CFLCA Annual Meeting Nov. 17 and 18

California Farm Labor Contractor Association’s 11th Annual Ag Labor Forum (Virtual) Coming on November 17 & 18


The California Farm Labor Contractor Association (CFLCA) is hosting its 11th Annual Ag Labor Forum in a virtual format on November 17th & 18th.


Farm labor contractors, supervisors, growers, agriculture human resources professionals, safety managers, and affiliated ag labor industry representatives are invited to attend. Attendees will gain knowledge and tools to be successful, compliant, and lucrative in the ag labor industry. Sessions are available in both English and Spanish.


Over 30 educational classes taught by top-notch instructors highlight key information, strategies, and solutions. The keynote speakers include Curt Covington, the senior director of institutional lending at AgAmerica, forecasting California’s ag future and Craig Regelbrugge, the senior vice president of AmericanHort, discussing if good ag labor policy is good for politics. Other session topics include Cal/OSHA updates, preparing for 2022 laws and regulations, federal and state licensing issues, and operations management solutions.


“Our Ag Labor Forum is a great opportunity to expand the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in the farm labor contractor industry. Compliance and licensing are the core of our existence, and this event provides critical information needed to ensure your business stays afloat,” said the president of CFLCA, Oscar Ramos. “The virtual format enables us to serve a large and diverse population and we are thrilled to be able to provide this information to so many business leaders,” he added.


Additional information including registration and sponsorship options can be located by visiting the CFLCA website at or by calling 916-389-1246.


2021-11-04T23:18:41-07:00November 4th, 2021|

AB 1346 Seen As Stepping Stone


Small Engine Ban Puts Cart Before the Horse


By Mike Stephens with the Ag Information Network


California will ban “small off-road engines” (SORE) primarily used in gas-powered lawn equipment, such as leaf blowers and lawnmowers, in a law signed by Governor Gavin Newsom.

The bill, AB 1346, directs California’s Air Resources Board to draw up regulations that will go into place by 2024. It bans the sale of new SOREs, but does not seem to ban their operation.

The law will apply not only to gas-powered lawn equipment, but also to generators and emergency response equipment and other assorted categories. The bill does give regulators some leeway with the regulations based on what is found to be “technologically feasible,” so some portions of the regulation may be pushed back beyond 2024.

However, the California small engine ban law seems to be getting the cart before the horse.

Ryan Jacobsen, CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau explains how alternatives are not in place to switch from small engines and discusses the frustrations

“We understand the target of the bill. But on the flip side, not having readily available alternatives in place is probably the most or is the most concerning part of this bill. This is not the first time California has done something like this, and it’s just a frustration from us on the user end because here we’re left holding the bag of trying to find alternatives that may not come to fruition by that point.

“And again, this is worth noting for this particular issue. In California agriculture, with the exception of SGMA, there’s none of these laws and regulations individually are going to undo our farm operations, but it’s death by a thousand cuts and this is another one of those cuts,” said Jacobsen.

This could be a stepping stone to regulate other large equipment utilized on farms and ranches.

“Well, we’re already there,” said Jacobsen. We’re already in the process of working on that as well. This is one of those stepping stones you know you’re going to see eventually down the road.  Regulators are going after bigger engines, as well as other types of gas operated gas powered types of equipment,” explained Jacobsen.



2021-11-02T09:48:42-07:00November 2nd, 2021|

John Pehrson Honored As Citrus Expert

Photo shows John Pehrson’s grandchildren who joined him to celebrate the naming of building to honor his contributions to the citrus industry. From left, Jillian Pehrson, Pedro Preciat, Jessica Pehrson-Preciat, John E. Pehrson, Erik Pehrson and Dylan Pehrson.

Citrus Industry Honors Longtime UCCE Citrus Expert John Pehrson

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

It’s been 30 years since John Pehrson retired as a University of California Cooperative Extension citrus specialist, but he left such a lasting impression on the citrus industry that his work is still revered today. Regarded as a model Cooperative Extension advisor, Pehrson was gifted at translating UC research and offering practical solutions to help growers better manage their resources and improve citrus yields during his 38-year UC career.

