Food & Farm News
January 29, 2014
North state irrigation district runs out of water
Drought and unusual early irrigation needs have caused one Northern California irrigation district to run out of water. The board president of the Orland-Artois Water District in Glenn County says its supplies ran out last week. Because of the dry January, farmers have been irrigating orchards and grain crops that normally would be fed by rain at this time of year. Farmers throughout the state face water shortages due to the dry winter.
Drought hampers organic dairies
Parched pastures may force California dairy farmers to seek a "temporary variance" from organic dairy standards. Those standards require cows to be raised on pasture for a certain number of days each year. But pastures have little to no grass, and organic dairy farmers have had to feed organic hay to their cows instead. An organic certifying agency says federal officials have relaxed the standards at times of drought in other regions.
Drought workshop focuses on cattle ranches
Cattle ranchers will gather at locations around the state Wednesday to talk about strategies for coping with drought. The University of California Cooperative Extension will hold a workshop in Browns Valley, and broadcast it to six other locations. With rangelands providing little feed for cattle, the workshop will focus on supplemental feed sources, managing animal health, deciding when to sell cattle, and other topics to help ranchers during the dry winter.
Farmers plan to plant more kiwifruit
Expect to see more California-grown kiwifruit become available in future years. The Kiwifruit Administrative Committee says new acreage and new varieties are being planted. Farmers say they see more demand for kiwifruit, and have been planting new varieties that mature at different times when imported fruit is less available. California farms produce more than 95 percent of domestically grown kiwifruit.