Central Valley youth provide farms with sensors that monitor weather and soil to maximize water use

LEMOORE, Calif. (KABC) – Smaller farms, like larger farms, need weather tracking technology to make crop management decisions, but in many cases they don’t have the resources to pay for it. Fortunately, there are young people who are willing to help.

Hanan Ali, a ninth grader at Coalinga High School, is a member of a nonprofit organization Olinga learning ,

“I feel like if they can do stuff for games and everything, then they can do stuff to help people that actually have to come out here in the sun and do all the work,” Ali said.

Luck of the Irish Ranch in Lemoore and several nearby farms are now being maintained as part of a student collaboration Coalinga-Huron Unified School DistrictAera Energy and the non-profit organization Olinga Learning.

“Whether it’s pistachios, strawberries or raising cattle, they all had specific needs, so we had to learn what those were and then see if we could help them with that,” said Vahid Motazedian, the founder of Olinga Learning.

That help comes in the form of five 9th grade girls from Coalinga High School who, under the guidance of Olinga Learning, are building sensors to help small farmers in their community.

The sensors enable remote monitoring of weather and soil conditions, an area-specific technology that is not cost-effective for smaller farms.

“We play a big role with the farmers, which makes us feel good,” says Samantha Vega, a ninth grader.

It takes several days to properly irrigate a field, but the sensors allow you to leave the water on in a row that still needs water, but then turn it off in a row that is saturated, saving thousands of gallons of water .

“The other consideration is that we don’t have that many people out here for so long or we can spread the cost across multiple farms because if they can check it through the app, they don’t have to be there physically,” Jon said Spreng, who owns Luck of the Irish Ranch.

To transmit the data received from the sensors, they needed help from aera energyallowing a receiver on one of its hills to broadcast a strong, clear signal to participating farms throughout the Central Valley.

“Involving everyone and getting different ideas and the ingenuity that different groups of people can have … the students might have a different perspective than an oil company, which might have a different perspective than an environmental company, but bringing all those ideas together is what really makes it.” good,” said Ali Zauner of Aera Energy.

Olinga Learning was founded in 2010 to empower youth to improve their rural communities.

For Spreng, who is also an associate principal at Coalinga High School, these young girls are doing far more than helping the community conserve resources.

“These kids have an opportunity to be really college and career ready by doing one hands-on project, multiple projects, and developing industry-level technology before they even get into the industry.”

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https://abc7.com/water-farms-tech-drought/11923397/ Central Valley youth provide farms with sensors that monitor weather and soil to maximize water use

Laura Coffey

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