California Farm Bill Listening Sessions in Modesto and Chico this week – CDFA seeks public comments on state priorities

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 11.28.22 AMThe California Department of Food and Agriculture is hosting 2018 Farm Bill Listening Sessions in Modesto and Chico this week, seeking public comments on priorities for the upcoming farm bill.

Modesto – Tuesday, February 7th (4:30 – 6:30 p.m.)
DoubleTree Hotel (Napa Room)
1150 Ninth Street
Modesto, CA 95354

Chico – Wednesday, February 8th (4:30 – 6:30 p.m.)
Silver Dollar Fair (Harvest Hall)
2357 Fair Street
Chico, CA 95928

The current farm bill, the Agricultural Act of 2014 will expire next year necessitating action by Congress. The farm bill provides an estimated $489 billion in federal funding nationwide to support a variety of food and agricultural programs including crop insurance, conservation, nutrition and trade.

Public participation is encouraged and if you are interested in providing remarks, please email FarmBill@cdfa.ca.gov

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Super Bowl Sunday: pass the chicken wings and guac – from ABC News

Wings

An estimated 1.33 billion pounds of chicken wings will be consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.

By Morgan Korn

Are you ready for some … chicken wings?!

Super Bowl fans are expected to consume 1.33 billion wings on Sunday, according to the National Chicken Council’s annual report. To put that staggering number into perspective: According to the NCC, the weight of those wings (166.25 million pounds) is more than 300 times the combined weight of all 32 NFL teams. Wow! And Americans are eating more wings than ever. This year’s projection is up 6.5 percent from 2015’s.

Wings may have become a staple of every Super Bowl party spread, but there are so many other delicious choices to munch on during the game.

Cheesy, greasy pizza will tempt any Super Bowl partygoer. Domino’s says the Super Bowl is the company’s third-busiest delivery day of the year. (Halloween is No. 1, followed by New Year’s Eve.) The national pizza chain sells more than 11 million slices on Super Bowl Sunday – nearly a 350 percent jump from a typical Sunday.

Snacks are a must-have when watching the game. Nielsen crunched the numbers and found that shoppers will spend:

$227 million on potato chips

$13 million on vegetable trays

$10 million on deli dips

$89 million on popcorn

$58 million on deli sandwiches

These numbers dwarf the amounts Americans will shell out for alcohol. According to Nielsen, $1.2 billion will be spent on beer, flavored malt beverages and cider; $594 million on wine; and $503 million on whiskey, vodka, rum, tequila and gin. (Don’t drink and drive, please!)

It's a big day for avocados! More than 100 million pounds will be used for guacamole.

It’s a big day for avocados! More than 100 million pounds will be used for guacamole.

Finally, guacamole, the quintessential dip for any die-hard Super Bowl viewer. The Hass Avocado Board estimates that 104.9 million pounds of avocados will be devoured on Sunday. (Unfortunately there is no similar info for tomatoes, garlic, onions and cilantro.) Smother your guacamole on nachos or eat it with a spoon. Nothing says game day like guacamole.

And like on Thanksgiving, calories eaten on Super Bowl Sunday don’t count. If you’re feeling really guilty, reach for that cold-pressed green juice on Monday.

Link to item at ABC News

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Increased focus on food security at UC Merced – from the University of California

UC Merced

This month the Planting Seeds blog is featuring stories on food security and nutrition. CDFA’s Office of Farm to Fork is committed to helping all Californians access healthy and nutritious California-grown food by connecting consumers, school districts, and others directly with California’s farmers and ranchers. 

UC Merced is relaunching its branch of the Blum Center for Developing Economies with a focus on food security, with a hope to make it a hub for food-security-related research and outreach.

Economics Professor Kurt Schnier, with the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, and Karina Diaz Rios, a nutrition specialist in the UC Cooperative Extension, will lead the rejuvenated Blum Center, with administrative help from the Health Sciences Research Institute (HSRI).

We want to create a community on campus to address issues of food security,” Schnier said. “We want to help engage students, faculty members and the community to have a direct effect on people’s lives.”

Merced County’s economy is largely based around agriculture, yet many people there do not have food security. The food insecurity rate in the area is 15.5 percent, according to the Merced County Food Bank, compared to a statewide average of 13.9 percent. Nearly 30 percent of those considered food insecure in Merced County are children. Food insecurity is defined as a lack of reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

The Blum Center at UC Merced started in 2013 and is affiliated with the Blum Center at UC Berkeley, which was founded by a gift from investment banker and UC Regent Richard C. Blum.  There are Blum Centers on several other UC campuses, including UCLA, UC Davis and UC Berkeley, the school from which Blum graduated. Each center has a slightly different focus, though all work toward the betterment of the global society.

Link to UC Merced blog post

 

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Even after epic storms, drought still formidable – from the San Francisco Chronicle

Recent snowfall in the Sierra. Photo by Michael Macor, San Francisco Chronicle.

