Category archive

Agriculture

Relief from water wars in sight at long last for Modesto and Turlock growers

in Agriculture/business/Government

Say you are a business owner being sued in court. You firmly believe you are in the right, but the other side thinks they have a solid legal argument, too.

The case drags on for years. Finally, you agree to give up something in a settlement.

Continue reading on Modesto Bee

Once struggling, United Farm Workers gains new clout in California, wants to use it

in Agriculture/Community/Environment

CERES, Calif. — By late morning it was already hot, but not nearly as scorching as it would be in just a few hours. Lourdes Cardenas, 59, had already walked nearly 8 dusty, sun-blasted miles from Turlock, with about that many more to go to the day’s destination in downtown Modesto.

At break time, a mariachi in full regalia began to play, and Cardenas sank into a chair set up under a shade structure, gathered up creams and bandages, and bent over her blistered, swollen feet.

Continue reading on The Mercury News

Out in the Fields, Contemplating Humanity and a Parched Almond Farm

in Agriculture/business/Environment

Hours before sunrise, Christine Gemperle lay in bed, snoozing an alarm set for 3 a.m. and dozing.

She waited until the chimes outside her window signaled that the wind had died down enough for her to spray insecticide on the 40 acres of almonds that surround her house.

Continue reading on Inside Climate News

Turlock farmer and inventor using special technique to keep irrigation wells working

in Agriculture

Longtime local farmer Joe Sallaberry has overseen two of the well pumps in the region since 1970. But about three months ago, he got worried when he noticed several stopped supplying water.

Continue Reading on Yahoo! News

California’s strawberry fields may not be forever. Could robots help?

in Agriculture/Around California

In a strawberry field surrounded by strawberry fields on the outskirts of Santa Maria, a team of robots have been picking berries all summer.

Each robot, made by a Colorado company called Tortuga AgTech, trundles between the elevated beds on rugged wheels, then stops in front of a plant. An articulated arm maneuvers its sensor array among the leaves; machine vision software scours the sensor data in search of ripe berries.

Most California strawberry plants sprout constantly over the course of the season — little green berries sitting alongside fat red ones, nestled among the leaves. If an unripe berry is in the way, the robot repositions for a better angle. A snipper-grabber mounted in the middle of the sensors jabs in to cut the berry’s stem, then gingerly places it in a waiting plastic clamshell in a compartment at the robot’s base. The motion calls to mind a bird hunting, peering and pecking for insects.

Continue Reading on Los Angeles Times

California company says electric, driverless tractor could help farmers save on costs

in Agriculture

One California farmer is growing green and going green with a new electric, self-driving tractor.

Monarch Tractor, the creator of an electric self-driving tractor, has been testing the vehicles in two California wineries since 2020, including the one owned by fifth-generation winegrower Karl Wente.

Mr. Wente told Fox Business that “It’s sustainability in action and its evolution of the human species. It used to be, a big tractor where you can see the diesel combusting out, and now you just have this quiet electric vehicle running through.”

Continue Reading on The Washington Times

California grape volumes heading toward peak supplies

in Agriculture

California grapes are in the early stages of San Joaquin Valley production and building steadily. “We’re not very far off from reaching peak supplies. We’re not quite there yet but it’s going to happen really fast. Supplies look really strong this year,” says Jim Beagle of Grapery, noting there’s a slightly later start to the season. The overall volume looks similar to last year.

The season is predicted to have steady supplies of good quality fruit from now until January. “The crop size appears to be very similar to last year which was a great year for supplies. The quality looks very good this year,” says Beagle. “We have a long ways to go and many things could happen. But a high-quality crop in a good crop year is important. It gives consumers a good experience so people keep buying more. There’s a lot of optimism.”

Continue Reading on Fresh Plaza

Most valuable crops grown in California

in Agriculture/Around California

There are more than 2 million farms in the United States, about 98% of which are operated by families, individuals, family partnerships, or family corporations, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. About 86% of all agricultural products in America are produced on family ranches or farms. A single farm feeds an average of 166 people per year, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Continue Reading on msn

Freezing temps impact almond bloom

in Agriculture/Community/Weather

Almond blossoms are a common sight in the Central Valley come February, but recent freezing temperatures could jeopardize this year’s bloom — and, subsequently, the upcoming almond crop. 

Freezing temperatures are of the most concern during the bloom period. During the bloom, and especially right after the petal fall, is the most vital period of time for the developing nut. Even just a short, 30-minute exposure to freezing temperatures can cause measurable damage to a crop. 

There were eight days in February where Turlock and surrounding towns experienced low temperatures of below 32 degrees, causing significant concerns for local farmers. Temperatures locally will drop to below freezing again this weekend.

Continue Reading on Turlock Journal

TID lands $20 million grant to see if placing solar panels atop canals makes sense

in Agriculture
An artist rendering shows how solar panels might be placed atop the California Aqueduct in western Stanislaus County. SOLAR AQUAGRID LLC
An artist rendering shows how solar panels might be placed atop the California Aqueduct in western Stanislaus County. SOLAR AQUAGRID LLC

The Turlock Irrigation District plans to use a $20 million state grant to demonstrate solar panels atop canals.

TID would be the first water agency in the nation to try such a thing if its board votes Tuesday to accept the money.

The panels would feed electricity into transmission lines already along the canals, helping TID boost the renewable sources for its 103,000 or so power customers. The devices also would shade the water, possibly reducing evaporation losses for farmers.

The pilot project grew out of a study last year at the Merced and Santa Cruz campuses of the University of California. Researchers said installing canal panels throughout the Central Valley could get the state halfway to its goal for climate-safe power.

Continue Reading on The Modesto Bee

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