$5 Million Grant Awarded to Help Farmers Enhance Pollinator Habitat in Citrus Groves

Courtesy of California Farm Bureau

The California Farm Bureau and its partners have received $5 million from the California Department of Food and Agriculture to implement climate-smart farming practices in citrus groves in 11 counties. The project, which is part of CDFA’s Pollinator Habitat Program, will focus on hedgerow planting, carbon sequestration and soil management practices, all of which create safe pollinator habitat in citrus groves.

It will fund 20 to 45 citrus groves over three years in Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Tulare, San Diego, Placer and Ventura counties. The citrus sector in these counties generates around $2 billion per year, playing a crucial role in job creation and contributing to agricultural and environmental sustainability efforts.

“This grant will help citrus growers offset costs associated with their efforts to increase pollinator habitat and learn more about how growers can protect pollinators while still controlling harmful insects and plant diseases,” said James Cranney, president of the California Citrus Quality Council, the lead organization on the grant. “The data collected from these projects will help the industry to tell its story about their contribution to pollinator protection and climate change.” 

The grant was awarded to a partnership between CCQC, California Farm Bureau and the Xerces Society.

CCQC will recruit citrus growers to join the program and create pilot projects that will then help other growers determine the feasibility of developing climate-smart production practices.

California Farm Bureau will provide all administrative support and technical assistance on healthy soil management practices through its science and research nonprofit, the California Bountiful Foundation.

The Xerces Society will provide technical assistance on pollinator-related aspects of the project, including native plants, hedgerow planting and identifying optimal locations for these features that balance pollinator health with crop productivity.

“It was important to bring the right organizations into this grant application,” California Farm Bureau Administrator Jim Houston said. “As the largest farmer organization in the state, we have the resources and know-how to implement such projects since we are designed to serve the farming community.”

Xerces Society Pollinator and Agricultural Biodiversity Co-Director Eric Lee-Mäder said, “We are excited to be part of this project and provide pollinator habitat technical assistance for citrus growers wanting to further their environmental sustainability efforts, including carbon sequestration, which contributes to reducing the effects of climate change. These partnerships are critical to building trust and making progress on so many different fronts.”

More than 80% of the awards will fund the cost of on-farm healthy soil management practices in citrus groves. As required by the funding agency, socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers—as defined by the 2017 Farmer Equity Act—will receive at least 25% of the funds.

For more information on the awards, visit California Farm Bureau’s program webpage or CDFA’s fact sheet

 

2024-01-17T11:01:00-08:00January 17th, 2024|

Almond Board CEO Clarice Turner Among Top 50 Diverse Candidates to Lead Boards

Courtesy of the Almond Board of California

The Almond Board of California congratulates President and CEO Clarice Turner for being named one of the Top 50 Diverse Board Candidates in America by Equilar and the Nasdaq Center for Board Excellence.

The award was created to provide a definitive roster of “exemplary individuals among the pool of highly qualified diverse candidates who will propel companies and boards into the next era of board leadership,” said David Chun, founder and CEO of Equilar, a national executive intelligence firm.

“I want to give a heartfelt thank you to Equilar and Nasdaq not just for the honor but also for their collaborative dedication to advancing opportunities for underrepresented groups within today’s corporate boardrooms,” said Turner. “The Almond Board of California has long understood that different experiences and viewpoints make our industry and our communities stronger, more inclusive and more vibrant.”

Nominations for the designation came from a number of organizations across the country, a range of Equilar Diversity Network partners and the selection committee, composed of directors on S&P 500 boards, leaders in the board search industry and distinguished figures from the corporate governance sector, Equilar said.

“The Board of Directors is delighted to congratulate Clarice on this outstanding leadership distinction,” said Alexi Rodriguez, chair of ABC’s Board of Directors. “It’s an honor for her to be recognized by major business leaders around the country and it’s a testament to her leadership abilities, which are a great asset to our industry.”

Turner 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.

2024-01-11T10:32:41-08:00January 11th, 2024|

Karl Stock as Regional Director of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Courtesy of the Friant Water Authority

Friant Water Authority CEO Jason Phillips statement on the appointment of Karl Stock as Regional Director of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

“The Friant Water Authority is excited to hear the news of the promotion of Karl Stock to be the next Regional Director of the California Great Basin Region of the United State Bureau of Reclamation. Karl has many dedicated years of service with the Bureau and has extensive knowledge of the many water challenges we are facing in the West. His long history of finding solutions to the complex issues facing water, resource, tribal, and wildlife issues will undoubtedly serve the Bureau and its stakeholders well. We look forward to working closely with Mr. Stock in his new role.

