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Kings River’s 2022-23 Runoff Sets a Record

Courtesy of Kings River Water Association

The 2023-24 WATER YEAR still has a week to go but Kings River runoff has already established an all-time record as a result of the past winter’s massive Sierra Nevada snowstorms and significant summer rainfall. The Kings River Water Association now expects that when the current water year concludes Saturday, September 30, the river’s annual runoff will total approximately 4.5 million acre-feet.

Kings River Watermaster Steve Haugen said this year’s total runoff eclipsed the river’s 40-yearold water supply record on Sunday, September 17. That’s when the 2022-23 total passed 4.4763 million acre-feet, the amount of unimpeded full calculated natural flow that occurred in another big central Sierra water year, 1982-83. Dropping to the Kings River’s third place position was Water Year 1968-69. In that heavy snow-producing year, Kings River runoff reached 4.3862 million acre-feet. Now fourth on the list is Water Year 2016-17 at 4.0961 million acre-feet. Fifth is 1905-06, 3.8996 million acre-feet.

“What makes this record all the more remarkable is that a quarter of the way through Water Year 2022-23, Central California appeared certain to be headed for a fourth consecutive drought year,” said Haugen, the Kings River Water Association manager. “Then, after the many atmospheric river storm events in January, February and March dumped snow by the hundreds of inches above the 5,000-foot elevation, April and May provided surprisingly little precipitation.”

April 1, 2023, Kings River watershed snow surveys — taken at the time when snow conditions in a normal year are generally assumed to have peaked — found snowpack water content averaging 261% of average with the most snow at any watershed course measured at 233 inches. Significant accumulations occurred at lower elevations. A year earlier, same-site surveys found water contents averaging only 41% with the greatest course accumulation at 57 inches.

Fairly dry later spring conditions proved to be a blessing. A flood release imposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to manage high water conditions coupled with above-normal off-season irrigation demands resulted in Pine Flat Dam’s water year releases of more than 3.8 million acrefeet. High flows downstream from Pine Flat did result in some localized flooding and erosion. Haugen said that had April and May produced normal or greater foothill and mountain precipitation, high lower-river water levels would likely have been much more severe.

“There is no question that Pine Flat Reservoir did its flood control job,” Haugen said. “Corps of Engineers flood management, with assistance locally by KRWA’s staff, resulted in the reservoir not quite filling, despite the big inflows experienced at Pine Flat.” The peak release from Pine Flat this year was 13,371 cubic feet per second. The highest natural flow above Pine Flat was 42,371 c.f.s. during a March 10 storm. Unregulated flows entering the river from foothill creeks added to lower river concerns.

Reservoir storage peaked July 25 at 982,634 acre-feet, 98% of the lake’s capacity of one million acre-feet. Pine Flat began the water year October 1, 2022, at just over 150,000 acre-feet, 15% of capacity.

Kings River water districts and canal companies maximized diversions for months to recharge groundwater and provide much-needed surface irrigation.

Still, significant amounts of flood release water had to be directed downstream to the San Joaquin River and the Tulare Lake bed. High flows into the valley from rivers and streams to the south, along with Kings River flood releases, led to the re-emergence of Tulare Lake in Kings County for the first time in many years. Lake water is being beneficially used on surrounding lands.

2023-09-28T14:41:37-07:00September 28th, 2023|

Citrus Thrips Decreasing California Citrus Estimates

Courtesy of California Citrus Mutual

California citrus growers faced significant pest challenges this season due to the unprecedented rainfall from atmospheric rivers. The unusual weather pattern disrupted typical citrus thrips timing in orchards and led to uncontrollable conditions in the field.  

 Reports from the California Citrus Mutual (CCM) Pest and Disease Task Force indicate that some growers have experienced exterior fruit scarring on as much as 80% of the fruit on individual blocks, primarily affecting navels but with varying impacts to mandarins, lemons, and other citrus varieties.   

