Agriland Farming Excels in Management

Family  and Community Top of Mind

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

Jim Maxwell founded Agriland Farming, Inc., a dynamic farm management company based in Madera County, which has grown from less than 2,500 acres in 1990 to oversee more than 25,000 acres of pistachios, almonds, walnuts, grapes, citrus, kiwis, and figs across seven counties, from Stanislaus to Kern.

Agriland’s clients range from individual owners with 40 acres to some of the largest institutional farm owners in the U.S. Their clients include several large nut processors and marketers and individuals from almost every major ethnic background. Maxwell believes that one of the critical strengths of the company is found in the consistent high ethical and business standards of its clients.

Jim Maxwell, Agriland’s CEO

Maxwell, Agriland’s CEO, and its innovative management team have built the company into one of the largest nut growers in the U.S. In addition to the farm management divisions, Agriland has expanded specialized mechanical services available to outside clients.

“We originally started pistachio and almond harvesting companies to help our clients avoid the risks associated with late harvests, and we have ended up harvesting for many of our neighbors,” Maxwell said.

This same philosophy is why Agriland now runs a deep-well pump company; a farm supply company; and a more recent start-up dedicated to mechanical hedging and topping, mechanical stacking of pruning brush, mummy nut shredding, setting floors for a “no-till” approach to orchard floor management, and AF36 spreading to control aflatoxin in pistachios.

There is no doubt that talented managers and staff across all agricultural production disciplines have helped the company excel in providing “state of the art” farming services to owners of permanent crops. The approximately 275-full-time farm employees, some of whom have been with the company from the beginning, are asked to treat the trees and vines as though they are their own.

It is this mentality of employee responsibility and ownership that has helped Agriland excel in the farm management industry. From top to bottom at Agriland, all workers are considered to be part of the “family” and are often referred to as “associates”—as opposed to the traditional term “farmworkers”—and they are recognized as the company’s number one resource.

Maxwell and his team try to treat every member of the Agriland Family with dignity, respect, and compassion.

“We believe that it is not only the right and proper thing to do but that our clients and company will succeed based on how we treat each of its members.”

Hence, the company conveys compassion for its top resource by providing a wellness plan for every employee and their family. The company also hosts an on-the-farm health clinic, offers a 401K program, and gives holiday and paid time off to field employees.

Part of the Agriland Management and Production Team

The idea behind the health clinic began even before ObamaCare (the Affordable Care Act or ACA) was passed.

“I knew that although our associates would have access to ObamaCare, they would not be able to afford the subsidized insurance,” Maxwell explained. “Furthermore, they were not willing to buy coverage because most had not been to a doctor for many years and therefore did not see the need.”

“So, we entered into a joint venture with Camarena Health—a community-based healthcare provider,” he continued. “We built the small onsite brick and mortar clinic, staffed by Camarena doctors, nurses and other medical specialists regularly. Each company employee, individually and privately, meets with a doctor in a room equipped with an exam table and all of the important screening devices.”

“At the clinic, we do a biometric health screening for those associates who want it,” Maxwell said.

The screening measures physical characteristics such as height, weight, body mass index, vision, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and aerobic fitness, in addition to an A1C blood test to determine one’s risk of diabetes better. The screening and testing performed at the clinic are in addition to the health booths set up at picnics and harvest celebrations where employees can sit down and check their blood sugar and blood pressure.

“When we started testing, we wanted to identify the employees who were diabetic, pre-diabetic, or hypertensive, because we felt like these were health issues that, if identified early and treated properly, could help these ‘family members’ and make a meaningful, long term difference in their lives,” Maxwell explained

“The goal is to benchmark and evaluate changes in general employee health status over time,” he continued. “Once the metrics are understood, management establishes classes, such as nutrition and weight loss courses, which are presented during evening classes for employees and spouses to attend. We bring in instructors to teach those who are diabetic, pre-diabetic, or hypertensive what to do to protect their health.”

