Almond Industry Headline Environmental News
Edited by Mark Looker
growers conduct environmental show and tell for regulators - - Bill and
Don Jackson, who farm about 4,000 acres of permanent crops east of Oakdale,
Calif., opened up their operation to more than two dozen state and federal
regulators recently. The family farming operation wasn’t in trouble by any
means. Instead, the Jacksons and farm manager Mike Burden, of Lent-Burden
Farming Inc., wanted to educate the regulators about the science and
technology they use to make decisions. The annual environmental tour
is sponsored by the Modesto-based Almond Board of California to showcase the
practices growers are using to protect the environment. It’s also designed
to create a better understanding between farmers and regulators.
<more> May 15, 2012 The Grower
EPA Authorizes Critical Uses of Methyl Bromide for
2007 - - In accordance with the Clean Air Act and Montreal Protocol, EPA
has issued final methyl bromide production and import critical use
exemptions for 2007. EPA also authorized uses that qualify for the 2007
critical use exemption. The exemptions for continued production and import
of methyl bromide will honor the U.S. commitment to obtain methyl bromide
for American farmers, in a manner consistent with the Montreal Protocol,
while protecting the ozone layer.
Dec. 12, 2006 EPA Press Release
East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition annual meetings set for next week - - The East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition (ESJWQC) is holding its second annual meetings next week to review 2006 monitoring results and water quality problems likely associated with agriculture. Topics Include: • Surprising results of a coalition-funded E.coli study designed to identify sources of numerous detections of the bacteria in local waterways. • Information on new requirements of coalition members. • Information on management practices to mitigate farm runoff found in local waterways. Meeting Locations:
• Tuesday; December 12; 1-3 pm, Merced County Agricultural Commissioners office, 2139 Wardrobe Avenue, Merced
• Wednesday, December 13, 10 am -12 pm; Stanislaus Agricultural Center, 3800 Cornucopia Way, Modesto, (lunch provided to those who RSVP: 209-522-7278)
• Thursday, December 14, 10 am -12 pm; Madera County
Farm Bureau, 1102 S. Pine Street, Madera, (lunch provided to those who RSVP:
559-674-8871) Dec.7, 2006 ESJWCQC Press Release
Grassley continues fight against EPA rule on
agriculture dust - - Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is continuing his
efforts to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating
agriculture dust — this time offering an amendment to the Agriculture
Appropriations bill. “This is about the future. The rule is setting a bad
precedent for agriculture,” Grassley said in a statement. The amendment,
introduced Tuesday, has been endorsed by 13 of the nation’s largest
agriculture groups. In October, Grassley hosted EPA Administrator Stephen
Johnson at farm in Perry to watch a soybean field harvested so he could see
how the process stirs up dust. A steady rain prevented the demonstration,
but the senator said it didn’t wash away concerns that the dust proposal
could lead to lawsuits against farmers.
Dec. 6, 2006 AP
New study: Public-private partnerships providing ag
environmental solutions. Almond Board partnerships hailed as successful
models. - - Partnerships between researchers, extension agents and
growers that encourage greater participation and a cooperative learning
environment are providing real-world solutions to many of the environmental
issues facing California farmers, according to a recent study. The study by
a leading university agro-environmental researcher points to the Almond Pest
Management Alliance as a primary example of the success of such
public/private partnerships. Study author Keith Douglass Warner of the
Environmental Studies Institute at Santa Clara University said many of these
partnerships, such as the Biologically Integrated Farming Systems and Pest
Management Alliance projects, have helped successfully integrate
alternatives to widely used traditional pesticides into mainstream farming
systems by promoting a high level of grower participation and support.
Titled “Integrated Farming Systems and Pollution Prevention Initiatives
Stimulate Co-Learning Extension Strategies,” the study reports that the
growth and success of these programs reflects a shift from the cooperative
extension’s early model of “technology transfer” to an emphasis on
participatory co-learning and decision-making support.
<more> Dec. 3, 2006 Almond Board of California Press release
Farmers seek less-toxic pesticides to control mold,
mildew - - California's wet growing season in 2005 contributed to higher
pesticide use as farmers applied more fungicides, especially sulfur, to stifle
mold and mildew. But state officials pointed to declining use of several
highly toxic chemicals at the same time. Mary-Ann Warmerdam, who leads the
Department of Pesticide Regulation, said California continues to encourage
alternatives to harmful chemical applications. "While last year's weather
presented challenging conditions for growers, we see a growing reliance on
sustainable pest management," she said earlier this month. And San Joaquin
County is among the leaders of that trend, with Lodi-area grape growers
supporting a third-party auditing program that certifies producers who employ
sustainable farming practices.
<more> Nov. 30, 2006 Stockton Record
Almond industry poised
to market 1.5 billion-pound crop - - A 45 percent increase in the supply
of a commodity from the largest crop ever recorded over a short, four-year
time span would be cause for concern for most California commodities. However,
almonds are not like any other California commodity. California almond growers
have gathered record and near-record crops the past five years coupled with
receiving record and near-record prices. With 100,000 acres of non-bearing
orchards to add to the current inventory of 580,000 acres that basically
produced the five-year of records, the industry is expected to reach 1.5
billon pounds of production in just four years. However, according to a report
from the USDA NASS California field office given at the recent 25th annual
Agribusiness Management Conference in Fresno there is a “wide array of
positive and democratic indicators” that provide assurance that California
growers will profitably market the 1.5 billion crop with relative ease.
<more> Nov. 30, 2006 Western Farm Press
Growers Can Make Money if They Use UC Integrated
Pest Management Year-Round Program for Crops - - The California Natural
Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering $125 per acre to growers to
use the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management
Program's year-round IPM programs for their crops. In the 2002 Farm Bill, NRCS
was tasked to promote adoption of new pest management practices and IPM
programs to reduce environmental problems associated with pest management. The
program resulted in the establishment of a Pest Management Standard,
incorporation of pest management goals into funded NRCS conservation plans,
training and certification of NRCS staff in pest management, and
identification of pest management practices that would improve environmental
quality. To be eligible for NRCS' Environmental Quality Incentives Program
(EQIP), a crop must have a complete year-round program available on UC IPM's
Web site at www.ipm.ucdavis.edu (Under "How to Manage Pests", click the link
for "Agriculture and floriculture" and then choose your crop). Currently,
programs are available for almonds, cotton, grapes, nectarines, peaches,
plums, and prunes.
Nov. 17, 2006 UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program
Guthion phase out for almonds detailed by EPA
- - The U.S. EPA has issued its final decision to phase out the remaining 10
uses of the organophosphate insecticide azinphos-methyl (AZM, known by its
trade name Guthion, over the next few years. The EPA decision means that
almond growers will be able to continue the use of Guthion for a total of
three more growing seasons, explained Gabriele Ludwig, senior manager of
global technical and regulatory affairs for the Almond Board of California. Guthion’s use on almonds will be canceled by October 2009. Originally, EPA had
proposed canceling the nut uses for Guthion in September 2007. In return for
extending the use, EPA is requiring several additional measures to protect
waterways, farmworker housing and other residential sites and reduce
applicator exposures. Use in almonds is now limited to June, July and August.
Additionally, there must be a 300 or 500 foot buffer to waterways depending in
which county the orchard is located, a 60-foot buffer for all residential or
occupied structures (excluding farm structures) and applicators must use an
For additional information about the AZM phase out: http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/op/azm/phaseout_fs.htm
-- The agency's AZM reregistration web page: http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/op/azm.htm
-- AZM docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2005-0061: http://www.regulations.gov
DPR reports pesticide use data; highly toxic
categories down again -- The California Department of Pesticide
Regulation today reported a statewide decline in the use of several highly
toxic chemicals in 2005, including fumigants and other pesticides of
regulatory concern. DPR tentative statistics for 2005 show 194 million
pounds applied for all commercial uses, compared to 180 million pounds in
2004. Half of the increase was attributed to sulfur, a natural compound used
by organic and conventional growers to combat mold and mildew. Wet weather
was a factor for many growers in 2005. At the same time, use of many higher
risk chemicals declined, both in pounds applied and acres treated, while use
of some reduced-risk compounds increased dramatically.
<more> Nov. 15, 2006 DPR Press Release
Report shows greater farmer acceptance of
reduced-risk pesticides - - The California Department of Pesticide
Regulation today announced details of its Pesticide Use Report for 2005,
which showed a statewide decline in the use of several highly toxic
chemicals and greater farmer adoption of sustainable pest management tools.
The report indicates pesticides applied for all commercial uses in 2005
totaled 194 million pounds, up from 180 million pounds a year earlier, but a
major reason for the increase was the need for sulfur to control mold and
mildew in winegrapes, which suffered from a cool, wet spring. DPR Director
Mary-Ann Warmerdam said 2005 saw a decline in many highly toxic pesticides
and greater use of reduced-risk pesticides. "DPR continues to put strong
emphasis on reducing pesticide risks and use whenever possible," Warmerdam
said in a news release. "While last year's weather presented challenging
conditions for growers, we see a growing reliance on sustainable pest
Nov. 15, 2006 Capital Press
Environmental Issues Panel at Almond Board
Conference Dec 7th in Modesto - - The Almond Board of California is
including a California Environmental Issues Panel Discussion on Thursday, Dec.
7 at its annual conference in Modesto. The issues to be addressed range from
air and water quality to consumer expectations of farming practices. Panelists
and environmental topics include:
• Senator Jeff Denham - As the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, having jurisdiction over bills relating to agriculture and water supply management, the Senator will offer an overview of current California environmental legislation.
• Jim Wells - The principle of the consulting firm Environmental Solutions LLC based in Sacramento, Jim will offer a general introduction to air quality issues including volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and the changes growers can anticipate.
• Caroline Silveira - The Grocery Manufacturer Association’s Director of State Affairs for the Western Region of the United States, Caroline will discuss how environmental issues influence consumer buying decisions and steps being taken to educate consumers.
Parry Klassen, Director for the Center for Urban and Rural Environmental Stewardship (CURES) program, as well as one of the Irrigated Land Coalitions will provide more detail on the landscape of water quality regulations. <more> Nov. 3, 2006 Almond Board of California Press Release
U.S. Methyl Bromide Stockpile Under Scrutiny at World Ozone Meeting in India - - President George W. Bush's administration is seeking world permission to produce thousands of tons of a pesticide, methyl bromide, that an international treaty banned nearly two years ago, even though U.S. companies already have huge stockpiles of the chemical. Methyl bromide has been used for decades by farmers to help grow plump, sweet strawberries, robust peppers and other crops, but it also depletes the Earth's protective ozone layer. The United States and other countries signed a 1987 treaty promising to end its use by 2005. Americans failed to meet the Montreal Protocol deadline and since have been getting annual exemptions allowing methyl bromide's continued use on certain crops in specific states. Other nations have sought far smaller exemptions. The latest exemption requests are being considered this week at an international meeting in New Delhi, India. <more> Nov. 3, 2006 AP
Workshop covers crop runoff. Reedley event Nov.
16 offers information to protect water quality. - - A workshop
highlighting practical on-farm practices to reduce water quality impacts of
runoff from orchard and vineyard crops will be held at 10 a.m. Nov. 16 at
Moonlight Packing Corp., 17719 E. Huntsman Ave., Reedley. Fresh fruit and
nut producers, crop consultants and commercial applicators can attend the
free workshop, "Management Practices to Keep Farm Inputs out of Farm
Drainage and Irrigation Runoff," which includes lunch. The workshop will
provide information on ways farmers of permanent crops can protect water
from farm drainage, sediment and agricultural chemical runoff.
<more> Nov. 1, 2006 Fresno Bee
Sustainable ag promoted in farm tour. Groups push
for more farm bill conservation funds - - Escalon diversified farmer
John Lagier is the face behind a national campaign to elevate the interests
of sustainable agriculture in the 2007 Farm Bill. This week Lagier hosted a
group of farmers and sustainable agricultural groups, including the National
Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture, in a tour of his 120-acre ranch
southeast of Stockton. The tour was organized by the California Coalition
for Food and Farming.
<more> Oct. 20, 2006 Capital Press
Industry Hosts Seminar as Bee Business Faces New Challenges - – As the
almond industry harvests what is anticipated to be the second largest crop
on record, some industry members took time off to plan ahead for bloom,
examining the role of the honey bee in producing the state’s largest
exported crop. The Almond Board of California (ABC) recently hosted a Honey
Bee Seminar, bringing together almond industry members, government
officials, pollination researchers and beekeepers to discuss new challenges
as well as familiar issues facing the bee and almond industries as we head
into the 2007 almond bloom. Dan Cummings, Almond Board member and grower,
said, “Almond growers and beekeepers are uniquely dependent upon each other,
our trees need healthy bees and so the almond industry must take a proactive
role in problem solving bee pest issues.”
<more> Oct. 16, 2006 Almond Board Press Release
Growers, beekeepers abuzz over pest. Will there
be enough bees to pollinate almond trees? - - Every February, a massive
labor force gets to work in the almond orchards of California. Honey bees —
billions upon billions of them — fly among the trees, spreading pollen so
the winter blossoms can turn into mature nuts by late summer. This
biological marvel has helped make almonds the No. 2 farm product in the
Northern San Joaquin Valley, after milk. But the approach of another winter
has renewed concerns that the bee supply, provided by commercial beekeepers
across the nation, might fall short of the demand. "There appears to be a
good possibility of a tight supply," said Orin Johnson, a Hughson-area
beekeeper, at a meeting held in Modesto on Thursday by the Almond Board of
California. A key problem is the varroa mite, which invades hives and drinks
the bees' blood. Experts say the mites have cut bee numbers by as much as 60
percent in some hives and have become resistant to pesticides.
<more> Oct. 8, 2006 Modesto Bee
As Farmers Reap More Almonds, Thieves Do, Too - - For Scott Phippen, a third-generation almond man, the hole in his fence was the first sign of trouble. And sure enough, a quick once-over confirmed the worst: two of Mr. Phippen’s trucks were missing. But the thieves were not after vehicles. They were after almonds. And at Mr. Phippen’s farm here in the Central Valley, they had hit the mother lode: 88,000 pounds of the nuts, with a street value of some $260,000. “You don’t just put that in your garage,” Mr. Phippen, 52, said with a smile. “You don’t move that at the local flea market.” Mr. Phippen had become just another victim of what farmers and the authorities say is a rash of almond heists, with the latest reported last Sunday, when a truck containing more than 40,000 pounds was stolen from a shipping yard in Fresno. <more> Oct. 8, 2006 NY Times
Grower Looks Long-Term with His Orchard Growing Practices - - Matt
Billings, a fourth-generation almond farmer based in Delano, Calif., takes a
long view of his vertical almond operation. The father of two young
children, Billings said sustainable farming will help ensure the health and
production of his land and orchard for future generations. “For us, the goal
is to not use such heavy inputs that you ruin the soil, tree or orchard for
short-term gains,” he said. “Especially with a permanent crop. If you have
an orchard in the ground, you are committed for 25 to 30 years, so you have
sustainability built in from the beginning.” The key to successful
sustainable farming, he said, is more footwork in the orchard, carefully
monitoring pest and disease pressures and staying on top of irrigation and
nutrient status on a block-by-block—and even tree-by-tree—basis. Billings
never sprays on the calendar, and makes decisions about irrigation,
fertility and other inputs with consideration for variety, soil type,
petiole samples, trap counts, yield potential and orchard conditions.
California Almonds Newsletter
Almond Industry Explores the Definition of
Sustainable Agriculture - - This past year, the Environmental
Stewardship Campaign has explored the concept of “sustainability,” a term
growing in popularity and use by regulators, academia, granting and funding
sources, the media and the consuming public. The use of the term
sustainability and sustainable almond growing practices was the topic of
professionally moderated focus groups with almond growers, handlers, PCAs
and UC farm advisors in Chico, Modesto, Fresno and Tulare. The first—and
perhaps most remarkable—finding of the focus groups was that not a single
participant opposed the idea of developing a definition for sustainable
almond growing. In essence, defining and pursuing efforts in sustainability
was not a controversial issue among these industry members. “From my
perspective as someone who has studied several commodities, I found this
alone surprising and encouraging,” said the focus group facilitator, Dr.
Keith Douglass Warner, Director of the Faith, Ethics & Vocation Project at
Santa Clara University’s Environmental Studies Institute.
October 2006 California Almonds Newsletter
Regulators Show Interest in Sustainability at
International Conference - - State and federal regulators were well
represented at the International Conference on the Future of Agriculture in
Sacramento, illustrating intensifying interest in the dominant themes of
stewardship and sustainability. DPR’s chief Mary Ann Warmerdam emphasized,
“Governor Schwarzenegger wants clean water, air, and soils and no excuses.
He wants environmental improvement with economic growth within the concept
of sustainability.” “The bottom line is, assessment of
sustainability could become a tool for development of agricultural policy,”
said Gabriele Ludwig, senior manager of global technical and regulatory
affairs for the Almond Board of California. “This is the direction
regulators are going.”
October 2006 California Almonds Newsletter
When is it “Conservation” and when is it
“Sustainable”? - - Those involved in sustainability and conservation
efforts seem to use the words interchangeably. In fact, conservation and
sustainable are two different terms, says Dr. Keith Douglass Warner,
Director of the Faith, Ethics & Vocation Project at Santa Clara University’s
Environmental Studies Institute. Warner should know. He’s got the book on
the subject due to be published in November 2006, Agroecology in Action, MIT
Press. “Conservation focuses on individual resources like air and water,
while sustainability is a broader concept, a goal or vision,” said Warner,
who also happens to be a Franciscan Friar. “Where conservation is about
certain individual practices, sustainability is a collective effort, a
mechanism to coordinate actions. It involves the behavior of institutions
and assumes organizational strength.” What does the almond industry need to
do? The Friar has an answer: “That same organizational strength that
brought farmers together for marketing purposes is now needed to survive the
pressures of farming in California.” October 2006 California Almonds
ABC Funds Environmental Research - - The Almond
Board of California’s Environmental Stewardship Committee is funding a
number of ongoing research projects for 2006-07 to address environmental
issues related to almond production and orchard management. For a closer
look at some of these projects,
click here. October 2006
California Almonds Newsletter
Water Board Sets Deadline for Joining Watershed
Coalitions - -
5-2 vote, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board earlier
this summer agreed to extend the Irrigated Lands Program for five years and
added a deadline for landowners to join regional watershed coalitions or
face requirements to get individual waste discharge permits. The Water Board
has also ordered names of individual coalition members to be turned in to
the Water Board annually beginning in October 2006. Coalitions must provide
the lists and maps indicating properties covered by coalitions, according to
executive Director of the Coalition for Urban/Rural Stewardship (CURES).
2006 California Almonds Newsletter
worries plague almond growers. Pollination costs soar as demand for colonies
increases - - Their critical 2007 pollination season is still months
away, but California almond growers are already fretting about a potential
shortage of healthy bees. Concerns were aired at the Almond Board of
California's Annual Honey Bee Seminar in Modesto this week. In the audience
were almond growers, beekeepers, bee brokers, county agricultural
commissioners and officials from California Department of Food and
Agriculture, USDA and the University of California. Chico almond grower Dan
Cummings, chairman of the board's bee task force, said with "literally
hundreds of thousand of acres" of almond orchards coming into bearing in the
next few years, bee demand is soaring. "About 60 percent or a little more of
European honeybees that are transportable in the United States come to
California for almond pollination," Cummings said. "The total number of
colonies that are required in California for almond pollination is going to
go up substantially in the next five years."
<more> Oct. 6, 2006 Capital Press
Most Widely Used Organic Pesticide Bt Requires
Help To Kill - - The world's most widely used organic insecticide, a
plucky bacterium known as Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt for short, requires
the assistance of other microbes to perform its insect-slaying work, a new
study has found. Writing in the Sept. 26 issue of the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a team of researchers from the
University of Wisconsin-Madison reports that without the help of the native
bacteria that colonize the insect gut, Bt is unable to perform its lethal
work. The startling new insight into the workings of one of the most
important and environmentally friendly weapons in the human arsenal against
insect pests has significant implications not only for the control of
insects in agriculture, forestry and human health, but for understanding
microbial disease in humans and other animals.
Sept. 27, 2006 ScienceDaily.com
Spinach scare shakes up almond growers - -
Upward of 300 billion almonds will rain to the ground in the harvest now
under way in the Central Valley. And if all goes according to plan, none of
those nuts will make anyone sick. The prospect of a food-safety scare always
hovers over the valley's farmers and food processors. They see what is
happening in the Salinas area, the source of raw spinach believed to have
sickened more than 100 people with E. coli bacteria, killing one. "It
doesn't take much for the market to turn on you," said Doug Wells, an almond
grower near Livingston. "In order to protect our commodity and our
marketplace, we have to make sure we have a safe product."
Sept. 20, 2006 Modesto Bee
On The Job: Reaping what he knows. Farm adviser's
expertise helps growers - - Like a doctor making house calls, Roger
Duncan travels from orchard to orchard examining and diagnosing sick trees.
He identifies the disease attacking the tree and advises farmers how to
breathe life back into their ailing crops. But there are occasions when
Duncan is unable to pinpoint the problem, and his role switches from adviser
to researcher. "Sometimes we find new diseases or insects, and I'm unable to
offer a good solution because we don't yet know the answer," Duncan said.
"It might take a few years to realize how a disease is working." It can be
the most vexing part of his job as a farm adviser for the University of
California Cooperative Extension in Stanislaus County.
Sept. 19, 2006 Modesto Bee
U.S. Has Been Stockpiling Banned Pesticide Methyl
Bromide - - The United States has stockpiled millions of pounds of
methyl bromide, a pesticide that depletes the ozone layer, according to
newly public documents — information that could create a stir during
international negotiations next month, when the Bush administration seeks
permission to produce more. Methyl bromide has been banned for almost two
years under the United Nations' Montreal Protocol. Under that pact —
designed to stop the thinning of the ozone layer, which shields the planet
from harmful ultraviolet radiation — the United States is granted annual
exemptions to use the chemical at farms that grow California strawberries,
Florida tomatoes and other crops deemed "critical." The new Environmental
Protection Agency data, which show that the stockpile is big enough to
provide those farmers more than a year's supply, are likely to put the Bush
administration in the position of defending the size of the U.S. reserve
while seeking approval for chemical companies to manufacture more.
Sept. 15, 2006 LA Times
Almonds may take belated heat wave hit.
Temperatures killed many bees needed in pollination - - The bee industry
took a heavy hit in the historic July heat wave, a beekeeper said Thursday,
and that could mean trouble when almonds and other trees start to bloom next
year. The heat wave, which topped 110 degrees three days in a row in Modesto
at its worst, killed at least 19 people in Stanislaus County and 110
statewide. The toll to bees — vital to pollinating almonds and several other
major crops in the Northern San Joaquin Valley — was among the dire stories
to come out of a meeting on the heat's impact on farmers. Dennis Gudgel,
agricultural commissioner for Stanislaus County, said he is concerned that
the bee supply will fall short when blossoms need to be pollinated in late
winter and spring. The supply already was tight because of a mite that
<more> Sept. 15, 2006 Modesto Bee
Almond orchard pesticide felony case will go to
trial - - Criminal charges against the owner of Golden West Nuts Inc. of
Ripon and two employees will stand, and the case will go to trial Feb. 5, a
Stanislaus County Superior Court judge said Thursday. Defense attorneys
argued that an indictment against owner Jon Hoff, ranch manager John Becerra
and foreman Everardo Ruiz should be thrown out because prosecutors did not
properly instruct a grand jury. Judge Loretta Murphy Begen dismissed a few
allegations in the charges, but said a jury must rule on the overall
charges. The case involves a laborer who was sickened by methyl bromide
while he fumigated tree holes in an Oakdale almond orchard. The toxic
pesticide may be used only under controlled circumstances.
Sept. 15, 2006 Modesto Bee
Almond theft: Tough cases for growers to crack
- - With the almond harvest well under way in the Central Valley,
growers and sheriff's deputies are renewing their efforts to combat the
increasing problem of stolen almonds. The farmers and officers are working
together to develop information that may lead to suspects as well as prevent
further thefts. The ACTION (Agricultural Crime Technology Information and
Operations Network) Project recently reported that during the 2005-06 crop
year, more than $1.3 million worth of almonds were stolen from growers and
shippers in the San Joaquin Valley.
<more> Sept. 13, 2006 Ag Alert
orchard spray regulations in effect - -
Orchard growers in California have
new regulations to follow when applying most types of dormant sprays. More
than two years in the making, the new rules from the California Department
of Pesticide Regulation went into effect on Aug. 17. Driving the new
regulations is the long recognized problem of dormant sprays being washed
from orchards during winter rains. Runoff from two insecticides used in
dormant sprays, diazinon and chlorpyrifos, prompted adoption of Total
Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for the Sacramento, Feather and San Joaquin
Rivers. The new label restrictions apply to all organophosphate,
pyrethroid and carbamate insecticides. Exempt are dormant oil only
applications or biocontrol agents such as spinosad or Bt or if the orchard
is in a “hydrologically isolated site.” This site is “any treated area that
does not produce runoff capable of entering any irrigation or drainage
ditch, canal, or other body of water.”
<more> Sept. 8, 2006 Watershed Coalition News
EPA Methyl Bromide Inventory Data Shows Downward
Trend - - Today EPA released data showing a steady decline in the
aggregate methyl bromide inventory held by companies in the United States
since 2003, when the Agency began collecting such information. The data
includes, in aggregate form, the inventory held by approximately 35
companies in the United States from 2003 to 2005. The methyl bromide
inventory data shows a continued decrease – approximately 16,422 metric tons
in 2003, 12,994 metric tons in 2004, and 9,974 metric tons in 2005 - and
demonstrates that the United States is managing its domestic inventory
appropriately, said EPA.
Sept. 8, 2006 EPA Press Release
pesticide regulators announce data call-in on pyrethroids - - - The
California Department of Pesticide Regulation today ordered a data call-in
from more than 120 pesticide makers and sellers to help DPR assess pesticide
impact on waterways and to protect the environment. The data call-in targets
pyrethroids, a class of insecticides originally derived from the
chrysanthemum flower, and DPR's action is based on studies that show they
may accumulate in stream sediment and are toxic to aquatic invertebrates.
Pyrethoids do not pose any immediate health concerns for people or drinking
water. DPR Director Mary-Ann Warmerdam said the action will require detailed
scientific data on 608 products from 123 registrants with deadlines that
range from six months to two years, depending upon the complexity of work.
The data call-in will serve two purposes. "First, we must take all
appropriate steps to protect the environment," Warmerdam said in a news
release. "While these products pose no direct threat to people, their impact
on aquatic ecology must be assessed so that we can take appropriate actions
under state and federal clean water law."
<more> Sept. 1, 2006 Capital Press
’06 California almond harvest begins - -
California’s 6,000 almond growers are moving into high gear gathering the
state’s fourth 1-billion-pound crop in the past five years. And everyone is
all smiles with harvest time prices of $2.45 cents per pound for Nonpareil
and $1.90 for California varieties. Between 70 million and 80 million pounds
of this year’s crop will be hulled and shelled through one of the five
hulling/shelling plants operated by Central California Almond Growers
Association (CCAGA) in Kerman, Calif. and Sanger, California. CCCAGA is the
largest huller/sheller in the world and will process $200 million worth of
almonds by Thanksgiving. The association is opening this season with a new
state-of-the-art $9.5 million huller/sheller in Kerman to handle a large
portion of the crop delivered by the association’s 453 members harvested
from 50,000 acres or orchards in a service area stretching from Pixley,
Calif. to Chowchilla, Calif. in the Central San Joaquin Valley.
Aug. 31, 2006 Western Farm Press
Judge Strikes Down Pesticide Usage Rule - - A
federal judge on Thursday rejected a Bush administration decision to weaken
rules governing pesticide use, saying the change lacked scientific
justification. It was the second time in recent years that U.S. District
Judge John C. Coughenour chastised federal agencies for failing to follow
the Endangered Species Act in licensing pesticides for sale.
