Brandon Crosson Earns Top Honors in Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet

Modesto Junior College student wins in Farm Bureau’s Collegiate Discussion Meet

Braden Crosson, an intern in the Modesto Junior College School of Agriculture’s crop unit, has won the 2021-22 California Young Farmers and Ranchers Collegiate Discussion Meet.

Crosson, of Galt, emerged as the winner of the competition finals, held in Bakersfield on Nov. 13. The event featured a policy discussion on the long-term viability of livestock processing following the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his winning presentation, he addressed how California Farm Bureau efforts can lead to easing government regulations to enable long-term economic viability for local animal processing facilities, while also protecting workers and ensuring that healthy products are delivered to consumers.

As the winner of the contest, he receives $1,250 and will now represent California in the national competition held in February 2022 during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

The competition, part of the Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Program, simulates a committee meeting, in which each committee member is expected to actively participate in a policy discussion. The idea is for participants to improve their discussion skills while learning about important agricultural issues. Ultimately, they learn to work in groups to pool knowledge, reach consensus and solve problems.

2021-12-13T08:59:53-08:00December 13th, 2021|

Water Supply At Risk From Wildfires

How Can California Protect its Water Supply From Wildfire? 

By Pam Kan-Rice UCANR Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach

Stakeholders from across disciplines and institutions offer recommendations to ensure safe, reliable water supply amid a growing wildfire threat 

It’s intuitive that wildfires can affect ecosystems, harm wildlife and contaminate streams and rivers. But wildfires can also have complex, severe and direct effects on our water supply and infrastructure—effects that have only become clear in recent years. Scientists and policymakers must integrate insights and experience from many disciplines and sectors to understand and address the consequences.

In September, 23 scholars and practitioners with a diversity of water and fire expertise came together to answer a critical question: How can California proactively protect its water supply from fires? Their findings, combined with the insights of the author team, form the basis of a new scoping report, released by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ California Institute for Water Resources and the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation.

“Different people have different pieces of the puzzle, but it’s really hard to put them together. That is why we assembled this cross-sector group,” said Faith Kearns, academic coordinator at the California Institute for Water Resources.

Illustrated by the 2017 Tubbs Fire in Wine Country, it has been recognized that community water systems face effects that last long after the fire is quenched. For example, Boulder Creek residents in Santa Cruz County still did not have reliable water access more than a year after firefighters extinguished the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex Fire.

“This is truly an emergent issue,” said co-author Peter Roquemore, project manager at the Luskin Center for Innovation. “We have only seen wildfires directly affect community water systems in the past few years.”

To help California policymakers, researchers, affected communities, and water system operators understand the complex relationship between wildfire damage and water supply, the report authors and participants in this workshop present a set of recommendations:

  • Make communications more accessible, consistent and trustworthy. Residents must receive timely, unified messaging, translated into appropriate languages and in accessible venues, telling them if their water is unsafe and how to access clean water.
  • Invest in local capacity and expertise. The challenges faced vary widely for different communities, and it is important to provide each community with the resources it needs to address the risk it faces. As part of this, efforts should support Indigenous leadership, knowledge and practices to help manage healthy ecosystems.
  • Provide guidance to update regulations. Guidance such as building codes and infrastructure regulations will help individuals and communities make informed decisions and address risk appropriately.
  • Conduct research and build a broader base of knowledge. There is still much to learn, and it is important to illustrate the exact challenges water systems face and how best to address them.
  • Make funding accessible and targeted. Increased earmarked funding for emergency water supplies, housing assistance, and support for water systems, local organizations, and others will help advance solutions. 
  • Further coordinate efforts to address water and fire issues. Focusing on these interconnected issues together, rather than tackling them separately, can lead to substantial benefits.

To read the specific recommendations identified, read Wildfire and Water Supply in California. Funding for this research was provided by the U.S. Geological Survey through the California Institute for Water Resources.

