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Courtesy of Nisei Farmers League

The Central Valley Latino Mayors and Elected Officials Coalition, Nisei Farmers League, California Fresh Fruit Association and Fresno County Farm Bureau will hold an important immigration meeting to discuss the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2023 reintroduced by Members of Congress including Jim Costa (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), David Valadao (R-CA), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), John Duarte (R-CA), Henry Cueller (D-TX) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). The second issue is the status of DACA and what needs to be done to move it along.

This meeting will include representatives from agricultural organizations, local, state and federal elected officials, business and community based organizations.

President of Nisei Farmers League said today “the time is crucial for authorizing a comprehensive immigration program.  The Farm Workforce Modernization Act includes support for agriculture, a guestworker program and support for DACA.  Agriculture and businesses must come together to support this very important legislation.”




2023-07-25T14:28:18-07:00July 25th, 2023|

LandFlex Program Awards $16 Million in Grower Contracts, Providing Immediate Well Protection for 34,000 Homes

Courtesy of Western United Dairies

Today, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced the successful conclusion of LandFlex Phase 2, providing $16,775,162 in grants to support grower contracts within various Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) for the protection of rural at-risk water systems and advancements in groundwater sustainability.

The awarded funds will be allocated to three GSAs as follows:

  1. Lower Tule Irrigation District GSA: Grant award in the amount of $7.7 million
  2. Pixley Irrigation District GSA: Grant award in the amount of $ 5 million
  3. Westlands Water District GSA: Grant award in the amount of $4 million

“At the heart of LandFlex’s success is its proven effectiveness in addressing critical water resource challenges,” said Anja Raudabaugh, Chief Executive Officer of Western United Dairies. “Initially designed to combat drought conditions, the program has demonstrated remarkable versatility by also proving its mettle in flood protection and identifying active recharge potential. This adaptability has positioned LandFlex as an innovative and indispensable tool for growers to meet sustainability goals in both dry and wet periods.”

One of the program’s key achievements is the immediate protection it provides to drinking water wells serving 34,259 households in underserved communities. By swiftly reducing water demand, LandFlex alleviates pressure on these communities and overburdened water systems while simultaneously supporting the sustainability of both the communities and the agricultural industry.

Moreover, LandFlex plays a pivotal role in accelerating compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Growers who participate in the program can plan ahead and explore innovative farming methods that align with long-term sustainability goals, ensuring the resilience of water systems and critical water infrastructure.

“LandFlex owes its success to the voluntary participation of growers who are committed to supporting their communities and farming for the future,” said Aubrey Bettencourt, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Almond Alliance. “The program was oversubscribed, and their active involvement showcases their determination to find immediate solutions rather than waiting until 2040 to achieve sustainability goals. By participating in LandFlex, these growers contribute significantly to the well-being of underserved communities and the long-term resilience of at-risk water systems while investing in new farming practices to ensure California agriculture is leading and vibrant for the 21st century.”

The LandFlex program stands as a testament to the power of collaboration between growers, government entities, and local communities. By focusing on the protection of water resources and underserved communities, LandFlex exemplifies the importance of finding innovative, practical, and actionable solutions to address pressing water challenges.

For more information about LandFlex, please visit landflex.org.

2023-07-25T11:40:54-07:00July 25th, 2023|

Almond Board of California Directors Announce Clarice Turner as Next CEO

Courtesy of Rick Kushman

The Almond Board of California Board of Directors selected Clarice Turner, an experienced global leader in consumer goods, food service and wine and spirits, as the next president and CEO.

Turner is joining the Almond Board of California (ABC) after most recently serving as president of iconic Napa Valley winery Joseph Phelps Vineyards. She has also held CEO and senior executive positions at Boudin Bakery, Starbucks Coffee Company, YUM! Brands, Papa Murphy’s International and PepsiCo.

“The ABC Board is excited to welcome Clarice to the California almond industry,” said board chair Alexi Rodriguez. “A tremendous amount of thought and effort went into the search process and we couldn’t be more pleased with the result. Clarice brings extensive knowledge and experience that we believe will be a great benefit to the organization and the industry.”

Turner is a ninth generation Californian and has a long history of serving on corporate and non-profit boards including the Culinary Institute of America, Delicato Family Wines, the National Restaurant Association, Washington State University School of Business and San Francisco State University Lam School of Business.

