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Eric Brennan  |  USDA-ARS  |  Salinas, CA

Subject: Two Vidoes on Sustainability Challenges in Organic Agriculture

Hi Folks,

Below are links to two 5 minute, thought-provoking videos that I made and presented at a symposium titled "Sustainability Challenges in Organic Agriculture" that I co-organize for the annual meeting of the American Society of Agronomy in Phoenix, AZ, last month. The first video is focused on NITROGEN FERTILIZERS and SOIL FERTILITY MANAGEMENT in high-input, organic vegetable systems like those that are common in the Central Coast of California. The second video, with two coauthors who work at the USDA-ARS in Beltsville, MD, is focused on PEST MANAGEMENT challenges especially with PERENNIAL WEEDS.

Sustainability Problems with Repackaged Synthetic Nitrogen in Organic Agriculture. (Brennan)

What Our Organic Gardens Taught Us About the Challenges of Organic Regulations. (Cavigelli, Tomecek, & Brennan)

All 11 presentations in this symposium were by 5 minute videos and followed by equal time for

... Read More

In Topics Soil Fertility Management, Pest & Disease Management, Certifications

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Comments 2
12/09/16

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  |  Nico Orgo USA Inc  |  Fresno, CA commented

Hello Eric, Great research thanks for keeping us informed.

05/18/17 11:01 AM

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Sara Bernal  |  CLBL  |  Winters, CA

Subject: Jack Rabbit proof Gates

I am fencing off some land to start a veggie farm and I understand how to install the actual perimeter fencing however; does anyone have a gate design or idea that would keep the Jack Rabbits out.

I need a gate that I can drive my truck through and let tractors in and out that would be used daily.

The gate seems like a giant weak spot.

I am considering pouring a small concrete pad to keep them from burrowing and then bringing the wire down to the ground and weighing it down with stones or bricks.....

The Jack Rabbit pressure is pretty intense at this site.

In Topics Pest & Disease Management

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Comment 0
02/16/17
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Laura Patterson  |  UC Davis  |  Davis, CA

Subject: ORGANIC PRODUCE FARMS NEEDED FOR RESEARCH STUDY

We are looking for California certified organic growers to participate in a multi-regional study to assess current management practices affecting soil health and the survival of pathogens, related to adding raw/aged/untreated manure to crop production fields.

The goal of our study is to provide organic farmers with science-based effective strategies that limit food safety risks when using raw manure based soil amendments.

University of California-Davis researchers will visit enrolled farms 8 times per growing season (in 2017 & 2018). We will collect water, produce, soil and manure samples. All samples will be tested for bacterial indicators such as nonpathogenic E. coli & pathogens. Farmers will be asked to complete a short survey. The study is voluntary and all locations and names will be kept confidential.

How you can participate:

We are looking to enroll farms that fit these criteria:... Read More

In Topics Soil Fertility Management, Pest & Disease Management, Food Safety, Livestock, News & Events

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Comment 1
01/11/17
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  |  P.J. Dunn Working Redworms  |  Galt, CA commented

Sounds like a very important study for pastured land producing crops for human consumption. I like to remind farmers if they do have access to large quantities of raw manures and spread them on their fields that processing through the gut of the composting worm adds incredible benefit to the finished product. Getting started is easy if you want to know more you can contact Michael Dunn at PJ Dunn Working Red Worms in Galt

01/16/17 12:08 PM

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Brandon Sanders  |  RobinSong Farms  |  Templeton, CA

Subject: mice and voles

I'm curious what others do to control small rodents in crops, particularly in cucurbits. We already trap for gophers and squirrels, but we also have mice and voles spending a lot of time in our squash and melon fields. At the moment, I don't have much preference between deterrent or kill methods, but I'd like to hear examples of either. Long-term, we would like to focus on deterrents, but we would like to get a handle on them. Mowing the open areas does not seem to be increasing the amount of raptor kills by much (at least not noticeably in the rodent populations), so it is time to be more proactive... I'm interested in hearing any sort of suggestions...

