California Climate & Ag network: Summit March 4 & 5, 2019

California Climate and Agriculture Summit
March 4 & 5, 2019
Davis, CA and Yolo County farms

The 6th California Climate & Agriculture Summit kicks off on Mon., March 4th with tours of innovative, climate-friendly farms. On Tues., March 5th, convene with us for a day-long conference followed by a festive evening celebrating 10 years of advocacy and leadership by the California Climate & Agriculture Network (CalCAN). Join us to:

·      Explore the latest science, policy and practice of climate-friendly farming in California.

·      Network with a diverse group of leading growers, researchers, policymakers, agricultural professionals and advocates.

·      Engage in a robust dialogue about how we can work together to address climate change with farming-focused solutions.

Earlybird registration is now open! Register today to save as much as $90. Past Summits have sold out well in advance, so buy your tickets early. 


Farm Tour: March 4, 2019

Tour participants will hear directly from farmers and ranchers about climate-friendly practices at three innovative operations, including The Collins Farm & The Cloverleaf Farm in Davis, Bobcat Ranch in Winters, and River Garden Farms in Knights Landing.

Scheduled for 9:00am -4:30pm (subject to change). Complete tour details will be sent to registered participants in late February.

Conference: March 5, 2019

8:00 – 8:30am Registration & Light Breakfast
8:30 – 9:00am Welcome
  Marking 10 Years of CalCAN Coalition Work
  Renata Brillinger, CalCAN Executive Director and partners
9:00 – 10:00am Leadership Award Presentations
  CalCAN will recognize several individuals who have demonstrated leadership in climate and agriculture science, policy and practice, and engage them in a panel discussion.
10:00 – 10:30am Climate & Agriculture Policy: Vision & Action
  Jeanne Merrill, CalCAN Policy Director
10:30 – 11:00am Break & Poster Session
11:00 – 12:30pm Workshop Session #1
12:30 – 2:00pm Lunch & Poster Session
2:00 – 3:30pm Workshop Session #2
3:30 – 4:00pm Break
4:00 – 5:30pm Workshop Session #3
6:30 – 9:00pm Celebrate CalCAN’s 10th Anniversary


Workshop Sessions
Note: This schedule is subject to change

Policy Track                            Practice Track                                Science Track

Workshop Session #1 (11:00am – 12:30pm)

Creative Financing Tools for Agricultural Conservation
This workshop explores innovative ideas for financing agrocological practices. You will hear about a pilot project to develop Conservation Incentives Loans offer discounted interest rates to farmers who commit to in-field agricultural conservation practices, leveraging practical financial tools for climate change mitigation and adaptation. You will also learn about the role of federal insurance in promoting climate-friendly practices and the opportunities and barriers for California producers. Join the presenters for a discussion of what financial tools are needed for encouraging conservation practices, what are most effective, and where are the gaps and redundancies.

Speakers: Brett Melone, FarmLink; Jeff Schahczenski, NCAT
Moderator: Sacha Lozano, Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz (invited)

Protecting Ag Land, Protecting the Climate
Since 2015, the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALCP) has made almost $80 million in grants to permanently protect 80,000 acres of agricultural land as a climate strategy—more state funding than has been available in decades to stem the loss of valuable farmland. We will hear from program participants about their experiences with the program, what they’ve accomplished and learned, and what more is needed. We will also hear about a report produced by the Department of Conservation about new frontiers in farmland conservation.

Speakers: Matt Freeman, Santa Clara Open Space District; Michele Clark, Yolo Land Trust; David Bunn, Department of Conservation (invited)
Moderator: Kara Heckert, American Farmland Trust

Rethinking the Nutrient Management Paradigm for Soil Health
Three researchers will present their complementary expertise in plant-soil-microbe interactions and nutrient cycling as it relates to soil health and climate mitigation and resilience. You will learn about nitrogen, carbon and phosphorus cycling in different growing conditions and how various management strategies can be optimized for productivity as well as climate and natural resources benefits. The practical challenges, tradeoffs and considerations of implementing these practices will also be addressed.

Speakers: Kabir Zahangir, USDA NRCS; Tim Bowles, UC Berkeley; Cristina Lozcano, CalPoly
Moderator: Judith Redmond, Full Belly Farm

Getting the Most Out of California’s Climate Smart Agriculture Incentives Programs
California’s relatively new Climate Smart Agriculture programs are premised on the assumption that providing grants to growers for adopting new management practices will reduce GHG emissions. A similar approach is taken by federal farm bill programs and many state-level conservation programs. This panel will explore the effectiveness of this approach and identify ways to improve upon it. Are the Climate Smart Agriculture programs designed in ways that facilitate grower participation across California’s diverse agricultural landscape? What motivates growers to modify their practices and continue them beyond the length of the incentive payments?

