Drought Tolerant Sorghum in CA

California Ideal for Drough Research

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

Research is being done on drought tolerance and sorghum. California Ag Today recently spoke with Jeff Dahlberg, director of the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier about the topic.

“The sorghum research has gone pretty well for the drought tolerance; we have just finished publishing our fifth article on their first year of data,” he said.

There is a lot of interest in the research findings developing through all the drought work. California is a unique spot to do drought work on a field scale because it does not rain very often.

“That allows us to basically control the field through our ability to add water whenever we want to. I’m really excited about this,” Dahlberg said.

There are genes that are turned off and on with the application and/or lack of water.

Jeff Dahlberg, director of the Kearney Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Parlier, Fresno County
Jeff Dahlberg, director of the Kearney Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Parlier, Fresno County

“The challenge for us now is to start taking all this data and trying to make some sense out of it,” Dahelberg explained.

It is critical to find out which genes are needed for drought tolerance and how they can get them expressed in plants.

“I think this is long-term basic research but has long-term implications in our ability to produce more drought tolerant crops to help feed the world,” Dahlberg said.

Sorghum has a long-standing history in California. It was grown here in the late 1800s. The USDA brought sorghum to California as a drought-tolerant feed.

“In the 1960s, there were almost 400,000 acres of grain sorghum grown in the state, primarily as a rotation crop for cotton,” Dahlberg said.

This crop is making a come-back with all of the droughts California has been going through.

“It’s a very drought tolerant crop. Probably one of the most drought tolerance cereal crops that we grow worldwide,” Dahlberg explained.

More California Ag News

Preventing the Spread of ACP Valley Citrus Growers Continue Vigilance By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor The spread of Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) continues to be a loomin...
Bee Where Program Will Help Keep Bees Safe in The ... Beekeepers Must Register Their Bee Hive Locations By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor There's a mandate set in place by the state of California to help the...
IR-4 Program Trying to Help Florida Citrus Industr... IR-4 Researchers Control Material to Help Citrus Industy By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor Jerry Barron, executive director of the IR-4 Project at Rutger...
FDA Releases Possible Factors for 2018 E. Coli Out... Leafy Greens Industry and Public Were Severely Impacted By Hank Giclas, Western Growers Sr. Vice President, Strategic Planning, Science & Technol...

UC and Israel Sign Agricultural Research Agreement

California and Israel Face Similar Challenges

By Pam Kan-Rice, UC ANR News
From left, Ermias Kebreab, Eli Feinerman, and Mark Bell sign the agreement for Israel and California scientists to collaborate more on water-related research and education.

Pledging to work together to solve water scarcity issues, Israel’s Agricultural Research Organization signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and UC Davis recently. The signing ceremony kicked off the 2018 Future of Water for Irrigation in California and Israel Workshop at the UC ANR building in Davis.

“Israel and California agriculture face similar challenges, including drought and climate change,” said Doug Parker, director of UC ANR’s California Institute for Water Resources. “In the memorandum of understanding, Israel’s Agricultural Research Organization, UC Davis and UC ANR pledge to work together more on research involving water, irrigation, technology and related topics that are important to both water-deficit countries.”

The agreement will enhance collaboration on research and extension for natural resources management in agriculture, with an emphasis on soil, irrigation and water resources, horticulture, food security and food safety.

“It’s a huge pleasure for us to sign an MOU with the world leaders in agricultural research like UC Davis and UC ANR,” said Eli Feinerman, director of Agricultural Research Organization of Israel. “When good people, smart people collaborate, the sky is the limit.”

Feinerman, Mark Bell (UC ANR vice provost) and Ermias Kebreab (UC Davis professor and associate vice provost of academic programs and global affairs) represented their respective institutions for the signing. Karen Ross (California Department of Food and Agriculture secretary) and Shlomi Kofman (Israel’s consul general to the Pacific Northwest) joined in celebrating the partnership.

“The important thing is to keep working together and develop additional frameworks that can bring the people of California and Israel together as researchers,” Kofman said. “But also to work together to make the world a better place.”