2021-12-09T17:54:59-08:00December 8th, 2021|

Important COVID Prevention at Almond Industry Conference

Almond Industry Conf. Offers Before-You-Go-Tips

Big Event will he at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center

It’s almost here! The Almond Conference is just around the corner and we are looking forward to gathering in-person with our friends and colleagues in the almond industry. When the Board of Directors made the decision to move forward with an in-person conference at our meeting in June, we knew it would be a challenge given State of California restrictions on large indoor gatherings. We knew there was a risk in moving forward with planning when we could get the rug pulled out from under us at any time, but we felt the benefits of meeting in person outweighed the risks and voted unanimously to move forward.

Now here we less than one week out and we are full speed ahead! More than 3,000 industry members have pre-registered to join us in downtown Sacramento on Dec. 7-9. A record number of exhibitors will be arriving this weekend to set up for the largest trade show The Almond Conference has ever assembled. And staff have put together a tremendous lineup of educational sessions, keynote speakers and world-class entertainment!

In order to meet in person we must meet the State requirements for “mega events” (more than 1,000 people indoors). This includes requiring attendees to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of arriving in Sacramento. This is a State of California requirement, not an Almond Conference policy (these are the same restrictions that are in place to attend a Kings game at the Golden One Center). We understand this is an inconvenience and have tried to make it as easy as possible to provide this information so we can hold the event in person. See below for more information.

Also, at this time, the County of Sacramento requires masks be worn indoors in public spaces, including the Convention Center. Sacramento County’s Public Health Department will end their indoor mask requirement if the count reaches 5 or fewer cases per 100,000. We’re watching the numbers closely and currently Sacramento is on a downward trend at around 10 cases per 100,000. We are hoping the downward trend continues as we know many of you would prefer not to wear masks in the facility. We will update you if the County lifts the requirement. If not, you will need a mask to enter the Convention Center.

We appreciate everyone’s understanding and assistance as we navigate the various State and Local requirements to hold The Almond Conference in person. We hope you’ll agree that the opportunity to meet in person is worth it! Thank you for your patience and we’re looking forward to seeing you next week in Sacramento.

2021-12-01T16:48:11-08:00December 1st, 2021|

Reducing Food Waste by Creating Other Good Food

UC Master Food Preservers Turn Food Scraps Into Gifts Dec. 1

 

By Pam Kan-Rice, UCANR Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach

Free online class offers recipes for using food scraps, answers questions about food preservation

“Putting food in our bellies instead of landfills is good for the planet,” said Sue Mosbacher, University of California Master Food Preserver Program coordinator. In landfills, decaying food releases methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

“We can reduce food waste and save money by creating new foods from food scraps,” Mosbacher said. “Instead of throwing away a lemon peel after squeezing out the juice, use the lemon zest to make lemon curd or citrus salt. They make wonderful homemade gifts for the holidays.”

UC Cooperative Extension Master Food Preservers, a program of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, provides ideas for using leftovers and advice for safely preserving food.

On Dec. 1, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., UCCE Master Food Preserver volunteers of Amador and Calaveras counties will host a free online class to show samples of apple honey, citrus salt, strawberry vinaigrette, sugared walnuts and lemon curd. Recipes will be emailed to participants.

“Many of these gifts are inexpensive to make because you’re using food scraps – such as lemon rind or apple peel – and a few other ingredients. You can put the citrus salt in jars you’ve saved,” Mosbacher said. “It is easy to make and there’s no special equipment needed.”

After the “show and tell” session, the UCCE Master Food Preserver volunteers will answer participants’ questions about freezing, dehydrating and canning foods and food safety.

Because the class is online, anyone can participate, regardless of their location. Register for the one-hour Zoom class at https://mfp.ucanr.edu/Events/?calitem=516566.

The UCCE Master Food Preserver Program extends UC research-based information about home food safety and preservation to the public throughout the year. UCCE Master Food Preserver volunteers are located in 19 counties of California, most recently certifying volunteers in Modoc County, where they are offering pressure canner testing.

UCCE Master Food Preserver volunteers host monthly workshops on the first Wednesday of each month, with hosting duties rotating between Sacramento, El Dorado, Amador and Calaveras counties.

