CASI honored with SWCS 2022 Conservation Innovation Award - August 2, 2022
August 4, 2022
California's Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation (CASI) Center was recognized as the recipient of the 2022 Conservation Innovation Award by the Soil and Water Conservation Society at their Annual Conference held in Denver, CO from July 31 through August 3rd 2022. Tom Willey, retired organic farmer in Madera, CA and long-time CASI member received the award on behalf of our entire group and also presented a summary of work currently being done by a group of California organic farmers on reduced disturbance systems. The 2022 Award recognizes many years of dedicated service that CASI members have provided in extending information and increasing the adoption of improved performance production systems in California since 1998 when the organization was founded. Tom also had the opportunity to meet USDA NRCS national Chief Tom Cosby at the Denver conference and he invited the Chief to meet with CA CIG Project organic farmers when he is coming to the state in September 2022.
May 30, 2022
The Lexicon of Sustainability's Gayeton visits Park Farming and Fully Belly Farm
Douglas Gayeyon, storyteller and creative force behind the Lexicon of Sustainability (https://www.thelexicon.org/) spent the better part of May 20, 2022 interviewing and photographing Scott and Brian Park of Park Farming in Meridian, CA and Paul Muller of Full Belly Farming in Guinda, CA as part of a book that he is working on that is going to be about regenerative agriculture. He had been trying to work with the Parks and Muller for quite some time due to the reputations they have for being progressive farmers who have been putting great efforts into further improving their already outstanding farming systems. The Parks, Muller and Andrew Brait at Full Belly are part of a broader group of California farmers who over the past three years have been exploring opportunities for reducing soil disturbance in their organic vegetable production practices. While at Park Farming, Gayeton photographed Park showing a variety of innovative equipment that he has created and acquired over the years, an organic carrot seed production field, a cover crop roller trial, and an elaborate demonstration field where the Parks are evaluating nine different types of reduced disturbance systems for tomato production. With Muller at Full Belly, he photographed Muller in one of his no-tillage fields and also captured images of Muller in an orchard where grazing sheep roam. Gayeton will return to capture additional photos of the Parks' equipment fabrication shop in the near future.
January 20, 2022
Undergraduate student, Jennifer Valdez-Herrera, took home the first prize award in this year's student poster competition of the California Weed Science Society that was held January 19th - 21st at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Sacramento, CA. Her poster titled, Potential of roller-crimper technology for weed suppression in annual crops, reported on the first four years of a study that has been conducted on the Fresno State campus under a center pivot irrigation system. The rolled cover crops are followed by strip-tillage planted silage corn. Five mixes, rye, an ultra high diversity mix from Green Cover Seed in Bladen, NE, a multiplex mix from Lockwood Seed and Grain in Chowchilla, CA, a faba bean and Phacelia combination, and a three-way mix of rye, peas, and purple vetch are replicated three times in about 300 foot strips throughout the field. A copy of Valdez-Herrera's poster is provided below and a short 56-second video showing the current stage of growth of the 2021 - 2022 cover crops may be seen at
January 20, 2022
Year 5 of a major cover crop roller crimper study is underway on the Fresno State campus in the school's center pivot field under the monitoring supervision of Dr. Anil Shrestha and his undergraduate student research assistant, Jennifer Valdez-Herrera and graduate student, Robert Wilmott. The project repeats five cover crop mix treatments (rye, an ultra high diversity mix provided by Green Cover Seed of Bladen, NE, a Multiplex mix of Lockwood Seed and Grain in Chowchilla, CA, a two-species mix of faba bean and Phacelia, and a three-way mix of rye, peas, and purple vetch. A short, 49-second video showing Valdez-Herrera and Wilmott and the stage of growth of the cover crops on January 20, 2022 can be viewed at the You Tube link
January 19, 2022
On a foggy morning at the Santa Ana Ranch of Phil Foster's Pinnacle Organically Grown Produce farm nearHollister, CA, he along with fellowCIG Project farmer, Tom Willey, met with JohnPetrosso, the Sales Engineer forMazzei Injector Company to plan a study aimed at evaluating the effectiveness ofMazzei's air injection equipment as a possible means for increasing oxygen availability for soilmicrorganisms and thereby get higher vegetable crop yields. The air injection technique has had positive results in a variety of earlier studies with vegetables, but has not taken off as a mainstream practice of vegetable farmers to date. Foster and Willey are particularly keen to see if air injection might overcome some of the yield declines that they've been seeing in recent years as Phil's farm has tried to rely on less and less soil disturbance with tillage implements. The project has been in the planning stages for several months and is now shaping up in terms of more detailed field implementation. The study crop in 2022 at Foster's farm will be peppers. Three articles describing previous work on the air injection technique as well as a short video with Petrosso's predictions for what will be seen in the 2022 pepper crop are available below and at th You Tube link