Topic List: Agriculture

Overview

Agriculture

California has been the nation’s leading agricultural and dairy state for the past 50 years. The state’s 80,500 farms and ranches produce more than 400 different agricultural products. These products generated a record $44.7 billion in sales value in 2012, accounting for 11.3 percent of the US total.

Breaking down the state’s agricultural role in the country, California produces 21 percent of the nation’s milk supply, 23 percent of its cheese and 92 percent of all grapes. The state also produces half of all domestically-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables, including some products, such as almonds, walnuts, artichokes, persimmons and pomegranates, of which 99 percent are grown in California.

Overall, about 3 percent of employment in the state is directly or indirectly related to agriculture.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Stanislaus groundwater lawsuit presses on despite activist’s possible suicide

This week’s death of a principal player in a high-stakes groundwater lawsuit against Stanislaus County will not affect the case, which continues to wind toward an October trial date.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Delta farmers offer to take 25 percent less water

Dozens of California farmers whose century-old claims to rivers and streams have assured them a nearly endless water supply, at least up until now, are offering to give up a quarter of their water in exchange for a guarantee that the drought-plagued state won’t come clamoring for a whole lot more.  … State officials have not yet acted on the offer.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Owens Valley ranchers and environmentalists brought together by drought (with video)

The drought has worked a miracle in the Owens Valley, as environmental activists and ranchers have buried decades of enmity to forge a plan to save ranch land — at the expense of hard-fought environmental protections.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Tough choice for Delta farmers

A plan under consideration by the state will allow farmers who claim senior riparian rights to continue taking water later this summer, if they will agree now to leave 25 percent of their land barren, or to conserve 25 percent of the water they would normally use.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

At-risk: Feds aim to help ailing bees and butterflies

Saying that pollinators – think bees and butterflies – are vital to the nation’s food supply, the White House on Tuesday unveiled a strategy that aims to mitigate devastating losses in colonies in the U.S.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California farmers propose voluntary cuts

Farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta who have California’s oldest water rights are proposing to voluntarily cut their use by 25 percent to avoid the possibility of even harsher restrictions by the state later this summer as the record drought continues.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California farms added workers in 2014, even amid drought

Despite the drought, the number of workers employed in California’s agricultural industry rose to its highest level in at least 24 years, as many farmers shifted toward labor-intensive, permanent crops, according to the latest state and federal statistics.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: California farms use how much water? Nobody really knows

Information is the heart of California’s $US 2 trillion economy. … In nearly every sector, data — and the strategic decisions it enables — are a principal source of the Golden State’s economic triumph. But in agriculture, the bedrock water-consuming industry in a state buffeted by a deep four-year drought, water data are not collected with anywhere near the same rigor and dedication.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Uncharted territory: Delta farmers fear losing water supply

At the bottom of California’s Central Valley bathtub, Delta farmers always have drawn from the rivers and sloughs with confidence. … But now, in the fourth year of this drought, state regulators may cut off even riparian water users later this summer. 

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News Release: Reclamation, water users reach agreement to provide water to Friant Division

The Bureau of Reclamation and water users in California’s Central Valley have forged an agreement that will bring some much-needed Central Valley Project water supplies to farmers in the CVP’s Friant Division this summer. … Weeks of negotiations involving nearly all Friant Division contractors, the Exchange Contractors, Westlands Water District, Reclamation and other agencies paid off in an agreement reached May 7.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Historic dry-up: No canal water this year to farmers from Fresno Irrigation District

For the first time in nearly a century, farmers who normally receive canal water from the Fresno Irrigation District will get no regular deliveries this year. … Meanwhile, several other Valley water agencies and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced a deal Thursday that could provide up to 60,000 acre-feet of water to east-side growers. 

Aquafornia news KQED News

Water flows freely in drought-resistant farm towns of Southern California — for now

In a wide field along a narrow two-lane road in the town of El Centro, the grass is tall and rusty brown. … It’s a lush wheat field, in tiptop health, today getting harvested by a guy riding one of those big green combines.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Blog: Dead orchards may go up in smoke

The San Joaquin Valley’s tainted air might be getting an extra dose of soot and ozone-forming gases this spring as growers wrestle with the woody waste from dead citrus orchards. … It’s more drought expense and woe in this broad farm belt where thousands of growers for the second straight year have lost river irrigation water for an area six times the footprint of Los Angeles.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Before we can address the California drought, we need a geography lesson

Many of us could use a refresher course in California geography as we debate how to manage the drought and prepare for an uncertain water future. For starters, calling the hardest-hit farm region the Central Valley is much too simplistic.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Bee losses are buzz kill for crops

Managed honey bee colonies suffered annual losses of 42%, with summer declines outstripping winter losses for the first time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Farmers worry over reach of EPA water rules

Government rules to clarify which streams, tributaries and wetlands should be protected from development and pollution are fueling political anger in the country’s heartland.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California farmers in line for more drought cutbacks

State Water Resources Control Board officials said Monday that they expect to issue “curtailment orders” soon to the state’s most senior water rights holders, effectively shutting off the flow of river water to some of the major agricultural districts in California.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno County supervisors want to cut water for fish

Fresno County supervisors renewed their commitment to getting more water for the Valley by approving a more strongly worded drought resolution they expect other Valley counties will support. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

State Agriculture Board listens to public concerns about the drought

There was very little good news at Tuesday’s meeting of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture. … The board gathered at the Fresno Fairgrounds to hear from the public about how the state’s historic drought is affecting them. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California farms ordered to stop pumping water from rivers as drought continues

State officials say drought has forced them to order thousands of farms to stop pumping water from two Northern California river systems.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Central Valley’s growing concern: the mix of oil, water and crops

Here in California’s thirsty farm belt, where pumpjacks nod amid neat rows of crops, it’s a proposition that seems to make sense: using treated oil field wastewater to irrigate crops.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Worms help with waste at dairy farm near Hilmar

The farm is taking part in a research project using worms to consume nitrogen in manure-tainted water that irrigates its feed crops. The goal, in part, is to reduce the risk of pollution. But the process also has a byproduct – an especially rich fertilizer that can be sold to home gardeners and other users.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Legislators tour north state farms, processing plant (with video)

Seven state assembly members toured Butte County farms and a Glenn County walnut plant Thursday in an effort to better understand the agriculture industry in the north state.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Farmers claim bait and switch in OID-Trinitas petition

A petition asks irrigation leaders to reverse a decision benefiting a corporate nut grower at small farmers’ expense. 

