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Agriculture 2017

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Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. A Tradition of Excellence Since 1928. n h e h . c o m Agriculture Law Business & Taxation Construction Creditor's Rights Estate Planning Labor & Employment Litigation Personal Injury Public Agencies Real Estate & Land Use 333 Salinas Street Salinas, CA 93901 831.424.1414 470 Camino El Estero Monterey, CA 93940 831.373.3622 104 S. Vanderhurst King City, CA 93930 831.386.1080 Organic Farmers to Field Test New Organic Strawberry Starts Signaling Industry-Wide Change in Production Practices Watsonville, CA – In recognition of their vital research to improve organic strawberry farming systems, Organic Advocacy and Farm Fuel Inc. have been awarded a grant to study organ- ic strawberry transplant (start) performance in Santa Cruz and Monterey Coun- ties. Funded by the Organic Farming Research Founda- tion (OFRF), whose mission is to foster organic farming system improvements, the study will provide data essential to facilitating the organic strawberry indus- try's transition to using organic starts. Although organic starts have not been available to organic straw- berry growers for a decade, Organic Nursery, LLC, based in Macdoel CA, has stepped in to fill this gap and supply starts for the upcoming field trials. Of course organically certi- fied strawberry farmers do not use synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, but they do buy starts from conventional nurseries that fumigate soils with chemicals like methyl bromide and chloropicrin, because they have no other choice. USDA's National Organic Program has permit- ted this practice, under the organic regulation's "com- mercial availability" clause, with the expectation that organic strawberry nurseries would emerge. But, this has not happened because no market pressure, incentives or government mandate exist to stimulate organic strawberry start production. Dissatisfied with organic farmers being forced to grow conventional starts, the Or- ganic Strawberry Fields For- ever Project (OSFF) formed in partnership with organic farmers to serve as a cat- alyst for change within the organic strawberry industry. Three years later, 200,000 organic starts of four public varieties have been planted and their fruit were harvest- ed this past spring. "This change in the organic strawberry industry is a long-time coming," said Dr. Lisa J. Bunin, Director of Or- ganic Advocacy and founder of OSFF. "The success of our project will be achieved when the entire organic strawberry industry is organ- ic -- from start to finish." Farm Fuel will conduct research trials on several or- ganic farms including Swan- ton Berry Farm, High Ground Organics, and Live Earth Farm. Two slots remain open for organic strawberry grow- ers to participate in field trials and those interested should contact OSFF for further details. OSFF, is not alone in its efforts to drive the use of organic starts. Driscoll's, the world's largest organ- ic strawberry grower, has announced an end to the use of conventional starts as early as 2020. But, their varieties are proprietary and only available to farmers who grow for the Driscoll's label. OSFF's and Farm Fu- el's collaboration is focused on conducting research of public varieties to meet the needs of the rest of Cali- fornia's organic strawberry farmers. "To be competitive, small, medium and family farms need to get out ahead of the curve and support the growth of organic straw- berry transplant production and a truly organic system of production across the supply chain," said Steve Pedersen, High Ground Organics farmer and OSFF participant. -Contributed Article ture announced a part- nership with American AgCredit. The recipient of the Jimmie Cox Memorial Scholarship also receives an additional $2,000 award from the American AgCredit Scholarship Program. This brings the total scholar- ship amount that Jose will receive to $4,000. A special $2,000 schol- arship award was given to Ashley Devery who attended Aptos High School from 2012-2014. This is the first time the selection committee has decided to give an extra award to a student who applied for, but Jose German Basurto-Provided Photo Agri-Culture announced that Jose German Basurto has been awarded its Jimmie Cox Memorial Scholarship for 2017. This college scholarship is awarded to a student who is, or will be majoring in agriculture. Jose attended Watsonville High School. He played basketball in school and has been an "Honor Roll" student. He is a member of the Business, Agriculture and Technology Academy (BATA) at Watsonville High. Jose will be attending Fresno State University in the Fall where he will be pursuing a career in Agricul- tural System Management. He hopes to graduate from college and return to Santa Cruz County with a better "…understanding about the crops that are grown here in Watsonville." Agri-Culture President Steve Bontadelli stated, "We had many applicants this year, we wish we could have given them all a scholarship." Bontadelli further stated, "Jose is an outstanding individual. He is a well-rounded student and will be a great addition to the agriculture community when he finishes college. " Starting in 2012, Agri-Cul- Jimmy Cox Memorial Scholarship did not receive the Jimmie Cox Memorial Scholarship. Ashley is currently attending Oregon State University. The scholarship was be pre- sented at the National Agri- culture Day Spring Luncheon held in the Heritage Hall at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds on Wednesday, March 15th. This annual event is sponsored by the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau and Agri-Culture. For more information about the Jimmie Cox Memorial Scholarship, please contact Agri-Culture at 722-6622 or see the website at www. agri-culture.us

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