He will have big shoes to fill as the footprint left by his predecessor, Ernest Conant, is immense. Since 2019, Ernest has led the region, and one of the most complex water systems, the Central Valley Project (CVP) through some of the most challenging times, including prolonged drought periods, regulatory pressure and headwinds, and the urgent need to address aging infrastructure in dire need of attention.

Without Ernest Conants leadership, the effort and construction project to repair the Middle Reach of the Friant-Kern Canal would not be where it is today, only months away from completion.

The entire Friant Division recognizes and thanks Ernest for his dedication to the east side of the San Joaquin Valley, and we look forward to continuing our strong relationship with the incoming Regional Director in the years to come.”

2024-01-09T14:50:36-08:00January 9th, 2024|

Shannon Douglass Elected President of California Farm Bureau

Courtesy of Peter Hecht at California Farm Bureau

Shannon Douglass, a diversified farmer in Glenn County, has been elected to a two-year term as president of the California Farm Bureau.

Douglass, who previously served three terms as first vice president, is the first woman to head the organization, which was founded in 1919.

“This is an exciting moment,” Douglass said. “Farm Bureau has provided me with tremendous opportunities as a first-generation farmer. I’m excited to be part of the leadership of this organization, which represents the diversity of farmers and ranchers in our state.

“The California Farm Bureau has long played an important role in working to protect the future of America’s most productive agricultural economy,” Douglass added. “We face abundant challenges in farming and ranching today. But California remains a great place to grow food, and Farm Bureau is committed to helping our state farmers, ranchers and agricultural businesses thrive for generations to come.”

Douglass succeeds Jamie Johansson, who served three terms as president, beginning in 2017. She was elected Tuesday at the Farm Bureau’s 105th Annual Meeting in Reno.

Douglass is an owner of Douglass Ranch in Orland, which raises cattle and grows walnuts, corn and forage crops, She also co-founded CalAgJobs, an online listing of employment opportunities in California agriculture.

Douglass has served as a director of the Glenn County Farm Bureau and as chair of the California Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers State Committee. She is a graduate of the Leadership Farm Bureau program and the California Agricultural Leadership Program and participated in the American Farm Bureau Federation Partners in Advocacy Leadership program.

Douglass earned a master’s degree in agricultural policy, a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and a minor in agriculture business from California State University, Chico.

Shaun Crook, vice president of a family timber business and a real estate agent specializing in ranch, commercial and residential properties, was elected as the Farm Bureau’s first vice president. Crook has served three terms as the organization’s second vice president. He was first elected as president of Tuolumne County Farm Bureau in 2015.

Ron Peterson, a member of California Farm Bureau Board of Directors and past president of the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau, was elected as second vice president. Peterson is a cattle rancher and dairy farmer who also grows silage crops and almonds.

2023-12-13T23:00:51-08:00December 6th, 2023|

Kern County Agriculture Teacher Wins YF&R Discussion Meet

Courtesy of Peter Hecht

A high school teacher from Kern County earned top honors in the California Young Farmers & Ranchers Open Discussion Meet for his discussion on the tools available and programs needed to help young farmers and ranchers gain access to capital to start an agricultural business.

  Timothy Collins, who teaches agricultural mechanics in Bakersfield and who said he hopes to farm in the future, emerged as the winner in the competition held during the California Farm Bureau YF&R Annual Meeting in Reno, Nevada.

 The Open Discussion Meet featured YF&R participants from across the state. They advanced to the final competition from earlier rounds in which they were challenged to demonstrate their abilities in exchanging ideas and offering detailed opinions on important issues for agriculture.

 Cheyenne Erickson of Antioch in Contra Costa County was first runner-up in the contest. The other finalists were Daniel Jones of Dixon in Solano County and Lillian Smith of Wheatland in Yuba County.

 As the winner of the Open Discussion Meet, Collins earned $5,000. First runner-up Erickson received $1,000, and finalists Jones and Smith each received $500. The winner will represent California in the national contest during the American Farm Bureau Federation annual conference Jan. 19-24 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

 Clayton Merrill, who majors in agricultural communications at California State University, Fresno, was named the winner of the Collegiate Discussion Meet, which was also held during the Farm Bureau Annual Meeting.

 During the collegiate contest, 13 YF&R members from four colleges competed in discussing a question on how Farm Bureau can address water management challenges and seek long-term solutions for farmers and ranchers.

 As winner, Merrill earns $1,250 and will represent California in the national competition during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s YF&R Leadership Conference set for March 8-11 in Omaha, Nebraska.