Pehrson is an “encyclopedia of practical and scientific knowledge about citrus,” said Beth Grafton-Cardwell, emeritus UC Cooperative Extension citrus specialist and a former colleague of Pehrson. “He developed expertise not only in soils, but also rootstocks, citrus fertility, irrigation and entomology.”

To honor Pehrson’s contributions to the citrus industry, growers and associated industry members gathered at the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center on Oct. 16 to dedicate the center’s administration building as “John E. Pehrson Hall.”

The 94-year-old Pehrson, who attended the event with his proud family, said he was always eager to go to work as a UCCE citrus advisor and specialist, “and I want you all to know that I appreciated the help I had in both the University community and with the industry, and with you growers that are here tonight to recognize me.”

Pehrson joined UC Cooperative Extension as a farm advisor in 1953 for Orange County, moved to UCCE in Tulare County as a citrus advisor in 1966, then became a UCCE subtropical horticultural specialist at Kearney Research and Extension Center in 1980, and transferred in 1982 to Lindcove REC, where he worked until his retirement in 1991.

“I think of Lindcove and ag extension, and all of us who are lucky enough to be in this industry for all these years, you have to think of John Pehrson, because he was such a big part of our success as growers,” said citrus grower Tom Dungan. “When you walked the orchard with John, and I did often, I had all kinds of problems…by the time you were finished walking the orchard, you not only had the original problem that you were trying to solve, but you had about seven others and he wasn’t afraid to tell you how to solve them. And sometimes you didn’t want to hear that.”

“He loved to come out and help you with your problems, talk about a dedicated guy, I’ve never known anyone in the industry that was as dedicated as John Pehrson,” Dungan said.

In 1994, the California Citrus Quality Council presented Pehrson with the industry’s most prestigious prize, the Albert G. Salter Memorial Award.

“John was an excellent farm advisor and horticultural specialist because he would study the groves, study the literature, run experiments in the San Joaquin Valley and collaborate with other researchers,” said Grafton-Cardwell. “But he also highly respected the practical knowledge of the growers and worked with early adapters of new technologies, helping to advance them.”

In addition to growers, Pehrson’s UC colleagues also benefited from his knowledge and concern for the industry, Grafton-Cardwell said. “I was one of them, as I came on board in 1990 a year before John retired. John saw that I was new to citrus and took me under his wing and said, ‘Let’s conduct a field experiment.’”

When Lindcove Research and Extension Center started a fundraising campaign, several donors identified the building dedication as an opportunity to support research while also paying tribute to Pehrson, said Grafton-Cardwell, a past director of the center.

“I am honored to have my work recognized in this fashion,” said Pehrson, who currently resides in Claremont in Southern California. “I wish to say that I enjoyed my life as a farm advisor, I really did. I would call it a life of purpose.”

Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources, thanked guests for raising over $100,000 to name the building “John E. Pehrson Hall,” saying, “By honoring John and recognizing his accomplishments, you have also invested in supporting the next generation of researchers, allowing us to continue to explore, experiment and develop practical solutions through applied research.”

2021-11-04T23:16:27-07:00October 29th, 2021|

Almond Pollination Increases with Seeds For Bees Program

Seeds For Bees Program Creates Healthier Colonies

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

Project Apis M is a non-profit with the mission of funding and directing research that enhances the health and vitality of honey bees while improving crop production, these are often used in almond orchards and many other crops.

Billy Synk manages the Seeds for Bees Program for Project Apis M. He noted that having cover crops that bloom to attract honey bees is good for the almond orchard.

“For growers of crops that are very early blooming in the year, like almonds, having your cover crop bloom before, during and after, with that emphasis on before, is especially helpful to the bees pollinating that year’s crop. When bees have more access to more diverse and abundant sources of forage,” noted Synk


And Synk says the entire colony is more healthier. “The colony itself is more populous, each individual bee weighs more, and is more fit,  more vigorous, they are even communicating better and finding those almond blossoms; they’re finding them better when they’re communicating more.,” Synk explained.  “They also are more able to defend themselves against pathogens and hives when reared in pollen abundant environments, have a much higher rate of winter survival as compared to colonies that exist and reared in pollen limited environments,” he said.

Contact Project Apis M regarding the Seeds for Bees Program.

