Agriculture

Agriculture
1:45 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Honey Bee Shortage Could Sting Almond Growers

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A honey bee shortage in California could sting almond growers this season. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, there aren’t enough bees to pollinate the crops of California’s largest export.

California gets about 75 percent of its bees from other states. But drought, malnutrition and disease killed many of the bees over the winter. The winter losses are still being counted.

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Agriculture
6:21 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Possible Hard Freeze Threatens Citrus Industry, Mandarins At Risk

Citrus groves near Orange Cove will endure as many as 12 hours of below freezing temperatures tonight, according to weather forecasters. (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Update: Saturday, 8:45 AM: Unexpected cloud cover late Friday and early Saturday kept temperatures slightly higher than forecast, enough to prevent damage to most commercially grown fruit. Lows in most places were in the upper 20's. Forecasts call for more extreme cold over the weekend.  ORIGINAL REPORT:

Valley citrus growers are in for a long night tonight, as what is expected to be the coldest evening of the year threatens to damage the region's citrus crop, with the most popular new variety, the mandarin orange,  most at risk.

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Environment
4:52 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Talk of Revamping Water Bond to Heat Up in 2013

The Friant-Kern Canal delivers water to growers and cities on the eastern side of the San Joaquin Valley. (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

There’s a push for a new look at the $11 billion water bond now scheduled for California’s November 2014 ballot.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, some lawmakers want to reduce the bond’s size, while others want to rewrite it entirely.

Democratic Senator Lois Wolk represents the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region – and she’s long felt the bond approved in 2009 was a bad piece of legislation.  Now that it’s been pushed back a second time, Wolk has introduced a bill that would start over:

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Water
9:55 am
Fri November 30, 2012

State Water Project Plans For 30 Percent Allocation Next Year

Lake Oroville in northern California - file photo

California water officials say farmers and others who rely on the State Water Project can count on at least 30 percent of the requested water amount in the coming year. 

The Department of Water Resources says the initial allocation is always conservative since it’s made before the rainy season. 90 percent of the state’s snow and rain comes between December and April.

This week’s storm is giving the State Water Project an early boost and the water supply is expected to increase as more storms roll in.

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Health
10:28 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Bolthouse Farms Carrot Chips Recalled Over Salmonella Risk

The California Department of Public Health announced today that consumers should not eat Bolthouse Farms carrot chips in 16 ounce bags with “best if used by” dates of November 12, 2012 and November 13, 2012, because the carrots may be contaminated with Salmonella.

Bakersfield based Bolthouse Farms issued a voluntarily recall of the carrots after the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services detected the bacteria in one of the packages during routine testing. 

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Environment
11:31 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Coalition of Water Providers Agree on Delta Projects

Top, Consumnes River delta. Bottom, Sycamore Slough (south of Woodbridge Road). Both November 8, 2011. (photos by William G. Miller, Cole~Miller Photography)
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Historical Ecology Study San Francisco Estuary Institute-Aquatic Science Center / California Department of Fish and Game

A list of more than 40 short term projects to improve the Sacramento - San Joaquin Delta is now in the hands of California agencies. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, water providers and environmentalists are hopeful some projects will finally get off the ground.

When it comes to the state’s water, there is rarely agreement. But a coalition of Delta water managers, farmers, and environmentalists has agreed on smaller projects to protect the estuary.

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Business & Economy
11:31 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Zacky Farms Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

Fresno based poultry producer Zacky Farms has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing the high cost of grain the company uses for feed. 

The 70 year old firm is the second largest poultry company in California and employs around 1,500 workers. The company filed its petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento on Monday.

The company released a statement saying that it "has been under severe stress due to historically high corn and soybean meal prices." A drought throughout much of the Midwest has caused grain prices to rise in recent months. 

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Agriculture
4:00 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Judge Rejects Challenges to California's Law on Farm Animal Cages

A federal judge in Los Angeles has upheld California's law that bans the use of tightly confined cages for some farm animals.

An egg producer challenged 2008's proposition 2, saying it was too vague for farmers because it didn't specify cage size.

But US District Judge John F. Walter said in his ruling it wouldn't require QUOTE "the investigative acumen of Columbo to determine if an egg farmer is in violation of the statute."

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Agriculture
3:16 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Fresno County Company Recalls Cantaloupe Over Salmonella Concerns

An image supplied by the FDA of the DFI cantaloupes involved in today's voluntary recall.
Credit Food and Drug Administration

DFI Marketing of Fresno has announced a recall of 28,000 cartons of cantaloupe after a sample tested positive for Salmonella bacteria. Dresick Farms Inc grows produce on a farm in Huron, in western Fresno County.  

