Ag Day in a week!


Please join us next Wednesday, March 22, for Ag Day on the west steps of the California State Capitol. The festivities will be open to the public from 11:30 am to 1: 30 pm. Ag Day is the state’s annual celebration of agriculture, and this year’s theme is “California Grown: Ag Proud,” in recognition of the significant roles California’s farmers and ranchers play in producing a diverse, dynamic, complex food system.

As always, CDFA is co-sponsoring the event with the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom and the California Women for Agriculture. The scheduled program will be hosted by California State Board of Food and Agriculture president Craig McNamara.

People attending Ag Day are urged to post photos to social media platforms with the hashtag #CalAgDay.


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Introducing the California Climate Investments web site – putting Cap-and-Trade dollars to work

Cap Trade

California Climate Investments is a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment.

The Cap-and-Trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution.

California Climate Investments projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling, and much more.

To date, nearly $3.4 billion has been appropriated by the State Legislature to state agencies implementing GHG emission reduction programs and projects. Agencies receiving appropriations develop and implement programs within three priority areas: clean energy and energy efficiency; natural resources (and waste diversion); and transportation and sustainable communities.

At CDFA, two climate investment programs of note are the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) and the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program. Both utilize grants to assist with projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote greater resource efficiency.

View the California Climate Investments web site.

View a story about the SWEEP program and its benefits on the farm.

View a story about a dairy digester project in the Central Valley.


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A Farm Bill for our future


CDFA is in the midst of preparing California’s recommendations for the 2018 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill is renewed every five years and serves as the policy guideline for food and farming in the United States. The legislation touches all of us in numerous ways, as this blog post and others to follow in a series will explain in greater detail.       

The Farm Bill is essential for agriculture in the present time, but it also plays a vital role in shaping our future.  It helps fund research and education programs; it supports the development of our rural communities; and, significantly, it serves as a guide for young and beginning farmers who will carry the torch of California agriculture.

New and Beginning Farmers

California’s agricultural future depends on our next generation of farmers and ranchers willing to take on the responsibility. It’s not an easy job.  The average age of farmers is trending upwards. Some estimates suggest that between now and 2018, there will be an 8 percent drop in the total number of farmers and ranchers. We need people to choose farming and ranching. The current Farm Bill has helped by providing:

  • $100 million for the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program to offer and develop education, training, mentoring and outreach programs.
  • Increased access to capital dollars to help new and beginning farmers start their operations with confidence.
  • Reduced rates on crop insurance premiums for the first 5 years of farming

Research and Education

As home to the world’s best universities and research facilities, California has always led the way in developing cutting-edge research to help our farms, our food and our families. Historically, support from the Farm Bill has allowed us to excel at innovation. For example, federal research dollars have helped:

  • Improve the environment through the adoption of climate smart agriculture technologies.
  • Fight the spread of pests and diseases by developing new eradication methods and resistant fruit and vegetable plants.
  • Fund nutritional research, leading to peer-reviewed studies that demonstrate the health benefits of fruits, vegetables and nuts.
  • Increase food safety training.
  • Quantify the benefits of on-farm climate-smart farming practices.

Rural Development

California’s rural communities are the backbone of our agricultural economy. They provide the ingenuity, perseverance and resources that allow California to thrive. The rural development title in the current Farm Bill helps support these communities by:

  • Providing over $150 million for water and waste water infrastructure and emergency relief.
  • Supporting rural business development and creating employment opportunities through small-business entrepreneurship programs and capital investment.
  • Expanding broadband connectivity to reach areas that lack adequate internet access.

Ensuring the continued success of rural communities is vital to our success as a state. The Farm Bill helps build the foundation to keep these communities thriving for years to come.

The future of California agriculture will undoubtedly face challenges, but it will also present substantial opportunity. The Farm Bill is there to help with both. California is ready to continue leading the way in agricultural innovation, quality and safety.