Of course, employees are not obligated to come to the clinic, but Maxwell encourages them by paying them for the time they are there.

“At first, very few employees signed up. Then I pleaded with them to go to the clinic to make sure they were healthy or to identify areas of health needing improvement. Still, very few stepped up.”

So Maxwell offered an incentive, a $50 Walmart or Save Mart gift card, “and that dramatically increased the signups.”

In addition to health-related classes, the company provides English as Second Language night classes for employees and their families.

“We built the Training Center for two purposes: to serve those who work here and their families and to serve the needs of the community.”

The company actively promotes the education of the children of their farm workforce by incentivizing academic excellence in middle school and high school, followed by college scholarships for those who qualify.

“We have to be able to tell seventh graders that if they get good grades and are qualified to go to college, we will be there for them by the time they graduate from high school. Our scholarships are generally $2,500 per student, per year, for four years of college attendance. When we give them the first scholarship check, we also present them with a new laptop computer for them to use in college,” Maxwell said.

Many farmworker families, going back generations, have never had a family member go to college.

“If a child of one of our farm employees works hard, gets good grades, and goes to college, he or she will likely be the first generation and possibly break the cycle,” Maxwell said. “And I believe that the children of these students will follow their parents and also go to college.”

More California Ag News

Solano County 4-H Members Go fo the Gold 4-H'ers Present Demonstrations, Educational Displays, Illustrated Talks, and Other Ideas By Kathy Keatley Garvey, UCANR Communication Specialist Sev...
First-Ever UC Cost Study for Primocane-Bearing Bla... Primocane-Bearing Extends Production Season By Pam Kan-Rice, UC ANR The first-ever cost study of primocane-bearing blackberries in California has be...
Fresno State Student Studies Palmer Amaranth Sami Budhathoki Finds Palmer Amaranth Can Adapt to Saline Soils By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor Sami Budhathoki is in the last semester of...
Big Goal for United Fresh: Promoting Produce to Co... Voice Search Idea Studied at United Fresh BrandStorm Event By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate editor Mary Coppola, Vice President of Marketing Communicati...

A Plan of Attack for the Dusty Almond Harvest

Reducing Almond Harvest Dust Keeps Neighbors Happy

By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor
Jesse Guadian

Dust management is an issue that almond growers and their surrounding neighbors face annually. With almond harvest fast approaching, dust control is crucial to keeping our air clean. Jesse Guadian with D & J Farm Management of Kern County knows first hand the steps it takes to cut down on dust.

“We’re in the San Joaquin Valley, where dust is a problem, especially if you’re close to schools and homes,” Guadian said.

Reducing air particles is a year-round job for D & J Farm Management, thinking about excess plant material in the air before weeds even begin to present an issue. This allows for fewer passes through the field when it comes time to mow, ultimately reducing the amount of decomposed plant content in the air.

“We’re reducing all that plant material that stays on the surface … to try to eliminate some of that dust,” Guadian said.

More California Ag News

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 ...
Chinese Customers Hurt with Increased Tariff Not Just California Farmers Hurt with Added Trade Tariff By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor The extra tariff that China is putting on California agricultu...
Almond Industry is Strong at 1.3 Million Acres Almond Industry’s Vision is Continued Strength By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor The vision and the overall business model of the almond industry in Cali...
When Spraying, Avoid Water, Bees and High Wind Spraying Safely Prevents Major Issues By Laurie Greene, Founding Editor Safe spraying is an important topic. Making sure that crop protection spray ...

Sharing Secrets to a Successful Bowl of Cherries

Weather and Pruning Make Life a Bowl of Cherries

By Laurie Greene, Founding Editor

Clark Goehring, a third generation Kern County farmer, produces cherries and almonds. He summarized his cherry harvested as “good compared to the other years when we have had rain. Some people in our area still had rain during harvest, but we were able to harvest and bring our cherries to market in good condition.”cherry tree

“Of course, it rained a lot this winter and spring, but you do not want rain when cherries are maturing on the tree; they don’t like rain.”