2021-11-04T23:35:59-07:00October 29th, 2021|

Congressman Valadao and Others: Turn Pumps on, Capture Storm Water

Congressman David G. Valadao Leads Letter to President Biden and Governor Newsom Requesting Fed and State Emergency Declarations for Recent Storms


This week, Congressman David G. Valadao, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, Congressman Ken Calvert, Congressman Mike Garcia, Congressman Darrell Issa, Congresswoman Young Kim, Congressman Doug LaMalfa, Congressman Tom McClintock, Congressman Devin Nunes, and Congresswoman Michelle Steel sent a letter to President Biden and Governor Newsom requesting federal and state emergency declarations related to the drought and recent storms in California to maximize pumping of stormwater and unregulated flows in the Delta. The letter states:


“The recent Category 5 Atmospheric River event drenched northern California, with rainfall totals exceeding ten inches in some areas of the state and setting single-day records in most. Moreover, atmospheric models indicate that California faces an elevated likelihood of additional atmospheric river activity in the coming weeks. The ground is now saturated from the last storm, meaning additional rain will manifest almost entirely as runoff through the Delta.



“This year’s catastrophic man-made drought has crushed California families and farms, and with supply chain disruptions further hamstringing our agricultural producers, we have a moral obligation to provide Californians any relief that is within our control. Government regulations should not and must not deny our constituents critical water from these storms. While we cannot make it rain, we must take advantage of opportunities to store water when it does.



“We urge your administrations to issue emergency declarations and direct relevant federal and state agencies to temporarily waive all impediments that limit operations of the Delta pumps to ensure none of these storm flows go to waste. Time is of the essence.”

2021-10-28T09:22:35-07:00October 28th, 2021|

Organic Farming and Tillage

Is Tillage a Problem for Organic Agriculture?

By Tim Hammerich, with the Ag Information Network


Certified organic farmers often have to incorporate tillage to make up for the chemical tools that they’re not allowed to use. So does this mean organic agriculture is not compatible with building soil health?

“There are other preventative means that organic farmers use: diverse crop rotations, cover crops. And a lot of the strategies that we now know are fundamental to building soil health more generally,” said University of Wisconsin-Madison Assistant Professor Erin Silva. “So when we look at the bigger picture, we’re also adopting a lot of strategies that we know build soil health. So when we look at the five soil health principles, organic is really hitting most, if not all of those, depending on the system and the strategies that the farmers are adopting,” noted Silva, adding. “Organic agriculture was built on soil health principles and is helping farmers find ways to decrease soil disturbance where possible.”

“In organic production the use of herbicides is quite limited. There are some organically approved herbicides, but because of their effectiveness and costs, they’re very rarely used. So, one of the strategies to manage weeds in organic systems is through tillage. Either primary tillage prior to planting or cultivation, which also is disturbing the soil,” said Silva.

Silva said a lot of organic farmers also incorporate livestock for weed control and soil health.

2021-10-27T08:52:47-07:00October 27th, 2021|

SGMA Implementation Grants Released by State

State Releases Draft Guidelines for SGMA Implementation Grants

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has released the draft guidelines and Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) for the Sustainable Groundwater Management (SGM) Grant Program’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) Implementation Funding.
DWR plans to deliver the funding in at least two funding solicitations:

  • Round 1 will provide over $150 million by spring 2022 to regional groundwater agencies in critically overdrafted basins for planning and implementation projects to help comply with SGMA.
  • Future solicitation in 2022-2023 will provide over $204 million from various funding sources, including anticipated General Fund appropriations in Fiscal Years (FY) 2022/23 and 2023/24, remaining FY 2021/22 General Funds, remaining Proposition 68 Implementation funds, and any funds not awarded in Round 1, for planning and implementation projects to help comply with SGMA. If any funds are available after Round 2, future funding solicitations will be provided.

