- Guest Blogger: Joseph Nosrat-CSUCI Student
Alli explained that the State Water and Efficiency Sweep is one of the programs she works on that is focused on irrigation upgrades, pump retrofits as well as any practice that reduces water and energy use. This is important to avocado growers along with almost any kind of tree grower who might have access to a pump and can manage irrigation networks. She also runs the Healthy Soils program which is focused on any practice that helps sequester carbon in the soil to reduce greenhouse gases. The soil demands are different with each system which creates complex needs with each grant project. Alli explained, “I kind of act as a communication bridge between scientific advisors and the farmers or ranchers”. Alli does the grant writing for these programs as well as helps farmers implement new practices acting as a helpful intermediary. A 32-acre plot that will be transitioned from row crops to avocado crops is one noteworthy grant project Alli discussed. The problem is the soil was heavily tilled by previous owners which stripped it of carbon rich nutrients. Alli explained, “the research component is looking at different cover crop mixes with each season to build up organic matter”. In this project reducing the disturbance of soil and reintroducing organic matter are the key factors to restoring the soil to grow avocado crops.
Alli will also be a guest educator explaining climate smart agriculture at HAREC and she will help deliver the 4-H Sustainable Youth Summer Camp 2019 in June.