Aquafornia news Ag Alert, California Farm Bureau Federation

Cherry growers expect lighter crop yields

Freezing temperatures just as cherry blossoms began to break likely reduced this year’s crop, with farmers in different growing regions reporting lighter yields. Harvest in the southern San Joaquin Valley started in late April, according to the California Cherry Board, which said it expects the state’s cherry season will run through early June.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: This Farm Bill can make or break organic farmers

The federal Farm Bill has a powerful impact on the cost of farming—both organic and non-organic. A version of the bill introduced by the House Agriculture Committee would cut existing programs for organic farmers and increase their costs, while at the same time continuing to use taxpayer dollars to artificially lower the costs of non-organic food. Organic farmers shoulder expenses that their conventional counterparts push onto the public, like the costs of keeping air and waterways clean and protecting wildlife.

Aquafornia news Herald and News, Klamath Falls

Reclamation’s reduced Klamath River flows result in fish die-off

Reduced flows to the Klamath River have resulted in a die-off of between 500 to 1,000 fish, crustaceans, and invertebrates below the Keno Dam. The reduced flows to the Klamath River were issued to charge the A canal in preparation for water delivery to Basin irrigators, according to the Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office.

Aquafornia news The Riverside Press-Enterprise

UC Riverside study may help save California’s $2 billion citrus industry

UC Riverside researchers believe they’ve figured out how bacteria spread a deadly disease that has wiped out 70 percent of Florida’s orange crop and is threatening to lay waste to California’s citrus industry.

Aquafornia news High Country News

Commentary: This acequia life

Acequias evolved over 10,000 years in the deserts of the Middle East and were introduced into southern Spain by the Moors. Later, Spanish colonizers introduced acequias to the American Southwest, long before the land was claimed by the United States. Acequia is the irrigation conveyance system, the canal, all the infrastructure that delivers water from the river, the Rio Grande, to the fields.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Pajaro Valley district, Watsonville complete $5 million water recycling plant upgrade

Officials on Thursday celebrated $5 million worth of upgrades to the water recycling plant serving the agricultural industry in the greater Watsonville area. A 1.5-million-gallon water storage tank was added to the Watsonville Area Water Recycling Facility on Clearwater Lane’s existing 1-million-gallon storage capacity, in addition to installation of two new distribution pumps and other energy efficiency improvements.

Aquafornia news The Bakersfield Californian

Commentary: Address state’s drinking water crisis while protecting farming

Several years ago, California farmers, including many in the Valley, began receiving threatening letters from the State Water Resources Control Board. The demand? Provide clean drinking water to local residents with nitrate contaminated private wells or face punitive legal action.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Why farmers only get 7.8 cents of every dollar Americans spend on food

For every dollar consumers spend on food, only 7.8 cents goes to farmers — a record low that reflects shifts in how Americans eat, according to the Department of Agriculture. Where once consumers cooked most of their meals at home, they’re now buying just as many at cafes and restaurants.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Federal judge sides with Klamath Basin fish over farmers

Local tribes and environmental groups declared victory Tuesday after a federal judge shot down a bid by Klamath Basin farmers and water districts to block dam releases meant to prevent fish disease outbreaks. Basin irrigators argued the rain and snow fall in 2017 reduced the chance of fish disease outbreaks this year, but said drought conditions in the basin this year could cause significant economic impacts to their region if water deliveries are delayed by the dam releases.

Aquafornia news The Bakersfield Californian

Cancer-causing chemical found in Grimmway Farms water

A cancer-causing chemical has been found in the drinking water at Grimmway Farms facilities in Kern County, potentially endangering some 1,500 employees. The company is mitigating the issue by bringing in bottled water for employees to drink. 

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Pressure mounts to solve California’s toxic farmland drainage problem

Many Americans know the name Kesterson as the California site where thousands of birds and fish were discovered with gruesome deformities in 1983, a result of exposure to selenium-poisoned farm runoff. Thirty-five years later, it is one of the oldest unresolved water problems in the state.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Can Sacramento County save its farmers?

On Feb. 7, four Sacramento LAFCo commissioners began unraveling of decades of agricultural protection, orderly urban growth and open space planning that relied on a firm urban limit at Elk Grove’s southern boundary. … The commission adopted a statement prepared by staff to dismiss 22 significant and unavoidable impacts that cannot be fully mitigated, including loss of farmland and open space and further groundwater depletion.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News/East Bay Times

Editorial: Don’t reverse course on Delta twin tunnels project

The Santa Clara Valley Water District Board has no business Wednesday reversing course and committing its ratepayers to pay a minimum of $650 million to help fund Gov. Jerry Brown’s $16 billion twin tunnels project. It’s a Southern California and Central Valley water grab that won’t provide a drop of new water to California’s water supply.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Some California farmers already feeling impacts of possible tariffs

China says it welcomes a planned visit by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin next week amid trade tensions. Both countries have proposed tariffs of $50 billion on each other’s products. That includes steel and aluminum from China and wine, almonds and cherries from California.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Almond acreage in California grows to record total

California’s almond acreage grew 7 percent last year to a record 1.3 million acres, as the state continued its dominance as the world’s leading producer of almonds. The state grows more than 80 percent of the world’s supply.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Hemp, not food, pushing Senate to consider sweeping farm bill

The massive farm bill that helps determine what farmers grow and Americans eat is poised to get some major momentum thanks to a not-yet-legal crop: Hemp.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Latest Western Water examines how California strives to protect water amid a ‘green rush’ of legal cannabis

Western Water writer Gary Pitzer explored how California water regulators are trying to address the impacts on water quality and supply from this newly regulated industry, how federal officials are approaching it and what other states that have legalized marijuana have done. And he addressed the question that remains on many minds: Will growers that have operated in the shadows for years accept the new regulations or shrug them off as too burdensome.

Aquafornia news Herald and News, Klamath Falls

Bureau of Reclamation: Leak ’standard,’ but ‘unfortunate’

Bureau of Reclamation officials are calling a water leak from the A canal headgates a standard operational incident, although an unfortunate one, in regards to water delivery to Klamath Reclamation Project irrigators.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Strawberry season is upon us, but it’s not a good one

There’s a consensus — this year’s crop of strawberries is among the worst seen in 20 years. … They’re late because of Mother Nature. 

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Bees find safety in numbers in San Mateo County

Honey bees are becoming a popular backyard hobby for San Mateo residents. … They also could be helping California’s agriculture, with “more than 1.5 million Honey bee colonies required to pollinate over 850,000 acres of California almonds,” according to the E.L. Niño Bee Lab at UC Davis.