Almond harvest has begun in the San Joaquin Valley and with it comes the hope of better prices, expanding markets and stronger consumer demand. Growers could be looking at a bumper crop, but that comes as the industry faces falling prices and cooling demand in some previously hot markets. Despite that, growers remain optimistic that they can develop new products and find new markets to ensure their nuts keep flying off the store shelves as fast as they are shaken off the trees.
The U.S. Labor Department is accusing a Coalinga-based garlic grower of violating worker-safety and transportation laws in connection with a 2015 van crash that killed four farm laborers on Highway 152 in Merced County. The government says the unusual move in U.S. District Court in Fresno is aimed at sending a sterner message to growers that they cannot use a labor contractor as a screen to absolve themselves from responsibility for complying with federal safety laws covering employees being driven to fields.
All Fresno Irrigation District users will receive a full five months of delivery with some parts of the district getting six months. FID is having its best season in five years but 2016 is still the district’s fifth consecutive below-normal year.
Lower prices for nuts, milk and grapes contributed to an 11 percent decline in the overall value of Madera County’s crops in 2015Values fell to $2 billion. Still, it is one of the leading ag counties in the state, and is led by almonds, which earned $787 million in 2015.
Most Hmong farmers here lease small plots of land just outside Fresno or Clovis, many less than 10 acres. Now five years into the state’s historic drought, some are struggling to save their farms as wells go dry on land they don’t own.
The Fresno Chamber of Commerce is now accepting nominations for its Agriculturalist of the Year award. The award honors people who have demonstrated a sincere commitment to the Fresno agricultural community.
Fresno County’s crop value fell to $6.61 billion last year from a high of $7 billion in 2014 as the region battled drought, lower commodity prices and production issues. The drop was a disappointment, but not a surprise as the 2015 Fresno County Crop Report was presented to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. Almonds remain the county’s top crop, followed by grapes and poultry.
The U.S. Agriculture Department says California is now clear of bovine tuberculosis, making it easier to move cattle across state lines. The most recent case was detected three years ago in Tulare County.
Despite a concerted campaign by growers who objected to her ties to United Farm Workers union lobbyist Richie Ross, the California Senate on Thursday approved Genevieve Shiroma’s appointment to the Agricultural Labor Relations Board for a fourth time.
Lindsay Jordan is growing 56 varieties of grapes with a goal of learning how some flourish or fail in the central San Joaquin Valley. She is also running a project to evaluate nematode-resistant rootstock, which could potentially provide growers a way to escape the pests.
Lindsay Jordan, a farm adviser working with UC Cooperative Extension in Madera, Merced and Mariposa counties, shows how she's helping develop wine grapes from heritage varieties that will flourish in the Valley's heat.