Ross said, “It’s so important for us to find ways and create forums to work together because water is the issue in this century and will continue to be.”

She explained that earlier this year, the World Bank and United Nations reported that 40 percent of the world population is living with water scarcity. 

“Over 700,000 people are at risk of relocation due to water scarcity,” Ross said. “We’re already seeing the refugee issues that are starting to happen because of drought, food insecurity and the lack of water.”

Ross touted the progress stemming from CDFA’s Healthy Soils Program to promote healthy soils on California’s farmlands and ranchlands and SWEEP, the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, which has provided California farmers $62.7 million in grants for irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gases and save water on agricultural operations.

“We need the answers of best practices that come from academia, through demonstration projects so that our farmers know what will really work,” Ross said.

As Parker opened the water workshop, sponsored by the U.S./Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development (BARD) Program, Israel Agricultural Research Organization and UC ANR, he told the scientists, “The goal of this workshop is really to be creating new partnerships, meeting new people, networking and finding ways to work together in California with Israel, in Israel, with other parts of the world as well.”

Drawing on current events, Bell told the attendees, “If you look at the World Cup, it’s about effort, it’s about teamwork, it’s about diversity of skills, and I think that’s what this event does. It brings together those things.”

More California Ag News

Researchers Take a Look into the Future of Strawbe... Survey Coming to Growers to Gauge Interests By Hannah Young, Associate Editor A strawberries survey connected to a project that looks at the future ...
Agritourism in California UC Davis Experts Help Farmers, Ranchers Profit  in Growing Trend News Release Edited By Patrick Cavanaugh Agritourism is growing in California, alon...
GMO Technology Can Help Prevent Starvation First World Activists Dictate to Third World By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor Needed GMO technology to help citizens in Third World countries is being t...
UC Davis Student Maureen Page Speaks for the Bees Maureen Page to Spread Flowers for Bees By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor California Ag Today recently spoke with doctoral student Maureen P...

Boost Biomes Working on Disease Resistance

Researching the New Frontier

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

California Ag Today recently spoke with Robert McBride of Boost Biomes. McBride explained his vision for the company.

“It’s the new frontier; It has not been researched that much,” he said.

He told us that the company is working on getting the correct microbes into the soil to enhance plants’ productivity.

“I would say the key thing that we think about in terms of getting the right microbes into the soil is that microbes are kind of like a plant’s second genome,” McBride said.

Genomes have the ability to impact the plant’s phenotype, along with the way the plants grow in different temperatures and soil salinity levels.

“They can change the flavor of the fruits and it is all controlled by the microbes in the rhizosphere,” McBride explained.

Boost Biomes is interested in controlling pest resistance. The microbiome shifts to a state that is protective.

“What we would like to do is take soils that are not protective and encourage that shift to happen more quickly,” McBride said.

Boost Biomes takes advantage of the natural microbes in the soil and rhizosphere that protect the plants.

“We are trying to identify the right network to put into the soil to get into the rhizosphere to make the plants resistant against diseases,” McBride explained.

More California Ag News

Governor Brown Includes $12.5 Million In Budget fo... HLB Funds To Be Used by the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program News Release Recognizing the importance of protecting California’s commercial...
Agriculture Grads in High Demand Many Grads are Interested in Day-to-Day Farming By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor There is a big demand for college graduates with agricultural ...
Frank Zalom Named Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Ec... UC Davis Professor to Head Distinguished Publication News Release Edited By Patrick Cavanaugh Integrated pest management specialis...
Research Nets Going Over Citrus Trees To Prevent H... Blocking Psyllids Carrying Disease is Key By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor Beth Grafton-Cardwell is the director of the Lindcove Research Exten...

Safe Food Alliance Helps Keep Food Safe

Standard is Parts Per Billion Today

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

California Ag Today recently spoke with Mark Mariani, executive chairman of the Mariani Packing Company in Vacaville and outgoing chairman of the Safe Food Alliance, which recently opened a new laboratory in Kingsburg to provide further research into food safety.

Mark Mariani

“We’ve been members since 1946, and the fact that the produce industry is self-policing is very unique,” Mariani said.