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Report: California needs more farm water data

The Pacific Institute has released a new report summing up what’s known about the amounts of water used for agriculture in California, and one of the takeaways is that the state lacks comprehensive and up-to-date information.

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences California WaterBlog

Blog: Jobs per drop irrigating California crops

The amount of water applied to crops also translates into dollars and jobs — the main reasons for agriculture’s existence in California. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Experiment in Irvine takes crops’ water use to new lows

On a recent afternoon, Santa Ana winds swept through a sunny, 200-acre swath of Irvine where a quiet experiment could have a major impact in the blueberry world.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Commentary: Almond joy? Not out on Horseshoe Road

From their homes along Horseshoe Road east of Oakdale, residents can’t help but notice the prominent mast of a well-drilling rig atop the hill to the west. … Like so many other wells in the area, it will pump water from deep in the ground to feed orchards.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Debate over dry farming divides Wine Country

For some, the practice of dry farming — where natural rainfall, not irrigation, is used exclusively to produce a crop — is rooted in history. Yet, it is relevant to modern times as Napa wines that won the historic 1976 Paris tastings were all dry farmed.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Drought shakeup continues as Friant Water Authority general manager steps down

In the wake of zero water allocations again this year, Ronald D. Jacobsma has stepped down as general manager of the Friant Water Authority, representing 13 water districts on the San Joaquin Valley’s east side. Jacobsma’s separation from the authority follows the departure of eight water districts over differences with the board of directors. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

No listing for Sierra sage grouse sends signal across West

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell reversed the government’s proposed federal protection for a type of sage grouse specific to California and Nevada on Tuesday, and said it shows it’s still possible to head off a bigger, looming listing decision for the greater sage grouse across 11 western states.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

At Supreme Court, raisin rules get scoopful of arguments

A decades-old program for managing surplus California raisin production might be in jeopardy, following a heated Supreme Court argument Wednesday.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Oakdale Irrigation District farmers to pay more for less water

Farmers enjoying cheap water prices will pay more money for less water this year, the Oakdale Irrigation District board decided Tuesday. For the first time in 105 years, OID will restrict water amounts, and as they did last year, farmers will pay a $6.10-per-acre drought surcharge. 

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

The drought not likely to cause higher grocery bills (with audio)

California farmers are making choices to insulate consumers from the drought.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News Release: State, federal agencies and Sacramento River Settlement Contractors agree on framework for water operations in fourth year of drought

Federal and state agencies along with Sacramento River Settlement Contractors (SRSCs) agreed this week on an integrated framework of actions for Central Valley Project/State Water Project operations for mid-April through November. The actions will flexibly manage and operate the system to serve multiple beneficial purposes that include water for cities and rural communities, farms, fish and wildlife and their habitats in the Sacramento Valley. The suite of actions will also help provide water for areas of the state that are in dire need of additional water supplies.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

San Diego County farmers pleased at changes in water cutback rules

After a vigorous effort to alert the state water board about what they saw as the unfairness of proposed drought rules, San Diego County farmers were pleased at how the rules were modified.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Almonds get roasted in debate over California water use

As California enters its fourth year of drought and imposes the first mandatory statewide water cutbacks on cities and towns, the $6.5 billion almond crop is helping drive a sharp debate about water use, agricultural interests and how both affect the state’s giant economy.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Valley rice farmers say they will grow less due to drought

Rice farmers from north of Sacramento said Friday that further water cutbacks this year will force them to shrink their acreage even more than they did in 2014.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Talks sprout in water conflict

Farmers within the Delta and farmers south of the Delta aren’t exactly bosom buddies. Not when it comes to water. 

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Drought means 75% water for Sacramento River farmers

Farmers along the Sacramento River who have long-time water rights will receive 75 percent of their historic supply again this year. Last year cutbacks occurred as well for these growers, known as Sacramento River settlement contractors.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California almond growers to expand orchards, despite drought

Representatives of the state’s almond farmers defended the decision to expand California’s orchards, saying growers with adequate water supplies are making rational economic decisions based on the price they can get for their crop.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Jerry Brown argues against ‘Big Brother’ picking crops in drought

With almonds and alfalfa coming in for criticism amid California’s drought, Gov. Jerry Brown argued Thursday against any “Big Brother” effort to curtail production of water-heavy crops.

Western Water Magazine

The View From Above: The Promise of Remote Sensing
March/April 2015

This issue looks at remote sensing applications and how satellite information enables analysts to get a better understanding of snowpack, how much water a plant actually uses, groundwater levels, levee stability and more.

