Food & Farm News
July 22, 2015
Water shortages damage citrus groves
Citrus growers in the eastern San Joaquin Valley say they’re in “survival mode,” as they try to keep trees alive because of water shortages. Farmers in citrus-growing regions that have been cut off from surface water and have very little groundwater are scrambling to locate emergency supplies. A citrus growers organization estimates up to 25,000 acres of citrus trees will be removed this year due to the lack of water.
Grant aids displaced farm employees
To help employees of farms and agricultural businesses who have lost work because of drought and water shortages, the U.S. Department of Labor says it will distribute $3 million in grant funding to California organizations. The initial grant will employ up to 1,000 people for up to six months. They will work with public and nonprofit agencies on fire-prevention and other public-works projects.
Flooding fields could aid groundwater, study says
Farmland represents a valuable resource in helping to replenish groundwater supplies, according to University of California research. Specialists say about 3.6 million acres of farmland appears to have good potential for recharging groundwater basins. The UC researchers plan to learn more about how much extra water could be recharged, and on what sorts of fields, but a test on a Siskiyou County alfalfa field yielded promising results.
Orchard byproducts reduce carbon emissions
When calculating the carbon footprint of an orchard, researchers say, it’s important to look at all the products generated by that orchard. In the case of almonds, a new study cited the value of almond wood, shells and hulls that are used to produce biomass energy. Other uses of almond byproducts also help reduce emissions, the study says. The trees themselves store carbon, and the study’s authors say almond farming could ultimately become carbon neutral.