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Posts Tagged: nitrate

Some farmers won't suffer due to drought

USDA has designated 1,692 counties as locations of 'drought disaster incidents' in 2012.
National Public Radio's Planet Money pointed out that many U.S. farmers who are losing their crops due to drought won't suffer financially because they have government-subsidized crop insurance.

U.S. taxpayers spend about $7 billion a year on crop insurance, the story said.

Daniel Sumner, director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center and professor in the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics at UC Davis, said he isn't in favor of the government giving farmers subsidies.

Ski resorts suffered last winter when there wasn't a lot of snow. The government doesn't say, "Sorry you didn't have a lot of skiers. Here's a check," Sumner said.

Valley farmers wary of new water rules
Mark Grossi, The Fresno Bee

A UC study released in March says 96 percent of the Central Valley's groundwater contamination problem comes from agriculture, and it threatens the drinking water of 250,000 valley residents. The study suggests better monitoring and management of fertilizers are needed to ease the problem. By using only the amount of fertilizer needed by plants, the nitrates would be controlled. Leaders of water-user groups say farmers already aim for that goal and have become far more efficient. Yet, the state assumes all farmers are discharging to the groundwater, said David Orth, general manager of the Kings River Conservation District and coordinator of a coalition representing farmers in the four-county area. "In other words, everybody is guilty until they prove themselves to be innocent," he said.

Experts: Rinds one reason for salmonella-infected cantaloupe
Scott Kanowsky, WBEZ 91.5

Cantaloupe rinds could be one reason behind a recent salmonella outbreak linked to the fruit. "It's much easier to scrub the surface of a honeydew melon than it is to scrub the surface of a cantaloupe and actually remove microorganisms that are on the surface,” said Linda Harris, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis.

Posted on Friday, August 24, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Milk prices going up; nitrate report gets more coverage

A story about USDA milk production forecasts for 2012 and 2013 included commentary from Leslie "Bees" Butler, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics as UC Davis.

Rising feed prices have caused some producers to sell cows rather than bear the expense of feeding them. Another option is to slaughter cows. Dairies have been doing that a lot -- to the chagrin of glut-wary beef producers -- since 2009 when the all milk price dropped to as low as $11.30 per hundred pounds, the story said.

A strong dollar at the time made foreign goods cheaper and domestically produced goods more expensive, Butler told reporter Courtenay Edelhart. That dried up the export market for American milk and led to oversupply at home that still hasn't been entirely corrected, he said.

Water agency urges farmers to test ground water for contamination
KTVU.com

Landmark new rules adopted by the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board will require farmers to test ground water for nitrate contamination and report their fertilizer usage, according to the KTVU report.

The story mentioned that a recent UC Davis study showed 254,000 people in the Tulare Lake Basin and Salinas Valley were at risk of drinking water contaminated with nitrates, much of which came from fertilizer.

Posted on Friday, July 20, 2012 at 10:26 AM

San Joaquin Valley residents learn more about groundwater nitrate problem

UC Cooperative Extension advisor Richard Smith is one of many UC scientists conducting research to mitigate California groundwater nitrate contamination.
Pamela Creedon, executive officer of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, said the state of California failed to protect San Joaquin Valley residents' drinking water from fertilizer, dairy and septic contamination, according to a report in the Fresno Bee by Mark Grossi.

Creedon spoke yesterday at a conference arranged by Fresno State's International Center for Water Technology. Also on the panel was Thomas Harter, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources at UC Davis, who described his recently released research report on nitrates in Tulare Lake Basin and Salinas Valley groundwater.

The conference featured panels and speakers on many of California's water issues, including underground water banking and Southern California's quest for new water sources, Grossi reported. However, no issue was bigger than Harter's study, he said.

Earlier Thursday, Harter and his research team presented details of the report to an audience of about 150 at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Two local television stations, ABC affiliate Channel 30 and CBS affiliate Channel 47, provided their viewers with live reports from the scene.

Posted on Friday, May 4, 2012 at 8:27 AM

Pump-and-fertilize a potential solution to groundwater nitrate

Many farmers factor in the nitrates from their wells when they calculate fertilizer applications.
Pumping up water contaminated with nitrate and using it to fertilize crops is one way the agriculture industry can deal with the groundwater contamination detailed in a UC Davis report released last week, reported Mark Grossi in the Fresno Bee.

By itself, pump-and-fertilize won't be enough, said Thomas Harter, the lead author of the report, Addressing Nitrate in California's Drinking Water. It won't work in areas where there is too much salt in the groundwater, for example. Also, more fresh water must be allowed to seep into the underground aquifer. The fresh water will replace the tainted water and refill underground areas that have been overpumped in the past.

Dare to be different: Think beyond tomatoes, peppers
Laura Christman, Redding Record-Searchlight

When planning a summer garden, try some unusual vegetables, like heat-tolerant greens and odd tubers, the article suggests.

"Most people love tomatoes and a good sweet pepper, but that's not the be-all, end-all of summer nutritional health," said Sean Kriletich, a gardening expert with University of California Cooperative Extension Sierra Central.

Mixing things up in the garden yields different flavors, more nutrition, additional colors, textures and beneficial insects.

Posted on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 9:16 AM

Nitrate report covered extensively in news media

A report released March 13 by UC Davis, "Addressing Nitrate in California Drinking Water," is being covered by a wide variety of media outlets. Following are links to the stories:

Drinking water risk in the Central Valley
KGET - TV, Bakersfield

Canella statement on report about nitrates in drinking water
Sen. Anthony Canella, The Merced Sun-Star

Project assesses management of nitrate on farms
Kate Campbell, AgAlert

UC nitrate report prompts calls for action
Central Valley Business Times

Nitrate pollution beginning to affect Salinas water quality
Larry Parsons, The Monterey County Herald

Nitrates in California drinking water, study finds
Peter Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle

Groundwater nitate contamination grows in California farm areas
Bettina Boxall, The Los Angeles Times

Study: Drinking water at risk from California agriculture
Donna Jones, The San Jose Mercury News

Widespread nitrate contamination reported
United Press International

UC study: Cropland threatens drinking water for 250,000 in Valley
Mark Grossi, The Fresno Bee
(Also in the Sacramento Bee and Modesto Bee)

Report: Calif. nitrate contamination spreading
Gosia Wozniacka, Associated Press

Study Cites Risk For Farm Belt Drinking Water
Sasha Kocha, The California Report

Viewpoints: Risks, costs will rise from contamination of drinking water
Thomas Harter and Jay Lund, UC Davis, The Sacramento Bee
(Also in the Modesto Bee)

Farming communities facing crisis over nitrate pollution, study says
Stett Holbrook, Food & Environment Reporting Network, MSNBC

Report: Nitrate from Fertilizer Polluting Drinking Water in Ag Regions
Lon Abbott, Public News Service

Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 10:55 AM

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