<more> Aug. 25, 2006 AP
USDA sets listening sessions on cooperative
conservation - - --The Secretaries of Agriculture, Interior, Commerce,
the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chairman
of the White House Council on Environmental Quality today announced the
dates and locations of the next set of listening sessions on cooperative
conservation and environmental partnerships. The listening sessions will
give citizens an opportunity to exchange ideas on incentives, partnership
programs, and regulations that can improve results and promote cooperative
conservation and environmental partnerships.
Aug. 22, 2006 USDA Press Release
Conference peers into
future of ag - - Leaders from around the nation convened in Sacramento
for three days to explore the future of agriculture in an international
conference focusing on science, stewardship and sustainability. The hope was
to bring some of the best and brightest in agriculture together with their
equals in the environmental world to advance stewardship and develop
practical management solutions for an industry that has been the focus on
increasing regulation. Optimism was in the air Aug. 7 as industry leaders
gave an overview of the environmental challenges and opportunities in
farming. "By putting good minds together we can come up with effective
solutions," said Dwayne Buxton, western regional director for the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. Buxton said
changes to the global economy and rapid urbanization present challenges to
the agricultural industry and finding solutions to such issues was the name
of the game this week in Sacramento. While various government, private and
industry groups have set out on the path to promote better sustainability,
more work needs to be done, said Richard Rominger, a Winters farmer and
former USDA undersecretary. "We pride ourselves in California and the U.S.
of being out in front, but in some cases other countries ... have surpassed
us," Rominger said. He adding that the industry could benefit by creating
more critical alliances and partnerships. Sustainability means "finding
solutions where everyone wins," he said.
<more> Aug. 17, 2006 Capital Press
VOC Issue Comes to the Forefront. New
air quality regulations could impact price and availability of many popular
almond compounds - - California pesticide regulators are aggressively pushing to reduce
smog-forming emissions from pesticides, called volatile organic compounds,
or VOCs. This move is likely to change how and to what degree several major
pesticides and fumigants are used in almond orchards and other crops. The
state Department of Pesticide Regulation in June announced it is initiating
an intensive program to meet federal and court-ordered mandates to reduce
VOCs from pesticides in some of the state's smoggiest areas. The
announcement made clear that the decade-old VOC issue is becoming a priority
in the air quality regulatory arena, with potential implications for almond
growers in the very near term. "This is the first time pesticides are being
regulated as air pollutants," said Gabriele Ludwig, senior manager, of
global technical and regulatory affairs for the Almond Board of California.
"This could impact 10 to 15 compounds widely used in almond orchards."
<more> July 2006 Newsletter Almond Board
How VOCs came to the forefront - -
As with other environmental issues,
there are several often confusing, and sometimes conflicting, regulatory and
judicial circumstances placing increased emphasis on the reduction of VOCs
from pesticides. The San Joaquin Valley is currently operating under a 1994
State Implementation Plan developed by the California Air Resources Board to
bring the region into compliance with federal clean air standards for ozone.
That State Implementation Plan, or SIP, required a 12-percent reduction in
pesticide VOCs by 1999 in the San Joaquin Valley. Unfortunately, Ludwig
said, the basis for how those baseline VOC levels were calculated changed in
the process and DPR found itself out of compliance with the requirements of
the SIP in the last 2 years.
July 2006 Newsletter Almond Board
EPA announces phase out of Guthion on
almonds by 2007 - - U.S. EPA announced June 9 a proposal to phase out all
uses of azinphos-methyl (AZM), an OP insecticide known by its trade name
Guthion, which has been under regulatory scrutiny for several years. Use on
almonds, Brussels sprouts, pistachios, walnuts, and nursery stock is to be
phased out in 2007 and other remaining uses are to be phased out in 2010.
During the phase out, EPA is proposing additional restrictions, including
reduced annual application rates, additional worker monitoring, and larger
buffer zones to help minimize ecological risks. Guthion is highly valued by
almond growers for control of Navel Orangeworm (NOW), one of the most
serious pests in almonds. NOW causes direct damage to the mature nuts.
Damaged nuts are locations where the mold, Aspergillus, can gain a foothold
and produce aflatoxins.
July 2006 Newsletter
Almond Board of California
Central Valley residents
air pesticide complaints at workshop - - The problem of pesticides' role
in air pollution may be scientifically complex, but that doesn't mean it
doesn't hit home emotionally for Central Valley residents, if a Monday night
forum on the issue is a good measure. Representatives of the state
Department of Pesticide Regulation heard from farmworkers complaining of
chronic pain from agricultural overspray, those who blame pesticide
companies for the problem and a grower who defended his industry at a
Pesticide Air Initiative Workshop in Parlier. The purpose was to get public
comment about the department's strategy to cut the part pesticides,
particularly fumigants, play in producing the Valley's serious air pollution
<more> Aug. 16, 2006 Fresno Bee
USDA ag air quality task
force meets Aug. 30 - - The USDA’s Agricultural Air Quality Task Force
will hold a meeting Aug. 30-31 in Harrisburg, Pa. to discuss current issues
facing agriculture and the potential impacts to air quality from
agricultural operations. The meeting will be held at the Harrisburg Hilton
Hotel, One North Second Street, Harrisburg, Pa. It is open to the public and
USDA will allow each speaker up to five minutes for an oral presentation.
Written comments also will be accepted. "This task force has worked
tirelessly to raise awareness of the importance of air quality issues," said
Merlyn Carlson, USDA's Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and
Environment. "Task force members are very interested in hearing from the
public about air quality issues and innovative solutions to address them."
Aug. 16, 2006 USDA Press Release
Almond Industry Works to Meet
Water Quality Regulations - - The recent decision to extend the
Conditional Ag Waivers for Irrigated Lands program for five years will allow
almond growers and other irrigators to continue seeking cooperative
solutions to water quality concerns as they arise, according to the Almond
Board of California. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board
voted in July to extend the Irrigated Lands Program for five years. It added
a deadline for landowners to join regional watershed coalitions or face
requirements to get individual waste discharge permits. Landowners who
discharge irrigation water have until the end of 2006 to sign up for a
coalition in their watershed area or face the costlier alternative.
<more> Aug. 7, 2006 Almond Board of
California Press Release
EPA Gives Green Light to
One Group of Pesticides, Bans Another - - After a decade-long review,
the Environmental Protection Agency has decided to allow continued use of 31
popular but controversial agricultural pesticides, concluding cumulative
exposure does not pose a health risk. Although the potential danger of the
chemicals, known as organophosphates, has been assessed individually over
the years -- and in some cases their uses curtailed -- this was the first
time the EPA examined the chemicals' risk as a group. Seventeen
organophosphates have been taken off the market during the 10-year review
period. But diazonin and chlorpyrifos as well as 29 others may still be used
in agriculture, said the EPA.
Aug. 7, 2006 AP
DPR’s Environmental Justice
advisory group meets Aug. 24 - - The California Department of Pesticide
regulation has created a Web page on its Environmental Justice planning
DPR encourage interested parties to submit comments on discussions and
recommendations. Working drafts of documents will be posted, along with
agendas and minutes for meetings of the informal workgroup providing DPR
recommendations on EJ strategic and implementation planning. The next
meeting of the EJ planning advisory workgroup will be from 10 a.m. to 2
p.m., Thursday, Aug. 24, Room 133, Department of Food and Agriculture
building, 1220 N Street, Sacramento. The public is invited to attend. An
agenda for the meeting will be posted on the EJ Web page the week of Aug.
14. Aug. 4, 2006 DPR Press Release
Demand and Price Rise for
Organic Almonds - - It’s the plaintive cry heard from the crunchiest
food cooperative to the most profit-hungry corporation: Got almonds?
Specifically, any organic ones? Jesse Schwartz, president of the tiny nut
and nut butter operation called Living Tree Community Foods in Berkeley,
Calif., says he has his sources but he’s not sharing them, especially not
with a newspaper reporter. And they’ve given up the search entirely at
Newman’s Own Organics, the organic branch of the Newman’s Own food line.
“The reason we never put organic almonds in our chocolate, which we would
love to do, is just that there aren’t a lot of organic almonds around,” said
Peter Meehan, who runs the company with Nell Newman, daughter of the actor
Paul Newman. In the last year, organic almond prices have more than doubled,
to the highest that people in the business can remember.
Aug. 2, 2006 NY Times
EPA Says U.S. Pesticide
Safety Highest in the World - - Americans today can be confident that
pesticides used in the United States meet the highest health and safety
standards in the world, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. On
Aug. 3, 2006, EPA is expected to complete a 10-year review of 231 food use
pesticides that resulted in changes to how these chemicals are regulated in
this country. "EPA's groundbreaking effort is being welcomed at dinner
tables across the nation. The Bush Administration is ensuring pesticides
used to grow the fruits, vegetables and other foods families are serving
meet the highest protective standards in the world," said EPA Administrator
Stephen L. Johnson. "This 10-year review enables farmers to grow a
bountiful, healthy food supply for generations of American families."
<more> Aug. 1, 2006 EPA Press Release
Air board workshops set on proposed diesel emission
rules - - A proposal to expand state regulation of agricultural
stationary engines will be the focus of public meetings in Colusa, Durham
and Sacramento next week. The California Air Resources Board will go over
the proposed regulations, similar to those already adopted in the San
Joaquin Valley and South Coast air districts, at meetings on July 26 and 27.
The regulations are intended to reduce emissions for the estimated 9,000 to
11,000 in-use ag engines operating throughout California on agricultural
operations. The state Air Resources Board puts emissions from stationary
irrigations pump engines, alone, at 700 tons to 800 tons of diesel
particulate matter and 10,000 tons to 12,000 tons of oxides of nitrogen.
July 25, 2006 Ag Alert
Almond growers ripe for
boost in processing. Expansion in Kerman has environmentally friendly
impacts - - Already the largest sheller and huller of almonds in the
world, the Central California Almond Growers Association is poised to
expand. The move will nearly double the pace at which almonds can be
processed. The addition of a third huller-sheller operation at the
association's plant seven miles south Kerman will have some significant
environmentally friendly impacts when it starts in mid-August to separate
hulls and shells from nut meat, said Don McKinney, a Madera grower and the
association's chairman of the board. Those impacts include: It will mean
less stockpiling of almonds before they go through the plant's machinery.
The new plant should virtually eliminate the need to truck almonds from
Kerman to the Sanger processing plant, a round trip of 75 miles. It will
reduce truck traffic traveling through metropolitan Fresno. The proximity of
the Kerman site to the Panoche Creek Packing Co. will also reduce truck
<more> July 21, 2006 Fresno Bee
DPR sets workshops on air
quality, updates pesticide cancellations - - The California Department
of Pesticide Regulation will hold three public workshops in August to hear
comments on DPR's air quality initiative. Workshops will be held in:
* Oxnard, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8, at the Marriott Courtyard, 600E. Esplanade Drive, Oxnard.
* Sacramento, 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, at Cal/EPA Headquarters, 1001 I St., Sacramento.
* Parlier, 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14, at the Kearney Agricultural Research Center in Fresno County.
DPR launched its air quality initiative in May to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in pesticides that contribute to smog. DPR has committed to VOC reductions that will meet state air quality standards-- and set a national standard for pesticides - by 2008. <more> July 18, 2006 DPR Press Release
pushes habitat bill. Law is unfair to landowners, ineffective for animals,
he says - - U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo, the Tracy Republican who heads the
House Resources Committee, stirs conflict with almost every major initiative
he launches, from offshore drilling to Indian gambling. Few members of
Congress have as much influence over the nation's environmental laws as
Pombo. And no topic has been more contentious than his legislation to
overhaul the Endangered Species Act. The House approved Pombo's sweeping
rewrite of the 1973 law on a 229-193 vote in September. Environmentalists
widely denounced it as a disturbing retreat from habitat protection and a
paperwork nightmare for agencies seeking to revive the country's 1,268
threatened and endangered plants and animals, 186 of which are in
California. In the Senate, even Republicans greeted Pombo's bill with a
measure of skepticism. The Bush administration, while supporting it, is
worried about the cost of Pombo's plan to compensate landowners for
restrictions on property use. In an interview, Pombo discussed why he thinks
the act President Nixon signed into law needs an overhaul and how his bill
<more> July 17, 2006 Modesto Bee
Scrutinized. State agency may curtail use of pyrethroids after discovering
runoff is killing aquatic life. - - Alarmed that popular insecticides
that end up in urban streams are killing tiny aquatic creatures,
California's pesticide agency is conducting a review that is likely to lead
to restrictions on many products used on lawns and gardens. The chemicals,
pyrethroids, are man-made versions of natural compounds in chrysanthemum
flowers. Their use has skyrocketed in the past few years as U.S. consumers
and exterminators search for less-toxic alternatives for dangerous
insecticides already banned. But last fall, a UC Berkeley scientist reported
that pyrethroids are polluting streams in Northern California suburbs,
wiping out crustaceans and insects vital to ecosystems. Mary-Ann Warmerdam,
director of the state Department of Pesticide Regulation, said Thursday that
notices will be sent next month to manufacturers of about 600 pyrethroid
products informing them that the state is reevaluating their use. That kicks
off a process that will probably culminate in new regulations, and perhaps
bans of some products in California.
<more> July 14, 2006 LA Times
Ozone town halls set for San Joaquin Valley - - The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is hosting six town halls July 26-28 to discuss reaching new federal health-based standards for ozone. Town Hall Meeting schedule is: July 26 1 to 4 pm, Bakersfield, Air District offices, 7 to 10 pm, Delano, Cesar Chavez High School; July 27 1 to 4 pm, Fresno, Air District offices, 7 to 10 pm, Huron, Huron Middle School; July 28 9 am to 12 noon, Modesto, Air District offices, 2:30 to 5:30 pm, Stockton, San Joaquin COG offices. An informational flier and a discussion paper with background information are available at: http://www.valleyair.org/Town_Hall/Town_Hall_Meetings.htm July 13, 2006 SJVAPCD Press Release
1.05 billion-pound almond
crop forecast. Good weather, greater acreage combine to put projection near
record - - About a dozen almond handlers gathered in a Modesto
conference room Thursday and waited for the federal government to spill a
secret. They were there to hear an updated projection on California's 2006
almond crop, a number kept under wraps until the stroke of noon so no one
would get an unfair advantage in the market. The estimate — 1.05 billion
pounds, close to the record 1.09 billion in 2002 — was not a surprise, given
the good weather since late spring. A little suspense hung in the air
nonetheless, because fluctuations in the almond supply can affect prices and
the willingness of candy-makers and other customers to keep buying the nuts.
Thus, the handlers had their cell phones to their ears, ready to pass on the
projection to distant colleagues as soon as a federal official revealed it
at the Almond Board of California headquarters. Afterward, they said the
projection was about what they expected. "This might cause (prices) to firm
up a bit," said Conrad de la Torre, general manager of The Almond Co., a
Chowchilla processor. "At least we know where we are headed."
<more> July 7, 2006 Modesto Bee
Objective forecast: 1.050
billion pounds - - The July 6, 2006 objective almond forecast for the
2006-2007 crop year is 1.050 billion meat pounds, according to the USDA’s
National Agricultural Statistics Service – California Field Office (NASS/CFO).
This forecast is based on 580,000 bearing acres. Doug Flohr and Jennie
Peterson of NASS said the forecast is up 3 percent from the May 10, 2006
subjective forecast of 1.020 billion pounds and up 15 percent from this
year’s crop to date of 911 million pounds as of May 31, 2006. The official
announcement was made today at the Modesto office of the Almond Board of
California, which funds the forecast.
July 6, 2006 Almond Board of California Press Release
Atrazine declared “safe”
following 12 year EPA study - - A 12-year review of nearly 1,000 studies
has determined the popular herbicide atrazine is safe. The U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says there is a “reasonable certainty
that no harm will result” to infants, children or other consumers from
possible exposure to atrazine. Atrazine is one of the more commonly used
protection products. It not only saved farmers up to $37 an acre in
broadleaf weed control costs and yield losses in corn last year, it is the
herbicide of choice for farmers who practice environmentally-friendly
<more> June 30, 2006 Brownfield Ag News
Irrigation Waiver Program
Enforcement Letters Sent to Hundreds - - More than 350 owners of
irrigated lands in the Central Valley received registered letters from the
Water Board in April asking how they intend to comply with the Irrigated
Lands Program. Known as a “California Water Code 13267 Letter,” the
communications ask landowners to file a “Technical Report” within 30 days so
the water board can determine if the landowner is a discharger under the
Water Code, according to the Coalition for Urban/Rural Environmental
Stewardship’s spring newsletter. The letters were mailed to landowners in
nine counties in the Central Valley including Kern, Kings, Tulare, Madera,
Merced, Colusa, Yolo, Solano and Glenn counties. Sources for the landowner
names included county tax assessor records and coalition non-responder or
membership lists. The entire newsletter can be downloaded by clicking
June 28, 2006 CURES
newsletter published - - The Spring 2006 Issue of Watershed Coalition
News (WCN), a publication developed by the Coalition for Urban/Rural
Environmental Stewardship (CURES) with a grant from the Almond Board of
California, is now available. The goal of the project is to link growers to
the watershed coalitions throughout the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys.
WCN is published quarterly and made available as a PDF file (combined
version) or a 4 page, 2-color hard copy newsletter (either North or South
Valley). PDF versions are available at
Water board cracks down on
farmers - - Water-quality enforcers acted Thursday to ensure the state
will be able to identify farmers who discharge water into Central Valley
streams, saying a network of voluntary coalitions were not adequately
reporting membership or pollution data. “We do not know which farmer is and
is not in the program," said the board's Assistant Executive Director Ken
Landau. "It is a major drain on staff time, and it severely hampers our
enforcement efforts." Consequently, on Thursday, the water board set a Dec.
31 deadline for enrollment in coalitions, and these groups, in turn, will
have to identify members annually. Farm groups decried the water board's
decision, saying that it will alienate those growers who have made a
good-faith effort to comply with the program and make it even more difficult
to bring polluters to task.
<more> June 23, 2006 Sacramento Bee
Water runoff program gains
five more years - - Water officials extended a controversial farm water
monitoring program Thursday after pleas from Valley residents who say their
water's too dirty to drink. In doing so, the Central Valley Regional Water
Quality Control Board acknowledged the program may be headed back to court.
Some experts believe farm runoff is the Central Valley's biggest source of
water pollution, as waters seeped in pesticides, animal feces and sediment
drain into waterways, the Delta and underground basins. A 2001 state law
made farmers subject to the Clean Water Act. But the board's so-called
waiver program lets farmers avoid strict wastewater discharge requirements
and monitor their own runoff by joining special coalitions. After a slow
start, the board extended the program for five years Thursday over the
objection of environmentalists who say the waiver program isn't doing any
<more> June 22, 2006 Stockton Record
Ag contributes to air cleanup
- - A two-pronged
effort by state regulators to reduce smog from agricultural sources should
make the San Joaquin Valley a healthier place to live.
With the help of growers
and manufacturers, the effort should significantly reduce one of the top
sources of smog-forming compounds in the San Joaquin Valley one of the
smoggiest air basins in the nation. The state Department of Pesticide
Regulation is targeting fumigants -- gases injected into the ground to kill
pests -- and volatile organic compounds in chemicals used on the soil or on
plants to kill pests and weeds.
<more> June 22, 2006 Bakersfield
EPA targets Guthion for
phase-out - - Fruit and nut growers are among those slated to lose a
highly effective pesticide – azinphos-methyl – in a proposed phase-out of
the chemical. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal also
includes longer restricted entry intervals for workers when phosmet is used.
Growers will also be hit with additional restrictions during the phase-out
period, which for almonds ends in 2007 and for other crops in 2010. While
azinphos-methyl, which Bayer markets as Guthion, has not been shown to pose
a dietary risk to consumers, it does pose potential risks to farmworkers,
pesticide applicators, water quality and aquatic ecosystems, says EPA
<more> June 16, 2006 Capital Press
That Nutty Jackrabbit.
Ripon manufacturer makes unique specialty equipment for walnut, almond
harvests - - Jackrabbits dart through almond and walnut orchards as
growers work to bring in the crops each year. They aren't a nuisance. Far
from it. They are pieces of nut-harvesting equipment made by Jackrabbit Inc.
at its plant just south of downtown Ripon. The company, founded by Earl
Anderson in a Modesto garage in 1982, has become a major supplier to nut
growers in the Central Valley and elsewhere. Anderson, the company
president, said his machines are designed to move quickly, an advantage for
growers hoping to finish the harvest before autumn rain. A 335-cubic-foot
cart can be filled in five or six minutes, he said. "It used to be you could
do a load of nuts an hour - that was high speed," he said. "The harvesters
have gotten faster over time."
<more> June 12, 2006 Modesto Bee
EPA Proposes Phaseout of Pesticide
Azinphos-Methyl and Longer Restricted
Entry Intervals for Phosmet
- - To increase
protection for farm workers and the environment, EPA is
proposing to phase out the
remaining uses of azinphos-methyl (AZM). Use
on almonds, Brussels
sprouts, pistachios, walnuts, and nursery stock
will be phased out by
2007, and use on apples, blueberries, cherries,
parsley, and pears by
2010. During the phaseout, EPA is proposing
including reduced annual application rates,
monitoring, and larger buffer zones to help minimize
risks. The Agency expects
growers of these crops to successfully adopt
and transition to the
available safer alternatives. All other uses of
this pesticide have been
voluntarily cancelled by the manufacturer.
<more> June 9, 2006 EPA Press Release
First ’06 almond crop
estimate 1.02 billion pounds - - If realized, it will be the fourth
billion pound crop in the past five years and maybe one of the most welcomed
billion-pound crops. In a bit of a surprise, the initial forecast for the
2006 California almond crop is 1.02 billion pounds. It was surprising
because an early frost damaged early blooming varieties and the spring was
one of the wettest and coldest in recent years, prompting growers to spray
fungicides repeatedly to protect the crop. However, growers reported some of
the most aggressive bee pollination in many seasons and bee supplies were
more than adequate. Earlier growers were concerned there would not be enough
bees to pollinate the crop, but record hive rental prices enticed more
out-of-state beekeepers to bring more hives into the state.
<more> June 6, 2006 Western Farm Press
Air monitoring results
start for rural Parlier - - A state pesticide air sampling program
focusing on Parlier is expected to announce Friday that the first three
months of the program, from January through March, found no airborne levels
that are of any human health concern. The monitoring program was triggered
by grassroots efforts and complaints that the state Department of Pesticide
Regulation should do more to protect public health, notably among farm
workers and residents who live in areas that may be vulnerable to pesticide
drift. DPR issued a brief note today stating that pesticide levels were
within those considered safe.
<more> June 2, 2006 Capital Press
Growers group is bullish on almonds - - Inspired by the changing economic landscape, a group of Mid-Valley farmers got together to meet a demand that almost exists. They call themselves Cortina Hulling & Shelling, LLC. In a few years, fields where tomatoes once grew will yield protein-rich almonds. Thanks in part to a successful health-food marketing campaign, demand and thus prices for almonds are booming. There has been a 5.8 percent increase in almond consumption over the last 20 years. Growers are following the cash and investing in trees, said Daryl Brun, a field supervisor for Blue Diamond Growers, a cooperative made up of almond farmers. <more> June 2, 2006 Yuba City Appeal Democrat
State reveals plan to
reduce air pollutants. Announcement follows appeal of court order to do so -
- The state Department of Pesticide Regulation is promoting its new
initiative to improve air quality just days after California appealed a
federal court order telling it to cut down on smog-forming pollutants from
pesticides in the San Joaquin Valley and elsewhere. The department announced
the plan Tuesday, saying it would reduce a key component of smog that
evaporates from chemicals used to fumigate insects and pathogens. Fumigants
make up a fourth of the pesticides used in California every year. Yet on
Friday, the state appealed an April order by U.S. District Judge Lawrence
Karlton that California was violating the Clean Air Act and required it to
reduce volatile organic compound emissions from fumigants and other
pesticides by 20 percent of 1991 levels by Jan. 1, 2008. The suit was
brought by five citizen groups from the San Joaquin Valley and Ventura
May 31, 2006 SF Chronicle
One nutty pest. Leaffooted
plant bug strikes almonds and pistachios. - - A flying brown bug with a
long, piercing snout is giving central San Joaquin Valley nut growers fits.
The leaffooted plant bug has been found from Kern to Butte counties, with
damage ranging from insignificant to severe, said University of California
farm advisers who have been helping growers battle the bug. "This can be a
major pest for almonds and pistachios," said Mark Freeman, a UC farm adviser
in Fresno. "And just a few bugs can cause severe damage. They don't just hit
one nut; they hit hundreds." Freeman said he knows of one farmer who lost a
third of his almond crop to the inch-long bug. He said dollar losses on what
had been expected to be a bumper crop could escalate into the thousands.
<more> May 31, 2006 Fresno Bee
State to Target Pesticide
Pollution. Officials are seeking the reformulation of hundreds of products
and plan stricter rules on soil fumigants to cut smog-causing emissions.
- - State officials are mounting a major initiative to clean up California's
smoggy farm regions with new regulations and policies that will target
hundreds of pesticides. The Department of Pesticide Regulation - long
criticized for failing to act as air quality deteriorated in the San Joaquin
Valley - has developed a strategy to eliminate tons of smog-forming gases
that waft daily from fields treated with fumigants and other agricultural
chemicals. The agency has asked manufacturers to begin reformulating more
than 700 insecticides, herbicides and other pest-killing chemicals, and it
plans to impose stricter rules next year on the use of soil fumigants, which
are highly polluting gases that by weight account for about one-quarter of
all pesticide applied on California crops. The state initiative would
establish the only air pollution standards for pesticides in the nation. The
aim is to begin cleaning up emissions soon, reducing air pollution from
pesticides at least 20% by 2008.
May 30, 2006 LA Times
DPR announces air quality initiative, pledges to
meet goals -- The California Department of Pesticide Regulation today
launched a comprehensive pesticide initiative to improve air quality
statewide. The initiative -- which targets air toxins and smog-producing
chemicals from pesticide emissions -- will achieve state air quality goals
by 2008 and set a national standard. "For years, there have been complaints
that we dragged our feet as air quality declined," said DPR Director
Mary-Ann Warmerdam. "That is history. This Administration is committed to
cleaning up our air, and DPR will do its part to achieve that goal. The
challenges are difficult, but if government and industry work together, we
will help our environment, enhance our economy, and create a model pesticide
air program for the nation."
<more> May 30, 2006 DPR Press Release
International conference on ag’s future set for
Sacramento Aug. 7-9 - - A conference on environmental issues in
agriculture and strategies for addressing those issues through the
integration of science, technology and policy will be held in Sacramento
Aug. 7-9. Registration is underway for the "International Conference on The
Future of Agriculture: Science, Stewardship, and Sustainability", to be held
at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Sacramento. The agenda includes discussion
of success stories in the areas of air quality, water quality, waste
management, and environmental stewardship and a look at how to exchange
knowledge on best management practices and technical solutions for farming
challenges. The conference is sponsored by the US EPA ORD Hazardous
Substance Technical Liaisons Program, the National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences, the Midwest Hazardous Substance Research
Center--Kansas State University, the California Department of Food and
Agriculture, USDA ARS, and California EPA. Complete information can be found
May 25, 2006 CalEPA Press Release
100,000 acres of almonds moving into production.
Experts predict the California almond crop will reach 1.5 billion pounds
annually with a few years. - - There have been 100,000 acres of new
almond orchards planted in California within the past three years, according
to the California field office of the National Agricultural Statistics
Service. These new orchards can easily produce 300 million pounds more
annually of almonds when they reach maturity. These orchards will be added
to the estimated 580,000 bearing acreage inventory now in the ground that
have proven to easily produce more than 1 billion pounds annually.
