“The historic Colorado floods actually changed the course of some rivers and creeks. That has left many agricultural irrigation ditches and diversion dams useless. Farmers and irrigation companies now find themselves footing the bill to reroute these waterways before spring planting season.”
From The Salinas Californian, in a commentary by Norm Groot:
“As we close out the year here in the Salinas Valley, you have probably noticed that many of the fields that were once green with vegetables and lettuce are now bare dirt, carefully tilled and furrowed. … So, you wonder, what do farmers do when their fields are not producing products for our hungry nation? …
“There is a lot of regulatory compliance that continues for farming operations.
From The Modesto Bee, in a commentary by Leonard Van Elderen:
“The financing of a farm is tied squarely to the land. The land has value that allows the lender to provide the loans. That value comes from the land’s ability to grow the crops. And that requires water.
“Water is an emerging concern for Central Valley agriculture on several fronts. There is the current short-term crisis for many farmers due to the lack of rain and snow.
“The general strength of farming was a key theme at the second annual California Food & Ag Summit at the DoubleTree Hotel. But speakers also noted the state’s water issues, including a drought now in its third year and a shortage of reservoir space when the big storms do come.”
“Scientists suspect that warming air and rivers, as well as smaller winter snowpack, is endangering western trout. But on a ranch in Montana, methods to protect trout from the effects of cattle ranching are helping the trout become more resilient to the inevitable change in their environment.”
From the California Department of Water Resources (DWR):
“With the new California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) trailer in West Sacramento, DWR employees now have a better station for repairing sensors used to gather information for California’s agricultural lands, golf courses and other landscapes.
“CIMIS was created in 1982 by the California Department of Water Resources and the University of California at Davis to provide reference evapotranspiration (ETo) estimates to irrigators.”
“Parts of the nation’s $500 billion farm bill that Congress is considering would prohibit the government from disclosing some information about farmers or their employees, possibly preventing people from learning about nearby agricultural and large-scale livestock operations blamed for polluting water or soil.”
“Potential water conservation requirements on agriculture would be a ‘non-starter’ to implement the draft California Water Action Plan, one Sutter County official said on Friday.
“Nothing about the plan is final yet, and no definitive statement about the plan’s effect on agricultural water supply can be made, said Richard Stapler, spokesman for the California Natural Resource Agency, one of three state agencies that authored the plan.”
From the Salinas Californian, in a commentary by Jim Bogart:
“I have briefed readers of this column about the many complex issues confronting agriculture — farm labor availability and immigration reform, food safety, water quality, crop protection, worker safety, and labor and employment law compliance are just a few that come immediately to mind.
From The Bakersfield Californian, in a commentary by Lois Henry:
“Water can be such a complex issue that most people would rather not be bothered. For filmmaker Juan Carlos Oseguera, water became impossible to ignore as he watched family, friends and whole communities suffer from political decisions made about water decades ago and thousands of miles away.
From the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA):
“A new informational report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency details just how important water is to the U.S. economy.
“Synthesizing recent studies on the topic, ‘The Importance of Water to the U.S. Economy’ report released this week finds that energy production, water supply and food production together account for over 94% of water withdrawals from the nation’s groundwater, streams, rivers, and lakes.
“The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors approved on Monday an apportionment plan that allocates water to Imperial Valley farmland in a way that blends a field’s historical water consumption with an equal ’straight-line’ allocation.”
“It’s the start of the planting season for strawberries, a dwindling crop in an increasingly urbanized county. … The persistence of local strawberry fields is explained in part by simple economics: Consumers are willing to pay a higher price for a pound of berries than, say, a pound of oranges.
“A new cyber tool that helps map crops and monitor irrigation systems came to life after a University of Vermont researcher realized farmers just weren’t very good at keeping records. …
“Noticing that farmers had grown accustomed to carrying cellphones, whether in the field, on tractors or in the barn, she [Heather Darby, an agronomist from the University of Vermont Extension] developed the goCrop Web and mobile app. The project was awarded about $400,000 from the U.S.