Along with her former global executive positions, Turner was also an international business major at Fudan University in China and understands the role different nationalities play in trade, business and culture.

“I am honored to lead the Almond Board of California,” Turner said. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to combine my California heritage, roots in generational farming and executive experience to build on the strong foundation established in 1950. I look forward to working collaboratively with the staff, board, growers, handlers and industry stakeholders in the coming years.”

Rodriguez said that in September, Turner will begin working closely with the board, current President and CEO Richard Waycott and the ABC executive team to ensure a smooth transition over the coming months.

“We are thankful for Richard, not just for his commitment to the industry over the last 21 years, but also for his support during this transition period to make certain Clarice and the organization are set up for success moving forward,” Rodriguez said.

Waycott informed the board of directors in November 2022 that he planned to step away from his ABC responsibilities at the end of 2023 to pursue other interests.

2023-07-18T11:56:11-07:00July 18th, 2023|

Farm Tours Give Our Apprentices The Chance to Learn From Each Other

Courtesy of Center for Land-Based Learning

Apprentices explore sustainable ag on a large scale at River Garden Farms

Our Apprenticeship Program took a field trip to River Garden Farms in Knights Landing. Apprentice Javier Cervantes is working there and developing his skills in order to become a farm manager. Javier and his mentor Dominic Bruno led the other apprentices in a fun day exploring and learning about the historic 10,000+ acre operation.

Farm tours are a great opportunity for apprentices to learn from each other and gain exposure to different scales and practices in agriculture. Our favorite quote of the day: “I didn’t realize large-scale farmers faced the same challenges as small-scale farmers, just on a different level!”

Together they learned about the technical aspects and challenges of growing fresh market melons, rice, alfalfa, sunflowers, seed onions and more. River Garden Farms is a leader in sustainable farming innovation, including pollinator habitat that was planted by students in our SLEWS Program in 2020-21.

Thank you RD 108 for supporting our SLEWS Program with a new truck! 

We are so grateful to the landowners and board of Reclamation District No. 108 for supporting our SLEWS Program! RD 108 is located along the western edge of the Sacramento River and delivers water to nearly 48,000 acres of farmland within Colusa and Yolo counties.

Our SLEWS Program has led restoration projects on many farms within the district, including River Garden Farms. So when our friends at RD 108 heard we were desperately seeking a reliable truck to help us haul the equipment we need, they came to the rescue. General Manager Lewis Bair explains why: “We really support what you guys do to educate people, and especially youth, about resource management.”

A bumper crop at Riverfront Farm

Riverfront Farm is CLBL’s own urban farm in West Sacramento’s Bridge District, and last week, our staff and volunteers there harvested a bounty of fresh veggies. Our Mobile Farmers Market Truck takes that fresh, hyper-local, affordable produce to West Sacramento neighborhoods and supports a healthy and more equitable food system.

Now Hiring: California Farm Academy Outreach Coordinator

Join our team and make an impact! We are seeking an Outreach Coordinator to lead outreach and recruitment for the California Farm Academy (CFA) programs. You’ll help us in our efforts to serve aspiring farmers with training and land access, demonstrate climate beneficial practices, and provide fresh food access in underserved urban areas.

Speakers Series will be back in August

Our monthly Speaker Series event is taking a summer break for the month of July. We hope to see you next month when our special guest will be Angela Laws of the Xerces Society. We have partnered with Xerces to plant habitat for beneficial insects here at our HQ. Angela will discuss how your farm or garden can support pollinators too.

Save the date!

Wednesday, August 16th • 4:30-7:30 pm

Angela Laws • Xerces Society

Woodfired Pizza • Networking • Inspiration

2023-07-13T08:40:05-07:00July 13th, 2023|

Farm Bureau Research Foundation Backs Study on Wetlands, Grazing

Courtesy of Peter Hecht

California Bountiful Foundation, the 501(c)(3) research organization of California Farm Bureau, has awarded a $520,000 grant to support cattle grazing research being conducted by California Polytechnic State University, Humboldt.

The study, led by Dr. Justin Luong, a Humboldt professor of rangeland resource science, aims to determine if wetlands benefit from grazing activities. It will also evaluate their impacts and determine a set of best management practices for grazing on wetlands.

