March 10, 2018
No-Till Award Presentation in Louisville, KY
Our CASI (Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation) Center was recognized as the Organization Innovator for 2017 by the National No-till Farmer Association at their recent annual meeting in Louisville, KY. Over 990 no-till farmers were in attendance. CASI members Michael Crowell, Monte Bottens and Jeff Mitchell received the acknowledgement on behalf of our Workgroup.
A summary article on the recognition can be seen at the link here.
Seven CASI Workgroup members had the very good opportunity to host Dr. Doug Karlen, well-known soil scientist from the USDA ARS National Lab for Agriculture and the Environment in Ames, IA on March 5th in Davis, CA. The group included NRCSers Zahangir Kabir, Tony Rolfes, Hudson Minshew, UCD Soils PhD student, Jessica Chiartas, local Davis farmer, Rich Collins, Brazilian no-till vegetable researcher, Roberto Botelho, and Jeff Mitchell. Karlen was one of the first researchers back in the mid-1990's to publish research work on the soil quality, - now soil health, - concept. He also has conducted wide-ranging research on biofuel crops and tradeoffs associated with residue removal as energy feedstock material and soil function. This was the second recent trip Karlen has made to the area and the CASI group had a very good chance to talk with him about a range of open-ended topics including ideas for increasing the adoption of soil health or soil care practices, successful farm demonstration networks, and whether soils that have had considerable carbon inputs through cover crops along with reduced disturbance tillage might be less leaky and have lower emissions to the groundwater and the atmosphere than conventionally managed soils. CASI salutes Doug Karlen for the lively and very engaging dialogue we had with him!
Jeff Mitchell, Roberto Botehl, Doug Karlen, Hudson Minshew, Rich Collins, Jessica Chiartas, Tony Rolfes, and Zahangir Kabir (left to right)
March 1, 2018
USDA's Brennan hosts Fresno State's Shrestha and Brazil's Botelho!
Eric Brennen, Anil Shrestha, and Roberto Botelho
Eric Brennan, the well-renowned USDA ARS organic vegetable systems researcher in Salinas, CA provided a simply wonderful and very gracious hosting of Anil Shrestha, also a well-recognized weed ecologist and professor at Fresno State University and Roberto Botelho, a leading no-till vegetable researcher in Sao Paolo state Brazil on March 1, 2018 at the USDA ARS long-term organic research plots. Brennan provided a wealth of information and content based on his career's worth of organic production systems research for a video that Shrestha is working on as part of a CDFA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program project that is preparing a series of 30 videos for use in courses at Fresno State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Chico State and UC Davis. The video will feature information Brennan has developed on the use of cover crops in organic vegetable production systems and it will feature his vast and quite unique experiences with all aspects of cover cropping in these systems.
February 22, 2018
The CASI Center has had the honor of hosting Brazilian conservation agriculture researcher from Sao Paolo state, Roberto Botelho, during February 2018 and one of the highlights of the visit was a meeting with Dr. Angus Wright, distinguished historian and scholar at California State University, Sacramento, where he and Wes Jackson (now of the Land Institute in Salina, KS) created the Environmental Studies Department which was the first of its kind in the US. Dr. Wright spoke to a large audience on “Food, Forests, and Education” and provided very inspiring encouragement to folks on the importance of ‘loving life' and taking on challenges with open, prepared, and flexible minds. He wove several stories of people he has known who themselves were open to meeting new and unexpected challenges and encouraged the young people who were in the audience to think broadly and creatively about their education and the work that they will contribute. He has done extensive work in Brazil and was able to speak with Botelho about it.
Roberto Botelho (left), Brazilian conservation agriculture researcher from Sao Paolo state and Angus Wright, Emeritus Professor of Environmental Studies at California State University, Sacramento at seminar presentation of Wright at Fresno City College, February 22, 2018
February 22, 2018
Jesse Sanchez and Roberto Botelho (left and right) examine soil at Sano Farms cover crop fields in Firebaugh, CA, February 23, 2018
Alan Sano and Jesse Sanchez of Sano Farms in Firebaugh, CA graciously hosted Brazilian conservation agriculture researcher from Sao Paolo state, Roberto Botelho at their farm on February 23rd. Botelho is visiting the San Joaquin Valley with CASI's Mitchell, who has taken him around to a number of farms where he's been able to meet local pioneers of improved performance production systems. Sanchez took Botelho out to several of Sano Farms' cover crop fields and dug up soil to show how things have changed since cover cropping and minimum tillage were begun over ten years ago. Not only have there been remarkable changes in soil tilth, but Sanchez and Sano are also now able to reduce fertilizer and water use at their farm after so many years of consistent cover crop and reduced disturbance approaches.