- Author: Pat Bailey,UC Davis News and Media Relations, (530) 219-9640, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sacramento-area farmers and ranchers who sell their products directly to consumers generate twice as much regional economic impact per dollar of output as do area food producers who don't engage in direct marketing, reports a UC Davis agricultural economist and a team of UC Cooperative Extension researchers.
The newly released study of the four Sacramento region counties of El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo found that direct-marketing food producers had a regional output multiplier of 1.86 compared to just 1.42 for producers not involved in direct marketing.
Direct-marketing channels include farmers markets, roadside farm stands and community-supported agriculture programs that provide consumers with regular deliveries of farm products.
“The direct marketers make up a relatively small part of the Sacramento region's agricultural sector, but this study demonstrates that these food producers generate both economic and qualitative benefits for the region,” said study leader Shermain Hardesty, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
“It's important that the economic contributions of direct-marketing farmers and ranchers be taken into consideration so that regional policies can be enhanced to support and nurture the growth of these food producers,” Hardesty said.
The regional economic impacts identified in the study are threefold: revenue received directly by the agricultural producer; a ripple effect when the food producer purchases inputs in the region; and a secondary ripple when the producer and the suppliers of goods and services to the producer, in turn, spend more money in the region on household goods and services.
The report, along with separate economic impact reports specifically for El Dorado, Placer and Yolo counties, is available online.
Sacramento region direct marketers
In the four-county Sacramento region, direct-marketing food producers are a relatively small segment of the total agricultural sector, accounting for 19 percent of the region's farms and only 4 percent of its agricultural production.
The direct-marketing farm operations tend to be smaller and more labor-intensive, and source more of their inputs locally than do nondirect-marketing operations in the area.
The new study was based on economic information gathered from 88 local farmers and ranchers, including 31 vegetable farmers, 48 orchard or vineyard growers and nine livestock producers, each of whom generated at least $1,000 in annual sales from marketing directly to consumers.
After the data were collected, they were incorporated into an economic modeling program to estimate the economic impacts of producers engaged in direct marketing.
Other findings from the report include:
• Sacramento region direct-market producers averaged just $164,631 in one year of sales compared to $568,105 for those not engaged in direct marketing.
• Seventy-three percent of the direct marketers also sold through wholesale channels.
• Overall, the direct-market producers generated 44 percent of their total revenues through direct-marketing channels, 55 percent through wholesale channels and 1 percent through commodity markets.
• For every $1 million of output, the direct-market producers generated a total of 31.8 jobs in the Sacramento region while the nondirect-market producers generated only 10.5 jobs.
• Direct marketers purchased 89 percent of their inputs within the region while the nondirect-market producers purchased 45 percent of their inputs in the region. This local sourcing of inputs was the primary factor responsible for the direct-market producers having a greater economic impact on the region than nondirect-market producers.
Collaborators and funding
Hardesty collaborated on the study with Libby Christensen, Erin McGuire and Gail Feenstra, all of UC Davis; and Chuck Ingels, Jim Muck, Julia Boorinakis-Harper, Cindy Fake and Scott Oneto, all with the UC Cooperative Extension.
Funding for the study was provided by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Competitive Grants Program.
- Contact: Jeannette Warnert, (559) 240-9850, email@example.com
As the amount of sunlight falling on trees is reduced with the change in the seasons, trees go into dormancy and require less water than during the hot summer months. But in exceptionally dry conditions, a tree may not have enough stored moisture to survive until drought conditions improve. Tree advocates and water officials today urged homeowners to educate themselves on effective tree care to ensure their trees' survival in the months ahead – especially if California's extended dry period continues this winter.
Representatives of the Sacramento Tree Foundation, California Center for Urban Horticulture (CCUH) at UC Davis, UC Cooperative Extension and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) say a return of normal rainfall this winter might be enough to sustain trees without special care and watering. However, with no way to know how long the current drought will continue, the advocates said knowing when and where to water a tree can be the difference between its life and death.
“We are seeing locations in California where trees are dying because they haven't been watered adequately,” said CCUH Director Dave Fujino. “While homeowners are trying to save water by letting lawns die, they need to continue watering their nearby trees.”
Chuck Ingels, UC Cooperative Extension horticulture advisor, urged homeowners to follow these steps:
- Dig into the soil 6 to 8 inches at a tree's drip line – the area immediately below the widest part of the leaf canopy; if the soil feels dry and crumbly, it needs water.
