Video – “California Farms,” by the Peterson Brothers

Those clever Peterson Brothers are at it again. The young farming trio from Kansas recently visited the Orange County Fair and came away inspired by the immensity and diversity of California’s food production. Here’s a new video, “California Farms.” You can learn more about the Peterson Brothers on their You Tube page.

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Apple Hill – the season is upon us

With Fall now in full swing, Californians are again starting to turn their attention to El Dorado County’s Apple Hill, which is in the midst of its 2018 production season. Here’s an encore presentation on Apple Hill’s draw as a agritourism destination, from CDFA’s award-winning Growing California video series

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California Rangeland Trust marks 20th anniversary with “A Common Ground,” a short film

Facts about rangeland in California:

  • Private rangeland accounts for about 62 percent of undeveloped land in California.
  • Sixty-seven percent of threatened or endangered spend part of their lives on open ranchland.
  • More than 85 percent of California’s fresh water runs over ranches.

Link to California Rangeland Trust

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World Food Day a time to deeply consider food security

Today, October 16, is World Food Day, an annual day of reflection and action established in 1979 by the Food and Agriculture Association (FAO) of the United Nations to raise awareness of the issues behind poverty and hunger. The theme for this is year is, “Our Actions are Our Future,” and it ties into a message that a #ZeroHunger world by 2030 is possible.

For those asking what they can do to help achieve #ZeroHunger, the answers provided on the World Food Day web site are simple:

  • Don’t Waste Food – If you have leftovers, freeze them for later, or use them as an ingredient in another meal. When you eat at a restaurant, ask for half a portion if you’re not feeling too hungry, or take your leftovers home.
  • Produce More With Less – With a growing population expected to reach in 9 billion in 2050, farmers should find new, more productive ways to farm food and diversify their crops. Using an integrated farming approach will not only help farmers increase their crops’ yield, and thus their profits, but can also improve the quality of their farmland.
  • Adopt a more healthy and sustainable diet – Life is fast-paced and trying to fit in preparing nutritious meals can be a challenge if you don’t know how. Nutritious meals don’t have to be elaborate. In reality, they can be cooked in a quick and easy way while using only a few ingredients. Share your quick nutritious recipes with your family, friends, colleagues and online. Follow sustainable chefs and bloggers online to learn new recipes or talk to your local farmer to see how they cook their produce at home.
  • Advocate for #ZeroHunger  – Everyone has a role to play in achieving #ZeroHunger, but countries, institutions and people need to work together to reach this goal. Establish ZeroHunger partnerships, share knowledge and resources, develop innovative strategies and discover new opportunities to contribute to the fight against hunger. Raise the topic with your local and national authorities, promote related educational programs in your community and amplify the #ZeroHunger message through your network.

The official World Food Day Ceremony was held today in Rome at FAO headquarters. Many other observations are occurring around the globe.

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Secretary Ross welcomes Baja California to Global Soil Health Challenge

CDFA secretary Karen Ross and Baja California agriculture secretary Manuel Valladolid after Baja California signed on to the Global Soil Health Challenge on Friday in Davis, CA. Baja California joins France, the Netherlands and California in committing to soil health practices aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Learn more about CDFA’s Healthy Soils Program. 

About the Global Soil Health Challenge
Announced by California and France at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, the Global Soil Health Challenge calls on national and sub-national governments (like Baja California) to include ambitious programs of action on soil health in their Nationally Determined Contributions submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2020, and in sub-national climate initiatives as part of broader climate action plans. The signatories agree to promote the development of healthy soils within their respected geographies and report back on their progress at the 2019 UN Climate Summit in New York. The Global Soil Health Challenge is part of a suite of climate smart agriculture practices aimed to strengthen efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and sequester carbon on natural and working lands, including agriculture.

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California projects among those receiving $9.4 million in USDA funding for socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers

The USDA has announced that it will issue $9.4 million in grants to provide enhanced training, outreach, and technical assistance to underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers. Two organizations in California will receive a combined amount of nearly $373,000

  1. Agriculture & Land Based Training Association (ALBA), Salinas Valley – $200,000: A New LIFE will build the capacity of hard-working socially disadvantaged farmers to own and operate viable organic farms. The project will also expand outreach and on-farm agriculture education to high-school, college, and at-risk youth in Salinas Valley’s poor, inland communities to promote gainful career pathways in organic agriculture. Moreover, ALBA will actively recruit and educate veterans in the region, many of whom need help in transitioning into new careers after long stints of military service.
  2. Kitchen Food Ventures, the Inland Empire – $172, 975: Kitchen Food Ventures (KFV) in partnership with the Sisson Group will host educational workshops and KFV’s Farmers Boot Camp/Business Institute. All classes and workshops will be offered in both Spanish and English, along with printed curriculums and syllabus. Coaches and business consultants are bilingual, speaking both Spanish and English. Core services will include Computer Basics, Business Financial Elevation, and Strategic Growth Workshop. The impact of this project will build the capacity of SDFRs (Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher) and assist new and veteran SDFRs in achieving targeted growth allowing for contract opportunities that will provide stable income for farmers and expand their farming operations, which will provide employment for other low income residents. In addition, advanced management training and counseling will help farmers effectively manage growth and provide opportunities to explore the appropriateness of clustering, strategic alliances, and mentoring strategies.

This funding is available through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program), managed by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE).

The 2501 Program was created through the 1990 Farm Bill to help socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers, and foresters, who have historically experienced limited access to USDA loans, grants, training, and technical assistance. Provisions were expanded in the 2014 Farm Bill to include outreach and technical assistance to military veterans. Grants are awarded to higher education institutions and non-profit organizations.

