Placer Ag Futures Project

Project Overview

FW08-324
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2008: $25,670.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Bill Bennett
High Sierra RC&D Council, Inc.
Co-Investigators:
Kay Joy Barge
High Sierra Resource

Annual Reports

Commodities

  • Agronomic: potatoes, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Fruits: melons, apples, apricots, berries (blueberries), berries (brambles), cherries, figs, citrus, peaches, pears, plums, quinces
  • Vegetables: beans, beets, broccoli, carrots, cucurbits, eggplant, garlic, greens (leafy), onions, peas (culinary), peppers, tomatoes
  • Additional Plants: herbs, ornamentals, trees
  • Animals: bovine, poultry, goats, swine, sheep

Practices

  • Animal Production: parasite control, grazing - multispecies, grazing - rotational, stockpiled forages, watering systems, feed/forage
  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, extension, farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, study circle, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, budgets/cost and returns, marketing management, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: habitat enhancement, hedgerows, hedges - woody
  • Pest Management: biological control, botanical pesticides, chemical control, compost extracts, cultural control, field monitoring/scouting, flame, integrated pest management, physical control, mulching - plastic, cultivation, prevention, row covers (for pests), sanitation, trap crops, traps, weather monitoring
  • Soil Management: green manures, organic matter, soil analysis
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, public participation, employment opportunities, social capital, social networks, sustainability measures

    Summary:

    Placer County, California faces threats to agricultural sustainability from development-driven land prices and the lack of a new generation of producers. To help ensure agriculture’s survival in the area, this Professional + Producer grant supports the Placer Ag Futures Project, the brainchild of 25 local agriculture representatives.

    The Ag Futures Project built the foundation of a program for recruiting and training new producers and training existing producers to become more economically viable. This was achieved through a piloting an internship program, building closer connections with high school agriculture programs, developing a website and delivering beginning farming and farm business planning training.

    Introduction

    The Placer Ag Futures Project was conceived as a response to critical issues affecting local agricultural sustainability. Development-driven land prices and an aging grower community with no new generation of producers are major threats to local agriculture. The sustainability of small-scale agriculture is in doubt if we cannot recruit new producers and connect them with affordable land. The Ag Futures Project began in 2007 with a diverse group of local producers who are deeply concerned about the future of local agriculture. The group created a common vision, identified priority problems related to the sustainability of local agriculture and developed projects to resolve the issues. This project was intended to help grow a new crop of agricultural professionals that are trained in sustainable agricultural practices.

    Project objectives:

    a. Offer ten paid internships on five local farms/ranches.

    b. Develop an educational outreach program to local schools and community colleges to raise young peoples’ awareness of opportunities in agriculture.

    c. Develop an interactive website to connect people with land and other resources.

    d. Develop hands-on business planning and market-driven farming courses to help producers analyze their operation’s financial prospects and determine appropriate enterprises.

    e. Promote farm diversification through the internship program and the market-driven farming course.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.