 “It’s been an extremely challenging pest season for citrus growers,” says CCM President Casey Creamer. “The industry did its absolute best in trying to control this unprecedented thrips season. Growers bear that cost while also facing the reality that the pest pressure will result in decreased returns in the marketplace.”

 The CCM Marketing Committee estimates that 30% of the navel crop has thrips scarring and the utilized volume will be 8% to 15% under the previous season’s production due to thrips. The Committee also estimates that the mandarin and lemon crops will also be down 5% compared to the previous season’s utilized production.

 Visual effects from thrips have no effect on the interior fruit quality, taste or texture.  Consumers can still expect the same exceptional eating experience they are used to with California citrus with higher volumes of choice fruit. Fancy fruit, with minimal external scarring or damage, will be a premium commodity this season. 

“Despite these challenges, our growers remain optimistic about the fruit quality on the tree this season.  The overabundance of water has reservoirs full and has reinvigorated the groves after three years of extreme drought conditions,” says Creamer.


2023-09-28T14:27:58-07:00September 28th, 2023|


Courtesy of the CDFA

This is a federal grant program offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service. The purpose of the program is to competitively award funds to projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops by funding collaborative, multi-state projects that address regional or national level specialty crop issues, including food safety, plant pests and disease, research, crop-specific projects addressing common issues, and marketing and promotion.

Specialty crops include fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). All prospective applicants are encouraged to review the 2023 Request for Applications: https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/2023_SCMP_RFA.pdf

Additional information about the grant program , including application instructions and templates are available on the CDFA website: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/Specialty_Crop_Competitiveness_Grants/SCMP.html

Grant awards will range from $250,000 to $1 million per project and projects may last for up to three years. Specialty crop producer associations and groups, other state agencies, Tribal government entities, universities, non-profits, and other stakeholder groups and organizations are eligible to apply.

All proposals must include at least two partners (referred to as “multi-state partners”) with substantive involvement in the project, and the multi-state partners must be located in two different states to qualify for the program.

The deadline to submit proposals is 1:59 p.m. PT on December 22, 2023. Proposals must be submitted electronically to grants@cdfa.ca.gov.

CDFA will conduct a webinar on Wednesday, October 25, 2023, at 10:00 am PDT featuring an overview of the proposal application. There is no cost to attend; however, space is limited and CDFA requests that attendees register in advance.

Webinar registration link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3443709335194813016

All questions regarding the Specialty Crop Multi-State Program should be emailed to grants@cdfa.ca.gov. Please include “SCMP” in the subject line.

2023-09-28T13:23:00-07:00September 28th, 2023|

Walnuts Carry a Great Health Punch

By Patrick Cavanaugh, with the Ag Information Network

Eating a hand of walnuts a day, well, it’s easy, helps your heart and vascular system stay in great shape. Pam Graviet is a Senior Marketing Director International for the California Walnut Commission. She talks about that Power of 3.

Absolutely, I actually had walnuts with breakfast this morning. It’s one of those things that’s my go-to when I want that special crunch in the Omega-3s,” said Graviet. “And for the fourth year in a row, we’re doing our Power of 3 global marketing campaign. It’s getting consumers to understand the value of omega-3 and that walnuts are the only tree nut that contain a significant amount of Omega-3 that their bodies need, but they can’t produce.”

And many people think you have to eat seafood for omega-3. But walnuts are plant-based.

“Absolutely, they’re plant-based. And there’s not a lot of plant-based sources. And with other plant-based sources, you’d have to eat a whole lot, but with walnuts you only have to eat a handful a day, so it’s a really easy way to get that in your daily diet. Omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid is the correct form for your body


Patrick Cavanaugh



2023-09-27T16:32:55-07:00September 27th, 2023|

Congressman Valadao Introduces Bill to Expand Access to Fresh Produce for Those in Need

Today, Congressman David G. Valadao (CA-22) joined Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to introduce H.R. 5589, the Fresh Produce Procurement Reform Act. This bipartisan, bicameral bill establishes a new mechanism for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to purchase a wide variety of U.S.-grown fresh fruits and vegetables for distribution to those in need. 