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California’s Final Grape Crush Report Released


The 2016 grape crush totaled 4,227,110 tons, up 9.3 percent from the 2015 crush of 3,868,459 tons.  Red wine varieties accounted for the largest share of all grapes crushed, at 2,278,593 tons, up 11.6 percent from 2015.  The 2016 white wine variety crush totaled 1,752,554 tons, up 5.3 percent from 2015.  Tons crushed of raisin type varieties totaled 98,205, up 6.2 percent from 2015, and tons crushed of table type varieties totaled 97,759, up 38.3 percent from 2015.

The 2016 average price of all varieties was $762.84, up 13.6 percent from 2015.  Average prices for the 2016 crop by type were as follows: red wine grapes, $918.34, up 16.3 percent from 2015; white wine grapes, $598.07, up 10.7 percent from 2015; raisin grapes, $213.64, down 13.7 percent; and table grapes, $153.05, down 39.4 percent

In 2016, Chardonnay continued to account for the largest percentage of the total crush volume with 16.0 percent.  Cabernet Sauvignon accounted for the second leading percentage of crush with 13.4 percent.  Thompson Seedless, the leading raisin grape variety crushed for 2016, held 2.0 percent of the total crush.

District 13, (Madera, Fresno, Alpine, Mono, Inyo Counties; and Kings and Tulare Counties north of Nevada Avenue (Avenue 192)), had the largest share of the State’s crush, at 1,331,936 tons.  The average price per ton in District 13 was $301.85.

Grapes produced in District 4 (Napa County) received the highest average price of $4,685.58 per ton, up 7.8 percent from 2015.  District 3 (Sonoma and Marin counties) received the second highest return of $2,590.23, up 6.1 percent from 2015.  The 2016 Chardonnay price of $886.00 was up 12.4 percent from 2015, and the Cabernet Sauvignon price of $1,468.34 was up 11.5 percent from 2015.  The 2016 average price for Zinfandel was $604.52, up 5.1 percent from 2015, while the French Colombard average price was up 3.4 percent from 2015 at $260.82 per ton.

The entire Grape Crush Report is available online at

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Southern California gas station shut down for fuel irregularities – measurement standards team leads investigation – from KTLA-TV, Los Angeles

NOTE – California motorists experiencing problems with service stations or gas pumps may contact their local county sealer of weights and measures, or CDFA’s Division of Measurement Standards at this link, or they may call 916-229-3000.

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Spray Safe program shows Ag’s commitment to safety, responsibility

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross (center) with Santa Barbara County agricultural commissioner Cathy Fisher and Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau president Kevin Merrill

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross (center) with Santa Barbara County agricultural commissioner Cathy Fisher and Spray Safe event emcee Kevin Merrill

I had an opportunity this week to travel to Santa Maria, where the Santa Barbara County agricultural commissioner‘s office, the Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau, and Allen Hancock College worked together to present the Spray Safe program for pesticide application. More than 300 farm employers and employees participated in the half-day program. The commitment to this educational program was impressive because it was the first day of dry weather for quite some time and folks are anxious to harvest crops and get back into the fields!

Spray Safe is a series of best practices developed by growers and applicators to control drift, ensure worker safety, and protect public health. Over the years agriculture has seen significant changes in the products and practices applied to pest and plant disease management.

Farmers and pesticide applicators from Santa Barbara County gather for the Spray Safe presentation this week in Santa Maria.

Farmers, farm employees, and pesticide applicators from Santa Barbara County gather for the Spray Safe presentation this week in Santa Maria

But some things haven’t changed: The passion for high quality production; the commitment to being good neighbors; and, and the desire to continually learn how to do things better and safer. It was an honor to talk to the farmers and farmworkers who spent a part of their day on this safety training. I applaud the California Farm Bureau, county farm bureaus, Ag commissioners, and other local sponsors for their partnership to bring the Spray Safe program to more California farmers and employees.


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More on stolen calves found in small stolen car

UPDATE: Following the discovery of two Holstein heifer calves in a stolen Honda Civic sedan last weekend in Riverside County, CDFA brand inspectors were able to use ear tags to identify the animals – they were stolen from a dairy farm in Tipton, Tulare County, roughly 250 miles away. The calves were sent back yesterday and have returned to the farm. They’re in good condition. Local law enforcement continues to investigate the case.       

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Ag Day in two weeks!

