Food & Farm News
April 9, 2014
Water worries citrus growers
As their trees bloom, lack of water worries Central California citrus farmers. Bloom conditions have been ideal, but "zero" allocations from state and federal water projects have San Joaquin Valley farmers concerned about sustaining their trees through the summer. The valley was hit by a freeze early last December, reducing the current crop. Now, grower groups say as many as 50,000 acres of citrus trees may see production cut by water shortages.
Gardening in dry times
Homeowners may need to look at gardening differently this year, as many California communities face restrictions on water use due to the drought. University of California specialists say gardens can still be a success in dry years. They recommend gardeners plant earlier in the year, change the time of day for watering and choose drought-tolerant plants. They also encourage controlling weeds and mulching, which can reduce water use by as much as half.
Egg demand surges
Global demand for eggs continues to be strong and that has pushed prices to historic highs, but people will still find plenty of eggs for Easter baskets and Passover meals, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. U.S. egg exports rose 39 percent last year and farmers are working to catch up with the surge in demand. In California though, egg production has declined 8 percent so far this year, compared to the previous year.
Everyone is a scientist
To celebrate the centennial of UC Cooperative Extension, it is encouraging Californians to collect scientific data on May 8, the date when the extension service turns 100. Participants are being asked to observe how many pollinators they see, to report how they conserve water and where food is grown in their community. In addition, many county extension offices will hold special public events to celebrate science and service.