Agriculture

Government & Politics
6:31 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

California Senate Leader Questions Future of Water Bond

California Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg (file photo)
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

California Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says he’s not sure a long-delayed $11 billion water bond will make it on the 2014 ballot. More than $2 billion of that money is slated to be spent on the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta. 

Governor Jerry Brown is backing a plan that calls for constructing two large underground tunnels that would send water from the Delta to Central and Southern California.

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Environment
5:20 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Experiment to "Farm" Carbon Underway in Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

An example of a restored wetland on Sherman Island.
Amy Quinton Capital Public Radio

Agriculture in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has flourished thanks to rich organic soils. But after more than a hundred years of farming, those soils are eroding, and the interiors of many Delta islands are sinking. California may have a solution that would not only help farmers, but could combat climate change. Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento.

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3:43 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Old Sun-Maid Raisin Box On Sale For 'Just' $700,000 Online

Forget the stock market, it would appear the best investment around might be in the back of your kitchen cupboard. An ebay merchant is offering a vintage Sun-Maid raisin box for the bargain price of $700,000. As the seller says, the diminutive piece of valley agricultural memorabilia is "a small treasury for your [sic] to keep." So far there have been 57 offers, but no sale.
The "Sun-Maid Girl" Changes with the Times The "SUN-MAID" brand and "Sun-Maid Girl" trademarks became widely recognized by consumers and the trade in a few short years after their creation and introduction in 1915 and 1916. SUN-MAID raisins were the number one brand in America and were trusted by consumers for their quality, freshness and good taste.
Government & Politics
4:42 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Swearengin Focuses On Business, Industry Growth in 'State of City' Speech

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin delivers her 2013 "State of the City" address

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin says the the city's economy is on the road to recovery in 2013, thanks in part to growth in the local food processing sector.  

"I'm telling you that things are getting good around here when it comes to industrial expansion and expanding our food business," Swearengin told the crowd. 

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Environment
1:21 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

New Google Tool Shows Remarkable Timelapse of Fresno Growth Since 1984

A screen capture of a satellite based timelapse of Fresno's suburban growth from 1984 - 2012
Credit http://earthengine.google.org/timelapse

A new timelapse tool released this month by Google provides Fresno residents with a stark reminder of just how quickly much of the city's nearby agriculture land has been replaced by homes, shopping centers and freeways. 

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Environment
5:16 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

New Study Examines Collapse of Honey Bee Colonies

Credit USDA/EPA

The collapse of honey bee populations in the U.S. is the result of a number of factors, ranging from insects and diseases to pesticides, according to new study released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection agency.

The report says a parasitic mite is the single most destructive pest to bee populations, and is closely linked with what has come to be known as colony collapse disorder.

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Water
5:12 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

What Snow? Final Snow Survey Yields Dry Results

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The season’s final snow survey in California found what most expected – dry conditions. Snow surveyors found absolutely no snow on the ground at Phillips Station, nearly 7,000 feet up Echo Summit in the Sierras.

Water content in California’s snowpack is only 17 percent of normal, meaning a below average water supply this summer.

Frank Gehrke with the Department of Water Resources says despite that, most reservoirs are near normal levels for the date thanks to early winter storms.

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Environment
3:26 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Brown Administration Sidesteps Controversial Delta Comments

Top Brown Administration officials wait to testify at a State Senate hearing on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. From left: Charlton Bonham (Director, Dept. of Fish & Wildlife), John Laird (Secretary of Natural Resources) & Mark Cowin (Director, Dept. of Water Resources).
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers who represent the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region are seething over recent comments from Governor Jerry Brown’s point man on the state’s proposed water delivery tunnel project.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

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Agriculture
2:08 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Environmental Advocates Call For Phasing Out Strawberry Pesticides

Credit Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

Some environmentalists say hazardous strawberry pesticides should be banned in California by 2020. But as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, strawberry growers say finding an alternative to fumigants is difficult.

On the steps of the Capitol, farm workers, environmentalists and health leaders called on the state to phase out soil fumigants used most heavily in strawberry production. They say fumigants have a wide range of health effects, are highly volatile, and drift from where they are applied. Martha Arguello is with Physicians for Social Responsibility.

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Commentary
9:18 am
Tue April 23, 2013

Commentary: Time For Fresno to Embrace Food Culture, Not Just Commerce

Del Rey farmer and performance artist Nikiko Masumoto
Credit http://whatwecouldcarry.wordpress.com/biography/

Earlier this year, the Fresno Food Expo brought together valley food businesses with regional and national buyers, as well as hundreds of ordinary local residents. But Del Rey farmer and guest commentator Nikiko Masumoto says all the buzz about food products, left her dreaming of something more meaningful, a focus on local food culture.

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Agriculture
5:55 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

USDA to Give Hispanic and Female Farmers More Time to File Discrimination Claims

Decades of discriminatory practices by the U.S. Department of Agriculture against women and Hispanic farmers are playing out in a $1.3 billion claims process. FM89’s Rebecca Plevin reports on a new deadline for those who allege discrimination.

For around 20 years, critics say the USDA’s farm loan program denied applicants because of their gender or race, and gave white male farmers preferential treatment in their dealings with the agency.

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Agriculture
9:55 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Reedley Farmer Goes 'Farm to School' With Strawberries

Pao Saephan is the first small farmer to sell his produce directly to Fresno Unified School District.
Rebecca Plevin Valley Public Radio

Pao Saephan crouches down in his sun-drenched field. He cups a red jewel in his hand.

In a few more days, his strawberries will be fully ripe. He’ll pick them once they are garnet-colored from stem to tip.

“We want all the strawberries, to be full ripe, full flavor, with 100 percent sugar in them,” says Saephan.

In the past, he would sell the fresh berries at his roadside stand - called Sam’s Strawberry Patch. It’s located at the intersection of Manning Avenue and I Street in Reedley.

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Environment
6:09 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Snow Survey Shows Dramatically Dry Conditions for California

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The next to the last snow survey of the season shows extremely dry conditions for California. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, it has prompted the Department of Natural Resources to call the security of the state’s water supply “threatened.”

 The bad news: the water content in California’s snowpack is only 52 percent of normal. What’s worse, the spring melt is underway. While the season started with water content above 130 percent of normal in January, it’s been unusually dry ever since. 

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Environment
6:10 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Bay Delta Conservation Plan Details Efforts to Protect Endangered Fish

Delta smelt (file photo)
Credit California Department of Water Resources

California Governor Jerry Brown’s administration released new details today of its plan to protect fish and wildlife in the Sacramento-San-Joaquin Delta. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the plan revolves around new tunnels to carry more water to the Central Valley and southern California. 

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Government & Politics
6:40 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Rewritten Water Bond to Include Less Money for Storage

California Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg
Office of Darrell Steinberg

California Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says lawmakers plan to rewrite the $11 billion water bond for the November 2014 ballot – and the new version will likely have less money for storage projects such as dams.

“There will continue to be a chapter for storage.  I don’t think there will be nearly the same amount of money in that chapter as there was in the original bond.  And I think there will be de-emphasis, frankly – or at least, on the same surface storage projects,” says Steinberg. 

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Environment
4:05 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

First Portion of $14 Billion Bay Delta Conservation Plan Released

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (file photo)
http://baydeltaconservationplan.com/

State officials in Sacramento today released a portion of a new plan to restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and improve water reliability for southern California residents and farmers. Known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, the controversial project includes a $14 billion proposal to build two tunnels to carry water around the fragile ecosystem to users south of the delta. 

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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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