Produce Passes All Residue Testing in 2017

FDA Produce Residue Sampling “Once Again” Verifies Safety

Last week the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its 2017 pesticide residue sampling data results. FDA concluded: “The latest set of results demonstrate once again that the majority of the foods we test are well below the federal limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency.”

Note the term “once again” in FDA’s statement. They used it because government residue sampling data year after year reaffirms the safety of our food and the exceptionally high level of compliance among farmers with laws and regulations covering the use of organic and conventional pesticides.

Let’s get a little technical for a moment and focus on how FDA residue sampling is protective of consumers. FDA employs a three-fold strategy to enforce the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) tolerances or safety standards for pesticide residues.
If you haven’t heard – September is National Fruit and Vegetable month. Yes, it is time to celebrate the only food group health experts and nutritionists agree we should all eat more of every day for better health and a longer life.
While decades of studies have shown the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables are overwhelming and significant, the safety of both organic and conventional produce is also impressive. Government sampling data shows an over 99% compliance rate among farmers with the laws and regulations required for pesticide applications on organic and conventional fruit and vegetable crops. This led the United States Department of Agriculture to state that: “The U.S. food supply is among the safest in the world.”

Many health organizations are promoting National Fruit and Vegetable month to remind consumers about the importance of increasing consumption – only one in 10 of us eat enough of these nutrient-packed foods each day.

However, studies show a growing barrier to consumption is fear-based messaging which inaccurately calls into question the safety of the more affordable and accessible fruits and veggies. This messaging is predominantly carried by the same activist groups year after year despite studies which show that “prescriptions” for fruits and veggies could reduce health care costs by $40 billion annually. Or that 20,000 cancer cases could be prevented each year.

2019-09-23T15:06:22-07:00September 23rd, 2019|

Nationwide Promotion Will Move Pecans

American Pecan Promotion Going Well

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

The Federal Marketing Order for Pecans was voted on by the nationwide industry one year ago, and already six million dollars of assessments have been raised; an advertising firm has been hired; and the promotion of health, versatility and the heritage of American Pecans to consumers has begun.

California Ag Today spoke to Mike Adams, a central Texas pecan grower and the chairman of the American Pecan Council that oversees the Federal Marketing Order for Pecan, about the order.

“In fact, the USDA/ AMS said that the pecan marketing order was the first in more than 10 years,” he said.

“The referendum for the marketing order was in March of 2016, and again, only growers vote, so when we went to the industry with a referendum, again, in accordance with the law, 77% of our individual growers were in favor, and 88% of the volume of our growers were in favor. We got an overwhelming vote from what had been heretofore a pretty fractured industry, you know, growing pecans across 15 different states,” Adams explained.

“2016 was the first year that the FMO began collecting assessments, and we’re seeing the industry believing in the effort,” Adams said. “The assessments have come in, and we have met our goal in what we thought would come in this first year.”

“This is all brand new. In other words, all the rules are new, the forms are new, the idea is new,” he said. “So instead of being skeptical and holding back, the industry—and I will give credit to the handlers—came through.”

Adams said that growers have been very cooperative, and have met the first year goal so that there is a budget.

“We’ve got a national office. We’ve got a marketing firm engaged and on account, so a number of things are happening this first year, but honestly, much faster than some of us thought it could happen. But without the support of the industry, it couldn’t have been done,” Adams said.

The assessment is three cents per in-shell pound of improved variety pecans, and two cents per in-shell pound of natives. Also, substandard—which is a nut that has commercial value but may not be a number one—is two cents per in-shell pound.

The rule that actually is law now was published in the Federal Register in mid-September 2017.

“I have been so encouraged and gratified that the industry said we believe in what you’re doing, so we’re not going to wait on the law. We’re going to go ahead and assess ourselves last year,” Adams said.

And Adams said that the 2016 assessment sets the industry up for the 2017 crop.

“Quite honestly, because we were very frugal in what we spent this first year … we’ll have some carryover into 2017. It really gives us a springboard or a head start on all the things that the council wants to pursue,” he said.