- Apply water slowly and uniformly using low-volume application equipment, such as a soaker hose that circles the tree at the drip line. Allow water to saturate the soil to a depth of 8 to 12 inches.
- Allow the soil to dry between waterings; for most mature trees, one or two deep waterings per month is adequate. Fewer waterings – and perhaps none – are needed during the cooler and potentially wet winter months.
- Add mulch (leaves or wood chips) between the trunk and drip line to retain the soil's moisture.
- Reduce competition for water by removing weeds and grass within 4 feet of a tree's trunk.
Anne Fenkner, Greenprint Regional Coordinator, Sacramento Tree Foundation, said trees are essential to the health and beauty of residences and entire communities throughout the state. “Trees provide food for people and animals and shade that helps make hot climates livable,” she said. “We owe it to ourselves, our children, their children and the trees themselves to help them get through this extraordinarily dry period. When water supplies are limited, priority should be given to trees, then shrubs and perennials and lastly to lawn and annuals.”
Julie Saare-Edmonds, DWR's Landscape Program Manager, said Californians are responding to the call in January by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. to reduce their water usage by 20 percent.
But if a homeowner has allowed a lawn to dry up during the drought, trees growing in that lawn may not be getting enough water and may need more to help them transition into winter dormancy.
Anne Fenkner, Sacramento Tree Foundation, said trees have varying water needs depending on their species, age, size, slope of the ground beneath them and other factors. Homeowners can nurture their trees and improve their health by understanding tree care principles:
- Older established trees may be starved for water as well as younger trees. The low rainfall last winter did not replenish the soil moisture adequately and they may need a moisture boost before winter.|
- Avoid fertilizing trees now; it will stimulate new growth at the wrong time of year.
- When planting new trees, choose species wisely. Consult a local urban forestry group such as the Sacramento Tree Foundation or check the Arboretum All-Stars list at UC Davis. We don't know how long the drought will last, so consider selecting drought-resistant varieties and delaying planting until drought conditions improve. If the drought worsens in 2015, investments in new trees may be lost.
- Improve the quality of the soil in which the trees grow. Aerate lawns so the roots of mature trees have good access to water and oxygen.
- Consult the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners or a certified arborist if you have questions about the health of a mature tree.
Additional advice on caring for trees can be found at these websites:
- Statewide UC Master Gardener Program, http://camastergardeners.ucanr.edu/
- California Center for Urban Horticulture, http://ccuh.ucdavis.edu/public
- Sacramento Tree Foundation, http://www.sactree.com/
- California ReLeaf, http://californiareleaf.org/
- California Urban Forests Council, http://www.caufc.org/
- Sacramento Master Gardeners, http://ucanr.edu/sites/sacmg/Drought
- UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars, http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu/arboretum_all_stars.aspx
- CAL FIRE, http://www.fire.ca.gov/resource_mgt/resource_mgt_urbanforestry.php
At a press availability on Tuesday, Oct. 28, tree advocates, water officials and a UC Cooperative Extension environmental horticulture expert will urge homeowners to educate themselves on effective tree care to ensure their trees' survival in the months ahead – especially if California's extended dry period continues this winter. With exceptionally dry conditions, a tree may not have enough stored moisture to survive until California has relief from the drought.
|WHAT:||Presentations on tree care by Sacramento Tree Foundation, University of California Cooperative Extension and the California Department of Water Resources. Event will show how to keep trees healthy during the drought and prepare them for the cooler winter season. Demonstrations will include determining if soil is sufficiently wet, the importance of mulch, identifying a tree's drip line and why it's important to slowly add water there.
|WHEN:||9:30 to 10 a.m., Tuesday, October 28, 2014
|WHERE:||3457 V Street, Sacramento, Calif. (Residential home across street from Sacramento High School, one-half block east of 34th Street just south of Highway 50 and southeast of downtown Sacramento.)
|SPEAKERS:||Anne Fenkner, Greenprint Regional Coordinator, Sacramento Tree Foundation
Chuck Ingels, Environmental horticulture advisor, UC Cooperative Extension in Sacramento County
Julie Saare-Edmonds, Department of Water Resources Landscape Program Manager
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
“Landscape irrigation represents well over half the water use in the average household,” Ingels said. “There are many proven ways to reduce high summer landscape water usage and these strategies will be especially critical this year due to the unprecedented drought in California.”