Aquafornia news NPR

Redistribute California’s water? Not without a fight (with audio)

There’s a lot at stake, including your very own nuts, fruit and vegetables, because most of the water that’s up for grabs in California goes to farmers. This year, some farmers will get water, and others will not, simply based on when their land was first irrigated. Consider, for instance, the case of Cannon Michael.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

With his well nearly dry, a farmer draws on his resolve

The 32-year-old farmer in the barber’s chair said his well wouldn’t make it to summer. … It was late afternoon at the tail end of what should have been the rainy season in the fourth year of the California drought.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Almonds really not that thirsty, supporters say

As California moves into the fourth year of a withering drought and Gov. Jerry Brown announces mandatory water use restrictions on the state’s 39 million residents, attention has focused on its thirsty agricultural industry and, in particular, rapidly expanding almond orchards.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Commentary: Making sense of water

Almost every number used to analyze California’s drought can be debated, but this can be safely said: No level of restrictions on residential use can solve the problem. The solution lies with agriculture, which consumes more than its fair share.

Aquafornia news Scripps National Desk

Drought devastating California farms, drying up jobs

California’s drought problems could have far-reaching impacts. A disproportionate amount of the nation’s fruits and vegetables are grown in California, which ranks as the top produce in a number of popular foods.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Deal made in water conflict — again

It was that kind of week in south San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties, where the struggle over scarce water intensified, with two agricultural water districts going so far as to briefly defy a federal order to provide flows for fish.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

San Diego County farmers warn water reduction rules will be ‘devastating’

A water district serving farmers in northern San Diego County has asked state water officials who are devising cutback regulations for the same exemption given to farmers in the Central Valley.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown’s rural excursion underlines his support for farmers

As California continues reeling from the drought, Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday headed into the farmlands north of Sacramento, where concerns about the state’s parched spell are mounting after a dry winter.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought or not, water has long reigned in the Imperial Valley

Modern irrigation — aided by the Hoover Dam and the All-American Canal — transformed the Imperial Valley from a hostile desert into an agricultural marvel: a testament to generations of farmers and their use of cheap and plentiful water.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Farmers to city dwellers: We’re all in the drought together

As the months have worn on, drier and drier but for the very occasional gift from above, it has been hard to avoid a looming civil war in California over a common enemy, the drought.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Drought exacerbates California’s shrinking cotton crop

The cotton crop in California has been shrinking for the last decade, but this year’s planting could be the smallest since early last century.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Feather River farmers see 50% water reductions

Even Northern California farmers with some of the best water rights in the state will see their water allocations decreased by 50 percent this year. Districts along the Feather River got the news Wednesday from the Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California farmers mount PR campaign to counter backlash over water use

When Gov. Jerry Brown announced his unprecedented water use reduction order last week, California farmers were largely spared. They quickly developed another problem: Bad PR.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

OID, SSJID defy federal fish flows

The Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts defied the federal government Wednesday by diverting some Stanislaus River water to a local reservoir, where it might help thirsty crops, rather than releasing it down the river to benefit fish.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California warns of deep water rights curtailments amid drought

In the week after issuing an unprecedented statewide water use reduction order, Gov. Jerry Brown labored to defend the measure’s focus on urban water use instead of agriculture, which consumes far more water than cities and towns. … But while Brown defends agriculture’s heavy use of water, he is also considering water rights curtailments that could dramatically affect the industry.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Oakdale Irrigation District could sue over water supply

A drought-fueled battle pitting people against fish over the Stanislaus River could wind up in court.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Oakdale Irrigation District outlook remains murky

Farmers showing up Tuesday morning to say their piece about irrigation leaders’ watering plan this year won’t have much to go on. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Drought expands across large section of nation’s crop region

Drought conditions expanded last month amid weather that was warmer and drier across much of the western U.S., but spring rain in the agricultural Midwest could improve conditions for farmers preparing for the corn and soybean growing season.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Beneath California crops, groundwater crisis grows

Even as the worst drought in decades ravages California, and its cities face mandatory cuts in water use, millions of pounds of thirsty crops like oranges, tomatoes and almonds continue to stream out of the state and onto the nation’s grocery shelves.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Brown defends not requiring water cuts for California farmers

In a nationally televised interview Sunday, California Gov. Jerry Brown defended his decision to largely target urban areas rather than agricultural users with his historic order to curb water use.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

San Joaquin Valley leaders urge Brown to release more Delta water for local livelihoods

In another of an ongoing series of pleas by elected leaders in the Valley, representatives of farming communities in Fresno and Tulare counties gathered Thursday in Selma and challenged Gov. Jerry Brown to do more to relieve the effects of drought on farms and families in the region.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Gov. Brown’s drought plan goes easy on agriculture

Gov. Jerry Brown’s historic order to curb California’s water use largely bypasses agriculture, the state’s biggest water user, setting off debate about whether growers are getting a pass.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California agriculture, largely spared in new water restrictions, wields huge clout

When Gov. Jerry Brown issued the first statewide water use reduction order in California history on Tuesday, he put his emphasis squarely on cities and towns…. As Californians mulled Brown’s unprecedented order, some wondered why farms were not being asked to sacrifice more.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

New California water reductions don’t apply to farmers (with audio)

[Gov. Jerry] Brown’s executive order requires farmers to submit information on water usage to the state, but not to cut back further.  

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

California agriculture industry could lose $1 billion in two years because of drought

California agriculture is in line for $1 billion in losses this year and next, on the heels of a drought-induced $1.5 billion hit in 2014, UC Davis scientists said.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Why almond growers aren’t the water enemy

Article after article in newspapers, magazines and online put nut growers in a bad light related to the drought. … I planted my almonds based on a contract with the federal government to deliver surface water from Northern California. 

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Deal on Stanislaus River fish could aid Lake Tulloch

A tentative agreement on Stanislaus River flows could shore up irrigation supplies and keep Lake Tulloch from emptying this summer. 