<more> May 22, 2006 Western Farm Press
Ag burning rule up for
discussion June 5 - - Potential changes to the air quality rules
governing burning of agricultural waste will be discussed at a scoping
meeting to be held June 5 at the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control
District’s office. The meeting will be video-conferenced to the district’s
Modesto and Fresno offices. The regulations, known formally as Rule 4103
(Open Burning), are required under state legislation SB 705 signed by Gov.
Davis in 2003. The scoping session will deal with the prohibition on burning
orchard removals which is scheduled to be enforced as of June 1, 2007.
District staff will present preliminary information on alternatives to
burning ag waste. Farm groups are being asked to provide technical
feasibility and compliance information that may be used in developing the
draft rule. The meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. at the Fresno office, 1990 E.
Gettysburg Ave. Documents associated with this meeting can be downloaded
from the District's website at
May 18, 2006 Air District Press Release
Kern growers go nuts -
- Kern County almond producers have finally squashed grapes to become the
Golden Empire's top agricultural commodity. According to the county
Department of Agriculture and Measurement Standards' 2005 crop report, which
will be presented to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, increased acreage
and high prices launched almond value into the stratosphere, bringing in
$594 million last year to displace grapes ($537 million) and take the No. 1
<more> May 13, 2006 Bakersfield
Agriculture works to clear air on volatile organic
compounds regulations. - - It’s been an environmental murmur in the
agricultural industry for almost two decades now, but the ramifications
could soon be seismic if the issue of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from
pesticide emissions are not given due diligence. VOCs contribute to the
formation of ground level ozone and are regulated under the federal Clean
Air Act. “VOC emissions are essentially the next step for pesticide
regulation,” says Paul Buttner, manager of environmental affairs for the
California Rice Commission. “We’ve long assessed pesticides for impacts on
water quality and wildlife. Air is the new frontier. Future VOC regulation
will likely elevate pesticides to more of an even par with other
pollutants.” Many pollutant sources contribute to VOC emissions, including
vehicular traffic, oil and gas production, dairy waste and many more. In the
grand scheme of air quality, VOC emissions from pesticides are only a minor
contributor, estimated to account for less than 3 percent of the VOC
emissions inventory in California, according to the California Air Resources
Board (ARB). However, in certain agricultural areas such as the San Joaquin
Valley and the Sacramento Valley, pesticide VOC emissions are estimated to
account for as much as 10 percent of the inventory. <more> May 11, 2006 Western Farm Press
Mounds of almonds.
Subjective forecast is 1.02 billion pounds - - Despite weather worries
early in the year, the state's almond crop will likely bounce back to 1
billion pounds, a federal agency reported Wednesday. Industry people were
concerned that the harvest would fall short for a second straight year
because of cold and rainy conditions during and after the late-winter bloom.
But plenty of nuts have emerged on the branches, and the August-November
harvest looks to be a strong one, the National Agricultural Statistics
Service said in its initial report for 2006. "It started off a little scary,
but it's made a nice recovery," said Doug Flohr, a statistician for the
agency, during a briefing at the Almond Board of California offices in
Modesto. The report, known as the "subjective" estimate, was based on a
telephone survey of 368 growers, representing 24 percent of the acreage. The
"objective" estimate, based on the agency's own inspection of the orchards,
will be released in late June.
<more> May 11, 2006 Modesto Bee
Demand for farmland grows. Investors are
increasingly sinking their money into Valley ag real estate. - -
Farmland in the central San Joaquin Valley is in strong demand, often by
buyers who have little interest in the crops. As a result, the value of
agricultural real estate in the Valley rose last year, according to
appraisers who compiled the 2006 Trends in Agricultural Land and Lease
Values report. In many cases, investors are more interested in the land than
in the crops, with the possible exception of almonds, which are expanding in
acreage and value. Investors are buying farm ground using 1031 exchanges,
which enable people who sell property to invest in other real estate tax
<more> May 11,
2006 Fresno Bee
EPA releases National Strategy for Agriculture
- - The U.S. EPA today released its National Strategy for Agriculture to
initiate a closer partnership with agriculture in fulfilling the agency's
mission of protecting human health and the environment. "President Bush
understands that agriculture is a vital part of our nation's economy and a
vital partner in protecting our nation's environment," said EPA
Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "By working together on our shared
challenges, EPA and the farming community can do what's good for
agriculture, good for our environment, and good for the American people."
EPA intends to use communication, collaboration and innovation to strengthen
its relationship with the agricultural community. The agency considers
agriculture a producer of solutions to environmental problems.
<more> May 8, 2006 EPA Press Release
EPA Drops Plan to Approve Methyl Bromide Substitute - - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has withdrawn its plan to approve a highly toxic fumigant for strawberries and other high-value crops after California officials, labor unions, environmentalists and others objected that nearby residents and farmworkers could be in danger. The new pesticide, methyl iodide, is designed to replace methyl bromide, which is banned under an international treaty because it damages the Earth's ozone layer. Strawberry growers, concentrated mostly in Ventura and Santa Cruz counties, have been searching for nearly 15 years for a fumigant to replace methyl bromide, which they have been phasing out but are still using under exemptions granted by the United Nations. Facing criticism that it was substituting one dangerous chemical for another, the EPA decided not to register methyl iodide, also known as iodomethane. It will reevaluate the pesticide next year. <more> April 27, 2006 LA Times
Regulators get up-close and
personal view of environmental stewardship at Hunter Farms - - Scott
Hunter believes actions speak louder than
words when it comes to farming
commercial almonds in an environmentally friendly way. Hunter talks often
about the importance of environmental stewardship as former chairman of the
Almond Board of California’s board of directors. But he also takes steps at
Hunter Farms to “walk the talk” of environmentally friendly farming in his
commercial almond operation in Livingston, Calif. Virtually
every aspect of his farming operation has been recrafted with an eye toward
reducing impacts to air and water quality and improving pesticide use
<more> April 2006 Environmental
Ag Waiver requirements to
increase this summer - - The next phase of the Conditional Ag Waiver for
Irrigated Lands program begins this summer, and could have significant
long-term impacts on the availability and regulations for many commonly used
crop protection products in almonds. Under Phase II of the Conditional Ag
Waivers program, watershed coalitions this summer will expand their toxicity
sampling procedures to screen for more than 50 commonly used pesticides. The
expanded sampling requirement could raise coalition dues as much as 50
percent for almond growers and other farmer members.
<more> April 2006 Environmental
Methyl bromide on its way
out. Supplies will become critically tight, perhaps sooner than growers
think - - Almond growers are working on borrowed time when it comes to
fumigating new orchards and should be prepared perhaps within two years to
live without Methyl Bromide as a pre-plant soil treatment. Methyl bromide
has been on the chopping block under the international Montreal Protocol
since 1996. Because the process has dragged in and out of the news for
nearly 10 years, growers may have developed “methyl bromide fatigue” when it
comes to worrying about the loss of this important fumigant, says Gabriele
Ludwig, the Almond Board’s senior manager for technical and regulatory
affairs. However, she says, growers need to take notice and realize there is
only a limited amount of time Methyl Bromide will be available for both
pre-plant and post-harvest treatment.
<more> April 2006 Environmental
DPR proposes nearly 100
pesticide cancellations -- The California Department of Pesticide
Regulation today proposed cancellation of nearly 100 pesticide products
because registrants failed to provide data to protect the state’s air
quality. DPR took action based on a reevaluation notice sent to registrants
-- manufacturers and sellers -- on February 16, 2005. The notice required
registrants to submit data on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in their
products by the end of last year. VOCs contribute to ground-level ozone, an
air pollutant harmful to humans and plant life. DPR is working to reduce
VOCs in pesticides to meet state air quality goals.
<more> April 25,
2006 DPR Press Release
Activists sue over dust rule. Environmentalists say
the EPA approved a weak, redundant measure to control farm pollution. -
- Activists sued the federal government this week over a San Joaquin Valley
dust control rule, saying powerful farm lobbies swayed the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency to approve a weak measure. Earthjustice
filed the suit on Wednesday against EPA in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals in San Francisco. EPA officials, who approved the farm dust rule in
February, declined to comment on the case.
<more> April 21, 2006 Fresno Bee
Draft requirements for ag
diesel engines posted by CARB - - The California Air Resources Board
(CARB) has posted a public workshop agenda and draft regulatory requirements
for in-use stationary diesel engines used in agriculture at
the same website, you will find a public workshop notice providing
information about the April 26 (Modesto) April 27 (Sacramento) workshop
arrangements and about CARB's intention to amend the Airborne Toxic Control
Measure for Stationary Compression Ignition Engines to add emission
standards and other requirements for in-use stationary agricultural
engines. April 19, 2006 CARB Press Release
Sustainable farming award nominations sought for California farmers
For the first time, the Leopold Conservation Award will be presented in 2006
to a California landowner who demonstrates responsible stewardship and
management of natural resources. Nominations of California farmers and
ranchers are sought for the $10,000 prize. The deadline is July 14, 2006.
“We’re proud to bring the Leopold Conservation Award to California in
partnership with Sustainable Conservation and the California Farm Bureau
Federation to honor the voluntary conservation work of private landowners in
the Golden State,” said Dr. Brent Haglund, President of Sand County
Foundation, the award’s sponsor. “California has extraordinary natural
resources, a strong and diverse agricultural sector, and untold
opportunities for effective conservation.”
<more> April 19, 2006 Sand County Foundation press release
Scientists Scramble to Find
Alternatives to Banned Pesticide - - Since the 1940s, methyl bromide has
served farmers well as a stunningly lethal fumigant, killing off pests such
as fungi, weeds, insects and rodents. But amid requirements that farmers
stop using it, University of Georgia students are joining an international
effort to find an earth-friendly alternative. Alex Cisnos, a plant
pathologist, and other researchers at the university's Coastal Plain
Experiment Station in south Georgia have been testing an alternative
fumigant, metam-sodium, in a one-quarter acre test plot of vegetables,
including tomatoes and squash.
<more> March 31, 2006 AP
Schwarzenegger names new
CalEPA undersecretary - - Gov. Schwarzenegger has named Dan Skopec,
undersecretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency. He
replaces Jim Branham who left in October 2005 to become the first Executive
Officer of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. Skopec, 34, has served as deputy
cabinet secretary in the Office of the Governor since 2003, handling energy,
environment, and resources issues for the Governor and is a member of the
Governor’s Climate Action Team. Skopec served as staff director of the U.S.
House of Representatives Government Reform Subcommittee on Energy Policy,
Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs. Prior to that, he served as
Congressman Doug Ose's legislative director. His appointment does not
require Senate confirmation. March 30, 2006
Gov. Schwarzenegger Press Release
MJC panel Thursday examines
Kennedy environmental book - - Modesto Junior College will present a
Panel Discussion on Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s book “Crimes Against Nature” on
Thursday, March 23 at 7 p.m., in Forum 110 on East Campus, located at 435
College Avenue in Modesto. Panelists who represent a variety of political,
social and economic points of view will discuss and debate the major issues
raised by Kennedy’s book. Dr. Gabriella Ludwig, Senior Manager of Global,
Technical & Regulatory Affairs at the Almond Board of California, will be
one of the panelists. The event is free and open to the public. In his
book, Crimes Against Nature, Kennedy, criticizes many of the current
policies and actions of President George W. Bush and his administration as
being detrimental to the environment. <more>
March 22, 2006 MJC Press Release
Pesticide case stands
against nut firm. Prosecutor must add details to indictment - - A case
against the owner and two employees of Golden West Nuts Inc. of Ripon will
stand, a judge said Wednesday, but a prosecutor must add more detail to an
indictment that lays out six criminal charges. The case involves a laborer
who was sickened by methyl bromide while he fumigated tree holes in an
Oakdale almond orchard. The toxic pesticide may be used only under
controlled circumstances. Arturo Becerra became sick after a hose on a gas
mask broke and methyl bromide was splashed on his face. He spent a week in
the hospital and has ongoing stomach ailments. His brother, his immediate
supervisor and the president of the company now stand accused. Defense
attorneys argued that an indictment handed down by a grand jury on Nov. 16
should be dismissed because prosecutors did not specify the facts on which
they will rely to prove the alleged violations.
<more> March 9, 2006 Modesto Bee
Trees' impact varies
-The tree is a beloved symbol of environmental health, but when it comes to
combating pollution, not all trees are equal. Just as some provide better
shade than others, some types apparently are superior at filtering
particulates from the air. In the Central Valley, where particulates are a
wintertime scourge, evergreens are considered more useful than trees that
drop their leaves in fall. Pines and deodar cedars, with their abundant
needles, are favorites of Tom Cahill, a University of California, Davis,
atmospheric physicist who has studied particle pollution around the world.
Deodars especially are suited for the dry summer climate of Sacramento, he
said: "They have a low water requirement, a lot of surface area and are very
<more> March 9, 2006 Sacramento Bee
31 deadline for IPM Innovator nominations - - The California Department of
Pesticide Regulation will honor IPM Innovators for the 13th year this fall.
Nominations will be accepted
for DPR contact information
Anxious for almonds. Late
rains may hurt pollination, yield - - Almond growers are waiting to see
whether the past month's weather — an uneasy mix of sun, frost and rain —
will take a bite out of the 2006 crop. Wet weather could keep bees from
efficiently pollinating almond orchards that already have endured spells of
cold and rain over the past month, in between unseasonably warm days. Ron
Fisher of Fisher Nut Co. in Modesto said it's too early to say how the
weather will affect this year's crop. The blossoms have to survive the
elements in February and March if they are to develop into nuts that mature
in the heat of summer. "We will know a lot more at the end of April — what
was pollinated and what the trees can hold," Fisher said.
<more> March 7, 2006 Modesto Bee
Almond Environmental Stewardship Tour showcases
industry's commitment to environmentally responsible production methods - - More than 20 members of state, federal and regional environmental
regulatory agencies recently toured Hunter Farms in Livingston to see the
latest innovations and technologies almond growers are using in their
adoption of environmentally friendly farming practices. From shredded and
composted orchard prunings to high-tech spray technology, almond grower
Scott Hunter displayed the innovative approaches he is using to meet
mounting regulations while maintaining a productive and profitable orchard
system. Hunter, chairman of the Almond Board of California, joined other
grower members of the Almond Board's Environmental Committee at the Almond
Board of California's Environmental Stewardship Tour to give regulators, in
some cases, their first in-person look at the orchards they regulate.
<more> March 3, 2006 Almond Board of California Press Release
EPA Publishes Final Water Quality Criteria for
Diazinon - - The EPA made available on February 23rd the final
recommended aquatic life ambient water quality criteria for diazinon. This
pesticide is traditionally used throughout the US to control insects in
agricultural areas, households, and urban settings. While it became unlawful
to sell diazinon for residential uses in the US after December 2004, it is
still lawful to use diazinon properly for non-residential or agricultural
uses. Mobile and moderately persistent in the environment, diazinon is
frequently found in wastewater treatment plant effluent and storm water
runoff in urban and agricultural areas. For more information, visit EPA's
web site at http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/criteria/diazinon/."This is an
important addition to the Clean Water Act toolbox," said Benjamin H.
Grumbles, Assistant Administrator for Water. "EPA's scientifically-based
criteria for pesticides, such as diazinon, and for organic chemicals, such
as nonylphenol, help states and tribes set standards to protect watersheds,
fish, and wildlife." March 6, 2006 EPA Press Release
Pesticides found in most
U.S. rivers -- Most of the nation's rivers and streams - and the fish in
them - are contaminated with pesticides linked to cancer, birth defects and
neurological disorders, but not at levels that can harm humans. Pesticides
were found in almost all U.S. rivers and streams between 1992 and 2001, says
a study released Friday by the U.S. Geological Survey, although most
drinking water supplies haven't been affected. "While the use of pesticides
has resulted in a wide range of benefits to control weeds, insects and other
pests, including increased food production and reduction of insect-borne
disease, their use also raises questions about possible effects on the
environment, including water quality," said Robert Hirsch, the USGS
associate director for water.
<more> March 4, 2006 AP
Fewer bees, high
pollination fees hurt farmers, crops - - With all the sophisticated
technology today's farmers use, little honeybees remain crucial, pollinating
billions of dollars of fruit, vegetable and nut crops each year while
collecting food for their hives. But the number of honeybees and managed
beehives is down so much that production of pollinated plants has fallen by
about a third in the last two years from the usual $15 billion per year.
"I've heard people complaining about bee shortages all over the country,"
said Kevin Hackett, head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's research
program for bees and pollination. He said 15 years ago, "there were twice as
many hives as there are now."
<more> March 4, 2006 AP
Stopping to smell the
blossoms - - Silva Esajian is getting ready for some unexpected
visitors. In the tiny shop at the edge of her family's orchard, she and an
employee quickly arrange gift sets of nuts and dried fruits as the
snow-white petals of almond trees dance in the breeze outside. The 20-acre
almond farm she bought in August with her husband, Edward, is a stop on the
Fresno County Blossom Trail, which brings busloads of visitors during the
blooming season from February to April. "It's my first Blossom Trail," she
said. "We're going to stay open longer. We're getting a lot of city people
who are fascinated by the trees because they look like they go for miles."
The 90-mile trail through peach, plum, apple, orange and nut orchards shows
off the picturesque side of the San Joaquin Valley's staple industry:
agriculture. But the colorful treetops set against the majestic peaks of the
Sierra Nevada are part of a changing landscape. Already the trail has been
altered several times since its 1988 inception to accommodate the region's
<more> March 1, 2006 AP
Farmers Tout Pollution
Strides -- Worries about winter frost have been keeping almond growers
awake at night, but there are plenty of other concerns on farmers' minds
year-round. For example, how to take good care of the earth while still
turning a profit. That was the topic of the Almond Board of California's
Environmental Stewardship Spring Tour at Hunter Farms in Livingston on
Friday. The event brought growers together with representatives from state,
federal and regional environmental agencies to showcase the latest
innovations in environmentally friendly farming. As farmers face an
ever-growing list of regulations designed to limit impacts on air and water
quality, the Almond Board has responded by forming an environmental
committee to fund research and programs that help growers practice cleaner
<more> Feb. 25, 2006 Merced Sun-Star
Almond farmers worrying about the weird weather - - Bill McKinney sliced
through an almond blossom with a penknife to see how it was faring in this
rather strange February. "There's the kernel in there," the Modesto-area
grower said. "It's nice and green. That's still a viable bloom. When you
find one that's frost-damaged, it's black in there." McKinney and other
growers are waiting to see how the 2006 almond crop will be affected by this
month's unusual weather. One week it was in the 70s, prompting some trees to
blossom early. Then a cold snap hit, knocking many of the blooms — potential
nuts — off the branches. It's nice again this week, but another storm is
heading in. "Right now, every farmer in the almond business is sweating the
rains coming up next week," grower Will Hunter said. He hosted McKinney and
other industry people at his farm south of Livingston on Friday, in an event
sponsored by the Almond Board of California. The main aim was to show
regulators and reporters what growers are doing to control air and water
pollution. New harvesting equipment, for example, kicks up far less dust
than conventional models. Autumn prunings increasingly are chipped into
mulch rather than burned.
<more> Feb. 25, 2006 Modesto Bee
Agencies run afoul of air
regulations. Rules were needed to reduce pollutants in farm pesticides -
- California violated the Clean Air Act when it decided nine years ago that
no regulations were necessary to cut smog-forming compounds in farm and
commercial pesticides, a federal judge has ruled. U.S. District Judge
Lawrence Karlton's decision means that lawyers for environmental groups and
the state will meet to discuss possible remedies for the pollution. Lawyers
for both groups have been ordered to file briefs in 20 days. "The bottom
line is that the state should have had regulations in place to have a 20
percent reduction of these emissions in five basins by this year," said
plaintiffs' attorney Brent Newell of the Center on Race, Poverty & the
Environment. Karlton said the California Department of Pesticide Regulation,
the Air Resources Board and the California Environmental Protection Agency
violated the Clean Air Act in 1997 when they decided new rules weren't
needed to reduce pollutants from pesticides.
24, 2006 AP
State Pesticide Dept.
proposes new rules to better protect workers -- The California
Department of Pesticide Regulation will propose new rules this year to
provide workers with more information about pesticides in the fields. The
regulations will provide California agricultural workers with protection
that goes beyond any other state or federal guidelines. DPR’s Worker
Notification Regulations culminate several years of investigation and
analysis by the Department’s health and safety experts, who also consulted
with industry and worker advocates. The proposed rules will: • Require
pesticide applicators to notify the grower before and after a chemical is
used, and re-notify if the scheduled application date changes; • Require the
grower to manage his property as if the application could occur anytime
within a 24-hour time window, and • Require hired contractors and growers to
assure prior notification for any employees who walk within one-quarter mile
of a treated field.
<more> Feb. 23, 2006 DPR Press Release
almond family farmers in tune with industry changes - - As
a member of the Almond Board, Dave Phippen is perhaps more in tune than the
average farmer to industry changes. He is the third generation running a
successful family farm. Phippen owns and runs the almond farm on the
outskirts of Ripon with his brother, Scott Phippen and cousin, Bud
Travaille. “I think a big change in the almond industry has been worker
safety,” Dave said. “We’re much more aware of crop protection chemicals (CPCs)
and we’re using less harsh chemicals.” Not only are they changing the kinds
of CPCs (more commonly known as pesticides), they are also using much less
than they used to. In order to have the same harvest success with less
chemicals, they are using integrated pest management to monitor for harmful
insects before farmers will spray for them. Increased worker safety is not
the only new change. There has also been an increase in awareness of food
safety on both the production and consumer ends. From the grower’s
perspective, says Dave, food safety starts in the orchard.
<more> Feb. 21, 2006 Manteca Bulletin
Cold snap may hurt almonds -
- While tonight's frost warning is not unusual this time of year,
temperatures in Merced County are abnormally cold, according to
meteorologist Jeff Myers. Myers, with the Hanford office of the National
Weather Service, said temperatures in the 20s are not typical for this area
in late February, especially the low of 26 degrees on Monday morning. "I
wouldn't say it's normal to get all the way down to 26," he said. "That's
pretty cold. Normal temperatures in Merced hover around 40 for the minimum."
Myers said there is a cold air mass covering a large part of the San Joaquin
Valley. "Clear skies, light winds and the cold air mass allow (the
temperature) to drop really low at night," he said. The cold temperatures
make it easier for frost to form, which kills almond blossoms, and reduces
the number of almonds produced.
<more> Feb. 21, 2006 Merced Sun-Star
Fumigant Could Pose Health
Risk. The EPA is expected to approve replacement of an ozone-depleting
pesticide with methyl iodide, which the state calls a carcinogen. - -
Fourteen years ago, as chemicals gobbled up the Earth's ozone layer, an
international treaty ordered a phaseout of a popular pesticide for
strawberries and other high-value crops. Now, U.S. officials are poised to
replace it with a new pesticide — one that is highly toxic and has been
declared a cancer-causing chemical by the state of California. The
Environmental Protection Agency is expected to approve a new fumigant,
methyl iodide, as it eliminates methyl bromide, which damages the ozone
layer. With few options for killing diseases and insects in soil, the EPA is
faced with a decision that could exchange one toxic hazard for another.
California — particularly Ventura and Santa Cruz counties — and Florida have
the most at stake. California is the leading producer of strawberries,
valued at more than $1 billion a year, and strawberry growers alone could
use 3 million pounds of methyl iodide annually to replace methyl bromide.
Fumigants, used to sterilize soil before planting, are considered
particularly risky among the hundreds of agricultural pesticides in use
today. Because methyl iodide is a gas, it can evaporate from soil and drift
into nearby areas.
<more> Feb. 20, 2006 LA Times
Hot February cooling down
- - Spring does not officially begin until March 20, but California had a
taste of it earlier this month when temperatures reached record highs. The
Weather Service recorded record highs for Feb. 7 through 10. It was as hot
as 80 degrees on Feb. 8, nearly 30 degrees above the February norm,
Goldstein said. By the time the temperature dropped to a typical 54 on
Wednesday night, acres of almond blossoms had already unfurled their pale
petals to the warm sun. Now many growers are hoping winter ends without
another frost, which could damage blossoms and potentially lead to low crop
yields. With threats of frost and rain looming, all growers can do is wait
and see how their crop will fair, said Franz Niederholzer, farm adviser for
the University of California Cooperative Extension. Some trees may have
already been damaged by the temperature swing. “It's hard to imagine that
there are businesses out there where your entire annual salary can be frozen
out, but that is the potential in the almond business,” iederholzer said.
<more> Feb. 18, 2006 Marysville
USDA bee lab teams pursue
Varroa mite controls - - Essential oils show promise in killing the
parasitic Varroa mites that devastate crop-pollinating honeybees, but a
successful delivery system for them has yet to be found, according to USDA
scientists at the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson.
<more> Feb. 16, 2005 Western Farm Press
Cold snap threatens
blooming almonds - - Almond growers were preparing Wednesday for a
predicted overnight freeze that threatened emerging blooms on trees
throughout the Northern San Joaquin Valley. Late Wednesday morning, the
National Weather Service in Sacramento issued a freeze warning that included
the Northern San Joaquin Valley. "We've got what appears to be a good bloom
cycle in the works," said Chris Heintz, director of production research for
the Almond Board of California. "A freeze during the bloom (cycle) is never
a happy time for almond growers." The freeze was expected to produce
record-low temperatures from Redding to Modesto. As of midnight, the
temperature in Modesto had dipped to 43.
Feb. 16, 2006 Modesto Bee
DPR poll finds strong
enforcement in key counties -- An informal survey of pesticide
enforcement actions by County Agricultural Commissioners showed proposed
fines nearly doubled from 2004 to 2005, the Department of Pesticide
Regulation reported today. DPR polled a dozen key counties -- most in the
Central Valley – that account for more than three-quarters of the pesticide
pounds applied annually. The survey found almost $180,000 in pesticide fines
proposed during calendar 2005, compared to about $90,000 in 2004.
<more> Feb. 14,
2006 DPR Press Release
Almond blossoms vulnerable as temperatures rise
- - Faced with a shortage of cold winter weather, the buds in many of
California's almond orchards are starting to swell and an occasional blossom
is opening up-a sign that pollination season is right around the corner. In
the Central Valley's Merced County, Ballico almond grower Dave Passadori
said his trees are just days away from bloom.
<more> Feb. 13, 2006 Ag Alert
Beehive thefts on the rise,
possibly hurting almond industry. In past two weeks, 89 hives have been
stolen in Merced County - - Spring is in the air, fruit and nut trees
are in bloom, and the Merced County Sheriff's Department Rural Crime Task
Force is facing a seasonal problem -- the theft of beehives. To the almond
industry, one of the top commodities in Merced County, the bee is a
necessity for the trees to bear nuts, said sheriff's Detective Frank
Swiggart. If it wasn't for the tiny buzzing bees gathering the nectar and
pollen from each bloom and thus spreading the pollen from tree to tree,
there would be no nuts to harvest. The need for pollination is so great that
California beekeepers cannot support the need for bee pollination, and
out-of-state beekeepers are brokered to help meet the demand, Swiggart
said.And the beehive thieves are already at work, Swiggart said.The theft of
89 beehives in three separate thefts over the past two weeks have already
cost farmers close to $20,000.
<more> Feb. 11, 2006 Merced Sun-Star
Bee-ting the heat.
Unseasonably warm weather could sting the Valley's crops, residents. - -
The almond trees are blooming, the bees are buzzing, the days are
unseasonably balmy and much is right with the world of agriculture in the
central San Joaquin Valley. But not everything. Bad things can happen when
higher than normal temperatures cause fruit, nuts or even the bees to arrive
early, before all threat of frost is over. An extended bloom period may
increase disease pressures for some trees.
<more> Feb. 9, 2006 Fresno
Benefits of almond brush shredding cited
Shredding of pruning brush has high promise as an alternative to burning and
a way to improve soil microbes and water penetration in California almonds,
but debris picked up with nuts raises issues in processing, says a Madera
County farm advisor. Brent Holtz has been investigating shredding or
chipping of brush instead of burning the piles of the material near
orchards. He spoke about his findings at the Almond Board of California's
recent 33rd Almond Industry Conference in Modesto and said he believes a
sustainable alternative to burning can be found.
