Tulare Calendar Highlights Growing Good Things

Calendar Art Winner Recognized on National Ag Day

By Tulare County Farm Bureau

Winners of the 2018 Calendar Art Contest hosted by Tulare County Farm Bureau (TCFB) with sponsorship from the Tulare County Office of Education were honored with a special presentation during a Board of Supervisors meeting on National Ag Day, Tuesday, March 20.  

Over 800 Tulare County students from 39 schools submitted entries for TCFB’s annual art contest by the February 15 deadline.  The goal of the contest is to promote awareness about agriculture in Tulare County and the importance of an abundant and healthy food supply. 

The students were asked to submit original artwork depicting this year’s theme, “Tulare County Agriculture…Growing Good Things.”  All entries were judged by a panel of representatives from the TCFB’s Education Committee.  Winning artwork was chosen based on the agricultural content, originality, neatness and reproducibility.  

Front Cover Winner by Joshua Talingo Garcia

Overall winner Joshua Talingo Garcia, an 11th grader from Orosi High School, is no stranger to the contest. He was the 2017 November winner and the 2016 back cover winner. This year, his artwork is featured on the cover of the calendar and he received a $50 cash award. Additional student artists, listed below, received a $25 prize and their artwork is featured inside the calendar as monthly winners.

Back Cover Winner by Branson Campbell

Each year, the 12-month calendar (April through March) is printed and distributed to schools throughout the county and is available to the public at no cost. For a copy of the 2018-2019 TCFB Agricultural Art Calendar, please contact the Tulare County Farm Bureau at 732-8301. The culmination of TCFB’s art contest is one way the organization celebrates National Ag Day.

 

Winners:
Cover Winner – Joshua Talingo Garcia, 11th Grade, Orosi High School
January – Michelle Park, 6th Grade, Hurley Elementary School
February – Fernando Garcia, 12th Grade, Orosi High School
March – Ashley Carrion, 6th Grade, Tipton Elementary School
April – Christian Carlos, 11th Grade, Orosi High School
May – Mia Machado, 3rd Grade, Sequoia Union Elementary School
June – Julie Castillo, 8th Grade, Alpine Vista School
July – Adyson Hensley, 5th Grade, Rockford Elementary School
August – Hannah Shackelford, 6th Grade, Golden Oak Elementary School
September – Mylee Primm, 8th Grade, La Joya Middle School
October – Phoenix Datig, 2nd Grade, Three Rivers Elementary School
November – Anthony Tamayo, 11th Grade, Orosi High School
December – Eveny Leon, 2nd Grade, G.L. Snowden Elementary School
Back Cover – Branson Campbell, 8th Grade, La Joya Middle School

Tulare County Ag is Down But Strong

Tulare County Annual Crop Report is Down But Still Strong

 

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

 

The numbers are in for the 2015 Tulare County Annual Crop and Livestock Report.  Marilyn Kinoshita, Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Tulare County, reported, “We had an overall value of $6.9 billion, compared to last year, which was more than $8 billion,” which means the County led the nation in total crop value and dairy production, despite a decrease of nearly 14% in one year.

Tulare County’s top ten crops [crop value] in 2015 were:

  1. Milk
  2. Cattle & Calves
  3. Oranges- Navels & Valencias
  4. Grapes
  5. Almonds Meats & Hulls
  6. Tangerines – Fresh
  7. Corn – Grain & Silage
  8. Silage – Small Grain
  9. Pistachio Nuts
  10. Walnuts

Kinoshita explained, “Dairy is our number one industry here. Our milk production was off a little bit. We have fewer dairies in business now because of the low milk prices. Anytime your fresh market milk is off, that’s going to affect our overall value. A good 2/3 of that billion-dollar decrease came from the dairy industry. The price was low the entire year, as opposed to the year before.”

Marilyn Kinoshita, agricultural commissioner, Tulare County
Marilyn Kinoshita, Tulare County Ag Commissioner

 

Thus far, the reported 2015 county crop reports in the Central Valley are down this year. “Fresno County, for instance, was down 6.5% off its record $7 billion in 2014,” Kinoshita said.

 

“It has a lot to do with low water deliveries in Fresno and Tulare Counties,” she continued. “The smaller the water deliveries, the more efficient those growers have to be with that water. Anytime you’re pumping water out of the ground, it’s terribly expensive,” she noted.

 

“Some of our growers have had to decide, ‘All right, I’ve got this much water; I’m going to keep those blocks alive and I’m going to push an older block that isn’t producing as well.’ The returns aren’t as good as some of the newer plantings,” said Kinoshita.

 

Despite all of that, Kinoshita said agriculture does sit at the head of the table in Tulare County. “Yes, and we need a successful Ag industry to thrive here,” she said.

 

To view a video of the interview, click HERE.

