Food & Farm News

Farmers, ranchers assess impact of power outages

Operations are returning to normal at California farms, ranches and agricultural businesses that endured public-safety power shutoffs. The widespread outages interrupted harvest schedules for winegrapes, rice and other crops, and caused scattered produce losses due to lack of refrigeration. The outages also disrupted water deliveries for irrigation and livestock, and caused logistical problems for wineries and food processors.

Crews complete delta habitat-restoration project

An intentional levee breach in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Tuesday completed a years-long habitat-restoration project. Known as the Tule Red Tidal Restoration Project, the work aimed to create wetland habitat for endangered and threatened fish. Customers of the State Water Project provided funding for the work, and said the project would also benefit flood protection. Land for the project had previously been used for duck hunting.

 Volume of avocado harvest exceeds expectations

Despite a damaging heat wave as the fruit developed, California avocado farmers will produce a larger-than-expected crop. The avocado season officially ends at the end of October, and marketers say the California harvest could be as much as 30% higher than preseason estimates. Even so, the harvest was relatively small. The California Avocado Commission says the upcoming crop could be much larger, if weather remains favorable.

 Campaign describes Beef Quality Assurance program

People who want to learn more about how beef is produced now have new resources. The Beef Quality Assurance program has launched a campaign to let people know about how it works with ranchers on cattle handling, health, nutrition and transportation. The campaign includes a video, website and social media components. Most beef produced in the U.S. is grown under the quality-assurance program, which requires ranchers to complete training courses every three years.


ABOUT CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.

Contact

Phone: 916-561-5550
news@cfbf.com

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

Farms provide more agritourism opportunities

Pumpkin patches are popular destinations this time of year, but there are other ways for people to get a taste of the countryside and experience agriculture. Farms that open their doors to the public are increasingly offering overnight lodging, farm-to-table dinners and events, and workshops to attract visitors and generate more tourism revenue. These offerings often showcase the farm’s property and what it produces.

 High-severity wildfires may indefinitely alter California’s forests

A new study says California’s increasingly intense fires may erase some of the state’s forests indefinitely. Scientists found that five to 10 years after a high-severity burn, many forest stands had converted to shrub fields with low diversity of plant species. Authors said current fire trends could prevent forest recovery in large portions of the Sierra Nevada landscape, and suggested the expansion of forest thinning and prescribed burning as management tools.

 Underserved and veteran farmers to benefit from $16.2 million in USDA grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it will issue $16.2 million in grants to provide farmers, ranchers and foresters who are socially disadvantaged or veterans with training, outreach and technical assistance. Grants are awarded to higher education institutions, nonprofits and community-based organizations to reach historically underserved communities. The program has awarded 484 grants totaling $119.5 million since 2010.

New robotic arm aids workflow, safety in university lab

There’s a new worker in Fresno State’s citrus processing laboratory: It’s a robotic arm designed to move and arrange boxes of produce. The automated arm has a nearly 7-foot reach and a 150-pound payload capacity, and can also be tasked with inspection, packaging and machine tending. The lab and equipment are used for an industrial technology course that emphasizes citrus processing line operation, safety and maintenance.


ABOUT CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.

Contact

Phone: 916-561-5550
news@cfbf.com

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

Volume 24, No. 14Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Solving food waste will be complex, study says
New attention to reducing food waste represents an encouraging sign, but a new study says tackling the issue will involve complex solutions. A researcher from the University of California, Davis, who led the study says large, systemic factors on farms, at grocery stores and restaurants, and in home kitchens all contribute. The study indicates a need to focus on cultural and social factors rather than only on actions by individuals.

USDA profiles beginning farms, ranches
Beginning farms and ranches account for 17% of all farms in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA study says beginning farms generally operate at a smaller scale than more-established farms, and their operators rely more on off-farm income. Meanwhile, two Californians are among 20 people appointed to serve on a USDA Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers.

Fruit orchards provide larger crops
Tree fruit from California and the rest of the U.S. has been more plentiful. Government estimates show apple production up 4%, peach crops up 13% and the cherry harvest up 5% compared to a year ago. The overall U.S. pear crop will be similar to last year, but California production will be up 15%. Grape production will also be close to last year’s, with the California table-grape crop expected to match last year’s record.

UC looks into elderberries’ potential
Native California elderberry bushes attract pollinators and other beneficial insects to farms. University of California specialists say hedgerow elderberry plantings can bring additional benefits through production of elderberry products. UC advisors are researching production practices, costs and varieties. Several farms around the state already harvest elderflowers and elderberries for creating syrups, jams and other products.