An expert in environmental horticulture, Ingels has maintained research and education programs for the University of California for 22 years on water conservation, deficit irrigation, sustainable landscaping and alternative turfgrass species. He also coordinates the UC Master Gardener program in Sacramento County.
In the spring, when the air temperature is in the 70s in much of California, lawns need about one-half to three-quarters of an inch of water per week, Ingels said. In the heat of the summer, water needs increase to about 1 inch to 1.5 inches per week. Knowing how much water to apply is half the battle. The other half is figuring out how much water is delivered by your irrigation system.
To calculate your home sprinklers' output, Ingels recommends conducting a catch can test. Place small cans with straight sides, like pet food or tuna cans, on the lawn in several places and run the sprinklers for 20 minutes. Use a ruler to measure the water in each can and determine the average. Multiply by three to get an hourly irrigation rate. Detailed information about various lawn species' water needs in different parts of California is outlined in the free UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources online publication Lawn Watering Guide for California. The document gives watering guidelines for warm season and cool season grass species growing in 10 climate regions in the state.
Loren Oki, UCCE specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, a landscape horticulture expert, has conducted research on a wasteful but common residential lawn-watering problem in California: runoff.
“Much of the water that is applied to lawns runs directly into the gutters,” Oki said. “Not only is this wasted water, but we have found that the runoff carries pollutants – including pesticides and fertilizers – into the gutters and, eventually, into waterways. The problem is that typical sprinkler systems apply water faster than the soil can absorb it, which leads to runoff.”
To prevent runoff, use “cycle and soak,” a setting available on many irrigation controllers.
“This means the sprinklers come on for short periods with breaks in between to allow water to move into the soil,” Ingels said. “You'll still want to apply the full amount of water each of the days you're allowed to water, but you'll need a few hours between waterings to be sure it all soaks in.”
Sprinklers that spray a mist over lawns are another cause of water waste. Much of the water evaporates before it reaches the ground.
“You can save water by converting to rotary nozzles,” Ingels said. “The nozzles shoot out streams of water that provide very uniform watering. They have been shown to improve efficiency by 10 to 20 percent.”
In landscape borders, homeowners can save water by using a drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation will target water directly where the plants are growing, so no water is wasted wetting ground in areas where plant roots cannot reach. For optimal efficiency, the system must be carefully monitored throughout the growing season.
“Drip can be a great water saver, but it can also waste water if the system is poorly designed, if it's allowed to run too long, or if lines are accidentally cut with a shovel or other tool,” Ingels said.
Another water-saving strategy is preventing evaporation at the soil surface. Ingels suggests topping the soil with bark, wood chip, straw or other mulch.
“Bark and wood chips provide a long-lasting barrier to water evaporation from the soil,” he said. “Straw mulch works well in vegetable gardens. It saves water, keeps down weeds, and helps cool plant roots in the heat of the summer.”
Whatever irrigation system is used, Ingels said it is essential to check soil periodically throughout the year to determine how wet or dry it is and adjust the irrigation schedule as needed. The easiest way to check soil moisture, he said, is using a screwdriver.
“Just push a screwdriver down into the soil,” he said. “When the soil is moist, it will go all the way down. If the soil is moist only a few inches, the screwdriver will only go down that far.”
A more expensive soil sample tool, which pulls out a soil core, can be purchased at some nurseries and irrigation supply stores. Soil sampling provides more information about the soil, which is useful for making irrigation decisions.
UC Cooperative Extension and its Master Gardener program have abundant information on water conservation in the landscape:
- UC Guide to Healthy Lawns http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/TOOLS/TURF/
- Water use on Turfgrass and Landscape Plant Materials http://ucanr.edu/sites/UrbanHort/Water_Use_of_Turfgrass_and_Landscape_Plant_Materials/
- Drought: Gardening Tips http://cagardenweb.ucanr.edu/Drought_/Drought_Gardening_Tips_/
- Drought: Irrigation Tips http://cagardenweb.ucanr.edu/Drought_/Drought_Irrigation_Tips_/
- California Master Gardener programs (by county) http://camastergardeners.ucanr.edu/California_Counties_MG_Websites/
University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources is celebrating 100 years of UC Cooperative Extension researchers and educators drawing on local expertise to conduct agricultural, environmental, economic, youth development and nutrition research that helps California thrive.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
- Author: Nancy Vogel, DWR public affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org
Depending upon local conditions and near-term weather, irrigation may not be needed for a month or more.
