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Posts Tagged: agriculture

UCCE webinar intends to help farmers raise the value of California cotton

Well-known appellations, powerful marketing and excellent products make California wines very valuable. Could the same be done for California's cotton crop?

California farmers produce high-quality cotton, but currently take in only 62 cents per pound, a price that makes turning a profit challenging. UC Cooperative Extension is working with a team of soil health and fiber sustainability experts to offer an online workshop from 9 a.m. to 12 noon Sept. 17 that will explore ways to increase cotton's value. Speakers will share new soil-building practices and ideas for marketing the crop's sustainable production system to make California cotton more valuable to consumers.

“Buyers and markets are paying attention to sustainability, climate change mitigation and protecting natural resources,” said UC Cooperative Extension cropping systems specialist Jeff Mitchell. “We want to seize the moment for cotton.”

The webinar will start with discussions led by Rebecca Burgess of Fibershed and Cala Rose Ostrander of the People, Land, and Life Foundation about what clothing and textile brands are interested in and what they may be willing to pay in support of healthy soil management systems for California cotton.

Three cotton farmers – Gary Martin of Mendota, John Teixeira of Firebaugh and Cannon Michael of Los Banos – will share their motivations and experiences with cotton soil health management approaches.Cary Crum, a crop consultant with California Ag Solutions, Inc., will discuss striking progress on regenerative ag silage systems with relevance for cotton.

David Lamm, former NRCS National Soil Health Coordinator and now part of the Soil Health Institute in Greensboro, N.C., will share experiences from the Southern U.S. cotton belt to improve soil health.

The program also includes a discussion about long-term soil management research conducted at the UC West Side Research and Extension Center in Five Points by UC Davis doctoral student Geoff Koch and UC Cooperative Extension specialist Jeff Mitchell.

Registration for the general public is $10; registration is free for farmers. To register, visit http://ucanr.edu/sjvcottonwebinar

Using soil-building techniques in cotton production could raise the value of the crop.

Webinar sponsors are:

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation Center, California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soil Health Institutes, Fibershed, California Climate Investments, California Department of Food and Agriculture Healthy Soils Program, Rodale Institute California Organic Center.

For more information contact Jeff Mitchell at jpmitchell@ucdavis.edu, (559) 303-9689.

Posted on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 8:08 AM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

Trapping the Asian Giant Hornet

These Asian giant hornet images from the Washington State Department of Agriculture shows (from left), an example of a worker; the specimen collected July 14; an example of the queen.

Just when folks were beginning to think "it may be over and done" regarding Asian giant hornet sightings,  it's not. The Washington State...

This is the Asian giant hornet trapped July 14 at Birch Bay, Whatcom County, Washington. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Department of Food and Agriculture)
This is the Asian giant hornet trapped July 14 at Birch Bay, Whatcom County, Washington. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Department of Food and Agriculture)

This is the Asian giant hornet trapped July 14 at Birch Bay, Whatcom County, Washington. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Department of Food and Agriculture)

These Asian giant hornet images from the Washington State Department of Agriculture shows (from left), an example of a worker; the specimen collected July 14; an example of the queen.
These Asian giant hornet images from the Washington State Department of Agriculture shows (from left), an example of a worker; the specimen collected July 14; an example of the queen.

These Asian giant hornet images from the Washington State Department of Agriculture shows (from left), an example of a worker; the specimen collected July 14; an example of the queen.

This map on Stephane De Greef's Facebook page,
This map on Stephane De Greef's Facebook page, "Is This a Murder Hornet," shows the 10-mile radius where the Asian giant hornets were found. (Map courtesy of Stephane De Greef)

This map on Stephane De Greef's Facebook page, "Is This a Murder Hornet," shows the 10-mile radius where the Asian giant hornets were found. (Map courtesy of Stephane De Greef)

Posted on Friday, July 31, 2020 at 3:57 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Environment, Innovation, Natural Resources, Pest Management

UC Davis, UC ANR Communicators Win Awards

Kira Olmos, 5, of Winters reacts to her first encounter with a stick insect at a Bohart Museum of Entomology open house. This candid image won a silver award in the ACE competition. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Hats off to the communicators affiliated with the University of California, Davis, and the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) for their...

Kira Olmos, 5, of Winters reacts to her first encounter with a stick insect at a Bohart Museum of Entomology open house. This candid image won a silver award in the ACE competition. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Kira Olmos, 5, of Winters reacts to her first encounter with a stick insect at a Bohart Museum of Entomology open house. This candid image won a silver award in the ACE competition. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Kira Olmos, 5, of Winters reacts to her first encounter with a stick insect at a Bohart Museum of Entomology open house. This candid image won a silver award in the ACE competition. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A feature story on UC Davis staff academic advisor Elvira Galvan Hack (pictured) won a silver award in the ACE competition. The article, by Kathy Keatley Garvey, traced her success story. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A feature story on UC Davis staff academic advisor Elvira Galvan Hack (pictured) won a silver award in the ACE competition. The article, by Kathy Keatley Garvey, traced her success story. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A feature story on UC Davis staff academic advisor Elvira Galvan Hack (pictured) won a silver award in the ACE competition. The article, by Kathy Keatley Garvey, traced her success story. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Western IPM Center's Steve Elliott won a silver award for his piece on
Western IPM Center's Steve Elliott won a silver award for his piece on "IPM in Yellowstone."