ABOUT CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.

Contact

Phone: 916-561-5550
news@cfbf.com

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

Volume 24, No. 13Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Farmers, restaurants, chefs urge passage of USMCA
More than a dozen chefs and restaurants joined California food and agricultural organizations this week in urging Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. In a letter to the California congressional delegation, the coalition said the USMCA would include improvements that would help California agriculture to trade fairly, which benefits farmers, restaurants and their customers by assuring availability of high-quality ingredients and affordable dining experiences.

Water year 2019 leaves reservoirs with good storage
As the water year comes to a close on Sept. 30, a California Department of Water Resources storage summary showed all but three reservoirs listed running at or above their historical average. However, the wet year did not provide full water supplies for all. Customers of the State Water Project and south-of-delta agricultural water contractors of the federal Central Valley Project had 75% supplies, a fact some agriculture advocates say points to the need for additional storage.

Big pistachio crops find growing markets
California farmers are producing more pistachios to meet rising global demand. This year’s harvest, currently underway, is expected to produce the third-largest crop in state history, and growers expect to produce the state’s first billion-pound crop next year. Rising affluence in China and India, coupled with increasing health consciousness globally, are buoying demand for the nut, which has enjoyed brisk exports to China despite tariffs resulting from the ongoing trade war. )

UC Riverside and citrus sector unveil state-of-the-art lab
In a ribbon-cutting ceremony and press conference on Thursday, project sponsors will unveil a new state-of-the-art lab in Riverside aimed at protecting California’s $3.3 billion citrus sector from the fatal citrus plant disease huanglongbing, or HLB. The result of a partnership between the state’s citrus growers and University of California, Riverside, The Biosafety Level-3 Lab will enable scientists to conduct research with plant pathogens that previously couldn’t be done in Southern California.


ABOUT CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.

Contact

Phone: 916-561-5550
news@cfbf.com

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

Volume 24, No. 12Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Farmers, ranchers watch outcome of legislation
Governor Newsom has until October 13 to sign or veto bills sent to him at the end of the state legislative session. Farm organizations welcomed his plan to veto a bill that would preserve California environmental and labor standards from changes initiated by the Trump administration. Other bills sent to the governor’s desk include one sponsored by the California Farm Bureau, to create a rural economic advisor in the state Department of Food and Agriculture.

Rural roads remain in poor shape
Nearly one-third of California rural roads rate in poor condition—the second-highest percentage in the nation—according to an annual report from a transportation group. For farmers and ranchers, that can mean delays and danger in moving crops and livestock to market. Californians began paying higher gas taxes last year to fund transportation projects, but observers say it’s too early to see what impact that will have on rural road conditions.

Biological control may slow watershed weed
A tiny wasp shows promise in controlling a giant weed along California riverbanks. Biologists say the wasp can help reduce stands of the Arundo reed that has invaded watersheds. The wasp is native to the Mediterranean region and lays its eggs on the reed, ultimately reducing its growth. Researchers introduced the wasps near Orland and Madera, and say they have had some effect on the reeds. The wasps do not harm humans, crops or native plants.

Orange crop to be a bit smaller
The coming season’s navel orange harvest will be slightly smaller, according to a preseason crop forecast. Estimators say California farmers will harvest enough navel oranges to fill 76 million 40-pound cartons, down 7 percent from the previous season. The vast majority of the oranges will come from the San Joaquin Valley. California leads the nation in orange production.


ABOUT CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.

Contact

Phone: 916-561-5550
news@cfbf.com

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

Volume 24, No. 11Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Associations use prescribed fires to manage land
The use of controlled fires to prevent wildfires and meet other land management goals has dwindled in California—but there’s new interest among landowners and public agencies in reviving the practice. The first “prescribed burn association” in the West formed in Humboldt County last year, and new associations are being created in other Northern California regions. The associations allow landowners to pool resources to manage controlled burns.

Dogs detect plant-disease bacteria in citrus groves
Dogs trained to detect bacteria that cause a fatal plant disease found signs of the bacteria in Ventura County citrus groves, and farmers have begun removing trees as a result. The detector dogs check citrus trees for the bacterium that causes HLB, which has killed trees at Southern California residences but has not been found in a commercial grove. After the dogs alerted to more than 200 trees, farmers agreed to remove the trees as a precaution.