And part of the money has already been put to good work. A national office has been open in Fort Worth, Texas.

“We’ve got an executive director. Up until that staff came on board, the pecan industry had never had a single entity that went to work every day for the industry. We’ve got regional associations, we’ve got state organizations, but we’ve never had one entity or one staff that works every day for the pecan industry, so we’ve got that now,” Adams explained.

“Weber Shandwick, out of their Chicago office is going to be doing our marketing and public relations for us. In fact, in July they launched a very informative website that focuses on the health aspect of pecan consumption, as well as the American heritage of the pecan. That website is”

2018-02-09T17:03:37-08:00February 9th, 2018|

Seat Belts Important to Farm Worker Safety

Year-Round Nut Harvest Safety –  Part 2

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Safety should be top priority on farms, especially during harvest. Most farm accidents and fatalities involve machinery and a busy atmosphere like harvest creates many opportunities for injury. However, farm worker safety is important year round. Paul Williams, a senior loss prevention consultant with the State Compensation Insurance Fund, talked to California Ag Today about the topic.

“Some things like wearing seat belts is critical. All the new farm equipment has seat belts, and workers should be encouraged to wear the seat belts because if they are unfortunate enough to get rear ended, that seat belt’s going to keep them in the equipment. You’re not going to get ejected out onto the road,” Williams said.

“A lot of it’s just simple common sense, but the whole idea of doing these before harvest is to remind people, that they are getting ready to enter a busy time of the year. And fatigue is always a factor when you’re working six days a week, 10-12 hours a day. It’s just natural that you get tired, and when you’re tired, you don’t always think clearly,” he said.

“Worker reaction times are slower so we just want to remind people, about safe work practices to follow. And they are good to follow year-round,” Williams noted.

It’s also important to consider safety when riding from one area of the farm to another.

“If there is not a seat and a seat belt, then there should not be a rider. And it does not matter if it is a tractor or bin trailer or a tractor pulling irrigation pipe,” Williams said.

“We’re all basically lazy; none of us like to walk any further than we have to. We don’t see any harm in hitching a ride, but we have a number of fatalities and serious injuries on California farms every year. We have way too many accidents occur where people are passengers on bin trailers and harvest, whether it’s in the vineyards or in the orchards.

“People jumping on a bin trailer where a tractor driver up front may be making a sharp turn to get out of a row. A lot of times there can be pinch points and that’s where people get pinched between that part of the trailer or that bin that they can’t always see. It’s a very dangerous place to be because all it takes is one bump, one hole in the ground or a rough spot to cause someone to be bounced off the tractor.

“The worst injury we see is not so much being bounced off, but just being caught in between row end or the poles at the end of a vineyard,” Williams said.

For more information on safety on the farm, go to:

2017-09-03T00:23:27-07:00August 9th, 2017|

Innovative Biomass Conversion to Help Ag

New Biomass Conversion Idea Could Help Ag Industry

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Editor

A new biomass process will convert woody ag waste, including almond hulls and shells, into ethanol, which has a demand and makes the conversion possible.

Eric McAfee is Chairman, CEO and co-founder of Aemetis Inc., a Culpertino-based industrial biotechnology company producing renewable chemicals and fuels using patented microbes and processes.

The current bio-generations and biomass plants are shutting down left and right because they have lost their profit due to low electricity prices.

Eric McAffee is Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Aemetis

“The fundamental problem that we have is that the biomass energy business makes electricity, and that electricity is being replaced by solar energy and wind energy, which is funded by a 30 percent federal tax credit,” McAfee said.

“When the cost of energy is 30 percent lower because the federal government has supports, of course the biomass energy producers are challenged to compete with that lower cost source of energy,” McAfee explained.

Data shows that about 70 percent of the plants in California are already shut down, and more are shutting down each month.

