The focus of the UC's annual Conservation Tillage Conference, Sept. 8 and 9 at the UC Westside Research and Extension Center near Five Points, integrates the farmers' bottom line with preservation of California's natural resources.
For years, UC scientists have touted the potential economic benefits to farmers for reducing the number of times a tractor drags through an agricultural field. Reduced tillage promises to save money by conserving water, cutting down on tractor fuel and wear and tear expenses, and reducing pesticide and fertilizer requirements. This year, however, the conference links economics with what conservation tillage can do for air, water and soil quality.
The conference draws speakers and materials from across the Western states, rather than just California, and is lengthened to two days, allowing for more comprehensive presentations, equipment demonstrations and field tours.
"We have a cluster of conservation tillage workgroup members who are farmers in close proximity to the Five Points area," says Jeff Mitchell, UCCE vegetable crops specialist and CT workgroup chair. "They are superb in the advances they are making in reduced tillage production. They'll be our featured speakers and hosts for the farm tours."
The event starts with a broad view of successful conservation tillage applications presented by scientists from Oregon State University, the University of Arizona and University of California, a farmer from Washington State and a USDA researcher with experience in the Southeast United States and Brazil. During the afternoon, a range of concurrent sessions and equipment demonstrations are held.
On Thursday participants may select tours to the local farms of Bob Prys, Andy Rollin, Tom Barcellos, Scott Schmidt and John Diener. The conference is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
Mitchell encourages participants to carefully review the program to decide which sessions they wish to attend. The program is online at http://groups.ucanr.org/ucct.
Registration is $10 per person. To register, send a check payable to "UC Regents" to Diana Nix, UC Kearney Research and Extension Center, 9240 S. Riverbend Ave., Parlier, CA 93648.
The conference is at the UC Westside Research and Extension Center, 17353 W. Oakland Ave., at the corner of Lassen and Oakland avenues about five miles south of Five Points. Overnight accommodations are available in nearby Coalinga at Harris Ranch Inn, (559) 935-0717, Motel 6, (559) 935-1536, and Best Western Big Country Inn, (559) 935-0866. For more information, contact Jeff Mitchell at (559) 646-6565, firstname.lastname@example.org.