New Biodico BioFuel Facility In Fresno County

Biodico Biofuel Facility, World’s First, to Operate Entirely on Renewable Heat and Power

Biodico Inc., a sustainable biofuel and bioenergy company, announced the opening of its Biodico Westside Facility, the world’s first biofuel production facility to operate entirely on on-site power-generated renewable heat. Biodico’s ribbon-cutting ceremony from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, December 4, 2015, at the at Red Rock Ranch in Five Points, Fresno County, California, is open to the public and will feature the “Sustainable Rhythm” of the Mendota High School Marching Band’s drumline.

Biodico is transforming biofuel production with sustainable solutions to convert diverse feedstocks into environmentally sound renewable sources of fuel and energy. The Westside Facility will produce up to 20 million gallons of biodiesel annually, utilize multi-feedstock functionality, incorporate advanced sensors for real-time and remote monitoring, leading to complete system automation, and provide 45 new jobs to the San Joaquin Valley.

“Our new facility in the Valley will produce economically and environmentally viable biobased* fuel and energy for local farmers and truckers, and create new jobs in the community,” said Biodico president and founder, Russ Teall, an internationally-acknowledged leader in biofuels with more than 20 years of experience in all aspects of the industry including legal and regulatory affairs. “This facility demonstrates Biodico’s commitment to an integrated value chain model that includes accelerated and inexpensive construction and deployment, enhanced throughput with reduced operating costs, and increased monetization of renewable fuel and energy,” said Teall.

Teall successfully evolved patented and proprietary biorefinery* technology in conjunction with the U.S. Navy and the California Energy Commission. The most recent generation of equipment, the MPU (Modular Production Unit) brings automation and remote real-time sensing to biorefineries as part of an integrated self-sustaining system, utilizing anaerobic digestion, gasification, solar, and advanced agricultural and algaculture* [a form of aquaculture involving the farming of species of algae, Wikipedia].

Teall is currently the California Biodiesel Alliance president, California Air Resources Board Panel on the Low Carbon Fuel Standard member, and CIA Afghan Energy Project panelist; and formerly National Biodiesel Board (NBB) vice chair and the NBB Legislative Committee chair. He has provided biorefinery consulting services to private companies, governments and trade associations throughout the world, including the US, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Canada, China, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Haiti, Hong Kong and the PRC, India, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa and Thailand.


Again, Biodico will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the facility on Friday, December 4, 2015, featuring the “Sustainable Rhythm” of the Mendota High School Marching Band’s drumline.  Details follow:

What: Ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the world’s first fully sustainable biofuel facility.

When/Where:  Friday, December 4, 2015, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Red Rock Ranch in Five Points, Fresno County, Calif.

Why:  Fossil fuels are finite and the world needs economical alternatives that reduce toxic air emissions and greenhouse gases.

About Biodico: Biodico is a privately held company headquartered in Ventura, Calif. that (1) builds, owns and operates sustainable biofuel and bioenergy facilities, (2) conducts research, development, and validation studies with the U.S. Navy, and (3) collaborates with strategic joint venture partners to commercialize new technology and initiatives.

The company and its management have been pioneers in the industry for the past 23 years, with an emphasis on using advanced, patented and proprietary technologies for the sustainable multi-feedstock modular production of next generation biofuels and bioenergy.



[Source: Wikipedia]

*algaculture – a form of aquaculture involving the farming of species of algae, Wikipedia].

*biobased = intentionally made from substances derived from living or once-living organisms

Biobased products, designated by the Secretary of Agriculture, are commercial or industrial products that are composed in whole, or in significant part, of biological products or renewable domestic agricultural materials or forestry materials.

*biorefinery is a facility that integrates biomass conversion processes and equipment to produce fuels, power, heat, and value-added chemicals from biomass. The biorefinery concept is analogous to today’s petroleum refinery, which produce multiple fuels and products from petroleum.