“The reason why we enjoyed the DFA and now the SFA is the fact that we are very concerned about food safety and so we are in a very unique industry in the sense that we self-police ourselves and so this is not something new. We’ve been doing it for over 100 years,” he explained.

“It’s not the new trend, and so being part of the DFA and SFA gives us the opportunity to not only look at the way we do our practices in our manufacturing practices, but also it gives us an opportunity to look at how we test our products,” Mariani said. “And back in the day, we used to be happy with one part per million detections of something. Today, we’re insisting on one part per billion.”

More California Ag News

The Need to Harmonize Maximum Residue Levels Nearly All Produce Has Zero Residues of Crop Protection Products By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor It can be tempting to grab a piece of produce r...
Mariani Packing Co. Puts Food Safety Top Priority Mariani Served as Chair of the Safe Food Alliance By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor The Mariani Packing Company is one of the largest specialty crop grow...
Heat Illness Prevention for Field Workers Farmers Guard Their Most Valuable Asset By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor When temperatures are heating up, it's important that growers are keeping farm ...
Conventional or Organic Strawberries — All Safe to... Strawberry Grower Says At PPB, Anything Can be Found By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor David Peck is a longtime strawberry grower in Santa Maria. He obje...

Glyphosate Does Not Cause Cancer, Study Finds

Glyphosate Cancer Study Turns up Nothing

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

With all the clamor that glyphosate herbicide is a cancer causing material, let the facts tell the real story.

Liza Dunn is an emergency medical doctor and also a medical toxicologist on the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis. And she’s also been working with Monsanto on anything that could show that glyphosate herbicide could not be safe when used correctly.

She discussed a robust study showing no evidence that glyphosate is cancer causing. None!

“The Ag Health Study is a study of more than 57,000 farmers with their pesticide applicators, and they had followed them since the mid ’90s to look at effects of pesticides exposure. And one of the pesticides that they’ve looked at is glyphosate,” Dunn explained.

“In 2005, there was even a journal article that demonstrated that there was no association between glyphosate in any kind of cancer whatsoever. That data was refreshed in 2013, and once again, the data demonstrated unequivocally that there was no association between glyphosate and any kind of cancer,” she said.

However, that second set of data was never published.

“Which is just incredible because the person who had that data said that it would have changed the outcome of the France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) decision.”

“That was in 2015, and why the research was not published is beyond me,” Dunn said.

According to her, IARC is going completely in the wrong direction.

“The IARC have gotten much more involved in looking at things that are not carcinogens, and out of abundance of caution, I guess – I’m not sure what their motivation is – they’ve decided to classify them as carcinogens anyway,” Dunn said.

More California Ag News

Hundreds of Studies Point to Glyphosate Being Safe Herbicide is Non-Toxic if Used Correctly, Expert Says By Joanne Lui, Associate Editor Glyphosate herbicide, produced under the well-known brand of R...
Simplifying Ag Terms Important in Advocacy Advocating for Ag with Simplified Terms By Brianne Boyett, Associate Editor It’s important when the agricultural industry is speaking with others ou...
FSMA Produce Rule – Part 1 Mandatory Training Under Way By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director Jon Kimble, the operations business development manager at Safe Food Alliance ...
BPIA Executive Director Talks Biological Products Biological Product Industry Meets in Orlando By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director Nearly 200 individuals from the worldwide biological products ...

New Jordan Research Center Breaks Ground At Fresno State

by Patrick Cavanaugh

 

Under clear blue skies, with hundreds of agricultural industry members in attendance, the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State broke ground yesterday on a new 30,000 sq. ft. Jordan Research Center, at the corner of Barstow and Woodrow Avenues, designed to foster collaboration among students and faculty in agricultural sciences and technology engineering and science and mathematics. The new research center of Fresno State is scheduled to open in the fall of 2015.

Ground BreakingFresno State President Joseph I. Castro said the world-class Jordan Research Center would provide many opportunities for students. “We are very excited about the Jordan Research Center. It’s going to provide many new opportunities for the next generations of leaders in agriculture, advance the research throughout our region and play a key role in strengthening our economy here in the Valley,” Castro said.