In Topics Pest & Disease Management, Wildlife Management

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Comments 12
07/24/16

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  |  Wood Prairie Farm  |  Bridgewater, ME commented

We have friends with an organic farm and on-farm grain milling operation. They have two Jack Russell Terriers (a sister and a brother). Their hyper-active capability is pretty amazing and they control rodents including good-sized rats.

09/03/16 5:00 AM

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Susan Cousineau  |  Self-employed  |  Camarillo, CA

Subject: Looking for tree crop growers interested in on-farm research

Hi all

There is much buzz about carbon farming, soil health and regenerative agriculture this year, and many farmers (and researchers) are interested in developing on-farm soil carbon and soil health monitoring.

I'm interested in finding someone interested in developing regenerative agricultural practices on their existing orchard (focusing on citrus, avocado or almond but open to others) in order to set up some medium term (2-5+ year) monitoring projects modelling soil-building practices. These might include compost application (as per the Marin Carbon Project: http://marincarbonproject.org); intensively managed/short-rotation grazing; intercropping, covercropping and alley cropping; alternative irrigation practices; or other methods depending on the goals of landowner and research potential of the site.

A bit about me: my background is in evolutionary ecology (BSc., MSc.), but I grew up farming and

... Read More

In Topics Soil Fertility Management, Trees, Vines & Planting, Pest & Disease Management, Water & Irrigation, Funding Opportunities, Weather & Climate Change, Anything Goes

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Comment 1
04/16/16
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  |  P.J. Dunn Working Redworms  |  Galt, CA commented

This sounds like a very good starting point for a lot of contemporary 'aggies'. Some terms are new, but the sound of regenerative suggests a 'sustainable' tone to it. I would love to open up interest in worm castings as part of that process. I've been a small scale worm farmer for 18 years now and haven't seen enough commitment to the principles that Elaine Ingham has framed in her studies about soil health and fertility. If you have the desire to follow the health of the soil below the surface, please get in touch with me at PJ Dunn Working Red Worms in Galt, CA.

I'm sure that the process that occurs in the transformation of compost to castings involves carbon AND regeneration. We sell castings and worms and can provide education to get anyone started in turning their farm waste into mother nature's best and most well balanced fertilizer! Alternative is no longer a 'dirty' word, it is just

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04/17/16 2:09 PM

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Anson Biller  |  Full Fork Farm  |  China, ME

Subject: IMP/Organic Control for Tarnished Plant Bug?

I'm located in Mid-Coast Maine in the China Lakes Region. What recommendations can you offer about working with tarnished plant bug? There's a farmer producing hay next in the same field as I'm going to produce veggies/strawberries, and I want to be ready about potential challenges from tarnished plant bug when he cuts his field.

In Topics Pest & Disease Management

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Comment 0
03/07/16
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Eric Brennan  |  USDA-ARS  |  Salinas, CA

Subject: Novel DIY HOE with INTERCHANGEABLE, PLASTIC FRIENDLY, ADJUSTABLE, SHARP & FLEXIBLE blades.

Hi Folks,

Below are two video links to the new hoe that I developed that’s great in strawberries or vegetable and works great near plastic mulch. You can make it for almost nothing. In my opinion it's much better than a hula/stirrup hoe, or wire weeder or other hoes we've used in our systems. The detailed tutorial has more discussion of how it works, blade options, unique features, etc. and an interactive table of contents. The basic tutorial just shows how to make it. I hope it helps you with your weed control. Feel free to share with others that might find the design useful.

How to make an Inexpensive and Efficient hoe for weeding, DETAILED Tutorial: The Recycle (Strap) Hoe 18 minutes

How to make an Inexpensive and Efficient hoe for weeding, BASIC Tutorial: The Recycle (Strap) Hoe 8 minutes

Take care, Eric

In Topics Seed & Planting, Pest & Disease Management, Equipment

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Comments 2
01/25/16, updated

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  |  USDA-ARS  |  Salinas, CA commented

Hi Paul

Youre very welcome. I think you'll be impressed with how well this design works. I think it will save you some $. Happy to share the design.