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Happy National Farmers Day From CDFA!


By CDFA Secretary Karen Ross

Here in California, harvest is practically a rolling, year-round occurrence. It’s just one of the many blessings of this wonderful place if you’re a farmer. It’s fitting, though, that National Farmers Day comes at the traditional harvest time of year. The bustle and excitement of this season remind us that farmers are much more than what they produce from the land. They are innovators and scientists, and lifelong students of nature. They are risk-takers and investors, in the broadest sense of those terms. They are equally adept at the wheel of a tractor, at the reins of a horse, at the keyboard of a computer, or simply wielding a fence tool and some baling wire. They are stewards of the land and teachers of generations of farmers to come.

Many of the benefits we get from the work of farmers are obvious – food and drink, health and nutrition, sustenance and bounty. Today, though, let’s all think a bit more deeply about what it means to be a farmer here in California; to live on and from the land, to give back to the soil so it can return the favor, and to know that consumers around the world count on them.

Thank you to our farmers in California and across the country.

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Video – CDFA’s developing cannabis appellations program


Learn more about CDFA’s CalCannabis program

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See the Tractor Tree at the Big Fresno Fair


Video from the Fresno Bee.


The Big Fresno Fair runs through October 14, but the Tractor Tree will remain as a permanent museum exhibit at the fairgrounds. Here’s a story about the Big Fresno Fair in The Business Journal.

Story by Donald A. Promnitz

The 2018 Big Fresno Fair has officially arrived, bringing two weeks of rides, food, music and other attractions with it.

The opening of the fair officially began today (October 3) inside the Blue Moon Yosemite Station north of the Chance Avenue entrance. This marks the 135th anniversary of the Fair, which attracts approximately 600,000 people each year.

Alongside some of the fair’s longstanding and popular events and attraction, this year will bring several new additions for those in attendance to enjoy. This includes the Let’s Play! Exhibit, a variety of giant-sized games like Operation and Connect Four, along with virtual reality and a Family Game Show. This year, the Fair will also be debuting the Tractor Tree, a 32-foot tower of 23 antique tractors welded to a metal frame. For bird lovers, the Lorikeets Encounter open aviary will be making its premier inside The Greenhouse/

Another new addition to the Big Fresno Fair will be The Nerveless Nocks aerial performance team.

“Since 1954, The Nerveless Nocks have been thrilling audiences across the United States, Canada, Mexico and worldwide,” said an announcement released by the Fair.

Meanwhile, popular mainstays that have drawn fairgoers like the livestock exhibit and other agricultural showcases remain. Many of these were raised or grown by area students in Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H.

“Agriculture is the basis of why fairs were first developed,” said The Big Fresno Fair website. “Though showing their animals at The Big Fresno Fair, these students not only have the opportunity to showcase and sell their animal projects, but also learn responsibility and gain agribusiness experience throughout the process.”

These will be accompanied by Ag Ventureland, an area designed to teach fairgoers about such ag topics as seed investigation and magnetic boards, and the Cow Palace Milking barn will give people the opportunity to milk cows.

Included in this year’s fair for music entertainment are Boy George & Culture Club, Ludacris, Chicago and Salt-N-Pepa.

The Big Fresno Fair will run until Oct. 14 and gates will open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Admission is $12 for regular adults, and $8 for children ages 6 to 12, seniors age 62 and older and active military with I.D. Admission is free for all children age 5 and younger.

Link to story

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October – CDFA joins in Firewood Awareness Month

CDFA joins the rest of the nation in observing the designation of October as Firewood Awareness Month. We are providing a video on the invasive species risk of moving firewood as well as tips from our Division of Measurement Standards for those buying firewood to make sure you get what you pay for.  CDFA is a partner in in the “Buy It Where You Burn It” campaign, urging people to not move firewood.

What is a Cord?

Bulk firewood is sold by a measurement called a “cord.” A cord must equal 128 cubic feet. To be sure you have a cord, stack the wood neatly by placing the wood in a line or a row, with individual pieces touching and parallel to each other, making sure that the wood is compact and has as few gaps as possible. Then measure the stack. If the width times the height times the length equals 128 cubic feet, you have a cord of firewood.

Stacking a Cord for Measurement










If It Doesn’t Equal 128 Cubic Feet, It is Not a Cord!


Words that May Indicate You Are Not Getting Proper Measurement

A cord, like other measurements such as a foot, a gallon, or a ton, is defined by law. A seller may not legitimately use terms such as “truckload,” “face cord,” “rack,” or “pile” because these terms have no legally defined meaning and, therefore, you have no way of determining how much firewood you are actually receiving. If a seller uses such terms it should alert you to a possible problem. Wood can only be sold by the cord or by fractions of a cord.

Get What You Pay For – Get It in Writing

When you buy firewood make sure to get a sales invoice or delivery ticket which shows at least the name and address of the seller, the date purchased or delivered, the quantity purchased, and the price of the quantity purchased.

When the wood is delivered, ask the seller to stack it (you may have to pay extra for this service) or stack the wood yourself. Measure the wood before using any. If the cubic measurement indicate that you did not receive the correct volume, contact the seller before you burn any wood.

What to Do if You Think You Have Been Short Changed

If the seller can’t or won’t correct the problem, contact your weights and measures office before you burn any wood. It is also helpful to document the possible shortage by taking a picture of the stacked wood.

Visit the web page of CDFA’s Division of Measurement Standards

Link to the California Firewood Task Force

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