The International Energy Agency Bioenergy Task 42 on Biorefineries has defined biorefining as the sustainable processing of biomass into a spectrum of bio-based products (food, feed, chemicals, materials) and bioenergy (biofuels, power and/or heat).


What is biomass electricity?

[Source: California Energy Commission]

Biomass electricity is drawn from combusting or decomposing organic matter. There are about 132 waste-to-energy plants in California, with a total capacity of almost 1,000 megawatts. These plants power our homes and businesses with electricity from waste matter that would have been released into the atmosphere, added fuel to forest fires, and burdened our landfills.

2016-05-31T19:27:02-07:00December 3rd, 2015|


HLB Quarantine Update

A Huanglongbing (HLB) quarantine is now in effect in part of Los Angeles County following the detection of HLB in four citrus trees.

On July 10, a kumquat tree on a residential property was confirmed to be infected with the incurable HLB disease. After extensive surveying and testing in the area, three more diseased trees were found nearby. The four diseased trees were on four separate properties close to one another. The tree varieties include kumquat, lime, mandarin and calamondin.

California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has already removed two of the diseased trees and is currently working with the homeowners at the other two properties to remove those trees as soon as possible. See the CDFA press release below for more details on the resulting quarantine.


SaveOurCitrusSACRAMENTO, July 22, 2015 – An 87-square mile quarantine in the San Gabriel area of Los Angeles County has been added to the existing huanglongbing (HLB) quarantine in the Hacienda Heights-area following the detection of the citrus disease huanglongbing, or citrus greening.

Additional information, including a map of the quarantine zone, is available at the CDFA Save Our Citrus website The quarantine boundaries are: on the north, E. Orange Grove Boulevard; on the east, N. Lemon Avenue; on the west, Griffin Avenue; and on the south W. La Habra Boulevard.

This area is part of a much larger quarantine already in place for the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), the pest that spreads bacteria causing huanglongbing (HLB). The new quarantine will prohibit the movement of all nursery stock out of the area, while maintaining existing provisions allowing the movement of only commercially cleaned and packed citrus fruit. Any fruit that is not commercially cleaned and packed, including residential citrus, must not be removed from the property on which it is grown, although it may be processed and/or consumed on the premises.

“The success of any quarantine depends on cooperation from those affected,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “The stakes couldn’t be higher for California citrus. We urge residents in the San Gabriel-area to do all they can to comply.”

CDFA, the USDA and the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner’s continue their work to investigate the source of the disease, to survey and test for it throughout the Los Angeles Basin, and to continue with ground treatment of citrus trees within 800 meters of the find sites – which began earlier this week. In the long term, the strategy is to control the spread of ACPs while researchers work to find a cure for the disease.

Huanglongbing has been confirmed four times in San Gabriel, in a kumquat tree on a residential property, in a lime tree on an adjacent residential property, and in calamondin and mandarin trees on residential properties in close proximity to the original find. The disease is bacterial and attacks the vascular system of plants. It does not pose a threat to humans or animals. The Asian citrus psyllid can spread the bacteria as the pest feeds on citrus trees and other related plants. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure; it typically declines and dies within a few years.

Huanglongbing is known to be present in Mexico and in parts of the southern U.S. Florida first detected the disease in 2005, and the University of Florida estimates that the disease causes an average loss of 7,513 jobs per year, and has cost growers $2.994 billion in lost revenue since then. Huanglongbing has also been detected in Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A total of 15 states or territories are under full or partial quarantine due to the presence of the ACP: Alabama, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Asian citrus psyllid was first detected in California in 2008 and quarantines for the pest are now in place in 17 California counties. If Californians believe they have seen evidence of huanglongbing in local citrus trees, they are asked to please call CDFA’s toll-free pest hotline at 1-800-491-1899 FREE. For more information on the Asian citrus psyllid and huanglongbing, please visit:

2016-05-31T19:28:09-07:00July 23rd, 2015|

Why the Amazing Avocado will Help Curb Cravings

Source: Midge Munro; Avocado Industry Council  

Research shows adding a few slices of avocado to your lunch will slash your desire to eat over the next three hours by 40 per cent compared to eating the same meal without it.

