 about five miles west of the town of Madera, CA. As with each of the other farm visits that are being hosted during May and June by a variety of farmers in the San Joaquin Valley, the visit with Tom Willey will focus on his long-term goals for soil health and the practices that he uses to achieve those goals. Participants will have an opportunity to learn what Tom has been doing at T & D Willey Farms over the years and what he has learned as a result of his soil care practices. In addition, we will all also have an opportunity to contribute to some actual data collection following Tom's introductory discussion that will be part of the discovery process of the farm demonstration network and that will serve as baseline information for future comparisons and monitoring.
If anyone is leaving the Davis, CA to come to the event and is interested in carpooling, please contact Jessica Rudnick at firstname.lastname@example.org.