SUMMIT 2022 PROGRAM

Note: This is the semi-final program, subject to small changes. 

 

NOVEMBER 13: FARM TOUR

This day-long tour will take us to three different locations in the Davis/Woodland region that showcase projects and practices for wildfire and drought resilience.

  1. Bullseye Farm: We will visit a walnut orchard and an almond orchard for a discussion on the practical considerations of cover cropping on a large scale and the significant benefits for their soils, tree health, and water retention. 
  2. Cache Creek Conservancy: We will hear from Christian Cane of Perennial Grazing and prescribed fire practitioners about ecological restoration and reducing the risk of uncontrollable fire events. 
  3. Center for Land-Based Learning: The Center is in the process of establishing a Farm And Climate Program that will focus on building a diverse and healthy agroecosystem that can be used as a model throughout Yolo County and beyond. You’ll also get to hear from beginning farmers about the climate challenges they face and how they are adapting.

NOVEMBER 14: CONFERENCE

Note: In addition to the sessions below, there will be poster presentations on a variety of topics, and a wine and cheese reception at the end of the day. 

Climate Leadership Awards

We will recognize four climate & agriculture leaders in four areas: Farmer/Rancher; Researcher; Technical Assistance; policymakers. Following the awards, the recipients will participate in a panel discussion.

Workshops

Building a Healthy, Just & Climate-Resilient Food & Farm Future 

Both the pandemic and the accelerating impacts of climate change reveal the fragility and inequality of our food and farming system. This panel will talk about the lessons learned from these crises and share their ideas about what new infrastructure is needed to protect workers, food-insecure communities, family farmers and ranchers, and the ecosystems upon which we all depend. Speaking as members of the Food & Farm Resilience Coalition, they will share stories about how they won almost $2 billion in state funding since 2021 to move towards this vision, and share plans for what’s next.

Speakers: Arohi Sharma, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); Dave Runsten, Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF); Andy Naja-Reise, Agriculture Institute of Marin; Cesar Lara, Monterey Bay Central Labor Council

California’s Big Climate Plans: What do they mean on the ground?

California has developed a number of wide-ranging plans to guide the state’s movement toward its ambitious climate goals. There are three that relate specifically to agriculture: (1) Climate Smart Land Strategy; (2) 30×30 California; and (3) the 2022 Scoping Plan Update. Experts on each of these plans will take part in a moderated dialogue to share how they see the plans driving on-the-ground action that helps make California’s farms and food system more resilient to climate change.

Speakers: Virginia Jameson, CA Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA); Amanda Hansen CA Natural Resources Agency (CNRA); Matt Botill, CA Air Resources Board (CARB)

Making the Most of Manure: Shifting from Waste to Resource

California launched a first-in-the-nation grant program to support the transition in dairy manure management systems from methane-producing flush systems to dry systems that separate solids from liquids and can generate valuable compost.  This panel will review the scientific underpinnings of the Alternative Manure Management Program in terms of reducing methane emissions and improving water quality. You will also hear about the practical benefits of modernized systems for producers and why the program is so popular. We will also give you an update on an effort to build on this model at the federal level in the Farm Bill.

Speakers: Betsy Karle, UC Cooperative Extension; Becca Ryals, Department of Life & Environmental Sciences, UC Merced; Dairy producer: TBA

Scaling Up Ag Climate Solutions Across the Country

The last two years have seen a lot of activity at the state and federal levels on policies, programs, and funding to incentivize farming practices with climate benefits. You will hear about approaches in two states to launching a Healthy Soils program, and get an overview of the funding coming through the US Department of Agriculture from the Inflation Reduction Act and other sources. You will also learn about the Agriculture Resilience Act in Congress and how the upcoming Farm Bill provides opportunities to dramatically scale up “climate-smart”, organic and regenerative agriculture across the country.

Speakers: Carlos Suarez, CA Natural Resources Conservation Service (invited); Cathy Day, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Healthy Soils Science: What’s the latest on building carbon sinks and climate resilience?

This workshop will share recent healthy soil research on how farm management practices affect carbon sinks and build climate resilience, ways that soil health practices can improve water resilience in irrigated croplands, and the interactions between regional soil characteristics, farm management practices, and soil health. This session will focus on cover crops, compost and hedgerows in croplands. Presenters will also highlight the implications of their research on choosing effective practices and potential policy implications.

Speakers: Tim Bowles, UC Berkeley Department of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management; Jessica Chiartas, UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences; Scott Devine, UC Davis Department of Land, Air & Water Resources (invited)

Practical on-farm drought management strategies

This session will be an open discussion led by a farmer, rancher, and two irrigation and drought management experts. The goal of this peer-to-peer session is to learn from each other’s successes (and mistakes) in adapting to drought conditions and to share strategies and resources that were helpful. 

Speakers: Steve Fukagawa, Steve Fukagawa Farms; Kevin Greer, Tehama Resource Conservation District; Dan Macon, Flying Mule Sheep Company & UC Cooperative Extension; Leslie Roche, UC Cooperative Extension 

What’s Next? A Roundtable to Share Ideas Generated by Applicants to the USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Program

In 2022, the USDA issued a call for proposals for up to $1 billion worth of pilot projects that provide technical assistance and market development for agricultural products with measurable climate benefits. This program was highly competitive and generated a wide range of innovative projects and approaches to reducing the carbon footprint of agriculture. In this workshop, a sample of California-based applicants to the program will share their ideas in a roundtable conversation intended to showcase the creativity and vision of thought leaders in the state and spark dialogue about ambitious new approaches to curbing climate change. 

