UC Agricultural Issues Center has released new studies estimating the cost and returns of establishing an almond orchard and producing almonds for three growing regions of California.
“These cost studies are valuable for agricultural producers all along the continuum – growers considering entering into a new crop production business, less experienced growers, and those with decades of experience,” said Emily Symmes, UC Cooperative Extension integrated pest management advisor for the Sacramento Valley. “The information in these cost studies allows growers to evaluate their production practices and associated costs relative to an exemplary hypothetical orchard specific to their geographic region, and can help with development of business models, crop insurance and lending.”
In 2018, almonds ranked third among California commodities with almond growers receiving nearly $5.5 billion in cash receipts.
The cost analyses are based on hypothetical farming operations of well-managed almond orchards, using cultural practices common to the region. Local growers, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors and supporting agricultural representatives provided input and reviewed the methods and findings of the studies.
“The recent almond updates for the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys reflect costs associated with the continually evolving conditions facing agriculture,” said Symmes, who co-authored the almond cost studies. “Some of the notable updates include labor, irrigation and pest management costs – all integral to producing and delivering a high-quality crop.”
The researchers based one study in the Sacramento Valley, one in the northern San Joaquin Valley and the other in the southern San Joaquin Valley.
The southern SJV study is based on an orchard that uses double-line drip irrigation, whereas the other two locations use microsprinkler irrigation. All are multi-year studies, estimating costs from removal of the previous orchard, through almond orchard re-establishment and the production years. The economic life of the orchards used in these analyses is 23 to 25 years.
Navel orangeworm (NOW) is a major pest in almond production; Symmes and her co-authors describe in detail the pesticide applications and winter sanitation methods for each location for NOW control and include the costs.
The authors describe the assumptions used to identify current costs for orchard establishment, almond production, material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead. A ranging analysis table shows net returns over a range of prices and yields.
The new studies are titled:
- Sample Costs to Establish an Orchard and Produce Almonds in the Sacramento Valley - 2019
- Sample Costs to Establish an Orchard and Produce Almonds in the Northern San Joaquin Valley - 2019
- Sample Costs to Establish an Orchard and Produce Almonds in the Southern San Joaquin Valley - 2019
The studies are available for free download at the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics website at http://coststudies.ucdavis.edu. Sample cost of production studies for many other commodities are also available on the website.
For additional information or an explanation of the calculations used in the studies, contact Donald Stewart at the UC Agricultural Issues Center at (530) 752-4651 or email@example.com. To contact a local UC Cooperative Extension advisor, find the UCCE office in your county at http://ucanr.edu/County_Offices. The Agricultural Issues Center is a statewide program of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.
California's working landscape and the industries associated with agriculture and natural resources contribute significantly to the state's economy, according to a new study by the California Community Colleges Centers of Excellence for Labor Market Research, California Economic Summit and the University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“When people think of California's economy, they think of entertainment, information technology and other industries. They may not think of working landscape,” said Glenda Humiston, University of California vice president, agriculture and natural resources. “People may be surprised to learn that California's working landscape accounts for 6.4% of the state's economy, supports more than 1.5 million jobs and generates $333 billion in sales.”
To measure the economic impact of the working landscape, researchers from the Centers of Excellence, California Economic Summit and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources analyzed federal data associated with employment, earnings and sales income of the nine segments that are essential to the working landscape: agricultural distribution, agricultural production, agricultural processing, agricultural support, fishing, forestry, mining, outdoor recreation and renewable energy.
Their analysis of 2018 data from the North American Industry Classification System showed the value of the working landscape in California comes in ahead of the health care, real estate, retail and construction industries. The top five economic drivers were government (21.9%), manufacturing (10.2%), information (9.3%), professional, scientific and technical services (7.5%), and finance and insurance (6.4%).
The researchers found the nearly 70,000 businesses associated with the working landscape paid $85 billion to workers in 2018 and generated $333 billion in sales income. In terms of job numbers, earnings, sales income and number of establishments, four segments dominate: agricultural distribution, agricultural production, agricultural processing and agricultural support.
Agricultural production provides the greatest number of jobs, more than 325,000, and generates the second highest sales income, $61 billion in 2018. Although agriculture accounts for 79% of working landscape sales income, it is important to note that other working landscape segments are still sizeable when compared to the rest of the nation.
In addition to evaluating the contribution of the industries to the state's economy, the researchers measured the importance and impact of the nine working landscape segments by region. For example, some segments, although relatively small in terms of employment or sales income, are cornerstones of local economies and play a critical role in the livelihoods of communities.
The Los Angeles/Orange County region, the San Francisco Bay Area, and San Joaquin Valley have the greatest concentration of jobs for agricultural distribution, agricultural processing, agricultural support, mining and renewable energy. The San Joaquin Valley leads in agricultural production, followed by the Central Coast. Los Angeles/Orange County has the most forestry, fishing and outdoor recreation jobs.
