Ag Today February 22, 2019

Opinion: Analysis says to end Valley’s groundwater overdraft, farmland must be retired [Fresno Bee]

Our new research includes a detailed analysis of a wide range of options to address this deficit. Although ending overdraft will bring long-term benefits, it entails near-term costs. We find that only about a quarter of the Valley’s groundwater deficit can be filled with new supplies at prices farmers can afford. The rest must come from managing demand. We estimate that ending the overdraft will require taking at least 500,000 acres of irrigated cropland out of production.


Passionate comments open Napa Planning Commission’s watershed protection debate [Napa Valley Register]

People have conflicting opinions about proposed, stronger Napa County watershed and tree protections — the ideas are on target, too weak, a solution looking for a problem, a natural resources savior, an unnecessary burden on farmers. Caught in the middle Wednesday was the Napa County Planning Commission….That 70 percent tree canopy retention proposal is too little for some observers. The local Sierra Club requested 85 percent….Napa County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Klobas, on the other hand, said the 70 percent retention proposal is reasonable.


Central Valley water control board fines owners of two Shasta County marijuana grow sites [Sacramento Bee]

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board announced fines for three Northern California landowners Thursday over infractions at two unrelated Shasta County marijuana growing operations….Vang had been notified nearly two years ago by board inspectors of water quality problems at his site, including grading and constructing stream crossings and access roads without the necessary permits, which resulted in sediment discharges, according to the release….Vang also built a surface water diversion without a permit to irrigate his crops, according to the release.


California avocado production struggles to keep up [KCOY-TV, Santa Maria]

Avocado production through out California is taking a huge hit. Conditions have hurt crops and growers are feeling the burn of Mexican imports filling the void. Katherine Epperson of Parks Ranch in Goleta said years of drought followed by an unusually hot July destroyed her avocado crops….Katherine’s family has been cultivating avocado’s on their ranch since the 1970’s, and now they worry about the future of avocado farming here in California….But Cal Poly Fruit Crops Professor Lauren Garner thinks California Avocados still have a chance to survive.


‘Ugly produce’ trend may have limits, as grocers end tests [Associated Press]

Is the “ugly produce’” trend already reaching the end of its shelf life in supermarkets? Walmart and Whole Foods in recent years tried selling some blemished fruits and vegetables at a discount, produce they said might otherwise be trashed because it’s not quite the right size, shape or color. But the two chains and others quietly ended their tests, suggesting dented apples and undersized potatoes may not be all that appealing in stores where better looking fruits and vegetables are on display.


Farm Bureau program provides jackets to local FFA students [Santa Maria Times]

For hundreds of Santa Maria FFA members and more than 600,000 across the United States, the iconic blue corduroy jacket is more than the organization’s official dress….”When I see them at a competition and they have on their dress uniform, they’re standing taller [and] their faces are shining,” said Teri Bontrager, longtime executive director for the Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau….But for some students, particularly those enrolled in the federal free or reduced price lunch program, the cost of the iconic jacket may pose a financial burden on their family. Hoping to help offset the cost of participating in local FFA programs, Bontrager launched Blue Jacket Bonanza in 2010, a program that provides students a chance to earn their own blue jacket.