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U.S. EPA awards $74,000 to help teach improved farming practices

Release Date: 8/19/2004
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano (415) 947-4307

Sustainable Conservation will teach dairy farmers about conservation tillage

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded $74,000 to Sustainable Conservation to demonstrate the benefits of an innovative farming technology that can reduce air and water pollution that may result from Central Valley farmers tilling their fields.

Conservation tillage is a method of cultivation that both minimizes soil disturbance and reduces the number of operations required to grow dairy feed and row crops.  It also has the potential to significantly reduce costs.

"Conservation tillage acts like a blanket, reducing the likelihood of pollutants leaving an agricultural field," said Alexis Strauss, the EPA's water division director for the Pacific Southwest region.  "Helping farmers find ways to save money while protecting the environment is a win-win for all of us."

Conservation tillage reduces soil erosion from water and wind by planting directly into crop stubble left in the ground and creating a more stable soil surface.  This protects streams, canals, creeks and reservoirs from sediment runoff and improves air quality by reducing airborne dust.  Because this practice will decrease tractor passes in the field, it is also expected to lower diesel emissions.

The grant will analyze financial and environmental benefits to dairy producers, including whether conservation tillage helps reduce nitrogen losses to groundwater.
The EPA's grant recipient, Sustainable Conservation will be hosting a free "Conservation Tillage Field Day" to introduce this farming practice to dairy farmers.  Topics will include conservation tillage planting strategies, tillage equipment, federal cost-share opportunities and the potential for triple cropping.

                 Date:  August 24

                 Time:  11 a.m.

                 Location:  Zylstra Dairy 1319 S. Morgan Rd. Turlock CA 95380

                 For information contact:  Kristen Hughes 415-977-0380, ext. 308

Sustainable Conservation works with businesses, government agencies, and non-profit organizations to solve critical environmental problems.  This grant also includes collaborators from the dairy industry, University of California at Davis, and United States Department of Agriculture.
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