What looks good on paper doesn’t always translate on farm. That is why agricultural innovation and improvement conversations often pack the most punch when they’re led by someone who has road-tested big ideas and has the most at stake: the farmers and ranchers themselves.
To foster these producer-led conversations, America’s Conservation Ag Movement brought together California farmers, ACAM partner Valent U.S.A. and Salinas-based non-profit, ALBA, for a bilingual field day at JSM Organics farm led by ACAM Conservation Steward, Javier Zamora.
Standing under the shade of a Zamora’s powerful solar array and observing first-hand the season-extending warmth of a grant-funded hoop house, the promise of NRCS programs came to life for attendees that included beginning growers, ag advocates and industry partners.
What’s more, the payoff for investing sweat equity—working with a government agency, filling out paperwork, installing new equipment and infrastructure and adopting new growing practices—became tangible for attendees who toured Zamora’s 100 acres on the cloudy and cool September morning.
As field day participants trekked across JSM Organics Farm, which has grown cane berries, strawberries vegetables and flowers organically in Aromas Calif. for over a decade, Zamora and other area ag and conservation leaders shared their experiences, insights and practical advice on how to build a specialty crop business from the ground up.
“I’m not a beginning farmer, but I’m not an old farmer either. Estoy en medio,” Zamora said to field day attendees.
The bottom line? Don’t go it alone, says Zamora. What becomes possible when farmers and conservation advocates comes together can be greater than the sum of its parts.
“This teamwork, it’s paying off,” he said. “This is the whole point to having these gatherings. We actually get something out of it, and it can help us do what we do.”