Agriculture

Books
7:13 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

New Biography Paints Complex Picture Of Cesar Chavez

Miriam Pawel's new book "The Crusades of Cesar Chavez"

Charismatic,  controversial, courageous and complicated. Those are just a few words that could sum up the life of the late civil rights leader and farm labor activist Cesar Chavez. Now over 20 years after his death, a new biography seeks to provide fresh insight into a man who is an inspiration for millions. The book is called “The Crusades of Cesar Chavez” by Miriam Pawel, who joined us on Valley Edition to talk about Chavez the man and Chavez the myth. 

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Education
1:32 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Teachers, Students Rally To 'Save FFA' Amid Proposed Funding Changes

FFA students held at rally at the state Capitol last week to support funding for FFA programs
Credit Twitter / Asm. Susan Talamantes Eggman / https://twitter.com/AsmSusanEggman/

Go to a rural high school in Central California, and one of the most popular extra-curricular programs will be FFA – Future Farmers of America. But now the people who run those programs say their future is threatened in Governor Brown’s new budget.

It’s all part of a big change to the way school districts get their money from Sacramento – the Local Control Funding Formula. In general it’s been good news for schools up and down the valley, as it redirects more money to districts with high populations of low-income families, English learners and foster youth.

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Government & Politics
9:40 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Here And Gone: Fight Over Fresno's Cesar Chavez Boulevard Remains Fresh, 20 Years Later

Cesar Chavez
Credit Cesar Chavez Foundation

In October of 1993, the Fresno City Council voted to rename three city streets - Kings Canyon, Ventura and California - in honor of the late farm labor activist Cesar Chavez. The move was part of a campaign by local Latino groups who sought to honor the UFW founder, who had died earlier that year. 

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Environment
6:45 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Voices Of The Drought: Mendota Mayor Prepares For The Worst

This is Robert Silva's second stint as the Mayor of Mendota.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

 California is in the midst of one of the driest years on record and with over a third of the Central Valley’s jobs tied to agriculture and hundreds of thousands of acres going fallow leaders in the region are expecting ag jobs to be few and far between. FM89 reporter Ezra David Romero reports from one west side Valley town that is already feeling the pinch.

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Education
8:25 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

California Students Rally At Capitol For Agricultural Education Funding

Students gather at the Capitol Wednesday for Ag Day in this photo from the Twitter account of Assemblymember Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman of Stockton.
Credit Twitter / Asm. Susan Talamantes Eggman / https://twitter.com/AsmSusanEggman/

As part of the annual “Ag Day” celebration at the state Capitol, Future Farmers of America students from around California rallied Wednesday in support of agricultural education programs. From Sacramento, Max Pringle reports.

With the state suffering through its worst ever drought, Jim Aschwanden with the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, says only well trained Ag workers will be able to meet the industry’s future challenges.

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Drought
7:08 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Congressional Hearing On California Water Visits Fresno

The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on California's drought in Fresno.
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

The House Natural Resources Committee took up the issue of water for San Joaquin Valley farmers today before a packed gallery at Fresno City Hall. 

The Republican-led committee heard testimony from local growers and water managers on both short and long-term responses to California's drought and cuts to agricultural water deliveries south of the Delta. 

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Education
4:37 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Drought May Hurt School Attendance in Central Valley

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon

Declining school attendance may be the latest side-effect of California’s punishing drought. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction will visit the Central Valley Wednesday to talk about the problem.

School attendance may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the impact of the drought on California. But it is affected. Less water means fewer crops, which means fewer farm jobs. And when the jobs disappear, families of migrant workers move on, taking their school age children with them.

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Drought
9:05 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Along The Pacific Flyway, California's Drought Raises Concerns For Wildlife

Ric Ortega is the General Manager of the Grasslands Water District in Los Banos
Joe Moore

The area around Los Banos isn't just a stopover for valley travelers along Highway 152 who are headed for the Central Coast. It's also a vital rest stop for millions of birds from across North America on the Pacific Flyway.

Ric Ortega: "If you come out here, you really don't see it all off of any of the major highways. But here we have something that definitely at least from an ecological perspective is equivalent to Yosemite Valley."

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Water
11:02 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Report: California's Water System Needs Better Funding

San Luis Reservoir (file photo)
Credit CA Dept of Water Resources

A new report says California would need an additional two to three billion dollars every year to fill gaps where funding is needed for managing the state’s water. From Sacramento, Amy Quinton has more on the latest Public Policy Institute of California report.

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Drought
4:47 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

New Report: California Groundwater Crisis Looming

file photo
Credit California Department of Water Resources

Groundwater supplies are at an all-time low in both the Sacramento and San Joaquin River basins. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, management of that dwindling supply was the focus of debate at the state Capitol.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office told lawmakers that without comprehensive statewide regulation of groundwater, management of the state’s water supply will be increasingly difficult. The LAO suggests the state require local water districts to phase in groundwater permitting and keep track of how much water is extracted from all groundwater wells.

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Arts & Culture
1:08 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Firebaugh Filmmaker Takes Water "Fight" To Silver Screen

Filmmaker Juan Carlos Oseguera

California's water wars are nothing new. But Firebaugh-based filmaker Juan Carlos Oseguera says the current struggle over water cutbacks to westside growers is truly a "fight." His new feature-length documentary film, titled "A Fight For Water" seeks to tell the story of the communities in the San Joaquin Valley who were hit hard by water cutbacks in 2009 due to environmental restrictions on delta pumping. 