For 2022, the UCCE Master Food Preservers of Sacramento County are planning to offer the following workshops via Zoom:

  • Jan. 19 – Citrus for Super Bowl
  • Feb. 16 – Dehydration for Soups
  • March 16 – Soups & Roots
  • April 20 – “Night of Fermenting” Cheese/Yogurt/Sauerkraut
  • May 18 – Jams & Jellies
  • June 15 – “Ready for BBQ Season” Condiments & Beverages
  • July 20 – Red, White & Blue
  • Aug. 17 – “Tomato Mania” Salsas, Sauces & Peppers
  • Sept. 21 – Sausages & Mustards
  • Oct. 19 – “Apples, Pears & Persimmons Oh My”
  • Nov. 16 – Sides Dishes for your Holiday Dinner
  • Dec. 21 – Quick Gifts

To sign up for any of the workshops above, visit https://sacmfp.ucanr.edu.

To find other upcoming UCCE Master Food Preserver Program events, visit https://mfp.ucanr.edu/Events. To find a program in your county, visit https://mfp.ucanr.edu/Contact/Find_a_Program.

Resources for preserving food and more information about the UCCE Master Food Preserver Program are available at https://mfp.ucanr.edu.

2021-11-30T18:13:20-08:00November 30th, 2021|

Aubrey Bettencourt Will Head up Almond Alliance

Almond Alliance of California Names Aubrey Bettencourt as President/CEO

The Almond Alliance of California (AAC) has named Aubrey Bettencourt as its new President and CEO. She currently serves as Director for Sustainability for the California Cattle Council and Western United Dairies and has extensive experience dealing with a wide range of California agricultural and natural resource issues.

Bettencourt succeeds Elaine Trevino, who has been nominated by President Biden to be the Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative. Trevino is awaiting a confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.

Almond Alliance Chairman Mike Curry said Bettencourt’s selection came after an extensive and thorough executive search. Curry commented, “We are extremely excited to have Aubrey Bettencourt as the Almond Alliance’s new President and CEO. Aubrey comes to us with a wealth of diverse knowledge and innovative advocacy work on behalf of farmers and ranchers. As the California State Director of the USDA Farm Service Agency, she fought to keep ‘farmers farming’ through the delivery of effective and efficient agricultural programs.

Serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Water and Science Division of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bettencourt developed and coordinated national water and science policy, expanding her extensive knowledge of state and national water issues and available resources, making her a unique asset to our membership and community.” Curry added, “Aubrey’s work as the director of the statewide non-profit, California Water Alliance, has given her the tools necessary to advocate for our members as the water crisis in California becomes even more complicated.

As the Director of Sustainability for the California Cattle Council and Western United Dairies, Bettencourt has focused on water supply and water quality, forest health and fire prevention, carbon sequestration, climate resiliency and ground water sustainability. Raised in a farming family, Aubrey has firsthand knowledge of what it takes for a family farm to survive in California and beyond.” “I am excited to join the Almond Alliance, a dynamic leader in American agriculture,” Bettencourt said. “As a fourth generation California farmer, it is a personal honor to serve. I look forward to working with this team to keep farmers and processors providing economic opportunity to our rural communities, bringing worldwide the highest quality product from our farms to your table.”

Bettencourt noted, “The California almond farmer is the most sophisticated in the world; leading in technique, technology, sustainability, safety, and quality. We take pride in this role and great responsibility in this legacy. The challenges we face as an industry including water, labor, energy, supply chain, and climate change, are opportunities for our continued leadership and advocacy. Rather than reacting, we will lead with our own achievable, common-sense solutions to these challenges for the continued success of our farmers, our communities, our businesses, our environment, and our consumers.” Curry noted that in her three years at the helm, Trevino led the almond industry through some very challenging times and wished her the best in her new position.