The grant funds were provided to California Bountiful Foundation by the California Department of Transportation as part of an agreement settling litigation involving the Willits Bypass project on U.S. Highway 101. Caltrans created an endowment through the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation for the Willits Bypass Mitigation Lands, the largest public wetlands restoration project in California.

The Cal Poly Humboldt study will investigate how rangeland agricultural practices affect wetland function.

“Our team is excited to combine field vegetation surveys and aerial imagery in collaboration with local and regional stakeholders to quantify the benefit and multi-use utility of rangeland management for biologically diverse wetland ecosystem plant communities and ecosystem services,” said Dr. Luong.

“Caltrans is pleased to be a partner in helping to fund this type of research and innovation” said Caltrans Branch Chief Jeff Swindle. “This research on wetlands possibly benefiting from grazing activities can have impacts on future management practices.”

The collaborative effort includes partnerships with Mendocino County Resource Conservation District and Mendocino County Farm Bureau.

“Mendocino County Farm Bureau’s position is that managed grazing can be compatible with wetlands,” said Devon Boer, the Farm Bureau’s executive director. “We are hopeful that this research will refute the belief that livestock cannot be part of an ecological solution.”

More information on this study can be found on the California Bountiful Foundation webpage here.

“We have not had a comprehensive research study to see firsthand what the benefits of grazing might have on specific lands,” said Dr. Amrith Gunasekara, director of Science and Research at California Bountiful Foundation. “This study is led by a fantastic team of research scientists and supported with critical partnerships.”

2023-07-12T15:12:45-07:00July 12th, 2023|

USDA Final Forecast Projects Slightly Larger 2023 Almond Crop

Courtesy of the California Almond Board

The 2023 California Almond Objective Measurement Report published Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) estimates that the crop harvested in 2023 will come in at 2.6 billion meat pounds, 1% percent above last year’s 2.57 billion pounds.

The estimate is up 4 percent from USDA-NASS’s Subjective Forecast in May and comes after one of the wettest winters on record, limited bee flights because of rain and wind, and a cool spring. USDA’s Forecasted yield is 1,880 pounds per acre, down 20 pounds from 2022 and the lowest since 2009.

The slight increase comes partly because of larger nut size and despite difficult conditions, USDA-NASS said. “Record level rainfall and unprecedented stormy conditions hindered bee pollination activity in orchards across the state. Cooler than normal temperatures continued through early summer and delayed the maturity of the crop,” the report said.

“Almond farmers have faced a series of challenges in recent years, and this wet, cool winter and spring created different obstacles after three years of drought. Yet the forecast for a larger crop shows the resiliency of California almond orchards,” said Richard Waycott, president and CEO of the Almond Board of California (ABC). “Almond farmers have worked hard while dealing with higher production and financing costs and a bloom with highly compromised bee flight hours. They are very thankful, however, for the abundant rain and snow which vastly improved the water situation, at least for now, and for shipping logistics that continue to improve. The perseverance of California’s almond farmers is admirable as is their commitment to meet future growth in global demand with high quality California almonds.”

The forecast for the average nut set per tree is 3,953, 3 percent down from 2022. The Nonpareil average nut set of 4,004 is 1 percent more than last year. The average kernel weight for all varieties sampled was 1.67 grams, up 14% percent from the 2022 average weight. The Nonpareil average kernel weight was 1.69 grams, up 9 percent over from last year.

The 2023 Objective Report is based on actual almond counts using a statistically rigorous methodology. The survey was conducted from May 26 to July 3 and 1,824 trees were sampled in 912 orchards, 32 more orchards than in 2022. USDA-NASS conducts the annual Subjective Forecast, Objective Report and Acreage Report to provide the California almond industry with the data needed to make informed business decisions.

2023-07-12T13:13:51-07:00July 12th, 2023|

UC Cooperative Extension & Hansen Agriculture Research & Extension Center

Avocado Irrigation Workshop

Join UCCE advisors Ben Faber and Ali Montazar for this comprehensive workshop on July 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the United Water Conservation District in Oxnard. Topics will include drought and heats effects on avocado, strategies in managing salinity, and tools and information for effective irrigation management. Use this link for more information and to register: Avocado Irrigation Workshop.