Speakers: Thomas Gardali, Point Blue; Jessica Rudnick, UC Davis; Jeanne Merrill, CalCAN
Moderator: Vicky Dawley, Tehama Resource Conservation District

Connecting California’s Climate & Agriculture Policies to Equity
Climate change has a disproportionate impact on farmworkers, low-income rural communities and farmers of color as a result of historical injustice and disinvestment. Proactive and targeted policies and investments can address these inequities. How well are California’s Climate Smart Agriculture programs and other climate investments doing on this front, and what more is needed? What plans does CDFA have for implementing the Farmer Equity Act?

Speakers: Thea Rittenhouse, CDFA; Teresa Andrews, Western Center for Agriculture & Health Safety; Kassandra Hishida, Community Alliance for Agroecology
Moderator: Gail Wadsworth, California Institute for Rural Studies

Workshop Session #2 (2:00pm – 3:30pm)

Triple Win: Manure Management Strategies on California Dairies
Innovations in dairy manure management that result in drier, aerobic handling have three interrelated environmental benefits: reducing methane emissions, improving air and water quality, and producing aged manure and compost for building soil. In this session, you will hear from two dairy producers and one technical assistance provider about their experiences applying for grants from CDFA’s Alternative Manure Management Program, the benefits of the projects they’ve developed, and the challenges and barriers. You will also hear an update on the state’s future plans for regulating dairy methane emissions.

Speakers: Lynne McBride, California Dairy Campaign; Jana McClelland, McClelland Dairy; Scott and Jake Magnuson, Magnuson Dairy (invited)
Moderator: Mike Griffin, Organic Valley

Technical Assistance as a Driver of Climate Smart Agriculture
Incentives for growers combined with technical assistance has been shown to be a powerful combination for accelerating widespread improvements in ecological management practices. With the passage of AB 2377, a CalCAN-sponsored bill, CDFA now has funding available for technical assistance for its Climate Smart Agriculture programs. Come learn what they have planned, as well as two hearing about other statewide technical assistance initiatives: a new UC Agriculture and Natural Resources climate team, and a Farmer Demonstration Network.

Speakers: Rex Dufour, National Center for Appropriate Technology; Doug Parker, UC Agriculture & Natural Resources; Karen Buhr, California Association of Resource Conservation Districts
Moderator: Dave Runsten, Community Alliance with Family Farmers 

Managing Agroecosystems for Climate Resilience
With increased climate variability and associated changes in resource availability, there is a recognition that we need to manage agroecosystems for resilience—the ability to recover in response to a disturbance or climate event. The focus of this session is to provide guidelines on how to move beyond resilience as a concept, and operationalize it in our agroecosystems. This session will stress three ideas: (1) the key building blocks of resilience; (2) the vulnerability of these building blocks in a variable and changing climate; (3) the strength and limits of management tools to foster resilience in agroecosystems.

Speakers: Amelie Gaudin, UC Davis; Caitlin Peterson, UC Davis; Valerie Eviner, UC Davis
Moderator: Jo Ann Baumgartner, Wild Farm Alliance

The Many Forms of Nitrogen in Agriculture and the Environment
A recent study found that the heavy use of nitrogen fertilizers on agricultural soils are a significant source of nitrogen oxide (NOx) gases contributing to air pollution and health impacts, especially in the Central Valley. The over-application of fertilizers also has implications for nitrous oxide emissions, a potent greenhouse gas. This discussion will explore the necessary and practical research and policies necessary to address this challenging and complex issue. Speakers represent the perspectives of the California Air Resources Board that is grappling with how to measure and regulate NOx emissions, an environmental justice advocate from the Central Valley, and a representative from agriculture.

Speakers: Mike FitzGibbon, California Air Resources Board; Dolores Weller, Central Valley Air Quality Coalition; Noelle Cremers, California Farm Bureau
Moderator: Ann Thrupp

Groundwater Management Implications for Agriculture
The implementation of the State Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is expected to have significant implications for agriculture.  We will hear from experts in the field on the latest with SGMA implementation, including the early discussions of groundwater management plans, and next steps for farmers wanting to engage in these conversations.

