A new study aims to quantify the social costs of nitrogen fertilizer. San Joaquin Valley residents are likely familiar with nitrates that seep out of agricultural fields and into the water supply. But nitrogen also makes its way into the air and the environment, impacting human health, ecosystems, and the climate. And all those exact costs on society.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

Governor Jerry Brown has made fighting climate change a major priority for California. One of the most recent laws he signed was Senate Bill 32, which requires the state to dramatically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Called “critical” and “far-reaching,” it’s been heralded by some as one of the most ambitious climate regulations in the world--but not everyone thinks the law will be good for California.

Joey Airoso has two kids and close to 3,000 mouths to feed. He’s a dairy farmer in rural Tulare County.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition Reporter Kerry Klein takes a look at methane emitted from dairy farms in Central California and how it plays into climate change. We also hear from KVPR's Jeffrey Hess about cap and trade in Fresno. Later we hear from Author Miriam Pawel on Cal Humanties upcoming forum "Farmworker Movement in California: From Chavez Onwards." Ending the show we  hear from Steven Wilson with the Fresno Philharmonic about the upcoming season and their search for a new conductor. 

Farmworker Overtime Bill Delayed

Aug 26, 2016
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics /

Widely-watched, heavily-lobbied legislation that would allow California farm workers to receive overtime pay more quickly did not come up for a vote Thursday, as it was expected to. Ben Bradford reports from Sacramento that led to a renewed pledge that it will pass from the Assembly Speaker.

When the Assembly adjourned and it became clear the bill would not come up, farm workers who’d rallied at the Capitol lined up outside Speaker Anthony Rendon’s door, until he came out.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

At harvest time each year many farmworkers around the state work 16 hours a day and sometimes seven days a week. Long hours with little time to recover mean aching muscles and few hours for family. On Monday the California Senate approved a bill that hopes to change that by extending overtime rules to those who work in the fields. But as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports the bill is also a big source of controversy.

California Farmers Already Adapting To Climate Change

Mar 29, 2016
UC Regents

UC Davis agricultural economists say climate change is affecting what crops are planted in California. Ed Joyce reports from Sacramento.

The study looked at 12 crops in Yolo County, using 105 years of local climate data and 60 years of county planting history.

UC Davis agricultural economist Dan Sumner says warmer winter temperatures would reduce "chill hours," potentially reducing yields for some crops, while extending the growing season for others.

And that could cause growers to change planting practices.

State Water Project Estimates Most Deliveries Since Drought's Start

Mar 17, 2016
CA Dept Water Resources

Cities and farmers who rely on the State Water Project will receive the most water they’ve received since 2012. The California Department of Water Resources announced today that it plans to meet 45 percent of requests for deliveries.

It’s a major increase from December, when the state planned to fulfill only 10 percent of requests. Paul Wenger with the California Farm Bureau says it is welcome news. But he and other farmers are hoping the federal Central Valley Project will be able to meet requests.

San Joaquin Valley Town Hall Lecture Series

A new drought relief bill from Senator Dianne Feinstein is getting mixed reviews in the Valley, but at least one water expert says it's a a sign of progress. 

The long-awaited Senate bill provides for a lot of things, including funding for like desalination and more water storage. But the one thing it doesn’t do is mandate more pumping of water out of the Delta to store in places like San Luis Reservoir near Los Banos.  

Report: Pesticide Mixtures May Increase Health Risks But Are Unregulated

Feb 18, 2016
Department of Pesticide Regulation - Facebook

A new UCLA report says the California Department of Pesticide Regulation fails to regulate pesticide mixtures adequately. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the study finds the mixtures may increase health risks.

The study looked at three fumigants commonly applied together in California. It found a "reasonable likelihood" the three can interact to increase health risks to farm workers and people who live near fields or orchards.

Group Hopes To Change Fresno's Food Economy

Feb 16, 2016
Ali Budner

Hundreds of different food crops are raised in and around Fresno County. But many of those who live and work nearby have little access to the fruits of their own landscape. In fact, more people go hungry here in the Fresno metropolitan area than almost anywhere else in the entire nation. It’s this not-so-modest problem that Food Commons Fresno wants to solve — starting with their Community Supported Agriculture (or CSA) brand, OOOOBY.

"OOOOBY! Get used to saying it. OOOOBY, Out Of Our Own Backyards…."