Speakers: Variety of Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Program grant recipients

Agricultural Solutions to Enhance Wildfire Resilience

This session will start with the latest science on the impacts of prescribed grazing and burning on wildfire behavior. Then we’ll hear from researchers and practitioners about the diverse and holistic solutions they are working on in practice, how local Tribal engagement and leadership is essential, and the support needed to grow these efforts to meet our current conditions.  

Speakers: Devii Rao, UC Cooperative Extension; Roxanne Foss, Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting; Clint McKay, Intersectional Land Stewardship 

Farmworker Health & Wellbeing in the Face of Climate Change

Climate change is worsening workplace safety for California farmworkers who already have dangerous jobs. In the context of extreme heat, wildfire smoke, and poor air quality, farmworkers face multiple health risks with limited options to protect themselves while maintaining their source of income. Workers also face job insecurity when farm owners are forced to fallow fields for lack of water. Some policy solutions for these challenges have been debated in the state legislature, but most have been flawed or inadequate. In this session, you will hear from advocates and farmworkers about existing and previously proposed legislation, as well as what is needed to create safe and humane conditions for farmworkers.  

Speakers: Lucas Zucker, CAUSE; Alondra Santiago, California Institute Rural Studies 

Lightning Talks

This session will feature a smorgasbord of innovations in the arena of sustainable agriculture and climate change. Eight presenters will share their ideas, research, and projects in a series of “TED Talk” type presentations. Some sample topics include:

  • Beaver Restoration as a Climate Strategy
  • Train the Trainer Program to Improve Nitrogen and Irrigation Practices in California
  • Lessons Learned from the Healthy Soils Program’s Demonstration Projects 
  • Lowering the Bar for Using Weather Driven Models to Predict Crop and Insect Development in a Changing Climate
  • Environmental and Economic Benefits of Using Biochar in a Monterey Vineyard
  • Sharing the Yoke: Central Coast Regenerative Equipment Sharing Alliance
  • Pathway to Nowhere?: Reimagining Long-Term Land Tenure Models for New Entry Farmers Practicing Regenerative Agriculture
  • Harvesting the Sun: An Agricultural Revolution for Food-Energy Co-Generation

SGMA, Drought, Land Fallowing & Repurposing: What is the Future of Land & Communities in the San Joaquin Valley?

SGMA implementation, drought, land fallowing, and repurposing. What is the future of agricultural land and communities in the valley with half a million acres taken out of production? How are family farmers, rural communities, and conservationists envisioning and shaping that future? What role can the state play through its new Multi-Benefit Land Repurposing Program?

Speakers: Keali’i Bright, California Department of Conservation; Caitlin Peterson, Water Policy Center at the Public Policy Institute of California; Adam Livingston, Sequoia Riverlands Trust

Building Climate-Ready Technical Assistance & Conservation Planning Infrastructure

To scale climate-smart ag practices across 25 million acres of California agriculture over the next two decades, the state’s 70,000 farmers and ranchers will need more robust, consistent, and climate-savvy conservation planning and technical assistance. What progress has been made in the past 5 years with new funding streams? What more is needed? This workshop will feature a panel of folks leading various efforts to train the next generation of conservation planners and scale up the state’s technical assistance infrastructure.

Speakers: Jeff Creque, Carbon Cycle Institute; Houston Wilson, UC Organic Agriculture Institute; Cindy Daley, Chico State Center for Regenerative Agriculture & Resilient Systems

Modernizing California’s Ag Water Delivery Infrastructure for Water and Energy Savings

California’s water system is governed by 19th-century laws, was built in the 20th century, and now must adapt to 21st-century climate challenges. Surface water deliveries often don’t match plants’ actual water needs, resulting in over/under-watering and associated nitrous oxide emissions, farmers needing to pump more groundwater, and higher water and energy costs. This session will drill into the mismatch between water demand and water supply and how modernizing California’s water delivery infrastructure could be a win-win strategy for farmers, groundwater sustainability, grid reliability, and the state’s climate goals.

Speakers: Arian Aghajanzadeh, Klimate Consulting; Jennifer Morales, Department of Water Resources (invited); Katie Patterson, South San Joaquin Irrigation District (invited)

Workforce Development to Prepare for an Uncertain Climate Future

There is a pressing need to increase the number of farmers and land stewards in our state who are rooted in ecological practices and prepared to have successful careers in agriculture. The speakers will share their efforts to provide job pathways and training for careers in sustainable agriculture, food and fiber production, and wildfire mitigation. They will discuss the gaps these programs aim to fill and the outcomes of the programs to date. 

Speakers: Chris Brown, Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA); Lilian Autler, Equitable Food Initiative; Jaime Irwin, Kaos Sheep Outfit

Secure Land Tenure as a Climate Solution

Secure land tenure is critical for farmers to be able to successfully adopt and sustain healthy soils practices to build climate resilience, yet it is often overlooked in policy discussions. In particular, new and beginning farmers and farmers of color face high barriers to accessing secure land tenure. Addressing these barriers is critical to ensuring the next generation of farmers can help mitigate and build resilience to climate change. This panel will feature a farmer, a researcher, and an alternative land model practitioner in dialogue, moderated by a technical assistance provider. Panelists will share some of the individual and structural barriers to securing land tenure and present and explore alternative models. 

Speakers: Liz Carlisle, UC Santa Barbara Environmental Studies Program; Javier Zamora, JSM Organics; Thea Maria Carlson, Agrarian Trust

Stay Connected
Get newsletter and blog updates and action alerts from CalCAN