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The Salt
3:09 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Two Sides Prepare For California Genetically Modified Labeling Vote

California farmer Erik Freese pulls down a healthy ear of corn that has been genetically engineered to produce its own pesticide. He says genetic engineering has helped him to farm more sustainably.
Kathleen Masterson for NPR

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 7:30 am

This November, voters in California will decide whether the state should require labels on foods with genetically engineered ingredients. If the initiative, known as Proposition 37, passes, manufacturers would have to say somewhere on the front or the back of the food's packaging if the product contains or may contain genetically engineered ingredients.

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The Salt
11:09 am
Thu August 23, 2012

So, Who Sent Those Sick Cows To The Slaughterhouse?

A security guard opens the gate at the Central Valley Meat Co., the California slaughterhouse recently shut down by federal regulators after they received a graphic video of cows being mistreated.
Gosia Wozniacka AP

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 8:00 am

Federal regulators and fast-food companies reacted with unprecedented speed this week to the release of an undercover video that animal-rights activists shot inside a California slaughterhouse. The video — which, we'll warn you, is pretty graphic — shows employees of Central Valley Meat Co. using electric prods repeatedly on cattle that appeared unable to get to their feet.

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Business & Economy
4:39 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Suit Filed Against Valley Farm Labor Contractor

California Labor Commissioner Julie Su has filed a lawsuit against a Valley farm labor contractor for unpaid wages. The case filed in Fresno Superior Court on Monday alleges Javier Diaz of Diaz Contracting committed multiple violations, including failure to provide minimum wage and overtime to employees. The lawsuit seeks over $600,000 in unpaid wages, penalties and damages affecting 129 workers.

Agriculture
3:31 pm
Sun August 5, 2012

California Leads Nation in Farmer's Markets

Fruit from Valley farms makes for a colorful scene at a farmer's market in downtown Fresno.
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

The number of farmer’s markets in California has risen substantially. According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture survey, there are about 830 markets in the state. That’s up almost a hundred from last year.

Kathleen Merrigan with the USDA says the economy and the demand for fresh, healthy food have caused a 10 percent increase in markets nationwide.

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Environment
7:25 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Valley reacts to Brown's Bay-Delta tunnel plan

Governor Jerry Brown and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced plans today to make big changes to the state’s water supply system - and the plan is already being met with both support and criticism from up and down the state.

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The Two-Way
2:44 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

California's Jerry Brown: Water Tunnel Shows 'I Want To Get [Stuff] Done'

Gov. Jerry Brown waits for the start of a news conference to announce plans to build a giant twin tunnel system to move water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to farmland and cities.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 4:29 pm

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a new $23.7 billion proposal that would build a twin tunnel system to carry water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta over to the southern part of the state.

Water in Southern California has become an intractable problem. The frustration was evident at the press conference, when Brown dropped a four-letter expletive.

The Sacramento Bee reports:

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Valley Public Radio News
6:53 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Labor shortage a concern to valley farmers

A vineyard of Thompson seedless grapes west of Fresno
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

The Central Valley is the agricultural center of California, producing a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and other commodities - all worked by the hands of thousands of farm workers. However, these crops may be threatened this season with a reported decrease in the number of workers. 

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Business & Economy
5:50 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

Assembly Passes Farm Worker Safety Act

The ag industry may soon see some changes, now that the Farmworker Safety Act was approved by the state Assembly yesterday afternoon. 

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Agriculture
6:39 pm
Mon May 21, 2012

Obama Praises UFW on 50th Anniversary

The United Farm Workers of America celebrated its 50th anniversary in Bakersfield this weekend. The two-day convention attracted hundreds of workers from the around the valley, and even the U.S. Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis. Solis made the trip from Washington D.C. to speak with the supporters and honor one of the co-founders of the union, Dolores Huerta, with a special coin commemorating her activism for the community.

The conference ended with a video speech from President Obama, who praised the union for their hard work for fair pay for farm workers.

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Business & Economy
3:15 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Fresno Hearing Seeks Solutions to Ag Metal Theft

Agricultural metal theft continues to be a problem in the valley, and Sacramento lawmakers are paying attention. The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing today in Downtown Fresno searching for solutions.

Four years ago, the state legislature passed a bill by then Assembly member Tom Berryhill that aimed to crack down on the theft of metal from farmers. The bill required recyclers to keep detailed records on materials and sellers.

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Valley Edition
1:59 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

On Valley Edition: Leaving California; Kids on the Farm; California Reads

This week on Valley Edition, we look at the changing demographics of California, which is now a net exporter of people to other states. How did the California dream turn out to be a nightmare for so many? We talk to some residents who've left, and also to experts who are using the newly revised population estimates to plan the state's future. We also talk about the role of kids on family farms, and learn about the California Reads program taking place in Kern County.

Valley Edition for May 1, 2012:

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