Climate change reports don't panic Kings County farmers

Apr 17, 2009

Reports about climate change in the current issue of California Agriculture journal are taken with a brave face by Kings County farmers and officials, according to a story published in the Hanford Sentinel. Reporter Sean Nidever provided highlights in the newspaper of the research presented in the UC ANR's 50-page publication titled "'Unequivocal' How climate change will transform California."

Despite the fact that Nidever reported that the county's agricultural industry could face "tough times," Kings County farmers and agricultural officials "declined to panic," the story said.

"Really all that we can say is that farmers would have to adapt, like with any other issue," the article quoted Diana Peck, Kings County Farm Bureau executive director.

One result of climate change predicted in the journal is that more precipitation will fall in California as rain, overwhelming reservoirs and forcing water to be released at times when agriculture can't use it. At least two local growers said that makes a good case for building more reservoir capacity.

"If their projections are correct and the climate is indeed warming, then this report makes the best argument I know of in favor of building water storage, reducing regulatory barriers on agriculture and investing in genetic technology," dairy operator Dino Giacomazzi told the reporter.

Nidever also wrote a separate article, published yesterday, that touched on another issue raised in the journal, dairy greenhouse-gas emissions. The reporter apparently spoke to the journal article's author, UC Davis Cooperative Extension livestock air quality specialist Frank Mitloehner, who told him dairies will soon face regulation for greenhouse gases under California's landmark greenhouse gas reduction law passed in 2006. 

Possible solutions to the dairy air emission problem presented in the Sentinel article are the development of specially engineered food and probiotics that will reduce the amount of methane cows belch and capturing dairy cow emissions to generate energy.

By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist