Food & Farm News
September 2, 2015
Analysis shows reach of new rule
Up to 95 percent of California’s land area could be subject to a new rule to enforce federal clean-water law, according to an analysis requested by farm organizations. The rule took effect Friday. It grants broader authority to federal agencies to protect “waters of the United States.” Depending on how it is interpreted, farm groups say, the rule could allow agencies to restrict activities on wide swaths of land in much of the nation.
Ag tech hubs sprout in California
Several California regions have begun to emerge as agricultural technology hubs, where private companies and universities encourage on-farm innovations. In Yolo County, seed companies work on advances in plants and crop protection. In the Salinas Valley, startup companies tap the technology of nearby Silicon Valley to develop high-tech tools for food production. In the Fresno area, firms focus on irrigation and water management technology.
Millet shows promise, researchers say
At test plots in six Northern California locations, farmers and researchers are checking the best way to grow millet. A grain crop widely used in many parts of the world, millet is grown in the United States mainly for bird food and livestock forage. But a University of California team wants to change that. The Berkeley-based Millet Project says millet offers potential as a nutritious, drought-tolerant grain for California cultivation.
Ranchers work to help sage grouse
Ranchers in Northeastern California say they’re hopeful an initiative to benefit the greater sage grouse will prove effective. The plan, announced last week by the U.S. Agriculture Department, will assist ranchers who improve their land to benefit the bird. In the northeastern corner of the state, ranchers have already undertaken conservation plans for the grouse. They say they want to avoid having the bird listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.