“We need to ensure our food insecure residents in the Central Valley have access to the fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables we grow right in our own backyard,” said Congressman Valadao. “This bill not only helps our neighbors in need, but it also helps our domestic agriculture sector by ensuring the produce they grow is being put to good use. I’m proud to join my colleagues to introduce this bipartisan bill that will strengthen our agriculture economy and make fresh produce more widely available to those in need.”

“Far too many families across the United States do not have readily available access to high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “The USDA’s Commodity Procurement program buys more than $3 billion in domestically produced foods annually and helps drive important reforms across our food system. That is why I am introducing the Fresh Produce Procurement Reform Act with Senator Sherrod Brown and Congressman David Valadao. This will allow our diverse local and regional supply chains the opportunity to distribute U.S.-grown fresh produce to those in need.”

“Improving access to local fruits and vegetables is a win-win for Ohio farmers and residents,” said Senator Brown. “Not only does this bill make it easier for Ohio residents to access local produce, but it will also help create shorter American supply chains, ensuring Ohio small family farmers and businesses keep more of their money in their community.”  



On average, USDA directly purchases more than $2 billion annually of domestic commodities to redistribute to feeding sites around the country. Today, only five fresh produce commodities are available within the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) catalog, accounting for just under $6.5 million of purchases. While USDA added a fresh produce box in 2021, it has had limited uptake due to constraints to the current program that limit the variety of fresh produce that can be included. The Fresh Produce Procurement Reform Act seeks to address the shortcomings of the current program to make a wider variety of produce available to organizations serving food insecure populations.

The Fresh Produce Procurement Reform Act would:

  • Provide USDA with an additional tool to partner with existing growers and fresh produce distributors to procure a greater amount of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Distribute U.S.-grown fresh fruits and vegetables to local food banks, schools, youth-serving organizations, tribal governments, and other nonprofit community members serving nutrition insecure populations.
  • Strengthen access to a wide variety of U.S.-grown fresh fruits and vegetables to recipients in need by including at least seven types of U.S.-grown fresh fruits in vegetables to vulnerable communities living in poverty.

Provide opportunities for a wider variety of high-quality produce sourced, packed, and distributed from growers and distributors of all sizes, including veteran, women-owned, and socially disadvantaged members of the agriculture community.

2023-09-21T09:47:14-07:00September 21st, 2023|

Farmers Save money, water by adopting climate-smart agriculture practices

Courtesy of UC ANR News

CDFA, UC ANR help farmers access $36 million in grants to improve water-use efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions 

A Hmong small-scale farmer in Merced County has saved about 14.4 acre-inches of water annually and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 12.406 MTCO2e per year (equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions produced from burning 1,396 gallons of gasoline) after upgrading her farm. Rosie Lee – who sells Asian greens, green beans, corn, strawberries and other produce at her farm stand and to Asian markets – is one of hundreds of growers benefiting from California Department of Food and Agriculture incentives and funds with the assistance of Climate Smart Agriculture community education specialists.

“She is one grower who would not have access to those funds without my bringing my computer out to the field,” said Caddie Bergren, a Climate Smart Agriculture community education specialist who has been working with growers in Merced County since the program’s launch.

To make it easier for farmers to adopt new practices, CDFA and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources partnered to create the Climate Smart Agriculture program.

“Since 2019, UC ANR’s Climate Smart Agriculture Team has provided in-depth technical assistance to more than 1,300 farmers and ranchers in 24 counties,” said Hope Zabronsky, academic coordinator for UC ANR’s Climate Smart Agriculture team. “Through their strong relationships with diverse farming communities, they support the implementation of soil health, water efficiency, and manure management practices that optimize climate benefits for all growers and Californians.”

The program’s community educators work with farmers and ranchers in 24 California counties to get CDFA-funded grants and implement Climate Smart Agriculture projects. These efforts, which emphasize outreach to underserved farmers and ranchers, have resulted in a total of $36.5 million invested from the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program or SWEEP, the Healthy Soils Program, and the Alternative Manure Management Program.

