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.

California cotton ginner Ron Nimmo passes away 3

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.

California almond industry to accelerate innovation, sustainability

A major new strategic effort designed to make the almond industry even more efficient and sustainable was announced Dec. 9 by the Almond Board of California (ABC).

Through the Accelerated Innovation Management (AIM) effort, the ABC will accelerate its investment in sustainability plus almond tree and farming research.

In addition, ABC will increase efforts to develop new partnerships and collaborations to drive four major initiatives to move the entire industry forward, says Richard Waycott, the ABC’s president and chief executive officer.

Transplants could shift some lettuce production from Huron, Calif. to low desert 1

The effects of the four-year drought continues to rock California’s bread-and-butter – the agricultural industry.  

Due to water troubles, the drought could force some late summer lettuce production to shift from the Huron area in Fresno County to the south in the winter desert vegetable production areas in southernmost Imperial County and neighboring Yuma County, Ariz.

Ruthann Anderson to assume CAPCA helm on Jan. 1

Ruthann Anderson will assume the helm as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the California Association of Pest Control Advisors (CAPCA) effective Jan. 1, 2016.

Anderson current serves as CAPCA’s director of development.

According to a statement, CAPCA’s Executive Committee believes Anderson is the right fit to move CAPCA forward based on her knowledge and experience.

Rogers ready to tap experience to lead American Farm Bureau 2

Arizona farmer Kevin Rogers spent the busy morning taking care of pigs with his young adult children.

By early afternoon, he donned a blue sports coat, pink shirt, green tie, and a Stetson cowboy hat for an interview to share his dream to become the next president of the nation’s largest farm organization – the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

UC ANR YouTube alfalfa video an ESA finalist

A University of California, Davis-produced YouTube video on alfalfa integrated pest management was judged a finalist in competition at the 2015 national Entomological Society of America annual meeting held in Minneapolis, Minn. in November.

The alfalfa IPM YouTube video is titled the “Identification of parasitized alfalfa caterpillars and armyworms,” which shows how to monitor alfalfa insect pests and natural enemies to help make informed management decisions on pest control in alfalfa production.

Gallery: Who's who at Western Plant Health Association annual meeting

Farm chemical company members of the Western Plant Health Association (WPHA) gathered in October for the association's 2015 annual meeting. A large focus of the WPHA meeting focused on finding common ground with consumers on the importance of crop protection productions for a healthy and safe food supply.

Enjoy these people photos from the WPHA event.



Anti-farming activists reason, protest to different drum 1

The western most state of Hawaii has more than its fair share of disgruntled activists who adamantly oppose and protest the use of genetic engineering (GMOs) in agriculture, pesticide use in farm fields, and in other businesses.

Gaining a better understanding of anti-agriculture activists and how to positively respond to their shenanigans was the theme of discussion during the 2015 Western Plant Health Association (WPHA) annual meeting held on the island of Maui, Hawaii in October.

FMSA final produce rule draws pro-con reactions

The Food and Drug Administration on Nov. 13 released its much-anticipated final rule detailing preventive standards for farms which grow, harvest, pack, or hold covered produce for human consumption.

The new rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register around Nov. 27.  

The rule, authorized under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), comes after significant public outreach and two rounds of public comments on certain key provisions, and follows the recent publication of the final rule governing food facilities.

Agriculture a BUSY place in winter vegetable country

On October 28, I hit the road in the Phoenix area for a drive through through winter vegetable country in Yuma County on my way to Imperial, Calif. for the Western Farm Press-sponsored Fall Desert Crops Workshop scheduled the next day.

I left early for the trip to travel through the winter vegetable production areas in Arizona's Mohawk and Wellton Valleys in Yuma County to see the fields, plants, machinery, and busyness of this major winter veggie growing area.

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