Recent snowfall in the Sierra.
Photo by Michael Macor, San Francisco Chronicle

 

By Peter Fimrite

The blizzards that ravaged the Sierra Nevada in the past month wiped out more than a third of the California snowpack deficit that built up over five years of drought, a team of scientists said Monday, while encouraging state residents to continue conserving water.

The storms deposited roughly 17.5 million acre-feet of frozen water in the Sierra, or 37 percent of what’s called the “snow water deficit” in the state, according to a study by the University of Colorado and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“This winter, from my viewpoint, dropped an impressive amount of snowfall and made a significant dent in the water deficit, but it certainly didn’t come close to relieving the total deficit for the entire drought period,” said Noah Molotch, a research scientist at the NASA Laboratory and director of the University of Colorado’s Center for Water, Earth Science and Technology.

The snow water deficit is defined as the amount of frozen water below what is normal for a period of time. California’s average yearly deficit during the drought was 10.8 million acre-feet, according to the study, or 54 million acre-feet from 2011 to 2016, said Molotch, who led the study.

One acre-foot of water is enough to cover an acre of land in a foot of water — generally enough to supply a single family with water for a year.

The storms in January dumped enormous amounts of rain and snow, breaking records and filling almost every major reservoir. In the northern Sierra, more rain has already fallen this winter than during an entire average year. The water content of the snowpack across the Sierra is now about 180 percent of normal for this time of year.

The heaping snow drifts prompted the government’s Drought Monitor to classify 49 percent of California as free of drought last week, a recovery from the 5 percent figure a year ago. All of the Bay Area, except for a tiny portion of Santa Clara County, was drought-free, according to the federal index, as was the northern half of the state, from San Francisco to the Oregon border.

The problem, Molotch said, is that California pumped huge amounts of groundwater to keep people and crops hydrated during the drought, depleting what is essentially a water savings account.

“It’s pretty clear that we aren’t going to be able to put water back into that savings account as fast as we were able to take it out,” he said. “For three weeks’ worth of snowfall it was pretty amazing, so there is reason for optimism, but one snowy winter will not be able to reverse multiple years of drought.”

Link to story

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Full statistics now available for crop year 2015

AgStatsReviewCover

 

In 2015 California’s farms and ranches received approximately $47 billion for their output. This represents a decrease of nearly 17 percent compared to 2014. California remains the leading US state in cash farm receipts.

California’s agricultural abundance includes more than 400 commodities. Over a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in California. California’s top-10 valued commodities for 2015 are:

  • Milk and Cream— $6.29 billion
  • Almonds — $5.33 billion
  • Grapes — $4.95 billion
  • Cattle and Calves — $3.40 billion
  • Lettuce — $2.26 billion
  • Strawberries — $1.86 billion
  • Tomatoes — $1.71 billion
  • Flowers and Foliage — $1.08 billion
  • Walnuts — $977 million
  • Hay — $945 million

Agricultural Exports

In 2015, California exported approximately 26 percent of its agricultural production by volume, accounting for $20.69 billion in value. California’s leading agricultural export products by value are almonds ($5.14 billion), dairy products ($1.63 billion), walnuts ($1.49 billion), wine ($1.48 billion), and pistachios ($848 million).

Statistics

California agricultural statistics derive primarily from the United States Department of Agriculture/National Agricultural Statistics Services (USDA/NASS) reports. The California Department of Food and Agriculture also publishes statistics related to California dairy production and, in cooperation with the University of California at Davis, statistics for California agricultural exports. For most timely research into California dairy statistics, please see our dairy pages under Division of Marketing Services. Please see also links in the right hand column for USDA National Agricultural Statistics and Economic Research Service reporting. For county-level reporting please see the CDFA County Liaison site.

Annual crop year reports have been reproduced below for your convenience. Export reports are typically published within the corresponding crop year report. While data is made available throughout the year, crop year and export reports are published typically about one year following the given crop year.

Link to report

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“When I Grow Up, I Want to Be a Veterinarian.”

Veterinarian blog statistic block

The Planting Seeds blog is featuring stories this month relating to animal health issues and the activities of CDFA’s Division of Animal Health and Food Safety Services.

This information was originally published as part of the “CDFA By the Numbers” report in 2016.

Firefighter, astronaut, veterinarian ­— the very top of the list for many young children dreaming of their future selves. In California, that third one comes true only after a good deal of coursework, training and further preparation and qualification.

Our state is home to 9,315 accredited veterinarians. Over the last fiscal year, 629 veterinarians became accredited in California; 352 were from other states or countries. CDFA headquarters and district staff who are part of the veterinary profession participate in accreditation and authorization seminars.

Practicing veterinarians must be accredited/authorized by USDA and CDFA before they can perform certain regulatory tasks such as preparing a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) to certify the health of livestock — a basic tool for minimizing the risk of spreading diseases when animals move to other states or to exhibitions. Other regulatory tasks include vaccinating female cattle for brucellosis, testing cattle for tuberculosis and being alert for signs of reportable diseases (California Food and Agriculture Code Section 9101).

Veterinarian blog color blocks

Additional information for and about accredited veterinarians is available on the CDFA’s Animal Health Branch web page.