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Drought
7:40 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Bees Feel The Effects of California Drought

Orin Johnson and business partner Jey Rolon work on hives in an orchard
Amy Quinton Capital Public Radio

The California drought has left honey bees without their normal supply of wildflowers to feed on. Beekeepers have supplemented the bees’ diet, but supplementation lacks the nutrition needed to keep hives healthy. Millions of colonies of bees are now pollinating almond orchards, giving the bees some relief. But as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, it’s likely to be only temporary.

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Drought
10:41 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Do Man-Made Residential Lakes Make Sense In A Drought?

These man-made lakes south of Bakersfield, near the communities of Arvin and Lamont have some Kern County residents and water managers asking questions about the use of water during a drought.
Credit Google Maps

California’s drought has communities up and down the valley looking conserve water. The City of Orange Cove has already banned outdoor watering this year, and later tonight the Lemoore City Council will hold a meeting to discuss ways the city can get residents to reduce their water use by as much as 25 percent.

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Drought
9:58 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Voices Of The Drought: Nurseryman Jon Reelhorn

Jon Reelhorn says business is up for his nursery when it comes to drought resistant plant.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This is the second piece in Valley Public Radio's occasional series, called Voices of the Drought. This week FM89 reporter Ezra David Romero visits with Fresno nurseryman Jon Reelhorn.

Jon Reelhorn wasn’t always a nurseryman. Back when he was a student at Fresno State he spent more time in the dugout than in the greenhouse.

“I’m a city boy from Stockton that came to Fresno State on a baseball scholarship and it’s an ag school so you had to figure out what you were going to do,” Reelhorn says.

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Drought
7:52 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Obama Visits Drought-Stricken Fresno, Calls For Congressional Action

President Obama walks toward Marine One with Rep. Jim Costa
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

President Obama visited the valley today in a whirlwind tour, delivering a speech this afternoon at the Los Banos farm of Joe Del Bosque to announce his proposal for emergency drought relief. He says that while the lack of rain and snow is a concern to the Central Valley, it’s also a national issue:

Obama: “California is our biggest economy, California is our biggest agricultural producer, so what happens here matters to every working American, right down to the cost of food that you put on your table.”

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Drought
6:27 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Firebaugh's Message For President Obama: We Need Water

LaVonne Allen is the owner of Farmer’s Daughter restaurant in Firebaugh.
Credit Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

During his visit Friday to the Central Valley, President Obama discussed the   drought with community leaders in Firebaugh. FM 89’s Rebecca Plevin asked residents there what they would tell the President about the region, if they had the opportunity.

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If President Obama had time to stop by the Farmer’s Daughter restaurant in Firebaugh today, he would hear a strong message from owner LaVonne Allen.

“We need more water storage, there’s no ands, ifs, or buts about it,” she says.

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Developing
3:00 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Obama To Announce Federal Drought Relief With Fresno Trip

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

President Obama will visit the Central Valley this afternoon to announce an aid package to help farmers, ranchers and communities hit hard by California's record drought. After landing in Fresno, the President is expected to attend a roundtable discussion about the drought in Firebaugh and tour a farm in Los Banos.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the President's message will be clear:

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Business & Economy
5:12 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Brown Visits Tulare Farm Show, Says Compromise Needed On Water

California Governor Jerry Brown visited the world ag expo in Tulare.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown toured the World Ag Expo in Tulare Wednesday and weighed into the debate between competing House and Senate plans for response to the state’s drought. Brown says Republicans and Democrats need to find common ground on a bill that will benefit all Californians.

Brown: “This is not a time for rhetoric or the cheesy partisanship we often see in Washington. I’m trying to be the governor of the whole state, bringing people together, get the water in the short term, long term, but when God doesn’t provide the water, it’s not here.”

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Environment
7:20 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

"Praying For Rain" At The 2014 World Ag Expo

Devon Burnias, left, is a second generation farmer south of Tulare, Calif.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

It’s a rather dry year here at the 47th annual World Ag Expo in Tulare. Water or the lack of it is on everyone’s mind.

Even though the official slogan of the expo is “Agriculture: Feeding Tomorrow’s World,” Charles Sarabian, an engineer with Preferred Pump and Equipment in Fresno, says the real theme of the show is how to conserve what little water is left.

“I think it’s what’s on everybody’s minds and it’s what makes agriculture grow without water there is no agriculture," Sarabian says. 

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Drought
12:31 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

For Orange Cove, Drought Puts Strain On City's Water Supply

The Friant Kern Canal not only carries Millerton Lake water to valley farms, but also to communities like Orange Cove
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Despite the rains of the past weekend, California’s drought is still a huge problem for communities up and down the state. While many towns in the Valley are bracing for the economic impact of the drought, and the resulting loss of farm jobs, the community of Orange Cove also has to contend with concerns about its water supply.

Mayor Gabriel Jimenez says that while the city has five municipal wells to draw water from the aquifer, they can't be used due to nitrate pollution.

"Now our wells are shutdown, we're 100 percent dependent of surface water," says Jimenez. 

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