“I am so incredibly excited for Elaine and her nomination by the President to be the next Chief Agricultural Negotiator at USTR,” Curry commented. “As the President and CEO of The Almond Alliance, Elaine has led our industry through very difficult times. From trade wars, labor issues, struggles during the pandemic, to port issues, Elaine has been a fierce leader fighting the good fight. In every step of the way she has done the good work for California. Yet, Elaine has always kept the communities of our members at top of mind, knowing the economic impact the almond industry has on so many California communities. Elaine has been a true advocate for the good of all. Elaine is the type of leader with the focus to leave things better then she found them.” Looking ahead to her new role, Curry said, “There is no doubt in my mind that as the Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Elaine will continue to be the person who adopts real solutions to real problems.

The United States agricultural community has gained a true problem solver in Elaine Trevino. “ Elaine thanked Almond Alliance members and partners for their support over the past three years. “It has been an honor to work for the Almond Alliance,” she said. “Together we took the Alliance to new heights and strengthened the voice of almonds in Sacramento and Washington DC. Thank you for the opportunity you have given me to lead one of the best agricultural associations in the country. I look forward to staying in touch and learning about the Almond Alliance’s future successes.”

Bettencourt will assume her new role on December 1, 2021 and will work out of the Alliance’s Modesto office.

2021-11-29T11:01:56-08:00November 29th, 2021|

Thanks California Farmers!

We are Grateful for  California Farmers

Thank You!

 

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

 It’s morning, and as the sun rises over the Sierra Mountains, the California farmer rouses early to plan the day and greet his or her employees alongside their pickup trucks.

Side-by-side, they

  • Walk the orchards of almonds, walnuts or pistachios;
  • Peruse the groves of citrus, peaches, plums, and nectarines;
  • Inspect the vineyards of table, raisin or wine grapes;
  • Survey the fields of lettuce, spinach, broccoli, celery or strawberries;
  • Raise forage to feed their healthy dairy cows.

We are grateful for the dedication of the California farmer:

Who may also be a rancher or dairyman.

Who takes NO days off from caring for their livestock and poultry.

Who follows the legacy of prior generations on the family farm.

Who contributes to our nation’s security by providing abundant, nutritious and safe homegrown food to eat.

 

We are grateful for the lawful vigilance of the California farmer:

Who checks their email for newly registered crop protection materials to prevent pests and diseases from destroying her crops.

Who adapts to ever-changing, complicated and costly regulations.

 

We are grateful for the responsible “buck-stops-here” accountability of the California farmer:

Who appreciates the dedication and experience of his employees.

Who follows preventive safety measures, such as providing work breaks, ample water, and shade from the heat.

Who pays her employees well and provides training for them.

Who ensures all equipment is well maintained and furnished with all safety features.

Who follows all best management practices whether industry-recommended or regulator-mandated.

Who adheres to all food safety laws and regulations to prevent food-borne illnesses.

Who tracks her produce every step in the process from seed to farm to fork.

 

We are grateful for the versatility of the California farmer:

Who farms more than 450 different crops—from artichokes, asparagus, and avocados, to

zucchini—which we all need to eat for great nutrition and vibrant health.

Who raises the wholesome foods that ought to dominate our plates to prevent obesity and other chronic diseases.

Who produces most, if not all, of the nation’s almonds, walnuts, pistachios, processing tomatoes, dates, table grapes, raisins, olives, prunes, figs, kiwi fruit, and nectarines.

Who leads the country’s production of avocados, grapes, lemons, melons, peaches, plums, and strawberries.

Who tends to his fields of stunning and delicate flowers that make so many people happy.

 

We are grateful for the ambitiousness of the California farmer:

Who produces award-winning, world-renown wine grapes, and vintages.

Who meets consumer demand for organic, gluten-free, low-fat, locally sourced, family-owned and farmed food.

Who increases the contributive value of California agriculture to the economy by stimulating secondary industries and jobs.

Who increases her yields to feed a hungry and growing world population.

Who contributes towards California’s 15% share of all U.S. agricultural exports (2015).