A study, published in Nutrition Journal, focused on overweight adults to see if avocado consumption helped them feel more satisfied and reduced their desire to eat in the following few hours.

Researchers at Loma Linda University in the United States conducted randomized single-blind crossover trials where participants ate a standard breakfast followed by one of three test lunches – one without avocado, one that included avocado and one where extra avocado was added.

The volunteers’ glucose and insulin responses were measured, along with their feelings of satisfaction and desire to eat over the next five hours.

The study found those who added half a fresh avocado to their lunch reported a 40 per cent decrease in desire to eat again over the next three hours, and a 28 per cent decrease in the following five hours.

Participants also reported feeling more satisfied (26 per cent) during the course of the afternoon following their avocado lunch.

Satiety is an important factor in weight management, because people who feel satisfied are less likely to snack between meals, said Dr. Joan Sabaté, Chair of the Department of Nutrition who led the research team at Loma Linda University.

It was also noted that though adding avocados increased participants’ calorie and carbohydrate intake at lunch, there was no increase in blood sugar levels beyond what was observed after eating the standard lunch. This leads them to believe that avocado’s potential role in blood sugar management is worth further investigation.

The study was funded by the American-based Hass Avocado Board.

New Zealand Avocado CEO Jen Scoular says there are many international studies underway to uncover the health benefits of avocados.

“Other research published in Nutrition Journal found people who regularly eat avocados weigh 3.4kg less on average, and have waistlines around 4cm smaller, than those who don’t,” Scoular says.

“Avocados are rich in monounsaturated (‘good’) fats and are a low GI (glycemic index) food, so they will help you to feel fuller for longer.”

Another reason avocado will help fill you up is they are packed with fibre. Half an avocado will provide more than 25 per cent of your daily recommended fibre intake.

“They’re an absolute powerhouse when it comes to providing your body with the nutrients it needs each day. They also help your body absorb more nutrients from other fruit and vegetables you eat with avocado,” Scoular explains.

Boosting your avocado intake is easy as this home-grown fruit is extremely versatile. You can add a few slices to your favourite omelette, sandwich or salad, or eat them on toast at any time of day.

“You can also blend them into smoothies or use them as a butter and oil substitute when baking or making desserts,” she says. “Their creamy texture makes them perfect for mousses, ice cream and cheesecakes. Delicious and healthy!”

2016-05-31T19:32:11-07:00December 10th, 2014|

Netafim Rolls Out Portable Drip Irrigation Technology 

New PolyNet Flexible Piping System Provides Cost-Effective, 

Water-Saving Solution For Today’s Farms


Addressing the diverse operational and environmental needs of today’s modern growers, Netafim, the pioneers of drip irrigation, have unveiled PolyNet, a high-performance, flexible, lightweight, cost-effective, piping solution for above and below-ground agricultural drip irrigation systems.

Utilizing an advanced, collapsible design, PolyNet is an innovative mainline and sub-mainline portable drip irrigation piping solution from Netafim that enables growers to easily install, recoil and relocate a drip irrigation system for use in an alternate field or different configuration.Netafim-PolyNet-Outlet

Featuring leakage-free lateral connectors and integrated welded outlets, spaced according to customer requirements, PolyNet’s advanced design provides growers with an easy-to-assemble, precise water delivery solution that lowers labor and maintenance costs, increases water savings and improves crop performance potential through enhanced system performance.

Additionally, the cost (per acre) of a PolyNet portable drip irrigation system is substantially less than a below-ground PVC system, giving producers more options when deciding on a system that is the right fit for their operation.