This report does not include economic values for ecosystem services provided by California's working landscape such as clean water, nutritious food and a livable climate, or intangible goods that contribute to human well-being, such as recreation, aesthetic inspiration and cultural
To read the report “California's Working Landscape: A Key Contributor to the State's Economic Vitality,” visit http://ucanr.edu/WorkingLandscape. A one-page executive summary is available at http://bit.ly/2WTA7Vz.
John Bailey, director of the University of California's Hopland Research and Extension Center, has been appointed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. Bailey's two-year term expires on Sept. 17, 2021.
The purpose of the Committee is to advise the USDA Secretary on strategies, policies and programs that enhance opportunities for new farmers and ranchers.
“As a member of the Committee, you will advise me on matters impacting beginning farmers and ranchers, including access to land and capital, recruitment and retention of farmers and ranchers, and more,” Perdue wrote in Bailey's appointment letter. “Your role is vital as I strive to obtain the public and industry perspectives on National and State strategies, policies, and programs impacting beginning farmers and ranchers.”
Before joining UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bailey was the Mendo-Lake Food Hub project manager for North Coast Opportunities, where he developed a regional food hub with an integrated training, marketing and distribution system that allowed regional specialty crop growers to dramatically increase sales of their crops.
Prior to that, Bailey worked at McEvoy of Marin for 12 years. He started in horticultural operations in McEvoy's vegetable gardens and fruit and olive orchards and worked his way up to director of operations, overseeing product development, production and distribution of their botanical-based body care brand as well as national sales and marketing for their private label soap line. He also owned and operated Middle Mountain Farm, which grew and marketed specialty crops to retail and wholesale customers. He is currently a partner in a bulk wine storage company in addition to overseeing Hopland Research and Extension Center's 5,300 acres of oak woodland, grassland, chaparral and riparian environments for research and education.
“In my various roles related to, and diverse network of professionals contacts in, agriculture, combined with my experience in multiple business enterprises, I have gained experiences and knowledge which will help me provide solid advice to the Secretary,” said Bailey. “I am honored to be appointed to this committee and will do my best to advise the Secretary on issues affecting beginning farmers and ranchers across our state, and methods that show promise for assisting them in their agricultural careers.”
The Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers is made up of 20 members from organizations with demonstrated experience in training beginning farmers and ranchers, and other entities or persons providing lending or technical assistance for qualified beginning farmers and ranchers. Congress authorized the committee in 1992 and since its inception, the advisory committee has been an important part of the USDA strategy to engage, support and serve new and beginning farmers. The committee is funded by the Farm Service Agency. USDA's Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement provides oversight, which ensures fiscal accountability and program integrity.
Legalization of cannabis in California changes the dynamics of competing industries
Humboldt County has long been known for marijuana production. Over the last decade, the North Coast's Emerald Triangle – Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties – have experienced a large influx of growers moving to the area to get into the cannabis business.
The greatest expansion of cannabis cultivation occurred within the remote corners of these counties.
“Forested and woodland parcels became valued, not for timber or ranching, but for their capacity to support cannabis operations,” said Yana Valachovic, UC Cooperative Extension director and forest advisor in Humboldt County. “Land prices skyrocketed and a whole wave of newcomers surrounded ‘traditional' producers of forest products and beef. The nearly exponential growth of the cannabis industry has been a shock to some and there has been a steady discussion of social, economic and environmental concerns.”
Of the 71 landowners responding to the survey, 18% said they had grown cannabis on their property and 40% said they had indirectly profited by trucking or operating heavy equipment for the cannabis industry. About half of the landowners didn't indicate whether they had or had not grown cannabis.
While the burgeoning cannabis grows have brought jobs to the economically challenged county, over 60% of the landowners agreed that cannabis had contributed to labor costs, 57% agreed it had negatively affected their livestock operations and the majority reported negative impacts to their property.
“Fences have been wrecked, roads damaged, and stream water theft,” wrote one rancher.
Since cannabis has become legal in California, most landowners (64%) have maintained their views on the industry. Yet, Valachovic and her colleagues are interested in seeing how this rural community adapts to protect its environmental health and economic prosperity.
“It's not news that ranchers can have issues with cannabis farmers, but the evolving perspective is what most excites me about this survey,” she said. “The cannabis industry is very dynamic and has experienced rapid expansion, price highs and lows, and an evolving public policy discussion trying to keep up with the changes. The results of this survey reflect opinions from 2018 and with the inclusion of hemp or low THC cannabis, perspectives will continue to evolve.”
The study was conducted by Valachovic, UC Cooperative Extension advisors Lenya Quinn-Davidson and Jeffery Stackhouse, and UC Cooperative Extension specialist Van Butsic in the Department of Environmental Policy Management at UC Berkeley.
The authors concluded that while public policy will not solve all social behaviors and competing industry needs, land-use policy can help mediate land-use conflicts and zoning to support new economic opportunities as well as existing multigenerational businesses.
“Humboldt has been at the forefront of these issues for decades and perhaps the lessons learned here can be helpful for other communities,” Valachovic said.
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Eight academics joined the ranks of UC Cooperative Extension advisors, specialists and an academic coordinator over the last few months.