 

We are grateful for the conservation-minded California farmer:

Who uses drip or micro-sprinklers to conserve every drop of California’s water resources.

Who spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest in turnouts and valves to move floodwater onto their land, to build checks around open fields to capture runoff—all in an effort to recharge groundwater basins.

Who uses integrated pest management practices by following regulations and approved crop product directions, with an understanding of residues and the risk of pest and disease resistance.

Who uses fertilizers judiciously at the right time, for the right crop, in the right place, in the right amount, using the right methods.

Who installs solar panels to harness the abundant sunshine to power her operation.

Who floods her rice fields to conserve flyways for migrating birds and water for fish to thrive.

 

We are grateful for the savvy and social-minded California farmer:

Who advocates for his business and understands financing, accounting, insurance, and business and risk management planning.

Who reaches out to consumers (in her spare time) through social media to reassure excellent quality and safety control of their crops and to share their family’s farming legacy.

Who relays her challenges and achievements—the transparent, complex information that consumers want to know.

 

We are grateful for the accessible California farmer:

Who answers his phone to give directions on crop pruning, thinning and spraying.

Who responds to employee concerns with mutually beneficial solutions.

 

We are grateful for the generous California farmer:

Who contributes funding for local school gardens, agricultural curricula, harvest festivals, sports teams, Farm Bureaus, political action committees, and AgSafe.

Who donates to local food banks and homeless shelters.

 

We are grateful for the intelligent, knowledge-seeking California farmer:

Who regularly attends continuing education training on best practices, pest and disease management, and improved food safety practices.

Who stays current on scientific research and recommendations, and who chooses to fund such endeavors, plus industry associations and trade.

 

We are grateful for the deeply invested California farmer:

Who sends a text to her PCA to schedule a lunch meeting, then gets out of the truck and grabs a shovel to check soil moisture.

Who knows his field and weather conditions, trade and market variables, and employee concerns on a regular basis.

Who sustains the “California” brand known for exceptional quality, nutrition and safety.

 

We are grateful for the determination, stamina and perseverance of the California farmer:

Who stubbornly, painstakingly pushes for a good harvest despite growing challenges to his livelihood and way of life.

Who knows when to fallow a field, change a crop, or sell her business.

Who stewards her crop as best she can despite stormy weather, droughts, and floods.

Who relies on one paycheck per year, generally, which may or may not cover the cost of his operations.

 

We are grateful for the integrity of the California farmer:

Who checks his watch to make sure he arrives on time to his children’s parent-teacher meetings and extra-curricular activities.

Who is dedicated to her family, friends, and community.

 

We are grateful for the Optimistic California farmer:

Who realizes that hard times don’t last forever.

Who anticipates that next year could be better.

Who never gives up.

Who makes every effort to preserve his soil’s health, so it can produce the crop … for next year.

 

2021-11-25T05:58:39-08:00November 25th, 2021|

2019 Biological Opinion Lawsuit Grows

Ag Groups Weigh in on 2019 Biological Opinion Lawsuit

American Pistachio Growers, along with agricultural organizations, signed a letter to the Honorable Deb Haaland, Secretary U.S. Department of Interior, and the Honorable Wade Crowfoot, Secretary Natural Resources opposing new court filings in California’s lawsuit challenging the 2019 Biological Opinions on water projects.

The joint agricultural letter reads as follows:
We are opposed to new court filings in California’s lawsuit challenging the 2019 Biological Opinions for coordinated operations of the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP). These filings include an unprecedented and unvetted interim operations plan for the upcoming water year in California.

As we have known – and has been highlighted over the last year and a half – facts and findings grounded on science need to be followed.  That ethos should also apply to the coordinated operations of the CVP and SWP.

We support continued efforts by your respective departments to work collaboratively to manage the operations of California’s major water infrastructure.  California communities are in desperate need of relief.  Many of our most disadvantaged communities are lacking reliable, clean drinking water.

In addition, Groundwater Sustainability Agencies are expediting enforcement actions to minimize negative impacts resulting from groundwater overdrafts.  We implore you to work together to alleviate these extreme circumstances, rather than exacerbate them.

