- Author: Jeffrey P Mitchell
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.