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

As funding to combat invasive pests grows, Florida finds success battling giant snails

Federal agriculture officials are spending nearly $60 million this year to help combat the beetles, bollworms and other bugs that have the potential to wreak havoc on American crops, with California and Florida taking the biggest share.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Thirsty crops should require state regulation

This is what the Brown administration isn’t talking about as it tightens the spigot on landscaping: Urban use accounts for only 20% of California’s developed water. Agriculture sucks up 80%.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Overpumping of Central Valley groundwater creating a crisis, experts say

Parts of the San Joaquin Valley are deflating like a tire with a slow leak as growers pull more and more water from the ground. The land subsidence is cracking irrigation canals, buckling roads and permanently depleting storage space in the vast aquifer that underlies California’s heartland.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Oakdale Irrigation District weighs historic water cap

Because of prolonged drought, irrigation leaders on Tuesday morning will consider capping the amount of water delivered this year to farms around Oakdale and east of Riverbank.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Ready to fight: Some growers unwilling to lose land for bullet train

After leaving his lucrative law practice, he [Harold Parichan] turned his attention to growing almonds on about 2,400 acres in the Central Valley. And it’s there that Parichan, 91, has a new opponent: the California bullet train authority.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Supreme Court arguments set in challenge to raisin-price regulation

Supreme Court justices will unpack many different arguments when they consider a surprisingly big California raisin case. With briefs filed in recent days, parties ranging from the state of Texas and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to a bunch of independent raisin growers from California’s San Joaquin Valley have challenged a decades-old system for managing raisin supplies.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Rural lawmaker lives the drought

Frank Bigelow stood at the bottom of a gully that a few years ago was stocked with largemouth bass, and, more importantly, supplied water for a herd of cattle that numbered 600 head. … This year, eight of 17 bills he has introduced deal with water in one form or another.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

South San Joaquin Irrigation District caps water deliveries for first time

For the first time ever, drought has forced the South San Joaquin Irrigation District to cap water deliveries.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Modesto Irrigation District growers could have to get by on 16 inches of water

The drought could limit irrigation for Modesto-area farmers to 16 inches of water per acre this year – a little more than a third the normal amount and far less than needed for most crops.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Butte County supervisors may weigh in on Biggs-West Gridley water transfer plan

During its meeting Tuesday, the Butte County Board of Supervisors will consider sending a letter of concerns to the Biggs-West Gridley Water District over plans to transfer Feather River water to the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Dry winter weather worries rice farmers (with audio)

The rice crop was down nearly 25% in 2014. But, it’s not just the drought that’s hurting growers.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Ag economist: Water will matter more than ever in California

Tightening water supplies in California will reinforce its shift to almonds, walnuts and other high-value crops, an economist told a Modesto audience.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Herald

Central Coast river sandbars vex farmers, fishery regulators

This winter, a large sandbar planted itself in front of the Salinas River, not an unusual phenomenon on waterways throughout the Central Coast. But as the waters rose behind it — threatening and, once heavy rains hit, eventually flooding crops — county water officials could not push the wall of sand aside. 

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Agriculture secretary views Pajaro Valley water solutions

The first step toward finding solutions to long-standing groundwater overdraft in the Pajaro Valley was to acknowledge the problem and agriculture’s contribution to it, said Miles Reiter, chairman and CEO of Driscoll’s Strawberry Associates Inc. 

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Lake Tulloch, prized Mother Lode reservoir, may be drained

Water managers may drain the lake to save water farther upstream for farmers and fish.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: New Western Water Magazine available — ‘Is California’s Water Supply Resilient and Sustainable?’

In the January/February issue of Western Water Magazine, Writer Gary Pitzer delves into the notion of a “sustainable” and “resilient” water supply. His article highlights what sustainability and resiliency mean to a state in the middle of a drought and with a growing population and water needs that stretch from bustling cities in the north and south to the rich agricultural fields of the Central, Imperial and Coachella valleys and Central Coast. … Read the excerpts from this issue. Purchase a printed magazine or subscribe to the digital, interactive version.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Critics fear bullet train will bring urban sprawl to Central Valley

Against a rural tableau draped in a gray winter sky, a fleet of heavy, clawing earth movers rumbles back and forth across a fallow, 953-acre field that for decades produced bell peppers, carrots and alfalfa.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Vanishing water, fewer jobs, but still hope in the Central Valley

In this region that calls itself “The Cantaloupe Center of the World,” vast fields that once annually yielded millions of melons lie fallow. And, for some farmers, planting tomatoes and other traditional row crops may now constitute acts of courage.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Strawberry acreage down, production stable

In 2014 California strawberry farmers planted less but produced more fruit than the previous year.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Area farmers feeling port pain

“Other than water, this is the most widely discussed topic in agriculture. It’s having that much of an impact,” said Tim Johnson, chief executive officer of the California Rice Commission.

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

Experimental project proving to be good for salmon and rice

During the non-growing season, rice fields in the Yolo Bypass have been a part of an experiment designed to help salmon thrive.

