For thirty-three years, EFA has provided the space for the food and farming community to come together around celebration and education. These EcoFarm Conference water workshop audio files feature expert farmers, policy makers, planners, government employees, etc. Plug in your headphones and explore these topics with the experts!

Available Audio Recordings:

2014 EcoFarm Conference Workshops

2013 EcoFarm Conference Workshops

2012 EcoFarm Conference Workshops

2011 EcoFarm Conference Workshops

2014 EcoFarm Conference Workshops

Canals, Ditches, and Streams: Vegetating Waterways
“Riparian systems are the lifeblood of the landscape. If we repair the riparian systems, we start to weave back the fabric of the landscape and healthy riparian systems offer many benefits to farmers.” — Jo Ann Baumgartner in Canals, Ditches, and Streams Click here to play the MP3. Vegetated man-made and natural waterways serve multiple functions. Learn how they prevent erosion and streambank collapse, improve water quality, and provide habitat for pollinators. These systems also provide connectivity for species on the move. As our climate changes, it’ll be critical to have wild corridors in place. Issues and techniques involved with attracting pollinators and installing and maintaining the vegetation will be discussed.
Presenters: Evan Engber, BioEngineering Associates, Laytonville, CA; Claire Kremen, Department of Environmental Science Policy and Management, UC Berkeley, CA.
Moderator: Jo Ann Baumgartner, Wild Farm Alliance, Watsonville.

Nutrient Management in Organic Farms
“As goes the water, so go the soluble nutrients.” — Karen Lowell in Nutrient Management in Organic Farms Click here to play the MP3. 
This session will equip participants with the knowledge and resources to complete their own Nutrient Management Plan (NMP), which describes the application of nutrients to meet crop needs while protecting water quality and improving soil health. The speakers will show how to determine a crop’s nutrient needs; credit sources of nutrients in the system such as cover crops, irrigation water and past soil management decisions; and determine the target nutrient application rate. Tools to support nutrient management, such as the soil nitrate quick test and small-scale on-farm trials will be discussed.
Presenters: Ben Bowell, Oregon Tilth, Natural Resources Conservation Service West National Tech Support Center, Portland, OR; Karen Lowell, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Salinas, CA.
Moderator: Amber Pool, CCOF, Santa Cruz, CA.

Regenerative Farming for Salmon and Waterfowl
“Water is affected by everything that happens on the landscape. […] You have to layer all that together if you are going to manage California water in a way where you can get it out to all of the different constituents that need it.” — Jacob Katz in Regenerative Farming for Salmon and Waterfowl Click here to play the MP3. Hear about efforts to bring CA farmers and biologists together to restore salmon populations by reintroducing young salmon onto winter-flooded rice fields. These surrogate wetlands mimic the floodplain rearing habitat formerly used by young salmon and waterfowl in the Central Valley. CalTrout & Cal Marsh and Farm lead this public/private partnership integrating conservation practices into working agricultural landscapes on the largest connected floodplain of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the 60,000-acre Yolo Bypass.
Presenters: David Katz, Cal Marsh and Farm, Colusa, CA; Carson Jeffres, UC Davis Center for Watershed Studies, Davis, CA; Jacob Katz, California Trout, Windsor, CA.
Moderator: Rex Dufour, NCAT, Davis, CA.

When it Rains it Stores: Rainwater Harvesting On the Farm
“Every building we built, we’ve tied the gutter systems into a set of underground pipes that feed into a pond.” — Steven Butler in When it Rains it Stores Click here to play the MP3. Participants in this workshop will learn how to capture stormwater, irrigation tailwater, direct rainfall, and water from fields, buildings, parking areas, and other impervious surfaces to reuse for irrigation, wildlife, fire protection, and other uses on the farm. Information and guidance will be provided on different approaches and systems and how to get free planning, design, and financial assistance for the installation of water harvesting systems. Information will be provided on water treatment/purification systems. The NRCS worked with Steven Butler of Lindencroft Farm to help design and finance his water harvesting system, and he will share his experience of installing a water harvesting system on his farm.
Presenters: Steven Butler, Lindencroft Farm, Ben Lomond, CA; Rich Casale, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Capitola, CA.
Moderator: Ken Foster, Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping, Santa Cruz, CA.

2013 EcoFarm Conference Workshops

Working Landscapes for Water Storage
“We need to be thinking about storage as a verb, not a noun—so that storage is a process. It’s not just a series of reservoirs for stored water but its actually something that we are doing everywhere.” — Miriam Volat in Working Landscapes for Water StorageClick here to play the MP3.Improved water security has long been one of the top goals of the production agriculture community. The California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply—a group of agricultural, environmental, water supply, and public sector leaders—recently came forward with an ecological vision for water storage. They call for policy to support working lands that are good “water retention” stewards. In this workshop you will learn about this water storage framework and hear from leaders who are using water storage and retention strategies for long-term business and environmental viability.
Presenters: Lauren Hammack, Prunuske Chatham, Inc., Sebastopol, CA; Doniga Markegard, Markegard Family Grass-Fed, San Gregorio, CA.
Moderator: Miriam Volat, Ag Innovations Network, Sebastopol, CA.Click here to return to the top of the page.