<more> Feb. 6, 2006 Western Farm Press
EPA Authorizes Critical Uses of
Methyl Bromide for 2006
In accordance with the Clean
Air Act and Montreal Protocol, EPA finalized a rule exempting methyl bromide
production and import for 2006 critical uses. EPA also authorized those
uses that will qualify for the 2006 critical use exemption. The exemptions
for continued production and import of methyl bromide will honor the U.S.
commitment to obtain methyl bromide for American farmers, in a manner
consistent with the Montreal Protocol, while protecting the ozone layer.
This action is authorizing 8,081,753 kilograms of methyl bromide for
approved critical uses during 2006. This amount totals 32 percent of U.S.
1991 baseline consumption levels, and amounts to approximately 90 percent of
the U.S. request for 2006.
<more> Feb. 2, 2006 EPA Press Release
Bees arriving for almond
bloom - - In advance of the county's annual almond "bloom," the delivery
of beehives to aid pollination in almond orchards has begun. Bee and honey
supplier Mike Tolmachoff said there are not enough bees to pollinate
California orchards. With his most recent acquisition of hives from
Washington state, 400 to 500 hives per truck load, Tolmachoff spent time
assessing and culling the new arrivals to pick out the weaker bees. <more>
Feb. 2, 2006 Madera Tribune
No longer bugged by his
job. Fresno County insect fighter Richard Coviello retires from the UC
Cooperative Extension. - - Growing up around critters on his Fresno
family farm, Richard Coviello took naturally to an appreciation of bugs
years before he tackled battling insect pests for more than three decades in
Fresno County. For 35 years, Coviello has pitted his pest-fighting prowess
against legions of insects that plague farms in the nation's No.1
agricultural county. Last month, he retired as the county's entomology farm
adviser with University of California Cooperative Extension. But he's still
in the process of clearing out his cluttered roll-top desk where he sat when
he wasn't in the field meeting with growers, pest-control advisers or others
on the front line of insect-control efforts. "I'm going to continue checking
pheromone traps in tree fruit and almond orchards, collect data and send out
e-mails — at least for another year," Coviello said. "I enjoy doing it. It
gets me out of the house."
<more> Feb. 1, 2006 Fresno Bee
Air monitoring project to
track airborne pesticides in Parlier- - With crop dusters buzzing the
skies above, spray rigs stalking the fields and the occasional pesticide
drift that hospitalizes scores of people, airborne chemicals are a fact of
life in the little farm towns of the San Joaquin Valley. But no one knows
what chemicals linger in the notoriously polluted air and whether long-term
exposure could lead to increased rates of asthma, cancer or neurological
problems. To find out, the state Department of Pesticide Regulation started
a novel yearlong air monitoring program this month that will gauge levels of
40 airborne chemicals for the first time.
<more> Jan. 31, 2006 AP
State chooses Parlier for
pesticide tests - - Parlier will be the first city in the state where
pesticide use will be monitored to identify health risks, particularly to
children. If the analysis shows a significant health concern, state
officials could take action including rewriting use policies, forcing
changes to pesticide labeling or outlawing certain chemicals statewide. A
community forum will be held Saturday to explain the testing procedures to
residents of the southeast Fresno County community.
<more> Jan. 27, 2006 Fresno Bee
Valley's pesticide use
increases. Fresno County remains state's largest user in 2004, report says.
- - Pesticide use increased in most areas of the central San Joaquin Valley
during 2004 as farmers applied a mixture of conventional and less toxic
methods of controlling pests, disease and weeds. A state report released
Tuesday showed that Fresno County remained the No. 1 user of pesticides in
the state, applying 29.4 million pounds of chemicals in 2004, up 7.9% from
the previous year. Pesticide use rose 12.7% in Kings County and 13.1% in
Tulare County but fell by 1.1% in Madera County. Statewide, pesticide use
rose about 3%, up from 175 million pounds in 2003 to 180 million pounds in
2004, according to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation's
<more> Jan. 25,
2006 Fresno Bee
Dept of Pesticide Regulation releases 2004 pesticide use data; more nature-friendly chemicals gain favor -- The California Department of Pesticide Regulation today reported a small increase in pounds of pesticides applied in 2004, but that included a dramatic rise in the use of some nature-friendly chemicals. Commercial pesticide use increased from 175 million pounds in 2003 to 180 million pounds in 2004, an increase of less than 3 percent. More than half of the five million pound increase in 2004 could be linked to two chemicals that qualify for organic agriculture -- sulfur and mineral oils. In addition, "A dramatic increase occurred in the use of some newer, reduced-risk pesticides," said DPR analysts. Meanwhile, use of several classes of highly-toxic chemicals declined, both in pounds applied and acres treated. <more> Jan. 24, 2006 DPR Press Release
Farmers sweat winter's lack of chill hours
Tehama County almond and walnut grower Bruce Lindauer's farming operation
weathered the New Year's rainstorms pretty well, but still he said he
worries about his nut crop. "I'm really getting concerned about our chilling
hours on our tree commodities, because it has been too warm through December
and into January," said Lindauer, who is president of Tehama County Farm
Bureau. "This is supposed to be prime time for chilling hours to meet the
dormancy requirement of the trees, and it is not happening. "This could be a
problem that affects all of the tree commodities--almonds, walnuts, prunes,
pistachios, pears, peaches. With this 60-degree weather in December and
January, as a grower I'm getting worried."
<more> Jan. 23, 2006 Ag Alert
CDFA Secretary Kawamura
applauds environmental stewardship in central valley speech - - CDFA
Secretary A.G. Kawamura called for more recognition for agricultural
producers who practice environmental stewardship during the keynote address
today at the Energy and Clean Air Business Exposition in Bakersfield.
"Environmental stewardship provides a wide variety of public benefits, and
agriculture has a key role to play as responsible environmental stewards,"
said Secretary Kawamura. "We see it with agriculture's contributions in
meeting federal air quality standards for particulate matter. We also see it
in the tremendous opportunity for agricultural production of biofuels,
including dairy methane, ethanol and biodiesel. They provide clean,
renewable fuels and are also a bridge to Governor Schwarzenegger's Hydrogen
Highway. Government agencies must work together to assist agriculture as it
continues to make the journey to the Hydrogen Highway."
<more> Jan. 20, 2006 CDFA Press Release
New research points to plants,
trees as source for methane - - Cows burp it, pipelines and landfills
leak it, and vast amounts lie frozen beneath the ocean floor. Methane is
ubiquitous — as fuel for heating and cooking and as a source of concern for
atmospheric scientists. Molecule for molecule, methane packs thousands of
times more punch as a "greenhouse gas" than carbon dioxide does. Until now,
scientists tracking debits and credits in the globe's methane "budget"
figured they had a pretty good handle on where the gas comes from — mostly
from microbes breaking down organic material in places where oxygen is
relatively scarce. Enter Frank Keppler. Working with colleagues from
Northern Ireland and the Netherlands, Dr. Keppler has discovered that plants
may give off significant amounts of methane just by growing. And the amount
they give off appears to rise with temperature. The results have stunned
many researchers because no one expected methane to form biologically out in
the open air, where oxygen abounds.
<more> Jan. 20, 2006 Christian Science
Groups gasping over air proposal. New EPA standard
would exempt rural areas' farms, mining - - People in the Central Valley
might breathe dirtier air if a proposed rule ends federal dust monitoring in
rural areas, local air officials said Wednesday. The Bush administration
proposal, through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, would establish a
new dust standard and provide a national exemption for farming and mining in
rural areas. The EPA proposal, announced Tuesday, would stop federal
monitoring for larger particle pollution in rural places, said officials. The
move could mean some loss of federal muscle — financial sanctions — in
enforcing dust cleanup in the San Joaquin Valley, one of the nation's worst
areas for air quality. For the valley, sanctions include the temporary loss of
$2 billion in federal road-building money for missing cleanup deadlines. Jaime
Holt, a spokeswoman for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District,
said the agency learned of the Bush administration's plan late Tuesday. While
the district still is investigating the proposal, Holt pointed out Wednesday
that the dust plan — if adopted — would set different standards for rural and
<more> Jan. 19, 2006 Modesto Bee
Curbs on Dust in the West
Targeted. The EPA wants to drop the clean-air rules for rural areas. An
official with the air quality district for Owens Valley calls it
'outrageous.' - - Bush administration officials are moving to strip
significant clean-air protections from broad areas of California and other
Western states, saying that rural areas should no longer have to meet
federal rules for windblown clouds of dust, and that mining and farming
operations also should be exempt. The proposed rules were published in the
Federal Register on Tuesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
They would become final later this year after a public comment period. In
contrast to rural areas, the proposal would toughen rules on so-called
coarse particulates in urban areas, including parts of Southern California.
In Riverside and San Bernardino counties, dust from roads and construction
sites has been a major contributor to smog. That part of the proposal has
not been a subject of major controversy. <more>
Jan. 18, 2006 LA Times
Fresno County entomologist
retires from the University of California - - The University of
California Cooperative Extension entomology farm advisor for Fresno County,
Richard Coviello, has retired after devoting 35 years to the study of Fresno
County agricultural pests. During retirement, Coviello, who was honored with
emeritus status by the vice president of UC’s Division of Agriculture and
Natural Resources, also plans to maintain a monitoring program he
established for tree fruit and almond pests. “It’s interesting and fun,”
Coviello said. “It gets me out in the field. I stay abreast of what’s going
on. And the growers and pest control advisers seem to really appreciate it.”
<more> Jan. 17, 2006 UCCE Press Release
Less is more for Bakersfield
California Department of
Pesticide Regulation honors Almond grower Thomas Vetsch with an IPM Award
- - A Kern County
almond grower’s mission of environmental stewardship paid off when he was
honored by the state of California for his innovative integrated pest
“Thomas Vetsch is an
example of an increasing number of almond growers who are striving to
improve reduced risk farming practices while maintaining a productive and
healthy environment for future generations,” said Chris Heintz, director of
production research and environment for the Almond Board of California.
His accomplishments caught
the attention of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, which
honored him with an IPM Innovator Award. Vetsch was praised for using
predatory mites, spraying low-risk pesticides and seasonal monitoring for
pests and beneficial insects.
<more> Jan. 13, 2006 Capital Press
Changes for almonds - -
Environmentally friendly farming practices and maximizing production can go
hand in hand, says a Kern County almond grower who has been honored by the
state of California for his innovative integrated pest management
techniques. Thomas Vetsch, owner of Bakersfield-based Vetsch Farms, decided
more than seven years ago to convert 160 acres of his conventionally farmed
almond orchard to practices that reduce reliance on broad-spectrum
insecticides and routine fungicides.
<more> Dec. 26,
2005 Fresno Bee
DPR collects $1.6 million
in unpaid environmental fees, penalties -- The Department of Pesticide
Regulation today reported $1.6 million in payments and penalties for
unregistered pesticide sales and unpaid environmental fees during fiscal
2004-05. "It is absolutely critical to establish a level playing field in
the marketplace," said DPR Director Mary-Ann Warmerdam. "Law-abiding
businesses face unfair competition if others sell unregistered products
or fail to pay environmental fees in full. And every dollar unpaid is a
dollar denied to regulatory programs that protect the public."
2005 DPR Press Release
In Winters, you can have an
almond tree of your very own - - You don't need an almond ranch to enjoy
your very own crop of nuts. You can harvest your own almonds on your own
tree and, best of all, you can get someone else to do all the work. The most
strenuous thing you'll have to do to get this crop of your own is write a
check. And, you might not even have to do that. Although the sons of
Jacqueline and Tony Avellar disagree about whose idea it first was to lease
out their almond trees one at a time, it was their parents who made the idea
a reality. Tony says he put his toe in the tree-leasing water on eBay at
first, offering a tree's worth of almonds for a mere $25. “My son said,
‘You're crazy! You have to get at least $50,” Tony says. Rather than
continuing with the eBay angle, Tony decided his own Web site would be a
better venue for his trees, and started offering them online at
www.myalmondtree.com for $75 each.
<more> Dec. 30, 2005 Davis Enterprise
Almond Board of California Honors Outgoing
Production Research and Environmental Director Chris Heintz - - The
California almond industry encompassed 428,000 acres producing 507 million
pounds of almonds annually when Chris Heintz began her job in 1996 as
Director of Production Research at the Almond Board of California. Fast
forward to 2005 with acreage nearing 600,000 acres with bin-busting
production of over a billion pounds. The numbers may have changed but the
challenges and the rewards of the job have not, says Heintz, who is stepping
down from a full-time position at the Board as 2005 draws to a close. <more>
22, 2005 Almond Board of California Press Release
Environmental stewardship, maximizing production
can go hand-in-hand, says IPM award winning almond grower - -
Environmentally friendly production practices and maximizing production can
go hand-in-hand says a Kern Country almond grower who has been honored by
the state of California for his innovative integrated pest management (IPM)
techniques. Thomas Vetsch, owner of Bakersfield-based Vetsch Farms, decided
more than seven years ago to convert 160 acres of his conventionally farmed
almond orchard to practices that reduce reliance on broad-spectrum
insecticides and routine fungicides. With financial support from the Almond
Board of California’s Pest Management Alliance project and the scientific
expertise of the University of California Cooperative Extension, Vetsch has
virtually eliminated the use of synthetic pesticides to manage key pests in
the orchard, reducing overall inputs while increasing yields throughout the
orchard. The practices he has developed on his Kern County orchard have been
so successful he has converted all four ranches at Vetsch Farms of
California to sustainable, IPM-based farming.
<more> Dec. 21,
2005 Almond Board of California Press Release
CDFA sets pilot bee certification plan
- - To
hasten inspections of out-of-state shipments of honeybees vital for
pollination of the state's almond crop in 2006, the California Department of
Food and Agriculture has adopted a voluntary, pilot certification plan.
Revealed at a recent seminar by the Almond Board of California (ABC) at
Modesto, the plan is a modification of the effort to exclude entry of bee
colonies contaminated with red imported fire ants (RIFA) and noxious weeds
at California border stations.
<more> Dec. 19,
2005 Western Farm Press
Industry Abuzz: Oils fight bee mites. Nut growers find hope in new method - - A whiff of thyme, or maybe cloves or cinnamon, might keep a type of mite from undermining the almond industry. Researchers, speaking at last week's annual conference of the Almond Board of California, said oils extracted from certain herbs show promise against varroa mites. These pests can get into bee colonies that pollinate almond orchards, drink the bees' blood and shorten their lives. Researchers said the intensely flavored oils, injected into the colonies in a solution or other form, are showing promise. "It will change the taste of the bees' blood, and the mites will say they don't like it," said Gordon Wardell, an entomologist at the federal Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson, Ariz. <more> Dec. 18, 2005 Modesto Bee
Pollinators given a
passport to ride - - Pollinators coming into California to work in the
almond orchards are getting a stamp on their passports that could make
travel across the border a little easier. The California Department of Food
and Agriculture has launched a pilot project that would allow out-of-state
beekeepers to certify their bees free from the red imported fire ant and
other pests before they leave their state of origin. Beekeepers that
participate in the program could then find bee passage across state lines
much smoother — and almond growers could get their essential pollinators in
a more timely fashion.
<more> Nov. 17, 2005 Capital Press
It's 'the best of times' for state's almond growers - - The almond industry's winning streak is headed for a fourth year, leaders of Blue Diamond Growers said Wednesday. The cooperative's per-pound payments to growers for the 2004 crop were up 43 percent over 2003, and the just completed 2005 harvest could bring an even bigger increase, said Doug Youngdahl, president and chief executive officer. "Currently, the California almond industry is cycling through the best of times," he told about 1,000 growers at their annual meeting at Modesto Centre Plaza. "We have witnessed the three largest crops in California history, each commanding higher prices." <more> Nov. 17, 2005 Modesto Bee
Nut growers join with
French firms. Clovis-based alliance will market in Europe. - -
Three companies — one in Versailles, France, and two in the Valley — are
joining forces to grow, process and market millions of pounds of almonds and
pistachios, along with other nuts and dried fruit, in Europe. The strategic
alliance, called Cap Cal, will have its headquarters in Clovis, which is
also the headquarters for Meridian Nut Growers, a grower-owned sales and
marketing company. Others joining the alliance are Channel Island Trading of
Delano and Cap Industries, based in Versailles.
<more> Nov. 9, 2005 Fresno Bee
Almond Dust Busters:
Challenges of harvest dust met on several fronts. Orchard dust management
practices paying off. Almond Board-funded research looks for further
improvements - - Dust at harvest time is an unavoidable fact as almond
orchards are harvested on more than 500,000 bearing acres throughout the
bowl-shaped San Joaquin Valley plagued with air pollution. Almond growers
are doing their part through conservation management practices which have
earned high marks from air quality officials. However, the industry is not
sitting back on its laurels as the Almond Board of California is using
assessment dollars to help fund research that is looking at various growing
practices and machinery that may help further minimize the air quality
problems associated with dust.
8, 2005 Almond Board of California Press Release
Pilot program aims to ease bee shortage
- - The
issue of where California growers will find an adequate supply of bees to
pollinate the almond crops of the future is a tough nut to crack. As
California almond growers report continual success, more farmers of other
commodities convert acreage to almonds. This increased almond acreage,
coupled with an already limited supply of bees and the Varroa mite
destruction of current healthy beehives, means added complications for
growers and beekeepers.
<more> Nov. 7, 2005 Ag Alert
Tradition Shredded. Farmers
get an option to burning - - Farmers, faced with a ban on burning
orchard prunings, can pay people like Bert Walters to shred the stuff
instead. The service typically costs $30 to $35 an acre, said Walters, who
expects his Turlock-based business to grow as burning is phased out by 2010.
But it's an investment farmers will get back quickly, he said, because the
shredding machines leave a mulch that enriches the soil. "It will keep
working for you year after year after year," Walters told more than 200
people at a demonstration Thursday in a walnut orchard north of Modesto.
<more> Nov. 5,
2005 Modesto Bee
publishes plan for protecting endangered species from pesticides - -
EPA has published a final
notice on its enforceable program for the protection of Endangered Species.
The Endangered Species Protection Program (ESPP) will address, to the degree
possible, endangered species issues within the Agency’s existing processes
of registration, re-registration
and, in the future, registration review. If geographically specific
pesticide use limitations are necessary, EPA will create an Endangered
Species Protection Bulletin (Bulletin) that will contain enforceable use
limitations for the pesticide. Bulletins will be referenced on the pesticide
product label and available on the web at www.epa.gov/espp or by calling
1-800-447-3813. The existing "county bulletins" are not enforceable
pesticide use limitations.
Nov. 3, 2005 EPA Press Release
Orchard Sprayer Calibration
Instrument Begins Regional Clinics - - A high tech instrument to assist
orchard growers in improving pesticide application efficiency is being
showcased at a Nov. 9 grower meeting in Yuba City. The orchard sprayer
calibration instrument is an Austrian-built device purchased by the
Coalition for Urban/Rural Environmental Stewardship (CURES) with funding
provided by a grant from the State Water Resources Control Board.
<more> Nov. 1,
2005 CURES Press Release
Almond Industry Committed
to Facilitating Increased Bee Supply - - The Almond Board of California
(ABC) hosted a “Honey Bees and Red Imported Fire Ants (RIFA) Seminar”
bringing together almond industry members, government officials, pollination
researchers and beekeepers to find solutions to facilitate the transport of
bees to California for almond pollination. At this October 12, 2005
seminar, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, (CDFA), in
response to feedback by beekeepers and the almond industry, launched the
idea of a pilot voluntary apiary certification program to minimize the time
and complications at border inspections. Shipments of bees could be
inspected and issued RIFA-free certification from a regulatory official in
their state of origin prior to departure which would expedite inspections at
the California border.
<more> Oct. 25, 2005 Almond Board of
California Press Release
Financial Incentives For
Almond Growers’ Air Quality Compliance on Tap at Central Valley Workshops,
Nov. 1-4 - - Almond growers in the San Joaquin Valley who attend
upcoming workshops can learn more about various financial incentives
available to assist them in complying with new air quality regulations for
agricultural internal combustion engines.
<more> Oct. 27,
2005 Almond Board of California Press Release
Almond growers rely on pest control advisers for integrated pest management - - Results of a comprehensive survey by the UC Statewide IPM Program and the Almond Pest Management of full-time almond growers in the three primary almond-producing regions of California show that growers rely substantially on pest control advisers (PCAs) for pest management decision-making. The study, published in the October-December 2005 edition of California Agriculture, says independent PCAs communicated more frequently with growers than PCAs who are employed by agricultural product suppliers. Growers who use independent PCAs tend to feel more knowledgeable about integrated pest management (IPM) and report the use of more complex pest-monitoring techniques and control practices. The use of insecticide sprays, however, is independent of the type of PCA employed, and the percentage of growers using them has declined substantially since a 1985 survey. Almond growers with independent PCAs did not use fewer insecticides than those with supplier-affiliated PCAs, but were more likely to follow IPM advice. The complete article can be found by clicking here. Oct. 27, 2005 California Agriculture
Test device measures dust
from almond harvesting - - While the California almond industry pursues
various ways to reduce the dust associated with the crop, a group of
engineers at the University of California, Davis is testing equipment
designed to monitor the amount of particulate matter released during
harvesting. One of them, Ken Giles, a professor in the biological and
agricultural engineering unit, recently described the experimental device
during a regional almond day program at Coalinga. Basically a sensor
originally designed to measure power plant smokestack emissions and attached
to an almond harvester, the unit uses a pulsing light beam directed across
air-flow tubes as the nuts are picked up.
<more> Oct. 26,
2005 Almond Board of California Newsletter
Diesel Pump replacement. Almond Growers Find Incentive to Replace Polluting Diesel Pumps - - Campos Bros. has revamped several facets of its almond growing operation to reduce particulate matter emissions that hamper air quality. “We have been steadily making efforts in recent years to reduce our overall emissions,” says Todd Ayerza, purchasing manager for Campos Bros. Two years ago, the Caruthers, Calif.-based almond grower began shredding rather than burning its fall prunings and last year completed the transition to a 100-percent non-burn operation. In addition, Campos Bros. has continuously updated its harvesting and sweep equipment to take advantage of the latest innovations from equipment manufacturers for reducing dust emission from those two critical operations. The grower for years has also controlled dust on its roads and relied on mowing rather than disking to manage orchard middles. <more> Oct. 26, 2005 Almond Board of California Newsletter
Doing away with the dust.
Machine could clean up harvest - - Out on Blue Gum Avenue on Friday
morning, almond harvesting equipment blew a small but dense cloud of dust
across the road. Drivers on this route west of Modesto, if they had any
sense, slowed and made sure they could get through safely. About a mile
farther west, Tony Ringeisen showed off a new machine that he said can
greatly reduce the dust. It's a conditioner, which removes dirt and other
debris from the almonds after they are shaken from the trees to the ground.
"We have a closed-loop air (blower) system, and we do not have a
high-velocity discharge," said Ringeisen, sales manager for Exact Harvesting
Systems, the Modesto company that designed the equipment. "It's like a
street sweeper." Such innovations are emerging to deal with the hazards dust
can cause. They include traffic accidents — an Empire woman was killed in a
2002 collision blamed in part on a dust cloud — and air pollution.
<more> Oct. 15, 2005 Modesto Bee
Almond growers seeing
dollar signs. Other crops like cotton fall by the wayside as attractive
prices push up production - - Starting next year, Mike Young will
convert 2,000 acres of the family farm into two crops that won't bear any
fruit for years. Over the last 75 years Young's family has grown cotton,
tomatoes, carrots and lettuce at Wegis Ranch in the Buttonwillow area. But
Young believes his bold move to almonds and pistachios, two crops that won't
start producing for three to 10 years, is worth it. "Farming is a gamble,"
he said. "Hopefully it will give me a significant increase in profits."
Young said he can make close to $2,000 more an acre with almonds than cotton
at today's prices.
<more> Oct. 16, 2005
almonds' - - Nutrition researchers including those affiliated with the
National Academy of Sciences have declared almonds "the smart snack." But is
it the smartest move for growers to remove acreage of cotton, tomatoes and
other traditional crops to plant even more of this popular nut? Apparently,
many farmers believe switching to almonds is smart, judging by the estimated
283,000 new acres of almonds that have been planted throughout the state
during the past 10 years.
<more> Oct. 12, 2005 Ag Alert
Pesticide Case Is Upping
the Ante. A poisoning trial pitting two brothers comes as farm activists,
regulators seek stricter controls. - - The March 2004 poisoning of a
Oakdale farmworker has triggered California's first criminal prosecution in
a pesticide-related matter in 14 years. Trial is scheduled to begin next
month against Oakdale ranch manager John Becerra — the injured worker's
brother — and Jon Hoff, a co-owner of Golden West Nuts, whose offices and
processing plant are in nearby Ripon. The case comes as regulators and
farmworker advocates press for stricter and more consistent pesticide
<more> Oct. 10,
2005 Los Angeles Times
Gov. Schwarzenegger signs
bill to collect pesticide fees from retailers -- Governor
Schwarzenegger has signed legislation to help the Department of Pesticide
Regulation collect its fair share of environmental fees on pesticide sales.
"This legislation promotes economic and environmental fairness," said DPR
Director Mary-Ann Warmerdam. "All those who sell pesticides in our state
should pay their fair share for environmental programs. And we depend on
full payment of these fees to protect the health and safety of
<more> Oct. 7, 2005 DPR Press Release
Water agency denies water
waiver enforcement staff cuts. But environmentalist says Bee story halted
regulatory reduction.- - Top state water-quality officials say a story
in The Bee that said they planned to gut a newly expanded enforcement of
polluted farm runoff was based on a misunderstanding. However, the hands-on
regulators struggling to implement the first water-quality controls on
California's farming empire thought the jobs were being cut.
Environmentalists read the order the same way. One said he believes the deep
cuts would have materialized but for the Sept. 7 story. The apparent problem
was that the State Water Resources Control Board officials had cut farmers
too big a break on the cost of enforcing the new rules and had overestimated
by a long shot the amount of fees they would collect, the board's
administrative services chief disclosed in a memorandum attached to the Aug.
30 order to cut staff.
Sept. 29, 2005 Sacramento Bee
It's harvest time and
machinery is out in full force - - The trucks start lining up at
Travaille and Phippen Inc. in Manteca at daybreak to deliver trailers to the
almond orchards. The growers are anxious to see them arrive, said Dave
Phippen. "We have 10 to 15 growers wanting trailers, and we are trying to
please them." Travaille and Phippen operates an almond hulling and shelling
plant, and also farms 600 acres of almonds, and provides farming services to
5,000 more acres. In other orchards, nut sweepers also are heading out at 8
a.m., to push the fallen nuts into windrows, to be picked up by yet another
specialized pickup machine. Fans and chains in the machines separate the nuts
from twigs, leaves and dirt — generating clouds of dust. "That's where we
get our dirty reputation with our city brethren," Phippen said. Nick Gatzman,
a farm manager at Travaille and Phippen and Dave Phippen's son-in-law, said
the industry is working on the problem, developing machines that cut the
dust by 50 percent. Travaille and Phippen uses no-till techniques to cut
down on dust by not breaking up the soil, Gatzman said.
<more> Sept, 26, 2005 Modesto Bee
DPR Director Mary-Ann
Warmerdam: State closely monitors misuse of pesticides - - A Stanislaus
County court is preparing to hear the first criminal case involving farm
pesticide violations filed in California in more than a decade. But the
major story behind that case — and many others around the state — is yet to
be told. Since Gov. Schwarzenegger's administration took office, the state
Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and its local partners have stepped
up efforts to protect farmworkers and others threatened by pesticide misuse.
As we crack down on violators who do business unfairly, we also support the
vast majority of growers and applicators who play by the rules.
