A Field Day for Cover Crops and Soil Health

A Field Day for Cover Crops and Soil Health

Alli holding a daikon radish.

As I have mentioned in my previous blogs, I have a certain affinity for cover crops. Mostly it is because I see enormous potential to increase the soil health and climate resiliency in Ventura County agriculture by incorporating cover crops. To shed some light on suitable cover crops for Ventura County, I seeded a cover crop demonstration at UCANR's Hansen Agricultural Research and Education Center in Santa Paula. On December 3rd, farmers, ranchers, gardeners, and community educators were invited to attend a Cover Crop Field Day to learn about different cover crops, compost, and the Healthy Soils Grant opportunity.

The field day attracted growers of all kinds from throughout the county. In attendance were orchard owners, berry and vegetable growers, ranchers, urban farmers, and enthusiastic gardeners, totaling over 100 people! Who knew so many people wanted to learn about my favorite topic?

The cover crop demonstration showcases cover crops in accordance to their functional category: biomass builders, pollinator habitat, low stature, and mustard. Mixes are seeded in long plots with their individual components seeded in smaller plots alongside. This allows for the chance to see the differences between mixes versus single species.

I would like to extend a deep thanks to CDFA, UCANR, the Hansen Agricultural Research and Education Center, Kamprath Seed, and S&S Seed for their generous donation of time, seed, and resources to make this demonstration and field day possible.

Want to know more about what we are up to around the state? Check out this recent press release by UCANR about the Climate Smart Agriculture team.

Climate smart agriculture encompasses management practices that increase soil carbon sequestration, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve yields and efficiencies, and promotes climate resilience. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) supports three funding opportunities in climate smart agriculture: the Healthy Soils Program, the State Water Efficiency & Enhancement Program, and the Alternative Manure Management Program.

 In a collaborative partnership, CDFA and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources have teamed up to support 10 community education specialists throughout the state to provide technical assistance and outreach for the climate smart agriculture programs. As one of these technical assistance providers, my role is to promote and support the adoption of these programs in Ventura County. If you are interested in working with me, please contact me at amfish@ucanr.edu.


By Alli Rowe
Author - Community Education Specialist