2. Approaches to Dealing with Problem Water for Organic Farmers
“The algae actually goes into those systems dead and it becomes a substrate for other microorganisms to live on. It actually cleans up the negative effects of herbicides.” — Steve Pavich in Approaches to Dealing with Problem Water for Organic FarmersClick here to play the MP3.High salt, high iron, high pH water is an increasing reality for agriculture in the West. Many chemical methods have been developed for reducing salinity and pH, but until recently few techniques were suitable for organic production. Now you can join us to learn about several methods including live green algae for enzymatic cleansing of drip systems, and an algae generator technology to clean polluted bodies of water.
Presenter: Steve Pavich, BioFlora, Phoenix, AZ.
Moderator: Miriam Volat, Ag Innovations, Sebastopol, CA.Click here to return to the top of the page.

3. Pajaro Valley Community Water Dialogues: A Model for Collaboration
“A lot of our growers are now utilizing this technology—the [the Wireless Irrigation (WIN) Network and] Hortau probes—they will now have daily water usage that they will track online as well.” — Sam Cooley in Pajaro Valley Community Water Dialogues: A Model for CollaborationClick here to play the MP3.At an average of 12,000 acre-feet per year, water overdraft is a critical concern in the Pajaro Valley, as well as in many other areas along the California coast. Join the Santa Cruz Resource Conservation District (RCD), Driscoll’s, and other farmers in a discussion about the latest ideas to prevent seawater intrusion into the valley’s groundwater. Learn how the community has come together to implement managed aquifer recharge, deploy remote soil water monitoring technology, and affect outcomes of the local water agency.
Presenters: Kelley Bell, Driscoll’s, Watsonville, CA; Samuel Cooley, Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency, Driscoll’s, Watsonville, CA; Nik Strong-Cvetich, Santa Cruz Resource Conservation District, Santa Cruz, CA.
Moderator: Nik Strong-Cvetich, Santa Cruz Resource Conservation District, Santa Cruz, CA.Click here to return to the top of the page.

4. The New Ag Order
“One of our primary goals for this order is to start addressing the nitrate loading to groundwater from irrigated agriculture and this is one of the first orders to do that after several decades of reports identifying the problem.” — Angela Schroeter in The New Ag OrderClick here to play the MP3.In March 2012 the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) approved The Agricultural Order—a Conditional Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements for discharges from irrigated lands in the Central Coast region. Growers must enroll and pay fees in accordance with the Order. All growers must also have a farm water quality management plan and must perform monitoring with reporting requirements. This workshop will provide details and implications of the Ag Order along with water quality information and resources available to organic growers needing help.
Presenters: Rich Casale, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Capitola, CA; Angela Schroeter, Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Luis Obispo, CA.
Moderator: Rich Casale, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Capitola, CA.Click here to return to the top of the page.

2012 EcoFarm Conference Workshops

5. Ecological Pond Design and Management
“We can end up raising maybe 300-400 pounds of fish per acre instead of maybe 50 ponds per acre with clear water—because the nutrients are there to raise the smaller animals the zooplankton, algae, and so forth.” — Keith Crabtree in Pond Design and ManagementClick here to play the MP3.Struggling to evict scum from your pond? Planning to build a small pond (1/4 to 20 acres) on your property? This session will help you by discussing individual or multi-purpose ponds for fishing, irrigation, tailwater return, swimming, and fire protection. The workshop will cover the physical characteristics of a good pond—depth, islands, aeration, side slopes—as well as weed control and sealing a leaky pond. Learn the complexities of a pond ecosystem and how to manage it. Keith has over 30 years of experience with ponds and has provided advice to hundreds of pond owners.
Presenter: Keith Crabtree, Green Acres 101, Auburn, CA.Click here to return to the top of the page.

6. Advanced Irrigation Monitoring
“Over centuries we have been irrigating and I come from a country where we have been irrigating for over 3000 years and we depleted all the water that is out there, and out of 300,000 acres that we have, we can only farm 10,00 and only 5,000 of it has water.” — Dr. Mohammad Reza Ghafar Zadeh in Advanced Irrigation MonitoringClick here to play the MP3.As water becomes more scarce, pumping more expensive, and the climate more demanding, there is a tremendous need for precise water monitoring. Too many people guess at how much water to apply, sometimes with expensive water-consumptive results that can mean disaster for crops. Numerous products and techniques are now in use to improve irrigation efficiency. The speakers will detail the methods they use, the new research on irrigation monitoring, and how to make best use of these systems.
Presenters: Jeremy Otto, Hortau, San Luis Obispo, CA and Dr. Mohammad Reza Ghafar Zadeh, Agrotech Research Company.Click here to return to the top of the page.

