Todd Fitchette

Associate Editor,
Western Farm Press

Todd Fitchette, associate editor with Western Farm Press, spent much of his journalism career covering agriculture in California and the western United States. Aside from reporting about issues related to farm production, environmental regulations and legislative matters, he has extensive experience covering the dairy industry, western water issues and politics. His journalistic experience includes local daily and weekly newspapers, where he was recognized early in his career as an award-winning news photographer.

Fitchette is US Army veteran and a graduate of California State University, Chico. He resides in Tulare, Calif.

San Luis Reservoir lingers below half-full
DWR: 20 percent water allocation to 29 contractors
The initial allocation is the first announcement each year to the 29 water agencies served by the SWP of what they can expect as the water year moves along. The 29 public water agencies that receive SWP water collectively requested 4,172,786 acre-feet of water for 2017. Under today’s initial allocation they would receive less than 850,000 acre feet based on current water conditions.
Mendocino County wine grapes
Organic wine grapes profitable on North Coast?

A detailed report from the University of California explores wine grape plantings in Mendocino County, Calif. (North Coast) using National Organic Program and Demeter Biodynamic standards.

Written by Mendocino and Lake County Farm Advisor Glenn McGourty, Daniel Sumner, director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center, and, staff research associates Christine Gutierrez and Donald Stewart, the report looks at cost structures and cultural practices necessary for the non-conventional farming practices.

UC irrigation and water management specialists Khaled Bali and Daniele Zaccaria
Drought remains normal part of California landscape

Though by most estimates California appears to be ebbing away from drought conditions, some say it will take more time to recover.

According to the California Department of Water Resources, 420 percent of normal rainfall fell in October across the Northern Sierra Nevada between Blue Canyon and Mt. Shasta City

That was followed by half the normal rainfall across the region the following month.

The Rat Pack Group entertains at California Citrus Mutual meeting
"The Rat Pack" helps CCM celebrate 39 years
California Citrus Mutual celebrated 39 years as "the voice of the citrus grower" by hosting an annual meeting complete with members of "The Rat Pack." The annual gathering of the citrus trade association typically features dinner, evening entertainment, and introduction of the board of directors.
Alireza Pourreza, agricultural engineering advisor with the UCCE
Researchers patent early Huanglongbing detection
Current methods of detection require visible symptoms to appear. These include a mottled yellowing of leaves – symptoms that can also be evident of nutrient deficiencies in the tree. Confirmation of the disease requires testing commonly knowns as a PCR test. “We discovered we could see the symptoms of Huanglongbing using a camera, a set of cross-polarizers and narrow band lighting before it is visible to the human eye,” Pourreza said.
Roland Fumasi and Vernon Crowder of Rabobank
Report: California farmland values may slide more in '17
According to the report, agricultural land values in California’s Central Valley peaked in 2015 before falling off significantly. Indications suggest that by the end of 2017 prices could fall back to 2013/2014 levels before possibly rising again.
Matt Daugherty, University of California, Riverside
Vine removal key to effective disease control
Pierce’s disease can be found in all of the state’s grape-growing regions, though Daugherty admits that the fatal disease isn’t always a death sentence. That’s part of what researchers are trying to better understand. This much they do know: common symptoms of the disease include progressive leaf scorch, defoliation, “matchstick” petioles, raisined grape clusters and vine dieback.
California rice harvest delayed by rain
Fall rains conclude California rice harvest

After a couple dismal years of water availability, California’s rice harvest is on track for “normal.”

Last year, California rice growers harvested rice from about 75 percent of the land typically used for growing rice. In raw numbers that was about 421,000 out of a typical 550,000 acres of the crop.

This year’s figure, pegged at 545,000 acres by the California Rice Commission, is down slightly from the estimated 564,000 acres the U.S. Department of Agriculture says growers planted this year.

Asian citrus psyllids on small citrus tree in Dinuba, Calif.
Fresno implements countywide ACP quarantine

Fresno County, Calif. becomes the second in the San Joaquin Valley to implement a countywide quarantine for the Asian citrus psyllid after a series of ACP finds in the past year in various locations.

Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner Les Wright says the decision made by his office came after conversations with commercial citrus industry representatives over the need to expand the quarantine.

14.5 million almond trees planted in California within past year
Almond nurseries produce record tree numbers 1

Nursery sales of almonds in California have never been higher, according to official figures.

According to the 2016 California Almond Nursery Sales Report, at least 14.51 million almond trees, enough to cover about 108,000 acres based on common density practices, were sold in California between June, 2015 and May, 2016. Nine of the 10 commercial nurseries surveyed for this year’s report returned their questionnaires.

Rajan Gajaria, global leader for Dow AgroSciences in Latin and North America
Growing the conversation through 'AgVocacy'

The truth about American farmers feeding the world may not resonate as well with consumers as growers and producers might like; that is why there is a movement among some of the larger agricultural companies to personalize agriculture’s story.

Pest control advisors at the 42nd annual meeting of the California Association of Pest Control Advisors (CAPCA) in Anaheim, Calif. were encouraged to help make that story more personal as they advise growers and have occasion to talk with the public about what they do.

Pesticide use near schools targeted by California regulators
DPR extends comment period on pesticide proposal

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) extended the public comment period for changes in how pesticides and when pesticides are applied near schools and daycare facilities.

The new deadline of Dec. 9, gives the public more opportunity to weigh in on the issue.

In addition to the extension, DPR added an additional public hearing for in Monterey County.  Public hearings have already been scheduled for Ventura and Tulare Counties.

The 2014 Farm Bill will fund $22 million in block grants in California
California to dole out $22 million for specialty crops

The California Department of Food and Agriculture will make more than $22 million in block grants for specialty crops available, thanks to a program funded through the 2014 Farm Bill.

Ariz., Calif. cotton growers have good year, '17 optimism

Traversing 500 miles by car over three consecutive days in early October in Arizona allowed Western Farm Press to gain the pulse of Arizona cotton growers on their 2016 crop status and acreage intentions for next year.

Good news about China’s shrinking cotton inventories and new cotton technology has some cotton growers in an upbeat mood. Grower interviews suggest their 2017 cotton acreage could increase from 20 to 25 percent. Helping push the increase could be growers switching from alfalfa to cotton since alfalfa prices are low.

California raisin deliveries increase over same time last year
California raisin deliveries up compared to last year

The California-based Raisin Administrative Committee announced the following deliveries to handlers for the period Oct. 2-8:

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