Ag Today February 20, 2019

California Democrats taking action by asking for more water to be allocated to farmers [KSEE – TV, Fresno]

The Sierra is packed with snow because of the recent storms. Now, local farmers are hoping the bounty of water will make it’s way to the valley. Democratic representative T.J. Cox, Jim Costa, joined senator Feinstein to send a letter to the Bureau of Reclamation asking that recent snowfall be taken into account when allocations are announced….Dusty Ference is the Executive Director of the Kings County Farm Bureau….”Current rain fall post February first and snow is included in those numbers,” said Ference. “It would be irresponsible to exclude those numbers from allocation estimates for the year.”


California wastes so much of its rainwater. Here’s why [Los Angeles Times]

…In what has become a source of much concern in a state prone to droughts and water shortages, the vast majority of rainwater in urban areas flows into storm drains and is eventually lost to the Pacific Ocean….For Southern California, this is shaping up to be the wettest winter in years — serving as a reminder of how much water is wasted when the skies open up….Cities have been exploring what can be done to capture urban runoff. Among the ideas being tried are slowly feeding rainwater underground, a process known as aquifer recharge, and creating more permeable surfaces where the water flows, such as removing some of the concrete around the Los Angeles River bed.


Officials: Arizona will miss US deadline for key water plan [Associated Press]

Arizona won’t have all the pieces of a Colorado River drought plan finished by the federal government’s deadline to finalize protections for water used by millions across the U.S. West, state water officials said Tuesday. It’s the latest hurdle threatening the plan between seven states to take less water from the drought-starved Colorado River, which supplies 40 million people and 5.5 million acres of farmland….Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Nevada have joined drought contingency plans for the Colorado River, while Arizona and California are still working on plans.


In garlic capital, tariffs and immigration crackdown have mixed impacts [NPR]

Gilroy, Calif., is known as the garlic capital of the world. And two Trump administration policies — one on trade, the other on immigration — are having a mixed impact on this agricultural community south of San Francisco….Christopher Ranch in Gilroy is the largest garlic producer in the country….In the 1990s, he says, the industry was hit hard by cheap Chinese garlic imports….Gilroy is known for its garlic, but only a few farms survived.


Honeybee theft can be a problem worth thousands of dollars [KXTV, Sacramento]

With a possible reward of up to $10,000, “bee theft” is no joke to California beekeepers and members of the California Beekeepers Association. Bee theft has been happening in the state since at least late January….Issues with bee thefts continued into the middle of February when, according to the California State Beekeepers Association, 96 hives each were stolen from Gunter Honey and SP Godlin Apiaries….Steve Godlin of Visalia told Ag Alert that the near 100 bees alone would have been valued at $20,000 and could have also seen another $20,000 for the pollination services.


Editorial: Local farmers are helping experiment with ways to improve the climate and bolster local rice farming [Marysville Appeal-Democrat]

…It’s too soon to know exactly where or how far things will head from here, but we’re happy that local agronomists are involved in the “Fish in the Fields” program. The idea is to make flooded rice fields a habitat for fish, which help control methane emissions and also could, someday, be either a protein crop or could help increase water availability to agriculture….Still, we find it encouraging that local farmers are cooperating in experimenting with what might improve the climate and environment and strengthen their industry, all at the same time.