Water Rights Holders Must Measure Stream Diversions

UC Cooperative Extension Offering Water Measurement and Reporting Courses April 4

News Release

California water rights holders are required by state law to measure and report the water they divert from surface streams. For people who wish to take the water measurements themselves, the University of California Cooperative Extension is offering training to receive certification April 4 in Redding and Woodland.

At the workshop, participants will:

  • Clarify reporting requirements for ranches.
  • Understand which meters are appropriate for different situations.
  • Learn how to determine measurement equipment accuracy.
  • Develop an understanding of measurement weirs.
  • Learn how to calculate and report volume from flow data.

UC Cooperative Extension is offering a limited number of trainings in 2019. The next training will be held at Shasta College Farm and Yolo County Fairgrounds:

  • Yolo County Fairgrounds in Woodland – Register at http://cecapitolcorridor.ucanr.edu or by emailing Morgan Doran at mpdoran@ucanr.edu or calling the UCCE office in Yolo County at (530) 666-8143. Training will begin at 2 p.m. and should conclude by 5 p.m.

Background on the water diversion law

Senate Bill 88 requires that all water right holders who have previously diverted or intend to divert more than 10 acre-feet per year (riparian and pre-1914 claims), or who are authorized to divert more than 10 acre-feet per year under a permit, license or registration, to measure and report the water they divert. 

Detailed information on the regulatory requirements for measurement and reporting are available on the State Water Resources Control Board Reporting and Measurement Regulation webpage: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights. For diversion or storage greater than or equal to 100-acre feet annually, the law requires approval of installation and certification of measurement methods by an engineer, contractor, or other approved professional.

To make it easier for farmers and ranchers to comply with the law, the California Cattlemen’s Association worked with Assemblyman Frank Bigelow on a bill that would allow people to get certified to take the measurements themselves. Assembly Bill 589 became law on Jan. 1, 2018.

Until Jan. 1, 2023, this bill allows anyone who diverts water and has completed an instructional course on measurement devices and methods administered by UC Cooperative Extension, including passage of a proficiency test, to be considered qualified to install and maintain devices or implement methods of measurement. The bill requires UC Cooperative Extension and the water board to jointly develop the curriculum for the course and the proficiency test.

Oriental Fruit Fly Quarantine Expands in Northern California

New Quarantine Measures 123 Square Miles

News Release Edited By Patrick Cavanaugh

A portion of Sacramento and Yolo Counties have been placed under quarantine for the Oriental fruit fly following the detection of 15 flies in and around the southern part of the City of Sacramento near the Lemon Hill community.

The quarantine zone measure 123 square miles, generally bordered on the north by El Camino Avenue; on the south by Laguna Boulevard, on the west by the Sacramento River; and on the east by Bradshaw Road. A link to the quarantine map may be found here: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/off/regulation.html.

To prevent the spread of Oriental fruit flies through homegrown fruits and vegetables, residents living in the quarantine area are urged not to move those items from their property. However, they may be consumed or processed (i.e. juiced, frozen, cooked, or ground in the garbage disposal) on the property where they were grown, or disposed of by double-bagging and placing in the regular trash bin, not green waste.

Following the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), CDFA primarily uses the “male attractant” technique to eradicate this pest.  Trained workers squirt a small patch of fly attractant mixed with a very small dose of pesticide approximately 10 feet off the ground on street trees and similar surfaces; male fruit flies are attracted to the mixture and perish after consuming it. This approach has successfully eliminated dozens of fruit fly infestations from California over the last several decades.

The Oriental fruit fly is known to target 230 different fruit, vegetable, and plant commodities.  Damage occurs when the female fruit fly lays her eggs inside the fruit.

Small larvae generally enter the fruit at the stem end, although entry can be made anywhere on the fruit, particularly where two fruits touch. Larvae immediately bore to the center of the fruit and feed around the pit. After reaching maturity, they exit from the fruit and pupate.

While fruit flies and other invasive species that threaten California’s crops and natural environment are sometimes detected in agricultural areas, the vast majority are found in urban and suburban communities.

The most common pathway for these pests to enter the state is by “hitchhiking” in fruits and vegetables brought back illegally by travelers when they return from infested regions of the world or ship infested produce through the mail. Help protect California’s agricultural and natural resources; please Don’t Pack a Pest (www.dontpackapest.com) when traveling or mailing packages.

The Oriental fruit fly is widespread throughout much of the mainland of southern Asia and neighboring islands, including Sri Lanka and Taiwan, and it has invaded other areas, most notably Africa and Hawaii.

Residents with questions about the project may call CDFA’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899. Additional information may be found here: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/off/.

Eighteen New California Farm Academy Graduates!

Eighteen New Farmers Graduate from California Farm Academy

 

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

 

The California Farm Academy, a part-time, seven-month, beginning farmer training program run by the Land-Based Learning, graduated 18 new farmers on Sunday, September 18, 2016.

