Topic List: 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 Los Angeles Times

Recycled oil field wastewater is clean, Chevron test results show

Results of the most recent testing of recycled oil field wastewater that Chevron sells to Kern County farmers for irrigation showed no traces of methylene chloride, an industrial solvent that had appeared in previous testing conducted by a clean water advocacy group.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Agriculture irrigation transforming farming

Madera County farmer Tom Rogers thought he knew a lot about how to irrigate his family’s 175-acre almond ranch. But several droughts, including the current four-year dry spell, made him reconsider his approach on how to get the most out of his ever-shrinking water supply.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin farmers agree not to pump water out of creek to help endangered fish

Farmers, government regulators and elected officials gathered at Star Route Farms outside Bolinas Tuesday to commemorate the auspicious development. Star Route Farms, Paradise Valley Farms and Martinelli Family Ranch have all given up their “riparian” rights to use the creek for irrigation in the dry season from July 1 to December 15.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Setback for Tracy-area farmers

Longtime farmers hoping to block state-imposed cuts suffered a defeat Tuesday after a San Joaquin County Superior Court judge said the case must be heard in another county, potentially leaving those farmers without a legal water supply. But in a new twist, attorneys for the farmers now are questioning whether the cuts actually are required in the first place. 

Aquafornia news National Geographic ScienceBlogs

Blog: The California drought — Almonds and the bigger picture

Significant figures by Peter Gleick —In a climate where rainfall is so variable from one year to the next, it makes little sense to talk about what is “normal” but California farmers know to expect that some years will very dry and that sometimes there will be a string of dry years back-to-back.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Supreme Court decision on federal raisin rules likely to reshape industry

The Supreme Court has pruned a long-running federal raisin supply management program and called its future into question, with a ruling that the government must pay for raisins kept out of the marketplace.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Supreme Court sides with Fresno farmer in raisin dispute

The Supreme Court has ruled for a California raisin grower and declared it was unconstitutional for a government-backed agricultural board to claim control of about one-third of his crop.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Sacramento River flow decreased to save cold water for fish

State and federal fish and water managers are trying to find a way to avoid a massive die-off of young fish in the Sacramento River. … The changes in river flow might further impact the amount of water that Sacramento River Settlement Contractors are able to draw from the river for farms.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought devastates cherry crop, puts some growers out of business

Dave Shields started the engine of his tractor on a recent weekday and began toppling the hundreds of drought-stricken cherry trees he and his wife planted 15 years ago in this north Los Angeles County foothills community.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Amid drought, more water for farmers

Eastside farmers will receive more water than expected next month from already depleted New Hogan Lake, even though not everyone wants that water.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

California cuts farmers’ share of scant water

Only once before in the state’s history have the most senior water rights been curtailed. But now, with the drought persisting into a fourth year, state officials say that more reductions for so-called senior water rights holders are nearly certain, and the need for additional cuts will be evaluated weekly.

International Groundwater Conference
Karen Ross, Gordon Burns among the more than 150 speakers at #AgGroundwater conference linking science and policy in San Francisco

Organized by the Water Education Foundation and the UC Davis Robert M. Hagan Endowed Chair, Toward Sustainable Groundwater in Agriculture: 2nd International Conference Linking Science and Policy provided scientists, policymakers, agricultural and environmental stakeholders, government officials and consultants with the latest scientific, management, legal and policy advances for sustaining our groundwater resources in agricultural regions around the world.

Check out the UC Davis website for more information and a program for the 2016 conference. You can also read the abstracts here. On Twitter, check the hashtag #AgGroundwater for tweets about the conference.

Groundwater is the lifeline for many rural and agricultural regions and their associated cultures and populations around the globe and a cornerstone of global food production. Groundwater constitutes nearly half the world’s drinking water and much of the world’s irrigation water supply.

