Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation
University of California
Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation

View the CASI six-part documentary

The video above is the first episode of a six-part documentary series from Conservation Agriculture Cropping Systems Innovation (CASI). In the videos, farmers, UC researchers and industry leaders explain how no-till and minimum-till agriculture, and overhead precision irrigation, can lead to higher irrigation efficiency, increased profitability and greater resource conservation. Find links to all segments at the table of contents.

Conservation agriculture news

Capture Tom Willey SWCS Tom Willey presents CIG Project's reduced disturbance organic vegetable production project in You Tube video
August 21, 2022Madera, CA long-time organic farmer and key farmer member of California's CIG reduced disturbance organic vegetable project, provided a recorded copy of the presentation that he gave at the 2022 Annual Conference of the Soil and Water...

Air Injection August 10, 2022 Phil Foster's Hollister, CA CIG's Willey and Foster conducting pressurized air injection study in peppers in Hollister, CA in 2022!
August 13, 2022 The national NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant Program CA organic reduced disturbance vegetable project has a new research component this year at the Hollister, CA farm of Phil Foster.  Both he and CIG Project partner,...

Tom Willey receiving SWCS recognition in Denver CO 2022 CASI honored with SWCS 2022 Conservation Innovation Award - August 2, 2022
CASI honored with SWCS 2022 Conservation Innovation Award - August 2, 2022 August 4, 2022 California's Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation (CASI) Center was recognized as the recipient of the 2022 Conservation Innovation Award by the Soil...

1JM 5351 Storyteller Douglas Gayeton visits Park Farming and Fully Belly Farm, May 20, 2022
May 30, 2022 The Lexicon of Sustainability's Gayeton visits Park Farming and Fully Belly Farm Douglas Gayeyon, storyteller and creative force behind the Lexicon of Sustainability (https://www.thelexicon.org/) spent the better part of May 20,...

Roth Mitchell-Extension-Botswana 220317 CASI's Mitchell meets with researchers from Rothamsted Research in UK, March 17, 2022
March 20, 2022 CASI's Jeff Mitchell was invited to meet with eight researchers of the Rothamsted Research facility in Great Britain as part of a research exchange program organized by the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at...

DJI 0908 Fresno State weed science students learn about cover crop roller/crimpers March 4, 2022
March 4, 2022 Nearly 100 students in Dr. Anil Shrestha's weed science course at Fresno State University spent time in the field as part of their laboratory sessions to learn about the potential roles that cover crops and roller/crimpers might play in...

1JM 1478 Fresno State's Shrestha counts weeds at CIG vegetable farmer's Santa Ana ranch in Hollister, CA!
February 6, 2022 Expert weed ecologist, Dr. Anil Shrestha, of Fresno State's Department of Viticulture and Enology, has begun two exhaustive investigations of weed prevalence and diversity at the organic farm of USDA NRCS CIG Project...

Capture Jennifer Valdez-Herrera 2022 single photo Fresno State's Valdez-Herrera shines at California Weed Science Society 2022 Annual Meeting
January 20, 2022 Undergraduate student, Jennifer Valdez-Herrera, took home the first prize award in this year's student poster competition of the California Weed Science Society that was held January 19th - 21st at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Sacramento,...

1JM 0881 Fresno State's Valdez-Herrera and Wilmott begin Year 5 of cover crop roller crimper study
January 20, 2022 Year 5 of a major cover crop roller crimper study is underway on the Fresno State campus in the school's center pivot field under the monitoring supervision of Dr. Anil Shrestha and his undergraduate student research...

1JM 0839 CIG Project Organic Reduced Disturbance Farmers Phil Foster and Tom Willey Plan 2022 Air Injection Project in Peppers with John Petrosso of Mazzei Injector Company
January 19, 2022 On a foggy morning at the Santa Ana Ranch of Phil Foster's Pinnacle Organically Grown Produce farm nearHollister, CA, he along with fellowCIG Project farmer, Tom Willey, met with JohnPetrosso, the Sales Engineer forMazzei Injector...

CASI events

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Conservation agriculture at work

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Overhead center pivot irrigation system irrigating cotton at Farming 'D' in Five Points, Calif.

Conservation tillage innovators

Paul and Elizabeth Kaiser - 2017

Paul and Elizabeth Kaiser - 2017

Kaisers of Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastopol, CA recognized as CASI 2017 Farmer Innovators!

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Michael McRee - 2017

Michael McRee - 2017

Michael McRee of Chowchilla, CA receives 2017 CASI Farmer Innovator recognition

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Gary Martin - 2012

Gary Martin - 2012

Gary Martin - 2012 Conservation Tillage Farmer Innovator Award



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Steve Gruenwald - 2016

Steve Gruenwald - 2016

2016 Conservation Agriculture Technical Support Innovator Award recipient is Steve Gruenwald. 

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Ladi Asgill - 2016

Ladi Asgill - 2016

The recipient of the Farmer Support Innovator Award for 2016 is Ladi Asgill.

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Mike Winemiller - 2016

Mike Winemiller - 2016

The recipient of the Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation Center’s Farmer Technical Support Innovator Award for 2016 is Mike Winemiller.