UC helps residents combat citrus threat
To prevent the citrus disease HLB from spreading, University of California specialists recommend Southern California homeowners remove citrus trees within two miles of known HLB infections. UC created a web app so residents can enter an address and see how close they are to confirmed HLB outbreaks. At the same time, UC master gardeners recommend alternative fruit trees to replace citrus trees in the affected areas.

Project intends to aid salmon, sturgeon
A fish habitat project north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will proceed, according to an announcement Tuesday from a federal agency. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says it will work with the state Department of Water Resources on a project to improve fish passage in the Yolo Bypass. The project is intended to allow salmon and sturgeon to move more easily to the Sacramento River during the winter season.


ABOUT CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.

Contact

Phone: 916-561-5550
news@cfbf.com

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

Volume 24, No. 10Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Grazing animals help with wildfire prevention
Demand has risen steadily for livestock to provide grazing services to attack weeds as a wildfire-prevention measure. The California Wool Growers Association says it has more requests from private landowners and public agencies than its members can fulfill. University of California Cooperative Extension says it plans to create a statewide database to match landowners with ranchers whose sheep, goats or cattle could provide grazing services.

Fish-habitat restoration projects continue
More projects are planned this fall to enhance habitat for juvenile salmon in the Sacramento River. The projects, to add side channels, will complement other habitat work. For example, crews added 12,000 tons of gravel to the river earlier this year, to develop new spawning habitat for chinook salmon and steelhead trout. Water rates paid by Sacramento Valley farmers include a restoration fund to help pay for the habitat work.

Marketers report rising demand for organic avocados
As demand for avocados has risen, so has demand for avocados grown organically. The California Avocado Commission reports organic fruit represents about 10% of the current year’s avocado harvest, and that the proportion has been increasing. Most organic avocados have been transitioned from conventional production—a process that takes about three years before the fruit can be sold as organic.

Forecast expects smaller walnut crop
Weather during the growing season has contributed to an expected smaller California walnut crop, according to government estimates. The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast walnut production down about 7% compared to a year ago. The USDA says rainy winter and spring weather delayed the walnut bloom, and that local weather conditions resulted in “variable crop development” around the state. California farms produce the entire U.S. walnut crop.


ABOUT CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.

Contact

Phone: 916-561-5550
news@cfbf.com

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

Volume 24, No. 9Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Marketers report good demand for California almonds
As farmers harvest the 2019 almond crop, marketers say they expect to find plenty of demand for the nuts, despite the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute. Stormy weather during pollination reduced the size of the almond crop, and farmers say the harvest has been running behind a typical schedule. China included almonds on its list of retaliatory tariffs, but marketers report strong demand for the crop elsewhere.

Processing-tomato crop may not reach preseason estimate
Springtime hail appears to have reduced the processing-tomato crop. California dominates production of the tomatoes used in sauces, ketchup and other products. The California Tomato Growers Association says Central Valley hailstorms in May could reduce the crop by as much as 5%. Farmers say they hope to be able to finish the tomato harvest before autumn rains could cause additional problems.

Study tracks beneficial bat activity in vineyards
Oak trees in vineyards provide homes for bats, which in turn eat insects that might bother the vineyards: That’s the conclusion of researchers who monitored bat activity in 14 Central Coast vineyards. The study found 11 different species of insect-eating bats in the vineyards, and greater foraging activity in areas near oak trees. A co-author of the study says bats don’t hurt grapes, and could help vineyards by eating insect pests.

Organization helps ag-tech startup firms
More-accurate measurement of crop water needs, natural pest control and improved food-safety data are among the technological solutions for agriculture being nurtured in a Northern California business incubator. Called AgStart, the Woodland-based organization works to help people turn ideas into viable businesses. That can take time, the incubator’s director says, because agricultural projects may take longer to show a definitive impact.


ABOUT CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.

Contact

Phone: 916-561-5550
news@cfbf.com

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

Volume 24, No. 8Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Farms rely on data—and data management
Soil probes, weather stations, well monitors and other sources generate information farmers can use to help produce their crops—and that makes data management a higher priority. In some cases, farms create their own programs to digitize information that was once collected on paper. In other cases, they use apps produced by agricultural technology firms. Farmers say the information helps them avoid problems, or solve them more quickly.

Lab works to identify potential HLB treatments
Saying they wanted to make a difference in the fight against a fatal plant disease, bacteria researchers at Stanford University have identified possible treatments for the malady known as citrus greening or HLB. The research team says it has isolated 130 compounds that could show promise against HLB. The citrus disease has no cure now, and the scientists say they hope their work will give other researchers clues about avenues to explore.

