Nicole Tautges

Nicole Tautges, chief scientist in cropping systems at Russell Ranch, received a $500k grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

The grant will fund groundbreaking research about the tomato industry, particularly in northern California. “Northern California growers have expressed a need for information on cropping strategies and rotation options, including cover [and] annual crops, and perennial forages, as well as a more detailed understanding of soil organic matter, nutrient, and soil microbial community trends as the transition-to-organic period progresses,” Tautges writes. 

The study aims to provide California tomato growers with information on soil fertility and structure during the transition to organic practices. It will also highlight optimal rotational crops in Mediterranean cropping systems. The study will further examine how to maximize net revenues for growers as they transition to certified organic production. Tautges plans to disseminate the results through “innovative educational and extension methods.”

To learn more about the work Russell Ranch is doing with tomato production, feel free to look at the following reports on the California tomato farm health survey and a research project examining soil health and salinity in processing tomatoes.