Speakers: Kelly Peterson, Butte County Water and Conservation Department; DWR representative (invited); Stacie Ann Silva, New Current Water and Land
Moderator: Helen McGrath, Flying M Ranch

Workshop Session #3 (4:00pm – 5:30pm)

SWEEP & Other Successful Water Conservation Programs
CDFA’s State Water Efficiency & Enhancement Program (SWEEP) has distributed more than $65 million in grant funds to more than 700 farmers to reduce energy use and increase water use efficiency. In this workshop, irrigation and extension experts will take stock of the strengths and accomplishments of SWEEP, as well as areas for improvement. They will also highlight the early successes and lessons learned from new local water conservation investments made by Resource Conservation Districts and Irrigation Districts.

Speakers: Daniele Zaccaria, UC Davis; Miguel Garcia, Inland Empire Resource Conservation District; Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, UC Cooperative Extension Fresno County
Moderator: Brian Shobe, CalCAN

What It Takes On the Ground to Get Carbon Into the Ground
California made its first Healthy Soils Program grants in 2018 based on science showing that carbon sequestration can be achieved using farming practices such as composting and mulching, cover cropping, conservation plantings, prescribed grazing and more. But how does the program and shifting to these practices actually work on our farms and ranches? Three producers will share their experiences with the Healthy Soils Program, the challenges of shifting to new soil management practices and the benefits they are seeing in their operations.

Speakers: Ellee Igoe, Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians; Blake Alexandre, Alexandre Dairy; Tanya Gemperle, Edelweiss Nut Company Inc.
Moderator: Sara Tiffany, Community Alliance with Family Farmers 

Cutting Edge Soil Science
The science of soil health, climate change and carbon sequestration is complex and rapidly developing. This is your chance to get an overview of the current state of the research helping inform the policy decisions aimed at incentivizing practices that increase carbon sequestration and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. We will also cover the important question of soil testing metrics and resources for farmers by hearing about a landscape analysis of soil organic carbon measurement tools.

Speakers: Charlotte Decock, CalPoly; Jessica Chiartas, UC Davis; Becca Ryals, UC Merced
Moderator: Jane Sooby, CCOF

Climate Adaptation: What Can We Do to Keep Producers Producing?
Climate change is already impacting farms and ranches in a variety of ways. What do farmers and ranchers need to survive the next drought, heat wave, or other record-setting weather event? What does the next generation of producers need to still be farming in 2050 and beyond? Come hear the stories of farmers and ranchers experiencing climate impacts and join us for a participatory discussion about how the state should be supporting and investing in climate adaptation for agriculture to keep farmers on the land and prosperous.

Speakers: Eric Larson, San Diego County Farm Bureau; Tapan Pathak, UC Merced; Adam Cline, Yocha Dehe Ranch (invited)
Moderator: Wendell Gilgert, Point Blue

Lightning Talks
This session will feature a smorgasbord of innovations in the arena of sustainable agriculture and climate change. Speakers will present their projects using short, compelling “lightning talks” designed to inspire and communicate their core ideas.

  • The benefits of beaver stewardship to California agriculture and rangelands
  • The power of visual storytelling to educate, inspire and drive change in our food system
  • From research to tools: How the California Climate Hub supports climate-smart agriculture
  • Can seaweed reduce methane emissions from cattle?
  • An uncertain future of first-generation ranchers
  • State-of-the-art climate smart farmworker housing
  • Agriculture is green infrastructure: Blazing the trail on land use planning and funding in San Jose

Moderator: Nina Ichikawa, Berkeley Food Institute


Get newsletter and blog updates and action alert

About CalCAN

CalCAN is a statewide coalition that advances policy to realize the powerful climate solutions offered by sustainable and organic agriculture.

We represent a statewide network of sustainable farmers and ranchers and allied organizations, agricultural professionals, scientists, and advocates.

Why focus on policy?

We seek a fundamental shift in California’s farming system from an industrial, chemically intensive approach to one that is biologically integrated, ecologically sustainable and resilient. To achieve this widespread shift, we use the strategic lever of policy to support California farmers and ranchers in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

The California policy context—with its ambitious climate goals, policies and funding sources—provides resources to invest in agricultural management practices that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, sequester carbon and facilitate climate adaptation. However, making a transition to the most climate-friendly practices requires technical assistance, research, education and financial incentives. CalCAN develops and advances policies that put such resources in the hands of farmers and ranchers to transition to practices that leave the planet better.

How can I get involved?

At CalCAN, we know that with sufficient resources and incentives, climate-friendly agricultural practices can be widely adopted and will deliver economic, ecological, health and social benefits to rural and urban Californians alike, blazing a trail for the inclusion of agricultural climate solutions in other states and countries.

If you’d like to support our work, consider joining our network or making a tax-deductible donation.