Posts Tagged: media
Many states have a designated state bird, flower, fossil, mineral, etc. In California, the state bird is the California Valley Quail, the state flower is the Golden Poppy, the state fossil is the Sabertoothed Cat, and the state mineral is Native Gold. The state rock is Serpentine which contains chrysolite asbestos which is a carcinogen. It's a beautiful rock, though.
The state soil is the San Joaquin series. The series concept is that a given soil has certain properties like pH, depth, color, texture, etc. that distinguishes it from other “soils” or series. So wherever this soil is found it is given the same name. San Joaquin series is a soil that is found primarily along the foothills of the Sierras in the Central Valley. The name comes from where it is first described, in this case, San Joaquin, but it is found in other places. Yolo series is named after a soil on the campus at UC Davis in Yolo county, but it is also found in San Diego county, and in other states.
A description of the state soil can be found at the link below, as well as the state soils in other states:
Soils can be highly variable depending on the context in which they are found. Going to flat old Kansas which is actually flatter than a pancake (http://www.usu.edu/geo/geomorph/kansas.html), the variability from spot to spot across miles can be minimal. But going to a place like Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo Counties of the Sierra foothills, you can't step on the same soil twice. That's because of the terrain and landforms. Where there is natural erosion (yes, it doesn't take humans to cause erosion) or accelerated erosion (this is where humans have often changed the landscape with roads, houses, removing ground cover) soil gets moved around and deposited in different positions and over time forms different soils with different properties. On large tracts of land that have not been altered much, such as avocado orchards, the naturally formed soils can be seen. In a housing tract where soil has been moved around to level and compact housing pads, it is often hard to find a natural soil because it is so highly disturbed. The soil can have been moved from one end of a 100 acres tract to the other with big equipment. It's all one big homogenous mix down to several feet at times depending on the slope.
In many cases, it is still possible to see the natural soils and knowing their series classification, it's possible to learn some of the properties and some of the problems that will be encountered when working with them. Knowing the pH prior to working it means that it could be adjusted before planting. It's a whole lot easier to adjust before planting than when the plants are in the ground.
You can see the soils in your area by going to the USDA-NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) website - https://websoilsurvey.sc.egov.usda.gov/App/HomePage.htm - and typing in the area code to find the soil at a given site. It probably isn't the state soil series, but it's your soil series.
For a great text on understanding soils, check out Soils: An Introduction by Michael Singer and Don Munns.
The movement toward conservation tillage seems to fit right in with two other farming industry trends - pinching pennies and protecting the environment, according to an article in the September-October 2010 Grower magazine.
UC Davis Cooperative Extension cropping system specialist Jeff Mitchell told reporter Tom Burfield that some form of conservation tillage is used for 20 percent of California dairy silage production. The practice is even more prevalent in the Midwest.
In addition, a rising number of California processing-tomato growers and some fresh-market tomato growers also use a form of minimum tillage, often to avoid damaging drip irrigation tape, Mitchell said.
The article profiled ranch manager Jesse Sanchez of Sano Farms in Firebaugh, Calif., who introduced strip-tillage for the company’s fresh and processed tomatoes about six years ago.
“I’ll never go back to conventional,” Sanchez was quoted in the story.
Sometimes it’s the little side comments people make that are most telling. This could certainly be true in a brief Chico Enterprise-Record story published over the weekend about artisan olive growers. In the lead sentence, business editor Laura Urseny called UC Cooperative Extension “food and farm information central.” That’s a label I think we could get used to. For the brief, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Paul Vossen told the writer that about 25 percent of California's olive oil comes from small artisan producers and nearly all California olive oil is fresher and better tasting than imported oil.
A long, slightly irreverent diatribe on brain fitness in the independent online local news conduit the Sacramento News & Review does two things: it offers a UC expert the opportunity to present scientific information and it makes the old-school reader wonder, "Is this really the future of news?"
The article, by Matt Perry, annihilates the rules of conventional journalism:
- Written for the infinite scope of cyberspace, the harangue rambles on for more than 1,500 words.
- Science writing about aging is peppered with teenage slang. Who will read it?
- The writer inserts himself into the piece. To wit: "My eyes shift to (fitness trainer Scott) Estrada, who represents to me the future of health: fit, active, engaged, holistic … and completely responsible for his own health. Welcome to the future of fitness: not just a just a buffer body, but a healthier brain."
To its credit, the article provides UC Davis nutrition professor Liz Applegate a forum for research-based information. She told the writer she likens brain-damaging free radicals to small fires in cubicles around an office. Putting out these free radical fires requires a diet rich in fire extinguishers - antioxidants.
Perry said she recommended:
- A diet of varied colorful foods
- A Mediterranean diet
- Omega-3 fatty acids, folate and choline
In related news, a bastion of traditional journalism, the Associated Press today ran a story about what could be another sign of the traditional news industry's struggles. According to the story, San Francisco investment banker Warren Hellman is teaming up with the UC Berkeley's journalism school and public broadcaster KQED to create a nonprofit news organization to report local news. Bay Area News Project will use a combination of paid reporter/editors and (presumably unpaid) journalism students to produce stories for a Web site, KQED's radio and television outlets, and a print edition.
Los Angeles Times freelance writer David Karp sent a response today to last week's ANR News Blog post about his May 27 blueberry production story. The nicely written article covered the introduction of a crop usually associated with the Northwest, Michigan and Maine into California; it didn't go into UC's role.
Karp wrote in his e-mail that he agonized over what to include in the article, given the amount of space he would have in the newspaper. He interviewed more than 40 sources, but only had room to cite two.
"If I had room to cite the contribution of three or four persons, and explain what they did, I would certainly have cited (UC Small Farm Program farm advisors) Manuel (Jimenez) and Mark (Gaskell)," Karp wrote. "I'm quite aware of their very substantial contributions to California's blueberry industry."
Karp mentioned that he spent two months of his life and thousands of dollars of his own money to research the article because, "I'm passionate about writing about fruit only when I really know what I'm talking about."
In conclusion, he said, "I apologize to Manuel (Jimenez) and Mark (Gaskell), Ben (Faber) and Gary (Bender) and others, but I'd like to think that they understand that in telling a shortened version of the full story for a newspaper, writers face difficult choices."