“Agriculture is an important part of the climate solution,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “This funding enables CDFA and UC ANR to partner with farmers and ranchers to scale up climate-smart agricultural practices. This is essential as we contend with our hotter, drier future.”

Lee, the Hmong grower, had been growing 18 acres of vegetables by flood irrigating with groundwater. To save water and reduce pumping costs, she asked Bergren to help her apply for SWEEP funds to convert to drip irrigation and install solar panels. Bergren brought her laptop to the field to help Lee pull together the necessary information for the application. After Lee received funds for the project, Bergren assisted her with the technical logistics of installing the irrigation and solar equipment.

“I called vendors and we were able to complete the project on time,” Bergren said.

CDFA and UC ANR have published an impact report highlighting the results of the multi-year partnership focused on increasing adoption of climate-smart agriculture practices to reduce water and energy use. 

The investments have funded more than 420 projects, so far. The projects are expected to save an estimated 8.3 billion gallons of water during their lifetime, enough to supply over 75,000 typical homes in California with water for a year. Additionally, there are projected reductions of more than 355,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent, as much as would be achieved by removing 79,110 gas-powered vehicles from roads. 

The report highlights the importance of providing tailored outreach, education and technical assistance to small-scale, non-English speaking, and otherwise underserved farmers and ranchers.

To find the full details of the report, please visit https://ucanr.edu/climatesmartag2023.

2023-09-14T08:07:34-07:00September 14th, 2023|


Courtesy of the CDFA

Portions of Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties have been placed under quarantine for the Oriental Fruit Fly following the detection of multiple flies in each county.

In Contra Costa County, detections near the cities of Brentwood and Oakley have resulted in a quarantine zone covering 99 square miles, bordered on the north by the San Joaquin River; on the south by Marsh Creek State Park; on the west by Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve; and on the east side by the Old River.

In Santa Clara County, detections in the cities of Santa Clara and Sunnyvale have resulted in a quarantine zone covering 112 square miles, bordered on the north by Coyote Creek; on the south by Saratoga; on the west by Mountain View; and on the east by Alum Rock. A link to the quarantine maps may be found here: www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/off/regulation.html

“Invasive fruit flies are serious pests for California’s orchards and backyard gardens,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross.  “These recent detections remind us that we need to remain vigilant in protecting our food supply and natural resources.  The stakes are enormous, and not just in California. A new report from the United Nations notes that invasive species management costs hundreds of billions of dollars each year around the world. We’re all in this together as we work to reduce this impact. ”

The Oriental Fruit Fly is known to target over 230 different fruit, vegetable, and plant commodities.  Important California crops at risk include grapes, pome, stone fruits, citrus, dates, avocados, and many vegetables, particularly tomatoes and peppers.  Damage occurs when the female fruit fly lays eggs inside the fruit.  The eggs hatch into maggots, which tunnel through the flesh of the fruit or vegetable, making it unfit for consumption.

To prevent the spread of this pest through homegrown fruits and vegetables, residents living in  quarantine areas are urged not to move those items from their property.  However, they may be consumed or processed (i.e., juiced, frozen, or cooked on the property where they were picked, or disposed of by double bagging and placing in the regular trash, not green waste.

Following the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), agricultural officials use “male attractant” technique as the mainstay of the eradication effort for this invasive species.  This approach has successfully eliminated dozens of fruit fly infestations in California.  Trained workers squirt a small patch of fruit fly attractant mixed with a very small dose of an organic pesticide, Spinosad, approximately 8-10 feet off the ground on street trees and similar surfaces; male fruit flies are attracted to the mixture and perish after consuming it.  The male attractant treatment program is being carried out over an area that extends 1.5 miles from each site where the oriental fruit flies were trapped.

