DAVIS, Calif.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Supporting California’s vital agricultural sector, policymakers, water management experts, environmental leaders and growers convened at the University of California, Davis last week to examine innovations, strategies and actions being taken to support California’s water conservation efforts through sustainable irrigation.
“By utilizing a variable rate drip irrigation system we are able to manage an entire field by targeting specific micro zones in order to improve the overall productivity of the entire field”
Presented in partnership by Netafim USA, The Milken Innovation Center at the Jerusalem Institute and UC Davis, the event was keynoted by Karen Ross, California Secretary of Food and Agriculture and featured presentations and discussions by experts from the water, environmental and agricultural industries, including:
- Dan Putnam, PhD, Agronomist and Forage Specialist, UC Davis
- Jamie Weisman, Sustainable Water Partnership Manager for The California Israel Global Innovation Project, Milken Innovation Center
- Bob Curtis, Director Agricultural Affairs, Almond Board of California
- John Cardoza, Project Manager, Sustainable Conservation
- Brent Sams, Research Viticulturist, E. & J. Gallo Winery
- Gene Miyao, Farm Advisor-Vegetable Crops, UC Davis Cooperative Extension
- Naty Barak, Chief Sustainability Officer, Netafim
“It’s very important for all of us to acknowledge what a challenging and complex journey sustainability is, and that where it starts is with a commitment to use our resources as carefully as possible and to steward them in a way that achieves economic profitability, and creates prosperity in our local communities,” said Secretary Ross during her opening remarks.
Dan Putnam, PhD, Agronomist and Forage Specialist, UC Davis stressed the importance of framing the conversation correctly: “When we're talking about water use efficiency, we have to think of the amount of food produced, or the amount of crop produced per unit water, or per unit greenhouse gas, or per unit impact on the environment, because that's really the whole purpose of agriculture.”
Netafim’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Naty Barak, pointed to innovation as a key factor in achieving greater sustainability: “For California farmers, the path to a more sustainable water future will undoubtedly require a renewed emphasis on providing growers with the right tools, technology, and knowledge to help them maximize water productivity and meet present and future sustainability requirements.”
The speakers also addressed the use of newer technologies such as variable rate drip irrigation as a means for improving water productivity.
“By utilizing a variable rate drip irrigation system we are able to manage an entire field by targeting specific micro zones in order to improve the overall productivity of the entire field,” said Brent Sams, Research Viticulturist, E. & J. Gallo Winery. “We call it pixel farming.”
Bob Curtis, Director Agricultural Affairs, Almond Board of California added, “The almond industry has made great strides in improving sustainability over the last 20 years. We now have over 70 percent of all California almond growers using micro and drip irrigation as their primary irrigation method.”
Speaker audio and presentations are available by visiting the University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources website.
ABOUT NETAFIM USA
Netafim USA, based in Fresno, Calif., develops and manufactures drip irrigation systems for agriculture, landscape & turf, greenhouse & nursery, mining and wastewater. Netafim offers an extensive range of irrigation solutions including driplines, filters, sprinklers, valves, water meters and automation equipment for complete dripline system installations. For more information go to www.netafimusa.com.