Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation
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Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation

Conservation agriculture news

CIG's Shrestha conducts cover crop rolling study at Fresno State!

March 20, 2019

CIG's Shrestha conducts cover crop rolling study at Fresno State! 

Professor and Department Chair, Anil Shrestha, at California State University, Fresno, is on his way to conducting a very nice, large-scale and comprehensive study of the ability of a cover crop roller/crimper to terminate several different cover crop mixes on the Fresno State campus during the 2018 – 2019 winter.  His effort is part of the broader Conservation Innovation Grant project that he's involved in that has many farmer, private sector and other university partners.  The project is investigating and evaluating opportunities for doing reduced disturbance organic production of vegetables at several sites in California.  More than ten farmers from Meridian, to Capay, Esparto, Davis, Hollister, Madera, and Firebaugh are on board and are all working together to develop what they hope might be next generation production models for their farms.  Last December, Shrestha seeded six different organic cover crop mixes on the Fresno State campus under his College's center pivot and as of March 20th, the covers are looking quite good.  He's now gearing to test one of the project's roller/crimpers during the coming few weeks once his cover crops reach a more advanced maturity.  He will evaluate the ability of the roller/crimper to effectively kill and terminate the cover crops without using any chemicals or other means.  The roller/crimper will also be used at some of the farm evaluation sites during the coming weeks.  Shrestha is planning to hold a public open house in conjunction with his rolling project.

Fresno State Professor and Department Chair, Anil Shrestha, out in his cover crop field on the University’s campus farm
Fresno State Professor and Department Chair, Anil Shrestha, out in his cover crop field on the University’s campus farm

Fresno State Professor and Department Chair, Anil Shrestha, out in his cover crop field on the University’s campus farm

Some of the diverse cover crop mixes in Anil Shrestha’s roller/crimper study at Fresno State as part of the CIG organic reduced disturbance project
Some of the diverse cover crop mixes in Anil Shrestha’s roller/crimper study at Fresno State as part of the CIG organic reduced disturbance project

Some of the diverse cover crop mixes in Anil Shrestha’s roller/crimper study at Fresno State as part of the CIG organic reduced disturbance project

CIG Project’s Anil Shrestha of Fresno State contemplating and planning the public open house he’s holding this spring to showcase diverse, multi-species cover crop mixes
CIG Project’s Anil Shrestha of Fresno State contemplating and planning the public open house he’s holding this spring to showcase diverse, multi-species cover crop mixes

CIG Project’s Anil Shrestha of Fresno State contemplating and planning the public open house he’s holding this spring to showcase diverse, multi-species cover crop mixes

Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 2:20 PM

Retirement of USDA ARS Distinguished Senior Research Scientist, Doug Karlen

March 6, 2019

Doug Karlen, - an amazingly productive, creative and thoughtful soil and water conservation research scientist at the USDA ARS National Lab for Agriculture and the Environment in Ames, IA, - retired on March 2, 2019.  A wonderful and very fitting retirement celebration was held on that day in his honor in Kansas City, MO that brought together many family members, colleagues and friends to recognize the great career that Doug has had as well as the many ways he touched so many people with  this integrity, passion, and his simply superb ability to build and lead teams and conduct integrated soil and crop management research over his forty-year career with ARS.  For folks who do not know Doug, he was truly an exceptionally productive and influential scientist and leader in the development of soil health indexes and technology transfer programs, sustainably increasing crop yields, and using agricultural crops for bioenergy production.  Not only was he a Fellow in the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America, but he also was recognized as an ARS Distinguished Senior Research Scientist and recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement and Hugh Hammond Bennett Awards.  In addition, Doug was truly a very good friend to CASI and the work that we've been doing here in California.  He came out to work with us on some of the very early soil quality indexing efforts that he and his then Post-Doc, Susan Andrews, pioneered way back in the early 2000's and since then has also returned for a number of very nice meetings and discussions with various CASI groups.  We salute Doug Karlen, a true friend and very good person!

Doug Karlen visiting CASI on April 19, 2016 at UC Davis
Doug Karlen visiting CASI on April 19, 2016 at UC Davis

Doug Karlen visiting CASI on April 19, 2016 at UC Davis (From left to right, Phil Hogan, Marsha Campbell, Hudson Minshew, Tony Rolfes, Eric Kueneman, Zahangir Kabir, Erica Lundquist, and Leslie Roche around Doug Karlen)

California CASI members hosting Doug Karlen of the USDA ARS National Lab for Agriculture and the Environment, Davis, CA March 5, 2018 (From left to right, Jeff Mitchell, Roberto Botelho, Doug Karlen, Hudson Minshew, Rich Collins, Jessica Chiartas, Tony Rolfes, and Zahangir Kabir
California CASI members hosting Doug Karlen of the USDA ARS National Lab for Agriculture and the Environment, Davis, CA March 5, 2018 (From left to right, Jeff Mitchell, Roberto Botelho, Doug Karlen, Hudson Minshew, Rich Collins, Jessica Chiartas, Tony Rolfes, and Zahangir Kabir