Aquafornia news The Bakersfield Californian

Growers worry about economic damage from ports slowdown

Central Valley growers are becoming increasingly alarmed at a port slowdown they say has disrupted almond and citrus exports.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Congress pressures both sides in ports dispute

With crop exports from regions like the Pacific Northwest and California’s Central Valley particularly at risk, more than a dozen lawmakers united Thursday in support of port peace.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Tulare’s World Ag Expo, Day 2: Water conservation for sale

In this new data-driven age, sensors are used to determine how much water a plant or tree needs or if the right amount of nutrients are being applied. Weather data is also available to give growers real-time information.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

US farmers expected to see 32% drop in income in 2015

Another USDA report released Tuesday shows California remains the top state in gross farm receipts with $47.78 billion, about 10 percent of the national receipts.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Top federal ag official to discuss pending trade deals at Tulare’s World Ag Expo

A top federal agriculture official will be at the World Ag Expo Tuesday to encourage support for two proposed trade agreements that could expand markets for Valley farmers.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

Are farmers market sales peaking? That might be good for farmers

A January report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that while more farmers are selling directly to consumers, local food sales at farmers markets, farm stands and through community supported agriculture have lost some momentum.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Editorial: State’s growing, and thirsty, almond industry sowing seeds of discontent

The Great Almond Rush has brought billions to the state’s economy. But it has also raised existential questions about water rights, land use and development, the environment, ethical food policy, fracking, job creation and this fertile state’s responsibility to feed the world.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California allowed oilfield dumping into drinking water (video)

Video only.

Aquafornia news Herald and News, Klamath Falls, Oregon

Rainfall near average; snowpack isn’t

Record-breaking temperatures are keeping snowpack at abysmal levels. … According to Duane Hardenburger, a Klamath Irrigation District rancher, the water year has been “less than stellar.”

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

How Orange County’s namesake was squeezed out—and is being squeezed in

Where tens of thousands of Valencia trees once spread across the land and perfumed the air, the [Orange] county’s namesake citrus has been reduced to a collection of dwindling private groves, haphazard leftover trees and commemorative historic sites. … It’s a fate mirrored across Southern California.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Stockton East: Some farmers might receive no water in 2015

With the local water outlook even bleaker than last year, the Stockton East Water District will warn farmers soon that some might go without irrigation water in 2015.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

State seeks water rules for pot growers

State officials have begun rolling out a new environmental initiative designed to win the cooperation of marijuana growers in protecting Northern California waterways and fisheries from the kinds of degradation that commonly result from pot cultivation.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

NASA moisture satellite launch scrubbed due to winds

NASA has scrubbed the launch of an Earth-observing satellite because of wind conditions over California.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Satellite mission poised to help farmers and water managers, NASA says

The Soil Moisture Active Passive project is expected to provide crucial information to Central Valley farmers and water resource managers dealing with the multiyear drought.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Robots could have a new job on the farm (with audio)

A team led by [UC Davis Professor David] Slaughter received a $2.7 million grant recently from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop a prototype for weed control.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commercial growers, Sacramento-area gardeners face possible headaches from warm afternoons, lack of rain

Sacramento-area residents have been down this winter weather road before: cold, foggy mornings giving way to warmer-than-usual afternoons . . . and no rain.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Commentary: Learn to live with drought — eat more lentils

As California enters what appears to be the fourth year of its historic drought, we also appear to be headed for the usual water wars between farmers and conservation groups.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Ag and water overview: Less water puts a dent in regional economy

California is in the middle of a growth spurt and a corresponding crunch for water resources. Right now, California has 38 million people (roughly the equivalent of the entire country of Canada) and can expect to reach 51 million by 2050, speaker Todd Manly [director of government relations, Northern California Water Association] said during the North State Economic Forecast Conference in Oroville Thursday.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California farmers turn sugar beets into energy

Struggling sugar beet farmers in the San Joaquin Valley are turning their crop into energy instead of sweetener. A cooperative of nine sugar beet farmers just opened a demonstration biorefinery south of Fresno.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

$1.1 million grant to help save threatened California bird

California’s Tricolored Blackbirds are found mainly in the southern San Joaquin Valley and often nest in fields where dairy farmers grow feed.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

‘Tough season’ for California wine grape growers relying on groundwater (with audio)

More than three years of drought has reduced reservoir storage in California and groundwater supply. Some wine grape growers in Amador County are worried the limited resource could make this season more challenging. 

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Richvale’s Butte County Rice Growers Association outlasts most cooperatives, hits 100-year mark

The legacy that is now Richvale could have turned out many different ways. When settlers came to the areas more than 100 years ago, many bought the land sight unseen.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Judge: Dairy pollution threatens Washington Valley’s water

A federal judge has ruled that a large industrial dairy in eastern Washington has polluted drinking water through its application, storage and management of manure, in a case that could set precedents across the nation.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

TID approves large water rate hike

A vote Tuesday more than doubled water rates for farmers in the Turlock Irrigation District.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Pajaro Valley farmer taps water-saving sprinklers

Last year, as drought gripped California, [Javier] Zamora’s bills for water and the electricity that runs the pump at his well skyrocketed. But this year, he invested in a new irrigation system that’s dramatically cutting his costs and water consumption.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Court upholds California grape commission patents

A tangled legal fight over grape patents ended Friday in a victory for the California Table Grape Commission.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Water rates could rise sharply for Turlock Irrigation District farmers

A vote Tuesday could more than double water rates in the Turlock Irrigation District, but farmers appear to be taking it in stride.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Modesto Irrigation District proposal ignores subsidy

A proposal to change water rates for farmers would have some paying more money and some less, but would not bring more revenue to the Modesto Irrigation District or affect the massive subsidy borne by its electricity customers.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Calculating the value of rice in more than dollars

The value of California’s rice harvest in 2012 was $770 million. The almond harvest’s worth was $4.3 billion. But which is more valuable: a rice field or an almond orchard? Which is more worthy of our vital resource, water?

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

San Joaquin Valley farmers reach secret deal in water dispute

A staggering economic and environmental problem festering for three decades in the southern San Joaquin Valley would be addressed by a secret deal reached between the Obama administration and farmers — one that is sounding alarms for Bay Area lawmakers. … Details of the deal between Westlands and the federal Bureau of Reclamation have not been revealed to members of Congress, who would have to approve it.

