What is in this article?:
- California farmers slow to adopt conservation tillage
- Conservation tillage discovery
- Productivity drives sustainability
- CT consumes less energy and labor, thereby reduces costs, reduces environmental impacts, increases soil carbon content and improves soil tilth, fertility and overall organic matter, according to CT apostles.
- California farmers are proving slow-to-reluctant to adopt Midwest-style conservation tillage (CT) farming practices.
Dino Giacomazzi, left, Hanford, Calif., dairy farmer, was the keynote speaker of the CASI media event moderated by Bob Wample, center, Clovis, Calif., consultant, and organized by Jeff Mitchell, UC cropping system specialist.
Productivity drives sustainability
Giacomazzi said he has encountered that from neighbors who have asked him if the research being done on his farm and the conservation grants will eventually result in the government telling him how to farm.
Dino’s dad was furious when he went to the NRCS office to seek a $30 per acre grant to develop a CT program.
“My father despised government welfare and his son was collecting welfare from the government,” he explained.
However, the growing scarcity of labor, $3.39 per gallon diesel fuel that once cost 80 cents per gallon, a dwindling farm water supply and growing government regulations covering air and water quality will force change on the farm, believes Giacomazzi.
Farmers are also facing a public that does not understand farming, yet wants to dictate how food is produced.
“There is a different attitude among people about food; where it comes from and how it is produced,” he said. People who shape public policy want to do things like banning commercial animal production and genetically modified crops.
“We have problems with the public’s perception of farming because 98 percent of public are not farmers,” yet what the more radical elements say takes roots and creates public opinion that becomes public policy.
Farmers must take control of this discussion and espouse the freedom to farm at all levels. Farmers must drive home the idea that “productivity drives sustainability — not the other way around.”
The future of farming will be driven by coexistence between small farmers providing locally grown food to preserve rural America and large farms to feed a hungry world; higher technology versus traditional farming; biotech versus organic. “We need all segments of farming,” he emphasized.
To change public perception of farming, farmers must scientifically verify the tools they use to farm and communicate it.
Giacomazzi believes most Americans share the same values as farmers, and farmers need to connect that with good information. “We need to take charge of the farming discussion,” he said.
Giacomazzi believes CASI is one way for that to succeed.