"We can reap twice as much from the latest storms if people take full advantage of the natural precipitation and shut off sprinklers," said Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin. "Three dry years in a row have left our major reservoirs low, and we need to conserve those supplies in case drought conditions persist into the next rainy season. There's no need to water lawns, parks, median strips, or any landscaping already soaked by these recent storms."
On January 17, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. declared a drought emergency in California and called on all residents to conserve water by 20 percent in their homes and businesses. Typically more than half of the water used by homeowners is used outdoors. Californians can go a long way toward meeting the governor's goal by shutting down sprinklers until soil several inches deep appears dry or plants appear stressed. People who resume landscape irrigation should do so only according to the water schedules set by their local water districts. More than 100 such districts around the state have imposed voluntary or mandatory conservation measures that restrict the days and times when residents can run sprinklers.
Tom Gohring, executive director of the Water Forum, a diverse group of Sacramento regional interests working to resolve water issues, hosted the event at his home and switched off the sprinkler system controller in his garage to encourage others to do the same.
"Many people think they use more water in their house than they do in their yard," said Gohring. "The opposite is typically true. In the Sacramento region, about 65 percent of water used by homeowners goes to irrigate landscaping. We always want people to adjust their sprinklers based on the season and weather, but now, after a record dry year, there's real urgency."
While recent storms have boosted the Sierra Nevada snowpack and runoff into reservoirs, it would take half an inch of rain every day of March from Redding to Bakersfield to bring the state to average precipitation for the year in the watersheds that supply much of California's drinking and irrigation water. Even average precipitation would not be enough to avert water shortages, because major reservoir storage is now so far below typical storage for this time of year.
“Storms in the last couple of weeks have delivered a couple of inches or more of precipitation to most parts of California,” said Chuck Ingels, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Sacramento County. “Trees, shrubs, flowers, and lawns naturally use less water in winter's cool temperatures, and so an inch of rain provides enough moisture to forego the need for sprinklers for up to several weeks depending on temperatures.”
Sprinkler systems are controlled by a device, called an irrigation controller, that triggers the irrigation system when to turn on and off. People who do not know how to program their controllers can get links to manuals published by major manufacturers at the Save Our H2O website, saveourH20.org. Look under the "Sprinklers 101" section of the website: http://www.saveourH20.org/sprinklers101
Sacramento residents can find their water provider, information on the latest water restrictions, and water-saving tips at the Regional Water Authority's “Be Water Smart” website at http://www.bewatersmart.info/residential-customers/.
University of California master gardeners offer tips for gardening during a drought at http://cagardenweb.ucanr.edu. The California Center for Urban Horticulture, UC Davis, also has information for conserving water in the landscape, http://ccuh.ucdavis.edu, as does the UC Davis Arboretum http://publicgarden.ucdavis.edu/public-garden/drought-resources.
Other smart watering tips detailed at the Save Our H2O website:
- Water only in the early morning or late evening. Cooler temperatures reduce evaporation.
- Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust so that you are not watering the hose, sidewalk, or street.
- Put mulch around trees and plants to cool soil and reduce evaporation.
- Consider installing a drip irrigation system, which applies water precisely, with less waste.
- Choose plants based on their adaptability to your climate. Check the Sunset Plant Finder to learn about water-wise plants that thrive in your region: plantfinder.sunset.com/plant-home.jsp.
- If you find yourself walking on your lawn only to mow it, consider replacing it with water-wise landscaping that reduces the need for water and maintenance.
- Check with your local water district for a free visit from a water conservation specialist, rebates on water-wise appliances, or "cash for grass" incentives to replace lawn with water-wise landscaping.
With California facing one of the most severe droughts on record, Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency last month and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages, and the governor, joined by legislative leaders, announced legislation to immediately help communities deal with the devastating dry conditions affecting our state and to provide funding to increase local water supplies.
