- Author: Jeff Mitchell
As many in ANR already know, the California Farm Demonstration Network was recently formed and formally launched in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signing ceremony that was held at the Winters orchard of Russ Lester on May 5.
The network is a partnership of several groups, including the California Farm Bureau Federation, the USDA-NRCS, the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, UC ANR, and the UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, plus many farmers, local farmer associations, and private sector and other public agency affiliates. The YouTube video at https://youtu.be/k2cpuwzASgs provides a brief introductory overview of a small part of the network's initial efforts.
Since UC ANR is a formal signatory to the MOU that launched this effort, and because many of us in ANR are already and will hopefully be involved with the network's efforts in the future, we would like to actively encourage participation of any and all ANR colleagues who'd like to become involved with the network in any capacity.
At this point, for instance, we welcome your involvement in everything from service on the Network Steering Committee (or other technical and advisory committees that are now being formed) to hands-on collaboration with any of the various farm demonstrations that are going to be started and that you'll have direct roles in starting yourselves. This is frankly a great time for everyone to step up and to register their interest in becoming involved.
The overall purpose of the network is to increase adoption of conservation agriculture, soil health and climate-smart systems in California. Its goals emphasize the development of water-, climate- and nutrient-smart systems for California's diverse crop production environments, and its focus areas include, but are not limited to, the following: participatory learning resulting in the adoption of improved management practices grounded in sound science and experience-based principles, the public, voluntary showcasing of innovative systems developed by experienced farmer leaders, a program of farm demonstration evaluations that employ monitoring, data collection and analysis of findings, and the use of proven, creative methods for sharing, discussing and communicating results and findings to scale-up even broader adoption of improved systems.
The introductory videos were edited and produced by two students in the Soils and Biogeochemistry Group at UC Davis, Jessica Chiartas and Irfan Ainuddin. The full 9-minute video is at https://youtu.be/k2cpuwzASgs and the 3-minute version is at https://youtu.be/W3G5bmzCD8s.