Depleted Colorado River threatens farming in the Imperial Valley The Colorado River crisis is challenging farmers in California’s Imperial Valley, the irrigated desert region that produces the lion’s share of America’s winter vegetables. As described in a special report in the Ag Alert newspaper, the valley is wholly dependent on water from the depleted river. California is offering to markedly curtail the amount it takes from the Colorado, which would significantly impact agriculture. Meanwhile, as multiple states battle over meager river supplies, the federal government threatens to intervene.
Growers step up conservation efforts to protect river and their way of life Over the past two decades, Imperial Valley farmers and the region’s Imperial Irrigation District have spent over $500 million in on-farm conservation projects as growers steadily added water-efficient infrastructure. Now those efforts are accelerating in hopes of reducing stress on the Colorado River while keeping farmland in production. The federal Inflation Reduction Act includes $4 billion for drought relief, including water conservation infrastructure as well as paying farmers to fallow fields due to water shortages.
California producers continuing to produce seeds for farmers in Ukraine, Russia Despite continuing war between Russia and Ukraine, major seed producers in California are not turning their backs on farmers in the Black Sea region. Both countries remain destinations for California-grown seeds, even as Ukrainian growers face considerable difficulty amid the conflict. That means state farmers are continuing to produce seeds for growers there, including sunflowers, which remain a major crop in both Ukraine and Russia. Nearly all sunflowers grown commercially in California are harvested as certified seed used by other farmers.
California Senate panel calls attention to state’s needs for 2023 Farm Bill California farmers and government leaders are weighing in on how members of Congress should shape the 2023 Farm Bill. At a recent California Senate Agriculture Committee session, agricultural groups highlighted challenges facing America’s largest agricultural economy. California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson called for strengthening crop insurance and disaster programs in the farm bill. He said less than one-quarter of California’s 400 commodities are covered by crop insurance programs.
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