California CASI members hosting Doug Karlen of the USDA ARS National Lab for Agriculture and the Environment, Davis, CA March 5, 2018 (From left to right, Jeff Mitchell, Roberto Botelho, Doug Karlen, Hudson Minshew, Rich Collins, Jessica Chiartas, Tony Rolfes, and Zahangir Kabir

USDA ARS Distinguished Senior Research Scientist, Doug Karlen, with CASI’s Jeff Mitchell, Kansas City, MO, March 2, 2019
USDA ARS Distinguished Senior Research Scientist, Doug Karlen, with CASI’s Jeff Mitchell, Kansas City, MO, March 2, 2019

USDA ARS Distinguished Senior Research Scientist, Doug Karlen, with CASI’s Jeff Mitchell, Kansas City, MO, March 2, 2019

Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 8:22 AM

Master Gardener, Tim Sullivan, visits NRI Project field in Five Points!

UCCE Master Gardener and longtime CASI member, Tim Sullivan, paid a very nice visit to CASI's NRI Project field in Five Points on March 1st, as part of the site's “Friday Open House” program.  He is a retired real estate appraiser who worked extensively throughout the San Joaquin Valley's West Side region during his professional career before also becoming a Master Gardener and avid gardening instructor in the Fresno area.  CASI's Jeff Mitchell hosted Tim at the 20-year old NRI Project field where the two of them talked about learning opportunities and future training programs for students in the classes that Tim teaches for urban gardeners.  They also viewed up close the changes in different soil properties and functions that have occurred following the NRI Project's two decades of being in place.  CASI sincerely thanks Tim Sullivan for taking time to come out to our long-term study site!

UCCE Master Gardener, Tim Sullivan, visiting CASI's NRI Project field in Five Points, CA.  March 1, 2019.
UCCE Master Gardener, Tim Sullivan, visiting CASI's NRI Project field in Five Points, CA. March 1, 2019.

UCCE Master Gardener, Tim Sullivan, visiting CASI's NRI Project field in Five Points, CA. March 1, 2019.

Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 8:15 AM

Organic farmers, Steve and Ben Beck of Kings River Produce in Hanford, CA, visit CASI’s NRI Project field in Five Points, CA!

February 22, 2019

Local organic farmers, Steve and Ben Beck of Kings River Produce of Hanford, CA took part in CASI's Friday soil tour open house viewing program at the longstanding NRI Project field in Five Points on February 22nd.  The father-son farming team grow a range of organic vegetables at their extensive acreage near Coalinga and adjacent to the Naval Air Station Base in Lemoore.  They were keen to exchange ideas for soil care and soil function improvement with CASI's Jeff Mitchell who took them out to see how soils have changed after twenty years of no-till and cover crop management at the NRI site.  We have invited the Becks to take part in our CIG organic reduced disturbance project and we look forward to ongoing interactions with them in the future!

Steve and Ben Beck of Kings River Produce of Hanford, CA visit the NRI Project field in Five Points, CA, February 22, 2019
Steve and Ben Beck of Kings River Produce of Hanford, CA visit the NRI Project field in Five Points, CA, February 22, 2019

Steve and Ben Beck of Kings River Produce of Hanford, CA visit the NRI Project field in Five Points, CA, February 22, 2019.

Posted on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 3:39 PM

Laton, CA Holder brothers tour NRI Project site in Five Points, CA!

February 22, 2019

Brady and his brother, Riley Holder, farmers in Laton, CA in California's San Joaquin Valley, came out to Five Points where they visited the NRI Project fields as part of CASI's Friday soil tour program and they also sat down with CASI's Jeff Mitchell to plan their application for a project with CDFA's Healthy Soils Program (HSP).  The two brothers are hoping to submit a project proposal to CDFA for the state agency's new round of Healthy Soils Program projects.  In their application, they hope to receive funding from the HSP to enable them to set up a farm demonstration of cover cropping in their farm's corn and alfalfa rotation fields.  They discussed details of their application with Mitchell and intend to prepare the final aspects of their proposal during the coming two weeks.  

Brady Holder (right) and brother, Riley, visit CASI’s NRI Project field in Five Points, CA, February 22, 2019
Brady Holder (right) and brother, Riley, visit CASI’s NRI Project field in Five Points, CA, February 22, 2019

Brady Holder (right) and brother, Riley, visit CASI’s NRI Project field in Five Points, CA, February 22, 2019

Posted on Monday, February 25, 2019 at 10:15 AM

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