Rodale Institue California Organic Center Annual Field Day 

This event takes place on Tuesday, July 11 for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is ideal for farmers, researchers, students, educators, and anyone interested in learning about the science behind organic agriculture. For a $25 fee, participants will tour fields, see equipment demonstrations, learn about healthy soils and specialty crop projects, and enjoy an organic lunch with vegetarian and omnivore options. Registration is required: California Organic Center Field Day


Prescribed Fire, Cultural Burning get Liability Support to Reduce Wildlife Risks in California                                                    

California is providing $20 million in new protections for prescribed fire and cultural burning practitioners. The bill, Prescribed Fire Liability Claims Fund Pilot, will cover losses from the rare occurrence of prescribed or cultural burns escaping control. Read more about the Pilot Prescribed Fire Claims Fund here: Prescribed Burn Fund.


Possible Tide of False Chinch Bugs Ahead

UCCE Ventura Advisor Ben Faber passes along a note from UCCE Kern County Entomology Advisor David Haviland that the hills are drying up and the toxin-injecting False Chinch Bugs could be descending meaning trouble for orchards and row crops. Get the scoop of these insects by reading Ben’s blog: False Chinch Bugs Coming? – Topics in Subtropics.


Planting Day in Camarillo Creates New Home for Pollinators

Come ready to work and help create a vital monarch and pollinator habitat in Arneill Park in Camarillo. On Saturday, July 22 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. volunteers will be planting California native pollinator resources and connecting irrigation. It’s going to be a fun, productive day in the sun. Use this link to for more information and to sign up: Planting Day 2023.


Pollination Investigation – The Essential Role of Pollinators in the Natural World

Nearly 90% of flowering plants rely on about 200,000 species of animal pollinators for fertilization. Explore the essential role that pollinators play in the natural world in the Smithsonian poster exhibition Pollination Investigation on display now at the Museum of Ventura County Agriculture Museum, 926 Railroad Avenue, Santa Paula. For more information visit: Museum of Ventura County.


USDA’s Chief Scientist to be Keynote Speaker at International Annual Meeting

Hosted by the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America, plan to attend the 2023 International Annual Meeting to inspire change in agronomy, crop, and soil sciences to impact scientific advancement. The meeting takes place from October 29 – November 1 in St. Louis, Missouri and offers limited virtual attendance. Dr. Jacobs-Young from the USDA will be the keynote speaker. For more information and to register go to: ACS International Annual Meeting.


UC Davis Team Wins Top Prize in Farm Robotics Challenge 2023

Team Amiggie from UC Davis designed a robot to assist human pickers and streamline harvest operations. The robot monitors risky postures, carries harvested crops, and streamlines the unloading process for increased efficiency. UC Davis continues to be the home of innovative agricultural research. To read about all competitors, go to: UC ANR News.

2023-07-06T13:45:01-07:00July 6th, 2023|


Courtesy of the California Department of Food and Agriculture

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is pleased to announce availability of approximately $4 million dollars of grant funding for its Healthy Soils Demonstration Program.

The program funds projects that showcase California farmers and ranchers implementing established and emerging soil health practices. These projects create an opportunity for local communities to visit and observe soil health practices in action and understand how those practices can translate to their own operations. The program also funds data collection on soil health and/or greenhouse gas emissions to inform future state investments in climate smart agriculture.

Nonprofit entities, university cooperative extensions, federal and university experiment stations, city and community colleges, resource conservation districts (RCDs), California Native American Tribes, and farmers and ranchers in partnership with one of the entities are eligible to apply.

CDFA will hold two free web-based workshops to provide information on Program requirements and the application process. Participants can attend remotely by registering for webinar access:
•         Tuesday, July 11, 2023
9 a.m. – 11 a.m. PST
Registration: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_B_U2prf6RFCrYLs7_joclA
•         Wednesday, July 12, 2023
1 p.m. – 3 p.m. PST
Registration link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_NpINDZW8RQeihz29YvrZMg

The solicitation will close on August 28, 2023, at 5 p.m. PST. CDFA will not accept late submissions.

