Tag: salinas

New Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology connects Growers with Solutions

“In an era of diminishing natural and human resources and growing regulatory and marketplace demands, the future of agriculture depends on technology,” says Tom Nassif, president and chief executive officer for Western Growers Association (WGA), which is working to connect high technology and the soil through a facility based in America’s salad bowl.

The new Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology (WGCIT), which opened late last year at Salinas, Calif., is a technology incubator aimed at bringing innovative entrepreneurs together with farmers to facilitate creative solutions to the biggest challenges facing agriculture.

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Grants & Drip Irrigation Seen as Solution to Nitrate Contamination

Nitrate contamination is a common issue for growers in the Salinas Valley. Since nitrates can cause serious health issues and can negatively affect marine wildlife, significant grant money is being devoted to the issue. Drip irrigation is also part of the solution since it applies the right amount of water exactly where it is needed, increasing plant health and minimizing runoff.

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Salinas Valley Farmers Solve Water Issues with Drip Irrigation and Conservation

Salinas Drip IrrigationCharged with the issue of seawater intrusion, the Salinas Valley in California has done several things to all but eliminate the issue. First, two reservoirs were constructed to recharge the underground aquifer. Then, a wastewater treatment plant was built to enable the use of recycled water for irrigation. And recently, a rubber dam was installed to divert surface water for irrigation. Along with these attempts to improve the region’s water supply, Salinas Valley farmers have turned to drip irrigation and conservation to help solve their water issues.

In a recent article in AgAlert, reporter Bob Johnson interviewed Salinas Valley farmers to see how they have reduced seawater intrusion. Turns out that the region’s conversion to drip irrigation and focus on conservation has a lot to do with it. Bob writes, “Twenty years ago, less than 3 percent of Salinas Valley vegetable acreage was under drip irrigation…(but) the water agency’s most recent survey shows that by 2012, drip irrigation was being used on nearly 60 percent of the vegetable acreage.” Bob goes on to write that between drip irrigation, water supply projects, and other conservation techniques, such as soil moisture sensors and flow meters, the Salinas Valley has even allowed the underground water table to rise.

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