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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.

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TUSD hosts first Farm to School Expo

in School

Since opening in 2013, the Turlock Unified School District Farm has continued to expand its reach in educating students about agriculture and serving as a healthy and local source of fresh fruits and vegetables for the district’s school lunches. Earlier this month, the District Child Nutrition Department collaborated with TUSD Farm to host the inaugural Farm to School Expo.

The Expo came on the heels of TUSD Child Nutrition being awarded a $104,764 Farm to School grant from California Department of Food and Agriculture. The Farm 2 School Expo was an effort to invite community members into the TUSD farm and showcase collaborated Farm 2 School initiatives.

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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

Farm country gears up for tourism return

in Local Roundup

Pandemic cabin fever continues to drive people out to the country, and farmers who welcome agritourism activities say they expect the trend will hold, with farms becoming a go-to destination.

Last year saw the cancellation of many farm festivals, tours and workshops, some of which went virtual or were greatly scaled back. More of these events have returned this year with some modifications. Wineries, which shuttered tasting rooms last year, have reopened. U-pick farms and farm stands have become “very popular,” even in pandemic months of 2020, said Rachael Callahan, agritourism coordinator at the University of California, Davis.

“This year, with the return of larger on-farm gatherings and other agritourism, people are eager to get outside, engage with their community and connect with their local farmers and ranchers,” she said.

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California Almond Community Announces Five-Point Pollinator Protection Plan

in Food

MODESTO, Calif., Jan. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Join Richard Waycott, President & CEO of the Almond Board of California (ABC), Dr. Josette Lewis, Director of Agricultural Affairs at ABC, and bee expert Dr. Gordon Wardell as they announce the California almond community's five-point Pollinator Protection Plan, reaffirming the industry's long-term commitment to protecting and improving honey bee health. Learn about the key areas of the Pollinator Protection Plan, along with what farmers and their beekeeper partners are doing as we approach the annual almond bloom in February.

1 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Why Bees Matter. 2 USDA-ERS. Land Use, Land Cover and Pollinator Health: A Review and Trend Analysis. July 2017. 3 Gene Brandi. Vice President, American Beekeeping Federation.
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Industry Sees What Damage Stink Bug Can Do

in Local Roundup

(UC ANR) — Last May, a Turlock almond grower noticed nearly all the nuts on a row of trees in his orchard had fallen to the ground.

“It looked like we shook this row,” he said. “I was scared. I thought the whole orchard was going to go.”

He called UC Cooperative Extension.

UCCE Integrated Pest Management advisor Jhalendra Rijal, who serves Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties, determined the cause was an infestation of brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), an invasive pest from Asia. For years, BMSB had only been found in urban areas of California – most notably a 2013 infestation in midtown Sacramento.

Continue Reading on AG NET West

Agricultural water agencies refine efficiency plans

in Food/Local Roundup

Agricultural water suppliers must develop annual water budgets and drought plans that meet requirements of recently enacted legislation, and are meeting with state officials to comply with the updated law—a process that could ultimately affect water costs for California farmers and ranchers.

California Farm Bureau Federation Director of Water Resources Danny Merkley said the process stems from 2009 law, and updates passed last year, which require the state Department of Water Resources to consult with agricultural stakeholders to quantify water-use efficiency.

Continue Reading on AG Alert

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