The Redding Appeal Democrat reported in December that the ranks of U.S. farmers is dwindling. Said Sutter County almond grower Mat Conant, "Pretty soon we'll be such a small minority nobody will listen to us."
Fewer farmers means there are fewer lawmakers with first-hand knowledge of agricultural production.
"You can go to Washington, D.C., and talk about agriculture, but it doesn't have the same impact if you practically experience it," said Christopher Greer, UC Cooperative Extension director for Yuba and Sutter counties.
Lawmakers, like the people they represent, can be lulled into believing that America will always benefit from food costs significantly lower than in Europe, Greer added.
"Everyone gets a little complacent," Greer said. "We expect food to be available at a fairly reasonable price."
Historical Society presents a 'Centennial Celebration'
(Eureka and North Coast) Times-Standard
A meeting at the historical society on Jan. 5 began a year-long celebration of three Humboldt County agricultural organizations that are celebrating 100 years of service in the community: the University of California Cooperative Extension, Humboldt County 4-H Clubs and the Humboldt County Farm Bureau.
Speakers at the event, including Yana Valachovic, UCCE director in Humboldt County, were slated to highlight the roles of each of these organizations in working with youth, commodity producers and the community over the last 100 years. Many events and presentations throughout 2013 will celebrate the local agricultural community.
Far West High Cotton winner committed to finding better ways
Harry Cline, Western Farm Press
Third-generation Merced County farmer Chad Crivelli received this year's Farm Press/Cotton Foundation High Cotton Award for the Western States.
Pete Goodell, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in integrated pest management, was quoted in the Western Farm Press article announcing Crivelli's award.
"Chad meets with people during field trips to share the story about sustainable cotton," Goodell said. "He is a great spokesperson for urban folks who don’t understand what’s going on in cotton industry. He represents the cotton industry incredibly well, and the High Cotton Award is a well-deserved honor for Chad."
Crop issues test Coachella Valley vegetable producers
Cary Blake, Western Farm Press
Jose Aguiar, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Riverside County, recounted a surprising problem with Coachella Valley peppers in 2012 at the recent Desert Crops Workshop in El Centro.
“This problem threw us for a loop,” Aguiar said. “The bell pepper had a silvering appearance on the fruit exterior. It was not found inside the fruit. It was strictly a cosmetic issue.”
Riverside County is the largest bell pepper producer in California. The Coachella Valley has about 5,000 acres of bell peppers with a farm gate value of about $90 million.
UCCE advisor Richard Smith of Monterey County has found a similar problem in red pepper fields in the Salinas Valley. After testing, Smith’s first guess is the problem could be caused by the fruit rubbing against a branch. There are no holes in the fruit which eliminates the idea of insect damage.
Victor Gibeault, UC Cooperative Extension specialist emeritist in the UC Riverside Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, received the 2013 USGA Green Section Award in recognition for distinguished service to golf through his work with turfgrass.
"I am both pleased and honored to have been selected to receive the USGA Green Section Award," said Dr. Gibeault. "Now retired, I have been fortunate to spend my career as a University of California Cooperative Extension specialist, and in that role, I have worked on turfgrass research issues and educational projects and programs. My activities with the golf course industry have been enjoyable, fruitful, and have given me a sense of personal accomplishment, for which I am grateful."
Gibeault holds the U.S. patents for two zoysiagrass cultivars, De Anza and Victoria, and one buffalograss cultivar, UC Verde. Additionally he co-edited the 1985 book, "Turfgrass Water Conservation."