The NRCS Plant Materials Center (CAPMC) in Lockeford, CA serves as a research and education center for sustainable farming practices for California. California agriculture has struggled with low adoption rates for soil health practices such as conservation tillage, cover crops, and irrigation/nutrient management. The first phase will provide training at the CAPMC for NRCS, UCCE, and RCD conservationist in California. This training has been developed to include Cover Crop Selection, Planters, Seeding Rates and Species Identification, Weed Control, Pollinators, IPM, Organic Systems and Management Strategies. These professionals will then be invited to host a demonstration and training in their regions.
The long term goal of this project is to increase knowledge of cover cropping techniques and impacts of water and soil quality in order to increase the adoption rate of the practice in California. To achieve this goal, the following objectives will be met
Fall 2017 prepare for statewide training by planting cover crop demonstrations at the CAMPC. The objective of the preparation is to provide a full agenda of training to qualify for official NRCS training calendar.
- Spring 2018 statewide training to be held at CAPMC for conservationists and agriculture professionals. The objective of this training is to develop the technical knowledge of NRCS, UCCE, RCD and other agricultural professionals to understand and promote the use of cover crops.
- Fall 2018 work with conservationist on implementing regional demonstrations plots of cover cropping techniques learned at the CAPMC training. The objective of these demonstrations is to develop regional trainings for agricultural professionals and to further develop cover cropping techniques using CAPMC research results in different crops and climatic regions of California.
- Spring 2019 hold regional trainings at demonstration plots established in the fall to provide access to additional conservationists, UCCE, RCD and other agricultural professionals not able to attend previous training as well as farmers. The objective of theses trainings is to provide hands-on educational events to promote and understand the use of cover crops to improve water and soil quality.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
The objective of the preparation is to provide a full agenda of training to qualify for official USDA NRCS training calendar.
Fall 2017 prepared for statewide training by planting cover crop demonstrations at the CAMPC. Collaborated with USDA NRCS to develop training agenda that included topics relating to cover crops that would benefit agricultural professionals. Started collection of training materials and research material to include in training manuals.
Training agenda was approved for USDA NRCS staff to attend to achieve job approval authority for Cover Crop (conservation practice 340). This level of training is typically only available to NRCS staff but will now be offered to UCCE, RCD and other agricultural professionals.