While fruit flies and other invasive species that threaten California’s crops and natural environment are sometimes detected in agricultural areas, the majority are initially found in urban and suburban communities.  The most common pathway for these pests to enter the state is by “hitchhiking” in fruits and vegetables brought back illegally by travelers as they return from infested regions of the world or from packages of home grown produce from other countries sent to California.  Help protect California’s agricultural and natural resources; please Don’t Pack a Pest (www.dontpackapest.com) when traveling or mailing packages.

The Oriental Fruit Fly is widespread throughout much of the mainland of southern Asia and neighboring islands, including Sri Lanka and Taiwan, and it has infested other areas, most notably Africa and Hawaii.

Federal, state, and county agricultural officials work year-round, 365 days a year, to prevent, deter, detect, and eliminate the threat of invasive species and diseases that can damage or destroy our agricultural products and natural environment.  These efforts are aimed at keeping California’s natural environment and food supply plentiful, safe, and as pest-free as possible.

Residents with questions about the project may call CDFA’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.  Additional information may be found here: www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/off.

2023-09-12T13:34:49-07:00September 12th, 2023|

New UC ANR scientists bring expertise in ag tech as well as crop production

Courtesy of UC ANR News

This spring more scientists joined University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources to share their practical knowledge in counties across the state. UC ANR recently hired UC Cooperative Extension advisors and academic coordinators who bring expertise in small-scale farms, tree and field crops, water resiliency, weed management and pest management. In a sign of our changing times, UC Cooperative Extension added an urban agriculture technology area advisor.

UC Cooperative Extension advisors work directly with community members to apply research-based information to improve the lives and livelihoods of Californians. Increased funding from Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature has enabled UC ANR to expand its expertise across the state.

To see a list of UC Cooperative Extension advisors who have joined in the past few months, visit https://ucanr.edu/About/DirectorySearch/Recent_Hires. The most recently hired scientists are introduced below.

Wheeler-Dykes returns to roots with tree crops, weeds

For Becky Wheeler-Dykes, the UC Cooperative Extension orchard systems and weed ecology advisor for Glenn, Tehama and Colusa counties, her new position is deeply rooted in her background.

“I was born and raised on a small prune and walnut farm in Gridley, in nearby Butte County, and am very excited to be putting down roots close to family,” said Wheeler-Dykes, who started in this role on June 1.

Covering olives, prunes, walnuts and almonds, with an emphasis on weed management research in those cropping systems, Wheeler-Dykes is spending her first months on the job getting to know the region’s growers and broader agricultural community.

“I hope to form great relationships with the clientele in my counties, providing a resource that they can trust and rely on,” she said. “I want to serve as an advocate for our region in developing research and finding answers for the unique systems we have here. My interests are alternative weed management in orchard systems and canopy management, but I look forward to hearing what other areas need to be addressed.”

After earning both a bachelor’s in crop science and business management and a master’s in entomology (with a focus on integrated pest management in tree crops) from UC Davis, Wheeler-Dykes has conducted extensive agricultural research.

“I’m excited to bring those experiences to the Sac Valley as the newest advisor,” she said, encouraging growers and producers in the region to contact her with the challenges they are facing. 

Based at the UCCE Glenn County office in Orland, Wheeler-Dykes can be reached at bawheeler@ucanr.edu.

Castiaux expands role with Small Farms and Specialty Crops Program

Marianna Castiaux began her new role on June 1 as the Small Farms and Specialty Crops Program academic coordinator serving Californians statewide. In this role, Castiaux will be focused on improving workshops across all grants, creating new curriculum and teaching staff in other counties.

Aiming to build capacity to address growing challenges across California agriculture, she is excited to continue with the Small Farms and Specialty Crops Program in Fresno, where she has been working for the last three years as a project manager for the Healthy Soils Program.

Castiaux earned a Master of Science in conservation leadership from Colorado State University and a bachelor’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from UC Santa Cruz. She has eight years of practical cross-cultural experience in agriculture, teaching and implementing climate-smart agricultural practices and summarizing complex topics in a more simplified form to various diverse audiences.