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Michael Crowell - 2011

Michael Crowell - 2011

A 2011 CT Farmer Innovator Award goes to Michael Crowell of Bar Vee Dairy in Turlock, Calif. This award acknowledges the outstanding and pioneering work he has done to develop and expand no-till dairy forage production systems not only at his dairy, but also throughout the Turlock region, and also recognizes the very generous contributions he has made to achieving the goals of California’s Conservation Cropping Systems Workgroup.

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Mike Vereschagin - 2016

Mike Vereschagin - 2016

Mike Vereschagin, a fourth-generation Glenn County farmer, is a 2016 CT Innovator of the Year.

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Charlie Rominger - 2015

Charlie Rominger - 2015

On Wednesday, December 2nd of 2015,  our CASI Conservation Tillage Farmer Innovator recognition was posthumously awarded to Charlie Rominger in a very moving and memorable ceremony that took place at the home of Charlie’s brother, Bruce Rominger and his wife, Robyn, just north of Winters, CA.  About ten members of the Rominger family and over forty others who had known Charlie were in attendance.

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Darrell and Trevor Cordova - 2014

Darrell and Trevor Cordova - 2014

The recipients of the California Conservation Agriculture Farmer Innovator Awards for 2014 are Darrell and Trevor Cordova of Denair, CA.  They are recognized for their tenacious dedication to improved performance no-tillage and precision irrigation systems at their farm in the foothills in eastern Stanislaus County.

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Ralph Cesena, Sr. - 2013

Ralph Cesena, Sr. - 2013

The 2013 CT Industry Award recipient is Ralph Cesena, Sr., president of Cesena Distributing of Stockton, Calif.

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Ron Harben - 2013

Ron Harben - 2013

Ron Harben is one of our founding and most stalwart workgroup members. He has made truly exceptional contributions and exhibited phenomenal dedication to conservation agriculture in California.

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Danny Ramos - 2013

Danny Ramos - 2013

Danny Ramos is the manager for The Morningstar Company’s Lucero Farms Central San Joaquin Valley crop production activities.  He is responsible for the company’s farming operations and is also the one who develops efficient production paradigms for crop productivity and quality for the largest processing tomato production company in the world.  The tremendous initiatives that he has instituted within Morningstar during the past few years in terms of implementing a whole host of conservation tillage practices for tomatoes, corn and cover crops are nothing short of phenomenal and abundantly qualify him for our Workgroup’s 2013 Conservation Tillage Farmer Innovator Award.

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Fritz Durst - 2011

Fritz Durst - 2011

A 2011 CT Farmer Innovator Award recipient is Fritz Durst, the owner of Tule Farms in the Dunnigan Hills in Yolo County. 

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Steve Fortner and Fred Leavitt - 2011

Steve Fortner and Fred Leavitt - 2011

The CT Farmer Innovator awards for 2011 go to Steve Fortner and Fred Leavitt of Sun Pacific Farming in Exeter, Calif. Together, they have developed and successfully refined state-of-the-art tomato production systems that employ strip-tillage with winter cover crops.

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John Diener - 2010

John Diener - 2010

John Diener, the owner of Red Rock Ranch in Five Points, Calif., was named the 2010 CT Innovator by the Conservation Tillage and Cropping Systems Workgroup. He has been an articulate spokesperson for Central Valley agriculture over the years, and a demonstrated leader in a variety of civic, research and policy arenas.

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Alano Sano and Jesse Sanchez - 2009

Alano Sano and Jesse Sanchez - 2009

Alan Sano is the co-owner of Sano Farm, a 4,000-acre farm in western Fresno County. Jesse Sanchez is the farm manager. Together, they have developed revolutionary tomato production systems that are based on conservation tillage, the inclusion of off-season cover crops, and highly efficient and innovative management.

Sano and Sanchez have made advances in CT systems for a crop that previously has not had reduced till practices available. The essence of their innovative CT system involves permanent, 60-inch tomato beds, subsurface drip irrigation, winter cover crops (when water allocations have been sufficient to allow their growth), strip-tillage in the tomato transplant line, and minimal postharvest tillage.

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Dino Giacomazzi - 2008

Dino Giacomazzi - 2008

Giacomazzi epitomizes the intent of this prestigious CT workgroup award and he continues, and indeed enhances, our tradition of acknowledging truly outstanding innovation and achievement.

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Tony Turkovich - 2007

Tony Turkovich - 2007

In addition to the very extensive research that has been conducted at Button & Turkovich Ranch, Tony has been very generous with his time and farm equipment that he has contributed to the Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems (SAFS) Project on the UC Davis campus.

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Jim Couto - 2007

Jim Couto - 2007

Jim Couto has excelled in developing innovative conservation tillage approaches for his farm and has become a true leader in the entire arena of CT in California’s Central Valley.

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Tom Barcellos - 2006

Tom Barcellos - 2006

Tom Barcellos readily acknowledges that there is a learning curve associated with transitioning to CT and that yields cannot be categorically guaranteed to be higher or equal to standard-till systems every single season.  On balance, however, his experience and success with cutting out tillage operations have enabled him to continue to pursue a range of innovative CT practices quite successfully.

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Bob Prys - 2005

Bob Prys - 2005

Bob Prys is AgroManager for Borba Farms in Riverdale and has been extremely active and innovative in conservation tillage system development, evaluation and refinement for many years.

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