Ag Today November 9, 2016
Measure M, proposed GMO ban in Sonoma County, ahead at the polls
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | November 8, 2016, 8:57PM
A proposed ban on genetically-modified crops in Sonoma County led in results early Wednesday.
With 459 of 459 precincts reporting, Measure M held 56 percent of the 'yes' vote.
“We’re watching and waiting,” said Karen Hudson, the Rohnert Park-based coordinator of Citizens for Healthy Farms and Families, from Petaluma’s Tara Firma Farms, where Measure M supporters gathered Tuesday night to watch election results.
Measure M would ban all genetically-modified crops and seeds from being grown or used in unincorporated areas of the county. If...
Ag Today November 8, 2016
Dozens of schools may have served contaminated cucumbers
BY STEVEN MAYER email@example.com
Kern County public health officials reported Monday that certain lots of cucumbers delivered to multiple locations in Bakersfield — including as many as 26 schools, three hospitals and two restaurants — have been recalled due to potential salmonella contamination.
While the information may have hit the streets too late to prevent possible illness, there have been no foodborne illnesses reported as a result of the potential salmonella contamination, said Michelle Corson, a spokeswoman at the Kern County Department of Public Health Services.
As many as 19 elementary schools in the Bakersfield City...
Ag Today November 7, 2016
California's drought divide rainy north, dry south
BY ELLEN KNICKMEYER AND AMY TAXIN
Among the changing red and yellow fall leaves of Yosemite National Park, nature artist Penny Otwell is marveling at the fullest rushing waterfalls and rivers she's ever painted there in autumn. But down in the dry Southern California suburbs, David Cantuna laments the same dead and dying grass in his backyard.
California's historic drought finally is easing in parts of the north, thanks to October rains that were three or more times the norm.
"I've been here 53 years and I've never seen it like this," said Otwell, busy...
Ag Today November 4, 2016
Sonoma County voters consider banning GMOs
By Filipa A. Ioannou
November 3, 2016 Updated: November 3, 2016 5:50pm
A hundred years ago, Petaluma was known as the “Egg Capital of the World” — the “City of a Million Hens.”
Today, Petaluma is a town of nearly 60,000 residents, but farming is still central to Sonoma County’s identity, with its agritourism, hundreds of organic farms, and more than $756 million in crops. The county is home to thousands of acres of apples and wine grapes, and more than six times as many laying hens as people.
But some organic farmers and activists say all of that is...
Ag Today November 3, 2016
Congressmen oppose expansion of Cascade-Siskiyou monuments
Bartholomew D Sullivan , Statesman Journal7:38 p.m. PDT November 1, 2016
WASHINGTON – Three members of the House Natural Resources Committee and Oregon Congressman Greg Walden wrote to President Barack Obama on Tuesday to suggest his naming the proposed Sierra Nevada National Monument and expanding the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument would be “utterly irresponsible” at a time of drought and wildfire.
Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop joined California U.S. Reps. Tom McClintock, R-Roseville; Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale and Walden in asking Obama not to name the monuments and instead focus “on removing dead and dying trees, drastically reducing the...
Ag Today November 2, 2016
In parched Central California, water trumps other election issues
Jeff Daniels | @jeffdanielsca
Even with the presidential race tightening, one issue in a drought-parched region of California has remained constant — water and the lack of it.
"Water right now is the number one issue for us in the Central Valley," said Republican Rep. David Valadao, whose congressional district includes some of the state's largest agricultural production but has been hit hard by the 5-year-old drought.
The drought impact goes beyond agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley. Water tables in rural communities in parts of Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern counties have dropped and residential...
Ag Today November 1, 2016
US approves 2 types of genetically engineered potatoes
Originally published October 31, 2016 at 10:43 am Updated October 31, 2016 at 12:41 pm
By KEITH RIDLER
The Associated Press
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved commercial planting of two types of potatoes that are genetically engineered to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine.
The approval announced Friday covers Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Co.’s Ranger Russet and Atlantic varieties of the company’s second generation of Innate potatoes.
The company says the potatoes will also have reduced bruising and black spots, enhanced storage capacity, and a reduced amount of a chemical created when...
Ag Today October 31, 2016
Farm Beat: Healthy soil teems with life, experts say at Modesto conference
BY JOHN HOLLAND
Farmers have fertilized for much of the past century with nitrogen obtained from petroleum and phosphorous mined from rocks.
Experts meeting in Modesto this week suggested looking at something else right under our feet – the microbes that can enhance the soil if given a chance.
Healthy ground has lots of plant residues that the tiny creatures break down into nutrients for the next crop. They also help make the dirt porous enough for proper movement of water and air.
“Microbes are critical in creating soil structure,” said Kate Scow,...
Ag Today October 28, 2016
In 3 years, 1,500 farmworkers suffered injuries at night. California now eyeing regulations
Gustavo Solis , The Desert Sun3:40 p.m. PDT October 27, 2016
Because there are no state regulations requiring growers to provide adequate lighting for farmworkers picking crops at night, the workers have developed their own system.
Each farmworker buys a headlamp with two different colored lights – one red and one white. They use the white light while picking crops and the red light while taking a break.
Workers sleep on the field during their breaks, so the red light tells drivers not to run them over. The red light also has an...
Ag Today October 27, 2016
Farmworker housing or dead-end road? Man proposing controversial Acampo project wants to fulfill need
Posted: Thursday, October 27, 2016 12:04 am
By Christina Cornejo/News-Sentinel Staff Writer
For the people who work out in the fields, be they migrant workers or low-income citizens, there are few affordable options available for housing.
That’s why, when John Droge was thinking of what he could do with an investment property in an agricultural area, he thought it would be a good idea to develop a small cluster of farmworker housing units.
“The altruistic part of this appealed to me, and I found on a website for the county that the...