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport
1333 Bayshore Hwy
Burlingame, CA 94010
Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Trying to cultivate respect for water regulations among pot growers

The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board is poised to adopt a program that would require all marijuana cultivators to register, pay a fee, follow strict environmental guidelines and seek appropriate permits from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California rice farmers find Japanese trade negotiators a bit starchy

Yet even as California farmers eye what could be a lucrative expansion into the world’s most discriminating rice market in Japan, their ambitions have been complicated by the state’s severe drought and the surge in the dollar.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California’s rice crop predicted to be 30 percent below normal (with audio)

California’s drought is contributing to a sharp drop in rice production, about 30 pecent below normal. This raises concerns for both the ecnoomy and wildlife that call the shallow flooded fields home.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

More water may flow for some

The Stockton East Water District might send more water to farmers than originally expected next month, despite the fact that the reservoir on which the district relies has dwindled to 18 percent of capacity.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Late storms mean more irrigation water for some Central Valley farmers (with audio)

Late spring storms in the last couple of months have improved the irrigation prospects for some farmers in the Central Valley.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Modesto-area dairy farmer learns from San Francisco guitar-maker

The three-part series, “Acres & Avenues,” will feature three pairs of farmers and urban business people from around the nation who share ideas on sustainability, entrepreneurship and wellness.

Aquafornia news NPR

California’s war over water has farmer fighting farmer (with audio)

Most of the Delta’s small, family farms trace back to the Gold Rush, when the wetlands were dammed and levies were built to grow food to feed the miners. It was only later that the federal government began pumping water from here, through canals, to farms in more arid areas hundreds of miles to the south.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

New growing technique relieves drought stricken avocado farmers (with audio)

Farmers are being widely criticized during the California drought because agriculture uses the majority of the state’s water. But some farmers are cutting back by employing new techniques. A recent study used half as much water to yield twice as much fruit.

Aquafornia news NPR

Drought may cost California’s farmers almost $3 billion in 2015

California’s drought isn’t just turning green lawns brown or #droughtshaming into a trending topic. It’s taking a multi-billion dollar toll on the state’s agricultural industry as well.

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences California WaterBlog

Blog: Harsher drought impacts forecast for California agriculture

The drought is expected to be worse for California’s agricultural economy this year because of reduced water availability, according to our preliminary estimates released today. The study, summarized below, estimates farmers will have 2.7 million acre-feet less surface water than they would in a normal water year — about a 33 percent loss of water supply, on average.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Drought cost: $2.7 billion to California economy, says UC Davis

The drought is expected to cost California’s agricultural economy $1.8 billion this year, about four percent of California’s $45 billion agricultural economy, according to a new economic analysis by researchers at the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California farmers brace for more water cuts

In a potentially significant setback for a system already stressed by epic drought, California regulators have ordered a temporary curb in the flows being released from Lake Shasta in order to protect an endangered species of salmon.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Study: California farmers to fallow 560,000 acres of crops this year

California farmers will fallow hundreds of thousands of acres and employ fewer workers in 2015, but the drought will not cripple the state’s agricultural industry, UC Davis researchers said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Editorial: Lack of water starts to take economic toll

Most of the state has no idea the drought isn’t just an inconvenience about brown lawns. In farm country, it’s actually an economic catastrophe for many.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: California agriculture — It’s worth the water

Pundits here in drought-stricken California have become fond of proclaiming that farms consume 80% of the state’s water and generate only about 2% of its gross domestic product.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego County Water Authority/MWD lawsuit penalty ruling near

The decades-long struggle between two water giants – one serving San Diego County and the other serving most of Southern California – is about to reach a critical milestone.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Water shortages mean less rice planted this year

If this had been a normal year, it would have been a perfect season for planting rice — clear skies, not much wind and plenty of time to do things right.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

In Central Coast cattle region, drought continues to shrink the herds

From the front porch of the ranch house where Daniel Sinton grew up, the toll of drought is all too plain to see.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

State losing market share as water shortage cuts rice planting

With California farmers not planting as much rice due to water restrictions, Southern rice-growing states are jumping in to fill the gap by expanding their production and taking some of the Golden State’s markets in the process.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California, farmers reach water deal, but enforcement a challenge

When California officials struck an unprecedented conservation deal Friday with a group of farmers who have the strongest claims on the state’s dwindling water supply, it showed no one was immune from the fallout of the drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Water agency approves farmers’ voluntary water reduction plan

In a move reflecting the growing severity of California’s drought, state water regulators have accepted a historic proposal by Delta region farmers to voluntarily cut water usage by 25%, or, alternatively, to allow a quarter of their fields to lay idle.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California farm economy surprisingly resilient amid drought

The land is bare, except for a few weeds, and the ground is cracked. For the second year in a row, Dan Errotabere is fallowing one third of his ranch: 1,700 acres of California farmland that might have grown tomatoes, garlic, onions and garbanzo beans.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Your contribution to the California drought (interactive graphic)

California farmers produce more than a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. To do that, they use nearly 80 percent of all the water consumed in the state.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.”