The public comment period began on October 13 and ends on November 29, 2021. Following the review and consideration of public comments, DWR will release the final 2021 Guidelines and PSP and solicit proposals for Round 1.  A public meeting will be held on November 16, 2021 at 2:00 PM. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, DWR will host the meeting as a Zoom webinar. The meeting will be recorded and a link to the recording will be posted on the website and e-mailed to subscribers of the SGM Grant Program’s email list (see subscription option below to subscribe) as soon as possible following the webinar. Please register for the public meeting at:
For more information on document releases, new solicitations, upcoming workshops, and other grant-related announcements, subscribe to the SGM Grant Program mailing list.  If you have any questions, please submit to:

2021-10-25T19:49:53-07:00October 25th, 2021|

Walnut Freeze Update

Growers Urged to Keep Soil Moist to Lessen Freeze Damage

By Rachel Elkins, Pomology Farm Advisor in Lake and Mendocino Counties and Master Gardener Advisor in Lake County – Emeritus

It is mid-October and in addition to harvest starting it is time to consider potential cold weather. It is still dry and though rain is expected (In Northern California) over the next 10-14 days it is anticipated to be under 1” (I hope I am wrong!). As detailed in my June newsletter (, dry conditions render walnut trees vulnerable to freeze damage, as can be seen throughout the county. Irrigated trees fare much better than dry trees, although fruitwood and buds are certainly damaged, as reflected in subsequent low cropping.

In June I suggested growers consider applying enough water to moisten the upper 1-2 feet of soil after terminal bud set in order to fill soil pores to supply warmth and reduce chances of freeze damage, and this is echoed by colleagues throughout the state. With harvest moving into full swing timing will of course depend on 1) harvest logistics, and 2) rainfall amounts over the next month. Many older orchards lack sufficient crop to harvest and growers must decide how much to invest in trees that failed to recover after the 2020 freeze.

Statewide UC walnut advisors have combined to offer resources to address fall (winter) freeze issues. We have listed the following resources prominently on the front page of our website (

1)      2020 WALNUT FREEZE DAMAGE SURVEY ( You are invited to participate in this survey provided by University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) regarding freeze damage in walnuts. The survey will help us gain greater understanding of freeze damage in walnuts. “Freeze damage” is defined as damage observed in spring yet incurred during the previous fall from cold temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Participation in this survey is voluntary and individual answers will be kept confidential. The survey should require two minutes or less to complete. Address questions or comments to main author Kari Arnold, Orchard and Vineyard Systems Advisor for Stanislaus County ( 209-525-6821) or to me via the contact information below.

2)      NEWSLETTER ARTICLES written by Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley advisors, as well as my June 2021 newsletter. Links to these can be found on our website (see above).

3)      UC WALNUT FREEZE WEBINAR to be held NOVEMBER 4, 2021, 4:00 – 5:30 PM.  A panel of UC experts and walnut growers will discuss best practices for freeze mitigation and recovery. Event details and registration will be posted at as well as on the Lake County website. Meeting information will also be emailed out to electronic walnut newsletter recipients. PLEASE COMPLETE THE FREEZE SURVEY IN ORDER TO ENHANCE OUR WEBINAR!

2021-10-20T13:24:49-07:00October 20th, 2021|

Reinventing the Drone

Drones for Spraying Are Evolving

By Tim Hammerich with the Ag Information Network

When Precision AI set out to start a drone spraying company, they knew they’d need to develop the software, but thought the hardware would be available off the shelf.

McCann… “When we started this process, it was sorta like, well, there’s gotta be drones out there that can do this. And we found out very quickly that to be able to do everything we needed to do there really wasn’t. And so we actually ended up having to build our own drone,” said Precision AI CEO Daniel McCann.

McCann… “Subsequent to that, another company came out with a drone that was powerful enough to do what we want to do. And we’re like, hallelujah, we don’t have to be a drone manufacturer. And so we switched to their platform and sort of hot-rodded that that platform, and then found a whole pile of other problems. And so we’ve kind of come full circle again. We’ve come back to designing our own drone for this particular application.”

As if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, McCann and his team also needed to design a new camera to get to the resolution they needed.

McCann… “In order to be able to properly differentiate between plants, you need to see like some millimeter resolution and none of these drone platforms can do that. They’re all meant to fly 400 feet up in the air and get these wide, broad brush views of your field. Not enough to differentiate between plant species. And just lowering them doesn’t really work. The number of inventions we had to string together to try to achieve this vision was actually, you know, if I want to do it all over again, with the eyes that I have now, it was a bit crazy.”