Goehring explained that when it rains beyond the point when cherries start coloring, they split, making them unmarketable. “But while it may take some rained-on cherries off the market, the price of the marketable fruit goes up,” he said, benefiting those growers who had a quality crop, like him.

Goehring’s farm workers train the cherry trees to keep them low—approximately 8 feet tall. “We have tried to have them bush out instead of being more of a central leader. Actually, it’s called Spanish Bush style or, in modified form, KGB.”

Kym Green Bush designed the KGB training method in Australia to use multiple leaders and have them fruit on the leaders themselves. KGB simplifies pruning so less experienced farm workers can learn the skill more easily. The trees are replenished every five years.

Goehring said the method saves money on the farm, cuts labor and increases workers’ safety because it requires no ladders and the harvest is quicker. Harvesting without ladders also gives Goehring an advantage of attracting farm labor over other orchards that require ladders.

“In California, if farm workers have their choice of picking your cherries without using ladders, which is usually piecework, or someone else’s crop with ladders, they are going to want to come to you,” he explained.

More California Ag News

Cherry Industry Hoping for Better Year Cherry Growers Face Challenges in California By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor   The cherry trees in California are sitting dormant ...
Falcons Work in Agriculture, Too Farmers' Other Best Friend—Falcons—Work in Agriculture, Too By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor Agriculturalists have found ways to employ s...
Fresno Ag Awards Joe Del Bosque and Earl Hall Receive Ag Awards in Fresno By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor At the Fresno Chamber of Commerce's Annual Ag Award...
CA Grape & Tree Fruit League Changes Name to ... The California Grape & Tree Fruit League announces it has officially changed its name to the California Fresh Fruit Association – an identity its ...

Nov 9 Annual Ag Awards Luncheon Honors Manuel Cunha, Booth Ranches

Manuel Cunha, Agriculturist of the Year

By Laurie Greene, Editor

 

On Wednesday afternoon, November 9, the Who’s Who of Agriculture will gather at the long-standing celebratory Annual Ag Awards Luncheon in Valdez Hall at the Fresno Convention Center to commemorate the achievements of an individual and a company in the County’s agricultural industry.

 

Fresno Chamber of Commerce logoNathan Ahle, president and CEO of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce, said, “We are very excited about this. This is the 33rd time the Fresno Chamber has presented the Agriculturist of the Year Award, and the 21st time the Fresno-based CPA firm Baker, Peterson and Franklin has presented the Ag Business of the Year Award. We recognize that Ag is really the life-blood of our economy. This event is an honor to do and something we take great pride in.”

 

This year’s Agriculturist of the Year Award recipient is Manuel Cunha, president of the Fresno-based Nisei Farmers League. “Everybody knows Manuel Cunha—a legend in Valley Ag as president of the Nisei Farmers League for two decades,” Ahle said. “ This gentleman is a force to be recognized with when it comes to fighting for our farmers, fighting for water, fighting for anything and everything that has to do with agriculture in the Central Valley.”

2016 Fresno Chamber of Commerce Agriculturist of the Year recipient, Manuel Cunha, president, Nisei Farmers League.
2016 Fresno Chamber of Commerce Agriculturist of the Year recipient, Manuel Cunha, president, Nisei Farmers League.

 

Nisei Farmers League, established in 1971, informs grower members about ever-changing regulations and policies and provides legal assistance for labor and workplace-related issues. The league’s leadership and staff maintain a close working relationship with local, state and federal agencies and legislators to assure grower interests are adequately understood and defended.

 

The League also collaborates with other grower and agricultural organizations in California and other states to help provide a powerful and unified voice for the agricultural community.  The Nisei Farmers League is all about strength, clear focus and growers looking out for growers and farmworkers.