2023-12-05T08:16:29-08:00December 5th, 2023|

New pest infesting almonds and pistachios in the San Joaquin Valley

Courtesy of UCANR News

Crop sanitation will be key to controlling the invasive carpophilus beetle

Growers and pest control advisers (PCAs) should be on the lookout for a new pest called carpophilus beetle (Carpophilus truncatus). This pest was recently found infesting almonds and pistachios in the San Joaquin Valley, and is recognized as one of the top two pests of almond production in Australia. Damage occurs when adults and larvae feed directly on the kernel, causing reductions in both yield and quality.

Populations of carpophilus beetle were first detected in September in almond and pistachio orchards by University of California Cooperative Extension Specialist Houston Wilson of UC Riverside’s Department of Entomology. Pest identification was subsequently confirmed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Wilson is now working with Jhalendra Rijal, UC integrated pest management advisor, North San Joaquin Valley; David Haviland, UCCE farm advisor, Kern County; and other UCCE farm advisors to conduct a broader survey of orchards throughout the San Joaquin Valley to determine the extent of the outbreak.

To date, almond or pistachio orchards infested by carpophilus beetle have been confirmed in Stanislaus, Merced, Madera and Kings counties, suggesting that the establishment of this new pest is already widespread. In fact, some specimens from Merced County were from collections that were made in 2022, suggesting that the pest has been present in the San Joaquin Valley for at least a year already.

“It has likely been here for a few years based on the damage we’ve seen,” Rijal said.

This invasive beetle overwinters in remnant nuts (i.e. mummy nuts) that are left in the tree or on the ground following the previous year’s harvest. Adults move onto new crop nuts around hull-split, where they deposit their eggs directly onto the nut. The larvae that emerge feed on the developing kernels, leaving the almond kernel packed with a fine powdery mix of nutmeat and frass that is sometimes accompanied by an oval-shaped tunnel.

Carpophilus beetle has been well-established in Australia for over 10 years, where it is considered a key pest of almonds. More recently, the beetle was reported from walnuts in Argentina and Italy as well. Carpophilus truncatus is a close relative to other beetles in the genus Carpophilus, such as the driedfruit beetle (C. hemipterus) that is known primarily as a postharvest pest of figs and raisins in California.

Monitoring for carpophilus beetle is currently limited to direct inspection of hull split nuts for the presence of feeding holes and/or larvae or adult beetles. A new pheromone lure that is being developed in Australia may soon provide a better monitoring tool for growers, PCAs and researchers.

“We’re lucky to have colleagues abroad that have already been hammering away at this pest for almost a decade,” said Haviland. “Hopefully we can learn from their experiences and quickly get this new beetle under control.”

The ability to use insecticides to control carpophilus beetle remains unclear. The majority of the beetle’s life cycle is spent protected inside the nut, with relatively short windows of opportunity available to attack the adults while they are exposed. The location of the beetles within the nut throughout most of their life cycle also allows them to avoid meaningful levels of biological control.

In the absence of clear chemical or biological control strategies, the most important tool for managing this beetle is crop sanitation.

“Given that this pest overwinters on remnant nuts, similar to navel orangeworm, crop sanitation will be fundamental to controlling it,” Wilson said. “If you needed another reason to clean up and destroy mummy nuts – this is it.”

In Australia, sanitation is currently the primary method for managing this pest. And here in California, new research and extension activities focused on carpophilus beetle are currently in the works.

“It’s important that we get on top of this immediately,” said Wilson. “We’re already starting to put together a game plan for research and extension in 2024 and beyond.”

If you suspect that you have this beetle in your orchard, please contact your local UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor (https://ucanr.edu/About/Locations/), County Agricultural Commissioner (https://cacasa.org/county/) and/or the CDFA Pest Hotline (https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/reportapest/) at 1-800-491-1899.

2023-11-03T09:08:09-07:00November 3rd, 2023|

CAPCA Announces $1 Million SPM Grant with California Department of Food & Agriculture

Courtesy of the California Association of Pest Control Advisors

CAPCA is thrilled to announce a one-million-dollar grant awarded by the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) focusing on Sustainable Pest Management (SPM) in the field. The official title of the grant is Assessing SPM Adoption, Decisions, and Resources in California Cropping Systems. The Pest Control Adviser (PCA) selection process will begin in January 2024.

The grant will focus on data collection surrounding the decision-making process of 200 PCAs and their use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and SPM in the field. This data will be utilized by CAPCA, CDFA, and the University of California Integrated Pest Management Department (UC IPM) to better inform continuing education. Data collection is anonymous and only details the crop, commodity, and county. This study will focus on a narrow but diverse set of crops, including grapes, lettuce, pistachios, and tomatoes.

