CURES celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2012 with much to cheer. In October, the non-profit organization, formed in 1997, received word from California Department of Food and Agriculture that it would be managing its first fertilizer research project. For the past 15 years, CURES has focused much of its efforts on pesticide stewardship and research projects including studies on effectiveness of farm practices to minimize pesticide movement into waterways. The new CDFA project from the Specialty Crop Block Grant program will enable CURES staff to examine effectiveness of farm practices to protect groundwater from nitrate contamination.
“2012 was a great year for our organization, especially when we received our first project in crop nutrients,” says Gabriele Ludwig, CURES board chair and associate director of environmental affairs for the Almond Board of California. “Hopefully, this is the first of more projects involving nutrients that take advantage of the outreach and applied research skills that CURES has gained over the last 15 years,” says Ludwig.
Other highlights of 2012 activities include the first project where CURES is helping growers obtain cost sharing grants for improved irrigation systems. Funding is from a Proposition 84 grant for $8 million, awarded to CURES by the State Water Resources Control Board, and is being directed to projects for eliminating irrigation drainage from cropland in the Central Valley. By late next year, 64 farms covering almost 7,500 acres of cropland will have been upgraded with funds from Proposition 84. Farmers provide a minimum of 50 percent cost share for each project.
CURES added to its science staff in 2012 with the naming of Michael L. Johnson as science advisor and Melissa Turner as data services manager. Both Johnson and Turner have extensive experience in managing water quality and Internet database projects. In 2012, the organization moved its administrative offices to Davis, Calif.
CURES’ theme in all its outreach programs: “Always be sure to follow stewardship practices when handling and applying pesticides on farms and in urban areas.” Through the support of the Almond Board of California, CURES publishes Watershed Coalition News. The newsletter has covered water quality regulations impacting farmers in the Central Valley since 2005.
CURES was founded in 1997 to support educational efforts for agricultural and urban communities focusing on the proper and judicious use of pest control products. Since its start, the group has focused its efforts on pesticide stewardship and research projects, including studies on the effectiveness of management practices to minimize movement of farm inputs and sediment into surface water. A key goal is to implement educational programs, coordinate research and provide information and
professional expertise to users and applicators of crop protection chemicals and pest control products to enhance and protect the environment, as well as public and worker health and safety. All the projects are implemented either by its staff or through partnerships with organizations such as University of California, Davis; California State University, Fresno; University of Pacific and CSU Chico, among others. CURES also works closely with commodity groups, water quality coalitions and private companies.