 

This year’s Ag Business Award recipient, Booth Ranches, is a premium San Joaquin Valley citrus grower. Otis Booth, Jr. founded Booth Ranches in 1957 on 40 acres by the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Range near Orange Cove.

booth ranches logo

 

Today, Booth Ranches is still family owned and operated on acreage from Orange Cove in the Northern San Joaquin Valley to Maricopa in Kern County to the South. Pasadena-born, fifth-generation farmer Loren Booth currently manages Booth Ranches which boasts premium Navel oranges, Valencia oranges, Cara-Caras, Minneolas and W. Murcott Mandarins that are distributed worldwide.

 

The selection panel went through a tough selection process, according to Ahle. “Those who have been in the Valley longer than I have tell me this is the strongest group of candidates for the award that we have ever had. I think it just speaks to the great passion that we have for Ag in this community, and Manuel Cunha and the team at Booth Ranches are great, great recipients.”

More California Ag News

Nisei Farmers League and African American Farmers ... Nisei Farmers League and African American Farmers of California Discuss Disastrous AB 1066 in Sacramento Today   EDITOR'S NOTE: SEE TEDX TALK V...
Supreme Court Ruling on Immigration Manuel Cunha Jr. Fires Off Letter RE:  Supreme Court Ruling on Immigration  The following is a letter that Manuel Cunha, president of the Nisei Farme...
AG LEADERSHIP CHAIR ISSUES $1 MILLION CHALLENGE GR... California Ag Leadership Foundation Conducts Endowment Fundraising The California Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF) has...
Larson, and Gar Tootelian Honored in Fresno Phil Larson Honored as Agriculturist of the Year Gar Tootelian is Ag Business of the Year By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor TODAY, Phil Larson, a life-l...

@AlmondGirlJenny AgVocates on Social Media

@AlmondGirlJenny Urges Everyone in Ag to AgVocate on Social Media

 

By Laurie Greene, Editor

 

Digital platforms—not newsprintlead the information superhighway-world we live in. Beyond news websites, everyone in the agricultural industry who is able should engage and agvocate on a few social media platforms such a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or blogs, according to @AlmondGirlJenny.

 

Jenny Holtermann, aka @AlmondGirlJenny, fourth-generation almond farmer in Kern County, is fully engaged with social media. Social media has become the news source for her, her friends and her generation. “I think it’s important to be involved in social media to tell your story,” Holtermann explained. “That’s how people are getting their news; that’s how people are getting their information these days.”

@AlmondGirlJenny is engaged on such social media platforms as FacebookInstagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Tim Holtermann and son, Henry, @AlmondGirlJenny
Tim Holtermann and son, Henry

 

“It’s critical for us to be out there,” she added, “showcasing what we’re doing and highlighting the benefits of agriculture and how it’s multi-generational, how it’s family oriented. Get people to relate to it and become engrossed in it,” Holtermann said.

Last year a reporter from the Los Angeles Times asked Holtermann about water use in farming almonds. “I was able to set the reporter straight regarding all the myths about almonds and water use,” she commented. “I told her that over the last 10 years, almond growers have reduced their water use by 30 percent and we are working on saving even more.”

Jenny and her husband, Tim Holtermann, have a big story to tell. “I’m a fourth generation California farmer” she began. “My family farms almonds and walnuts in northern California. Then I married a fourth generation California farmer as well.

“We farm together with my husband’s family in the Wasco area. It’s very important to us to care for our land and treat it as best as we can so that it can be passed down to future generations. We’re raising the fifth generation, and we hope that someday, if he so chooses, our son has the opportunity to farm here as well,” she said.

“All of us in agriculture should tell our story,” Holtermann said, so others who are not involved with Ag can learn. “If social media is not your game, hire someone to help you get started.”