Fluent in Spanish, Castiaux was a bilingual lead educator for community-based participatory climate change resiliency programs for sugar cane farmers in Paraguay and coffee farmers in Mexico. She also worked with the California Strawberry Commission as a grower education specialist for three years teaching farmworkers and growers food safety, practices and research.

Castiaux is based in Fresno County and can be reached by email at mjcastiaux@ucanr.edu

Angeles brings weed expertise to San Joaquin Valley

Jorge Angeles started on May 8 as the UC Cooperative Extension weed management and ecology advisor for Tulare, Kings and Fresno counties. Angeles will be right at home – in place and in vocation.

“I was born and raised in Tulare County and have been working in agriculture my entire life,” he said.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in plant science from Fresno State, Angeles conducted pesticide efficacy trials at the DuPont Research Farm in Madera. He later earned a master’s in plant science from Fresno State, writing his thesis under the supervision of weed science professor Anil Shrestha and retired UCCE advisor Kurt Hembree.

An employee of UCCE for the past six years, Angeles worked with a pair of emeritus UCCE academics, Steve Wright and Bob Hutmacher.

Currently, Angeles is talking with growers, pest control advisers and other farm advisors about the pressing weed-management issues across the region.

“One of my main goals is to find alternative control methods for some of the herbicide-resistant and invasive weeds that are a problem in different agricultural crops,” he said. 

Based in Tulare, Angeles can be reached at jaangeles@ucanr.edu and (559) 684-3300.

Johnson joins UC ANR as urban ag tech advisor

Grant Johnson joined UC ANR on May 1 as the UC Cooperative Extension urban agriculture technology area advisor for Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Johnson provides unbiased, research-driven information to people working in urban agriculture, with a focus on controlled environments such as greenhouses. His clientele is interested in adopting technologies that can improve plant production, ranging from nurseries and commercial growers to community members managing local gardens.

In his newly created role, Johnson’s efforts will influence the scope of work for urban agricultural technology advisors to come. One of the challenges that he anticipates is “focusing knowledge” or choosing a specific problem to prioritize. 

“I’m really interested in irrigation, soil and plant culture. There’s a lot to consider and there’s a lot that can be done,” said Johnson.

Before he was hired as an advisor, Johnson worked as a staff research associate for five years at the South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine under Darren Haver, director of UC ANR’s Research and Extension Center system.

“I learned a lot while I was an SRA, but there was only so much that I could do. I wanted more freedom to explore as a researcher, so I decided I wanted to become an advisor,” Johnson said, adding that his career goal inspired him to return to school.

Johnson earned a master’s degree in horticulture and agronomy from UC Davis, as well as a bachelor’s degree in biology from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

One of the exciting aspects of the job, according to Johnson, is the ability to get creative and explore new territory. “I have some fun research interests, like how to grow wasabi or maximize saffron production using hydroponics,” Johnson explained. 

“I’m interested in the kind of things that might be culturally important or significant to certain communities, and how they can be made more affordable and accessible,” he added. 

Johnson is based out of the South Coast Research and Extension Center and can be reached at gejohnson@ucanr.edu.

Cohen joins UCCE as entomology advisor in Ventura County

Hamutahl Cohen joined UC ANR as a UC Cooperative Extension entomology advisor in Ventura County on June 1. Her primary responsibility is to develop environmentally sustainable pest management in local agricultural systems.

Cohen earned her Ph.D. from UC Santa Cruz, where she studied how to develop agricultural practices to promote a diversity of beneficial insects and ecosystem services. She then conducted postdoctoral research at UC Riverside, where she studied pollinator health in Yolo County sunflowers.

Her research has been presented at national and international conferences, published in more than 14 peer-reviewed publications, and shared through blogs, fact sheets and field days with her local grower community. 

Prior to joining UC ANR, Cohen worked as a commercial horticulture agent with the Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida. This summer she will work with industry and university partners across Ventura County to evaluate the needs of the local growers and design an applied research and extension program.