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

Legal Commentary: Local agencies that can recover fees through Prop. 218 process are ineligible for state reimbursements

Several agricultural water suppliers seeking reimbursement for state-mandated activities under the Water Conservation Act of 2009 are ineligible to receive state funding, the Commission on State Mandates has decided. The decision, released in early December, states that the suppliers are ineligible because they have the option to recover costs through the Proposition 218 process.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Rice may become first crop in cap-and-trade program

Rice could soon become the first crop in California’s cap-and-trade program, but it is unclear if the program provides enough incentives to motivate farmers to change their growing practices.

Aquafornia news The Bakersfield Californian

Commentary: Columnist Lois Henry talks about land fallowing

The term land fallowing — purposely retiring productive farmland — had not been uttered in the agriculture or water industries in some years.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Water source for almonds in California may run dry

California’s almond orchards have been thriving over the past decade and now provide an $11 billion annual boost to the state economy. … But the growth coincides with another record development here — drought — and the extensive water needs of nut trees are posing a sharp challenge to state water policy.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

California drought brings smaller harvests, more hunger among farmworkers

Here in the produce basket of the nation, the drought so dried out the farm economy that farmworkers depend on charity to fill their pantries.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Editorial: Oyster farm closes door on historic business

While controversial, the Drakes Bay Oyster Co.’s closure was not a big surprise. After all, Congress started the count-down 40 years ago when it bought the then-Johnson Oyster Farm site along the shore of Drakes Estero in order to add the acreage to Point Reyes National Seashore’s wildland area.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Commentary: Unleashing the produce police

Come Jan. 1, California food vendors will face steeper fees and an extra layer of bureaucracy if they wish to peddle products at their area farmer’s markets.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Rice growers could help reduce greenhouse gases

Growing rice requires flooding fields, which produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The California Air Resources Board is discussing allowing growers to obtain greenhouse gas “offsets” that could then be sold on the state’s cap and trade market.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Organic farmers to get a break on agriculture fees

An organic farming seed planted in the latest farm bill sprouted Tuesday, broadening exemptions from conventional crop promotion fees. From almonds to watermelons, the proposed new fee exemptions cover myriad organic crops across different U.S. regions.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Endangered tricolor blackbird’s fate entwined with dairy industry

Tricolored blackbirds, once one of the most abundant birds in California, now depend largely on Central Valley dairy farmers for their survival. Millions of the gregarious birds used to build their nests in wetlands.

Aquafornia news NBC

‘Holy guacamole!’ Avocado prices expected to rise, thanks to California drought

In spite of recent rain, California’s drought has taken a serious toll on the avocado industry.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Rice farms could provide offsets in carbon market

Sometimes it takes a crisis like climate change to reveal a golden opportunity. Our rice farmers in Northern California have long been exemplary stewards of their land, both in terms of providing habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife and for their ongoing efforts to work with environmental and research organizations to improve their farming practices.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Blog: Protection for tricolored blackbirds raises fears, questions among dairy leaders

The dairy industry across the San Joaquin Valley is worried about California’s new endangered species protection for the tricolored blackbird, which nests in dairy silage fields here. And dairy leaders are disappointed because they had been trying to help save the bird for years.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

As the wells run dry, Central Valley neighbors find common ground

When a man of 91 is downright cantankerous and has been on his land longer than most everyone else has been alive, he wastes no time speaking his mind. So after his new neighbor started sinking a well to plant a water-sucking almond orchard in the middle of the worst drought he’d ever seen, James Turner hurried over.

Aquafornia news NPR

Women’s work is never done on the farm, and sometimes never counted

The average American farmer is a white man in his late 50s. Or at least, that’s who’s in charge of the farm, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But the number of female-run farms has tripled since the 1970s, to nearly 14 percent in 2012.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

San Joaquin Valley farmers welcome approaching rainstorm

A looming storm that is expected to bring high winds and heavy rain to the San Joaquin Valley has farmers more excited than fearful.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Pajaro Valley farmers welcome wet weather

This time last year Pajaro Valley farmer Javier Zamora was spending hundreds of dollars on irrigation so he’s thrilled rain has started to fall after two years of drought.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: World food supplies recover from drought and reach 15-year high

World supplies of corn, rice, soybeans, wheat, and other staple grains are forecast to reach their highest levels in 15 years, but experts say the increase will do little to reverse an upward trend in food prices.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Modesto Irrigation District’s culture of imbalance: Farmers coddled, power customers gouged

An intriguing public debate over electricity customers subsidizing farmers has focused on what the farmers get: irrigation water at bargain basement prices. Somewhat lost in the dialogue is how much more power customers are paying – not just to benefit agriculture, but to keep afloat the Modesto Irrigation District’s entire operation.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Commentary: Drought talk around Thanksgiving table — Farmers versus urbanites

Would your Thanksgiving table be ruined if the stuffing or side dishes did not contain almonds? … Then why are our water policymakers treating the almond farmers like they were producing a life-sustaining staple?

