- Author: Khaled M Bali
Khaled Bali, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in irrigation water management is now at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Bali has been with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources since 1992 and served in different capacities as UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Imperial County, irrigation and water management (1992-2016), UCCE county director in Imperial County (2009-2016) and two years as interim director of the UC Desert Research and Extension Center in Holtville (2012-2013 and 2014-2015). He received his doctoral degree in soil physics from UC Davis (1992), master's degree in irrigation and drainage from UC Davis (1987), and bachelor's degree in soils and irrigation from the University of Jordan (1984). He is responsible for designing, implementing, and conducting educational and applied research programs in irrigation, drainage, water management, water quality, soil salinity, waste management, reuse of wastewater for irrigation and nonpoint source pollution control practices. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Jordan (2006-07) and conducted research on reuse of wastewater for irrigation and constructed wetlands to treat wastewater.
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Despite the growing interest in soil health in many parts of the country, the notion hasn't captured the imagination of most farmers in California. The Golden State's lackluster attention to soil care is likely due to “phenomenal yield increases over the past several decades, the sheer diversity of cropping systems, and widespread perception that California's environment and crop production mix doesn't lend itself to soil health improvements,” said Jeff Mitchell, UC Cooperative Extension agronomy specialist.
A series of farm visits this summer in the Central Valley prove this rationale wrong, Mitchell said. The farm visits were sponsored by the UC Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation Center (CASI), USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service and the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts. The farm visits showcased the soil health goals and experiences of six farmers who are familiar with soil care principles across a wide range of local cropping contexts.
The series of visits demonstrated the use of no-till and minimum tillage farming, cover cropping, enhancing the diversity of above-ground species and underground soil biology, surface residue preservation, and compost applications. Read more.
This past Monday, October 26th, Jesse Sanchez, the farm manager at Sano Farms out west of the small town of Firebaugh, was honored in Washington, D.C. as a White House Champion of Change. Working closely with Alan Sano, the farm's owner, over the past ten years, Jesse has developed highly efficient production practices for the roughly 1500 acres of processing and fresh market tomatoes that employ the use of off-season cover crops to add carbon to the soil to improve tilth as well as water storage and movement in the soil, and also, the use of a form of reduced tillage that is called strip-tillage. Read more on the Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation (CASI) website.
- Author: Laura J. Van der Staay
An Op-Ed article written by Jeff Mitchell, CE Cropping Systems Specialist in vegetable cropping systems, irrigation management, soil quality, organic soil amendments, extension models, and postharvest physiology in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis and at UC ANR Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center and Randy Southard, Professor and Soil Genesis/Morphologist in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis was included in the October 30 issue of the Sacramento Bee. More information on conservation tillage practices can be found on the Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation (CASI) website.