<more> Sept. 16, 2005 Fresno Bee
State cuts pollution
enforcers. Staff had just been hired to regulate tainted runoff from
irrigated farmland. - - The Schwarzenegger administration is gutting the
state's nascent program to regulate the biggest uncontrolled source of water
pollution in California - the runoff of pesticides, fertilizers and salt
from 10 million acres of irrigated crops. No sooner had the state completed
its hiring of enforcers to police drainage from Central Valley farms than
top administration officials ordered the staff cut by two-thirds.
<more> Sept. 7, 2005 Sacramento Bee
Panel Says No to Gov.'s
Appointee. The choice of industry lobbyist Cindy Tuck for chairwoman of the
state air quality board had divided business and environmentalists. - -
A key state Senate committee refused Wednesday to confirm Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger's choice of industry lobbyist Cindy Tuck to chair the
California Air Resources Board, an appointment that had sharply divided
business groups and conservationists. On a 3-2, party line vote, including a
no vote from Democratic Senate leader Don Perata of Oakland, the Senate
Rules Committee rejected Tuck, who was described by supporters and
detractors alike as a savvy, personable representative for oil companies and
electric power generators on environmental matters.
Sept. 1, 2005 Los Angeles Times
Leader leaves Delta group.
Bill Jennings says he's looking for other ways to defend environment. -
- The most ardent and charismatic defender of Central Valley water quality
is resigning from the DeltaKeeper organization he launched a decade ago.
Bill Jennings is probably the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta's most
recognizable figure. His jolly appearance often contrasted with his
tenacious work on behalf of fish and rivers, but it made him a perfect icon
for the oft-misunderstood region. As DeltaKeeper's boss, he created a
powerful grass-roots coalition that tested farm and industry runoff and won
dozens of battles to improve water quality.
<more> Aug. 31, 2005 Sacramento Bee
San Joaquin Valley battles
state's worst air. Community works to make the mountains visible again and
let everyone breathe easier - - Earlier this month, Pacific Gas and
Electric announced it will spend $27.5 million to lure farmers to switch
from older diesel pumps -- responsible for 17 percent of the particulate
matter in 2003 -- to electric pumps. The company is offering lower rates and
paying the lion's share of the cost of extending lines to the new pumps. The
utility has already received 480 applications, the first 82 from Campos
Brothers Farms in Caruthers. The 13,000-acre farm, which spreads from Fresno
County to Madera County, saw converting to electricity as a more
cost-effective option in part because of high diesel prices. "This makes it
feasible to switch since we won't have to pay for all this out of pocket
right now. Of course we're also trying to do our part to reduce emissions
for air pollution reasons," said Todd Ayerza, purchasing manager for the
farm, which mainly grows almonds. Last year, the farm bought a $250,000
chipper to dispose of annual prunings. Previously, prunings were hauled to
the end of the field and burned.
<more> Aug. 30, 2005 San Francisco
Lax ag safety may hit
wallets. Some say growers are not penalized enough after breaking pesticide
rule - - The hose Arturo Becerra used to fumigate an Oakdale almond
orchard in March 2004 was kinked and brittle. It broke, spraying him in the
face with the toxic gas methyl bromide, according to state regulators.
<more> Aug. 28, 2005 Modesto Bee
Forklifts focus of overhaul. State air board's plan angers growers who
seek funding for upgrades - - A single forklift can pollute as much in eight
hours as 700 new passenger cars — a fact that has the state air board
developing regulations aimed to clean up the heavy equipment. The
regulations could affect thousands of gas-powered forklifts throughout
California. But forklift dealers and farmers, who generally have older
fleets, say the regulations pose an undue burden and state officials are
leaving them with few options.
<more> Aug. 26, 2005 Fresno Bee
Healthy tomato. Central
Valley growers look to 'sustainable agriculture' - - Central Valley
growers want to make the humble tomato, the main ingredient of ketchup,
pizza and spaghetti sauce, into a dominant new player in a growing movement
to curb the use of pesticides and fertilizers on U.S. farms. After years of
unsteady prices and crop yields, farmers in leading tomato counties such as
Fresno, Yolo, San Joaquin and Colusa hope to boost profits and keep
consumers happy by dabbling in "sustainable agriculture" - the catch phrase
used for the burgeoning movement.
<more> Aug. 26, 2005 Sacramento Bee
Farm water runoff
management practices highlighted in Runoff Rundown- - The Water
Education Foundation has published “Runoff Rundown”, a newsletter
highlighting the efforts of various watershed coalitions to comply with the
state’s conditional waiver programs. The State Water Board funded the
publication which can be downloaded in PDF format by
clicking here. Aug. 24, 2005 Water Education Foundation
Tiger salamander losing some ground - -
Federal officials on Tuesday dramatically reduced the California tiger
salamander's critical habitat, highlighting an environmental fight that's
about to resurface on Capitol Hill. Pressed from all sides, the Fish and
Wildlife Service formally designated 199,109 acres statewide as crucial for
the salamander's survival. This is only about half of the 382,666 acres
originally proposed, and it includes significant reductions throughout the
<more> Aug. 24, 2005 Modesto Bee
Almond orchards important
links in food safety chain - - Two outbreaks in three years of
salmonellosis involving California almonds have put the state’s No. 1
agricultural export on notice that constant vigilance by growers,
huller/shellers, and handlers is necessary to continue to provide a safe and
<more> Aug. 12, 2005 Western Farm Press
Test device measures dust
from almond harvesting - - While the California almond industry pursues
various ways to reduce the dust associated with the crop, a group of
engineers at the University of California, Davis is testing equipment
designed to monitor the amount of particulate matter released during
<more> Aug. 10, 2005 Western Farm Press
Suit challenges management
plan for water in state. Environmentalists say approval process violated
federal laws. - - A coalition of environmental and fishing groups
alleged Tuesday that the federal government chose "political science" over
pure science in approving a plan to alter water management in California.
The groups, led by the nonprofit Earthjustice, filed suit in federal court
in Oakland on Tuesday against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. They claim the Bureau of
Reclamation violated the National Environmental Policy Act in approving the
water management plan without first conducting an environmental impact
2005 Sacramento Bee
Toxic farm runoff plan fails to protect birds,
study warns - - A plan to manage toxic farm runoff in the San Joaquin
Valley, where massive bird deformities occurred at Kesterson Wildlife
Refuge, would continue to kill and deform birds by draining the water into
open ponds, according to a federal report. A 1,500-page draft environmental
study on the project, called the San Luis Drain, shows that it could harm or
kill hundreds of birds every year by exposing them to toxic selenium.
<more> July 23, 2005 Sacramento Bee
Dozens of Chemicals Found
in Most Americans' Bodies. The concentration is especially high in children,
a national study says. But experts aren't sure what the health effects are.
- - In the largest study of chemical exposure ever conducted on human
beings, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported
Thursday that most American children and adults were carrying in their
bodies dozens of pesticides and toxic compounds used in consumer products,
many of them linked to potential health threats. The report documented
bigger doses in children than in adults of many chemicals, including some
pyrethroids, which are in virtually every household pesticide, and
phthalates, which are found in nail polish and other beauty products as well
as in soft plastics.
<more> July 22, 2005 Los Angeles Times
Air-Way Farms Looks at
Harvest Innovations to Reduce Dust. GM Fred Olmstead believes in addressing
air quality and other environmental issues “head-on.” - - When Fred
Olmstead watches harvested almonds as they transfer from the shuttle cart to
the elevator, he is not just looking at the volume of the crop. He’s looking
at the volume of dust. Olmstead, general manager of Air-Way Farms Inc., has
become fixated on dirt and dust and his voice rises with excitement when he
discusses his goal of reducing the amount of air emissions that result from
Air-Way Farms’ almond harvesting and other farming operations.
<more> July 20, 2005 Almond Board of
EPA Seeks Comments on Pesticide Review Process-
- To ensure that pesticide registrations continue to meet current health and
safety standards, EPA is seeking public comment on a proposed approach to
review each existing pesticide registration every 15 years. This new
registration review program, mandated by the Food Quality Protection Act,
will begin in 2006 and make sure that, as the ability to assess risk evolves
and as policies and practices change, "older" pesticides will still meet the
statutory standard of no unreasonable adverse effects.
July 20, 2005 EPA Press Release
Environmental Justice Small Grants - - Cal/EPA has established the EJ
Small Grants Program to assist eligible community-based, grassroots,
non-profit entities, and federally recognized tribal governments to address
environmental justice issues.
<more> July 20, 2005 CAL/EPA press release
UC Agriculture and Natural Resources strives
for sustainability - - The University of California Division of
Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) has formally adopted a strategic
direction for its programs aimed at sustainability. "Sustainability means we
take action today to ensure that California's agricultural and natural
resource systems will be in as good or better condition for subsequent
generations -- we don't use up, contaminate or destroy," said Rick
Standiford, the UC associate vice president for agriculture and natural
resources. "Sustainability looks to the future."
July 20, 2005 UC Press Release
Water board starts waiver
enforcement- - In its first major enforcement action related to
Conditional waivers for Irrigated Lands, the Central Valley regional water
Quality Control Board is sending certified letters to growers it suspects
are not complying with the requirements of the waiver program.
<more> July 15,
2005 Summer 2005 issue of Watershed Coalition News
State Board adopts waiver fees
- - The State
Water Resources Control Board has approved a new fee for farmers of
irrigated lands in California. The plan includes a three-tier, acreage-based
fee schedule with collections expected to begin as soon as September 2005.
State officials expect to collect a total of $1.9 million annually.
<more> July 15,
2005 Summer 2005 issue of Watershed Coalition News
Report on Delta Water Is
Faulted. A federal audit says a U.S. fisheries official skipped key steps in
determining that additional pumping would not harm fish. - - A U.S.
inspector general has found that a federal fisheries official in California
skipped several key internal reviews when his office concluded last year
that pumping more water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta would not
seriously hurt endangered salmon. The National Marine Fisheries Service
biological opinion reversed draft findings that the proposed increase in
delta pumping and other planned changes in the operation of the federal
government's massive Central Valley Project would threaten two imperiled
fish species: the Sacramento River winter-run chinook salmon and the Central
<more> July 14,
2005 Los Angeles Times
Warmerdam confirmed as
director of state Department of Pesticide Regulation - - Mary-Ann
Warmerdam, appointed in September 2004 as director of the California
Department of Pesticide Regulation, was confirmed last week by the State
Senate. DPR has 358 employees with an annual budget of $56.6 million.
Warmerdam’s salary is $123,255.
Monitoring Group Meets July 21 - - The Parlier Local Advisory Group
(LAG) will meet from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, July 21, at the University
of California (UC) Agricultural Center, Parlier. The public is invited. The
LAG will make recommendations on pesticides to be monitored, monitoring
sites and frequency, and other elements of the project. The Parlier LAG was
formed to advise the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) on the air
monitoring project DPR is conducting in Parlier. Although the LAG is not a
decision-making group, its views influence the course of the project. A
copy of the agenda is available at
Nations Agree to Cuts in Methyl Bromide - - A
group of 189 developed nations, including the United States, have agreed to
cut use of a pesticide that depletes the ozone layer. The group originally
had agreed to phase out use of the pesticide, methyl bromide, by January.
The pesticide has been used for decades to sterilize soil and help grow
crops such as tomatoes and strawberries, but it also damages the Earth's
protective ozone layer.
<more> July 5,
2005 Associated Press
Crunch time for almonds.
Production may zoom by 2010 - - This year's almond crop is likely to be
13 percent short of last year's, according to crop statistician Gary Nelson.
But the industry's real challenge is not this year's shortage — it's a
projected 50 percent growth in California almond production in the next five
<more> July 2, 2005 Modesto Bee
2005 Almond Forecast
Announced - - The June 30, 2005 objective almond forecast for the
2005-2006 crop year is 880 million meat pounds, according to the California
Agricultural Statistics Service (CASS). This forecast is based on 550,000
bearing acres. Gary Nelson of CASS said the forecast is up 3.5 percent from
the May 11, 2005 subjective forecast of 850 million meat pounds and down
11.8 percent from this year’s crop to date of 998 million pounds as of May
31, 2005. The official announcement was made today at the Modesto office of
the Almond Board of California, which funds the forecast. The average nut
set per tree is 5,461, down 23.8 percent from the 2004 almond crop. The
Nonpareil average nut set of 4,650 represents a 30.3 percent decrease from
last year’s set. The average kernel weight for all varieties sampled was
1.79 grams, up 23.4 percent from last year. To view the CASS press
Methyl bromide phase-out
subject of Montreal conference- - The 189 member governments of the
Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer will decide
this week on how best to manage the phase-out of methyl bromide, an
effective fumigant and pesticide for strawberries, flowers and other
high-value crops that also damages the Earth’s protective ozone shield.
<more> June 30, 2005 United Nations
‘Healthy' try for bigger
air board. Senator wants to add environmental experts - - In the battle
against smog and asthma, Sen. Mike Machado, D-Linden, is looking to expand
the valley board that is in charge of clean-air policies and chasing after
polluters. The proposed bureaucratic shuffle pits public health and
environmental advocates against farm and business groups. The board now has
11 members. Critics say they are mostly rural-minded county supervisors and
small-town city council members. Machado wants to add more environmentally
aggressive members — a public health doctor, and experts in air pollution,
urban planning and environmental justice — whom the governor and legislative
leaders would appoint. <more> June 30, 2005 Modesto Bee
Habitat expense far from
shrimpy. Economy is out $1 billion if species preclude homes, federal agency
estimates - - That's one costly crustacean. In a new report, the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service estimates a near $1 billion hit over the next 20
years — mostly from lost opportunities to build houses in the Central Valley
— to protect the fairy shrimp and several plant species in the valley and
Sierra Nevada foothills. <more>
30, 2005 Modesto Bee
Gov. Schwarzenegger Appoints Cindy Tuck Chair of the Air Resources
Board - - Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced the
appointment of Cindy Tuck as chair of the Air Resources Board (ARB). "Cindy
has dedicated her career to developing solutions to challenging
environmental problems in order to protect and improve California's
environment. She has worked so Californians for generations to come will
have clean air to breathe, water to drink and beautiful landscape to enjoy,"
said Governor Schwarzenegger. "Her expertise is vital to ensuring California
continues to lead the nation in setting air quality standards while at the
same time balancing the need to keep our economy strong and thriving. I am
confident she will bring diverse interests together to meet our ambitious
air quality goals."
<more> June 28, 2005 Gov. Schwarzenegger press
A Parched River - -
Should Southern Californians be bothered that long stretches of the San
Joaquin River, hundreds of miles away, run dry every summer and fall as
farmers take all the water to irrigate their crops? Absolutely, if they care
about the water they drink.
<more> June 28, 2005 Los Angeles Times Editorial
Endangered Species Act
Faces Broad New Challenges - - More than three decades after the
Endangered Species Act gave the federal government tools and a mandate to
protect animals, insects and plants threatened with extinction, the landmark
law is facing the most intense efforts ever by the White House, Congress,
landowners and industry to limit its reach. More than any time in the law's
32-year history, the obligations it imposes on government and, indirectly,
on landowners are being challenged in the courts, reworked in the agencies
responsible for enforcing it and re-examined in Congress.
<more> June 26, 2005 New York Times
High Court Rules Against
Farmers in Water Dispute. The justices reject a suit from Californians who
sought $32 million for water they didn't get. - - Individual farmers may
not sue the federal government to enforce water contracts signed by their
irrigation districts, the Supreme Court said Thursday in a unanimous ruling
that limited landowners' ability to seek compensation for reduced flows. Two
dozen farmers from California's Central Valley wanted the federal government
to pay them about $32 million as compensation for water they were supposed
to get under a federal contract.
June 24, 2005 Los Angeles Times
Concerns on water dominate hearing
-- Western lawmakers are
stacking the deck as they push for changes in a perennially controversial
environmental law. In a textbook illustration of how Congress builds a case,
Mariposa Republican George Radanovich on Wednesday summoned witnesses to
discuss the Endangered Species Act. Almost invariably, the witnesses
complained about the law's impact on water supplies and their own operations
<more> June 23, 2005 Sacramento Bee
Sustainable farming systems
field day at UC Davis June 23 - - UC Davis’ 17-year-old farming
comparison project showcases reduced tillage and water quality research
Thursday, June 23, 2005 at UCD’s Russell Ranch, seven miles west of main
campus. Former Modesto mayor Carol Whiteside, president/founder of the Great
Valley Center, is the keynote speaker. 7:30 a.m. sign-in, hay wagons tour
research site starting at 8:45 a.m. Whiteside speaks at 11:15 a.m. Grower
panel after farm-fresh lunch. On-site registrations accepted. $10
registration fee ($5 for students). PCA/CCA Continuing Education units
approved. More information:
$2 million project to
analyze the diminution of delta smelt - - The number of delta smelt and
other species in the San Joaquin- Sacramento River Delta has dropped
sharply, officials said Monday, and state and federal authorities have set
aside $2 million to determine why. The decline in the small fish -- which
are at their lowest level ever - - is especially worrisome, scientists said
Monday, because they were once among the most common fish in the delta and
are a bellwether of the estuary's health.
<more> June 21, 2005 San Francisco
Swap engines, reduce rates.
Utilities help farmers who switch from diesel. - - State power
regulators Thursday approved a utility plan that will make electricity more
affordable for farmers who want to ditch their dirty diesel engines.
Beginning Aug. 1, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Edison
will offer lower rates to farmers who replace their diesel irrigation pump
motors with cleaner electric models. PG&E rates will be about 20% lower than
what the utility now offers its agricultural customers, and Southern
California Edison's rates will be about 12.5% lower.
<more> June 17, 2005 Fresno Bee
Pesticide Impact - - University of North Dakota researchers are studying
the impact of pesticides on children's ability to learn. Tom Petros, a
professor of psychology, said very little is known on the subject, so he and
other scientists from the school's Center for Rural Health and the
Department of Biology plan to study local school-age children. The effort is
being funded by a $100,000 grant from the National Institutes of
Environmental Health Sciences.
<more> June 16, 2005 Associated Press
Climate-Friendly Farming Project Underway - -
Reducing greenhouse gases from agriculture is the goal of Climate Friendly
Farming, a five-year cooperative project involving the Agricultural Research
Service (ARS) and Washington State University (WSU). Agriculture accounts
for 7 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gases. For example, cows release
methane while digesting food; applying nitrogen-based fertilizers leads to
nitrous oxide emissions; and tilling speeds the breakdown of soil organic
matter, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
16, 2005 ARS Press Release
California Almond Industry Embraces Reduced Risk
Compounds - - No matter how you measure it, the improvements are
dramatic. On a per-acre basis or total used, the California almond industry
is reducing the use of chemicals on their crops to create a healthier
environment. Trends over the last ten years compiled from the California
Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) pesticide use reports confirm that
the almond industry is embracing reduced risk orchard management.
<more> June 14, 2005 Almond Board of
California press release
Study: Lakes Face Major Pollution - -
Farmers' routine application of chemical fertilizers and manure to the land
poses a far greater environmental problem to freshwater lakes than
previously thought, potentially polluting the water for hundreds of years,
according to new research.
<more> June 14, 2005 Associated Press
Ag Water Quality Publications Translated to Punjabi
- - Efforts to protect Sacramento Valley streams and rivers from farm
runoff have led to the translation of several popular farm best management
practice (BMP) publications into Punjabi. The new publications are part of
an orchard grower outreach effort coordinated by the Coalition for
Urban/Rural Environmental Stewardship (CURES) and funded through a CALFED
Bay-Delta Watershed Program grant.
<more> June 13, 2005 CURES press
Water Quality Monitoring in
Butte County: Butte growers to get the official word on water discharge
rules - - Letters from the State Water Resources Control Board will soon be
sent out to landowners in Butte, Sutter and Yuba counties who have not
signed up to be a part of a watershed coalition for water quality
monitoring. Landowners with irrigated land are now required to join a
watershed coalition and contribute to pay for water quality monitoring. This
allows farmers to avoid a more costly water discharge permit on an
<more> June 13 2005 Chico Enterprise
Testimony given over
reservoir. Congressional subcommittee hearing held in Fresno. - - Four
members of Congress came to Fresno Saturday asking one basic question: How
many reasons can you name to build a bigger reservoir for snowmelt from the
San Joaquin River?
<more> June 12, 2005 Fresno Bee
EPA policy imperils kids,
suit says. Acceptable pesticide level called too high for farm children
- -The government's failure to take the vulnerabilities of farmworkers'
children into account when setting tolerance levels for pesticide residue on
food has endangered hundreds of thousands of children, environmental and
labor groups charged in a federal lawsuit Tuesday.
<more> June 8, 2005 San Francisco Chronicle
No burn era: First regulations banning open-air
burning of ag waste take effect. - - The first phase of a ban on
open-field burning of ag wastes took effect on Wednesday, with fruit and nut
growers and producers of certain field crops bearing the brunt of the early
stages. It's the latest chapter in a long overdue effort to eliminate an
important component of Valley air pollution.
<more> June 3, 2005 Fresno Bee Editorial
Farmers prepare for burn
bans. The first to prohibit burning prunings from some orchard and field
crops begins Wednesday. - - Farmers in eight Valley counties are gearing
up for the first in a series of agricultural burning bans that takes effect
Wednesday, prohibiting using fires to dispose of prunings from a couple
dozen orchard crops and about 18 field crops.
<more> May 31, 2005 Fresno Bee
Parts of Tejon Ranch safe
from development. Partners pick 100,000 acres as part of ambitious plan - - Tejon Ranch and its conservation partner, The Trust for Public Land,
have figured out which 100,000 acres of the ranch's 270,000 acres will be
carved out into a preserve.
<more> May 24, 2005 Bakersfield Californian.
pest management practices in almonds to be highlighted at June 2 Chico
meeting - Environmentally responsible pest management practices in
almonds will be discussed Thursday, June 2, at a Chico almond grower
meeting. This meeting is sponsored by the University of California
Cooperative Extension (UCCE), the California Department of Pesticide
Regulation (DPR), the Almond Board of California, the Butte County
Agriculture Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
Region 9. The meeting will be held at G & N Creekside Farms, located on
Crouch Avenue, between Stevens Avenue and Cosby Avenue in Chico, California.
The meeting begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at 11:30 a.m.
<more> May 23, 2005 Almond Board of
California press release.
Time for a new approach to
crop pollination - - The parasitic mite that devastated honey bee
colonies across the United States this spring served notice that we are
overly reliant upon the honey bee for crop pollination. Beekeepers report
the mite infested 40 to 60 percent of managed beehives. Unless we find
alternate pollinators to cart around, or another means to pollinate our
fields, we risk periodic crop failures due to lack of pollination. And not
just of almonds (whose February bloom faced severe honey bee shortages), but
of any of the more than 100 insect-pollinated crops grown in the United
States as well.
<more> May 21, 2005 San Francisco
Farm drainage plan evokes
fears - - A federal plan to drain mineral-laden irrigation water from
farms includes a proposal similar to one that caused an environmental
disaster more than two decades ago, leading to bird deformities and deaths.
Environmentalists fear that leaving the tainted water to accumulate in
evaporation ponds, even if it's treated to reduce most of the toxic
minerals, could lead to problems similar to what happened in the Kesterson
Wildlife Refuge in the 1980s, when entire colonies of birds died and many
were born with missing limbs.
<more> May 21, 2005 Associate Press
Pesticide no-no list on
state Web site - - A state Web site launched this week for farmers can
break down to the square mile what pesticides are restricted because of
nearby endangered plants and animals. The website by the Department of
Pesticide Regulation replaces an unwieldy "phonebook-sized set of documents"
used by farmers and county agriculture commissioners, said agency director
<more> May 21, 2005 Modesto Bee
Farm Bureau prevails in court
ruling on waiver - - A Sacramento County Superior Court judge last week
agreed with California Farm Bureau Federation's position that the State Water
Resources Control Board and the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control
Board (RWQCB) abused their discretion and overstepped their bounds in adopting
a waiver for farm-water discharges that violated private property and privacy
<more> May 20, 2005 Ag Alert
Parlier Group advises DPR on
air monitoring project - - The California Department of Pesticide
regulation reports that the Parlier Local Advisory Group (LAG) was formed to
advise DPR on the pesticide air monitoring project it is conducting in
Parlier, in Fresno County. The project is one of several environmental
justice pilot projects being sponsored by the California Environmental
Protection Agency. Although the LAG is not a decision-making group, its
views will influence how DPR conducts its project. For more information on
please visit the DPR website. May 19,
2005. Source: DPR
Water project funding is
closer. In some cases, House panel OKs more money than Bush sought. - -
From Folsom Dam to San Joaquin River water storage studies, Central Valley
projects would receive tens of millions of dollars under a federal funding
bill that sailed forward Wednesday. In a crucial step, the powerful House
Appropriations Committee approved the annual energy and water bill loaded with
Valley projects. In some cases, including work along the Sacramento River, the
funding is more than President Bush sought.
<more> May 19, 2005 Sacramento Bee
Species act draws Pombo,
Cardoza fire - - The courtroom has become a natural habitat for the
Yosemite toad and critters like it. Along with the mountain yellow-legged
frog, the Yosemite toad is at the center of a lawsuit designed to secure
better federal protection for the species. But while the Sierra Nevada
amphibians are unique, the lawsuit they have inspired is not.
<more> May 18, 2005 Modesto Bee
Online animal database
debuts. State Web site locates endangered species, advises safe pesticides.
- - A new online resource that debuted Tuesday for tracking the habitat
of endangered species in California is drawing praise from agricultural
officials, pest-control advisers and environmentalists.
<more> May 18, 2005 Fresno Bee
New online tool available
for protection of endangered species - - The Department of Pesticide
Regulation has created a new,
online resource to help protect endangered species in California. It is the first interactive, public database of its kind in the nation. <more> May 17, 2005 DPR News Release
SUBJECTIVE FORECAST IS 850
MILLION POUNDS - - The initial forecast for the 2005 California almond
production is 850
million pounds. This is down 16 percent from last year's revised production of 1.01 billion pounds. Estimated bearing acreage for 2005
is 550 thousand. This forecast is based on a telephone survey conducted April 21 - May 4 from a sample of almond growers. Of the 430
growers sampled, 254 reports were usable. Acreage from the usable reports accounted for 16 percent of the total bearing acreage. <more> May 11, 2005
For Almond Growers, Honeybee Shortage Is a Hard Nut to Crack - - California almond growers are once again being stung by a shortage of honeybees. A doubling of almond prices since 2001 has spurred farmers to plant new orchards, and "demand is reaching the limit of the bee community to keep up," said Gene Brandi, a Los Banos beekeeper — or apiarist — and former chairman of the National Honey Board. <more> May 7, 2005 Los Angeles Times
Kern County almond field
day explores environmentally friendly practices - - Nearly 60 almond
growers and pest control advisers gathered in a Kern County almond orchard
May 5 to learn how “SmartSpray” technology can be used to more effectively
apply pesticides, and how a reduced-risk spray program can lessen potential
environmental hazards. The field day was sponsored by the University of
California Cooperative Extension, the California Department of Pesticide
regulation and the Almond Board of California.
<more> May 6, 2005
Valley reps again target
species act - - Central Valley lawmakers have been more successful at
criticizing the Endangered Species Act than they have been at rewriting it.
That's where Turlock Irrigation District official Steven Boyd comes in. On
Wednesday, amid a renewed congressional campaign, Boyd put an acutely local
spotlight on the 32-year-old environmental law. Water districts such as
Turlock's, Boyd testified, need relief.
<more> May 5, 2005 Modesto Bee
Farmers may pay more per
acre to aid with cleanup costs. Up to an additional 30 cents would help in
treating water pollution -- State water pollution regulators are leaning
toward charging farmers 12 cents to 30 cents for each acre they farm --
money that would pay to clean up water pollution caused by farming
operations. The State Water Resources Control Board has showed support for a
proposal that would raise up to $1.9 million a year to pay for an additional
22 staffers. The extra employees would review water-testing reports, help
teach farmers ways to reduce pollution and otherwise aid efforts to enforce
<more> May 5, 2005 Stockton Record
Mighty mites -- Kim
Gallagher is like a general in the battle of good versus evil. Not so much
in the epic, apocalyptic sense, but in the nearly microscopic bug sense. Her
official title is general manager of the Sterling Insectary, a facility that
opened this year in McFarland after eight years of being in Delano. It grows
good bugs to devour bad bugs.