Pest experts look for ways to fight invasive stinkbug
A parasitic wasp from eastern Asia could become a new tool for pest experts trying to stem infestations of an invasive stinkbug. The brown marmorated stinkbug first hit several California cities, but has now moved into farm fields and orchards, causing crop damage. A state official says he hopes to obtain a permit to release a parasitic wasp that feeds on stinkbug eggs, once he can assure that can be done safely.

Survey shows few students consider agricultural careers
When asked in a recent survey to identify agricultural careers, most students pointed to farming—but not to other careers in science, technology, veterinary medicine or other fields. The sponsors of the survey, Bayer Crop Science and the National 4-H Council, say there’s a limited pool of skilled applicants for many agricultural-science jobs. They created a project called Science Matters to try to address that gap.


ABOUT CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.

Contact

Phone: 916-561-5550
news@cfbf.com

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

Volume 24, No. 7Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Effects of Chinese trade action remain uncertain
After China announced it had suspended purchases of U.S. farm products, California agricultural exporters say they continue to assess how the action may affect them. China directed its state-owned enterprises to stop buying American farm goods as part of ongoing trade disputes. But exporters say it’s still unclear how or whether that will affect private Chinese firms that buy California-grown nuts, wine and other products.

Farmers describe progress of coastal vegetable harvest
California’s long, intense winter continues to affect vegetable production on and near the Central Coast. The wet winter delayed vegetable planting and harvest, but Salinas Valley farmers are rotating into their third crops, planting new fields of lettuce, spinach and other vegetables. Farmers report good demand for their crops, though that often dips in the summer due to local and homegrown production in other parts of the country.

Forecasters expect increased fruit production
More California-grown peaches, pears, apples and olives should be reaching shelves this summer and fall. Crop estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show California peach production up 6 percent, pears up 15 percent and apples up 20 percent. The same report estimates the total grape crop to be nearly the same size as last year. In a separate report, forecasters predicted the canning-olive crop would be much larger than a year ago.

Estimates show mixed outlook for field, grain crops
Production will be down for California’s most widely planted field and grain crops, according to federal forecasters. Estimates released this week show alfalfa and rice production off slightly, and the California cotton crop down by one-third. Bean production will also decrease. The report forecast higher production for other California field and grain crops, including oats, barley, wheat and corn.


ABOUT CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.

Contact

Phone: 916-561-5550
news@cfbf.com

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

Volume 24, No. 6Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Livestock owners look for backup water sources
The potential for power outages intended to prevent wildfires has livestock owners working to be sure they can provide water for their animals. Farmers and ranchers who use electric pumps for livestock water say they’re looking for generators and other backup systems. A University of California farm advisor says power outages could be especially troublesome for small-scale livestock owners. Utilities provide information about backup generation resources and vendors.

Many rural roads remain inadequate
Trucks carry 70% of farm and food products, making rural roads crucial to the agricultural economy. Analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation indicates many rural roads and bridges lack the capacity to accommodate growing freight travel. Congress is working on a new transportation bill. A study released this spring by a national research group rated nearly one-third of California’s rural roads as in poor condition.

USDA tracks fruit, vegetable affordability
For less than $3 a day, Americans can purchase enough fruits and vegetables to meet current dietary guidelines. The U.S. Department of Agriculture calculated costs based on retail prices and a number of fruit and vegetable combinations. Guidelines encourage Americans to eat two cups of fruit and two-and-a-half cups of vegetables each day—but USDA surveys indicate most people fall short of those recommendations.

Research on cilantro may improve treatment for seizures
Cilantro has been used in traditional medicine to treat against seizures, and University of California research has found the underlying action that allows the herb to have that effect. Scientists at UC Irvine say this new understanding may lead to improvement in treatments for seizures. The study identified a particular component of cilantro that reduced what the lead researcher called “cellular excitability.”


ABOUT CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.

Contact

Phone: 916-561-5550
news@cfbf.com

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

Volume 24, No. 5Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Senate hearing focuses on USMCA trade pact
Saying a new agreement would “lift the cloud of uncertainty hanging over North American trade,” farming organizations urged the U.S. Senate to ratify the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement. Farm groups and agricultural businesses testified before the Senate Finance Committee, as did automotive, trucking, small-business and labor groups. The American Farm Bureau Federation said Congress and the administration should “double down” on talks to approve the agreement.

