- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
UC Cooperative Extension involvement in a biodynamic farming workshop Dec. 2 in Napa has been met with criticism from a local vintner who believes the farming system is a hoax, according to a story in the Napa Valley Register.
The article said Stu Smith, the co-owner of Smith-Madrone Vineyards and Winery, is “shocked and outraged” that UC Cooperative Extension is co-sponsoring a “Shortcourse in Biodynamic Winegrowing.”
Smith, who earned a master’s degree in enology and viticulture at UC Davis, said that UCCE should participate only if it’s a balanced and comparative event.
Cooper said she will discuss scientifically validated IPM techniques, and has no control over what other presenters say.
“It is our responsibility as UC farm advisors to represent the scientific community at a variety of venues, and to ensure that we are presenting information on scientifically validated processes," Cooper was quoted.
McGourty has conducted some research on biodynamic farming practices. Writer Paul Franson reported that, according to McGourty, such farming systems "are well documented to improve soil quality, grow productive crops, reduce the need for petrochemical inputs, recycle farm byproducts in a safe and effective way, and provide a gentler footprint on nature compared to some practices used by conventional growers.”
Franson also quoted assistant director of UC Ag and Natural Resources News and Information Outreach Pam Kan-Rice.
"The University of California doesn’t ‘promote’ any particular way of farming, it supports sustainable farming systems,” Kan-Rice was quoted.