While the booklet is a wealth of information the chapter that gets the most

Thinking back to 2009 at this time brought up the old saying, “What a difference a day makes.” In this case it’s what a difference a year makes when you have water — perhaps not as much as you need, but a lot more than 2009. Unfortunately, not all areas of California got the rainfall and/or snowmelt that was needed and the Klamath Basin took another hit.

The difference a year made in areas of the state where rainfall and snowmelt broke the drought came to mind as we put together materials for an environmental group that was invited for a two-day meeting held by the California Farm Bureau.

As mentioned last month the enviros who were invited to the program this October took their pot shots at alfalfa at a meeting late last year, and this year alfalfa was part of the October meeting.

A year ago, the third year of drought, alfalfa took a beating from a variety of sources, including government personnel who seemed to have a grudge. The latter were especially annoying since it appeared that they got their talking points from enviros who are usually clueless.

This year it’s nice not to have an onslaught of environmental groups that believe they have solutions for solving water needs, which generally boils down to driving out agriculture. As mentioned before in this column, CAFA’s 24-page booklet Alfalfa, Wildlife and the Environment is a comprehensive response to those who want alfalfa acreage to shrink or disappear.

While the booklet is a wealth of information the chapter that gets the most attention is “The Water Story.” No surprise since alfalfa is a major user of water and the state’s highest acreage crop. Since we hadn’t looked at “The Water Story” for more than six months we recently revisited it.

One statement that stood out followed a subhead titled “Water Use Efficiency.” The first sentence said: The total amount of water applied to a crop tells only part of the story. The next sentence hit the high note in the paragraph: The ability of the crop to use water to produce yield is more important than its total water use. There are many factors cited in the chapter and they’ve been useful in rebutting attacks on water use.

Hopefully, it will be a good winter for the Klamath Basin this year and the entire state. If not, we’ll see more attacks aimed at shutting down irrigation water once again.

Symposium around the corner

The 40th annual symposium is just around the corner and if you haven’t checked it out yet details are available online at www.alfalfa.edu.com. It’s the website of the UC Alfalfa Workgroup, which organizes the symposium along with the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Cooperative Extension.

The symposium is being held in Visalia at the Convention Center and opens on Dec. 1 and closes the next afternoon. As always, there is a wide variety of topics and this year’s focus is on current information on corn and cereal silage.

CAFA will have its annual breakfast meeting the morning of Dec. 2 and hay market analyst Seth Hoyt will be the guest speaker. The breakfast meeting is open to CAFA members and non-members and tickets will be available at the CAFA booth.