We are willing to help provide solutions, along with bringing interested parties together to help the communities where we live, work, and grow to stay alive. Only by fostering partnership among all levels of government and among interested parties can we resolve California’s short- and long-term water issues.

2021-11-23T14:00:33-08:00November 23rd, 2021|

UC Davis Student Danielle Rutkowski Wins Top Honors At ESA Meeting

Danielle Rutkowski, UC Davis doctoral student, is framed by the award she won at the Entomological Society of America meeting. (Photo by the Entomological Society of America,

UC Davis Doctoral Candidate Wins High Honors at ESA Meeting

Doctoral student Danielle Rutkowski of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology received the  President’s Prize in her category for her research presentation at the recent Entomological Society of America (ESA) meeting in Denver.Rutkowski delivered her 10-minute presentation on “Fungicide Impacts on Bumble Bees are Mediated via Effects on Bee-Associated Fungi” in the category, Plant-Insect Ecosystems: Ecology 3.” She studies with community ecologist Rachel Vannette, associate professor, and is also advised by community ecologist and professor Rick Karban.

At the ESA’s annual meetings, students are offered the opportunity to present their research and win prizes. They can compete in 10-minute papers (oral), posters, or infographics. First-place winners receive a one-year free membership in ESA, a $75 cash prize, and a certificate. Second-winners score a one-year free membership in ESA and a certificate.

Rutkowski’s abstract:

“Native bees including bumble bees are important pollinators but face threats from multiple sources, including agrochemical application. Declining bumble bee populations have been linked to fungicide application, which could directly affect the fungi often found in the stored food and GI tract of healthy bumble bees. Here, we test the hypothesis that fungicides impact bee health by disrupting bumble bee -fungi interactions.

Using two species, Bombus vosnesenskii and B. impatiens, we test the interactive effect of the fungicide propiconazole and fungal supplementation on the survival, reproduction, and microbiome composition of microcolonies (queenless colonies). We found that both bee species benefitted from fungi, but were differentially affected by fungicides.

In B. vosnesenskii, fungicide exposure decreased survival while fungal supplementation mitigated fungicide effects. For B. impatiens, fungicide application had no effect, but fungal supplementation improved survival and offspring production. Fungicides altered fungal microbiome composition in both species, and reduced fungal abundance in B. vosnesenskii microcolonies, but not in B. impatiens, where instead fungal addition actually decreased fungal abundance.

Our results highlight species-specific differences in both response to fungicides and the nature of fungal associations with bees, and caution the use of results obtained using one species to predict the responses of other species. These results suggest that fungicides can alter bee- fungi interactions with consequences for bee survival and reproduction, and suggest that exploring the mechanisms of such interactions, including interactions within bee-associated fungal communities, may offer insights into bumble bee biology and bumble bee conservation strategies. (Paper co-authors are associate professor Rachel Vannette, Eliza Litsey and Isabelle Maalouf)

Rutkowski completed her bachelor’s degree at Cornell University, where she studied how the relationship between mycorrhizal fungi and their host plants impacts insect herbivores. She currently studies  “how bumble bees interact with the microbes, particularly fungi, in their environment, and how these relationships impact bee health.”

Two other UC Davis graduate students won second-place honors in their respective categories.

Maureen Page with the lab of pollinator ecologist Neal Williams, professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology  and Nematology, scored second place for her presentation, “Optimizing Pollinator-friendly Plant Mixes to Simultaneously Support Wild and Managed Bees.” She competed in the category, Plant-Insect Ecosystems: Pollinators.

Kyle Lewald, with the College of Biological Sciences and the Integrated Genomics and Genetics Graduate Group, but a member of the lab of molecular geneticist and physiologist Joanna Chiu, professor and vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, won second in his category, Systems, Evolution and Biodiversity: Genetics and Molecular Biology, with his speech on “Assembly of Highly Contiguous Diploid Genome for the Agricultural Pest, Tuta absoluta.” 