The annual Ag Day celebration is scheduled for March 22 at the west steps of the State Capitol, so mark your calendars and plan to join us! And in the meantime, please take a look at this video from last year’s Ag Day and read an Op-ed from the Santa Cruz Sentinel by State Senator Bill Monning.

Sen. Bill Monning: Celebrating California agriculture

Every spring, communities across the state come together to recognize the contributions of California’s agricultural industry on California Ag Day. This year, Ag Day will be celebrated on March 22 and it provides Californians with the opportunity to reflect on the contributions that farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers make in providing accessible and affordable foods.

With more than 400 agricultural commodities produced in our state, there is no denying that California feeds the nation. There are farming families in every California county who work tirelessly each day to produce nearly two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts, and over a third of the country’s vegetables. Agriculture is the backbone of California’s economy and accounts for over $46 billion in sales, all while helping to employ more than 3 million people in jobs ranging from veterinary services to agricultural engineers.

It is estimated that each American farmer produces enough food to feed 144 people. Yet today, most Americans have lost a true understanding of the process and the people it takes to bring healthful foods from the fields to their dinner tables. There are countless Californians who work thanklessly to grow, harvest, transport, distribute, package, and prepare the products that feed and nourish our families. Celebrations like Ag Day create an awareness of the work these Californians do and foster a greater understanding of the role that the agricultural industry plays to guarantee that all Californians have access to safe, reliable, and healthful foods.

Climate change, labor shortages and historic drought conditions represent just a few of the natural and man-made barriers California farmers face in growing fresh and affordable crops. California must continue to support growers and ranchers through the conservation of farm lands, smart investment in water resources, continued support for agricultural research at California’s public universities, and ensuring safe working conditions for farm-workers.

I encourage everyone to take part in celebrating California’s agricultural industry by proudly supporting California grown fruits, vegetables, nuts, wines, and dairy products. For more information about California agriculture, visit the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s website at

Ag Day 2017 Flyer letter size+sponsors

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CDFA, CalRecycle work together to stop fraud suspect at Border Protection Station

A load of beverage containers stopped at CDFA's Border Protection Station at Blythe .

A load of beverage containers stopped at CDFA’s Border Protection Station at Blythe

A Corona man hauling seven-thousand pounds of used beverage containers from Arizona was stopped by personnel at CDFA’s Blythe Border Protection Station (I-10) and now faces potential felony charges of fraud, attempted grand theft, and conspiracy.

CDFA and CalRecycle partner under an interagency agreement aimed at preventing the illegal redemption of out-of-state beverage containers. It’s one of several partnerships between the border stations and sister agencies to help prevent illegal activity and protect the environment.

The suspect at Blythe, 27-year old Eduardo Herrera, told inspectors his truck-trailer was empty. However, it was found to actually be carrying a load of aluminum and plastic beverage containers with a potential redemption value of more than $10,000.

Following the detection the case was referred to the California Department of Justice’s Recycling Fraud Team and is now in the hands of the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office to determine formal charges.



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CDFA called in to help CHP free calves from small sedan – from KESQ-TV, Palm Springs



By Patrick Edgell

Officers with the California Highway Patrol responded to an unusual call on Saturday when 911 calls began coming in about a cow trying to climb out of the trunk of a Honda Civic on the shoulder of eastbound I-10 near Banning.

Officers said the Honda Civic was stopped east of Highland Springs Avenue.

When officers arrived to the strange scene, the found one calf attempting to climb out of the open Honda’s trunk and another calf wedged in the back seat. Both calves had their hooves tied.

A Riverside County Brand Inspector with the Bureau of Livestock Identification – California Department of Food and Agriculture, helped officers remove the calves from the Honda. They haltered them under a large oak tree at that time.

Officers said the Honda had false registration tags and was registered to a residence in Tulare County, California. The car was impounded for evidence. The driver left the scene before officers arrived and hasn’t tried to recover the car from the tow yard.

Both of the calves were taken to a local ranch where they will remain while the brand inspector determines if and when the cattle were stolen.

Authorities said stealing livestock is a felony in California, and a conviction could result in thousands of dollars in fines along with up to a year in county jail.

Link to story


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