Western IPM Center's Steve Elliott won a silver award for his piece on "IPM in Yellowstone."

Diane Nelson of the UC College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences won a bronze award for her piece on
Diane Nelson of the UC College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences won a bronze award for her piece on "Can Science Save Citrus?"

Diane Nelson of the UC College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences won a bronze award for her piece on "Can Science Save Citrus?"

Posted on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at 5:00 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Economic Development, Environment, Family, Food, Innovation, Natural Resources

Imperial Valley farmers bring home over $1 million in CDFA Healthy Soil grants

We would like to congratulate the 13 Imperial County farmers who received a total of $1,073,697.97 from CDFA's Healthy Soil Incentive Program.

California Department Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has been providing financial initiatives to California growers and ranchers through its Healthy Soil Program to enable farmers to implement conservation management practices that sequester carbon, reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs), and improve soil health. 

These 13 award-winning projects will reduce GHG emissions by an estimated 3,689.1 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, which is equivalent to 797 passenger vehicles driven for one year. 

This is a groundbreaking achievement for our county and a huge jump from last year's HSP solicitation period, demonstrating that farmers in this region are becoming very interested in adopting climate smart agricultural practices, provided they have funding. 

“These climate smart agriculture incentive programs assist farmers in doing their part to try to sequester carbon and help sustain the environment,” Ronnie Leimgruber, one of the 13 Healthy Soils grant recipients, says. “Being awarded this grant will allow me to apply more compost than I normally would.” 

2020 is the first year that Imperial County growers and ranchers applied for the Healthy Soil grants, which began in 2017. 

Imperial County farmer Ronnie Leimgruber said, “Being awarded this grant will allow me to apply more compost than I normally would.” Photo courtesy of CDFA

With a maximum award of $100,000 per award, this grant was a great opportunity for California farming operations to pilot conservation management practices such as compost application, cover crops, nutrient management, and reduced till/no till for 3 to 10 years (depending on the practice) with minimal financial investment on their part. For the farmers and ranchers interested in the environmental benefits but unable to afford the cost of implementing these practices on their own, this program is a chance to try them firsthand. 

UC Cooperative Extension in Imperial County and Imperial County Farm Bureau partnered to provide technical assistance for the Healthy Soils Program and Alternative Manure Management Program for 2020. Together we conducted outreach, held a series of workshops and assisted individuals with their grant applications. 

The goal was to bring awareness to these climate smart agriculture incentive programs and assist growers in applying and maximizing their chances of receiving grants. Overall, Imperial County saw great progress from the prior year in the number of applicants and amount of awards, drawing recognition from Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia. 

We are optimistic that these programs will continue to grow in future years, assisting local farmers in implementing additional farming practices that continue to benefit the environment. We encourage grant recipients to contact us for assistance with project implementation and data collection. 

This year, CDFA's Healthy Soil Incentive Program received a total of 578 applications requesting $37.87 million, exceeding the $22 million available funds. 

CDFA secretary Karen Ross stated, "Soil has the transformative power to help us stabilize our changing climate by capturing greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere and storing them underground, through the assistance of living plants and microbes, that improve both the atmosphere and the soil." 

These conservation management practices are known to promote on-farm sustainability by building organic matter, encouraging nutrient cycling, increasing water holding capacity, reducing soil compaction, and lessening the need for synthetic fertilizers. In general, if you enrich your soil, it will boost the productivity of your cropping systems. However, every agricultural operation varies in its needs, the benefit it obtains from different conservation management practices depends on the location, size, crop rotation, irrigation system, and soil type. To enhance applicability according to site specific needs, CDFA allows applicants to choose from four categories, totaling 28 eligible practices selected from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) conservation practices standards. 

For more information about climate smart agriculture, please contact me, Kristian Salgado, at kmsalgado@ucanr.edu or at (442) 265-7700.

 

Posted on Friday, June 12, 2020 at 2:16 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Environment, Natural Resources

UC ANR's new organic institute is swinging into action

The newly appointed Presidential Director for the Clif Bar Endowed Organic Agriculture Institute, Houston Wilson, has already initiated a needs assessment of organic agriculture in California, reported Lee Allen in Western Farm Press. Wilson is using surveys and focus groups to determine production needs within target commodities.

“Our mission will be to develop research and extension for organic production of things like tree fruits, tree nuts and raisins, commodities representing a significant portion of the entire Central Valley, but with very different cropping systems," Wilson said.

The diversity of California agriculture is represented in scale and systems - from orchards to vineyards to row crops and rice production.

"We're working on a cost-benefit analysis for commodities across the state to determine where gains can be had by developing better organic practices," Wilson said. "The argument about whether or not organic production can produce more yield is a hot topic. There are arguments that say organic can't yield as much as conventional and that may be because not that much has been invested in the organic effort compared to conventional agriculture. Metaphorically, it's like comparing a veteran player with a new kid on the team."

Price premiums for certified organic produce entice growers to convert to organic.

"Our job is to work with them, to identify and develop industry practices that make (organic production) move even more alluring," Wilson said.

A needs assessment for organic agriculture research and extension is underway.
Posted on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 8:44 AM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

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