ESA, founded in 1889 and headquartered in Annapolis, Md., is the world’s largest organization serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and others in related disciplines. Its 7000 members are in educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. 

2021-11-22T02:48:33-08:00November 22nd, 2021|

UC Educates Public on Cattle Production Cycles

New UC ANR Publication Educates Public on Cycles of Cattle Production, Grazing and Economics

By Mike Hsu, UCANR Senior Public Information Representative

 

The pandemic has brought more people into nearby parks and public lands for hiking, biking and other recreational activities. In areas like the East Bay Regional Parks – a San Francisco Bay Area park system totaling more than 120,000 acres where about 65% of the land is grazed by livestock – visitors might see goats, sheep and, most likely, cattle.

Those encounters with animals (or their manure) represent a prime opportunity for members of the public to learn about agriculture and the ecological benefits of rangelands, according to Larry Forero, a UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor.

“In addition to supporting the raising of meat and other by-products, rangelands provide a variety of ecosystem services, including vegetation and watershed management, fire fuel control, and, increasingly, management of habitat for rare and endangered species,” Forero explained, noting that working rangelands cover around 40% of California’s land area.

As livestock grazing (mostly by beef cattle) constitutes a significant portion of land use across the state, Forero – along with fellow UCCE advisors Sheila Barry and Stephanie Larson – recently authored a UC Agriculture and Natural Resources publication summarizing the mechanics of cattle production.

“Beef Cattle on California Annual Grasslands: Production Cycle and Economics,” published in October and available as a free download on the UC ANR Catalog, describes the seasonal phases of cattle production and the factors that impact ranchers’ financial calculations and management decisions.

“This concise publication walks through annual stock flows and calendar of operations and gives tables for estimating costs, return over cash, and gross income under various scenarios,” said Forero.

By covering care practices, infrastructure needs, grazing management and economics, Forero said the publication offers a succinct overview of beef cattle production and rangeland use for land managers, decision makers and the park interpreters (such as docents and guides) who educate visitors as well as the interested public.

“Even if only a relatively small percentage of park goers are interested, you still touch a lot of people with a document like this,” Forero explained.

He said he hopes park signage and QR codes will direct visitors to the publication for more information about the cattle and their seasonal movements.

“People often wonder where the cattle go when they leave the park and when they will return,” co-author Sheila Barry said. “The cattle may go to grass or feed yards in other places in California or even out of state.”

But, as this new UC ANR publication explains, the cattle production cycle turns over anew.

“There will be more cattle next fall, I promise,” Barry said.

2021-11-18T18:01:19-08:00November 18th, 2021|

Pistachios Crop Is Big for and Off Year

Pistachios Off-Year Crop Comes in Big this Season

 

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

  Pistachios are alternate bearing, meaning one year a heavy crop, the next year a lighter crop. But this year, an off-year came in very strong, according to Richard Matoian,  President of American Pistachio Growers. “It came as a surprise to everyone that this crop for 2021 is as large as it is. We certainly don’t have the final numbers in, but everyone is expecting it to end up somewhere between 1.15 to 1.2 billion pounds, which would be larger than the record crop we had in 2020, which was just over a billion pounds,” noted Matoian.

Matoian said they’ll have a better picture of this new crop in the next few weeks. And we asked Matoian what the theory is, what could cause this off-year crop to be such an on-year volume of crop? “So, what we saw in 2021 is that the individual nut size is smaller, and that has to do with the warm spring that we had and in some of the hot weather conditions, probably the lack of water in many of the growing areas as well. But despite the smaller-sized nuts, the trees produced at a pretty high level,” explained Matoian.

Matoian said he’s been talking to growers about it. “Growers in the on-year in 2020, didn’t have as large an on-year crop, and so that’s why we think that the trees just had enough capacity to produce at pretty high levels this year,” he noted. And of course, adding to the increased production was thousands a new acres of pistachio crop coming into production this year.

2021-11-17T06:25:27-08:00November 17th, 2021|
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