That’s where Aemetis steps in. “Our view is that biomass in the form of orchard waste, vineyard waste – even forest waste, actually – has a very valuable opportunity to become the fuels that could go directly into California automobiles,” McAfee said. “Converting the biomass into fuels rather than biomass into electricity has been the missing link.”

Doing all the conversion work is a proprietary microbe. “It’s a little organism that acts sort of like yeast in that it takes in these wood molecules, and it converts them into different molecules in its body, and then it excretes ethanol as one of the products it makes,” McAfee said.

It’s similar to the wine industry, where the yeast takes sugar from the grape juice and converts it to alcohol.

“We’re taking orchard wood, and we’re producing liquid fuels that are very valuable in California because they’re high in oxygen, so they burn more cleanly than gasoline, and they’re high in octane, so they make the engine perform sort of like a high performance racing engine would. It’s very valuable as a fuel and good for the environment. The plant that will do all this is currently being built in Keyes, CA. We’re actually in initial engineering right now. We expect to have it up and running in … approximately 18 months,” McAfee said.

And McAfee noted that the conversion process is not just a theory. “This technology has been actually produced in six different plants around the world. Over 200 million dollars of investments have been made in the development of the technology,” he said.

“We’re essentially taking an agricultural waste, and we’re adding the additional volume of ethanol that’s mandated under California law. It’s a 10 percent blend in California, but the federal government has approved a 15 percent blend. I do expect over time that California will be at not only 15 percent, but even higher blends,” McAfee said.

“There’s a lot to work with – literally hundreds of thousands of tons of agricultural waste produced every year in addition to the removal of the orchard wood itself after its useful life of 20 to 30 years,” McAfee said.

And while several UC Cooperative farm advisors are working on orchard chipping and leaving it in the orchard – as well as bringing almond shells and hulls back into the orchard, which could be beneficial to the orchard soil – McAfee noted that the industry will figure out a balance.

“What we’re going to see over time is the right balance of the biomass that needs to go back into the field verses really true waste biomass that needs to be removed,” he said.

“There’s about a million acres of almonds in California, and over a 20 to 30 year lifespan, it means 40,000 to 50,000 acres a year of almonds gets removed. That’s a tremendous amount of biomass that has to be put somewhere, and right now, turning it into electricity in these large plants has been a solution, but we certainly think that turning it into liquid fuels and supplying California motorists is going to be an exciting future for these farmers,” McAfee said.

Again, the conversion plant should be operating by mid-2018. “We’re excited about it. It’s very good for the air quality in the Central Valley, because we don’t want to go back to the 1960s and ’70s and end up with these farmers basically having very few choices, and deciding that paying an air quality fine is the best of worst choices,” McAfee said. “I would suggest that, frankly, turning it into fuel in a very clean process, such as what we run, could be a big part of maintaining improved air quality in the Central Valley of California.”



2017-04-06T03:48:06-07:00March 29th, 2017|

California Proudly Provides Most of Thanksgiving Feast to America

Enjoy Your Thanksgiving Feast

From California’s Farms to Your Table


By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director


Turkeys come from several areas of the state, and while California is ranked No. 7 in turkey production, we do supply most of the western United States.

The famous Mrs. Cubbison’s dressing comes from Sophie Cubbison, a California entrepreneur who was born in 1890 in the San Marcos area of San Diego County. A longer fascinating story made short: In May 1920, she graduated from California Polytechnical University with a degree in Home Economics. In 1948, she added seasoning to broken pieces of the popular Melba toast to make stuffing. A factory in Commerce, California churns it out this time of year.

Farmers and farmworkers in California produce almonds, raisins, walnuts, prunes, pistachios, figs and dates, apricots, pumpkins, pecans and pomegranates. . . right on up the food line.

These are all part of the American Thanksgiving feast.

Celery from the Oxnard and Ventura area, and the rest of the ingredients for the stuffing mix, plus carrots, lots of crisp lettuce and fresh spinach from Salinas — all these greens waiting for you, already washed and bagged in the produce department. The green beans in your casserole come from California growers.

