Although most farmers prefer farming to politics, they know that the political process affects them directly so they try to keep an eye on it. What they are detecting currently is a noticeable drift, particularly in California.
The current legislature has saddled farmers-employers with stringent new requirements in the way they treat and pay their employees which has made it more difficult, even perilous, to operate some farm enterprises. Record keeping and awareness, along with compliance deadlines, require constant attention....More
U.S. cotton farmers will increase their acres in 2016 despite the less-than-rosy forecast for cotton future prices, according to the National Cotton Council’s Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey.
The survey, released at the NCC’s annual meeting in Dallas, said producers intend to plant 9.1 million acres of cotton, up 6.2 percent from 2015’s 8.58 million acres. The latter were the lowest plantings since 1983....More
As yet another El Niño-spawned rain storm pelted the area where they were meeting, California grape growers received good and bad news as they gathered for a San Joaquin Valley Grape Symposium held in Easton.
First the good news - this El Niño is the real deal, “currently a strong El Niño,” said Jerald Meadows, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford....More
Grain sorghum is a multi-purpose crop which, perhaps similar to the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield, has never received the respect and deserved accolades in California until now.
Sorghum is gaining more attention in the Golden State as a multi-purpose, low-input forage crop option for growers. Its primary use is for livestock feed, primarily in dairy cow rations, but also for beef, poultry, and the pet food market....More
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced $3 million in grants to three universities to advance the use of co-robots in production agriculture....More
The Yuma agricultural community continues to look for opportunities to engage and educate stakeholders on the importance of staying up-to-date on water issues and the impact that management decisions can have on the farming industry.
The Yuma Agriculture Water Conference, slated for Jan. 13 in Yuma, Ariz., will bring together experts and leaders on the current issues regarding water rights and supply....More
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) conducted the winter’s first media-oriented manual snow survey on Dec. 30 and found higher-than-average water content for the statewide snowpack.
Officials said snowfall during the remainder of the winter will largely determine whether California’s drought will linger into a fifth year....More
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....More
One question no one asks is: Why haven’t those who vow to protect the Delta try buying the islands themselves? Apparently the Swiss company that owns the land has had them on the market for a few years....More
It is difficult to erase the image of a dehydrated man crumpled on the side of a dusty Arizona-Mexico border road near Nogales, Ariz. vomiting bile in the dirt. A compassionate Border Patrol agent stands over him, giving what aid he can and asks necessary questions of the physically distressed human being.
The illegal immigrant was crossing with a group of others trying to get to the U.S. to work. He fell ill and was left behind to be found by a good Samaritan or die.
An agent radios for an ambulance. It’s an hour away....More
It’s a good thing water is not a precious and rare resource in California; otherwise the foot-dragging by state and federal government officials could be considered malfeasance.
A California farmer I know is trying to build a project on his property that will take excessive storm flows from a nearby river and flood them across his property in an effort to recharge the aquifer and give flood control managers a place to put high flows during abnormally-wet winters.
Call it planning ahead....More
While the current drought-influenced thinking causes most of us to consider how water can be better stored, conserved and conveyed, one recent report emphasizes the importance of protecting, enhancing, and using the supply below ground.
First of all, it acknowledges that much of California’s groundwater has been depleted or widely degraded, and concludes that new regulations, some of them still emerging, are resulting in a historic shift in the way the state’s agriculture sector is helping manage and protect groundwater resources....More
Crops and people are suffering through yet another year of drought, begging for a break and looking for ways to get wet.
Although meteorologists anticipate El Niño conditions this fall and winter could be the strongest in half a century and could let loose some meaningful rain in California, that’s only a temporary condition - a Band-Aid fix to arid conditions impacting many western states. ...More
About 60 leaders from Arizona’s diverse farming industry huddled in September for the Arizona Agriculture Water Summit. The goal was to identify agricultural water issues across the Grand Canyon State and how the food and fiber industries should work together to protect its vital and threatened water supply.
Farmers, ranchers, and leaders representing various agricultural organizations in Arizona divided into groups to learn about water issues across commodity areas and regions in the state....More