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Ag Today January 18, 2017

Valley farmers aim to provide bees with appetizers, dessert to go with main meal BY JOHN HOLLAND jholland@modbee.com About a month from now, billions of bees will get to work pollinating nearly 1 million acres of California almonds. On a small part of that acreage, growers are providing other flowers for the bees to dine on before and after the almond bloom. They hope to strengthen the insects against disease and other challenges that have reduced their numbers in recent years. An orchard east of Livingston provided a glimpse Tuesday of how it works – in this case with yellow mustard and daikon radish sown...

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Ag Today January 17, 2017

EPA's bee decisions are sweet for growers, but they sting environmentalists Geoffrey MohanContact Reporter     The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency backed away from tough restrictions on how pesticides can be used while honeybees are pollinating crops, and it declared that three of the pesticides most closely associated with bee deaths are safe in most applications. The assessments, released late Thursday, conclude that clothianidin, thiamethoxam and dinotefuran can kill bees and their larvae individually, but that in “most approved uses” they “do not pose significant risks to bee colonies” at the exposure levels expected to be found on fields. Those conclusions are likely to allow growers to keep using...

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Ag Today January 13, 2017

As Rains Soak California, Farmers Test How To Store Water Underground DAN CHARLES January 12, 20173:01 PM ET Helen Dahlke, a scientist from the University of California, Davis, stands in an almond orchard outside Modesto that's being deliberately flooded. This experiment is examining how flooding farmland in the winter can help replenish the state's depleted aquifers. Joe Proudman/Joe Proudman / Courtesy of UC Davis   Six years ago, Don Cameron, the general manager of Terranova Ranch, southwest of Fresno, Calif., did something that seemed kind of crazy. He went out to a nearby river, which was running high because of recent rains, and he opened an irrigation gate....

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Ag Today January 12, 2017

Storm surge: Levees under patrol as water problems in Delta grow Posted Jan 11, 2017 at 8:00 PMUpdated Jan 11, 2017 at 9:25 PM    By Alex Breitler Record Staff Writer Flooding concerns intensified in the the Delta on Wednesday as huge volumes of water surged down creeks and streams into the low-lying river estuary. Higher than expected water levels had crews patrolling levees and watching carefully for any sign of trouble. An estimated 245,098 cubic feet of water per second was pouring into the Delta, the equivalent of nearly three Olympic-sized swimming pools every second. And it didn't end on Wednesday: By high tide late Thursday, the rivers may be even higher as the slug of water from...

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Ag Today January 11, 2017

Farmers and water districts hope storm runoff can help replenish underground supplies BY ROBERT RODRIGUEZ brodriguez@fresnobee.com While some farmers lament the release of thousands of acre-feet of water from Friant Dam, others are putting it to good use: recharging groundwater supplies. Last week, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation began releasing water from Millerton Lake to make room for a deluge of storm runoff. The move frustrated some farmers, who say spilling water into the river and eventually the ocean is a prime example of why the state needs to build a dam at Temperance Flat. Farming advocates are pushing for state and federal funding...

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Ag Today January 10, 2016

California storms offer some relief to the state's drought-stricken areas Jeff Daniels | @jeffdanielsca   This weekend's storm broke some records set in the late 1970s, and was being compared with a Godzilla-like storm that impacted the state a decade ago.The huge winter storms in California are expected to result in an improvement in the most severe drought conditions in both the northern and southern portions of the state. "They are just getting hammered right now," said David Miskus, a senior meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and one of the authors of the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor. "It's been a good year...

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Ag Today January 9,2016

Water flows from Friant Dam as officials and farmers call for more storage BY ROBERT RODRIGUEZ brodriguez@fresnobee.com With the roar of rushing water as a backdrop, farming advocates and elected officials gathered at the base of Friant Dam on Friday to push for construction of the Temperance Flat dam. The proposed dam, with a price tag of $2.8 billion, is considered a linchpin for the Valley’s water future and represents the ability to store more than 1.2 million acre-feet of water. That’s more than 2 1/2 times the capacity of Millerton Lake. With a dam at Temperance Flat, excess runoff could be captured and stored instead of...

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Ag Today January 5, 2017

Monster storm could bring state’s worst flooding in over a decade By Evan Sernoffsky   A menacing storm taking shape over the Pacific is poised to pound California this weekend, causing what could be the worst flooding in parts of the state in more than a decade, forecasters said. The atmospheric river of warm and highly concentrated water will begin to deliver its payload across the northern two-thirds of California on Saturday, overwhelming rivers, drenching urban areas and likely eviscerating much of the Sierra snowpack. But while drought-stressed California has begged for such soaking storms in recent years, the rain may do more harm than good...

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Ag Today January 5, 2017

River flow critics question fish data BY JOHN HOLLAND SACRAMENTO The final hearing on the state’s river flow plan Tuesday dealt in part with how long salmon stay in the streams each year. The State Water Resources Control Board proposes to roughly double, from February through June, the volume of the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers. Opponents said almost all of the young salmon have headed out to sea by May. “Why waste that block of water on something that’s not there?” said Larry Byrd, a board member and former employee with the Modesto Irrigation District. The state board held sessions in Modesto, Merced and Stockton...

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Ag Today January 3, 2017

Minimum wage set to go up – at what price? By Rachel Rosenbaum rrosenbaum@tcnpress.com | Updated 3 days ago Many businesses and their employees will have a jump in payroll starting with New Year's Day — the minimum wage in California will step up by 50 cents. The increase is one step in a series in the process of raising the state's minimum hourly wage from $10 to $15 by 2022. Legislation was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in April. "Not all businesses will be impacted by the increase in minimum wage from $10 to $10.50," the Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce noted in an email. "Only businesses...

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