Carrot production is a major crop in many other areas of California such as the Central Coast, Salinas Valley, Imperial Valley, Cuyama Valley, and recently the Antelope Valley. But the Southern San Joaquin Valley has perhaps become the hotbed of carrot production.

With the major processors headquartered in Kern County, carrots are processed year round in several carrot packing and processing facilities in the county. Carrot production in California has grown so large in the past several years that over 75 percent of the total production for the United States is coming from California.

The change to a healthier life style by Americans and the popularity of baby cut carrots has been perhaps the primary reasons in the increased demand of carrots. The reason why carrots has become essentially a California commodity is that it is possible to grow carrots year round in the state and the abundant areas with sandy loam soils that quality carrots require.

Through the California Fresh Carrot Advisory Board, the California carrot industry has been leading the way in sponsoring carrot research. University of California scientists have worked on important issues facing the carrot industry such as disease management, reduction of fumigant emissions, nematode control, weed control, variety evaluations, and various other projects.

During Feb. 10-13, visitors from near and far will gather in Bakersfield for the 29th International Carrot Conference. Here, university and government scientists, private breeders, production people, and other industry leaders will gather to listen to the latest information concerning carrot production.

Sessions will include nematology, plant pathology, breeding and cultivar evaluations, soil microbiology, carrot production, and environmental issues. Other events planned include a banquet with a keynote speaker, field tours, and day at the World Ag Expo in Tulare.

To register for the event call (661) 868-6200 for a registration form or download one from www.vric.ucdavis.edu/carrot.