Resources:

Bayer CropScience AgVocate

More California Ag News

Bayer AgVocacy Forum Connects Public with Food Pro... Bayer Advocacy Forum Narrows Gap Between Public and Food Production Food system, science and agriculture experts gather to discuss the convergence o...
AgVocating in Hawaii Food Blogger Lorie Farrell AgVocates Conventional Ag By Laurie Greene, Editor Lorie Farrell helps farmers and agriculture by amplifying their voices...
Almond Growers Conserve Water Almond Growers Conserve Water…Period! By Laurie Greene, Editor, California Ag Today At a recent drought forum, California Ag Today spoke with Mike...
Irrigation Uniformity in Almonds Attaining Irrigation Uniformity in Almond Orchards By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor Terry Prichard, a water management specialist with UC Coope...

Unprecedented CAPCA Conference Attendance!

Agriculture Needs a Hero! Welcome to the Annual CAPCA Conference.

 

In an exclusive interview at the 42nd Annual California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA) Conference & Agri-Expo TODAY in Anaheim, CAPCA CEO and President, Ruthann Anderson, shared, “We have had an unprecedented response here at CAPCA.”

CAPCA CONFERENCE 2016 audience
Ruthann Anderson, CAPCA CEO and President

“Registrations are at an all-time high,” she continued. “We’ve actually sold out the entire show as well as registrations with 1600 attendees. There were just a handful of walkups that we unfortunately just couldn’t accommodate today. We are excited and looking forward to continuing to have a high professional continuing education program as well as an exhibit hall here today.”

“This year’s theme is ‘Fighting the Fear, Feeding the Nation,’ said Anderson, “so we’ll have Captain CAPCA as well as Doctor Foe here this morning.”

Click here to meet Captain CAPCA and Doctor Foe on this CAPCA ‘NEWS’ video!

 

Anderson reflected, “You know for us, CAPCA really represents the Pest Control Advisors (PCAs) for production ag and turf and ornamental. As a requirement for their continuing education, they need 40 hours in order to renew [their certification]. For us, bringing together continuing education as well as networking is so valuable for them as they move into the new year.”

 

Some “Top Gun” people speaking this year, according to Anderson, “are obviously some of our main sponsors. Bayer CropScience and FMC Corporation are both doing high-level presentations. We also have Kern County agricultural commissioner Ruben Arroyo talking about the new proposed regulations for buffer zones around schools, so that’s going to be a great conversation starter for all of our members.”

 

“We appreciate all of the support we receive,” Anderson stated. “It’s so valuable for us. We exist because of volunteers and we exist because of our membership. We are grateful for all of them.”


The California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA) represents more than 75% of the nearly 4,000 California EPA licensed pest control advisers (PCAs) that provide pest management consultation for the production of food, fiber and ornamental industries of this state.

CAPCA is dedicated to the professional development and enhancement of our member’s education and stewardship, which includes legislative, regulatory, continuing education and public outreach activities.

CAPCA membership covers a broad spectrum of the industry including agricultural consulting firms, U.C. Cooperative Extension Service, city, county and state municipalities, public agencies, privately employed, forensic pest management firms, biological control suppliers, distributors, dealers of farm supplies, seed companies, laboratories, farming companies and manufacturers of pest management products.

More California Ag News

Ruthann Anderson, CAPCA’s New CEO Ruthann Anderson, CAPCA's New CEO, Talks Leadership By Brian German, Associate Editor On January 1, Ruthann Anderson will become the new President a...
After 10 years as CAPCA’s CEO/President, Terry Sta... Terry Stark’s Final Speech to CAPCA Conference Attendees By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor “They wouldn’t give me a walk-around microphone because they...
CCA Exam Signup Open California Certified Crop Advisor Exam Signup Open Certified Crop Advisers (CCAs) in California and Arizona have the opportunity to register for the ...
PCA Training At UC Davis UC Davis Offers Pathway to PCA Training By Laurie Greene, Editor   Frank Zalom, distinguished professor of entomology, agricultural experime...