Tariff reductions help pistachio exports
Reducing tariffs on American-grown pistachios helped sell an extra 2.3 billion pounds of the nuts to foreign customers, according to a new study. The increase came during a nine-year period as a result of lower tariffs from Israel, Mexico, China and the European Union–and before some of those nations imposed retaliatory tariffs on pistachios and other crops. Virtually all U.S.-grown pistachios come from California.

Worldwide citrus production to increase
There will be more citrus fruit on the market around the world this year. The U.S. Agriculture Department says worldwide orange production will rebound to the highest level in eight years, accompanied by record global crops of tangerines, mandarins, lemons and limes. The U.S. is among the nations producing more citrus. California leads the U.S. in fresh oranges, tangerines, mandarins and lemons, with larger crops expected for all except lemons.

Farmers report benefits from soil-health activities
Case studies released Tuesday indicate actions to improve soil health can help farm profitability as well as the environment. American Farmland Trust worked with farmers in California and three other states, reviewing practices such as composting, use of cover crops and other soil-health techniques. Researchers say the examples show farmers being able to reduce their costs and improve crop yields, while also enhancing water and air quality.


ABOUT CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.

Contact

Phone: 916-561-5550
news@cfbf.com

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

Volume 24, No. 4Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Farmers visit Capitol Hill on behalf of USMCA
Seeking action on a pending trade deal, California farmers and ranchers conduct a “fly-in” to Washington, D.C., Wednesday, to urge congressional ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Farmers will visit the California congressional delegation, asking members to support the USMCA. Supporters say the agreement would strengthen relations with two key markets for California agricultural exports.

New methods, law aim to reduce rural crime
Crimes of theft, vandalism and trespassing plague rural California. Farmers and sheriffs deputies use a number of techniques to combat rural crime, combining new technology with tried-and-true information sharing. Recently signed state legislation creates a new crime category—grand theft of agricultural property—and invests fines collected from those crimes into rural crime-prevention programs.

Winegrape harvest may be delayed
As winegrapes ripen in California vineyards, farmers wait to see how cool, rainy spring weather affected the crop. Farmers expect their harvests to come 10 days to two weeks later than usual, because of the cooler temperatures. Individual farmers say the crop looks smaller, but the leader of a Fresno-based growers cooperative says he believes the winegrape harvest will ultimately be as large or larger than last year’s record crop.

Controlling weeds would lessen chance of wildfire
Invasive weeds worsen California’s wildfire threat, and a University of California specialist says one particular group of weeds—from the genus Bromus—has become a pervasive concern. Cheatgrass and other Bromus species can be found in wide swaths of the state. The grasses can be controlled through livestock grazing, mowing, herbicides and other methods, but have to be tackled at just the right time, before their seeds mature.


ABOUT CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.

Contact

Phone: 916-561-5550
news@cfbf.com

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

Volume 24, No. 3Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Farm groups evaluate changes to agricultural visa program
A proposal from the U.S. Department of Labor to modify the existing agricultural visa program has been met with initial support from farm leaders. California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson says he’s encouraged by the administration’s efforts to improve the system, known as H-2A. Johansson says farmers also need congressional action on wider improvement to immigration laws, to help address chronic employee shortages.

Irrigation districts recharge groundwater aquifers
Wet winters such as the one California just had help replenish underground water supplies, and a number of irrigation districts help the process along through a technique called “conjunctive use.” The method coordinates use of surface water and groundwater supplies within a region. One Fresno County water district says it has been using the technique for 100 years, moving water into recharge basins to percolate into underground water tables.

Rural areas suffer from lack of broadband service
Many urban residents now take broadband internet service for granted, but it remains scarce in some rural areas. An estimated one-quarter of rural Americans lack sufficient broadband service, including many in California. Farmers say more-reliable service would allow them to adopt technology to improve precision of water and fertilizer use and animal care. Fitful internet availability also hampers delivery of public services in rural regions.

Longtime farms, ranches to be honored
Eighteen farms, ranches and agricultural organizations that have been in continuous operation for at least 100 years will join the California Agricultural Heritage Club Wednesday. The California State Fair inducts new members into the club each year. Two farms or ranches will be honored for 150 years of operation. The Grohl Family Ranch in Stanislaus County and Wilbur Ranch in Sutter County each started in 1869.


ABOUT CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.