<more> May 4, 2005 Bakersfield
Governor Shelves Plan to
Reorganize Cal/EPA - - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration is
shelving yet another part of its once ambitious effort to refashion state
government. After months of discussions, officials have decided against
going forward this year with a reorganization of the state's environmental
agency, according to an internal administration e-mail obtained Tuesday.
<more> May 4, 2005 Los Angeles Times
State proposes more water
fees - - New fees are on tap for California farmers participating in the
state's agricultural runoff regulatory program. The State Water Resources
Control Board plans to hear a staff proposal May 3 in Sacramento that would
collect nearly $2 million more in fees from farmers and ranchers. A
California Farm Bureau spokesman says the proposal would, in essence,
require private landowners to pay the salaries of new state employees, whose
work would duplicate regulation already undertaken by other government
<more> May 2, 2005 Ag Alert
Illegal and hazardous -
- It had happened again on almond grower Scott Hunter's farm: Under the
protection of a night sky, trespassers had dumped harmful chemicals and
materials left over from an illicit methamphetamine laboratory. For the
third time this year, drug manufacturers had created a hazardous-waste site
on his Livingston-area farm.
<more> April 27, 2005 Ag Alert
Kern County almond crop value
jumps 54% in 2004 - - The bearing acreage for almonds in Kern County
held steady at 89,800, but the value of the crop zoomed from $267.0 million
to $418.9 million, a 56 percent jump, according to the 2004 crop report
released by the Kern County Agricultural Commissioner’s office.
<more> April 29, 2005 Bakersfield
Pombo fires back at critics
report on species act - - Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, is sparring with
environmentalists again, this time over a report he asked the federal
government's General Accounting Office for on the Endangered Species Act.
<more> April 28, 2005 San Joaquin News
Air quality standard is
expected to go up. Ozone rules would be toughest in the nation - -
California regulators are expected to adopt the nation's toughest ozone
pollution standard today on the heels of a new study that reports nine out
of 10 state residents are threatened by unhealthy air despite big
improvements during the last decade.
<more> April 28, 2005 San Diego
Valley air hits children
hardest. Children in the Northern San Joaquin Valley pay a high price for
the region's inability to clear its air of pollution. - - An American
Lung Association study released today shows that children in the valley
have: * Diminished lung capacity * Increased susceptibility to asthma and
many other chronic respiratory diseases * The loss of months or even years
from expected life spans. In its "State of the Air 2005" report, the Lung
Association gives failing grades to Stanislaus, Merced, Tuolumne, San
Joaquin and Calaveras counties.
<more> April 28, 2005 Modesto Bee
U.S. Supreme Court: Texas
peanut farmers can sue pesticide makers - - The Supreme Court ruled
Wednesday that 29 peanut farmers in Texas can proceed with their lawsuit
against Dow Agrosciences after the chemical giant's weed killer unexpectedly
destroyed their crops. The ruling reinstates the farmers' claim that Dow
essentially failed to warn of possible risks. A lower court had dismissed
the claims, reasoning that federal law barred states from imposing labeling
requirements on pesticides and herbicides other than those set by the
Environmental Protection Agency.
<more> April 27, 2005 Associated Press
Watchdogs: Don't extend
water fund. Group contends money benefits large agribusinesses - - A
Ralph Nader watchdog group on Tuesday opposed an extension of a state fund
to protect fish, asserting the fund instead supports large agribusiness such
as Paramount Farming Co. in Bakersfield. A Kern County Water Agency official
called the protest "a substantial overstatement of the situation." Public
Citizen, which says it has 160,000 members in the nation and 35,000 in
California, protested AB 1245 by Assemblywoman Lois Wolk, D-Davis. The bill
would extend the Environmental Water Account fund, which has paid out $140
million since it was created in 2000.
<more> April 27, 2005 Bakersfield Californian
Almonds see big leap in
value in Fresno crop report - - Almonds increased in value in 2004 in
Fresno County by more than $140 million because of increased acreage along
with a nearly 60% price increase, according to the Fresno County Agriculture
Commissioner’s annual report.
<more> April 27, 2005 Fresno Bee
Senators threaten to flush
delta funds - - Two state senators are threatening to pull funding from
a joint federal and state agency charged with restoring the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta. Democratic Sens. Mike Machado of Linden and Sheila Kuehl of
Santa Monica said they would not go along with the California Bay-Delta
Authority's plan to spend $8 billion over a decade to protect and improve
the delta, which filters water used by 22 million Californians.
<more> April 27, 2005 Associated Press
State loses ruling on
pesticide smog. Programs failed to meet reduction goals, a federal judge
rules. - - California should have been meeting periodic goals for the
reduction of airborne pesticides in five areas of the state despite
regulators' claims to the contrary, a Sacramento federal judge ruled
<more> April 27, 2005 Sacramento Bee
Agriculture theme for Great
Valley Conference May 11-12 - - The Central Valley’s agricultural
economy will be center stage when the Great Valley Center hosts its annual
conference May 11-12 in Sacramento. The conference’s theme: “Growing A
Community” refers to the Valley’s agricultural roots and the challenges
facing the Valley as its population grows.
<more> April 22, 2005
Ag water waiver fee proposal
subject of May 3 hearing - - A proposal to collect fees from
agricultural landowners to pay for 22 positions at the State Water Board to
implement the agricultural waste discharge waiver program will be the
subject of a May 3 hearing in Sacramento.
<more> April 21, 2005
Gold Hills is unique in the almond field. Ballico company one of only a handful of organic handlers - - Founded in 1986 as a two-person team that operated out of a dairy barn in Snelling, Gold Hills now grows 1,000 acres of almonds and has an 85,000-square-foot building in Ballico. It employs 80 people in the off season, and up to 140 during the harvesting season. Most recently, the company was certified to manufacture -- slice, dice, blanch, roast and sliver -- organic almonds. It has been processing almonds whole and with the brown skins on since 2002. It's a big step for the company, as President Catherine Phipps points out, because while there are 110 handlers in California who can process, package and ship almonds, fewer than 10 manufacture them. <more> April 20, 2005 Merced Sun-Star
Endangered Species Act
plays growing role in use of crop protection tools by almond growers - - At
least 20 pesticides used by almond growers might be impacted by Endangered
Species Act lawsuit
here to download newsletter on what ESA means to almond growers
(Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
Click here for a html version of story.
Valley Elderberry Beetle
Friant water court date
set. Judge rejects an appeal from farmers battling with environmentalists.
- - A federal judge says he will decide next year how much water the
San Joaquin River needs to restore long-dead salmon runs. U.S. District
Judge Lawrence Karlton this week rejected both an appeal from farmers and
the notion that the state should determine how much restoration water is
<more> April 16, 2005 Fresno Bee
New Test on Tap for
Detecting Pesticide-Resistant Mites - - Commercial apiarists and state
bee inspectors now have a fast new way to check Varroa mites for this
honeybee parasite's resistance to the pesticides coumaphos and fluvalinate.
<more> April 15, 2005 USDA Agriculture
Regulator tells crowd air
laws benefit farmers -— Farmers face a challenge with new air pollution
rules, but the rules can also be beneficial, a state regulator said Thursday
night. For example, planting crops with minimal tilling of the soil can save
tractor fuel while reducing dust, said Dorene D'Adamo, who serves on the
California Air Resources Board.
<more> April 15, 2005 Modesto Bee
Stanislaus, 3 neighbors in
top eight fastest growing counties - - Stanislaus County and three of
its neighbors were among the eight fastest-growing counties in California
from 2000 to 2004, the Census Bureau reported Thursday. The numbers reflect
the influx of people to the Northern San Joaquin Valley from the Bay Area,
where several counties lost population over the four years.
<more> April 15, 2005 Modesto Bee
Valley lawmakers float dam
proposals. Radanovich: Water needs can't be met without more storage -
- Central Valley lawmakers want to build dams, but first they must build
more political momentum. So on Wednesday, Mariposa Republican George
Radanovich used his chairmanship of the House water and power subcommittee
to emphasize one side of the California water debate. The message: Dams are
<more> April 14, 2005 Modesto Bee
Gag order expanded to cover
all. Ripon nut company is told to keep quiet - - A judge on Wednesday
modified the gag order in a criminal case against two Golden West Nuts Inc.
managers accused of exposing an employee to a hazardous dose of methyl
<more> April 14, 2005 Modesto Bee
S.J. River bill passes first
test - - A controversial proposal to restore the San Joaquin River
passed its first test Tuesday. The Senate Natural Resources Committee
approved a bill sponsored by state Sen. Michael Machado, D-Linden, that
would help Delta farmers, migratory fish and Stockton-area taxpayers by
releasing water from behind Friant Dam, partially restoring the flow of the
often-stagnant river. The flushing would leave the San Joaquin cleaner and
could encourage salmon, shad and other fish to return. It would also reduce
exorbitant environmental cleanup costs faced by city water plants in
Stockton, Tracy and Manteca.
<more> April 13, 2005 Stockton Record
Pesticide battles on the rise
in USA - - Americans are finding themselves in the path of airborne
pesticides drifting from farm spraying as rapidly growing suburbs expand
into cropland. Battles over exposure to agricultural pesticides are
escalating across the USA, sparking efforts by environmental groups to
reduce the dangers of dozens of chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects,
infertility and neurological illnesses. "This has moved from a farm-worker
fight in the past to middle-class America taking up the battle cry —
everyday people living in suburban parts of agricultural areas," says
California state Sen. Dean Florez, whose state is by far the nation's
biggest food producer and pesticide user.
<more> April 12, 2004 USA Today
In California's Central
Valley, pesticide fight heats up - -From an airstrip a quarter-mile
away, planes come and go with their toxic loads, spraying pesticides on
blossoming almond trees that surround this tiny farm town's elementary
school. A fungicide wards off mildew at a crucial time for making a good nut
crop. But parents of the school's 140 children worry that the chemical
drifts across the playground and makes kids sick. "You can smell it. You can
see it. When you drive, it gets on your windshield," says neighborhood
activist Rosinda Mataka. "People think it's a price they have to pay for
living where they live."
<more> April 12, 2005 USA Today
Tending to the Farm. Day in
the life of Stanislaus County almond grower - - Tim Sanders starts his day
at 6:30 a.m. - late by farming standards, he admits. But that's one of the
things he likes about being a small farmer: he can set his own hours. On this
day, Sanders will be away from his 46-acre almond farm, working land for
others. That's the reality for small farmers in the Northern San Joaquin
Valley: They have to have other sources of income to make ends meet.
Increasingly pressed with urban conflicts, new environmental regulations and
global competition for commodities, small farmers like Sanders are finding it
harder to survive.
<more> April 11, 2005 Modesto Bee
Pesticide firms told to
change products over Valley air pollution concerns - - Pesticide air
pollution has spiked again in the country's top farming region, prompting
the state to protect human health by calling for chemical manufacturers to
change hundreds of products. The state Department of Pesticide Regulation in
the next several weeks will require reformulation of up to 800 pesticides, a
spokesman said Friday. The agency also announced a 14 percent increase in
smog-making gases from pesticides in the San Joaquin Valley.
<more> April 9, 20005 Modesto Bee
California regulators move forward on concerns about VOCs from pesticides
- - California regulators are moving ahead to limit farm chemical uses of
volatile organic compounds due to concerns about air quality. The most recent
inventory of VOC emissions for different areas of the state is expected to be
announced within a week, said Glenn Brank, spokesman for the California
Department of Pesticide Regulation.
April 8, 2005 Capital Press
Don't overlook valley's
farmers - - What if there were a local industry group in Stanislaus County
that generated $1.5 billion in sales and employed 65,000 people? Economic
development gurus would be falling over each other to recruit the industry and
make sure it stayed here and prospered, said Carol Whiteside, president of the
Great Valley Center, a Modesto research group. Well, the industry is here, but
it is largely taken for granted, said Whiteside, speaking at the Modesto
Chamber of Commerce's AgAware Luncheon on Thursday at the SOS Club.
<more> April 8, 2005 Modesto Bee.
Click here for the complete speech text.
Overflowing with relief.
Growers reap the benefits of above-normal rainfall that will prolong water
delivery. - - Snowcapped peaks and an often-soggy Valley floor are
bringing smiles to farmers who have been more accustomed to frowning through
years of below-normal precipitation.
<more> April 3, 2005 Fresno Bee
Wet winter, heavy snows mean
more water this summer - - The Sierra Nevada mountains are blanketed
with a third more snow than normal. Reservoirs, low enough to show bathtub
rings the last few years, are filling. Southern California, after a
multiyear drought, has had its second wettest year on record. While the
Pacific Northwest has had a dry winter dampened by a recent series of
storms, most of California is swimming.
<more> April 2, 2005 Associated Press
Agriculture water won't flow southward this year
-- Three deals to transfer water from the Sacramento Valley to state water
contractors south of the Delta are dead. Eight state water contractors, led
by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, notified local
water districts Wednesday night they would not exercise option contracts
that were negotiated earlier in the year.
<more> April 1, 2005 Chico Enterprise
Healthy milestone in reach
for Valley air . Numbers encourage air officials, who caution that
pollution still not licked. - - The San Joaquin Valley's air,
perennially among the dirtiest in the country, might reach a cleanup
milestone this year — meeting a health standard for dust, smoke and other
small debris. In decades of regulation, the Valley air never has been
healthy under any standard for so-called PM-10, known as particulate
<more> March 31, 2005 Fresno Bee
Lawsuits challenge species
protection - - A conservative legal foundation on Wednesday filed
lawsuits challenging federal protection for 42 species — including two fairy
shrimp that kept the University of California off the university's preferred
building site near Merced.
<more> March 31, 2005 Modesto Bee
devil's friend, says film 'Future of Food'
- - Deborah Koons Garcia
has never shied away from a food fight. In her 20s, she would berate friends
who ate meat. At 55, she has calmed down a little, but not much.
"I'm almost like a food
fanatic, but I'm not so evangelical now," she says during a phone interview
from her home in Marin County.
Although she is best known
as the widow of Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, she also is a
filmmaker, so it was natural for her to make a movie about food.
She thought she might take
on pesticides, but then she decided to battle a monster she believes is much
<more> March 31, 2005 Sacramento Bee
Children May Be Vulnerable than Adults to Carcinogens
- — Children may be more
vulnerable than adults to cancer risks from certain gene-damaging chemicals,
the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday. The agency has updated the
way it decides which pollutants pose cancer risks, which is intended to lead
to better and more accurate reviews of carcinogens that might be regulated.
Under the previous EPA guidelines, last revised in 1986, cancer risks to
children were assumed to be no greater than to similarly exposed adults.
<more> March 30, 2005 Associated Press
A silver lining. New almond
harvesting equipment helps cut dust, boost harvest efficiency. - -
As an alternate member of the Almond Board’s environmental committee, Doug
Flora knows all too well that Central Valley agriculture is under the gun to
cut dust production. As a third-generation almond producer who farms with
his father, John Flora, near Modesto, Calif., Doug Flora also knows the
value of the bottom line to staying in business.
<more> March issue of The Grower
Growers growing wary. Too
much spring rain problematic - - As spring bursts all over the county,
growers are watching their trees and welcoming the buds that will become
succulent peaches, tasty almonds and other fruit and nut crops. But they
also have a nervous eye on the weather.
<more> March 29, 2005 Vacaville Reporter
Almond incident in court
- - Two managers from Golden West Nuts of Ripon will be arraigned Wednesday
on criminal charges for allegedly exposing an employee to a hazardous dose
of methyl bromide.
<more> March 29, 2005 Modesto Bee
Mites a big threat to
agriculture. Bee parasite poses major problems - -Buzzing bees and
blooming trees are, to Dan Cummings, what life is all about. So the owner of
4,500 acres of almond orchards in and around Chico doesn't take kindly to a
pint-sized mite that is threatening to suck the life out of his livelihood.
<more> March 28, 2005 San Francisco Chronicle
Farmers have role in shaping
valley's future - - The Central Valley--stretching 450 miles from Redding
to Bakersfield--is on the brink of changes that will not only transform the
valley and the state, but also drastically alter the valley's vibrant
agricultural base. How the landscape will look mid-century depends on public
policy and land use decisions being made today.
<more> March 28, 2005 Ag Alert California
Farm Bureau Federation
Africanized beehive found in
Clovis - - A hive of bees found in a northeast Clovis back yard was the
first colony of Africanized honeybees in Fresno County, the county
agricultural commissioner said Thursday.
<more> March 25,
2005 Fresno Bee
Rain thins almond yields.
After amazing three years, it might be rest time for Kern trees, growers say-
- The almond crop in Kern County appears to be a bit light this year because
of rainy weather during the pollination period and the normal cycle of tree
rest, local growers said Thursday. "You're not going to have a bumper crop at
all," grower Rick Jelmini in west Kern County said.
<more> March 24, 2005 Bakersfield
Valley farmers grow more with
less - - The popular "survivor" reality shows have nothing on
farmers in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. Farmers are the ultimate
survivors. Squeezed by urban development, faced with flat prices as well as
rising environmental and labor costs, they have found ways over the past
decade to grow more with less — boosting production and income.
<more> March 24, 2005 Modesto Bee
Protected species list is
challenged - - Seeking to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to
review the status of endangered species every five years or remove them from
the protected list, the Pacific Legal Foundation sued the agency Tuesday in
Sacramento federal court.
<more> March 23, 2005 Sacramento Bee
USDA Issues New Greenhouse Gas
Reporting Guidelines for Farms and Forests - - The U.S. Department
of Agriculture provided the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) with new
accounting rules and guidelines for reporting greenhouse gas emissions and
carbon sequestration in the forest and agriculture sectors.
23, 2005 USDA press release
Almond Board Hosts Environmental
Stewardship Tour - - The Almond Board of California brought numerous media
Water drain plan revives
Kesterson pollution fears. Proposal would remove selenium blamed for 1980s
wildlife disaster. - - Jim Ganulin remembers the collective gasp at the
Los Banos fairground on that March night 20 years ago.Federal authorities
announced that shocking bird deformities and wildlife carnage would force them
to shut off the flow of toxic irrigation drainage to Kesterson National
Wildlife Refuge. But there was a bigger surprise: They also intended to cut
off irrigation supplies to 42,000 farming acres, the source of the bad
drainage, in the Westlands Water District. Ganulin was Westlands' legal
counsel at the time.
<more> March 20, 2005 Fresno Bee
Dispute boils down to water
deliveries. Group claims government has pledged more water to valley farmers
than it has to give - - A national environmental research group and water
districts in Kern County are at loggerheads about who is telling the truth on
future water deliveries for the Central Valley Project. The Environmental
Working Group alleged in a news statement issued Thursday that the federal
government has promised Central Valley farmers more water than it has the
capacity to supply. Water districts and the Friant Water Authority, which
manages the Kern County share of the Central Valley Project, say no such
<more> March 18, 2005 Bakersfield
More than 6,000 SJV dust
management plans filed - — More than 6,000 Conservation Management
Practices (CMP) plans to control fugitive dust on 3.1 million acres of San
Joaquin Valley farmland have been submitted to the San Joaquin Valley Unified
Air Pollution Control District, according to Roger Isom, California Cotton
Growers Association (CCGA) vice president and director of technical services.
<more> March 18, 2005 Western Farm Press
Grants aimed at addressing
air quality. Nonprofit groups will use funds for advocacy effort and rural
monitoring. - - Two environmental grants awarded to nonprofit agencies in
the central San Joaquin Valley will help people become clean-air advocates and
allow rural residents to know how dirty the air is in their communities.
<more> March 16, 2005 Fresno Bee
Environmentalists get behind
law - - Conservation groups are bracing for an assault on a landmark state
environmental law they say has helped ordinary citizens fend off encroaching
development since 1970.
<more> March 16, 2005 Modesto Bee
Water checking divides
farmers - - Farmers in the Northern San Joaquin Valley are of two minds
regarding the state's new requirements for monitoring irrigation water runoff.
On one hand, there are growers like Kurt Neu, who farms almonds, grapes,
peaches and feed crops in Livingston and Delhi." They need to control urban
areas rather than regulate us more," Neu said. "They (city residents) can buy
chemicals we can't, and we are qualified (to use them) and they aren't. They
overregulate us, and they need to watch the cities." On the other hand, there
are growers like Parry Klassen, a tree fruit and melon farmer in Selma.
Klassen is the chairman of the East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition, a
group formed to help farmers comply with the monitoring requirements. Klassen
has experience in trying to resolve farm-related environmental issues.
<more> March 12, 2005 Modesto Bee
House Ag Subcommittee reviews methyl bromide critical
use exemption process - - Congressman Frank Lucas, R-OK, Chairman of
the Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Rural Development, and Research,
chaired a hearing today to review the methyl bromide (MeBr) Critical Use
Exemption (CUE) process under the Montreal Protocol. The Subcommittee heard
testimony from two panels of witnesses including Claudia McMurray, Deputy
Assistant Secretary for Environment, Bureau of Oceans and International
Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Department of State.
<more> March 10, 2005 House Ag Committee
Legislation proposed to protect state's water --
A group of state senators that includes Sen. Michael Machado, D-Linden,
unveiled a sweeping package of proposals Wednesday intended to make water
cleaner and more available to millions of Californians. But it also imposes
new rules on agriculture the industry may fight.
<more> March 10, 2005 Stockton Record
Methyl bromide focus of House hearing March 10
- The Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Rural Development, and Research
will hold a hearing March 10 to review the Methyl Bromide Critical Use
Exemption (CUE) process under the Montreal Protocol.
<more> March 8, 2005 House Ag Committee press release.
Schwarzenegger appoints environmentalists to key EPA, water posts - -
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced the following appointments to
key posts at Cal EPA and the State Water Resources Control Board:
March 8, 2005 Gov. Schwarzenegger press release.
DPR issues notice on testing for
VOC content—The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has issued a
notice on nearly 800 pesticide products requiring tests for VOCs, volatile
organic compounds (153 kb). To see the entire list,
please click here (requires Adobe Acrobat
Reader) March 7, 2005
Pesticide-related legislation introduced in Legislature- - A total of 12
pesticide-related bills have been introduced into the 2005-06 California State
Legislative Session. As introduced, these bills have the potential to impact
the regulatory programs administered by the California Department of Pesticide
Regulation. March 7, 2005 To see the list of bills,
Kern's water to go uphill in deals. Farmers,
officials laud sales to Southland; activists concerned - - In California,
water flows uphill -- toward money. In fact, rising torrents of Kern County
water are flowing uphill these days to satisfy the seemingly insatiable thirst
of California's housing boom.
7, 2005 Bakersfield Californian
Almond Growers Showcase
Environmental Efforts - - - Almond orchards in full bloom, bees furiously
pollinating trees, the sun peaking through the rainy skies-this was the
setting for the Environmental Stewardship Tour presented by the Almond Board
of California (ABC). The industry used this opportunity to demonstrate it
continues to be forward thinking by working with academia, equipment
manufacturers, growers and handlers to be better stewards of the land.
<more> March 4, 2005 Almond Board of
California press release.
East San Joaquin
Water Quality Coalition Meetings set for Merced, Madera and Modesto in March -
- During the month of March,
meetings will be held in Merced March 9, Madera on March 22 and Modesto on
March to provide updates on activities and issues concerning the East San
Joaquin Water Quality Coalition. Continuing education (CE) units are included
in the meetings. The meetings are: <more>
March 2, 2005 East San
Joaquin Water Quality Coalition press release.
Thieves finding valley hives
to be a sweet heist - - Most folks go out of their way to avoid a hive of
bees, but there are a few who steal them. Leroy Brant, a beekeeper from
Oakdale, is the latest victim. Brant had 64 hives stolen from a site on
Hawkins Road near Hickman. The theft happened late last week, Brant said. The
hives are owned by beekeepers in Oregon and Nebraska but managed by Brant, who
oversees 23,000 hives.
<more> Feb. 26, 2005 Modesto Bee
Bees From Down Under - -
Got a problem with honey bees, mate? A crew of several hundred thousand
Australians have been pressed into service to alleviate a honeybee shortage in
California, just in time to pollinate the almond crop. But these workers from
Down Under are bees.
<more> Feb. 26, 2005 Modesto Bee
DPR reports on environmental
justice project, releases illness statistics for 2003- - The California
Department of Pesticide Regulation today announced a pilot project to monitor
the air for pesticides in a rural farm community. DPR also released a summary
of statewide pesticide injury data for 2003.
Feb. 25, 2005 DPR press release.
IPM Innovators sought - -
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation is accepting nominations for
IPM Innovator Awards until March 31, 2005. Find information about the awards
impact unclear. Almond blossoms ravaged but crop news is not all bad.- -
The torrential rains that have flooded parts of California have nipped almond
blossoms, squashed fresh strawberries in Southern California and stressed some
herds of dairy cows.
<more> Feb. 25, 2005 San Francisco
hit by rain; bee activity slows - - Just as almond bloom approached its
highest intensity in the northern San Joaquin Valley, a series of storms has
thrown pollination in doubt.
<more> Feb. 23, 2005 Ag Alert
Ideas in full bloom. Almond
growers work to reduce pollution - - Almond grower Scott Hunter
normally has his hands full tracking bees and blossoms this time of year.
spent three hours Tuesday talking about pesticides and dust at his Livingston
<more> Feb. 23, 2005 Stockton Record.
Board Election Results
- - The
Almond Board of California has released election results for the Board of
Directors positions whose terms of office will begin March 1, 2005. The names
of the following nominees have been sent to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
<more> Feb.. 18, 2005 Almond Board of California press release
Almond growers face rising bee pollination costs - -California almond growers are shelling out record amounts for bee rentals to make sure pollinators are working in the fields this month. “I have heard the rental price varies from $75 to $120 per colony, and that’s the highest it’s ever been,” said Wheatland, Calif., beekeeper Joan Seifert. “We still hear that many almond growers don’t have any bees yet and we aren’t able to help.” <more> Feb. 16, 2005 Capital Press
Water Pacts Give State's
Growers New Profit Stream - - The Bush administration plans this month to
begin signing contracts that will position Central Valley farmers to reap
substantial profits for decades by selling water to the state's expanding
metropolitan areas. The more than 200 contracts - governing most of the water
from the massive federal Central Valley Project - will give the valley's
agribusiness interests control over the single largest allotment of water in
the state for the next 50 years.
<more> Feb. 16, 2005 Los Angeles Times
Report: Pesticide tax, farmer education could lessen
pollution - - Pollutants carried in runoff from farms affect the water
supply of more than 20 million Californians and taint prime fishing grounds
across the state, according to a recent report. <more>
Feb. 16, 2005 Associated Press.
In Search of Farm Equipment
to Lessen Air Pollution - - Deteriorating air quality in the San Joaquin
Valley is bringing tougher pollution controls for the region's farmers, which
in turn is creating a growing market for environmentally friendly farm
<more> Feb. 12, 2005 Los Angeles Times
Species act comes under fire -
- Tracy Rep. Richard Pombo and three other influential Republicans announced a
joint effort Thursday to rewrite the Endangered Species Act to toughen habitat
and scientific provisions.
<more> Feb. 11, 2005 Associated Press
Environmental cost is too
steep to keep using methyl bromide - - This was supposed to be the last
year strawberry farmers in the United States could use highly toxic methyl
bromide to treat their fields. Instead, the farmers might end up using record
quantities of the gas, which significantly contributes to the depletion of
Earth's protective shield, the ozone layer.
