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.

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:

California cherry farmers saw improved yields in 2015
Central Valley crop values declined in 2015

The numbers continue to decline among California’s 10-leading agricultural producing counties as Merced and San Joaquin crop reports are now official.

Both counties are pretty much in the middle of the pack in terms of gross dollar value, and like the other San Joaquin Valley counties, each were down more than 10 percent in total value.

Of the large agricultural producing counties in the state, only Monterey County showed an increase in 2015 to a record high.

Merced County

Farm Service Agency offers assistance to farmers impacted by fire
2014 Farm Bill still offers safety net opportunities

The ravages of drought and wildfire over the past couple years in California should be mitigated somewhat by help available through the 2014 Farm Bill.

Val Dolcini, administrator of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) toured fire- and drought-damaged locations in California as part of a federal effort to ensure farmers have adequate risk management tools at their disposal.

Shasta Lake filled to near-capacity in early 2016
California water supply starts year below average
Storage in the six California reservoirs that hold federal Central Valley Project (CVP) water is less than half of its 11.8 million acre-foot capacity to start the new water year.
Stanislaus County leads the state of California in apricot production
Kings, Stanislaus reflect 'drag' in California crop values
Agricultural values are shrinking significantly across California’s billion-dollar plus farm counties, according to the latest round of county crop reports released early this fall.
California remains under severe drought
Forecasters mixed on West's winter weather
AccuWeather’s long-range forecaster, Paul Pastelok, thinks December could pack in the snow in northern California before high pressure returns and makes its impenetrable goal-line stance on storms trying to move into the Pacific Northwest and California.
Century-old barn becomes iconic Salinas Valley mural
Century-old barn an icon to Salinas Valley agriculture
Mark Pisoni of Pisoni Farms and Pisoni Vineyards says the old family barn likely dates back to about 1900. Millions of cars daily pass the old structure that earlier this year received an artistic facelift, thanks to local mural artist John Cerney.
Pistachio crop could be record in 2016
Will records fall in California tree nuts this season? 2
For growers of almonds, pistachios and walnuts the word is all three are in record-high territory this season. Meanwhile, California’s other large permanent crop – grapes – could fall short of earlier record crushes, though wine grape growers are optimistic about quality.
Mandarins are a $1.6 million industry in northern California's Placer County
Asian citrus psyllids found in Placer County, Calif.
A call to a state tip line drew confirmation of the first-ever find of Asian citrus psyllids in the northern California community of Lincoln.
Weedy red rice, a problematic weed in the South, has appeared in California rice
Weedy red rice reappears in California
Weedy red rice, a considerable problem for rice growers in the South, is said to be in at least six fields in the northern California counties of Glenn and Butte.
California Navel orange production should be close to last year
California Navel orange survey says 84 million boxes
California’s 2016-17 Navel orange estimate is projected to be 84 million cartons, down from the previous year’s actual utilization of 88 million cartons. According to survey data released earlier this week, Kern County growers have a higher average fruit set per tree at 472. Tulare’s fruit set averages 380 while in Fresno the average set is 296. This was based on a sample of 537 groves, the highest number of groves sampled since the 2012-13 season.
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