Contact

Phone: 916-561-5550
news@cfbf.com

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

Volume 23, No. 46—Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Rain, hail fall on Central Valley crops
Storms during the Memorial Day weekend threaten damage to a number of California crops. In the San Joaquin Valley, storms dropped large hail that could affect crops including tomato and cotton plants, plus peach, nectarine and cherry trees. Agricultural commissioners say it may be several days before the impact becomes more clear. In the Sierra Nevada, the snowpack now stands at nearly twice-average for the date.

New project evaluates changing range conditions
To see how range and pastureland respond to changing rainfall and temperature patterns, researchers will simulate a variety of conditions at a University of California facility in Yuba County. UC specialists have earned a grant to create shelters that will allow them to control the precipitation and temperature on a research plot. The project will help the researchers learn how rangeland plants and weeds perform under predicted weather scenarios.

California leads floriculture production
If you buy flowers or garden plants grown in the United States, chances remain strong that those plants come from California. A new government report shows California continues to lead the nation in production of floriculture crops. The Golden State accounts for more than three-quarters of U.S.-grown cut flowers, and also leads in categories including bedding and garden plants, and flowering potted plants.

Prune marketers rebrand their crop
Once marketed as dried plums, California prunes will now be called just that—California prunes—in a new marketing campaign. The California Prune Board says the rebranding emphasizes the “premium reputation” of the state’s crop, which is sold in the United States and dozens of countries around the world. The board’s executive director says the idea is to change prunes from an occasional choice to a “daily pleasure” that brings a number of health benefits.


ABOUT CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.

Contact

Phone: 916-561-5550
news@cfbf.com

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

Volume 23, No. 46Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Rain, hail fall on Central Valley crops
Storms during the Memorial Day weekend threaten damage to a number of California crops. In the San Joaquin Valley, storms dropped large hail that could affect crops including tomato and cotton plants, plus peach, nectarine and cherry trees. Agricultural commissioners say it may be several days before the impact becomes more clear. In the Sierra Nevada, the snowpack now stands at nearly twice-average for the date.

New project evaluates changing range conditions
To see how range and pastureland respond to changing rainfall and temperature patterns, researchers will simulate a variety of conditions at a University of California facility in Yuba County. UC specialists have earned a grant to create shelters that will allow them to control the precipitation and temperature on a research plot. The project will help the researchers learn how rangeland plants and weeds perform under predicted weather scenarios.

California leads floriculture production
If you buy flowers or garden plants grown in the United States, chances remain strong that those plants come from California. A new government report shows California continues to lead the nation in production of floriculture crops. The Golden State accounts for more than three-quarters of U.S.-grown cut flowers, and also leads in categories including bedding and garden plants, and flowering potted plants.

Prune marketers rebrand their crop
Once marketed as dried plums, California prunes will now be called just that—California prunes—in a new marketing campaign. The California Prune Board says the rebranding emphasizes the “premium reputation” of the state’s crop, which is sold in the United States and dozens of countries around the world. The board’s executive director says the idea is to change prunes from an occasional choice to a “daily pleasure” that brings a number of health benefits.


Volume 23, No. 47—Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Weather brings fewer but larger avocados
An intense heat wave 11 months ago has reduced the California avocado crop. Farmers who typically would harvest fruit into early July report they’ve already finished their harvest. Southern California heat last July damaged the developing fruit. But ample winter rains allowed the remaining avocados to grow to larger sizes. Forecasters estimate the avocado crop at 175 million pounds, about half the volume of a year ago.

Ranchers welcome benefits of grass growth
Plentiful grasses stimulated by abundant rainfall have improved the outlook for California cattle ranchers. The rangeland grasses will allow cattle to grow to higher weights before being marketed, helping ranchers offset part of the impact of weaker prices. Trade uncertainties have also put a damper on the market as beef production heads toward a potential record this year, but ranchers say the improved range conditions will help them save costs.

Tomato harvest may run late
Rainy, cool weather slowed California tomato planting, but crop estimators say they still expect the state’s farmers to harvest more than 12 million tons of processing tomatoes this summer. An updated estimate says the later planting might delay harvest by about a week, but that the crop could catch up during warm summer days. Processing tomatoes are used for salsa, ketchup and other products. Fresno County leads the state in processing-tomato production.

Invasive species damage environment, economy
From the burrowing nutria threatening waterways to the small insect carrying disease to citrus trees, invasive species cause ecological damage and economic losses. As agencies commemorate California Invasive Species Action Week, they urge Californians to take care not to transport new species into the state. The University of California estimates a new invertebrate species establishes itself in California every six weeks, on average.


ABOUT CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.

Contact

Phone: 916-561-5550
news@cfbf.com
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