After a decade of growth, the combined value of berries, vegetables and other crops farmed in Santa Cruz County dropped by more than 9 percent in 2017 — a sizable change thought to be driven by a drop in berry price and production. Overall, the bounty of the county’s fertile farmland fell from $637 million in 2016 to $581 million in 2017.
Water and agriculture go hand in hand. Growing food for the planet’s people consumes 70 percent of its freshwater sources. Therefore, water is not only life-giving, it is life-sustaining. Yet with climate change, population growth and development on watersheds, an estimated 2 billion people globally face limited access to clean water. And demand for water is expected to grow by 30 percent globally by 2050.
Various partners in a program to provide food for Delta smelt joined together yesterday along the Yolo Bypass levee to present of the program’s monitoring this year, which showed promising results. This is the second year state and federal agencies, water resources managers, and landowners have collaborated to grow and transport food into the north Delta for smelt.
Samuel Western writes about the Mountain West. He said rural parts of the region are often reluctant to embrace climate change because it doesn’t come up that often in everyday conversation. “If you live in a more urban environment you are exposed to more ideas, but we tend to live fairly siloed in Wyoming,” said Western. “And a lot of people come here for that very reason.”
Along the West Coast, grape growers and wineries are locked in bitter disputes over what to do with wine grapes that may have been tainted by smoke from the summer’s wildfires. Wine producers are refusing to pay growers for smoke-tainted grapes, leaving many small-scale farmers in dire financial situations.
“One special seed” and months of care by an Oregon commercial pilot produced a massive pumpkin that tipped the scales at a global weigh-in Monday in Northern California, the fourth time his gargantuan plants were awarded top honors.
Typically, renovating a small museum shouldn’t be that difficult: some newly restored artifacts in new glass cases, interactive displays, new signs and a fresh coat of paint. Piece of cake. Unless what you’re trying to renovate is the perception of Jack London. … The author traveled through China, Japan and Korea, studying traditional farming techniques that were clearly more sustainable, [Charles] Levine says.
California voters may be feeling a sense of deja vu when they consider Proposition 3, an $8.9 billion water bond on the November ballot to fund a long list of water projects — from repairing Oroville Dam to restoring Bay Area wetlands to helping Central Valley farmers recharge depleted groundwater. Didn’t the voters recently approve a big water bond? Maybe two of them? Yes. And yes.
A longtime water district manager and a leading agricultural technology company were honored Tuesday for their contributions to the farming industry. Garry Serrato, general manager of the Fresno Irrigation District, was named the 2018 Agriculturist of the Year by the Fresno Chamber of Commerce and Agrian Inc. of Clovis received the 2018 Ag Business Award by Baker Peterson Franklin.
Now that the existing federal farm bill has expired, what does that mean for farmers, ranchers, marketers and consumers? The short answer: It depends on the funding status for each program included in the bill. A House-Senate conference committee assigned to reconcile differences between the two versions of a new farm bill wasn’t able to reach agreement before the current bill expired Sept. 30. That means close to 40 programs are left without funding until Congress passes a new bill.
Updated renewable-energy mandates from the state of California will likely affect energy rates for farmers and ranchers–and add impetus to researchers’ studies of further renewable-energy use in agriculture. Senate Bill 100, signed into law last month, requires that 60 percent of the electricity generated in California come from eligible renewable sources by 2030, and sets 2045 as the target year for all-renewable or zero-carbon power generation.
Seven Southwestern U.S. states that depend on the overtaxed Colorado River have reached landmark agreements on how to manage the waterway amid an unprecedented drought, including a commitment by California to bear part of the burden before it is legally required to do so, officials said Tuesday. The agreements are tentative and must be approved by multiple states and agencies as well as the U.S. government.
The crime scene was a mess of boxes, some half-assembled, others scattered across patches of dried grass and partially gouged to raw wood. The victims scrambled about looking for food and water. There were thousands of them. Maybe millions. Detective Isaac Torres watched the action from the air-conditioned safety of his unmarked truck.
An estimated three-quarters of the water used by farms, ranches and dairies in California originates as snow in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, but the future viability of that resource is projected to be at heightened risk due to global climate change.
The Oakdale Irrigation District has completed a $15 million tunnel that bypasses a section of canal at risk of rock slides. The 5,949-foot tunnel a few miles east of Knights Ferry is the 10th that OID has built since it formed in 1909 to tap the Stanislaus River. One machine bored from the east and one from the west after the project launched in September 2017, with a break for the 2018 irrigation season.
The second year of a program to improve conditions for the endangered delta smelt shows promise in creating a bloom in the plankton that nourish the imperiled fish. State and federal water leaders were joined Monday by Sacramento Valley farmers and water providers along the banks of the Yolo Bypass to hail the importance of the Delta Smelt Resiliency Strategy — a multipronged effort around restoring wetland habitat across the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to bolster the smelt population.
Some Oregon lawmakers and winery owners scrambled Thursday to help a dozen vineyard owners who face the prospect of tons of grapes withering on the vine after a California company abruptly canceled contracts to buy the grapes worth millions of dollars over fears they are tainted by wildfire smoke.
When California ordered property owners to provide beach access for all, Hollister Ranch made the case that the pristine coastline west of Santa Barbara deserved an exception. With 14,500 acres connected only by private roads, ranchers argued it was impossible for each of them, as required by law, to provide a public route to the beach every time they sought a permit to build.
Don’t assume local farmers are thrilled about the rain expected to fall on the southern Central Valley this week. Nervous that early-season precipitation could bring mold and rot to still-unharvested nuts and grapes, some Kern County growers are weighing their options in case lingering moisture threatens to lower the quality and price of their crop.
Rep. Jeff Denham, one of the nation’s most vulnerable Republicans, is trying desperately to shut down a state water plan that’s widely disliked in his district. But nothing has worked so far. One thing could: Yet another lawsuit between the Department of Justice and the state of California over the issue.