Eric

01/25/16 8:14 PM

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Eric Brennan  |  USDA-ARS  |  Salinas, CA

Subject: Biological Control Buffet in the Salad Bowl of America

Hi Folks,

Last month I gave a presentation at a national meeting of the Agronomy/Entomological Societies of America in Minneapolis, MN. It focused on the complex integration of HEDGEROWS, COVER CROPS and INSECTARY PLANTS in our biological control strategies in the context of our vegetable and strawberry research at our USDA-ARS organic research farm in Salinas, California. Here's the a link where you can watch a 10 minute video on it A Biological Control Buffet in the Salad Bowl of America It's got a few surprises :)

take care, Eric

Eric Brennan, Ph.D

Research Horticulturist

Organic Crop Production

USDA-ARS

1636 E. Alisal St.

Salinas, CA 93905

Tel. 831-755-2822

Fax. 831-755-2814

Email. Eric.Brennan@ars.usda.gov

http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Eric_Brennan/

In Topics Seed & Planting, Pest & Disease Management, Food Safety, Wildlife Management

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Comments 4
12/10/15

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  |  California Horticulture Services  |  Santa Cruz, CA commented

Eric B.

Have you experienced problems with bagrada bugs in alyssum plantings? I've experienced major infestations on a small landscape scale and have also seen them in alyssum in some fields over the past two years. I expect that will become more of a challenge in brassicas like broccoli. Perhaps phacelia would be another option that is less attractive to bagrada bugs.

Thanks,

Michael Johnson

12/11/15 10:32 AM

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Michael Hermon  |  Farm Dog  |  San Jose, CA

Subject: Answer 25 farming questions - and we'll mail you a hat

Dear farmers!

We're a small team on a big mission - to make precision agriculture concepts affordable and accessible to even the smallest of farmers. We need some input to be smarter about what we're building.

Our name is Farm Dog (http://farmdog.ag/) and we'll gladly send a Farm Dog hat to the first 50 people that will answer the 25 questions in this survey form: http://goo.gl/forms/88SywcPrlt

Yours,

Michael Hermon

Co-founder and CTO

Farm Dog

In Topics Soil Fertility Management, Seed & Planting, Trees, Vines & Planting, Pest & Disease Management, Water & Irrigation, Harvesting, Washing, Packing & Packaging, Waste Management, Marketing & Sales, Food Safety, Equipment, Trucks, Delivery & Logistics, Growing Structures: Greenhouses, Hoop Houses, etc., Facilities, Cooling & Energy Systems, Business & Financial Planning, Funding Opportunities, Staff, HR & Worker Safety, Immigration & Farmworker Rights, Insurance, Certifications, Farmland Conservation, Sales & Estate Planning, Wildlife Management, Livestock, Beginning Farmers & Ranchers, Women in Agriculture, Weather & Climate Change, Urban Agriculture, Policy, News & Events, Anything Goes

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Comment 0
12/08/15
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Ruthie King  |  Grange School of Adaptive Agriculture  |  Willits, CA

Subject: Grange Farm School offers residential, vocational training in 2016

The Grange Farm School is looking for a special kind of student. You think holistically rather than in parts. You see the importance of asking high quality questions. You are innovative, ambitious, persistent, and collaborative. You want to be part of the new face of agriculture that will transform our world for the better.

Our 14 week residential, Student Program offers you the tools and confidence to manage a successful agricultural enterprise, whether in farming, ranching, or related fields. You will live and work on a beautiful 5,000 acre ranch with diverse vegetables, grains, fruit trees, and livestock. Guest instructors and staff members provide a comprehensive curriculum in business management, industrial arts, animal husbandry, soil and ecology, and crop production, supported by an understanding of the theory and history of our food systems. You will leave with hands-on practical experience, and

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In Topics Soil Fertility Management, Seed & Planting, Trees, Vines & Planting, Pest & Disease Management, Water & Irrigation, Harvesting, Washing, Packing & Packaging, Waste Management, Marketing & Sales, Food Safety, Equipment, Growing Structures: Greenhouses, Hoop Houses, etc., Facilities, Cooling & Energy Systems, Business & Financial Planning, Staff, HR & Worker Safety, Insurance, Certifications, Farmland Conservation, Sales & Estate Planning, Wildlife Management, Livestock, Beginning Farmers & Ranchers, Women in Agriculture, Weather & Climate Change, Urban Agriculture, Policy, News & Events

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Comment 0
12/05/15
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