UC Agriculture and Natural Resources will offer nitrogen management training to certified crop advisers throughout the state.

UC ANR scientists are working with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to develop a curriculum and certification program to protect water quality, as recommended by the State Water Resources Control Board. The classes will begin in January 2014.

Last week the State Water Resources Control Board released its recommendations to the Legislature for addressing nitrate in groundwater.

The recommendations are based on a UC Davis study commissioned by the water board and released last March titled "Addressing Nitrate in California's Drinking Water,” which focused on the Tulare Lake Basin of the San Joaquin Valley and the Salinas Valley in Monterey County.

(See related, Groundwater nitrogen dilemma in California)

"While we know that farmers have already begun employing techniques to reduce the amount of nitrogen fertilizer that can ultimately end up in our groundwater, we also know that there are additional actions that can be taken,” said Doug Parker, director of UC's California Institute for Water Resources and leader for the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources water strategic initiative.

"In our training for certified crop advisers, we will apply the latest UC research to refine their methods for helping farmers manage nitrogen more effectively.” Parker said. 

Plants need nitrogen to grow, but nutrients that are not used by the crop may move below the root zone. Nitrate, a byproduct of nitrogen, may infiltrate to groundwater used for drinking water.

For other examples of UC ANR research and extension projects under way to ensure that all Californians have access to safe drinking water and that the state's farmers can grow enough food to help meet the world's increasing demand, please visit http://ucanr.edu/News/Healthy_crops,_safe_water.