Netafim-PolyNet in field 2“A perfect complement to Netafim’s singular focus of providing reliable, simple and affordable irrigation solutions to help today’s farmers address the challenges of an increasingly complex industry, PolyNet enables farmers to reap the benefits of a drip irrigation system in areas where flexibility is essential,” said Ze’ev Barylka, Director of Marketing for Netafim USA. “Since first pioneering drip irrigation technology nearly 5 decades ago, the debut of PolyNet is a result of Netafim’s continued commitment to providing growers wit leading tools and technology needed to improve yield potential and productivity, while reducing costs, labor and water use.”

Available in a wide range of diameters, PolyNet’s thermostatic collapsible irigation pipe is constructed from rugged premium polyethylene materials that are designed to be versatile and durable enough to withstand the weight of heavy field machinery as well as the most stringent environmental conditions. Requiring no specialized installation tools, PolyNet is equipped with a connector kit and an array of branching and lateral fittings, making it compatible with any Netafim on-surface or subsurface (SDI) irrigation system.

For more information on PolyNet or the company’s industry leading drip irrigation products please visit

2016-05-31T19:34:18-07:00July 9th, 2014|

Citrus Showcase Had Strong Showing

Citrus Showcase News

Area-Wide ACP Spraying To Start Soon

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

The 2014 California Citrus Showcase in Visalia, hosted by the Exeter based California Citrus Mutual, brought a record crowd.

“It was the largest event we have had in our 15 years,” said Joel Nelson, President of the California Citrus Mutual, the organization that hosts the annual event. “We had about 100 exhibitors and about 650 people for lunch, and roughly 1,000 growers who meandered though the entire show throughout the course of the day,”  Nelson said.

There were also six workshops that focused on the Asian Citrus Psyllid, the vector of the fatal HLB disease, water quality and even GMO research to help find HLB resistant citrus stock.

“What we wanted to do  was  give our growers a bit of optimism,” said Nelson. “Our citrus industry has been hit with so many challenges, not withstanding the ACP/HLB issue, the  disease that is ravaging Florida; the freeze in December and now the drought conditions.”

“We wanted the industry to be aware that there are opportunities to fix these problems that are facing our industry, and I think that the growers left here much more positive than when they came in,” said Nelson.

Joel Nelson and Felicia Marcus

Joel Nelson, President of California Citrus Mutual, with Felicia Marcus, Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board

Some of the highlights of the half-day event included:

The keynote speaker for the inaugural Citrus Showcase Breakfast was Felicia Marcus, Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. “This is a scary and uncertain drought, and it is going to be painful,” Marcus said.

“There is no question that we would not be where we are today if we had more storage,” Marcus said. “We are concerned with climate change when we could be facing the regular loss of half of our storage…snow in the mountains.”

She also said that nitrates in the ground water are a legacy issue.

Another big topic centered on what can be done to suppress the ACP, which will help prevent HLB infected trees.

The San Joaquin Valley Citrus Industry has been discussing area-wide treatment of orchards, on top of the mandated treatments when a psyllid is found.

Kevin Severens

Kevin Severns

“As it stands right now, there would be logical areas where geographically it would make sense to have that as a treatment zone,” said Kevin Severns, a grower and  the new Chairman of California Citrus Mutual.

“There will be area captains in each of the zones, such as a grower or other person well-known in the area. They would work with an area-wide coordinator, and the state-wide coordinator will be responsible for coordinating treatment,” Severns said.

The spray timing would be when new growth flushes occur on citrus trees, a time when the ACP is attracted too.

Attendees also heard from Mike Sparks, President of the Florida Citrus Mutual, who painted a grim picture of what has happened to the Florida citrus industry and described its uncertain future.

“The losses due to HLB over the last seven years have been more than $70 million, said Sparks. “Before HLB disease hit us, the Florida Citrus industry was at 815,000 acres. Today the acreage is at 525,000.  And we are losing orange juice processing plant infrastructure due to the low volume, pegged at only  115 million boxes, down from 133 million boxes last season.”

