Back in time: The lessons of the Dust Bowl

NRCS Plant Material Center
FARMS Leadership | San Joaquin | December 10th, 2019

Location: Lockeford, CA

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Margaret Smither-Kopperl, Lockeford Plant Materials Center Manager, Plant Materials Program
Matthew Bronson, Plant Materials Center, Farm Manager

Theme: Ecology and Habitat Conservation

NRCS Plant Materials Center (PMC) is a CLBL long-time partner and a favorite field day for FARMS Leadership students. PMC is a network of 25 Plant Materials Centers and Plant Materials Specialists strategically located throughout the U.S. They select plants and develop plant technology for the successful conservation of the nation’s natural resources. In addition, PMC provides information to field office staff, private landowners, tribes and partners who need assistance in addressing critical land management problems.

Plant experts Margaret Smither-Kopperl and Matthew Bronson led students through the historical evolution of NRCS dating back to the 1930’s dust bowl where soil erosion, air and water pollution became and continue to be issues farmers face today. Margaret conveys, “we help farmers help the land”.  The designated property is near Lockeford along the Mokelumne River. Students experienced an extensive walking tour through cover crop seed plots, and took cuttings from native plants and shrubs, elderberry and grapes along in the riparian habitat as well as from the flannel tree in established hedge rows. The osage orange and milk weed seed pod discovery was certainly a highlight on the tour.

After lunch, students transplanted the cuttings and placed in the greenhouse. The day concluded with facilities tour of the seed cleaning, the impressive collection of tractors and equipment.

Leave a Reply