What a whirlwind of change! We started out with an above normal warm January to a blistering cold February; neither month bringing much rainfall to California farmers. As February moved on we looked to our orchards to see what the almond bloom was looking like, we anxiously watched the weather reports to see if rain was in the future. If rain was in the forecast, growers would need to begin applying fungicides. With temperatures reaching all-time lows, much too early for growers to expect, everyone tried all they could to keep their blooms protected. We could only watch and hope for the best as the temperatures in areas dipped into the teens and lower 20’s. Multiple days of cold weather have growers assessing the damage. The dip in temperatures also affected peaches, nectarines, plums, and some mandarins that were in bloom, we all know from experience to always expect the unexpected because Mother Nature is unpredictable. To add insult to injury, the USBR announced a 30% class 1 water allocation. Which means growers will be relying on groundwater wells after giving them a season off last year. This just shows you the lack of infrastructure and water storage in California. We released much needed water to the ocean last year that could have been stored and used in situations like this.
As we move into spring, I want to remind everyone that the MCFB scholarship applications are due March 6th. If you know any graduating high school seniors, in Madera County, that will be going into the study of Agriculture please have them apply. We have multiple scholarships available to help these young minds come into the field of agriculture. Secondly, help us support these kids; please save the date for the MCFB annual Scholarship Wine & Beer Tasting event. It will be held on Sunday, May 6th, at Peters Brothers Nursery. Please call the MCFB office at 559-674-8871 for sponsorship or event information.
Lastly, as you start your morning or finish your evening, please keep the farmers that have been affected by crop loss in your prayers!