Spider Mites Gave Almond Industry Reprieve in 2016

Spider Mites Showed up Late This Season

By Lauren Dutra, Associate Editor

 

This year, near-perennial spider mite pressure on almonds was delayed until hull-split. “That’s the big story this year,” said David Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension entomology farm advisor, Kern County. “The orchards of people who did early management programs well their fields looked great until hull-split. And the orchards of people who did not do anything well their fields looked great at hull-split as well—when the mites showed up,” he said.

Almond hull-split
Almond hull-split

“And a good population of them arrived,” Haviland continued.  “People sprayed, but now we’re at the beginning of September, and everyone I have talked to in the Southern San Joaquin Valley have reported the arrival of the sixspotted thrip, a beneficial spider mite predator. The thrips came in fierce, cleaning out anything that didn’t get controlled prior to Nonpareil harvest,” said Haviland.

“We are on the tail end of the season in Kern County, and mites ought to be going away in a couple of weeks,” he said.

almond-tree-shaking-harvesting

Haviland also explained the appearance of navel orangeworm this year is about average. “As far as navel orangeworm goes, things are looking good. They are certainly out there. They’re certainly in some nuts, but trap captures have been about normal, so—nothing really alarming in terms of numbers,” Haviland noted. “I haven’t heard of anybody really getting hit hard this year, other than some orchard edges here and there.”

“Growers seem to be happy. We are about halfway through the harvest, hoping the second half of almond-shaking goes just as well as the first,” said Haviland.

More California Ag News

Crop Production Service’s Justin Dutra on Pe... Justin Dutra on Pest Control Cal Ag Today recently caught up with Justin Dutra, a crop consultant in pest control for the Hanford branch of Crop Prod...
Pistachio Growers: Beware of Gill’s Mealybug Gill’s Mealybug May Appear in Orchards Over the Next Few Weeks By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor As Gill’s Mealybug overwinters, a new generation will ...
PISTACHIO GROWERS GATHER TO SEE DAMAGE       Today Pistachio growers heard from David Haviland about Gill's Mealybugpressure and control timing. Gill’s Mealybug Field Meeting Focu...
Navel Orangeworm Pressure Joel Siegel: Beware of Navel Orangeworm Over Next Few Weeks By Patrick Cavanaugh, Associate Editor Joel Siegel, research entomologist with USDA Agri...

Temperance Flat Dam Brings Five Valley Counties Together

Key July 1 Signing Ceremony to Launch Temperance Flat Dam Process

by Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Mario Santoyo, executive director of the San Joaquin Water Infrastructure Authority (SJWIA), which represents the five-county joint powers of authority in the Central San Joaquin Valley, has announced an important event will launch the process needed for Temperance Flat Dam: the Temperance Flat Project Partnership Agreement Signing Ceremony outside Old Fresno County Courthouse overlooking Millerton Lake at 10 a.m. sharp on Friday, July 1, 2016.

USBR Water“This is a major event, a significant milestone in terms of the process to get Temperance Flat Dam built.” Santoyo said. “In essence, it is a partnership between the new joint powers of authority and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and, more specifically, their study team who worked on the technical studies and the feasibility reports for Temperance Flat.”

Merced, Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare Counties are joining forces with leaders of cities, Tribes, and other agencies to begin this significant move towards building the Temperance Flat Dam. “Working together, we are going to put the application together and submit it to the California Water Commission for their consideration for funding through Proposition 1, Chapter 8,” Santoyo said.  “It’s a solid statement that needs a signature.”

“It’s a memorandum of understanding between the Bureau of Reclamation and the joint powers of authority,” he said, “that defines the scope of work. In essence, it’s full cooperation between their technical people and our joint powers of authority. Our people are tailoring the application to the state to optimize funding. Keep in mind, we’re talking big dollars here; we are not talking a million or a hundred million; we are talking a billion.”

Temperance Flat Dam would create nearly 1.3M acre-feet of new water storage, according to the SJWIA, 2.5 times the current capacity of Millerton Lake, and would be a part of the Federal Central Valley Project.