“Every orchard in the state is infected and growers are doing every thing they can to reduce ACP numbers and remove HLB-infected trees,” said Sparks.

Mike Sparks President Florida Citrus Mutual

Mike Sparks

There is particular concern for orchards that have been abandoned.

“The cost of production in order to fight ACP with sprays continues to go up, while production goes down. We know this is not sustainable,” said Sparks.

“Over the years, Florida citrus growers have had to deal with freezes, citrus canker, and even powerful hurricanes that have wiped out orchards. At least those orchards could be replanted and production would resume. HLB, is a far different threat. It has put growers to their knees,” Sparks said.


2016-05-31T19:38:51-07:00March 7th, 2014|

Many Reasons to Celebrate Pistachios!


February 26th is a day for all to celebrate National Pistachio Day. It is a day that has been set aside for all pistachio lovers to eat their favorite nut all day long.

Besides their great taste, pistachios are an excellent source of vitamin B6, copper and manganese and a good source of protein, fiber, thiamin, and phosphorus.  In July 2003, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first qualified health claim specific to nuts lowering the risk of heart disease: “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces (42.5g) per day of most nuts, such as pistachios, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease”

In addition to all the health benefits that pistachios offer, the empty pistachio shells are useful for recycling in several ways. Practical uses include as a fire starter, just as kindling  would be used with crumpled paper; to line the bottom of pots containing houseplants, for drainage and retention of soil for up to two years; as a mulch  for shrubs and plants that require acid soils: as a medium for orchids; and as an addition to a compost pile designed for wood items that take longer to decompose than leafy materials, taking up to a year for pistachio shells to decompose unless soil is added to the mix.

Shells from salted pistachios can also be placed around the base of plants to deter slugs and snails. Many craft uses for the shells include holiday tree ornaments, jewelry, mosaics, and rattles. Research indicates that pistachio shells may be helpful in cleaning up pollution created by mercury emissions.

Source:  National Day Calendar

2016-05-31T19:38:55-07:00February 26th, 2014|

Science Trumps Dirty Dozen Produce List

Science Based Data Pushes Back

on Dirty Dozen Produce List


By Patrick Cavanaugh, editor

Marilyn Dolan

Marilyn Dolan, Executive Director of Alliance for Food and Farming

The Environmental Working Group, which issues what they call the Dirty Dozen Produce list each year, has gotten major pushback by science based produce companies.

“The dirty dozen list is produced by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and it tells people about the 12 top commodities, that are the most pesticide contaminated of all fruits and vegetables, said Marilyn Dolan, Executive Director of the Alliance for Food & Farming, based in Watsonville, Calif.  “They tell consumers  ‘what they should do for those 12 items is to buy organic, and not conventional, because the conventional is laden with pesticides’”

However the Alliance for Food & Farming think the EWG is totally off-base and needed to be pushed back with facts. “The Alliance feels that this is fear-based marketing and doesn’t encourage consumption of fruits and vegetables and scares consumers,” said Dolan.

“We have launched a program to educate the media and others about the facts behind pesticide residues and the fact that residues are so low that consumers should just eat fruits and vegetables,” Dolan said. “It doesn’t matter if the fruits and vegetables are organic or conventional, because they are all safe and good for consumers.”

In 2010 the Alliance launched a campaign called safe fruits and veggies initiative and they also launched a website that is designed to give consumers credible science-based information about the safety of fruits and vegetables. “There is all kinds of information there, including scientific reports, and interactive tools that can be used,” said Dolan.

“There is also a pesticide residue calculator, which can be used to show consumers that they can eat up to 56,000 servings of carrots and there would be no health impacts from pesticides on them because they are so, so small,” she said.

The website for this information is

Dolan noted that the media listened to the facts. “Before 2010 when we launched our safe fruits and veggies program, the media usually ran the dirty dozen list every year, and never provided any counter-balance.”