You’ve got oranges and kiwi fruit, table grapes, strawberries, raspberries freshly harvested from the Salinas and the San Joaquin Valleys. You’ve got sweet potatoes from Merced County — this is their pinnacle season. You’ve got all kinds, colors and sizes of potatoes and tomatoes, plus parsley, onions and garlic. . .  all grown in California.

Practically all the fruits, vegetables and nuts make America’s Thanksgiving celebrations festive, and nearly all of them come from California.

And don’t forget about the great variety of California winegrapes cultivated by California growers and then crafted with great care into great California vintage.

Wait! We grow firm, juicy apples and those small round watermelons that are a great snack or accent to a flavorful dessert fruit salad. And besides poultry, we even have California lamb, beef, rice or pasta—if you want to go that way.

Of course, you’ve got Martinelli’s sparkling apple or grape cider from Watsonville, near the Monterey Bay area. Local growers provide the tree-ripened fruit to the award-winning company, which is still family-owned and is run by the founder’s grandson and great-grandson.

At more than 140 years old, Martinelli’s is merely one century younger than our nation. In fact, the company received a first place award at the California State Fair in 1890.

By the way, do you know that little pop-up turkey timer that indicates when the turkey has reached the correct internal temperature? Food public relations genius Leo Pearlstein¹, along with a turkey producer from Turlock, invented that gizmo. Pearlstein, who handled the promotions for the California Turkey Advisory Board, was contemplating the enduring Thanksgiving conundrum—how long to cook the turkey and how to figure out when it is done?

Pearlstein said he and the turkey rancher were sitting in Pearlstein’s test kitchen mulling over ways consumers could determine when the turkey was done. They noticed the fire sprinkler system overhead. When the kitchen gets too hot, the fire sprinkler turns on. A metal alloy in the sprinkler is activated or melted when subjected to the high temperature of a fire in the room (185 degrees Fahrenheit). They applied that concept to the pop-up timer.

Officially, the National Turkey Federation advises consumers also use a conventional meat thermometer to verify that the cooked turkey’s internal temperature reaches:

165 degrees F to 170 degrees F in the breast or
175 degrees F to 180 degrees F in the thigh and
165 degrees F in the center of the stuffing

Except for cranberries, it is really a California Thanksgiving.

¹Leo Pearlstein is founder and president of Lee & Associates, Inc., a full-service public relations and advertising firm, which he opened in 1950. According to the company website, he currently runs the company with his partners, two of his sons, Howard and Frank Pearlstein. He is also founder and director of Western Research Kitchens, the food and beverage division of his agencyHe is considered a pioneer food consultant and his agency was recently named as one of the top agencies in the country that specializes in food and beverage clients.

For more food safety guidelines, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) provides this portal.

2021-05-12T11:17:11-07:00November 23rd, 2016|

Episcopal Priest Becomes Farmer

Following His Heart to a Second Calling, Suburban Detroit Priest Becomes California Farmer


By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director


People change careers for a variety of reasons, but Ken Erickson took that notion to an extreme. Erickson, who had grown up in the Detroit suburbs and who was serving as an Episcopal priest in Detroit, received a phone call from relatives who had been farming in Sutter and Colusa Counties for 25 years.


“My aunt and uncle asked if I would be interested in coming to California to learn how to farm and help manage their orchards, which included walnuts, pecans, and olives for oil,” said Erickson. “So my family and I eventually made a decision to do just that, and it has been a big adventure for us.”

walnut orchard


Currently living in Meridian, Sutter County and working side by side with his cousin, Lars Jerkins, Erickson took stock, “We are enjoying living and working in the country. It’s great to work outside,” he said.


People often ask Erickson about the difference between farming and pastoring. “I tell people trees are like people; they need lots of nurture and care, but they don’t talk back,” he quipped.


But, of course, giving up his career as an Episcopal priest required a great deal of thought. “It was a hard decision,” Erickson explained. “It was a big change, but we decided to go for it. Here we are and learning from lots of people, especially from my aunt, uncle and cousin. And I have come to respect and appreciate the fact that the farming community is supportive. They want to help in any way. My family and I are here to stay.”

