Jul 23, 2019
Organic research and training center launched in California
A Camarillo, California farm will be the site of a new organic research and training center developed by the Rodale Institute.
The project is being funded by Ventura Seed Company, a hemp seed propagation and cultivation company with growers throughout the US. Ventura Seed Company currently grows about 60 acres of certified organic hemp for CBD on the farm, which belongs to Phil McGrath.
McGrath, a fifth-generation farmer said in a press release from the Rodale Institute he was concerned about Ventura County becoming increasingly monocropped with a few high-value food staples like strawberries, lemons and avocados.
“We need regenerative agriculture for our collective future,” McGrath said in the release.
California, always an agriculture powerhouse with its long growing season and huge geographical area, leads the U.S. in the number of organic farms, the amount of land in organic production, and in organic sales. The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, in its 2016 Organic Survey, reported that California has 2713 certified organic farms, or 19% of the total in the U.S., with annual sales totaling nearly $2.9 billion.
The new Rodale Institute California Organic Center said in a press release it intends to solve challenges for farmers in the region and across the globe by conducting research in new climates and soil types, and on crops, pests, diseases and weeds that are most relevant to farmers in this important agricultural area.
The California Organic Center is Rodale Institute’s third new regional resource center announced in 2019 – the other two centers include the Midwest Organic Center in Marion, Iowa, near Cedar Rapids, and the Southeast Organic Center in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia, about an hour from Atlanta.
Throughout the summer and fall, Rodale Institute will hire research and extension staff for the site, meet with local partners in the area to determine research needs, and begin drafting trials and field plans.