Steve Gruenwald - 2016
This year’s Conservation Agriculture Technical Support Innovator Award recipient is Steve Gruenwald.
Steve is a most deserving candidate for the 2016 award due to the exceptionally hard work that he has initiated and sustained since 2010 in the Sacramento Valley to introduce, refine and perfect strip-tillage corn silage management along with a cadre of progress farmers that he works with as a cropping systems advisor with Growers’ Choice Crop Consultants, in Orland.
In the spring of 2010, Steve organized a group of farmers in the Orland area of the Sacramento Valley and together they planted about 1,000 acres of strip-till corn with a variety of different fertilizer programs. They monitored crop growth and development and saw no differences in plant vigor or overall height.
Based on this initial success, Steve continued work with strip-tillage in 2011 and also organized a very successful follow-up public field day. Despite some setbacks that saw folks go back to conventional tillage ahead of their corn crops during these early years, Steve persevered and continued his behind-the-scenes work directly with farmers and the impressive success that they began to have eventually became more and more apparent to local dairy farmers.
On April 20, 2016, Steve then worked with local RCD, University Cooperative Extension and NRCS colleagues to organize an extremely successful strip-till farm field day at MTSJ Dairy along with dairyman, Marty Poldervarrt. This event attracted over 30 farmers and interested participants and was a highly successful outreach event that Steve again was essentially responsible for through his behind-the-scenes efforts. Steve Gruenwald is a soft-spoken, persistent, and outstanding contributor to advances in tillage management in California. It has been through his virtually single-handed efforts and tenacity that strip-tillage is now a common practice in the South Sacramento Valley.
Two videos depicting Steve’s role in coordinating this innovation are now available at You Tube.
It has been very largely through the efforts of Steve Gruenwald that strip-tillage has now become commonplace in this region and we therefore our Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation Center proudly bestows recognition on him with our prestigious 2016 acknowledgement. He is most deserving.