2016-09-06T17:50:08-07:00September 7th, 2016|

American Pecan Council Begins with Nominations


UPDATE:  September 1, 2016. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is seeking nominations of 15 growers and shellers (handlers) to serve on the American Pecan Council.  Members of the council will be appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to administer the federal marketing order with oversight by AMS.

Nomination forms are available on online at or by contacting AMS at (863) 324-3375.

Completed nomination forms must be received by AMS no later than Sept. 6, 2016.

Forms may be submitted by mail to USDA, AMS, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, 1124 First Street South, Winter Haven, Fla. 33880 or email

The Final Rule for the Federal Marketing Order for Pecans was published in the Federal Register on Thursday, August 4, 2016. Posted by the , the historic event culminated a three year grassroots effort of pecan stakeholders who collaborated with USDA to write and support the order that is now federal law. This action initiates the process of nominating, selecting, and seating of the administrative body of the FMO, the American Pecan Council. A likely schedule over the next few weeks is as follows:

Week of August 8

  • OMB approves Nomination Forms
  • Call for Nomination Press Release; nomination forms mailed to Shellers and Growers, electronic versions available to download

Week of August 22

  • Deadline for Nominations to be returned to USDA

Week of August 29

  • USDA to mail ballots to growers and shellers to vote on Nominees

Week of September 19

  • Deadline for Ballots to be returned to USDA
  • Deadline for background statements (Nominator should seek to gather this document from the Nominees as soon as someone agrees to be nominated.) Only those with completed background statements can be sent forward on the selection order to the Secretary.

Month of October

  • Selection Press Release for the new Council
  • Conference call with USDA Staff and new Council Members (1/2 day) for FMO Orientation
  • Council meets in person


FAQ about the Nomination Process:

  1. HPecan Cluster Royalty Farmsow will Nomination Forms be made available? Upon approval by OMB, official forms will be posted on the USDA website, mailed to growers and shellers on current USDA lists, and posted on the American Pecan Board website.
  2. Who can nominate? Any grower within a region can nominate another grower within the same region. Any sheller within a region can nominate another sheller within the same region.
  3. Who is a grower? A person who has produced an average of 50,000 lbs. of inshell pecans over the last four years or who has 30 pecan acres. All production or acreage must be within the 15 state production area (domestically produced).
  4. Who is a sheller? A person (entity) who has shelled at least one million lbs. of domestically produced inshell pecans in the prior fiscal year.
  5. What determines a large grower and small grower? A large grower is defined as having pecan acres equal to or more than 176 acres, and a small grower has less than 176 acres.
  6. What determines a large sheller and a small sheller? A large sheller is defined as having handled 12.5 million lbs. or more of domestically produced inshell pecans in the prior fiscal year, and a small sheller is defined as having handled less than 12.5 million lbs. of domestically produced inshell pecans in the prior fiscal year.
  7. Can a large grower nominate a small grower and can a small grower nominate a large grower for the appropriate seat? Yes
  8. Can a large grower second the nomination of a small grower, and can a small grower second the nomination of a large grower? Yes
  9. Can a large sheller nominate a small sheller and can a small sheller nominate a large sheller for the appropriate seat? Yes
  10. Can a large sheller second the nomination of a small sheller, and can a small sheTree Shaker Royalty Farmsller second the nomination of a large sheller? Yes
  11. If a grower grows pecans in more than one region, in which region can he/she be nominated? In the region in which he/she grows the largest volume of their production.
  12. If a sheller handles pecans in more than one region, in which region can he/she be nominated? In the region in which he/she handled the largest volume of domestically produced inshell pecans within the preceding fiscal year.
  13. Can a vertically integrated pecan operation (grows and shells) be nominated as a grower and a sheller? No, a decision must be made by the person (entity) being nominated whether to be nominated as a grower or a sheller.
  14. Who nominates the candidates for the accumulator and public member seats? Once the 15 member Council is seated, they nominate candidates for the accumulator and public member seats.

