- Fruits: grapes
- Nuts: almonds, walnuts
- Crop Production: cover crops, application rate management
- Education and Training: demonstration, display, farmer to farmer
- Pest Management: biological control, competition, cultural control, economic threshold, integrated pest management, mating disruption, precision herbicide use, prevention, sanitation, traps, mulching - vegetative, weather monitoring
- Production Systems: integrated crop and livestock systems
- Soil Management: organic matter, soil analysis, soil quality/health
In this project, the Community Alliance with Family Farrners took the technical information used in its pesticide reduction program, Biologically Integrated Orchard Systems (BIOS), and developed curricula for use in two training workshops for agricultural professionals. Both the fall and spring workshops were offered in two locations in 1998. Each of the four workshops was attended by approximately 20 to 24 participants.
BIOS is a demonstration program for almond and walnut orchards that offers technical assistance to farmers who want to reduce their synthetic pesticide and fertilizer use. Its methods rely on natural predator/prey relationships for pest control and on natural fertilizers. We developed training in these methods for agency personnel, particularly for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and University of California Cooperative Extension, because there is no other professional training available in biologically integrated methods. By filling this void, the project helped ensure that farmers who seek information on reduced chemical farming systems will be served by agricultural professionals who are informed about these methods and can offer them the support they need to adopt such practices.
This project has three objectives:
1. To develop the capacity of Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) personnel, and other agricultural professionals to understand and promote successful biologically integrated almond production principles and practices;
2. To develop training for agency personnel and agricultural professionals based on a participatory learning model and evaluate its suitability for use in other regions;
3. To stimulate hand- on educational events for farmers and other members of the agricultural community to be organized and led by those trained in the mini courses.