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Ag Today May 26, 2021

Denied property insurance, Napa Valley wineries 'extremely vulnerable' this fire season [Napa Valley Register] … As many as 100 of Sonoma County Farm Bureau's 400 members have been handed non-renewals, Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore said at Monday's meeting; the situation is similar in Napa County, Napa County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Klobas said. At Castello di Amorosa on Monday, more than a dozen Napa County Farm Bureau members and a handful of Sonoma County Farm Bureau members gathered in the hopes of speaking directly with Lara and addressing the question of insurance ahead of this year's imminent wildfire season in the...

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Ag Today May 25, 2021

As drought intensifies, California seeing more wildfires [Associated Press] As California sinks deeper into drought it already has had more than 900 additional wildfires than at this point in 2020, which was a record-breaking year that saw more than 4% of the state’s land scorched by flames. … This year’s fires so far have burned nearly five times as much acreage as they did last year at this time. … Last year’s epic fire season lasted so long that it slowed Cal Fire’s attempts to set its own fires — the prescribed burns that they want to make an increasing part of...

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Ag Today May 24, 2021

Facing a drought, California’s farmers make hard choices [Bay Area News Group] … With no guarantee of irrigation water this summer, Del Bosque and other California farmers are making tough choices, sacrificing one crop to save another. The strategy is part of a larger and longer agricultural shift here in the heart of California’s $50 billion agriculture industry: Low-value, high-water crops are disappearing from the Golden State. … “We’re looking at an absolutely catastrophic year,” said Ryan Jacobsen of the Fresno County Farm Bureau. “But farmers have options. So they’re figuring out what their water portfolio looks like. Then they’re looking...

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Ag Today May 21, 2021

Drought imperils economy in California’s farm country [Wall Street Journal] Sitting in a pickup truck on his almond farm 100 miles north of San Francisco, Tom Butler pointed to a withered grove he has been planning to bulldoze in order to save his little remaining water for younger trees. … California is gripped in severe drought just four years after emerging from the last one, forcing many farmers to scramble to find enough water. … Local businesspeople and researchers say the economic ripple effects will be felt throughout California’s Central Valley at the same time much of the nation is recovering from...

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Ag Today May 20, 2021

The drought's assault on California's $50 billion farm industry [KTVU TV, Oakland] A growing number of drought stricken California farmers are making the painful decision not to plant as much or anything at all for fear of losing it all. It costs a lot of money to put seeds or seedlings into the ground. But if a farmer cannot be reasonably sure of a crop, why do it? … California's monster drought is a farming tragedy with a growing number of farmers choosing to plant less or not at all. … Farmers are just coming out of the pandemic that cut off...

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Ag Today May 19, 2021

Lake Shasta is facing its worst season in 44 years. Here's what that means for those who rely on it [Redding Record Searchlight] Lake Shasta this summer is facing possibly its lowest level in at least 44 years, and that could be bad news for the people who rely on it for drinking and irrigation water, as well as endangered salmon that depend on it to survive. Dam operators have to go all the way back to 1977 to compare how bad this year’s water situation is shaping up to be, said Don Bader, area manager for the U.S. Bureau of...

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Ag Today May 18, 2021

Running out of water and time: How unprepared is California for 2021’s drought? [CalMatters] … The good news is that in urban areas, most Californians haven’t lapsed back into their old water-wasting patterns. But, while some farmers have adopted water-saving technology, others are drilling deeper wells to suck out more water to plant new orchards. The upshot is California isn’t ready — again. … The most acute problem, experts say, is the lack of controls on groundwater pumping. … The mighty agriculture industry, which uses the bulk of California’s water, plowed up some crops such as rice and alfalfa to save water. …...

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Ag Today May 17, 2021

Water crisis ‘couldn’t be worse’ on Oregon-California border [Associated Press] The water crisis along the California-Oregon border went from dire to catastrophic this week as federal regulators shut off irrigation water to farmers from a critical reservoir and said they would not send extra water to dying salmon downstream or to a half-dozen wildlife refuges that harbor millions of migrating birds each year. …  “This just couldn’t be worse,” said Klamath Irrigation District president Ty Kliewer. “The impacts to our family farms and these rural communities will be off the scale.” … Ben DuVal, president of the Klamath Water Users Association,...

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Ag Today May 14, 2021

California and the West are in for another tough fire year, federal officials forecast [Los Angeles Times] … Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told reporters Thursday that they had been briefed by government wildfire experts at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, to expect another extremely active fire season complicated, for the second year, by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. … The Biden administration is seeking to increase spending on fighting wildfires by about 4%. Separately, the Forest Service has asked Congress to approve a $476-million increase for forest management projects to reduce the risk...

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Ag Today May 13, 2021

Reclamation says no water through A Canal this year [Klamath Falls Herald and News] The Bureau of Reclamation announced Wednesday that Klamath Project’s A Canal will remain closed for the 2021 irrigation season, meaning that irrigators’ initial allocation of 33,000 acre-feet of water has been reduced to zero. Agency staff were seen lowering concrete bulkheads into the canal's headworks early Wednesday morning, cutting its fish screen off from Upper Klamath Lake and preventing any water from entering the canal. It was a devastating scene for downstream farmers, who have relied on water from the lake to irrigate their crops for more...

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