Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation
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Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation

Conservation agriculture news

CASI receives 2018 Award of Excellence from the Western Extension Directors Association!

UC ANR Vice President Glenda Humiston (left), Fresno County Advisor and CASI member Dan Munk (center), and ANR Associate Vice President, Wendy Powers (right)
July 10, 2018 

The Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation (CASI) Center received this year's Award of Excellence from the Western Extension Directors Association (WEDA).  CASI's Dan Munk received the recognition on behalf of our Center on July 10 following a presentation he delivered on our goals and accomplishments at the group's annual conference in Guam.

WEDA is made up of the following states and territories:  Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Micronesia, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.  Their annual Awards of Excellence Program was created in 2005 to recognize Extension outreach education programming that has achieved outstanding accomplishments, results, and impacts in addressing contemporary issues in one or more of the 13 Western states and Pacific Island US Territories.   

The group that submitted our application for consideration for this year's recognition included Brenna Aegerter, Howard Ferris, Amelie Gaudin, Temarat Ghezzehei, Kurt Hembree, William Horwath, Louise Jackson, Betsy Karle, Sarah Light, Mark Lundy, Dan Marcum, Milt McGiffen, Glenn McGourty, Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, Jeff Mitchell, Gene Miyao, Dan Munk, Tapan Pathak, Samuel Sandoval-Solis, Gary Sposito, Scott Stoddard, Tom Turini, Amber Vinchesi, Jeannette Warner, and Daniele Zaccaria. 

Congratulations to all and special thanks to Dan Munk for making the trip to Guam on our behalf!

Posted on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at 12:54 PM

NRCS Mississippi soil scientist, Allen Curry, visits NRI Project with CASI's Roy, Munk, Koch and Mitchell!

(L to R) Rob Roy, Allen Curry, Geoff Koch, Dan Munk
June 27, 2018

The NRCS Soil Scientist for Mississippi, Allen Curry, who is on a two-month detail visiting the Fresno Area Office with Area Agronomist and long-time CASI Workgroup member, Rob Roy, visited the CASI NRI Project in Five Points, CA and engaged in a lively discussion with Dan Munk, Geoff Koch and Jeff Mitchell at the study site.  Curry is working with Roy on a number of efforts and is having the opportunity to see how the NRCS operates in California as part of his training exchange.   The group observed the tomato and garbanzo plots before heading to El Ranchero Café in Five Points for a sumptuous luncheon that many CASI visitors in the past have also experienced.  A warm CASI welcome to Allen Curry!


Posted on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 at 4:26 PM

Debating California Tillage

Alan Wilcox, left, and Jeff Mitchell debate the challenges and opportunities for conservation tillage.
UC ANR scientist debates conservation tillage practices with industry leader

Alan Wilcox of Wilcox Agri-Products and UC Cooperative Extension specialist Jeff Mitchell debated the challenges and opportunities for increased implementation of conservation tillage practices on California farms during the World Ag Expo in February, reported Alan Stenum in Farm Equipment magazine.

Wilcox said farmers are going to be resistant to anything they suspect will affect yield. Mitchell said creative innovation underway will have a big impact on some of the more challenging crops that are grown in California.

"This is a region where costs are high. The cost of doing business is high, and maximum yields on any crop are important to even break even," Wilcox said. "We're going to be intensely committed to water management and the maximum amount of water."

Mitchell said farmers in other parts of the U.S. started to switch to reduced disturbance no-till systems to conserve water.

"The recognition of the value of that opportunity to reduce soil water evaporation and have more water going through the crops through transpiration hasn't really sunk in here in California in large fashion," Mitchell said.

While Mitchell noted that water is essential to the discussion of conservation agriculture, there are other important aspects to consider.

"Biological cycling of nutrients in the soil, tightening up the system so there are fewer losses, either to the groundwater as some sort of pollution, or improving the overall soil function and nutrition provision capacity of the soil - that's not a small aspect of the overall system, nor are the opportunities for reducing costs," Mitchell said.

Wilcox said he would characterize the argument differently.

"The point is in all of our tillage strategies - and in every situation - we never compromise yield," he said.

Read the complete debate in Farm Equipment magazine.

More information about the use of conservation agriculture practices can be found on the UC Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation website.







Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 8:36 AM

CASI holds outreach soil health presentations to Tulare County fourth-graders!

May 11, 2018

Interactive display materials for Tulare County 4th graders as part of the 2018 AgVentures! Field Day.
In what might be the sixth or seventh year in a row, CASI's Jeff Mitchell participated in the annual AgVentures! educational event for several Tulare County public schools fourth-grader classes on May 11, 2018 at the International Ag Center.  This is an annual event that is put on by the Tulare County School District in conjunction with the Tulare County Cooperative Extension and the International Ag Center and it typically involves several hundred students from the local schools.  It turns out to be the classic ‘field trip' for kids and seems to be something that brings excitement and hopefully good learning to large numbers of students.  A short video of some of the action can be seen at the You Tube site 


Posted on Monday, May 14, 2018 at 9:30 AM

First-ever pivot-irrigated processing tomatoes near Walnut Grove!

June 25, 2015

Michael Boparai, a farmer who recently bought two center pivot irrigation systems and installed them on his farmland near the Delta area town of Walnut Grove, invited a diverse group of private sector and UC Cooperative Extension supporters to the field where he's growing processing tomatoes on June 25th 2015.  The group included Dan Schueler, Senninger Irrigation Company, Rick Hanshew, Reinke Mfg., a pivot company, Brenna Aegerter, Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, Gene Miyao, and Jeff Mitchell, - all of UC Cooperative Extension, along with host, Boparai.  They discussed opportunities for managing the tomato crop as well as things to try to avoid during the upcoming season.  A follow-up article describing applications of overhead irrigation systems for several crops of the Central Valley may be found at A short video of the team meeting at Boparai's farm is available at You Tube at

Field meeting at Boparai overhead irrigation tomato field, Walnut Grove, CA June 25, 2015


Posted on Monday, May 14, 2018 at 9:22 AM

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