2011 EcoFarm Conference Workshops

7. CA Water Policy and Agriculture: What You Need to Know
“What we are going to talk about today is how the state is responding to competing water needs around the state, particularly how that affects agriculture […] and also how that is playing out in a couple of local watersheds.” —Katy Mamen in CA Water Policy and Agriculture: What You Need to KnowClick here to play the MP3.California water policy has undergone substantial changes recently. Farmers in all regions are being asked to conserve. Workshop speakers will give an overview of state policy and its implications for agriculture. A consultant to the State Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water will discuss bills in the 2009 water package as well as current legislative and administrative efforts that affect agriculture, including statewide Integrated Regional Water Management Plans. We will look closely at how this is playing out in two regions in California where farmers and conservation groups are trying to be part of the solution. Kings River Conservation District will describe collaborative efforts to develop sustainable ground water supplies and increase recharge in the central San Joaquin Valley. Community Alliance with Family Farmers will discuss efforts to address overdrafting groundwater in the Pajaro Valley and Monterey County, including recycling of urban wastewater, recharge of aquifers and reducing the amount of water applied through irrigation.
Presenters: David Orth, Kings River Conservation District, Fresno, CA; Dave Runsten, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Davis, CA.
Moderator: Katy Mamen, Ag Innovations Network, Occidental, CA.Click here to return to the top of the page.

8. Dry Farming for High Quality Crops
“Potatoes are one of the most forgiving dry farmed crops you can grow because the plant naturally regulates—it knows how to sprint to the end with the moisture it’s finding in the soil, whereas other plants can die or you have a severe reduction in your yield or your product quality which is not always expectable. So if you want to play, play with potatoes first to get a sense of how your soils are working.” — Nathan Boone in Dry Farming for High Quality CropsClick here to play the MP3.Dry Farming is standard practice in many parts of the world and used to be the norm in California, too. Today’s precarious water supply makes it clear that we need to learn how to grow crops using less water. Dry farming can be good for crop quality, good for the watershed, good for weed management, good all around. Nathan Boone dry farms potatoes, using much the same methods as the old Italian farmers who grew spuds in the same valley 100 years ago. Will Bucklin dry farms several varieties of wine grapes, some of which were planted in the 1800s.Presenters: Nathan Boone, First Light Farm, Bloomfield, CA; Will Bucklin, Bucklin Old Hill Ranch, Glen Ellen, CA.
Moderator: Marissa Alcorta, NCAT, Davis, CA.Click here to return to the top of the page.

9. Aquaculture: Farming in Fertile Waters
“We are what’s known as a zero discharge facility which makes people like Fish and Game and the Water Commission very happy because we don’t put any of our effluent out anywhere else. As we develop into our second, third, and forth phases […]we will end up re-circulating that water over the course of our entire farm, including probably aquaponics (growing some plants there as well to also purify that water. But right now we are absolutely zero discharge.” — Michael Passmore in Aquaculture: Farming in Fertile WatersClick here to play the MP3.The huge demand for fish is decimating many of the world’s fisheries, creating a quickly developing market for farm-raised fish and seafood. California farmers have responded by developing freshwater aquaculture for many fishes. This session will be an introduction to the growing and marketing of farmed fish. Michael McCoy will show the place of freshwater aquaculture in our agricultural history and how farmers can be a part of this growing movement. Michael Passmore will focus on value of locally grown and marketed fish and how this model is effective in the community. Michael raises white sturgeon, silver carp, white catfish, and black bass. He direct markets live and dressed fish at farmer’s markets and restaurants.
Presenters: Michael McCoy, California Aquaculture Association, Sacramento, CA; Michael Passmore, Passmore Ranch, Sloughhouse CA.
Moderator: Noelle Ferdon, Food and Water Watch, San Francisco, CA.Click here to return to the top of the page.

10. Voices of the Klamath Basin: Tale of a Battle Over Water
“The Klamath is an over-allocated river. There is more water that has been promised out of this river than exists in the river, and really if you look at most major water sources in the west, they share the same problem […] so [in 2001] the way the ax came down is that the water was cut off to the farmers.” — Mark DuPont in Voices of the Klamath Basin: Tale of a Battle Over WaterClick here to play the MP3.The Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, or KBRA, marks a major milestone, the result of many years of arduous negotiations and problem solving between farming communities, fisherman and Native American tribes. These groups have historically battled over water and fisheries resources. Despite front-page headlines heralding the agreement as the best means to resolve what many thought was America’s most intractable water war, the thought of enacting the agreement is far from done. In order to be successfully implemented, the KBRA will need to receive state and federal funding and gain the support of a number of public and private entities. This panel will update the organic farming community on the KBRA process through a diversity of voices and perspectives from the basin, including family farmers, fishermen and Indian tribal members.
Presenters: Zeke Grader, Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Association, San Francisco, CA; Becky Hyde, Klamath Water Users Association, Klamath, OR; Ron Reed, Karuk Tribe, Redding, CA.
Moderator: Mark DuPont, Mid Klamath Watershed Council, Orleans, CA.Click here to return to the top of the page.

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