“However, once we decided to educate the media about this information, we found that they responded to it really well and they started looking at the information that was presented. And for the most part they just quit talking about the issue of pesticide residues. This is because they could see from our website that the information was there to counter this dirty dozen list,” she noted.

Dolan said that it became harder for the media to cover the story, and fortunately for everyone they opted to not cover it so much any more. “There has been a drastic reduction on the coverage of the dirty dozen every year when it’s released.

One of the big messages on the website is that strict government regulations are in place in the U.S. and extremely healthy-protective. “There are all kinds of systems from the EPA setting safety tolerances, to the USDA and the State Departments, who monitor actual residues on fruits and vegetables to make sure that they are not over safety limits.

“And consistently these government agencies find that fruits and vegetables sold in the U.S. are extremely safe, that they usually have no pesticide residues on them at all, and if they do, they are very, very small,” said Dolan. “They repeatedly assure Americans that fruits and vegetables are safe to eat and health experts around the world are telling people that they should be eating more fruits and vegetables.”

2016-05-31T19:38:57-07:00February 23rd, 2014|

Governor Brown Announces Emergency Drought Help

Governor Brown, Legislative Leaders Announce Emergency Drought Help

On Friday, facing the worst water shortage crisis in the state’s modern history, Governor Jerry Brown announced plans to introduce emergency drought legislation that provides $687.4 million for affected communities and workers.  Joining the governor in his announcement in Sacramento was Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez.

Drought LOGOAlthough the specific language in the bill is still being drafted by Senate staff, the proposed legislation makes millions available for conservation and drinking supplies for communities from existing bond funds, while also providing housing and food relief for impacted farm workers.  The bill appropriates most of the remaining funding from a bond measure approved by the voters several years ago, Proposition 84, a measure that Western Growers supported.

Gov. Brown Emergency Drought legislation

Specifically for communities, the  legislation provides bond funds to help local communities capture and manage water better, provides funding for securing emergency drinking water supplies for drought impacted communities and also increases funding for state and local conservation corps to assist communities with efficiency upgrades and fire risk.  This includes $1 million for the “Save Our Water” public awareness campaign – a water conservation campaign aimed at the state’s residents.

Impacted workers will have access to $25.3 million in food assistance funding and $21 million for housing related assistance.

Additionally, the proposed legislation adopts new groundwater replenishment regulations and makes statutory changes to ensure existing water rights laws are followed and provides increased enforcement penalties for illegally diverting water. The bill also provides the California Department of Housing and Community Development the greatest flexibility to maximize migrant housing units.

2016-05-31T19:38:57-07:00February 22nd, 2014|


Feed Crop Competition Depletes Inventories and Drought LOGOIncreased Prices




Just as milk prices are improving, the drought is worsening, and fierce competition for hay and other feed crops, plus limited water supplies to grow other feed crops, have increased input costs and dimmed the outlook for California dairy farmers, the California Farm Bureau Federation posted TODAY.


“Poor range conditions due to drought have forced many beef cattle ranchers and sheep producers to feed more hay, depleting inventories and pushing prices up for dairy farmers,” Fresno County dairyman Donny Rollin said.


“There’s not a lot out here right now, so everybody is scrambling for the same stuff,” he said.


He noted that even though he has purchased hay recently, scheduling a delivery has been difficult, as busy truck drivers hustle to drop off all the loads.


Tulare County dairy farmer Tom Barcellos said lack of surface water deliveries from the Friant Unit of the Central Water Project and inadequate groundwater supplies will likely force him to fallow 30 percent to 40 percent of his silage-crop acreage this summer. He said he might also have to abandon some of his alfalfa acreage in order to stretch his water supply to grow additional forage for next fall and winter.


“If we don’t get any rainfall, I don’t know what I’m going to do, because I don’t even know that the water table can sustain the wells that are going to water the cows and wash the milk barn down,” Barcellos said.


