September 4, 2013

Twilight Field Day, Sept. 12, Five Points

Sustainable agricultural systems involving precision irrigation and conservation tillage will be featured at the University of California Cooperative Extension’s annual Twilight Field Day and bus tour Sept. 12 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

A crowd gathers for a presentation last year in the early evening.
“We want to introduce more farmers to these proven technologies,” said Jeff Mitchell, UCCE farm advisor and field day coordinator. “We’ve done the research. These systems work and they save water, reduce dust, store carbon in the soil, and save farmers money.”

This year, the expanded event includes an afternoon bus tour to three San Joaquin Valley farms where conservation agriculture systems are successfully implemented.

Registrants will gather at 1 p.m. at the UC Westside Research and Extension Center, 17353 West Oakland Ave., Five Points, Calif. to load on buses.

The bus tour includes three stops:

1 - Johnny and Joann Tacharra Dairy in Burrel - The Tacharras will explain the application of dairy waste water through an overhead irrigation system to grow forage crops.

2 - Armando Galvan of Five Points Ranch - Galvan will show his refined irrigation system to apply water to vegetable and row crops. Galvan installs special nozzles on the overhead irrigation drop lines to improve water infiltration and avoid ponding and crusting on the soil surface.

3 - Scott Schmidt of Farming ‘D’ Ranch in Five Points - Schmidt will discuss new management strategies to successfully implement new agricultural systems.

Following the tour, participants will reconvene at 4 p.m. at the UC Westside REC for a workshop on the economic and environmental benefits of conservation agriculture systems.

The event continues with a free barbecue dinner, entertainment by the Wheelhouse Country Band, and a keynote address by Suat Irmak, director of the Nebraska Water Center and professor of biological systems engineering.

Jeff Mitchell will name the 2013 Conservation Tillage Farmer Innovator of the Year award winner.

The expanded event coincides with a concerted effort by the Conservation Agricultural Systems Innovation (CASI) Center to grow the conservation agriculture movement in California.

CASI is a diverse group of UC researchers, farmers, public and private industry, and environmental groups formed to develop and exchange information on sustainable agricultural systems for California row crops.

“In each century, there are just a handful of times when agriculture can transform itself in revolutionary ways,” Mitchell said. “There is growing evidence that today presents one of those rare chances for agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley to reinvent itself.”

The event is free but pre-registration is requested.

RSVP to Diana Nix at

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