(Source: )

2016-09-01T17:31:06-07:00August 12th, 2016|

Pecan Growers Excited about Federal Marketing Order

Calif. Pecan Growers Gather to Discuss Federal Marketing Order

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

On Wednesday, August 3, nearly 100 people attended the California Pecan Growers Association meeting at Linwood Nursery, the oldest supplier of pecan trees in the world, located in Le Grand in eastern Merced County.

Not all attendees were current pecan growers; many were contemplating planting pecan trees. New interest and excitement in pecan farming surrounds the newly approved (May 2016) and forthcoming Federal Marketing Order For Pecans (FMO) that will assess growers a few cents per pound to increase pecan marketing and awareness in California and other areas of the country.

Pecan growers and others interested in the crop gathered in Le Grand to discuss Federal Marketing Order for Pecans

“We want to model it after the Almond Board of California,” said Mark Hendrixson, president of the California Pecan Growers Association, whose members farm approximately 4,000 acres of the crop throughout the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys.

“We had a very a good turnout. Pecans are a growing industry in California; we have great weather for them,” said Hendrixson. “We do things a little bit differently because of our great weather, but we’re able to produce extremely good quality.”

CPGA-Logo“Pecans are extremely healthy,” said Hendrixson. “The research has been out there for quite some time, but the pecan industry has never had a unified marketing voice. Once we develop the Federal Marketing Order, we will be able to spread the message about health and other great benefits that will help drive interest in pecans and pecan consumption, and to deliver quality product to consumers around the world.

Hendrixson expects the Federal Marketing Order For Pecans to be in place very soon. The USDA will officially seat the Board of the American Pecan Council (APC), the new governing board of the FMO, by October 1, 2016 by calling for board member nominations, qualifying the candidates and issuing a ballot for qualified voters to vote on those nominations.

“Once those ballots are approved by the Secretary of Agriculture,” Hendrixson said, “we’ll have an elected Board that can begin to function and actually set the assessment, which in turn will be approved by the USDA going forward.”

2021-05-12T11:05:50-07:00August 4th, 2016|

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month!

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month with California Ice Cream and Flavors!

By Lauren Dutra, NAFB Summer Intern and Assistant Editor

Jennifer Giambroni, director of communications, California Milk Advisory Board

Jennifer Giambroni, director of communications, California Milk Advisory Board

First established in 1984 by Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, National Ice Cream Month was scheduled for the month of July, with the third Sunday of the month designated as National Ice Cream Day.

Jennifer Giambroni, director of communications, California Milk Advisory Board, explained why Californians, in particular, have so much to celebrate during National Ice Cream Month. “As the number one ice cream state,” she said, “we produce 126 million gallons of ice cream a year.”

Thats a lot of scoops!

California also leads the nation in milk production, and 99 percent of dairies in the state are family-owned. Including milk production on farms and milk processing, the California dairy industry, supports about 190,000 jobs in the California economy and contributed about $21 billion in economic value added in 2014, according to “Contributions of the California Dairy Industry to the California Economy,” by the University of California Agricultural Issues Center (May 14, 2015). 

Blueberry Ice Cream Float

Blueberry Ice Cream Float (Source: California Milk Advisory Board, Kristina Vanni Blogger, 2012)

Ice cream, being both timeless and innovative, has evolved in flavors and varieties over the years, according to Giambroni, while still holding true to the traditional treat you grew up with as a kid. “Ice cream is an important category that represents a lot of the milk produced on California’s more than 1,400 family dairy farms and carry the Real California Milk seal,” she noted.

“We’re seeing adult-friendly milkshakes with the addition of spirits, ice cream sandwiches made with more than cookies, and sundaes with everything from balsamic vinegar reductions to red bean paste,” Giambroni elaborated. Other new ice cream trends include hyper-indulgent flavor combinations, including nuts and fruits grown in California, and “better for you” versions with probiotics, varying levels of fat and sugar, added calcium, lactose-free, and different kinds of oils. “We’re loving the olive oil and walnut oil ice creams for their subtle flavors,” Giambroni noted.