“While a robust U.S. corn crop has helped to moderate corn-grain prices for dairy farmers, prices for other feed commodities such as soybean meal and cottonseed have continued to escalate. Now, California dairy producers can also expect to feel the pinch from local sources of feed,” said Peter Robinson, a University of California Cooperative Extension dairy nutrition and management specialist.


He said he expects there will be reduced availability of all feed crops if drought conditions do not improve significantly. “Dairy farmers will see their production costs increase, as they look to buy feed from out of state and maybe even offshore,” he added.


He noted that winter wheat silage, which is planted in the fall in the San Joaquin Valley, is usually germinated by rainfall, but this year, many growers have had to irrigate to get the seeds to sprout. “Because farmers probably won’t want to pump much water to support the crop,” Robinson said, “he expects there will be less production of winter wheat this year.”


He said he also expects feed-crop acreage in the San Joaquin Valley to see a significant shift away from corn silage toward sorghum, a less thirsty crop.


“Unfortunately, sorghum doesn’t have the same nutritional value to dairy cows that corn does,” he said, “and that will impact milk production.”


“Also, with water shortages to bring less cotton acreage in the valley, there will be reduced supplies of cottonseed, an important source of energy and fat in the dairy ration,” Robinson noted. “With cottonseed prices already elevated and expected to go higher,” he added, “dairy farmers may choose to feed more forage as a substitute.”


“But if you’re also dumbing down the corn silage by converting it to sorghum, then you’re going to have problems formulating rations that continue to have high milk flows,” he said. “Overall, I don’t think there’s any way that we don’t see a reduction in milk production over the summer.”


Rollin said he already grows sorghum as part of the feed mix for his heifers but noted that corn silage and wheat silage are still the best forages for his milking herd. Over the years, he’s made use of alternative feeds such as culled fruits and vegetables, including citrus, pomegranates, peaches, onions and asparagus, as well as bakery waste. This year, he’s also going to start feeding soy hull pellets, a byproduct of soybean processing.


“Farmers are pretty ingenious about figuring a way to feed cattle,” he said. “If there’s anything of any value anywhere, it’s getting gobbled up.”


But with orchard farmers trying to save water to keep their trees alive, Rollin said there would be fewer acres of vegetables and other row crops that have been a source of dairy feed.


Barcellos, who also planted sorghum last year due to tight water supplies, said dairy farmers do not normally compete with beef cattle ranchers for the same feed, because beef producers usually have plenty of grasses on rangeland to graze their cattle and they also supplement with feeds that work well for beef cattle but not necessarily for milk production.


“This time, we’re going to be in a situation where if there’s a bale of hay that’s got a string around it, everybody wants it,” he said.

“One feed product for which dairy farmers might be competing head on with beef producers this year is almond hulls, which are a big part of the dairy feed mixture,” Robinson said.


While some cattle ranchers have already begun to shrink their herds due to dry pastures and lack of available feed, Barcellos said he hopes he won’t need to make reductions on his dairy. But he noted that dairy farmers would have to make those considerations if they don’t have enough feed.


“Concern about available forage supplies may pressure some dairies to scale back their cow numbers, but higher milk prices may also drive them to increase stocking density,” Robinson said.


Even though Fresno County dairy farmer Steve Nash grows about 70 percent of his feed and describes his farming location as a good area for groundwater, he said he’s focused on maintaining his herd and trying to pay back some of the debt he’s incurred in recent years.


While some dairies may be expanding to take advantage of higher milk prices, Nash said he thinks many of them will be “holding back and trying to improve their financial situation.”

2016-05-31T19:38:57-07:00February 19th, 2014|

President Obama Comes To Fresno

President Obama Comes to Fresno, Visits West Side

By Patrick Cavanaugh

President Obama arrived in Fresno around 2:30 pm Friday and immediately headed out to the West Side of the San Joaquin Valley to talk with farmers about the worst drought crisis in California’s history. Valley growers had high hopes that his visit would force the issue into the national arena.