 

With more than 250 hours of classroom and field training behind them, these enterprising graduates were honored by notables such as Karen Ross, secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA); Craig McNamara, president and owner of Sierra Orchards, as well as president of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture; Sri Sethuratnam, director, California Farm Academy (CFA); and Mary Kimball, executive director, Center for Land-Based Learning, based in Winters California.

new farmers graduate from California Farm Academy beginning farmer training program run by the Land-Based Learning.
Eighteen new farmers graduated from California Farm Academy’s beginning farmer training program run by the Center for Land-Based Learning.

 

“The impetus of our program,” said Christine McMorrow, director of development for Land-Based Learning, “is the need for more farmers as the current ones age out. According to the USDA, over 700,000 new farmers will be needed in the next 20 years to replace those who retire.

 

CFA teachers, farmers, academic faculty and staff, and agricultural, natural resource and business professionals, teach CFA students basic production agricultural practices; crop planning; soil science; pest management; organic agriculture; irrigation and water management; marketing; ecology and conservation; obtaining loans, insurance and permits; farm financials; human resource management; risk management; farm safety; regulatory compliance and problem-solving.

 

McMorrow stated, “These folks have been with us since February, following a rigorous application process. A lot of these folks either have land they have dreamed of farming but did not know how to put it into production. Some of them come from farming families, but they wanted to get involved in the family business on their own. They may have been in a different career and now want to do something new or different. Perhaps they haven’t studied agriculture or they have not seen much agriculture other than what their family does, so this is an opportunity for them to learn and to explore a new business idea.

 

“We only take people who are serious about production agriculture. This is not a program for somebody who thinks, ‘I’ve got an acre in my backyard and I really want to grow something.’ While that’s a cool thing to do, the academy is not for those people.”

 

“Our graduating farmers, who range in age from their late 20s to early 50s, each wrote a business plan and presented it to folks within the agriculture industry,” said McMorrow. “They also planted some of their own crops on a farm in Winters.

 

McMorrow elaborated, “These new farmers have been able to create their own networks, having made contact with more than 40 different folks within the agricultural industry throughout the time they spent with us. These networks include local farmers around Yolo County, Solano County, Sacramento County, and other regions, and will help our graduates realize their dreams.”

 

California Farm Academy (CFA) We grow farmers

“This is the fifth class that has graduated,” explained McMorrow, “and mind you, these folks are doing lots of different things. Some of them already have their own land, some are going to work for someone who has land, some will work other farmers, and some will go into a food-related business.”

 

“Still others will stay and lease small plots of land from us,” McMorrow commented, “to start their own farming business. Beginning farmers face huge barriers to getting started, the biggest of which is access to land, capital and infrastructure. So, to get their farming businesses started, California Farm Academy alumni are eligible to lease land at sites in West Sacramento, Davis and Winters at a very low cost.”


The Center for Land-Based Learning exists to cultivate opportunity.

For the land.

For youth.

For the environment.

For business.

For the economy.

For the future of agriculture.

RAIN Damages Alfalfa; Benefits Wheat

Above-Average California Rain Affects Larry Hunn’s Crops

by Emily McKay Johnson, Associate Editor

For fourth-generation farmer Larry Hunn of Hunn & Merwin & Merwin, Inc., based out of Clarksburg, Calif., the price of alfalfa is low this year due to water damage from late rains. Nevertheless, cannery tomatoes, cucumbers, safflower and wheat are looking pretty hopeful.

Larry Hunn
Larry Hunn

Mold from rainfall is a big issue in growing alfalfa; it not only reduces the quality of the perennial grass, but it reduces the nutritional value as well. Dairy farmers won’t buy it. “It has really depressed our alfalfa prices.” said Hunn.

On the bright side, rainfall has been beneficial for Hunn’s above-average winter wheat and safflower crops this year. “We had nice rainfall spread out through the whole winter,” he said. “It didn’t come all at one time and flood us out, so that was good.”

Hunn’s hard red winter wheat is drying down in the field, and will be harvested mid-June and sent mainly to flour mills for bread making. The safflower is still growing and looking healthy on a few hundred acres—acres that have been in his family for four generations—and won’t “come off” until late August or September.

Beginning in South Sacramento on 47th Avenue, Larry Hunn’s great-grandfather started farming in the late 1800s, and his grandfather moved to the Delta in the early 1920s, where they’ve been farming ever since. Hunn & Merwin & Merwin Inc. now operates on close to 3,000 acres in Yolo and Sacramento Counties.

Hunn’s other crops have already been contracted with a buyer. “All the cannery tomatoes are in the ground growing, and they look pretty good. We’re in the process of planting cucumbers, that’s just a continuous until the first of August,” mentioned Hunn.

The only disadvantage are the cool breezes from snow atop the Sierra Mountain range that is keeping temperatures low on the cucumbers and tomatoes. Hunn remarked, “I wish it would warm up a little bit. We’re only in the mid-seventies, low eighties, and it would be nice to be up in the mid-eighties or low nineties.”

Overall it’s been a decent year for the veteran Clarksburg grower.

(Featured photo: Alfalfa on edge of field of Larry Hunn, Hunn & Merwin & Merwin, California Ag Today)