Castro said that the ag industry in California would be there to support that center well. “We are blessed with so many partnerships now with agriculture, and one of my highest priorities is to expand the number of partners, and this Center will help us do that.”

A $29.4 million dollar gift from the Jordan family to the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology in 2009 made this facility possible. “We are so fortunate to have the Jordon’s as friends. They love agriculture, and they love Fresno State. And we are grateful for their gift.”

The monetary gift is the largest cash gift in Fresno State’s history and among the largest ever in the CSU system.

“My late husband Bud, as well as brother-in-law Lowell, would be so very pleased to see not only the family legacy tied to Fresno State agriculture, but to know that the future of agriculture will be well served by the work to be done in the research center,” said Dee Jordan.

Dee Jordan
Dee Jordan

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Castro also announced three gifts to establish endowments to enhance laboratory spaces inside the building:

Retired Fresno Dentist Harry Moodigian, who walked onto the Fresno State campus in 1956, has given $200,000 in support of a microbiology lab at the center. “I want to see my University in the forefront of research in the field of microbiology. This is a wonderful way of supporting the research program.

And, Dave Watkins, senior vice president of agricultural operations for Loam Spices and Vegetable Ingredients has established a $200,000 endowment to support the interdisciplinary research lab.

“We moved our headquarters to Fresno three years ago, and we immediately began reaching out to the University to build our relationship, established an intern recruiting program, and when this opportunity came along, it was a perfect fit for us,” said Watkins.

Alumni Earl and Beverly Knobloch gave in support of the instrument/robotics laboratory space.

The drought has a tremendous impact on nutrient cycles leading to top management decisions this year beyond agricultural liquid fertilizer recommends of balanced nutrient program to strengthen plants in times of stress which speeds recovery this year’s soil and plant analysis extra importance close attention to residual nitrate levels is critical remember practice responsible nutrient management during this drought here yes you can with agriculture liquid fertilizers@worldliquid.com

This $24 million project will feature open, flexible space designed for collaborative research. Faculty and students from the Jordan College will work alongside colleagues in the Lyles College of Engineering and the College of Science and Mathematics.

“At Fresno State, we want to support advances in the agriculture industry, and we have the opportunity to do that with the Jordan Research Center,” said Castro. “This facility is going to make a tremendous impact in the Valley and around the world. We’ll be able to perform research that will advance knowledge throughout the industry.”

“This is the first-of-its-kind on a CSU campus. Fresno State agriculture will be on the leading edge as we continue to make significant contributions to enhancing production agriculture, food systems and natural resources,” said Dr. Charles Boyer, dean of the Jordan College.

The state-of-the-art center will include wet and dry laboratories and laboratory support space. “For our students, the Jordan Research Center will create an environment where research becomes totally integrated into university life. This will be a place where the region’s greatest minds will enrich our environment and unlock the solution for our greatest challenges,” Boyer said.

“Fresno State specializes in applied research, aligning its resources with the needs of the Central Valley,” Castro said. “The Jordan Research Center is a perfect example of the vision and creativity that will drive Fresno State’s growth.”

 

For more information, contact Shannon Fast, associate director of development for the Jordan College, at 559.278.4266 or sfast@csufresno.edu. To discuss potential partnership opportunities in the Jordan Research Center, contact Alcidia Freitas Gomes at 559.278.4266 or alcidia@csufresno.edu.

More California Ag News

BIG WATER RALLY SCHEDULED FOR JAN. 16! Thousands Needed To Participate In Big Water Rally on Jan. 16  
Solano County 4-H Clubs Win Big at Skills Day When Life Gives you Lemons, Make Lemon Curd! Showmanship winner Tyler Scott of the Wolfskill 4-H Club DIXON--Tyler Scott of the...
California Ag News UC To Help Ranchers UC to Help Ranchers Survive Winter 2013-14 The first agricultural operations to feel the impact of a drought are dryland ranchers, many of whom r...
MONTEREY FARM BUREAU WARNS CPUC ON WATER ISSUES Desalination Plant Could Jeopardize Groundwater Supply California American Water could threaten the ground water supply of the Salinas Valley where u...