McCann thinks the hard work will pay off resulting in the most effective drone sprayer on the market.

2021-10-19T17:23:35-07:00October 19th, 2021|

Almond Farmers Honored for Pollinator Protection

North American Pollinator Protection Campaign Honors Almond Farmers of California

Special award given only when a group does exceptional work protecting pollinators


The North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) on Tuesday presented its Business for Bees Sustainability Award – an honor reserved for standout organizations that go above and beyond to support pollinators – to the Almond Board of California (ABC) and the state’s almond farmers.

“This is about their long-term dedication to supporting all pollinators in their orchards and throughout our ecosystem,” said Kelly Rourke, executive director of Pollinator Partnership, which founded NAPPC 21 years ago. “We’ve worked with them for many years and this is well-deserved recognition of their steadfast commitment to engaging farmers in pollinator conservation on multiple levels. The Almond Board and the entire almond industry have really moved the needle to raise awareness and generate action to protect pollinators.”

NAPPC has only given out its Business for Bees Sustainability Award once before. It is given in years when there is a business taking extra special steps to protect bees and all pollinators and to advance sustainability and innovation.

“ABC’s name is on this award, but it really goes to the 7,600 almond farmers in California,” said Josette Lewis, ABC’s chief scientific officer. “Farmers understand how important pollinators are to growing almonds and to all of agriculture and the environment. They want to be part of the solution.”

The reasons for the award, Rourke said, include ABC’s leadership in founding the California Pollinator Coalition, its work promoting on-farm pollinator habitat and its support of years of research and education about the best practices for providing hospitable environments for pollinators in almond orchards and in other habitats.

ABC worked with Pollinator Partnership and the California Department of Food and Agriculture last spring to create the California Pollinator Coalition (CPC) which brought together a broad array of grower organizations across the state’s ag and environmental landscape to help promote the health of wild and managed pollinators.

“The formation of the California Pollinator Coalition was such a big step,” said Laurie Davies Adams, Pollinator Partnership’s Director of Programs, who helped found the CPC. “This is a unique statewide coalition that brings together every grower, farmer and rancher group. I don’t think that’s ever happened before. It’s going to make a real difference on the ground.”

NAPPC is a collaboration of diverse partners from the U.S., Mexico and Canada. It includes respected scientists, researchers, business people, conservationists and government officials.

NAPPC works to promote awareness and scientific understanding of pollinators, to find common ground for solutions and to create innovative initiatives that benefit pollinators.

NAPPC is administered and supported by Pollinator Partnership, a non-profit headquartered in San Francisco with a mission to promote the health of pollinators through education, conservation and research.

The award was announced during NAPPC’s 21st Annual International Conference, held virtually this year for the second time and hosted by the Pollinator Partnership and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The conference and award ceremony were planned for the Smithsonian before being forced to remain virtual because of COVID-19.

Rourke and Adams said they would have liked to have given the honor in person to show how much they appreciate ABC’s work.

“The strong effort that the Almond Board of California has mounted with the support of the almond industry to engage farmers and the entire agricultural community far beyond almond orchards is really impressive,” Adams said. “Bringing every grower group together to have an agriculturally-led coalition for pollinators is significant. It will provide building blocks for even more engagement and large results. It’s a pioneering effort that other states are seeking to emulate.”

“This is an outstanding honor for our farmers,” Lewis said, “especially considering all the good work that NAPPC and the Pollinator Partnership do. As much as anyone, almond farmers are tuned in to the importance of pollinators to their crops and our ecosystem. That’s why they work so hard to make their orchards healthy places for pollinators.”

Almond farmers across California’s Central Valley sit in what is essentially a flyway for pollinators. In recent years, almond farmers have applied to certify more than 110,000 acres of Bee Friendly Farming®, providing pollinator habitat and integrated pest management across the valley to keep that flyway healthy and create badly needed floral resources that compliment and expand beyond the annual almond bloom.

“Almond farmers have doubled the number of acres of bee friendly habit in California and in that pollinator flyway,” Lewis said. “We’re proud to help lead a broad coalition of agriculture and conservation groups to work together to promote and preserve habitat for pollinators.”


2021-10-19T14:59:00-07:00October 19th, 2021|
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