 

Tricia Stever Blattler, executive director of the Tulare County Farm Bureau, noted the crop report demonstrates the strength of the agricultural industry. “I think every year when this crop report comes out, it is always a testament to the resiliency of this industry. This industry takes hard knocks, gets knocked down, then steps right back up to the plate and keeps swinging,” Blattler said. “The agricultural sector has a lot of outside challenges that impact the number that we see reported every year.”

 

Tricia Stever Blattler
Tricia Stever Blattler, executive director , Tulare County Farm Bureau

Blattler acknowledged the crop value numbers do not reflect net revenue for growers. “It’s always really important for our listeners to know that the crop value is a gross revenue number. When our Ag Commissioner steps to the microphone and speaks to our Board of Supervisors about this report each year, she’s reflecting values that are attributed to all of the gross revenue, and it’s not only the field value,” Blattler said.

 

“That gross number reported each year also represents our packing houses, our milk processing facilities—the creameries, the butter plants—the packing shedsall those other parts of our industry that [create] value in our industry,” said Blattler.

 

Blattler noted up or down, it’s all about the resiliency of farmers. “The industry has its years that are really blockbuster and it has its years when it falls back and we see a reduction acreage. We see reductions in surface water deliveries. The drought is still certainly playing a significant role in the numbers we’re seeing,” she explained.

 

With regard to surface water, Tulare County is in a bit of a unique position. “As an Eastside county, some of our water deliveries are not as subject to the situation that the Westside is in. In the same sense, we have some significant cutbacks that have been attributed to the San Joaquin River’s restoration and the biological opinions in the Delta—all have had an impact on the Central San Joaquin Valley [water] deliveries regardless of whether you’re Eastside or Westside.

 

“Also, as the exchange contractors either take greater deliveries of water or give up water, that also impacts the amount available to Eastside growers here in Tulare County,” she said.

 

In summary, 2015 Tulare Crop Report covers more than 120 different commodities, 45 of which have a gross value in excess of $1 million. Although individual commodities may experience difficulties from year to year, Tulare County continues to produce high quality crops that provide food and fiber to more than 90 countries worldwide.


Featured photo: Tulare County 2015 Crop Report

How Homeowners Can Help Stop Citrus Greening

Homeowners with a citrus tree in their yard are an important part of the defense in keeping the Asian Citrus Psyllid out of the San Joaquin Valley. It’s important since the insect vectors a deadly disease on citrus.

Kevin Severns is a citrus grower and chairman of the California Citrus Mutual, based in the Tulare county town of Exeter. Severn says homeowners are an integral part of the picture.

“More homes than not and certainly more neighborhoods than not, have citrus trees in them. Certainly in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California as well. In fact, in Southern California there is actually more acreage in backyards than there is in the rest of the citrus industry combined. So the homeowner is key to us winning this fight against the Asian Citrus Psyllid.”

Severns gives some pointers on what homeowners can do to prevent the spread of the Asian Citrus Psyllid.

“So what they can do for us is actually a couple of things. They can go out and inspect their trees for the Asian Citrus Psyllid. We have a lots of materials that are available for them to be able to identify the bug,” said Severns. “Essentially what it looks like is little tiny spikes or thorns, on the back of the leaf. If a homeowner certainly sees something like that, the best thing for them to  can do is call the County Ag Commissioner’s office and they can bring someone out who can positively identify it.” he added.

Severns said homeowners also should be looking at the symptoms of  Huanglongbing disease, also known as citrus greening, which is the disease the ACP carries.

“Stunted growth on the tree, yellowing on the tree, and fruit that is oblong and misshapen. So all this together they can help us look for [Asian Citrus Psyllid]. One other thing they can do is to not bring plant material in from other areas that are heavily infested with the Asian Citrus Psyllid, that is a huge deal for us. So all those things together, if they can help us be vigilant on this, that would just be huge in us winning this fight and keeping them out of the Central Valley.”

For more information on this disease, go to CaliforniaCitrusThreat.org

Tulare Water Rally Needs You on March 26th

finger-pointing

Water Rally in Tulare Needs You!

Mario Santoyo, Executive Director of California Latino Water Coalition, announced a Water Rally on Wednesday, March 26th in Tulare. We urge everyone with agricultural water interests to attend and advocate for increased water allocations!

Mario Santoyo
Mario Santoyo

Santoyo commented:

You all are very aware of the water crisis that has been plaguing the West Side farmers due to federal pumping restrictions, well now with this year’s historic drought combined with those same pumping restrictions the East Side farmers will be in the same crisis condition.

The only hope for farmers on both sides of this Valley to survive this year is a change in the Delta Operations by both the State and Federal governments in order to maximize the flexibilities they have under this crisis to deliver more water south of the Delta, so an upcoming rally is intended to send that message.

The initial event flyer for the rally along with a water supply update on the East Side farmers’ dire situation is below.

FWA Water Supply Information Meeting Flier No  1 (3-20-14) Final