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Soil Health Tech for Climate Resilience in the Central Valley – PastureMap and Point Blue Conservation

10/09/19, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Join us at UC Merced for a short workshop and networking lunch on October 9th, 2019, from 10 AM to 2 PM PST in Crescent Arch room in the Half Dome at UC Merced.


Farmers and ranchers are a key part of the solution to building climate resilience. Agricultural practices that build soil health can cool the land surface, improve water holding capacity in the land, and increase biodiversity. Agricultural lands act as both a carbon sink and a "sponge" for rainfall, providing clean water and improving drought resilience. In wildfire-prone California, these benefits provided by producers managing local watersheds and rangelands are more important than ever.

In California’s Central Valley, however, many farmers lack access to resources and technology to take baseline soil data samples. This makes it difficult for farmers to qualify for funding opportunities, including the Healthy Soils Program. Helping farmers get access to accurate soil data now is a critical first step to accurately measure change and capture these opportunities.

To support farmers and ranchers in this effort, PastureMap and Point Blue Conservation Science have launched the first mapping platform that combines soil health and grazing records for ranchers in California. Though the platform was developed primarily with ranchers, all types of farmers are welcome! Learn how to create soil health data maps that can be shared with anyone - a crucial first step in helping farmers and ranchers get rewarded for their contributions in a regenerative economy.

About Point Blue and PastureMap

Through monitoring health on 90 ranches across California since 2015, Point Blue has shown exciting soil health results from adaptive grazing. PastureMap's ranch management software enables ranchers to see soil health improvements side-by-side with their grazing management records. Used in the field to plan cattle grazing, PastureMap can clearly indicate how grazing management decisions impact long term soil health, allowing ranchers and farmers to adjust accordingly.

Why participate?

In this workshop, we will:

  • Introduce the PastureMap and Point Blue technology platform

  • Hear feedback from farmers and ranchers who have used the platform

  • Participate in small group interactive demos with real data

  • Discuss how to increase farmer equity and access to technology for climate resilience

Additionally, a primary goal of the workshop is to create opportunities for building conversation between Central Valley farmers, University of California researchers, PastureMap and Point Blue Conservation field scientists. In addition to sharing their expertise in the field, participants can:

  • Meet with UC Merced grad students and faculty.

  • Tour labs and discuss research applications for real farmland data

  • Participate in breakout discussions and small, focused group demos

  • Ask their scientific and technical questions about soil health in person, 1-on-1

  • Connect with others with shared interests and challenges

For farmers and ranchers that have soil health data that they aren’t (but would like to be) using in their ranch management decisions, this will be an extremely practical and useful workshop to attend. We know well how soil health reports have a way of ending up locked in a dark cabinet, or buried in long-forgotten folders! This workshop will enable them to upload this data and learn how to begin tracking changes in soil health over time, enabling powerful insights. Seeing the data all in one place will enable ranchers to visualize soil health patterns and ask questions like:

  • Which pastures have we done a good job in?

  • Where is there room to improve?

  • If we have poor soil organic matter in an area, is it just the soil type, or is it our management?

  • Are we improving water infiltration and bulk density over time?

  • Are we compacting my soil more in certain pastures and need a different grazing strategy?

ALL participants will get:

  • Access to free trial version of PastureMap

  • Free upload of soil data (must be in Excel format)

  • Opportunity to shape the direction of research, e.g. where NRCS dollars go and what gets funded

  • Up-to-date information on the state of research on carbon sequestration and regenerative agriculture in California, with implications for potential carbon payments and other benefits

  • Full support to get set up and ready to use PastureMap in the field


Location: UC Merced, Crescent Arch Room in Half Dome, 5200 North Lake Road, Merced CA

Parking at UC Merced is $8/day in the Bellevue Parking Lot

Map of and directions to the campus can be found here at https://www.ucmerced.edu/maps.

For more information on this collaboration, contact christine@pasturemap.com or kgarbach@pointblue.org.

For workshop details, contact Susan Cousineau at scousineau@ucmerced.edu.

This collaboration was made possible by a Conservation Innovation Grant from the California NRCS and the Elemental Excelerator's Just Innovation Prize, an award to create equity and access for climate change innovations.


Susan Cousineau




UC Merced

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5200 North Lake Road, Merced, CA, 93010