Approximately 12 pounds of Real California Milk are used to make just one gallon of California ice cream.

Watermelon Chill Ice Cream (California Milk Advisory Board)

Watermelon Chill Ice Cream (California Milk Advisory Board)

The California Milk Advisory Board works with bloggers on how to incorporate ice cream into events for children of all ages:

TomKat Studio – DIY Ice cream Sandwich Bar

Hostess with the Mostess – Healthy Milkshake Bar

Hostess with the Mostess – How to Set Up a Cocktail Milkshake Bar

Hostess with the Mostess – Kids Sundae Party

Check it out:

Ice Cream Sandwich (California Milk Advisory Board)

Ice Cream Sandwich (California Milk Advisory Board)

Rick’s Ice CreamBlue Moon-A fruit loops tasting ice cream with super-secret natural ingredients

McConnell’s Boysenberry Rosé Milk JamCentral Coast, grass-fed milk & cream and cane sugar, slowly-simmered to a thick, rich and decadent milk jam – then churned into house-made, boysenberry & rosé wine preserves. 

Breyer’s Strawberry Ice Cream-packed with sun-ripened California strawberries picked at the peak of happiness!

Gilroy Garlic Festival Garlic Ice Cream-July 29-31, 2016

The Orange Works‘ Orange Ice Cream and Chili Mango Ice Cream

Where Is the Best Ice Cream in California? (PBS, 2014)

2016-07-23T17:33:15-07:00July 22nd, 2016|

Nut Harvest Safety Highlights

Nut Harvest Safety Seminar Highlights Risk Areas of Harvest Season

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Nut harvest safety was the topic of a recent seminar, sponsored by AgSafe and the Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA), at the Fresno Farm Bureau office.


Use of safety lighting for almond nut harvest

When almond harvest commences in a few months from now, safety in the field is very important as crews move out to eight hundred thousand acres of bearing orchards. California Ag Today produced a video on this meeting.

Click here to watch video.

Carlos Mendez, almond harvest manager for Madera-based AgriLand Farming, which produces almonds, pistachios, walnuts, grapes, and citrus, said, “Safety is number one for us. If you look at any of our vehicles, we have a lot of lights to help break through the dust. It looks like a Christmas tree, which includes my truck. We also use safety vests and strobe lights on everything,” he noted.

Nut_Harvest_Safety bank-out wagon

Bank-out wagon during almond nut harvest.

Mendez said safety is part of the AgriLand Farming culture. “We don’t have a safety officer or coordinator because we are all in charge of safety. All of us wear that ‘safety hat,’” Mendez said.

And when Mendez talks about all the necessary increased lighting, he is also trying to prevent harvest workers from being run over by harvest vehicles or getting their hands caught in chain drives or augers.

nut harvest safety

Bank-out wagon during almond nut harvest

“We’re moving, at any given time, sixty pieces of equipment. Everyone must be aware of harvesters backing up to bank-out wagons in the orchard to transfer the crop, as well as bank-out wagons unloading their the crop at elevators into transport trucks,” Mendez said.

“All workers need to be so constantly careful, even to preventing falling off equipment,” said Mendez.


AgSafe is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to providing employers and employees in the agricultural industry with education and resources to prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities.  Our vision is to be a one-stop resource providing safety solutions for the agricultural industry.

Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) was formed in 2009 to answer the industry’s call for representation and expertise in critical compliance areas, such as air pollution, food safety and safety services, a new agricultural organization has been formed. This organization shares staff and office with the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations. WAPA represents the tree nut industry including almond hullers and processors, pistachio, pecan and walnut processors, on regulatory and legislative issues. In addition, the Association performs critical consultative services for its members on issues such as air pollution permits, lockout/tagout and safety plans, Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans and many other services.


2016-06-16T15:23:40-07:00June 16th, 2016|
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