Water Series: Pt 4 ~ Checklist to Drought-Proof Your Farm

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Photo credit: CAWSI

The checklist below was first presented at the EcoFarm Conference in 2010 by Michael Cahn, irrigation and water resources advisor UC Cooperative Extension, Monterey County, on behalf of the California Agricultural Water Stewardship Initiative (CAWSI). Introductory text excerpted from a California Climate & Agriculture Network blog written by Kendall Lambert, Water Program Coordinator at Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF).

As we are all very much aware, California is now faced with a historic drought. Among other things, this means that farmers and ranchers will have limited access to surface water for irrigation, and many growers will not be able to sufficiently and sustainably substitute groundwater. To better prepare for water shortages like this one, growers can adopt on-farm ‘water stewardship’ practices to optimize agricultural production, achieve economic savings, and boost ecological and human health benefits.

So what can farmers do? Below is a practical checklist presented at EcoFarm in 2010 (it can also be found in our Water & Irrigation Toolkit):

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Water & Drought Management Series: Pt 1 ~ AFT’s Outstanding Leaders

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With news about the water shortage saturating headlines the past several months, and farmers and ranchers forced to improvise and innovate to accommodate the forecasted drought for years to come, we’re excited to announce a Two-month series of blog features about Water Management & Drought.

To kick off the series, we’re starting with American Farmland Trust‘s picks of Outstanding Leaders, who are great examples of smart water management and stewardship across California. We hope these folks give you some practical ideas and inspiration for your own farm or ranch, while providing a glimmer of hope that it’s never too late to improve your systems!

Stay tuned for other stories in our series, which will be a mix of practical toolkits created by our partners and new tips from Cooperative Extension advisors, irrigation equipment suppliers, experienced vegetable and livestock farmers, and newer farmers coming up with their own innovative solutions.

If you’ve integrated new irrigation or water management solutions on your farm, let us know! We’d love to share your tips about what’s worked well for you.

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California Farmland Protection: Reality or Wishful Thinking?

Last week, in the beautiful Napa Valley, the American Farmland Trust and Napa County Farm Bureau hosted a statewide conference – the first of its kind – to address the question: Is farmland conservation a reality, or simply wishful thinking? The intention was to “highlight the successes, define the obstacles, and explore new directions for conserving California agricultural land.”

The 200-person event sold out weeks in advance, bringing together many long-time stakeholders who have worked for decades on farmland issues: advocates, land trusts, government agencies, Farm Bureau members, nonprofit organizations and farmers themselves.  It seemed nearly every agriculture county in the state was present to learn how we can address the frightening reality of losing 30,000 acres of the most fertile agricultural land each year.

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