California has big goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), passed in 2006, required the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 1990 levels and we succeeded. New goals call for carbon neutrality by 2030. Working lands are poised to be a big part of the solution. The Department of Food and Agriculture’s Healthy Soils Program debuted in 2017 and it is designed to support farmers in implementing practices that improve soil health, store carbon, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
To that end, Audubon is working to understand the benefits of cover crops on post-harvest crop fields to build soil health, sequester carbon, increase water infiltration, and provide bird habitat. With our partners at River Garden Farms, we are demonstrating the benefits of healthy soils practices to encourage other farmers to implement these and other carbon farming practices. Over 120 farmers have toured our project site and learned how to implement restoration plantings and cover crops. These crops provide habitat for wildlife and benefits to soil health that help us meet California’s climate adaptation goals through natural and working lands.
Learn how to measure and incorporate the nitrogen contributed to your soil from cover crops into your farm’s nitrogen plan. Review the slides presented by Wendy Rash of UDSA-NRCS at the Field Day and Farm Tour at River Garden Farms on 12/5/2019.
Methods for controlling weeds in rice production using practices that optimize growing conditions for rice and create unfavorable conditions for the weeds. Presented by Whitney Brim-DeForest of UCCE Sutter-Yuba at the Field Day and Farm Tour at River Garden Farms on 12/5/2019.
A list of seed vendors in California compiled by NRCS in November 2016 that provides the contact information for 35 cover crop seed vendors around the state.
This article contains information on the benefits of cover crops and what to consider when selecting a cover crop for your row crop field and includes links to other cover crop resources from UCCE. Provided by from Sarah Light, UCCE Sutter-Yuba-Colusa and distributed at the Field Day and Farm Tour at River Garden Farms on 12/7/2018.
This publication from the mid-nineties by Pettyrgrove & Williams describes the benefits, limitations, and cultural practices of cover cropping in rice production systems including the results of three field trials.
This resource from NRCS provides an overview of commonly used cover crops in California and is designed to be used as a first step in cover crop planning.
If you would like more information about cover crops, please contact WorkingLandsCA@audubon.org
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