Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

We inspire and partner with our community to protect the natural resources and agricultural future of our District.


Workshop 5: Essential “CORE” Principles and Best Practices in Succession Planning: Management Techniques for Operational Compliance

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Date & Time: April 14, 2017 from 9am – 12:30pm

Location: Hyatt Vineyard Creek, Dry Creek Ballroom

Cost: Free

*Registration begins 30 min prior to the event

Over the course of two workshops, Saqui and Calvo will help growers develop and groom leaders to ensure a successful business transition in the field and in management operations. On March 23, 2017, Management Techniques for Operational Compliance workshop growers will learn how operational compliance guidelines can actually be used not as a drain on resources, but rather to drive revenue and production. Management techniques discussed will include engaging employees in the operations of your company, and teaching employees about the business to increase compliance and production.

Featured Speakers: Michael Saqui and Raul Calvo

More info here.

Source:  The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission in partnership with a Risk Management Grant through USDA is proud to offer a free of charge, groundbreaking, eight-month succession planning series “Protecting Family Farms for the Next 100 Years Through Succession Planning” to all grape growers in Sonoma and Marin County.


Transition Planning Guide for Agribusiness

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For farm families who are, or soon will be, dealing with transition planning, getting the process underway can be a challenge. Structure, in the form of a planning process and normal meetings, helps.  Sometimes though, getting an initial meeting organized is the most difficult — like taking the proverbial first step.

The preferred approach would be to have the retiring generation initiate the planning and call the first meeting, if that’s how they want to get the process started. However, if the retiring generation is delaying or not proceeding with transition planning, the next generation can take the lead. There is no guarantee that the parents will want to, or agree to, participate but it’s fair for the next generation to attempt to get the process started.

Continue here.

Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Food Development

Transition Planning Guide for Agribusiness


What we need are farms that support farmers, consumers AND the environment

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The past several years have been rough for many U.S. farmers and ranchers. Net farm incomes this year could fall to 50 percent of 2013 levels in a fourth consecutive year of income declines that is leading some producers to seek alternatives. At the same time, rural and urban Americans share growing concerns related to agriculture: worries that water pollution will be increasingly costly and harmful, that water supplies are at risk from extreme swings in rainfall, and that global warming due to fossil fuel burning threatens our food system and will necessitate changes in how we farm.

What if all of these challenges could find a common solution? It might just be that they can. In a commentary published this week in the scientific journal Elementa, we contend that agroecology offers a promising approach to solving food system problems while mitigating, water and energy concerns — and propose a way to overcome the obstacles to fully embracing it.

U.S. agriculture has trended for several decades — as a result of policy, economics and other drivers — toward systems that are more simplified over both space and time. This has had adverse consequences for food, energy and water.

Continue here.

Source:  Andrea Basche and Marcia DeLonge, Ensia, March 3, 2017

Editor’s note: This Voices contribution is published in collaboration with the academic journal Elementa. It is based on “Leveraging agroecology for solutions in food, energy and water,” a peer-reviewed article published March 2, 2017, as part of Elementa’s Food-Energy-Water Systems: Opportunities at the Nexus forum.


WATCH: Raindrops Catapult Bacteria Into The Air, And It’s Beautiful

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The white lines are the trajectories of tiny water droplets ejected when a raindrop hits the ground. Airflow in the room pushes the droplets off to the side.

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When you step outside after a big rainstorm and take a deep whiff of that fresh, earthy smell, you’re mostly smelling a chemical called geosmin.

It’s a byproduct of bacteria and fungi. And something about rain lofts the chemical — and sometimes the organisms themselves — into the air, a process that not only helps release that earthy smell but may, in very rare conditions, spread diseases.

Somehow raindrops launch tiny living things off the ground.

Continue here.

Source:  Rae Ellen Bichell, Shots:  Health News from NPR, March 7, 2017


The business case for soil

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Nobody likes dirty business, but the business world must get to grips with dirt. Soil provides food, fibres and fuels, and regulates water resources and climate. Yet most businesses are unaware that their bottom lines depend on soil; nor are they aware of the risks they face from its degradation. More must recognize that improving soil quality is a smart investment.

One-third of all soils and more than half of agricultural soils are moderately or highly degraded. Erosion, loss of organic carbon, compaction and salinization reduce soil’s fertility and ability to hold moisture1. Every year, we damage another 12 million hectares — an area the size of Bulgaria — through deforestation, overgrazing, intensive farming, urbanization and pollution2. Climate change and biodiversity loss exacerbate soil problems. Yet global needs for food and resources are rising as populations grow, lifestyles shift and the world transitions to a low-carbon economy.

Continue here.

Source:  Jess Davies, Nature, March 15, 2017


Want Good Soil? Feed the Microbes

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We talk a lot about microbes “eating” which paints a picture of chewing up bites. But consider the cow and her rumen for a minute. After she’s chewed and swallowed, her rumen microbes take over, and the chemical reactions they produce turns grass into sustenance for the cow’s body. The microbes are more successful when they’ve got the right mix of nutrients. For example, a little extra protein from a supplement makes it possible for a cow to survive on poor quality grass. The nitrogen in the protein lets the microbes turn what would otherwise have been unusable into good quality nutrition.

It’s the same for the soil microbes. Like all creatures on earth they need carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, oxygen and hydrogen to live. By leaving stubble on the ground, farmers gave them access to plenty of carbon. They can get oxygen and hydrogen from the air. But without nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorous, they can’t perform the chemical process to turn the stubble into soil carbon.

Continue here.

Source:  Kathy Voth, On Pasture, March 20, 2017