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Stanislaus will take a harder look at well permit applications

Stanislaus County supervisors voted Tuesday to tighten the rules for well permits, requiring farmers outside irrigation districts to show that new wells won’t have a detrimental effect on groundwater.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Stanislaus residents race to get well permits

There’s a funny line in the staff report that accompanies the proposed groundwater ordinance on Tuesday’s Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors meeting agenda.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: U.S. farm irrigation becomes more efficient, moves East

U.S. farmers irrigated roughly the same amount of land as they did five years ago, but they are using less water to grow the bounty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains that fill the nation’s produce aisles, livestock stomachs, and, in part, gas tanks, according to federal farm data released Thursday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought revives ‘forgotten art’ at wineries: Farming without irrigation

The gnarled zinfandel grapevines on Rich Czapleski’s land have borne fruit for more than 100 years, producing dark, intense wines that exemplify the special growing conditions in this coveted winemaking region. Over that time, the vines have weathered some of California’s worst droughts — including the last three years with little difficulty.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News Release: Collaboration with federal and state agencies, rice growers and industry further protect endangered salmon and steelhead trout

Collaboration among federal and state agencies, rice growers and industry has created federally enforceable restrictions of the pesticide thiobencarb to protect threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead trout in California.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California almond growers welcome record revenue, rainy weather

It rained on hundreds of farmers heading into Blue Diamond Growers’ 104th annual meeting Wednesday at the Sacramento Convention Center.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Ranchers questioning accuracy of U.S. Drought Monitor

Some ranchers feel the Drought Monitor is slow in reporting actual conditions on the ground and the droughts severity.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: High court allows delta water contracts to be challenged

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday allowed environmentalists to challenge the government’s renewal of 41 long-term contracts for irrigation water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, in a lawsuit seeking greater protection for the endangered delta smelt.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Gov. Jerry Brown honors Sikh ‘peach king’

Clad in a blue head scarf, Gov. Jerry Brown went to the Sikh Temple of Sacramento on Sunday to honor the “peach king of California,” … Bains said his crops still have plenty of water from deep wells and the Oroville Dam and Feather and Sacramento rivers, but called the drought “a big threat. It’s not like we’re going to have water forever without rain.”

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: California Sketches — Finding the sublime in fall ritual

In the rice fields north of Sacramento, Tom Reese climbs into his giant red harvester, starts the engine and heads south across a flat landscape covered in gold and green stalks heavy with grains. … We revere the natural landscapes of California, mountains and coast. Too often we take for granted the simple, flat world we see in between.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California, Nevada governors team up on drought

The governors of California and Nevada met Thursday at a forum aimed at coming up with the best ways to cope with the unprecedented drought affecting the western U.S., now in its third year.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Drought brings early harvest for mandarin oranges in Placer County

The typical season for the mandarin harvest is November through January. But Bob Bonk of Snow’s Citrus Court said the last two years haven’t been typical at the family-owned and operated citrus grove in Newcastle.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Upcoming frost season means new rules for area farmers

Hundreds of grape growers and farmers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties are girding for the implementation of new state rules aimed at protecting imperiled fish in the Russian River by regulating stream diversions for frost protection.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Farm City tour brings agriculture close into view

Five stops, expert agricultural commentary and a wide countryside were provided to travelers on the Farm City Celebration annual bus tour Wednesday. … The stops included Weiss McNair, a nut harvesting machine manufacturer in Chico; Western Canal Water District in Nelson; Crain Orchards, a walnut processing and export business just south of Chico; the Worm Farm in Durham; and Heitkam Honey Bees in Orland.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Blog: Western governors, California officials discuss drought

Today, the drought will bring together the leaders of several states suffering from water scarcity. Gov. Jerry Brown and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval will open a forum on how drought is affecting agriculture with remarks in the governor’s office this morning.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Drought-defying tomato harvest breaks California record

Defying the state’s devastating water shortage, California farmers produced a record tomato crop. … In a year when most commodities saw declines in production, the tomato crop was 16 percent larger than last year.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Midwestern journalist sees convergence of tech, food

Last month, I packed up my household vegetable garden in Fargo, N.D., about 2,000 miles to the northeast of California’s Central Coast. … I’d visited Salinas this summer, as an agricultural journalist among a tour group of writers and bloggers.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Stockton turf company working to create drought-resistant grasses

They’re famous for asparagus and potatoes on this central Delta island, where the Zuckerman family has farmed for four generations. But here and there, mixed in with the spuds and other crops, are vast fields of emerald-green grass that stretch into the distance until they meet the sky.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Showdown looms as California eyes pesticides

With organic food growers reporting double-digit growth in U.S. sales each year, producers are challenging a proposed California pest-management program they say enshrines a pesticide-heavy approach for decades to come, including compulsory spraying of organic crops at the state’s discretion.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

MALT snags land slated for development along Tomales Bay

The Marin Agricultural Land Trust has bought the former Borello Ranch, an 864-acre piece of property on Tomales Bay, from a real estate developer ensuring it will remain as farmland.

Tour Images from the Central Valley Tour

Central Valley Tour 2015
Field Trip (past)

This 3-day, 2-night tour, which we do every spring, travels the length of the San Joaquin Valley, giving participants a clear understanding of the State Water Project and Central Valley Project.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Farmers needed to flood fields for birds in drought

The Sacramento Valley is a resting stop for millions of birds in the Pacific Flyway. Wet weather in Canada earlier this year is predicted to bring a record number of birds. And they’ll face a landscape with little water.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Rain brings joy, if not a fix, to the drought-ridden Central Valley

One modest, seasonal storm wasn’t going to reverse California’s historic drought. Yet across the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada mountains, where livelihoods and entire towns are threatened, there was joy Saturday as rain fell and snow piled up.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Dry year means cutback in winter rice flooding

Unless rain clouds change course to linger over the Sacramento Valley rice farmers are gearing up for another season with less water.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Ag co-ops thrive in San Joaquin Valley and beyond

Ag co-ops across the nation had a record $246 billion in sales last year, a 4% gain over 2012, according to a report released last month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Resignation in rural California as election nears

Rain fell over the hay barns and pine forests in the far northeastern corner of the state, and with Tuesday’s election presaging four more years of Democratic rule in Sacramento, an air of resignation filled the Flournoy family ranch.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Business Journal

Blog: Despite drought, California wine grape harvest is third largest ever

Despite California’s lingering drought, this year’s wine grape harvest was the third-largest ever, at an estimated 3.9 million tons.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Drought means less California rice, but good prices for rice that was grown

Nothing about this year’s rice growing season has been business-as-usual. Some growers received no water. Others received most of their water. Some rice growers sold water.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California drought squeezes olive oil makers

Faced with a continuing drought, not to mention the ravages of the olive fruit fly, this year’s olive harvest is expected to start in a week or so, earlier than usual, and be about a third smaller than last year. This will also be the first harvest to come under new stricter grading and labeling standards that took effect last month.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Valley farmers are asked: Help the ducks

Farmers in the Sacramento Valley are being asked to lend a hand to migrating waterfowl arriving this winter to a drought-parched landscape.