Those PCAs chosen to participate in the grant study will utilize a special and private version of Telus Agronomy’s (formerly Agrian) Record Keeping Suite. The grant incentivizes PCAs through financial stipends for successful program completion, including a yearlong account upgrade through Telus Agronomy. Any resulting online continuing education will be given to participating PCAs.

“For many years, CAPCA has witnessed the decision-making process of our regulators and legislators in Sacramento centered around SPM,” said Ruthann Anderson, President & CEO of CAPCA. “This grant will allow the PCA industry to provide data-driven information surrounding the ongoing and long-standing practice of IPM and SPM in the field.”

CAPCA looks forward to working with the PCA and grower communities, CDFA, UC IPM, and the allied industry through this exciting opportunity.

2023-10-23T10:20:46-07:00October 23rd, 2023|

Farm Bureau praises bill signing to aid drone use in farming

Courtesy of the California Farm Bureau

California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson today applauded the signing of Assembly 1016, which will expedite training and licensing programs so that more farmers may use drones for pesticide applications.

“I am proud that the California Farm Bureau is leading the effort to ensure that farmers have access to precision technology,” Johansson said. “We thank Gov. Gavin Newsom for supporting us by signing Assembly Bill 1016. With aerial spray technology within reach of all farmers for the first time, this will help them save on crop protection costs by allowing drones to target affected areas instead of entire fields. Drone use can also replace backpack spray and ground-based delivery systems with remote technologies, which protects our agricultural employees from close contact with pesticide applications.

“California’s farmers and ranchers lead the world in innovation—producing amazing yields of fresh produce, dairy, and meats while decreasing water, fertilizer and pesticides use. AB 1016 is a bill in that spirit. It allows farmers better access to innovative technology to gain even more efficiency and safety.

2023-10-12T09:43:04-07:00October 12th, 2023|

California Farm Bureau Responds to Bay Delta Plan Report

California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson today commented on the California State Water Resources Control Board’s release of its Bay-Delta water quality control plan update staff report. The document, in the works since 2018, analyzes alternatives to maintain healthy ecosystems for fish.

 ‘“We want to thank Gov. Newsom for his continued leadership and commitment to using collaborative voluntary agreements between water users and public agencies to support water quality and fish populations throughout the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta,” Johansson said. “Maintaining the health of the delta and protecting the viability of farming in that region are top priorities for Farm Bureau and are part of the state water board’s charge to balance and protect all beneficial uses of water.”

 In 2016, the state water board proposed updating the Bay-Delta Plan to require increased flows in delta tributaries to protect fish populations. California Farm Bureau has contended that such an action would provide limited benefits at best for fish while negatively impacting communities, water supplies, farms and the economy.

 A state water board staff report analyzed both that proposal and the voluntary agreements plan, known as the “healthy rivers” proposal. This alternative is supported by water agencies, cities, Farm Bureau and other agricultural groups. It includes targeted flow increases paired with habitat restoration, scientific monitoring and hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for implementation.

 “It’s long been clear that flow increases without other supportive actions won’t bring back fish. Utilizing voluntary agreements under the ‘healthy rivers’ alternative is California’s best opportunity to protect the future of the Delta watershed and those who depend on it,” Johansson said. “This plan would usher in a new era of collaboration, providing healthy ecosystems and water- supply reliability for millions of Californians.”

 Johansson added, “This document is the culmination of countless hours spent by farmers, ranchers, water board staff and other stakeholders. We are grateful to all of them for their work.”

 The California Farm Bureau works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 29,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of 5.3 million Farm Bureau members. 

2023-09-29T14:27:42-07:00September 29th, 2023|

California Farm Bureau statement on passing of Sen. Dianne Feinstein

From California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson:

“Our hearts are heavy at the California Farm Bureau over the passing of Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Sen. Feinstein was a fearless champion for California. Her willingness to be a bipartisan, rational voice in seeking real solutions knew no bounds, as she tackled issues from forest stewardship in the Sierra Nevada to helping farm communities in the Central Valley. Sen. Feinstein was a steadfast supporter of the Golden State’s critical agricultural sector and her unwavering faith in the people of California was her greatest quality. Those of us in California agriculture will miss her leadership and friendship. We offer our deepest condolences to her family.”

The California Farm Bureau works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 29,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of 5.3 million Farm Bureau members. 

2023-09-29T14:25:34-07:00September 29th, 2023|
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