The new academics are:
UCCE specialty crops advisor
Contra Costa County
Kamyar Aram joined UC ANR in August 2019 as UCCE advisor in specialty crops. He serves Contra Costa and Alameda counties. Previously, Aram was a post-doctoral scholar at UC Davis working on research and outreach for management of vectored grapevine diseases. He has bachelor's degrees in plant biology and Latin from Ohio State University, a master's degree in horticulture from Cornell University and a doctorate degree in plant pathology from UC Davis. His doctoral research focused on the life cycle of the Sudden Oak Death pathogen in aquatic environments. For his master's thesis, Aram studied the use of compost as a source of nitrogen and to suppress soilborne diseases in vegetable production.
Aram can be reached at (925) 608-6692, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Academic Coordinator for Volunteer Engagement
Master Gardener statewide program
Marisa Coyne was named academic coordinator of volunteer engagement in the UC Master Gardener Statewide Program in April 2019. Previously, Coyne was a community education specialist at the UCCE office in Marin County, where she managed the 4-H Youth Development Program. Originally from Philadelphia, Coyne has worked in rural and urban communities and in food, agriculture and wilderness spaces, providing interdisciplinary, inquiry-based educational opportunities for learners of all ages. Coyne holds a bachelor's degree in communications at Temple University and a master's degree in community development at UC Davis.
Coyne can be reached at (530) 750-1394, email@example.com.
Director, Western IPM Center
UC ANR headquarters
Amer Fayad joined UC ANR as director of the Western Integrated Pest Management Center in July 2019. He is a plant pathologist with research experience on the identification, epidemiology, biological and molecular diversity of viruses. Prior to joining UC ANR, Fayad served in several capacities at Virginia Tech, most recently as associate director and Africa program manager of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for IPM. Fayad has a bachelor's degree in agriculture and a master's degree in crop production from the American University of Beirut. He earned a doctorate degree in plant pathology, physiology and weed science from Virginia Tech.
Fayad can be reached at (530) 750-1271, firstname.lastname@example.org.
UCCE nutrient management and soil quality advisor
Joy Hollingsworth was appointed nutrient management and soil quality advisor, serving Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties, in April 2019. Before taking her new position, she served as a staff research associate at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier. Previous to that, Hollingsworth was a junior specialist in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, where she designed and implemented agronomic field trials for canola, camelina, sugar beets and castor. Hollingsworth has a bachelor's degree in communications and a master's degree in plant science from Fresno State.
Hollingsworth can be reached at (559) 241-7527, email@example.com.
UCCE nutrition specialist
Statewide position, based at UC Berkeley
Susan Matias joined UC ANR in July 2019 as a UCCE specialist in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology at UC Berkeley. Before coming to UCANR, Matias was a research scientist with the California Department of Public Health and a specialist at UC San Francisco. From 2013-18, she was an assistant project scientist in the Department of Nutrition at UC Davis. Matias has a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in educational psychology from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. She earned a doctorate degree in epidemiology from UC Davis, with an emphasis in international and community nutrition. Her research interests include maternal and child nutrition, immigrant health, food security, obesity and diabetes prevention.
Matias can be reached at (510) 642-0980, firstname.lastname@example.org.
UCCE organic production specialist
Statewide position, based at UC Santa Cruz
Joji Muramoto became UC ANR's first organic production specialist in May 2019. He has a joint affiliation with UCCE and the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz. In his new role, Muramoto will coordinate a statewide program focused on fertility and pest management in organic production systems across the state. Muramoto has bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in soil chemistry from Tokyo University of Agriculture. He has conducted research and extension on fertility and soil-borne disease management in organic and conventional strawberry and vegetable production since 1996.
Muramoto can be reached at (831) 459-2178, email@example.com.
Area UCCE orchard systems advisor
San Joaquin County
Mohamed Nouri joined UC ANR in April 2019 as an area orchard systems advisor serving San Joaquin County. He will conduct a research and extension program to address high-priority production and pest management issues in walnuts, sweet cherries, apples, oil olives and other crops. Because San Joaquin County is the statewide leader in cherry and walnut production, Nouri will be a regional and statewide leader, facilitating interaction among campus-based academics, UCCE advisors and community stakeholders. Previously, Nouri worked at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center as a graduate student and post-doctoral researcher. He performed research on fungal diseases of major fruit and nut crops. Nouri has a bachelor's degree in life and earth sciences, a masters in microbiology and plant pathology and a doctorate degree in plant pathology, all from Tunis ElManar University.
Nouri can be reached at (209) 953-6115, firstname.lastname@example.org.
UCCE biometeorology specialist
Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, UC Davis
Kosana Suvocarev joined UC ANR as a UCCE biometeorology specialist in March 2019. Before taking this position, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Arkansas, where she was part of a team effort focused on rice farming, water conservation and greenhouse gas emission reduction practices in the area of the Mississippi Alluvial Aquifer. Suvocarev earned bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Novi Sad in Serbia, and a doctorate degree at the University of Zaragoza, Spain.
Suvocarev can be reached at (530) 752-4628, email@example.com.