Cal Poly hosts sustainable ag conference

New innovations for both organic and traditional farmers and wine grape growers and a daylong field workshop led by renowned agricultural consultant Gary Zimmer, author of the best-selling book “The Biological Farmer,” are the highlights of a two-day pest management conference at San Luis Obispo in December.

The conference will be held Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 6 and 7. It is co-sponsored by Cal Poly's Sustainable Agriculture Resource Consortium (SARC) and the California Certified Organic Farmers.

Participants will learn about the latest developments in sustainable pest management in sessions held in San Luis Obispo Dec. 6. Presentations will focus on organic regulations, materials and production practices, and ecologically-beneficial wine grape, olive and vegetable production practices.

The second day of the conference (Dec. 7) will be a field day led by Zimmer, with workshops held in vineyards and working farms throughout San Luis Obispo County. The author will lead an all-day, on-farm workshop titled “Sustainable Farming Practices for Improved Pest Management.”

The hands-on event will focus on effective natural pest control strategies at a commercial vineyard and farm in the South County. Participants will study soil tests and current management practices under Zimmer's guidance to develop recommendations for enhanced nutrient and pest management on site.

Registration for the full conference was $175 before Nov. 15; $225 after. Fees include meals and parking; accommodations are not included.

Participants may also enroll separately for either day. Cost was $125 for the Dec. 6 session and $50 for the Dec. 7 session if postmarked before Nov. 15. Fees are $150 and $75 after Nov. 15. Students with valid I.D. can register for $35 for Dec. 6 and $20 for Dec. 7.

Two-day conference participants can earn 14 Continuing Education Units, including three Laws and Regulations Units, recognized by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. For details, visit “PCA Conference” at, or call Hunter Francis at (805) 756-5086.

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