Ag Today June 18, 2021

Farm workers and the heat: ‘It isn’t easy work, it’s hard work’ [KSEE TV, Fresno]

… It’s something many may not think about in the hot temperatures, but workers are still out in the fields to ensure there are fruits and vegetables in grocery stores. … “It’s very important that people understand that people are out here braving these temperatures, doing this hard work. It isn’t easy work, it’s hard work,” said Joe Del Bosque, a farmer on the westside. … But with the hot temperatures, Del Bosque said they’ll sometimes ask them to go home early. … Because Friday could be even warmer, Del Bosque said they could cancel the day. He added that there are supervisors in the fields who are trained in heat stress prevention.


‘This could be devastating’: 6,600 Central Valley farmers notified of potential water cutoff [KCRA TV, Sacramento]

Around 6,600 farmers in the Central Valley — which encompasses Sacramento County to Kern County — may face potential disaster after being warned by the state of possible water cutoffs. The warning is more than just a cautionary notice for the agricultural community, as farmers say it could lead to catastrophe. … “If you have orchards or vineyards and you’re told to cut back your water, cut off your water, you’re essentially killing that orchard and that vineyard,” Bruce Blodgett, the executive director of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau said. … “Some people can make planning decisions if they get this notice in time, to not plant some crops, but for those that have permanent crops, this could be devastating,” Blodgett said.


‘There’s no water,’ says California farm manager forced to leave fields fallow [Reuters]

Salvador Parra, the manager of Burford Ranch in California’s Central Valley agricultural breadbasket, is worried about the lack of water. California’s worst drought since 1977 has forced Parra to leave fallow 2,000 of his 6,000 acres and dig deep for water to save the crops already planted. “There’s not very much being grown out there, just because there’s no water. There’s literally no water,” said Parra. … The cost of the drought will ultimately be borne by the consumer, Parra said. “Consumers should be worried about garlic and onions and other crops, because come this time next year, they’re going to be very scarce and the cost is going to be higher,” he said.


Editorial: Free money for Valley farm workers? In a drought, state leaders should back the idea [Fresno Bee]

… To cushion the economic blows of the drought on farm workers, state Sen. Melissa Hurtado, the Democrat from Sanger, is proposing to offer universal basic income to those who toil in California’s fields, orchards and dairies. … If growers don’t have enough water — which seems a certainty in this bone-dry year — they will probably choose to skip the planting or scale it back. If the farm land does not need to be worked, there will be no need for workers, either. Hurtado’s basic income proposal would at least cover some of the financial loss to the workers. And what is good for farm workers would ultimately be good for growers, and the Valley’s farm economy overall.


Almond shipments rise, lifting prices and growers’ spirits [Bakersfield Californian]

… Almond shipments in May set a new record for the month — 219 million pounds — and pushed the crop to a new 12-month record two full months before the end of the season, the Almond Board of California reported this week. Largely a result of rising demand overseas, the increase has been accompanied by somewhat higher prices. Taken together, the trends have lifted the spirits of an industry that has suffered through a series of tough years that have left prices well off their previous levels.


California is losing more forest land to wildfires than ever before. Here’s which parts of the state are hardest hit [San Francisco Chronicle]

California has an estimated 31.6 million acres of forest land, according to 2019 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But that figure has been shrinking year after year, and at a more rapid rate than before, experts say. The state lost nearly 800,000 acres in tree cover just in 2020, data shows. … California lost more total tree cover than any other state in 2020, as well as a larger percentage of its existing tree cover, largely because of a deadly fire season that burned more than 4.2 million acres statewide.


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