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

Blog: How a tiny farm county became ground zero in California’s fracking fight

As one of two counties with fracking bans on the local ballot this November, San Benito County has also become the site of a heated political battle between oil companies and anti-fracking ranchers, farmers, and residents. A similar fight is going down in Santa Barbara County, where oil companies have funneled $7.6 million into a campaign against Measure P, a citizen’s ballot initiative that would ban future high-intensity petroleum operations on unincorporated county land.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California drought takes bite out of rice harvest

California’s deepening drought is shrinking its rice harvest, and that’s bad news for farmers, migratory birds and sushi lovers.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Sacramento Valley water transfer idea leaves locals fuming

There’s a plan for water transfers could move up to 511,000 acre-feet of water each year for the next 10 years from the Sacramento Valley to the San Joaquin Valley and the Bay Area. … The Bureau [of Reclamation] is in the middle of writing the “Long-Term Water Transfers Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report.”

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Commentary: Law needs to weed out fraud at farmers’ markets

AB1871, legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law last month, is arguably the most important piece of legislation affecting California farmers’ markets since they were authorized in 1977.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Tomato growers expect record year despite drought

About 95 percent of the nation’s processed tomatoes come from California.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

SSJID wins global award for farm water conservation

Irrigation experts from around the world think highly of a water-saving project on Ripon-area farmland. The International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage, meeting last month in Gwangju, South Korea, presented its annual WatSave Technology Award to the South San Joaquin Irrigation District.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Amid California’s drought, a bruising battle for cheap water

The signs appear about 200 miles north of Los Angeles, tacked onto old farm wagons parked along quiet two-lane roads and bustling Interstate 5. “Congress Created Dust Bowl.” “Stop the Politicians’ Water Crisis.” “No Water No Jobs.”

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Dixon’s landmark corn maze the world’s largest – again

Cool Patch Pumpkins’ epic corn maze has been certified once again as the world’s largest, according to Guinness World Records.

Aquafornia news NPR

As their wells run dry, California residents blame thirsty farms

Imagine flushing the toilet and watching sand come up.

Aquafornia news NPR

California farmers: We are getting ‘much less water’

Farmers say they aren’t using up groundwater supplies, nor are they solely to blame for the water crisis. Almond grower Dan Errotabere talks with NPR’s Rachel Martin about the situation on his farm.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California almond industry moves to protect vital bee colonies

The importance of honeybees is now written across a first-ever set of public guidelines for almond growers and beekeepers, released Thursday by the California Almond Board.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Fighting walnut theft, new program aims to safeguard sales

Northern California is seeing a crackdown on walnut theft. With new rules last year on walnut sales and more improvements this year, the hope is that thieves will no longer see walnuts as easy money.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

The West is bone dry. Here’s how to help

Drought is rampant these days in many parts of the American West, so consider this a pretty sweet gift: You’ve just been given the rights to some water. … Your job is to turn around and use that resource in the most valuable way possible.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

News Release: Learn about groundwater and take a cruise on Lake Shasta

The Water Education Foundation’s popular Northern California Tour features a diverse group of experts talking about groundwater, flood management, the drought, water supplies, agricultural challenges, and the latest on salmon restoration efforts. The tour also includes a houseboat cruise on Lake Shasta. … The tour travels the length of the Sacramento Valley with visits to Oroville and Shasta dams.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

The risks of cheap water

This summer, California’s water authority declared that wasting water — hosing a sidewalk, for example — was a crime. Next door, in Nevada, Las Vegas has paid out $200 million over the last decade for homes and businesses to pull out their lawns.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

California’s giant pumpkin growers undeterred by drought

California’s punishing drought has drawn down reservoirs and fallowed fields in the Central Valley, but it hasn’t stopped giant pumpkin growers from pursuing ever bigger gourds.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Invasive insect found in Lodi, Manteca

Asian Citrus Psyllids, an invasive insect, have been found in Manteca and Lodi, according to San Joaquin County Agricultural Commissioner Tim Pelican. … The psyllids pose no threat to humans, but they can carry the huanglongbing disease, also known as citrus greening.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Early, quick harvest means few rain worries for local grape growers

The threat of rain in mid-October would typically have winemakers and vineyard managers scrambling as they look to limit any damage caused by severe rot or other moisture-related harm to the North Coast’s most valuable crop.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma County unveils proposed rules for new wells

Sonoma County planning officials on Monday unveiled the most significant changes in nearly 40 years to the county’s underground well ordinance, which sets in place rules property owners must follow when drilling a new water well.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Modesto Irrigation District farmers capitalize on no-ceiling water sales

Allowing farmers to sell their shares of irrigation water on the open market proved 13 times as popular as receiving a fixed price through a program managed by the Modesto Irrigation District.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Plumpest pumpkin: 2,058-pound gourd sets record

A gourd weighing 2,058 pounds took first prize and set a new tournament record Monday at an annual pumpkin-weighing contest in Northern California.

Commands