“Chapter 8, which is the storage chapter in Prop 1, has $2.7 billion in it,” Santoyo explained. “Projects that are submitted for funding are limited to up to 50% of the capital costs of their project. If we were to take Temperance Flat, for instance, that’s going to cost somewhere around $2.8 billion. The maximum you could ask from the state is $1.4 billion, but we don’t expect that because there is a lot of competition. There’s not enough dollars to go around. We’re hoping to shoot for somewhere around $1 billion.”

“I see [the July 1 event] as being historic,” Santoyo reflected, “because it is one of the most critical things to happen—to be able to build Temperance Flat, as well as a good opportunity to be at a place where history’s being made.”

__________________________

For more information, contact Mario Santoyo at 559-779-7595.

Featured image: Mario Santoyo, executive director of the San Joaquin Water Infrastructure Authority (SJWIA)

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...

JUST RELEASED: Monterey County Ag Value Up Nearly Eight Percent

Monterey County 2015 Crop Report Shows Ag Value Up 7.75 Percent

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Monterey County Ag Commissioner Eric Lauritzen announced TODAY the production value by farmers in Monterey County for 2015 is $4.84 billion, an increase of 7.75% or $348 million over the previous year. According to the the 2015 Monterey County Crop Report released TODAY, the Monterey is again the fourth highest Ag producing county in California, following Tulare, Kern, and Fresno Counties.Lettuce fields

“Crop values vary from year to year based on production, market and weather conditions,” said Lauritzen. “As often the case, there was much fluctuation in the 2015 values, with 22 commodities down and 29 commodities increasing in value.

Notable results include:

  • head values increased 12% on better pricing.
  • Head lettuce showed a decline of 2% with fewer acres planted but higher prices.
  • Spring mix and salad products also declined in overall value.
  • Strawberry values increased by 21% on increased acreage and higher production.
  • Cauliflower and celery each saw values increase by approximately 25%. Celery showed a decrease in production with stronger pricing and cauliflower posted increases in both production and pricing.
  • Winegrapes declined 25% in 2015, after above-average production in previous years. This followed the statewide trend, with lower production and slightly higher prices.
  • Despite reduced acreage related to the drought, the value of nursery products increased by 11% on stronger pricing for many products.
Monterey County Strawberries
Monterey County Strawberries

“It is always important to note that the figures provided here are gross values and do not represent or reflect net profit or loss experienced by individual growers or by the industry as a whole,” Lauritzen clarified. “The numbers are big and only tell part of the story. It’s really about diversity and the ability to withstand changes, whether it is commodity change or Mother Nature,” said Lauritzen. 

“Growers do not have control over increased input costs such as fuel, fertilizers and packaging, or drought and labor shortage conditions,” Lauritzen explained, “nor can they significantly affect market prices. The fact that the gross value of agriculture increased reflects positively on the diversity and strength of our agriculture industry and its ability to respond to the many challenges,” he noted.

“The mainstays in Monterey County are the cool season vegetables,” said Lauritzen. “County growers are able modify planting programs even within the same year depending on market strengths or changes in consumer needs. When the cable food shows or restaurants decide to feature certain vegetable there is suddenly increase demand so Monterey County growers are often flexible in their planting schedules to meet demand.

“The Salinas Valley floor is very tight on acreage and available land planted out on the bench lands,” he said. “And growers are being asked to produce more with the same amount or even less ground and we are seeing that it increases prices,” he noted.winegrapes

“Each year we like to highlight a component of the industry in our report,” Lauritzen elaborated, “and this year we chose Certified Farmers Markets. We include a short piece on some of the people who produce and sell their own products directly to consumers at the 14 markets in Monterey County and elsewhere,” he said. “This important segment of our industry lets consumers meet farmers face-to-face and to become more directly connected with the food they eat.”