A Rant on the War for Water — or perhaps just a restatement of the obvious

Commentary by Laurie Greene, Editor

The War for Water has become more complex, fractious, and dire.

 

The battles are marked by staggering amounts of purchased-but-undelivered water supplies; broken contract obligations;

 

local water districts scrambling to find any source of water at any price; water theft; water diversion; water re-diversion; fishery restoration;

 

rapidly escalating overdraft and land subsidence conditions; lack of river improvements; reservoirs drying and dying; an epidemic of well drilling;

 

aging water infrastructure; farmers resorting to water sales profits instead of crop profits; fallowed fields;

 

threatened species, pitting environmental conservationists against farmer environmentalists and humans versus fish;

 

fish trucking; climate change confusion and unpreparedness; deals for more water imports; decisions for no Delta exports; water supply runoff;

 

compromised and halted agricultural research; approvals, denials, exceptions. . .

Drought - No Water Logo

 

We are employing politicians, lawyers, government agencies, scientists, and institutions of education to discuss and solve our water crisis. . .

 

and money has been thrown at farmers, food banks, and emergency services;

 

but we are not investing in, creating, and aggressively launching new water storage, balanced and effective environmental solutions for threatened species;

 

improved sewage disposal; enforced urban water conservation; modern water conveyance and infrastructure; groundwater renewal; wide-use of desalination technology.

 

We face curtailed critical agricultural research; unemployment; increased crime–according to some; increased health costs; declining water quality; disappearing snowpack;

 

school and business shutdowns; mortgage forfeiture; homelessness;

 

community failures; permanent loss of farm laborers; food shortages; increased stress on food banks with dwindling food supplies;

 

increased food insecurity and exposure to imported food safety risks; raised food and water prices; possible loss of domestic and foreign markets; threatened economies—

 

‘not to mention sheer human stress, panic, and grief.

 

Yet, we are urging, pleading, debating, meeting, emailing, tweeting, phoning, rallying, regulating, appealing, suing, petitioning, curtailing, strategizing; lobbying . . .

 

What academic or worldly discipline – geography, sociology, biology, chemistry, economics, politics, psychology, medicine – or realm of life – will NOT be affected?

 

Who does not need food, water, air, and an income?

 

At what point will we hit bottom, having suffered so much that we are finally forced to compromise and reach a survivable compromised existence?

 

At that point, will it even be possible?

 

 

Sources and Inspiration:

Friant Waterline, “Today’s River And Salmon”, http://friantwaterline.org/todays-river-and-salmon/

Merced Sun-Star, “Merced Irrigation District Seals Deal with State for More Irrigation Water”, mercedsunstar.com/2014/04/23/3615393/mid-seals-deal-with-state-for.html?sp=/99/100/&ihp=1

Western Farm Press, “Drought Chokes Research Efforts in California”, http://westernfarmpress.com/irrigation/drought-chokes-ag-research-efforts-california?page=5

Maven’s Notebook, in general, http://mavensnotebook.com

Salt, “Fields And Farm Jobs Dry Up With California’s Worsening Drought”, http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/04/22/303726931/fields-and-farm-jobs-dry-up-with-californias-worsening-drought

State Water Resources Control Board; ACWA eNews; ACWA; Western United Dairymen

More California Ag News

BIG WATER RALLY SCHEDULED FOR JAN. 16! Thousands Needed To Participate In Big Water Rally on Jan. 16  
Solano County 4-H Clubs Win Big at Skills Day When Life Gives you Lemons, Make Lemon Curd! Showmanship winner Tyler Scott of the Wolfskill 4-H Club DIXON--Tyler Scott of the...
California Ag News UC To Help Ranchers UC to Help Ranchers Survive Winter 2013-14 The first agricultural operations to feel the impact of a drought are dryland ranchers, many of whom r...
MONTEREY FARM BUREAU WARNS CPUC ON WATER ISSUES Desalination Plant Could Jeopardize Groundwater Supply California American Water could threaten the ground water supply of the Salinas Valley where u...