<more> Feb. 11, 2005 Modesto Bee Editorial
Group blasts U.S. water
payments - - A national environmental group Thursday blasted the Bush
administration for giving a nearly $17 million bonus to southern San Joaquin
Valley farmers and water agencies on top of huge subsidies they have already
<more> Feb. 11, 2005 Bakersfield
World Ag Expo opens in Tulare
- - The World Ag Expo that opens its three-day run here today draws huge
pieces of farm equipment and thousands of visitors. Sterling Insectary of
Bakersfield also is at the expo, selling predatory mites that eat spider mites
that pose a problem in almonds, grapes and greenhouse plants. The business was
started by D. Billings and his son, Matt, who grow primarily almonds.
8, 2005 Fresno Bee
In Search of Something to
Brighten the Winter Blues? - - While the rest of the country lies deep in
winter slumber, California's almond orchards are bursting with blossoms and
activity. Almond bloom usually begins in mid-February and continues through
early March giving the winter-weary a few weekend opportunities to take a trip
to experience the first burst of spring. Almond orchards throughout the
Central Valley from Chico to Bakersfield and from Hwy 5 to the Sierra
foothills offer a beautiful backdrop for an afternoon drive.
<more> Feb. 7, 2005 Almond Board of
California press release
Hive and go seek. Almond
growers start deploying bees to get crop's new season going - - The buzz
in Kern County almond orchards is honeybees that have survived the newly
indestructible varroa mite. Boxes of bee hives are being placed among almonds
to pollinate Kern's second most valuable crop. It's happening not only here,
where in 2003 the crop was spread over 92,000 acres and valued at $280
million, but throughout the state, which has 550,000 acres of the nuts valued
at $1 billion. That's 80 percent of the world's almond supply.
<more> Feb. 5, 2005 Bakersfield
Report on deadly Valley air
calls for more controls - - San Joaquin Valley air pollution cops aren't
doing enough to curb pollution even though nine times more Valley residents
die from dirty air than from homicides, according to a report released
Thursday by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Feb. 4, 2005 Stockton Record
'High anxiety' time for
almond growers - - The almond bloom is at hand in California's 550,000
acres of bearing almond orchards, and growers and handlers have never been
<more> Feb. 2, 2005 Western Farm Press
Tiny mite creating worry
lines for growers - - A tiny pest is decimating honeybee colonies across
the country, worrying beekeepers and farmers who depend on the insects to
pollinate their crops. After all, honeybees pollinate about one-third of the
human diet and dozens of agricultural crops. California produces 80 percent of
the world's almond supply. A $1 billion-a-year crop, the nuts have become the
state's top agricultural export.
<more> Feb. 2, 2005 Associated Press
EPA Issues Interpretive
Statement on Application of Pesticides - - EPA has announced the issuance
of a final interpretive statement and a proposed rule on clarification of
Clean Water Act (CWA) permitting requirements for the application of
pesticides to or over the nation’s waters. The statement and proposed rule
reflect EPA's long-standing policy that a CWA permit is not required where
application of a particular pesticide to or over water is consistent with
requirements under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
Upon publication of this notice in the Federal Register, you may provide input
on the proposal during a 60-day comment period. <more>
Feb. 1, 2005 EPA press release
San Joaquin farmers worry over less say on water issues- -San Joaquin
Valley area farmers are nervous about the state Senate's decision to hand
power over water legislation to what they see as a committee dominated by
Southern Californians and environmentalists. And they're even less thrilled
with Sen. Michael Machado's legislation that could make them pay more for
Jan. 31, 2005 Stockton Record
Almond Board Election
Underway - Voting Begins January 31 - - Voting will begin January 31 to
select one independent grower member and alternate and two independent handler
members and alternates to serve as directors for the Almond Board of
California (ABC) during the 2005/06 crop year. The ABC Board of Directors'
term of office begins March 1, 2005.
<more> Jan. 31, 2005 Almond Board
of California press release
Winter sanitizing keeps
almonds safe from pest- -I n military parlance, the slogan for a winter
cleanup program in Kern County orchards might be "no almond left behind."
That's because so-called mummy almonds -- the ones left on trees after harvest
-- are breeding grounds for a pest that could wreak havoc on next season's
crops. The pest is the navel orangeworm, so named because it was first found
on navel orange trees. But the worms have also taken a fancy to almonds,
Kern's second most valuable crop in 2003 at $280 million.
<more> Jan. 28, 2005 Bakersfield
Farmers angry at new rules to
stop channel fish kills - - Central Valley water regulators approved
a controversial plan Thursday that it hopes will stop routine fish
kills in the Stockton Deep Water Channel.. <more> Jan. 28, 2005 Stockton Record.
Ahlem resigns state ag post
- - Amid state investigation into Hilmar Cheese Co.'s long history of
water pollution violations, company executive Chuck Ahlem announced his
resignation Wednesday as California undersecretary of food and agriculture.
<more> Jan. 27, 2005 Sacramento Bee.
Kern's pesticide use
increases. County remains No. 2 in state chemical use, according to report
- - Kern County remained the No. 2 area in the state for pesticide use in
2003, but the amount of chemicals used on area crops jumped by more than
875,000pounds from previous year. According to a report released Wednesday by
the state Department of Pesticide Regulation, the amount of pesticide applied
to area crops went from around 22 million pounds in 2002 to nearly 23 million
pounds the next year -- an increase of 875,790 pounds.
<more> Jan. 27, 2005 Bakersfield
pest management practices in almonds highlighted at series of grower meetings
- - A new publication by the University of California highlighting
environmentally responsible pest management practices in almonds has been
touted at a series of
almond grower meetings held throughout
California in the past few months. A meeting held in Modesto Jan. 26 wrapped
up the current series of meetings sponsored by the University of California
Cooperative Extension. Other session were held Jan. 6 in Chico and Dec. 7 in
Jan. 26, 2005
State Analysis Finds
Continued Upsurge in Pesticide Usage - - Pesticide use rose slightly in
California during 2003 for the second straight year, an upsurge attributed
primarily to farmland battles against disease brought on by wet, cool weather.
In an analysis scheduled for release today, the state Department of Pesticide
Regulation reported a 4% jump in chemical usage in 2003 compared with the
previous year. Growers and others applied 175 million pounds of pesticides in
2003, a 7-million pound increase over 2002. As in previous years, the most
intense applications occurred in the San Joaquin Valley, with four counties in
that region reporting the highest use statewide.
<more> Jan. 26, 2005 Los Angeles Times.
Fresno Co. cuts pesticides.
Declines also reported in Kings, Madera counties; use rises in Tulare Co.
- - Sluggish crop prices and fewer acres helped drop pesticide use by 2% in
Fresno County during 2003, according to a state report made public today. The
county used 27.2 million pounds of pesticides in 2003 compared with 27.9
million pounds in 2002. The county is the nation's leading farm-producing
region and the state's largest user of pesticides.
<more> Jan. 26, 2005 Fresno Bee
DPR releases 2003 pesticide use data; Director
emphasizes reduced-risk strategy - - The California Department of
Pesticide Regulation today reported a small increase in commercial pesticide
use during 2003, compared to 2002. A DPR analysis linked the increase
primarily to wet, cool spring weather that caused more disease problems.
Jan. 26, 2005 DPR news release
Monsanto Is Ripe for Growth. As its pesticide unit
declines, it plans to buy Seminis to boost seed business- - Seeds are in;
pesticides are out. That's the mantra at agribusiness giant Monsanto Co.,
which said Monday that it planned to purchase Oxnard-based seed company
Seminis Inc. for $1 billion. Monsanto, the maker of Roundup weedkiller, has
seen its pesticide and herbicide business decline with the rise of insect- and
disease-resistant strains of crops. So it has been expanding into seeds,
especially genetically modified varieties.
<more> Jan. 25, 2005 Los Angeles Times
Landowners seek wildlife
answers - - Landowners packed the Merced County Board of Supervisors
chambers Monday looking for answers about how they'll be affected by two
federal wildlife preservation programs. But some of them might have left more
confused after the two-hour meeting with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
<more> Jan. 25, 2005 Merced Sun-Star
Mite causing serious buzz.
Pest decimating hives, jeopardizing almond industry - - Gene Brandi has
seen the enemy and, boy, is it ugly. Yellowish brown with eight legs, a hairy
body and a voracious appetite, the pin-head- sized Varroa mite is
systematically destroying bee colonies. It has become public enemy No. 1 among
beekeepers in California and across the country.
<more> Jan. 25, 2005 San Jose Mercury News
Watershed Coalition Newsletter published - - The
Winter 2004 Issue of Watershed Coalition News (WCN), a publication developed
by the Coalition for Urban/Rural Environmental Stewardship (CURES) with a
grant from the Almond Board of California, has been published. The goal of the
project is to link growers to the watershed coalitions.
here to download a PDF version of the
Water decisions juggled
- - When deciding the course of state water policy, the
farm-friendly Senate Agriculture Committee has long placed irrigating crops at
the top of the priority list. But under a committee shakeup, the
conservation-minded Senate Natural Resources Committee now will divvy up the
state's water. The move has raised eyebrows from some farm groups. Legislative
leaders say that placing water policy decisions under the resource committee
is aimed at balancing water use across the state.
<more> Jan. 21, 2005 Modesto Bee
Valley misses particle
pollution deadline again - - The San Joaquin Valley has again missed
deadlines on cleanup rules for dust, soot and other potentially dangerous
specks of pollution, activist groups said Thursday. Earthjustice Legal Defense
Fund announced intentions to sue the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control
District over seven particle pollution controls, which activists say should
have been approved last year.
<more> Jan. 21, 2005 Fresno Bee
State accused of failing to
study pesticides. Activists' lawsuit alleges the regulation department is
coming up short. - - For two decades, the state failed to fully
investigate toxic pesticides that are capable of causing birth defects and
cancer, a new activist lawsuit alleges.
<more> Jan. 20, 2005 Fresno Bee
Pest Management Practices in Almonds to be Highlighted at January 26 Modesto
Meeting - - A new publication by the University of California
highlighting environmentally responsible pest management practices in almonds
will be discussed Wednesday, January 26 at an almond grower meeting in Modesto
sponsored by the University of California Cooperative Extension.
Jan. 13, 2005 Almond Board of California press release.
urges water conservation on farms - - A growing population coupled
with diminishing fresh water supplies should force major changes in the way
the world's farmers water their crops in the coming decades, a recent study
recommends. Since agriculture uses about 70 percent of the world's fresh water
every year, farming should be the focus of intense conservation efforts, said
David Pimentel, a professor at Cornell University and primary author of the
study published in the October issue of the journal BioScience.
Jan. 11, 2005 Associated Press.
Budget slashing leaves air
and land - - Gov. Schwarzenegger said his budget proposal "doesn't have
that much in it that I want." He took his knife Monday to schools, health care
programs and road construction projects. But Schwarzenegger also got started
on a broader vision to shield farmland from urban growth, clean the San
Joaquin Valley air and protect the Sierra Nevada.
<more> Jan. 11, 2005 Modesto Bee.
Air officials: Cleanup plan
not easy- - - San Joaquin Valley air quality officials have started on a
two-year journey to come up with a plan for cleaning up summertime smog. That
is considered a fast track.
<more> Jan. 11, 2005 Fresno Bee.
Bee shortage impacts
pollination - - With pollination right around the corner for
almonds and a number of other crops, growers and beekeepers share a mutual
concern about a potential bee shortage aggravated by a destructive bee pest.
<more> Jan. 5, 2005 Ag Alert.
Beekeeper stung: 128 hives
are stolen - - Beekeepers already are dealing with a short supply of bees,
and, as of this weekend, a Stanislaus County bee business has 128 fewer hives
to work with. They were stolen, said Bruce Beekman, co-owner of Beekman
Apiaries in Hughson. The theft occurred in a La Grange field, he said. He
valued the bees at about $26,000.
<more> Jan. 10, 2005 Modesto Bee.
under way to weaken Endangered Species law - - For the first time
in three decades, critics of the Endangered Species Act are building momentum
to rewrite the law implemented to save America's threatened flora and fauna,
from the star cactus to the grizzly bear. Weakening the law has been a
priority for Republican Western governors, and a second Bush term provides
critics of the act a prime opportunity to push the U.S. Congress for changes
that would help open up vast stretches of wilderness for development.
Jan. 10, 2005 Reuters
Strict rules frustrate farms.
Growers calling for common-sense laws - - Farmers and food processors, the
acknowledged economic drivers of the San Joaquin Valley economy, are under the
gun to meet a variety of new air and water standards in California. Everything
from dust and ag burning smoke to minerals and salts in waste-water are now
subject to stricter regulation.
processors are struggling to meet the new standards.
<more> Jan. 8, 2005 Modesto Bee
New almond industry research
and statistics reports available- - The most current information available
on almond statistics, production research and environmental research are now
available in three new publications from the Almond Board of California
(ABC). The 2004 Almond Almanac, Years of Discovery Production Research
Compendium and 2004 Conference Proceedings are available to those interested
in California's $1.5 billion dollar almond industry.
Jan. 5, 2005 Almond Board of California press release.
Fate of valley wetlands stuck
in political mire - -Controversy still swirls around the Central Valley's
vernal pools, with the seasonal wetlands returning to the center of political
struggle. Under legal pressure, the Bush administration this month is
reconsidering what valley lands should be deemed critical habitat for
endangered vernal pool species. Several valley counties could find themselves
back in the same critical habitat zone local officials thought they had
<more> Jan. 6, 2005 Modesto Bee
New almond variety undergoes
tests- - Mark Kochi and his wife like to make almond brittle. The Yuba
City former row crop farmer has a personal orchard where they grow fruits and
nuts most people can't find in grocery stores.
<more> Jan. 2, 2005 Chico Enterprise
Breathe easier, valley - dust
reduction coming - - PM-10 sounds like the name of an over-the-counter
cough medicine; it's just the opposite. PM-10 is shorthand for particulate
matter that measures 10 microns or less. These microscopic particles hang in
the air where they can combine with other particles to form noxious gases or,
when closer to the ground, collect in our lungs. They contribute to asthma
attacks and a host of respiratory problems.
<more> Dec. 29, 2004 Modesto Bee editorial.
Despite criticism, farmers
complying with air rules - - The Central Valley's dairy, cotton, fruit and
vegetable farms are the newest front in the fight to clean up one of the
nation's dirtiest air basins. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control
District is requiring farmers with more than 100 contiguous acres and dairies
with more than 500 cows to submit plans by the end of the year showing what
they're doing to reduce microscopic particles of dust, chemicals or other
substances that come from their land.
Dec. 25, 2004 Associated Press.
Precedent-setting water rights decision over endangered species- -
In a precedent-setting decision, the federal government agreed to pay four
California water districts $16.7 million for water the government diverted a
decade ago to help two rare fish.
<more> Dec. 22, 2004 Associated Press.
planting could ease global warming, California scientists say- - As
scientists sounded alarms about global warming at an international forum in
Argentina this week, local research scientists announced that the solution may
be as simple as planting trees. A lot of trees.
21, 2004 Monterey Herald.
Almond Board election
announced - Jan. 20 deadline to file - - The Almond Board of California
(ABC) announced January 20, 2005 as the deadline for filing nomination
petitions for election to the ABC Board of Directors.
<more> Dec. 20, 2004 Almond Board of California press release.
EPA sets a strict new limit
-San Joaquin Valley flunks new standard for particles detrimental to health -
-The San Joaquin Valley is on a new short list of places that flunked a
clean-air test. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Friday
announced a stringent new health standard for dangerous microscopic specks
that come from wood fires, diesel exhaust, power plants and chemicals mixing
in the moist winter air.
18, 2004 Fresno Bee.
Drivers to pay $2 to fight
pollution Citizens persuade smog panel to shift gears, OK vehicle fee - -
The public Thursday swayed some reluctant local air board members to levy a $2
fee on the San Joaquin Valley's biggest polluters — vehicles. But the $2
annual fee that supporters call a "no-brainer" still was debated by a few San
Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District board members who last month
<more> Dec. 17, 2004 Fresno Bee.
Alan Lloyd appointed Secretary
of CalEPA - - Governor Schwarzenegger has announced the appointment of
Alan C. Lloyd, current chairman of the California Air Resources Board, as
secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA).
<more> Dec. 17, 2004 Gov. Schwarzenegger
EPA amends methyl bromide phase-out for 2005 critical
uses- - EPA is amending regulations governing the phase-out and allocation
of the ozone-depleting fumigant, methyl bromide (MeBr). Today’s action amends
the MeBr phase-out regulations to allow for an exemption for new production
and import to meet the needs of remaining critical uses, for which there are
currently no technically and economically feasible alternatives. The
amendment will make approximately 35 percent of the United State’s baseline
available for critical uses in 2005. This 35 percent is 8,942 metric tonnes
of the 25,528 metric tonnes used in 1991 and established by international
treaty as the U.S. baseline by which reductions are measured.
<more> Dec. 16, 2004 EPA press release.
Environmentally responsible pest
management practices in almonds to be highlighted at Jan. 6, 2005 Chico
meeting- - A new publication by the University of California
highlighting environmentally responsible pest management practices in almonds
will be discussed Thursday, Jan. 6, 2005 at an almond grower meeting in Chico
sponsored by the University of California Cooperative Extension, the
California Department of Pesticide Regulation and the Almond Board of
<more> Dec. 15, 2004 Almond Board of
California press release
EPA issues final reminder of "Stop Sale" date for Diazinon
Almond growers in the state may face high costs for
hives. - - Call it the plight of the honeybees. U.S. beekeepers say
standby pesticides no longer work against bee-killing mites, and the parasites
are killing the bees needed to pollinate California's 2005 almond crop.
Fresno Bee Dec. 14, 2004.
Farmers continue using
chemical slated for phase-out - - Neil Nagata, a third-generation farmer,
knows his strawberries: the delicate nature of the tangy-sweet, low-lying
fruit, and their proclivity to pests and infections. That's why he left his
160-acre farm in San Diego County in November for Prague, where he went before
a gathering of international scientists and environmentalists to defend methyl
bromide, a pesticide farmers have been relying on for decades to sterilize
soil and clear it of any fungus, weeds, worms or bacteria that could threaten
<more> Associated Press Dec. 8, 2004
Taxpayers may get soaked-
Bay-Delta panel OKs $8 billion plan for water projects- -Taxpayers could
pay more for the water that flows from their taps if Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger and the Legislature approve a spending plan proposed Thursday
by the California Bay-Delta Water Authority. The authority, a coalition that
oversees water projects in the Delta region, approved an $8 billion spending
plan for the next 10 years that shifts half the burden of paying for those
projects to the local communities -- counties, cities and water districts ---
that benefit from the projects.
<more> Dec. 10, 2004 Stockton Record.
Water war front line drawn at
the San Joaquin river. Ag interests seek strategies amid talk of restoration
- - The gloves are off, and the fight for the San Joaquin River is on. In
front of three congressmen and five California lawmakers Thursday, Fresno
Mayor Alan Autry said the San Joaquin Valley must battle to prevent a heavy
economic hit that would result if 15,000 farmers lost irrigation water to
river restoration. "It's more than an ag issue," Autry said. "This is the
midnight hour for water in our Valley."
<more> Dec. 10, 2004 Fresno Bee
Almond industry conference
focuses on environmental stewardship - - Almonds are the leading
agricultural export from California and in this case, bigger is better. The
32nd Almond Industry Conference held December 1-2 at the Modesto Centre Plaza
in Modesto, California highlighted the positive results that an industry of
this size can accomplish. Of particular interest during the two-day event was
the demonstrated leadership role the industry plays in environmental issues.
"Being a large specialty crop makes it all the more important that we continue
to improve our stewardship of the land," stated Chris Heintz, director of
production research and environment at the Almond Board of California (ABC).
"We are proud of our environmental leadership and will continue to stay at the
forefront of these initiatives."
<more> Dec. 9, 2004 Almond Board of
California press release
Putting the Farm Bill to work
for California almond growers - -
California almond growers understand better
than most people the value of practices that conserve natural resources and
protect the environment. They also face an increasing array of environmental
and regulatory challenges from water quality to endangered species. However,
implementing those practices can also be expensive
for growers. Now there is a program that can provide financial assistance to
growers who want support for the additional costs of using environmentally
sound farming practices. <more>
Dec. 8, 2004 Almond Board of California
Valley car dealers sue state
over air emissions standards - - More than a dozen San Joaquin Valley auto
dealers and an alliance of manufacturers filed suit Tuesday in U.S. District
Court in Fresno to block California's implementation of what are being called
the world's toughest vehicle emission standards.
<more> Dec. 8,
2004The Fresno Bee
Governors may push to alter
U.S. law - Endangered Species Act is targeted - - Emboldened by their strong
showing at the polls, conservatives are mounting an effort to change a federal
law that has annoyed them for more than 30 years: the Endangered Species Act.
<more> December 3, 2004 San Diego
32nd annual almond industry
conference kicks off Dec. 1 - - The Almond Board of California invites you
to attend the 32nd Almond Industry Conference, December 1-2 at the Modesto
Centre Plaza in downtown Modesto. Almonds, California’s number one
agricultural export, are critical to the Central Valley. This is the largest
almond-related conference of its kind and attracts industry members throughout
the Valley who together produce more than 85% of the world's supply of
almonds. The conference’s theme, "Strength in Numbers" focuses on the
environmental and food safety challenges in the almond industry, but yet
emphasizes the confidence that the industry can continue to propel itself from
"Good to Great" due to the sheer size of our industry, quality of research,
and effective advertising campaigns. Between Mount Everest climbers, political
leaders, and innovative almond movers and shakers, this is an event not to
Nov. 30, 2004 Almond Board of California press release.
Environmentally responsible pest management practices in almonds to be
highlighted at Dec. 7 Bakersfield meeting- - A new publication by the
University of California highlighting environmentally responsible pest
management practices in almonds will be discussed Tuesday, Dec. 7 at an almond
grower meeting in Bakersfield sponsored by the University of California
Cooperative Extension, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9.
<more> Nov. 30, 2004 Almond Pest Management Alliance press release
pest management guide published for California almond growers- - A guide
to help almond growers make environmentally responsible pest management
decisions year-round without decreasing their yields or increasing their
reject levels has been published by the University of California.
<more> Nov. 30, 2004 Almond Board of California press release.
Almond growers receive record
returns- - Blue Diamond Growers continued its efforts to revoke the laws
of supply and demand Thursday, gathering in Fresno to hear that — despite
another billion-pound crop of almonds in the state — members of the
cooperative had record per-acre returns in 2003 of $2,900.<more>
The Fresno Bee November 19, 2004.
Farmers check pesticide talks
--California farm advocates have Prague on their minds and in their
passports as international negotiators refine the future of methyl bromide.
<More> Nov. 17, 2004 Modesto Bee
Conservative Legal Group Challenges Endangered Species Protection - - A
conservative legal group is threatening to sue the federal government over its
plans to protect four dozen endangered species ranging from Peninsular bighorn
sheep to the tiny robust spineflower.
Nov. 16, 2004 Associated Press
Growers will chip away at
smog - - It was a start-your-engines day in Chester Andrew's almond
orchard near Firebaugh on Wednesday as machinery manufacturers continued to
away at the challenge of disposing of pruned branches. <more> Nov. 11, 2004 Fresno Bee
A cleaner sweep - -
There's a new trend in the designing of agricultural equipment these days -
turning out products that are more environmentally friendly.<more> Nov. 8, 2004 Porterville Record
Phaseout is causing concerns - - Methyl bromide is a chemical fumigant
used to sterilize the soil for field crops like strawberries and to kill
pests on export crops like walnuts and almonds.
It has also
been identified as a contributor to ozone depletion in the atmosphere, so an
international group of more than 180 countries called the Montreal Protocol
is trying to ban its use around the world.
<more> Nov. 6,
2004 Modesto Bee.
DPR announces regulations for
methyl bromide use- - The California Department of Pesticide Regulation
today announced new methyl bromide regulations to limit levels of the fumigant
that may remain in the air for several weeks. These new “seasonal exposure”
rules for methyl bromide are the first in the nation, and they take effect
<more> Nov. 4, 2004 DPR Press Release.
Four Californians named to national air ag quality
advisory group - -Four Californians have been
named by USDA Secretary Ann Veneman to serve on the newly renewed Agricultural
Air Quality Task Force. The California members are Cynthia Cory of California
Farm Bureau Federation, Manuel Cunha of the Nisei Farmers League, Roger Isom
of the California Cotton Ginners & Growers, and Dr. Robert Flocchini of UC
<more> Oct. 22, 2004 USDA Press Release.
cut-the-dust must. Preview of new ag products to be shown next year includes
cleaner system for harvesting almonds- -
Harvesting almonds creates a small dust storm, what with
shaking, blowing and more blowing. But a new harvesting system on display
Thursday at the International Agri-Center can reduce the storm to a mild bath.
Oct. 15, 2004 Bakersfield Californian.
Valley air program given OK
- - A smog control plan approved Friday takes into account a five-year
extension for cleaning up the San Joaquin Valley's air, which ranks among the
worst in the country. The plan, approved by the San Joaquin Valley Air
Pollution Control District board, specifies a cleanup deadline of Nov. 15,
<more> Oct. 11, 2004 Modesto Bee
Clearing the air. Farmers must help decrease dust in valley
- - Ladd Hackler, who farms 20
acres of almonds near Hughson, recently invested $6,000 in a used flail
Mowing is a substitute for discing the soil, Hackler explains. Breaking up
the soil with a disc creates dust, and farmers like Hackler are under the
gun to reduce the amount of dust they create.
<more> Oct. 9, 2004 Modesto Bee
Cal/EPA holds Oct. 12 meeting in
Fresno on Environmental Justice Action Plan - -Cal/EPA has announced a
series of four workshops to discuss what it is calling its Environmental
Justice Action Plan. A Fresno workshop on Tuesday, Oct. 12, will discuss a
pilot project led by the Department of Pesticide Regulation that focuses on
pesticide issues in rural farming communities in the Central Valley.
<more> Oct. 7, 2004 DPR Press Release
Almond growers combat dust
clouds - - Almonds are one of California's most valuable crops, worth $1.5
billion a year. But harvesting them comes with its own high price, an
estimated 11,220 tons of dust.
<more> Oct. 6, 2004 Associated Press
Too Young To Die. Part Two:
Toxic Legacy. Babies born in neighborhoods afflicted by pollution -- from
smog to pesticides -- are more likely to die before their first birthday.
Click here for multi-part investigative article by San Francisco
<more> Oct. 4, 2004 San
Ozone control plans on tap for
Oct. 8 air board meeting- - The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control
District Board will consider the Proposed Ozone State Implementation Plan
(SIP) on Friday, Oct. 8. The ozone control strategy reflects proposals for
new district rules, beyond those included in the 2003 PM10 plan. Of
particular interest to the agriculture community are measures required by
state law to reduce emissions from concentrated animal feeding operations and
open burning. <more> Oct. 4, 2004 CARB notice
Pesticide spray drift bill is
signed by governor - - Pesticide applicators will help pay the medical
bills of Californians sickened by sloppy sprays under a bill signed Thursday
by Gov. Schwarzenegger.
<more> Oct. 1, 2004 Fresno Bee
EPA reminds pesticide retailers
diazinon 'Stop-Sale' date approaching - - EPA has issued a notice to
remind retailers of a Dec. 31, 2004,
stop-sale date for all outdoor diazinon home, lawn and garden products. It
will be unlawful to sell diazinon outdoor non-agricultural use products in the
United States after the end of this year.
Sept. 30, 2004 EPA Press Release
Fumigant leak leads to plant
than a dozen workers at a Coalinga almond-processing plant were taken to
area hospitals Saturday after they were exposed to a fumigant used to
September 26, 2004
CDFA Secretary Kawamura urges
California participation in USDA conservation survey- -
CDFA Secretary A.G.
Kawamura is urging farmers and ranchers to take part in a conservation survey
scheduled for October by the USDA, which will be contacting landowners and
tenants in the state to learn more about land cover, land use and stewardship
practices. The data will be combined with soil and topographic data to
estimate conservation needs. Nationwide, 12,000 farmers and ranchers will be
contacted. 160 of them will be Californians.