“Monterey County is proud to produce the crops that are healthy for the nation,” Lauritzen said, “and if consumer demand really matched what we need for a healthy diet, there would not be enough vegetables produced. We produce the food that consumers need to eat and it’s not just an economic driver for our region, but for the health of our nation,” he added.

“This 2015 Crop Report is our yearly opportunity to recognize the growers, shippers, ranchers, and other businesses ancillary to and supportive of agriculture, which is the largest driver of Monterey County’s economy,” Lauritzen summarized. “Special recognition for the production of the report goes to Christina McGinnis, Graham Hunting, Shayla Neufeld, and all of the staff who assisted in compiling this information and improving the quality of the report.”

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...

REWARD for BEEHIVE THIEF CAPTURE

Reward for Beehive Thief Capture

California State Beekeepers Association, Inc. (CSBA) has reported two new beehive theft alerts and will provide a reward for beehive thief capture:

The CSBA offers up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of persons responsible for stealing bees and/or beekeepers equipment. We take the issue of hive theft very seriously and are willing to generously reward those who help us stop this growing problem. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and check for brand numbers on frames, boxes, lids and pallets.

Additionally, the CSBA owners of stolen hives have given assurance that if a farmer reports he/she has stolen hives, they will allow the hives to stay for the remainder of the bloom. We do not want to punish farmers for doing the right thing by putting their crop at risk. We want all farmers to feel comfortable to report the hives without worrying about them being taken out from under them during a critical time.

Beehive Theft Alert 1Kern-County-Beehive Theft Alert 1

A beehive theft has occurred near Kern County within sight of I-5. The thieves are getting bolder and we all must be vigilant. The theft occurred around January 26-27th, 2016. The hives are branded with CA0330333H. This theft may or may not be related to the last major theft (see below).

Hive Description: All hives are 10 frames. The hives are made of a deep super with a 6 5/8 shallow on top. The hives are painted silver and have internal feeders and a mixture of wooden and plastic frames. The hives are on pallets with the entrances all facing the same direction. The lids, boxes and most of the frames are branded with CA0330333H. The bees are Italians with cordovan (light-colored and reddish) genetics. Pictures will soon follow.

If you are around any beehives you are unfamiliar with, don’t hesitate to look for brand numbers. Thieves often times switch the frames into different boxes to avoid being caught so be aware that the outside appearance of the hive may not match the description.

If you see any frames with the CA0330333H brand on them, they are from stolen hives and you should contact castatebeekeepers@hotmail.com immediately to report the information.

Beehive Theft Alert 2

stolen-beehives 2

240 hives were stolen near Colusa, CA around January 25-26th, 2016. All boxes, lids, frames and pallets are branded with 42-14. Please take a careful look at the picture and if you see hives that fit the description, don’t hesitate to check for brand numbers and call the Sheriff’s department. You can also email us at castatebeekeepers@hotmail.com and we can pass along the information for you.  These hives could easily be anywhere in California by now. It is very likely that the hives will be destroyed after pollination season to cover up the crime. In the interest of saving these bees, it is critical we all do our part to locate these hives.

Description: All the hives are 10-frame double deeps. The boxes are branded on the top cleats. The pallets have metal on the corners. Some of the feed cans and boxes were taken as well. The feed cans are painted green and slightly rusty. The feed can boxes are branded too and most of them hold 8 cans (some may hold 4). The bees are Italian and have Cordovan genetics (most will appear light colored and/or slightly reddish).

Location: The hives were taken from 2 yards, both located north of Colusa on the east side of the river. One yard was about 2 miles from the river and the other about 3 miles from the river.

Thief Description: Based on the tracks, it looks like a bee forklift was used to move the hives. The trucks appear to have dual tires. It is suspected that either 2 big trucks or 3 smaller trucks were used to move the hives.

Please share this information with your club, almond grower and in your community. Hive theft is a growing problem and we all need to keep an eye out for each other. Thank you for helping in this effort.

(Photo Source: California State Beekeepers Association)

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...