 

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Pink Bollworm Program honored for reducing dependence on pesticides

From left: DPR Director Brian Leahy presented the award to four Pink Bollworm Program representatives (all retired), Jim Rudig and Pat Akers from CDFA, Bob Staten from USDA, and Bob Roberson from CDFA.

From left: DPR Director Brian Leahy presented the award to four Pink Bollworm Program representatives (all retired), Jim Rudig and Pat Akers from CDFA, Bob Staten from USDA, and Bob Roberson from CDFA.

California’s cooperative Pink Bollworm Program was one of six projects recognized by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) at an award ceremony last night (January 26) in Sacramento to honor efforts to manage pests while reducing the use of pesticides.

The awards recognize innovation, leadership, education and outreach by California-based organizations that carry out pest management.

The six projects use integrated pest management (IPM) to manage pests, combining preventive and natural strategies such as releasing parasitic insects and providing habitat for natural predators.

The Pink Bollworm Program involves introducing sterile pink bollworm moths to fields to disrupt the pests’ ability to reproduce and spread in California’s main cotton-growing regions.

Sterile moths are produced at the CDFA/USDA PBW Rearing Facility in Phoenix, Arizona. To determine where sterile moths need to be released, program personnel put out pheromone-baited insect traps. Sterile PBW moths are sent to California daily and released by aircraft over targeted areas determined by the trapping results.

The program has prevented pink bollworm moths from becoming established in California’s major cotton region without the use of conventional pesticides for more than 40 years. It is organized by the California Cotton Pest Control Board, California Department of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the National Cotton Council.

For more information about the DPR awards, see the press release online.

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Hydroponic agriculture showcases diversity of California Ag production

Hydroponic facilities at Archi's Acres, a diverse farming operation in San Diego County.

Hydroponic facilities at Archi’s Acres, a diverse farming operation in San Diego County.

Hydroponic agriculture, the growing of plants without soil and adding nutrients in water, is a relatively new method of production in California, but it shows promise as a growth sector for farmers seeking to produce more efficiently while utilizing fewer natural resources, a challenge and opportunity recognized by all of agriculture as it moves through the 21st Century.

CDFA staff recently had an opportunity to visit a hydroponic operation at Archi’s Acres, a diverse farming operation in San Diego County. Archi’s Acres is already well known for its commitment to retrain returning members of the military for careers in agriculture, and it’s now also developing a strong reputation for its work in hydroponics.

Archi’s Acres is a certified organic greenhouse operation, growing fresh basil, kale, and other herbs and produce using highly efficient crop production methods to maximize use of natural resources while focusing on local sales distribution channels.

The farm’s proprietary nutrient cycling system, which is verified through the annual organic inspection to meet required standards, employs nutrient cycling practices that provide ecosystem services through conservation of scarce water resources.

Using Archi’s Acres’ unique hydro-organic methods, a plant only takes what water it needs and the rest is recycled for use again and again – an important benefit in a state still dealing with drought. The farm’s entire basil greenhouse, with 6,000 plants growing at a time, uses only about 100 gallons of water a day due to recycling.

The system at the farm is actually known as hydro-organics, a hydroponics system that includes the use of organic fertilizer as the key nutrient.

At CDFA we strive to continually gain a greater understanding and appreciation for all models of farming in California. Our scientists, responsible for review and analysis of both conventional and organic fertilizer materials, benefit greatly from opportunities to broaden their understanding of farming systems and inputs. When coupled with their scientific background, these ongoing educational experiences help our staff at CDFA make sound, informed decisions for the fertilizer products they oversee.

 

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Update on Organic Certification Cost Share Program

LettuceCDFA’s State Organic Program (SOP) is pleased to announce a federal funding opportunity of $12.5 Million for eligible applicants under the Organic Cost Share Program (OCCSP).  The SOP has applied to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) under the United States Department of Agriculture to assist in distribution of these funds.  This money assists organic producers and handlers by offsetting costs related to SOP registration, certification, and transitional fees paid to certifiers as producers transition to organic.The cost-share payments May not exceed 75 percent of costs up to a maximum of $750 per producer/handler for each scope (registration, certification, transitional).

The FSA, in addition to administering the program, will also be directly accepting applications for reimbursement of funds. Operations will be subject to the same eligibility criteria and calculation of cost share payments regardless of whether they apply though the SOP or FSA local office.

For producer or handler Applications, FSA county offices will accept applications producers and handlers for FY 2017 starting on March 20, 2017 and ending October 31, 2017.

In fiscal year 2015/16 CDFA processed and distributed a total amount of $1,543,929 to 1,917 producers and handlers.

For eligibility requirements and further details please visit the following website https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/is/i_&_c/organic.html or you may contact the SOP at (916) 900-5030.

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State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones discusses CDFA’s Division of Animal Health and Food Safety Services

The Planting Seeds blog is featuring stories this month relating to animal health issues and the activities of CDFA’s Division of Animal Health and Food Safety Services.

 

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