The phrase “Don’t Mess with Texas” suggests leaving the good things associated with the Lone Star State alone.
The same could be said in the low desert farming regions in Arizona and California where Colorado River surface water irrigated in vegetable fields allows growers to produce about 95 percent of the nation’s supply of winter veggies.
Like their Texas counterparts, desert vegetable growers have a good thing going with senior water rights on the Colorado River. They know it and aim to protect it....More
Dateline – Captain Hook, Big Island, Hawaii: With his seat belt and shoulder harness snug across his waist and shoulder, Larry Nixon shifted the Chevrolet truck into four-wheel drive for the steep uphill climb up the hill of lava rock to check on his hard-working field crew in the macadamia tree orchard picking up nuts off the ground.
Nixon complimented the workers on their work while checking on the harvest progress on the 4,000-acre MacFarms of Hawaii, located in the Kona district on the southeast side of the Big Island.
Shopping in Orchard Supply Hardware recently, I could only shake my head when I spotted a new display. Where the store prominently features seasonal specials, there was a line of barrels…not planter barrels, but water barrels for collecting rainwater and runoff from rooftops.
Checked my calendar to reassure myself it was not 1886. It’s 2016. Californians collected water in barrels 130 years ago....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 moist weather pattern in early January which affected Arizona and Yuma County in particular has provided the environmental conditions needed for downy mildew development on winter-grown vegetable crops susceptible to this plant disease.
Rainfall in the vegetable production regions of Yuma County, plus the associated high relative humidity, provided ideal conditions for the rapid development of downy mildew.
Major vegetable crops in Yuma susceptible to downy mildew include lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and onions....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
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
Arizona voters clearly understand the relationship between water, food, and the farm and ranch families who produce it, according to a recent poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies.
The poll results were released at the Arizona Agricultural Water Summit held Sept. 17 in Glendale.
The survey of likely Arizona voters provides a glimpse on how they think Arizona’s farm and ranch families are doing at conserving and managing water, and how voters might prioritize solutions today....More