For information on eligibility and program requirements, visit the Healthy Soils Program website: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/healthysoils/DemonstrationProjects.html

2023-06-30T09:15:32-07:00June 30th, 2023|

Almond Alliance Applauds the Lifting of India’s Retaliatory Tariffs on U.S. Almonds

Courtesy of the Almond Alliance

By Hector Barajas

Organization Credits Sen. Padilla, Speaker McCarthy, Rep. Costa for Promoting Need for a Resolution to Major Trade Barrier

The Almond Alliance welcomed today’s announcement from the United States and India that retaliatory tariffs on almonds will be lifted.

“We are greatly pleased to have this issue resolved so that US almonds can once again compete fairly in one of the largest international markets,” said Aubrey Bettencourt, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Almond Alliance.

She noted that the outcome was the result of ongoing negotiations between the two countries during the past several months.

“While a lot of people were involved in making this happen, I’d especially like to recognize the role of several members of the California Congressional delegation,” Bettencourt said. “Senator Alex Padilla, Speaker Kevin McCarthy and U.S. Representative Jim Costa made major contributions to this effort. Without their leadership, these onerous trade barriers might very well still be in place.”

2023-06-23T09:10:55-07:00June 23rd, 2023|

California Strawberry Commission Fills Two Key Positions

Courtesy of the California Strawberry Commission

By Jeff Cardinale

New VP of Research and Director of Communications join the Commission 

The California Strawberry Commission (CSC) is announcing two key hires to advance the industry through research and communications. 


Dr. William “Bill” Turechek joins the CSC as the new Vice President of Research. Bill joins the CSC after serving since 2006 as a Research Plant Pathologist at the USDA-ARS Horticultural Research Laboratory in Fort Pierce, Florida, where he worked on epidemiology and management of strawberry and vegetable diseases.   


Dr. Turechek has over 100 peer-reviewed research articles and book chapters, has raised tens of millions of dollars in extramural funding, and has served as senior editor for the journals Plant Disease and Phytopathology. His areas of expertise include plant disease epidemiology, disease management, and statistics, with an emphasis on diseases that occur in strawberry and annual vegetable production.     


“We are excited to have Dr. Turechek join the California Strawberry Commission and utilize his expertise to aid the 400+ family-owned strawberry farming operations in California,” said Rick Tomlinson, California Strawberry Commission President.  


“I am honored to join the California Strawberry Commission and I am looking forward to meeting and getting to know the many growers, shippers, and processors in the California strawberry industry. As the Vice President of Research, one of my primary goals is to work closely with the industry to identify key research needs, and then make it happen. In leading the Commission’s research efforts, I hope to empower California strawberry growers with the latest research and data to help them make the informed decisions that will advance strawberry farming in California” said Dr. William Turechek, California Strawberry Commission Vice President of Research. 


The California Strawberry Commission also recently named Jeff Cardinale as the new Director of Communications. 


Among his duties, Cardinale will lead positive marketing message campaigns highlighting the importance of the California strawberries and the industry itself to the local communities where strawberries are grown as well as to local, state, and national stakeholders. Cardinale will also handle media relations and crisis communications. Cardinale led the commission’s response to the January and March flooding events.


“On behalf of the 400+ California strawberry growers, shippers, and processors, I am excited to join the California Strawberry Commission. There are incredible stories to tell about the California strawberry industry, from the remarkable opportunities for field workers becoming farm owners, to the fact that 97 cents of every California strawberry dollar goes right back into the community. These are just a few of the many great things happening in the California strawberry industry and I look forward to showcasing those stories,” said Jeff Cardinale, California Strawberry Commission Director of Communications.  

“We are delighted to have Jeff on board. He brings nearly 10 years of agriculture communications experience as well as extensive work in proactive and crisis communications. The commission is confident Jeff will serve the industry well,” said Rick Tomlinson, California Strawberry Commission President. 


Prior to his work in agricultural communications, Cardinale served as the Public Information Officer for the Fresno Police Department. Cardinale also has more than 15 years experience in television news management where he won six Emmy Awards for Best Newscast. 


As part of the marketing and media relations campaigns, Cardinale plans to introduce new ways of reaching the media, as well as the local strawberry farming communities to stay engaged with the industry. 


Jeff Cardinale joins the CSC as Director of Communications








Dr. Bill Turechek joins the CSC as Vice President, Research

2023-06-23T08:59:47-07:00June 23rd, 2023|
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