Ag Today January 24, 2019

When almond trees have to go, it’s not as bad as it looks [Bakersfield Californian]

…The tree removals are entirely routine, especially in the almond capital of Kern County. But what’s not as well-established is what to do with the downed trees….Until a few years ago, many dead almond trees were sent to nearby biomass power plants and co-generation plants that burned them to create energy for use in local oil production….Many farmers now grind up the trees instead of burning them….Increasingly, though, ground-up trees are recycled back into an almond orchard’s soil.


Former SBC Farm Bureau president expects tough growing season for romaine [Hollister BenitoLink]

The recent E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce is now over, and while San Benito County lettuce farmers were deemed safe, they could face challenges during the next growing season….According to grower and former San Benito County Farm Bureau president Richard Bianchi, the crop may not do as well in the coming season….“We’re getting reports some of these lettuce companies are changing their salad blends, staying away from anything that has the word ‘romaine’ in it,” Bianchi said.


Big South County family-owned farm operation to close, but popular ‘Pumpkin Park’ event survives [Bay Area News Group]

Blaming market conditions, one of Santa Clara County’s largest family-owned farm operations is going out of business, though its most popular attraction — the fall Pumpkin Patch festival — will continue to offer the usual hayrides as well a chance to blast apart the orange orbs with an air gun. About 50 full-time employees and 250 seasonal workers will lose their jobs as family-owned Uesugi Farms winds down operations in more than 5,000 acres in California, Arizona and Mexico, where it grows cabbage, corn, pumpkins and peppers….A source familiar with the operation said the costs of renting the land, buying fuel, pumping water and paying field hands had eaten up profits to the point where it was no longer feasible to continue.


Marysville native, water expert tapped for U.S. Bureau of Reclamation [Marysville Appeal-Democrat]

Marysville native Ernest Conant recently stepped into a new position this week as the mid-Pacific regional director of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation where he will help manage one of the nation’s largest water projects, the Central Valley Project….Conant has spent nearly 40 years working in water law….Conant was born in Marysville and is the brother of Sutter County Supervisor Mat Conant. His family has been farming in California for six generations.


Association maintains prune price amidst reduction in production [Marysville Appeal-Democrat]

The Prune Bargaining Association recently set a price recommendation for the 2018 crop that is consistent with the previous year’s prices, despite a 23 percent reduction in crop production and various market challenges. Directors of the association voted to maintain the same price, which will help guide both growers and packers on what they can generally expect in returns for the crop….The industry faces serious challenges from international markets as well as from countries selling the product cheaper and at a lower quality, like Chile and Argentina.


Opinion: California can forge a solution to immigration policy and support its economic interests [CALmatters]

Have we had enough of the Washington gridlock on immigration issues? When our elected federal leaders find themselves incapable of fixing a decades-old problem, California not only has the right, but the obligation to act in its own interests. Virtually all Americans agree that our immigration system is broken. If Washington won’t fix it, California must act. We can begin by accepting the recommendation of a 2002 Little Hoover Commission report, as relevant today as it was back then, to establish a state residency program for immigrants who demonstrate a commitment to becoming responsible members of our communities.