Cary Blake

Associate Editor,
Western Farm Press

Cary Blake, associate editor with Western Farm Press, has 32 years experience as an agricultural journalist. Blake covered Midwest agriculture for 25 years on a statewide farm radio network and through television stories that blanketed the nation.
Blake travelled West in 2003. Today he reports on production agriculture in Arizona and California. He also covers New Mexico and West Texas agriculture for Southwest Farm Press.
Blake is a native Mississippian, graduate of Mississippi State University, and a former Christmas tree grower.

USDA awards $20 million in grants for HLB research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded $20.1 million in grants to university researchers for research and Extension projects to help citrus producers fight the disease Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening disease.

The grants include almost $4 million to the University of California, Riverside, Calif. The funding will study virulence proteins from the pathogen to detect its presence before symptoms appear and to develop strategies for creating citrus rootstocks that are immune to HLB.

Sunny weather to welcome crowds to World Ag Expo

At 9 a.m. this Tuesday morning (Feb. 9), the gates to World Ag Expo - the world’s largest annual exposition - will open to welcome a potential crowd of 100,000 attendees over the farm show’s three-day run at the International Agri-Center (IAC) in Tulare, Calif.

While it appears Mother Nature will put smiles on the faces of exhibitors and attendees with sunny to partly cloudy skies in the forecast, it still might be a good idea to throw a poncho and boots in the truck, as attendees at previous farm shows can attest.

Completed ballots due to Almond Board by Feb. 11

Independent almond growers are currently voting to elect four individuals to the Almond Board of California (ABC) board of directors.

Ballots must be returned to the ABC by Feb. 11. Those elected will serve as ABC directors for terms beginning this March 1.

Growers will select two independent grower member and alternate positions, and one independent handler member and alternate positions.

Candidates for the independent grower positions include:

Water supply top 2016 issue for California Fresh Fruit Association
The CFFA advocates for its members which includes growers, shippers, marketers, and associate members.
Unified Wine & Grape Symposium a smashing success
2016 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium draws 14,000 wine industry people from across the globe.
Drought-tolerant sorghum solid option as livestock forage 1

Grain sorghum is a multi-purpose crop which, perhaps similar to the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield, has never received the respect and deserved accolades in California until now.

Sorghum is gaining more attention in the Golden State as a multi-purpose, low-input forage crop option for growers. Its primary use is for livestock feed, primarily in dairy cow rations, but also for beef, poultry, and the pet food market.

2016 World Ag Expo around the corner in California’s backyard

As farm show veterans can attest, one of the oldest questions about the annual World Ag Expo, held in Tulare, Calif. each February, is will it rain? With the current El Niño weather pattern, it just might be a good year to pack the boots and a poncho just in case.

New board leaders at California Association of Winegrape Growers

The California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) has five new officers and three new members in board of directors. The new board took effect Dec. 1, 2015.

The following elected members were officers: Chair Aaron Lange, LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards; Vice-Chairs Bill Berryhill of Berryhill Family Vineyards and BB Vineyards, and Brad Goehring of Goehring Vineyards; Secretary Mike Testa of Coastal Vineyard Care Associates; and Treasurer Ryan Metzler of Fruita del Soler.

Pocket gophers – No. 1 enemy in subsurface drip irrigation in western alfalfa 1

The war underway in agriculture continues and its strategic battlefield is located underground.

The continued farming skirmish pits western alfalfa growers – who want to upgrade from traditional surface irrigation systems to more water efficient subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) systems - against vertebrate pests, mainly pocket gophers, which chew up underground SDI drip tape.

While the stakes are high and producers have an upper hand, gophers remain the No. 1 enemy.  

California cotton ginner Ron Nimmo passes away 2

California cotton’s Ron Nimmo, manager of the Pacific Ginning Co. Gin in Firebaugh, passed away Dec. 26 after a long battle with cancer.

Nimmo served as a board member and chairman of the California Cotton Ginners Association (CCGA). 

He began his career with Producer’s Cotton Oil and later became a night ginner at Pleasant Valley Gin at Coalinga. He moved to Tranquillity under Jack Lyons, also as the night ginner. He was promoted to day ginner at Mesa Gin, and then moved to Westhaven Gin. 

Christmas miracle: SJV citrus dodges freeze damage

Weather reports called for a hard freeze throughout California’s San Joaquin Valley (SJV) on Christmas night. Fortunately for valley citrus growers, cold temperatures failed to drop below critical lows.  

Weather stations reported temperatures hovered in the low 30s and upper 20s in some areas, which most citrus varieties can withstand with protection by water and wind machines. More importantly, durations at these low temperatures were very short.  

Some areas of Kern County report low temperatures in the 40s, far from the forecasted hard freeze.

12 California counties primary natural disaster areas

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Dec. 23 designated 12 counties in California as primary natural disaster areas, tied to damages and losses caused by a drought from Jan. 2 of this year to the present.

The counties include Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Marin, San Benito, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Sonoma, Trinity, Tulare, and Ventura.

Santa, reindeer gain approval to enter state boundaries

Great news - Santa and his seven-member reindeer team can legally enter the State of California on the evening of Dec. 24 and the early morning hours the next day under a special 24-hour permit.

California State Veterinarian Annette Jones granted the permit which cleared all brand inspection and health requirements for nine reindeer to visit the Golden State. Brand inspections and health requirements help veterinarians prevent the spread of animal disease. 

Snapshots - Western Alfalfa & Forage Symposium

<ore than 700 devout alfalfa and forage enthusiasts gathered for the 2015 Western Alfalfa and Forage Symposium in December in Reno, Nev. to hear the latest news and forecasts for their industry.

Western hay market specialist Seth Hoyt, editor of The Hoyt Report newsletter, predicted that western alfalfa growers in the current downturn market will have better opportunities to make higher income in higher quality hays, rather than dry cow hay due to higher inventories.

Enjoy these photos from the event, courtesy of Western Farm Press. 


Best 2016 alfalfa grower prices in higher-quality hay

Respected California market specialist Seth Hoyt doesn’t scratch his head much. Yet with the many complicated issues facing the western alfalfa industry, he and others are uncertain over where hay prices will head in 2016.

“The outlook for (2016) alfalfa hay prices is the hardest to predict in the 45 years I’ve been associated with the (western) alfalfa industry,” says Hoyt, editor of The Hoyt Report newsletter.

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