California’s Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein, and Barbara Boxer, as well as Democratic Congressman Jim Costa, were part of the entourage.

Joe 2

Farmer Joe Del Bosque

As they traveled in Marine One on an extensive air tour, they were able to see thousands of acres of fallow land that will have an enormous  impact on family famers, their employees, as well as the state’s economy.

Following a closed door roundtable meeting he emerged with West Side Farmer Joe Del Bosque, praising him for his success in farming. “Joe told me that there are three things that make farming work in California: Soil, Water and People President Obama said. “And in the little free time they have Joe and his wife Maria improve the health and safety of farm workers. There are a lot of people who depend on him year-round and who depend on him seasonally, and their livelihoods depends on the functioning of these farms,” President Obama added.

The main agenda of the President’s visit was to reiterate the promise of more than $170 million in new initiatives to deal with the crisis—including $100 million for ranchers facing livestock losses.

Besides help for ranchers, other significant areas of the drought initiative includes:

    •  $60 million for food programs serving drought-stricken communities in the Central Valley. This will  be of great need for food banks throughout the Central Valley, who will have to provide food for hungry farmworkers.

 $5 million in conservation assistance for the most parched areas of California. The money will help farmers and ranchers “implement conservation practices that conserve scarce water resources,” as well as reduce wind erosion.

  •  $5 million to help communities and landowners with soil stabilization and replenishment of vegetation-stripped areas.
  •  $3 million to help rura
    l communities facing water shortages. State health officials have already identified 17 communities in 10 counties that are in danger of literally running out of water within the next three months due to zero water allocations.

“President Obama and I will continue to do everything within our power to support California farmers, ranchers and families living in drought-stricken areas,” said Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture on Thursday in a phone interview. “This assistance, coupled with other aid being made available across government, should provide some relief during this difficult time.”

“Thanks to the newly-signed Farm Bill, we are now able to offer long-awaited livestock disaster assistance, which will provide needed stability for California livestock producers impacted by drought,” said Vilsack.

California’s Congressional Republican Comment

California Congressmen David Valadao, Devin Nunes, and Kevin McCarthy issued the following statements today in reaction to President Obama’s remarks on the California water crisis:

“The President missed a prime opportunity today,” said Rep. Valadao. “As farmers, farm workers and communities in the San Joaquin Valley suffer, this Administration has chosen handouts and a climate change lecture over real solutions. We feed the world and all we ask for is a reliable, clean water supply. I will remind the President that my constituents are part of the environment too, and the lack of a long-term solution could spell economic and social destruction for the Central Valley.”

“To blame the California water crisis on global warming is ludicrous,” Rep. Nunes said. “The state has an incredible irrigation system designed to supply water through five years of drought. But as a result of excessive regulations and lawsuits by environmental extremists, we cannot fully use this system, and billions of gallons of water have been flushed into the ocean that could have supplied drought-stricken farmers and communities. Invoking global warming shows ignorance of California’s irrigation system and of basic math and engineering. President Obama could have taken the lead in solving this crisis, but he is apparently more concerned with placating his radical environmentalist allies.”

“The President’s decision to use his visit to California as an opportunity to launch a massive spending initiative to explore the impacts of climate change will simply leave California Central Valley communities dry,” said Rep. McCarthy. “Unfortunately, nothing the President proposed today changes the underlying issue that our communities are not receiving the water they have contracted and paid for; thus exacerbating the impacts of the current and future droughts.

House Republicans on the other hand are continuing to work to find a bipartisan, bicameral solution to ensure our communities are not crippled by future droughts. We look forward to coming together with the Senate to find areas of common ground and commonsense to finally achieve a solution that allows desperately needed water to flow in our state.”

2016-05-31T19:38:58-07:00February 15th, 2014|
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