Cohen is excited to address a myriad of issues related to pest management, including identification and monitoring, pest biology and phenology, crop loss assessment, pesticide resistance prevention, and evaluation of integrated pest management methods with an emphasis on biological and cultural controls. She is eager to conduct this work in regional crops such as berries, avocado, citrus and more.

“Ventura County is an important place to advance agricultural practices that reduce economic damage from pests while minimizing impacts on the environment, farmworkers and consumers,” said Cohen.

Cohen is based out of the UCCE office in Ventura and can be reached at hcohen@ucanr.edu. Follow her on Instagram @beescientista.

Tang joins UCCE in Napa County to work on water issues

Qicheng Tang joined UC Cooperative Extension in Napa County on April 10 as an assistant project scientist for water resources and water resiliency.

Tang will be developing water resiliency strategies for stakeholders and diverse ecosystems across Napa County. In addition, he will design and implement creative research, acquire and share technical knowledge, and promote stewardship of surface and groundwater resources to meet the needs of competing users and natural systems.

This summer, Tang will collaborate with growers, UC Davis researchers and UC ANR colleagues to measure the crop coefficient of Napa grape vineyards.

“This work aims to support groundwater sustainability planning with water budget calculations and to provide crucial information for irrigation management,” he said.

Prior to joining UC ANR, Tang earned a Ph.D. in soil science from Pennsylvania State University, where his work focused on the ecohydrology of oak-maple forest. Fluent in Mandarin, he also holds a bachelor’s degree in hydrogeology from Nanjing University in China. Tang took a one-year training at North Carolina State University as a postdoctoral scholar working on large-scale nutrient modeling. 

He Is looking forward to applying his experience and learning new skills in his new role. 

“I am very excited about this new journey,” said Tang. “Water problems are pressing, important and interesting.”

Tang is based at the UCCE office in Napa and can be reached at qictang@ucanr.edu, LinkedIn and on Twitter @qicheng_tang.

Galdi named UCCE farm advisor in Merced County

Giuliano Galdi joined UC Cooperative Extension in Merced County on May 1 as an agronomy and crops advisor. In Merced, he will be working with alfalfa, corn, cotton, and small grain crops as well as helping with weed management and other issues related to crop production.

He had served as a UC Cooperative Extension agronomy advisor in Siskiyou County since 2019.

While in Siskiyou County, he worked on managing blue alfalfa aphids and investigating crop injury to Roundup Ready alfalfa with Rob Wilson, director of Intermountain Research and Extension Center and UCCE in Siskiyou County, and Tom Getts, UCCE weed and crop systems advisor for Lassen County. Galdi also conducted research on irrigation efficiency, winter groundwater recharge, and soil moisture sensors. 

Prior to joining UCCE, Galdi was a junior specialist at UC Davis, where he worked on a variety of field trials, mainly alfalfa and forage crops, with the objective of improving the sustainability of water use and hay quality. As a master’s student and student research assistant at Fresno State, Galdi evaluated salinity tolerance in different alfalfa varieties. He speaks Portuguese fluently. 

He earned a M.S. in plant sciences from Fresno State and a B.S. in agronomy engineering from University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Galdi is based in Merced and can be reached at gcgaldi@ucanr.edu.

Reyes joins UCCE as orchard systems advisor

Clarissa Reyes joined UC Cooperative Extension on March 1 as an orchard systems advisor. Her role focuses on walnut, cling peach and kiwifruit production in Sutter, Yuba, Butte and Placer counties. Reyes serves as a point of contact for orchard owners when they need support diagnosing and solving problems. 

Reyes is excited about developing climate-adapted management practices and working with the recently expanded team of orchard advisors serving the northern Sacramento Valley, but she also anticipates encountering some challenges. 

“Some of the challenges I expect to face are low crop prices despite increasing costs to farmers, including labor and inputs; water scarcity; and more frequent and higher temperature heat waves affecting fruit development and quality,” explained Reyes.

Reyes earned a master’s degree in horticulture and agronomy from UC Davis. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from UC San Diego. 

