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DAVIS — University of California scientists are looking for certified organic growers to participate in a multistate soil and food-safety study. The data they gather will help them develop national guidelines and best practices for using raw manure to improve soil health.
“The goal of our study is to provide organic farmers with science-based strategies that effectively limit food-safety risks when using raw manure-based soil amendments,” said Alda Pires, UC Cooperative Extension urban agriculture and food safety specialist in the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis.
The study will run two years. In return for participating, growers will receive free test results for their farm, farm-specific feedback to help minimize contamination of fresh produce and $700 at the end of the study.
Researchers will visit participating farms eight times over the 2017-18 growing season. They will collect produce, soil and water samples.
“All of the samples will be tested for bacterial indicators such as nonpathogenic E. coli and pathogens. We will ask the farmers to complete a short survey,” said Michele Jay-Russell, a veterinary research microbiologist and manager at the Western Center for Food Safety at UC Davis. “The study is voluntary and all locations and names will be kept confidential.”