Sept. 22, 2004 CDFA Press Release
Senator says changing air
district dangerous - - State Sen. Dean Florez told state commissioners
that he doesn’t want guardians of California’s air to disappear in Gov.
Schwarzenegger’s bureaucracy-busting campaign. The Shafter Democrat
testified Friday at a state hearing in Fresno that a proposal to fold the
California Air Resources Board into a larger agency would be dangerous.
<more> Sept. 21, 2004 Fresno Bee
Mary Ann Warmerdam named
director of Dept of Pesticide Regulation - - Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger has announced the appointment of Mary Ann Warmerdam as
director, Paul Gosselin as chief deputy director, and Mark Rentz as deputy
director of external affairs for the Department of Pesticide Regulation.<more>
Sept. 17, 2004 Gov. Schwarzenegger press release.
U.S. farmers feel almond joy
- - Five years ago, Rick Swanson was ready to
bulldoze his 800 acres of almond trees because prices seemed stuck in a
perpetual rut. These days, Swanson is thankful that he exercised restraint.
Almonds are so hot that California farmers are ripping up apricot orchards
and vineyards to plant almond trees.
Sept. 19, 2004 Chicago Tribune
Environmental award earned by
almond industry - - For a second consecutive year, the Pesticide
Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) of the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) has selected the Almond Board of California as a PESP Champion.
The EPA praised the almond industry for "its steadfast commitment to reducing
the impact of agricultural pesticides and its willingness to take a leadership
role in developing and facilitating sustainable agriculture techniques and
<more> Sept. 17, 2004 Almond Board of
California press release
Fight surfaces in salmon ruling
- - Orange Cove Mayor Victor Lopez rallied Wednesday for a war against a
court ruling that he fears will take water from farmers and jobs from Central
California to restore salmon in the San Joaquin River.
<more> Sept. 16, 2004, Fresno Bee
Valley residents wonder if
judge's water decision will alter landscape- - Many people in the Central
Valley believe a federal judge's ruling last week to resolve one of
California's longest-running water battles is only one step in a long
disagreement about the best use for one of the state's most important
<more> Sept. 2, 2004 Associated Press
Florez's bill to aid
pesticide victims heads to governor - - A Kern County lawmaker's bill to
help pay medical bills of pesticide drift victims has made its way to Gov.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk. The measure by State Sen. Dean Florez,
D-Shafter, narrowly passed the Assembly and the Senate before the Legislature
adjourned for the year early Saturday morning.
<more> Aug. 30, 2004 Bakersfield Californian
Friant Dam ruled illegal - -
In a historic ruling, a Sacramento
U.S. District Court judge Friday decided the federal government violated the
law more than half a century ago when it built Friant Dam on the San Joaquin
River and destroyed two salmon runs.<more>
Aug. 28, 2004 Fresno Bee
Revision of endangered species
laws could give states more control - - Rep. Richard Pombo is
considering a push to reform the U.S. Endangered Species Act by giving state
governments more control over how the law is enforced, the Tracy Republican
Aug. 26, 2004 Stockton Record
A new take on harvest
technology- - A new approach to almond harvesting developed by Exact
Harvesting Systems will again take to the fields this fall in a commercial
harvesting regime. The company emphasized that the new design focuses on
reducing the amount of dust generated by almond harvesting.
July/Aug 2004 Almond Facts magazine.
Another harvest, another record? - -
The nuts haven't been counted
yet, but Kern County almond growers are harvesting what they expect will be a
third year of record yields.
<more> Aug. 24, 2004 Bakersfield Californian
Clean-air program consensus
reached - - Officials in Gov. Schwarzenegger's administration and leaders
of agricultural and environmental groups have agreed on a plan that could
generate $90 million for clean-air programs and give farmers access to state
money to revamp dirty diesel engines.
<more> Aug. 24, 2004 Fresno Bee
Farmers show off water quality
innovations - - Nearly 30 federal and state officials toured an
experimental west Fresno County farm Tuesday where thousands of gallons of
irrigation water are being recycled to grow a variety of crops. The tour of
John Diener's Red Rock Ranch was part of a daylong look at innovative farming
practices in the state. The California Department of Food and Agriculture
organized the tour.<more>
Aug. 18, 2004, Fresno Bee.
Kern land designated to protect
endangered shrew - - Federal officials Monday identified five parcels of
land in Kern County as essential to the survival of the endangered Buena Vista
Lake shrew, a mouse-like insect eater that survives only in Kern County. The
proposal, when finalized, means activities on 4,649 acres in five locations in
the county that use federal funds in any way must not impair habitat for the
<more> Aug. 17, 2004 Bakersfield Californian
Farmers air woes at Fresno summit - - Farmers and industry leaders
Friday provided an earful of advice and a heap of frustration to state and
federal lawmakers at a Fresno summit aimed at finding solutions to tightened
14, 2004 Fresno Bee
New map shows habitat of endangered tiger salamanders- -
thousands of acres in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin and Santa Clara
counties would be designated critical habitat for the California tiger
salamander under proposed rules released Tuesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
11, 2004 Oakland Tribune
shipments of California almonds exceed one billion pounds - - Demand
for California almonds, in nearly 90 countries throughout the world, elevated
shipments to a record 1.024 billion pounds for the 2003/04 crop year which
concluded July 31, 2004. Today's release of the Almond Board of California's
year-end position report, an account of all receipts and shipments transacted
by handlers during the previous twelve months, confirmed - for a fifth
consecutive year - record increases in shipments in both domestic and export
<more> Almond Board of California
Ranchers gain habitat exemptions
- - The Bush administration is giving Central Valley ranchers freer rein
as officials seek to protect the threatened California tiger salamander. The
valley's ranchers aren't unique. In other Western states, too, the Fish and
Wildlife Service is applying what ranchers consider a reasonable compromise
and environmentalists call a legal loophole.
Aug. 5, 2004 Modesto Bee
State bid to simplify
rules on pesticides is drawing protests- - California's pesticide regulations often duplicate federal rules, slowing the
introduction of new pest controls without doing much to protect public health
or the environment, says a sweeping government reorganization plan reviewed by
The Associated Press.
<more> Aug, 2, 2004 Associated Press
EPA awards largest-ever
grant to study health effects of air pollution - - Administrator Mike
Leavitt today awarded the University of Washington a $30 million grant to
study the connection between air pollution and cardiovascular disease. The
grant is the largest ever awarded by the EPA for scientific research, and will
contribute to a better understanding of the long-term health effects of
breathing air contaminated by particulate matter and other pollutants.
EPA press release July 29, 2004
U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, NOAA Fisheries issue regulations to improve Endangered Species
consultation process for pest control products - - The U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries today finalized new regulations
establishing for the first time a more efficient approach to ensure protection
of threatened and endangered species as part of the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency's approval process for pest control products. The
regulations were developed following a comprehensive scientific review of
EPA's risk assessment methodology.
<more> July 29, 2004 U.S. Interior Department Press Release
Sweeping up almond dust - -
The best equipment manufacturer to come up
with a way to reduce dust clouds in almond orchards might be a group of
farmers. A group of growers from the San Joaquin Valley has developed
harvesting equipment that’s proving to reduce dust pollution in the region,
known to have some of the dirtiest air in the nation.
<more> July 23, 2004 Capital Press
Farm engine replacement program gets funded in new state
budget - - Funding for a program that helps
farmers replace inefficient combustion engines has been provided for in the
state budget agreement between Gov. Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders.
July 28, 2004
Tiger Salamander Gets Big Attention
- - The California tiger salamander gained an ally Monday from the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but the amphibian's list of friends in Merced
County still remains short.
<more> July 27, 2004 Merced Sun-Star
House Republicans want out of
treaty banning methyl bromide - -
House Republicans want to make sure American farmers can continue using
methyl bromide as a pesticide on crops, despite a nearly two-decade-old
international environmental treaty.
July 22, 2004 Associated Press
Farm Bureau official notes
importance of methyl bromide - - The continued availability of methyl
bromide as a crop protection tool is essential for farmers who produce a
number of important food crops, the American Farm Bureau Federation told
Congress earlier this week.
<more> July 22, 2004 American Farm
Bureau Federation press release.
Cardoza critical habitat bill passes House Resources Committee - - Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced, today praised the Resources Committee’s passage of his “Critical Habitat Reform Act of 2004.” The bipartisan legislation would improve methods employed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to designate a species’ critical habitat. <more> July 21, 2004 Rep. Dennis Cardoza Press Release
Conservation tillage conference
explores air, water and soil benefits - -
The focus of the University of California’s annual Conservation Tillage Conference, Sept. 8 and 9 at the UC Westside Research and Extension Center near Five Points, integrates the farmers’ bottom line with preservation of California’s natural resources.<more> University of California press release July 20, 2004.
Group sues over pesticides in
canals. Suit claims agency ignoring guidelines- - A
Stockton-based environmental group has sued a state agency in
charge of controlling water pollution, claiming that the agency has
failed to follow its own guidelines when it passed rules that control
how pesticides can be sprayed into water-supply canals.<more> July 15, 2004 Stockton Record
Funding aims to combat ag
pests- - An agriculture appropriations
bill approved by the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday is expected to pour
millions into the battle against pests and diseases that threaten Central
<more> Bakersfield Californian July 14,
Madera almond growers see dust controls as big
challenge - - Grower Alex Lehman, who
has replaced 120 acres of grapes on his Madera farm with mostly almonds, said
controls on dust in almond orchards are going to be among the biggest
challenges facing that industry. "It's going to cost almond growers a
substantial amount of money to refine machinery to cut down dust, and it may
put some out of business," Lehman said. <more>
The Fresno Bee July 14, 2004.
sets up network to detect ag pests. Volunteers trained to look for diseases
and insects - -
Whether bioterrorists plant them there or they arrive accidentally, the
results are not pretty when pests and diseases spread through the farms that
are key to the nation's food supply.
Fresno Bee, July 13, 2004
Air quality challenges met by Valley almond growers
- - Almond growers in the San Joaquin Valley are
adopting environmentally friendly practices as they work to enhance air
quality. Fresno County grower Tom Steffen uses a mix of molasses and water
to suppress dust on his orchard's road.
Click here (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) to read more
about how almond
growers are meeting the challenge of
improving air quality. Almond Board of California newsletter July 9, 2004
Polluted waters trigger
call for change- - With more than a
third of California's waters officially categorized as polluted — bodies as
varied as Lake Tahoe and San Diego Bay — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is under
mounting pressure to overhaul the state's system of regulating the waste
flushed from factories, farms and towns.
<more> L.A. Times July 4, 2004
violates new EPA standard for particles in air - - The U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday another new air health
standard that the San Joaquin Valley flunks.<more>
Fresno Bee, June 30, 2004
Nation's richest farming
counties brace for new air quality rules - - Along Highway 99 through the San
Joaquin Valley heartland of California, farmers and dairy operators are
finding themselves in a role once considered unthinkable - enlisted in an
increasingly urban region's war on air pollution.
Associated Press, June 30, 2004.
Riverdale almond growers
featured in national air quality magazine - - Riverdale almond growers Jean and Dan Errotabere are
among four featured case studies in a national conservation magazine this
month focusing on air quality challenges in the San Joaquin Valley. To
download a copy of the article,
click here (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
Pesticide pollution up 34%
Valley falls short of state's reduction target, but no restrictions are
planned. Smog-making gases from pesticides
spiked a startling 34% in the San Joaquin Valley, triggering a state
evaluation of the agricultural chemicals used in the nation's most
productive farm belt.
Fresno Bee Wednesday, June 16, 2004.
Air bill clears early hurdle. But Florez is told it emphasizes agriculture
-- A $5.2 billion clean-air bond measure survived its first legislative
battle Monday after Sen. Dean Florez agreed to open it to the interests of
Bee Capitol Bureau Tuesday, June 15, 2004
New regulations to prevent
groundwater contamination - - The California
Department of Pesticide Regulation has adopted new regulations to prevent
ground water contamination, advancing an environmental initiative that began
nearly 20 years ago.
<more> California Dept. of Pesticide
regulation press release June 4, 2004
Farmers vent frustrations over
air rules - - Some San Joaquin Valley farmers and ranchers expressed
frustration at last week's air quality workshops, saying that new
regulations are "ridiculous."
Ag Alert, June 2, 2004
Dust-up over air rules
continues - - When a new air quality rule starts forcing San Joaquin
Valley growers to hold down dust plumes in July, nobody will check farmland
pollution monitors for improvement. There are no farmland monitors.
THE FRESNO BEE June 1, 2004
Valley dairy leaders sue air
pollution district . Farmers say operating permits not yet necessary -- A clean-air law calling for dairy owners to obtain permits has
sparked a legal battle over when the new rules will begin. Dairy leaders on
Thursday sued the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District seeking
to stop the district from requiring owners of large dairies to apply for
permits by July 1. <more> Bee Capitol Bureau Friday, May 28, 2004
Workers: Pesticide bill
not protective enough - - Farmworkers and residents in Kern County are not content with recently
introduced state legislation that would help them pay for medical care if a
pesticide drift poisons them.
Californian Thursday May 27th, 2004
Government sued over air
cleanup Activists say the PM 10 anti-pollution plan is full of problems - -
Activists sued the federal
government Wednesday over the San Joaquin Valley's new plan to clean up
airborne specks of dust, soot and chemicals, saying the effort is riddled
<more> The Fresno Bee Thursday, May 27,
Half-Million Dollar Budget
Approved for Environmental Issues Facing Almond Industry - -
The Almond Board of
California has approved nearly $500,000 for research programs dealing with a
broad range of environmental issues facing the California almond industry.
Almond Board press release, May 26, 2004
120 rally to support pesticide
fund bill. Some ag-spray reps say Florez's measure looks needlessly
complicated -- When farmworker Antonio Guzman heads into the fields, the possibility that
pesticides could make him sick lingers in the back of his mind.
Bee Capitol Bureau Wednesday, May 26,
Farmers gather to discuss ways
to comply with law, keep down dust - - Farmers have been given one month and 100 ways to
beat down the dust that comes from their farms, but even as dozens of them
gathered in the first of a series of workshops to discuss their options,
environmental advocates say the proposed methods will do little to clean the
<more> The Associated Press Tuesday, May
Farm dust control rule OK'd -
- About 8,000 farmers will get a crash course in air pollution
control over the next five weeks as the nation's biggest agricultural belt
comes up with unprecedented plans to hold down dust. <more> The Fresno Bee May 21, 2004
Air quality workshops will
assist almond growers with meeting new regulations- - -Workshops will be
held in late May and early June to assist almond growers with new air
quality reporting and permitting requirements. The workshops are scheduled
throughout the San Joaquin Valley from May 25 through June 10, and focus on
rules for complying with on-farm practices for dust management, and new
permitting requirements triggered by last year's passage of Senate Bill 700.
These workshops will help growers determine if their operations fall under
pending air quality regulations and cover what growers must do by July 1,
2004 to remain in compliance with state law.
<more> (Almond Board of California Press Release May 20, 2004
Air-quality studies overstate
farm effects, researcher says -- Air-quality officials today will discuss more than 100 ways to hold down
farm dust, but a federal researcher in Texas suggests agriculture is getting
a bad rap for such pollution. Federal air-sampling equipment has overstated
the amount of pollution in agricultural dust, says engineer Michael Buser of
the Agriculture Research Service in Lubbock, Texas.
<more> The Fresno Bee Thursday, May 20, 2004
New ag burn plan good for
farmers, air - -
the first day of a new agriculture burning program that air pollution
officials say will benefit farmers and air quality in the San Joaquin
Modesto Bee May 19, 2004
Farmers could get tax help on
water Legislation would encourage conservation by Valley agriculture
Central Valley farmers hope their patience will pay off as Congress weighs a
long-sought tax credit to encourage water conservation.
<more> Bee Washington Bureau Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Farmers seek help to clean
Valley air. State fund could aid in switch to engines that pollute less
-- Nearly 800 San Joaquin Valley farmers have used Carl Moyer
Program money to refurbish or replace 1,500 pollution-spewing agriculture
The Fresno Bee Tuesday, May 4, 2004
EPA approves Valley plan to clean up
air. But environmentalists say 'delay' will prompt another legal battle - -
The federal government Thursday approved a San Joaquin Valley plan to
clear the air of dangerous dust, soot and chemical particles -- seven years
after local authorities first submitted such a plan.
The Fresno Bee Friday, April 30, 2004
Revised ag burn rules set to
begin: New system aimed at both aiding farmers, curbing pollution of air in
valley- - A new burn management program
designed to aid farmers while reducing harmful smoke is set to begin
valley-wide operations on May 18.
Bakersfield Californian, Tuesday April 27, 2004
California farmers struggling
with new regs on runoff pollution - -Thousands of confused California growers have failed to comply
with new state regulations monitoring water pollution from farms. Regulators,
however, are unsure of how to enforce the rules, which environmentalists
consider too lax and are challenging them in court.
<more> Associated Press, April 28, 2004
A Burning Issue - -
Time’s running out on open-air burning as an option for
growers looking to get rid of downed trees or piles of prunings. General
burning phases out July 1, 2005. Burning orchard removals ends July 1, 2007;
and harvested prunings cannot be burned after July 1, 2010. With these
deadlines approaching, interest in finding viable alternatives has spawned a
variety of new equipment and services to answer the question, “What do we do
with thousands of tons of orchard waste each year?”
<more> March/April edition of Almond Facts
It's official: Valley has
nation's worst smog Region must meet new, stricter standard by 2013 - -
A new federal rule announced Thursday means
the San Joaquin Valley is now officially recognized as having the worst smog
in America. The Environmental Protection Agency announced it will begin
enforcing an eight-hour measuring standard for ozone pollution, and the valley
violates that standard more often than any other U.S. region. The valley
recorded 134 days over the standard last year, compared to 120 days for the
Los Angeles basin. The announcement Thursday classifies the San Joaquin Valley
as a "serious" nonattainment area under the new eight-hour standard and sets a
2013 deadline to meet the standard.
Bakersfield Californian Thursday April 15, 2004
Valley now has worst air in
nation L.A. loses distinction as EPA enforces tougher smog rules - - The
San Joaquin Valley today will become the worst air basin in the country as
federal officials enforce a more stringent health standard for smog. The
Valley will replace Los Angeles, the nation's smog king for several decades
under the old standard. Local air officials expect the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency to set a deadline of 2013 today for a Valley cleanup. <more> The Fresno Bee Thursday, April 15, 2004
Rapid growth continues in valley
- - Census Bureau estimates released Thursday show the Valley's growth
trend continuing, with eight counties in and around the Central Valley
dominating the top 10 list of California counties with the fastest growth
rates from July 1, 2002, to July 1, 2003.
<more> Modesto Bee, April 9, 2004
EPA agrees to lower smog rating
for Valley - - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday
agreed to downgrade the San Joaquin Valley's smog rating, putting it into an
unhealthy air category previously held only by Los Angeles. <more> The Fresno Bee April 9, 2004
Don't make yourself an "April
Fool" with pesticides - - A Placer County man was spraying his yard with
the insecticide diazinon when he stopped for a chew of tobacco, placing the
wad into his mouth with an unwashed hand. He began vomiting, salivating, and
experienced shortness of breath.
For more stories of consumer pesticide mis-use, click
here for more. DPR press release, April 5, 2004.
California almond growers vote
overwhelmingly to continue marketing order- - -
On April 2, 2004, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that almond
growers in California voted to continue their federal marketing order program,
administered by the Almond Board of California (ABC). According to the USDA's
Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), "93.77 percent of all growers voting and
89.14 percent of the volume of production represented by those growers voting
Board of California Press Release, April 5, 2004, Modesto, CA)
Almond growers demonstrate
commitment to water quality: Yolo, Stanislaus almond growers
show innovation in dealing with runoff issues - - Native shrubs, grasses and
trees cut a riparian swath through Drew Scofield’s Dunnigan, California almond
orchard, creating a vegetative oasis where once a barren ravine swept away mud
and silt with every rain. Flanked on both sides by Nonpareil and Carmel almonds,
the greenbelt provides habitat for wildlife such as hawks, quail and pheasants.
But more importantly it acts as filter for the sediment that once ran off of
Scofield’s property into Petroleum Creek on its way to the Sacramento River.
<more> Special to the Almond Board of
California April 1, 2004
in harvest dust reduction - -
For growers who have for decades accepted dust as a fact of life during harvest,
current environmental community and media criticisms of dust plumes rising from
orchards during harvest operations seem unfair and overblown. Especially in
light of the efforts being made by many growers and equipment manufacturers to
minimize dust generation during the critical few weeks of almond harvest.<more>
edition of Blue Diamond Growers' Almond Facts magazine.)
Ecological Risk Assessment
Review for Endangered Species - -
On March 2, EPA held a public meeting to
discuss their risk assessment process with regard to endangered species. As
part of the process of developing the counterpart regulations, the Fish and
Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (Services) have
reviewed and signed off that EPA’s risk assessment process is appropriate and
uses the best available science. However, they have also made recommendations
for some changes to EPA’s current assessment process.
<more> April 2, 2004
Growers scramble to comply with
water waiver deadline - - Thousands of California growers are working to
meet a Thursday, April 1, deadline to deal with the problem of pollution from
water running off irrigated land. But it's believed that thousands of other
growers are not responding to the new state rules. Some confusion hangs over the
application of the new regulations, put in place by the Central Valley Regional
Water Quality Control Board, say farmers and members of the board's staff.
<more> The Fresno Bee , Friday, March 26,
U.S. pushes to boost use of
ozone-damaging fumigant - -
U.S. fruit growers in
Montreal this week will push for an increase in their use of a pesticide known
to destroy the ozone layer, claiming that exemptions for developing nations on
the chemical are unfair.
March 24, 2004
DPR orders reevaluation on
chlorpyrifos - - The California Department of Pesticide
Regulation (CDPR) will reevaluate agricultural use of the insecticide
chlorpyrifos to prevent contamination of the state's surface waters.
Agricultural uses of chlorpyrifos have been identified as the principal source
of chlorpyrifos in the San Joaquin and Merced Rivers, and the Sacramento/San
<more> Source: DPR, March 24, 2004
EPA Launches New Water Website - - The EPA’s Office
of Water has announced the opening of a new website providing information about
the water program strategic plan and supporting materials (www.epa.gov/water/waterplan).
This is a convenient, one stop access point to the new EPA Strategic Plan, the draft National water program guidance document, Water Subobjective Implementation Plans and Regional Plans from each EPA region. Source: EPA March 24, 2004
Valley's bad air defies cleanup
authority who studies air quality around the globe says the San Joaquin Valley's
murky air needs a custom-made fix because current cleanup tactics are not
<more> The Fresno Bee March 19, 2004
Pesticide pollution cuts argued.
Environmental activists threaten to sue over voluntary reduction efforts - -
Activists are threatening to sue the state over
the voluntary cleanup of pesticide air pollution, contending the idea failed
years ago in the smoggy San Joaquin Valley. Even though the voluntary program
has hit the target in recent years, it missed most interim goals along the way
dating back to the mid-1990s, activists said. They claim state air officials
committed to replace the voluntary effort with regulations if any interim goals
<more> The Fresno Bee Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Almond farmers lead
as environmental stewards - - As California’s population continues to escalate, and the number of vehicles
on the state’s roadways reaches an all-time high, concern about air quality
increases with more pressure put on farmers and ranchers to make changes in
their everyday operations.
<more> California Country Magazine March/April 2004
Conditional discharge waiver
brochure available - - A brochure providing information for growers who are
affected by the new conditional waiver for irrigated farmland has been published
and is available from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. <more> March 5, 2004 Central Valley regional Water Quality Control
U.S. seeks to add ozone-treaty
exemptions - - The United States is seeking to make more American farmers
and industries exempt from a treaty that will ban methyl bromide, a popular
pesticide that damages the earth's protective ozone layer, Bush administration
New York Times Thursday, March 4, 2004
Almond Stewardship Plan
Begins - - The Almond Board of California's (ABC) Environmental
Committee has begun a program to increase awareness and understanding of
environmental issues affecting California's billion dollar almond industry.
California provides 80% of the world's almond supply.
<more> California Farmer March 1, 2004
Lawsuit challenges state's farm runoff decision
- - SACRAMENTO (AP) -
Environmental groups sued state and Central Valley water regulators Thursday,
challenging a decision that extends controversial waivers that let farms
pollute waterways but requires new monitoring of water quality.
<more> Thursday, February 26
Ag burning alternative aim of
bill -- Lawmaker wants to help farmers -- Assembly Member Dave
Cogdill wants to expand a bill that would help farmers find affordable
alternatives to agricultural burning. The Modesto Republican met Wednesday
with about 30 agriculture, energy, air and waste management officials intent
on helping farmers with the expensive prospect of phasing out open-field
burning by 2010. <more> Sacramento Bee, February 26, 2004.
Pesticide-linked illnesses up in 2002, says DPR -- The California Department of Pesticide Regulation today released its 2002 summary of pesticide illness information. DPR investigated 1,859 potential cases of pesticide illness in 2002, compared to 979 cases in 2001. Pesticides were found to be at least a possible factor in 1,316 cases in 2002, compared to 616 cases the previous year. (Each case represents a person.) <more> Department of Pesticide Regulation press release Feb. 26, 2004
coverage Feb. 27, 2004
Dormant Spray Rules drafted,
posted to DPR website - - Concerns about pesticide runoff from winter
pesticide applications have prompted the California Department of pesticide
regulation to draft language for new dormant season pesticide spray
regulations. Those new proposed regulations are now available on the DPR website
www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/ds/index.htm (Dept. of
Pesticide Regulation, Feb. 19, 2004)
Burn ag waste! No,
chip it! No, burn it! No, chip it! No ... - -
A lot of press has
been given lately to burning agricultural waste. Usually the writer is of the
opinion that since we all suffer from the effects of bad air quality, then
farmers should have stiffer burning restrictions. Writers are quick to offer
alternatives, such as shredding, chipping or just leaving prunings in the field.
<more> Modesto Bee, Feb. 10, 2004
Burning Wood Better for Environment
- - If all wood
burning were stopped, our air quality would get worse, not better. Burning wood is natural and good for our environment and is an
important part of the cycle of life on Earth. The article ("Burning
deadline puts ag in bind," front page, Jan. 19) reported that farm burning
of 1.1 million tons of ag wood in the valley accounts for 10 tons of
particle pollution daily and about 12 tons of smog-making gases.
Modesto Bee, Jan. 30, 2004
Valley PM10 plan
gets tentative EPA OK - -
gave tentative approval Wednesday to a new cleanup plan for dust, soot and other
small particles in the San Joaquin Valley's air. But an environmental law group
quickly threatened to sue -- again -- if the approval is made final.
<more> The Fresno Bee Thursday, January 29,
Farmers' runoff targeted: Water board hopes plan will help lessen toxic water
pollution - - SACRAMENTO -- The state's top water pollution cops signed
off on a program Thursday that would for the first time require Central Valley
farmers to pay attention to toxic water pollution that may drain from their
Stockton Record January 23, 2004
Farmers do a slow burn - -
The clock is ticking for growers
who rely on cheap open-field burning to dispose of prunings and uprooted
orchards from millions of acres in the San Joaquin Valley. The state will
phase out agricultural waste burning beginning in June 2005 under a new law
designed to help clean Valley air, which is among the most lung-damaging in
<more> The Fresno Bee
January 18, 2004
EQIP funding deadline
looming for farmers - - The deadline
looms for an incentives program designed to make it easier for farmers to be
gentler on the environment. It’s called the Environmental Quality Incentives
Program, and it’s all about taking a financial load off farmers who want to
invest in responsible farming.
<more> Merced Sun-Star January 12, 2004
DeltaKeeper sues state over pesticide--The Stockton-based environmental group DeltaKeeper and an anti-pesticide group sued the state last week, charging the Department of Pesticide Regulation has acted illegally by ignoring problems caused by a popular pesticide. <more> The Stockton Record Monday, Dec. 8, 2003