When describing her journey into agriculture, Reyes said that she “likes the way food makes it easy to connect with people.” She also said that after realizing a career in biotech was “not a good fit,” she let her love for gardening alter her career path. 

“I’m really into food systems and food is an important part of culture,” said Reyes. “So, it was the overlap of research and food. Even though the science part can go over someone’s head, everyone understands food.”

Before joining Cooperative Extension, she worked as a junior specialist studying plant-water relations at UC Davis. While her research was focused on grapevines, she started working with walnut trees, which exposed her to opportunities in orchard systems. Afterwards, she became a staff research associate in orchards systems in Butte, Glenn and Tehama counties. 

Reyes is based out of the UC Cooperative Extension office in Yuba City and can be reached at clareyes@ucanr.edu.

2023-09-12T13:27:12-07:00September 12th, 2023|

2023 California Walnut Industry Crop Estimate Released

Courtesy of Blake Rhodes for Ketchum

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) official walnut industry crop estimate provides the California walnut industry with crucial information to support an orderly sales process. Using scientific methodologies, USDA field staff counted, measured, weighed and evaluated thousands of walnuts from major growing regions in July and August for use in a statistical acreage model to establish the annual walnut crop estimate.

The 2023 California walnut production is forecast at 790,000 tons, up 5% from 2022’s production of 752,000 tons. The forecast is based on 385,000 bearing acres, down 4% from 2022’s estimated bearing acreage of 400,000.

“The California walnut industry has increased its focus on providing handlers and growers the most accurate crop information by accelerating the collection of various data points,” said Robert Verloop, CEO and Executive Director for the California Walnut Commission (CWC) and Board (CWB).

While official final shipment, inventory and close-out figures for the 2022 crop year will be released within the month, preliminary figures indicate last year’s crop is virtually sold out.

“Last year, we were facing a completely different scenario with 130,000 tons in inventory brought on by the lingering effects of the COVID-impacted global marketplace and a record heat wave last September that negatively impacted the entire crop, which led to lethargic sales and record-low grower returns,” added Verloop.

“With minimal carryover from the previous crop year and favorable weather throughout the growing season, we’re optimistic about the new crop year,” said Tim Sabado, CEO of Prima Noce, based in Linden, California. “The upcoming crop promises a return to the exceptional quality that defines California walnuts globally.

“Harvest will begin in September, and may extend into November due to the early season cooler temperatures,” added Sabado. “Our focus is on an aggressive harvest, picking the crop at its peak quality and freshness.”

Inshell walnut shipments for international destinations will start in October. In the U.S. and Canada, retail customers are currently placing orders and building sales plans for their traditionally large holiday promotions and their health-focused kernel campaigns for January and February.

2023-09-07T09:01:42-07:00September 7th, 2023|

India Reduces Current U.S. Almond Tariffs This Week

Courtesy of the Almond Board of California

We are pleased to report that India’s retaliatory tariffs on almonds will be removed effective Wednesday, Sept. 6, bringing the tariff rate back down to 35 rupees per kilogram on inshell and 100 rupees per kg on kernels. India published the notification today in their Gazette.

During his state visit to Washington, D.C. in June, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to announce the elimination of the tariffs on almonds and a handful of other commodities, including walnuts and apples, but did not set a concrete date, except to say it would happen within 90 days.

“We are very happy to see the retaliatory tariffs removed, which will both help increase demand in India and reduce the cost to consumers there,” said Julie Adams, the Almond Board of California’s vice president for technical and regulatory affairs. “The almond industry has been working hard along with government officials to reduce the impediments for exports of California almonds to India, which is our largest export destination. We continue to discuss further opportunities to improve export conditions related to tariffs and technical barriers.”

The 20% retaliatory tariffs were announced in June 2018 and imposed in 2019 by India in response to the Trump administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, among other actions. India raised the applied tariff rates on almonds exported to India from 35 rupees to 41 rupees per kg on inshell and from 100 rupees to 120 rupees per kg on kernels.

2023-09-06T08:22:43-07:00September 6th, 2023|
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