Governor Brown met with President Obama about crucial federal support during the ongoing drought earlier this month, and the state continues to work with federal partners to ensure coordinated drought monitoring and response. Governor Brown and the administration have also expressed support for federal legislation introduced by Senators Feinstein and Boxer and Representatives Jim Costa, Tony Cárdenas and Sam Farr.
Across state government, action is being taken. The Department of General Services is leading water conservation efforts at state facilities, and the California State Architect has asked California school districts and community colleges to act on the governor's call to reduce water usage. The Department of Transportation is cutting water usage along California's roadways by 50 percent. Caltrans has also launched a public awareness campaign, putting a water conservation message on their more than 700 electronic highway signs.
In January, the state took action to conserve water in numerous Northern California reservoirs to meet minimum needs for operations impacting the environment and the economy, and recently the Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced they would seek the authority to make water exchanges to deliver water to those who need it most. The State Water Resources Control Board announced it would work with hydropower generators and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to preserve water in California reservoirs. Recently the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Fish and Game Commission restricted fishing on some waterways due to low water flows worsened by the drought.
The state is working to protect local communities from the dangers of extreme drought. The California Department of Public Health identified and offered assistance to communities at risk of severe drinking water shortages and is working with other state and local agencies to develop solutions for vulnerable communities. CAL FIRE hired additional firefighters and is continuously adjusting staffing throughout the state to help address the increased fire threat due to drought conditions. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) launched a drought website to help farmers, ranchers and farmworkers find resources and assistance programs that may be available to them during the drought.
Even as the state deals with the immediate impacts of the drought, it's also planning for the future. Recently, the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and CDFA released the California Water Action Plan, which will guide state efforts to enhance water supply reliability, restore damaged and destroyed ecosystems and improve the resilience of our infrastructure.
Governor Brown has called on all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20 percent, and the Save Our Water campaign launched four public service announcements encouraging residents to conserve, and has resources available in Spanish. Last December, the governor formed a Drought Task Force to review expected water allocations and California's preparedness for water scarcity. In May 2013, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water.
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Ingels said he had no difficulty finding the pests on tree foliage and flying around when he visited the site last week.
“This is one of the worst invasive pests we’ve ever had in California,” Ingels said.
Brown marmorated stink bug affects many different crops and is a serious residential problem. It moves around easily, so can be expected to spread. It can fly up to a half mile at a time and also travels long distances by hitching rides in vehicles or inside furniture or other articles when they are moved, often during winter months. As a result, most new infestations are found in urban areas.
Brown marmorated stink bugs are native to China, Japan and Korea. They were first documented in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2001, but was likely established there several years earlier. The pest has spread throughout Pennsylvania, is believed to be established in at least 15 states, and has been found occasionally in more than a dozen additional states. In 2004, BMSB made its way to Oregon and is now established in northwest Oregon and a portion of Southern Washington. The National Agricultural Pest Information System maintains a map showing current infestations, but it does not yet show California finds. The pest has been present in Los Angeles County for 6 years.
BMSB feeds on dozens of California crops, including apples, pears, cherries, peaches, melons, corn, tomatoes, berries and grapes. Feeding on fruit creates pock marks and distortions that make the fruit unmarketable. In grapes, berries collapse and rot increases. Wine tasters have been able to detect stink bug odor in wines made from grapes that had 10 bugs in a 35-pound lug. It is also a pest of many ornamentals, especially the fruit-bearing trees, princess tree (Paulownia tomentosa), common Catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides) and tree-of–heaven (Ailanthus altissima).
In addition to the damage caused by the BMSB feeding, the “true bug” can cause disturbing problems for homeowners in the winter. When the weather cools down, bugs migrate in droves to sheltered areas, including inside homes and buildings.
“These bugs aggregate in such numbers that there are reports of people using manure shovels and five-gallon buckets to dispose of them,” Ingels said. “The strong, unpleasant odor the insects emit when disturbed makes cleanup still more daunting.
BSMB is a pest in its homeland, but is mostly controlled by parasitic wasps. USDA researchers have collected parasitic wasps in Asia, but they must be tested extensively before they can be released in California, a process that will take until 2016.
“Parasitism is our best hope for reducing populations,” Ingels said. “Chemical control of BMSB is very challenging.”
Ingels said the best way to keep them out of homes is to exclude them by sealing off any potential entry points, especially around window air conditioning units. Insecticides that have been shown to be effective in the lab are often less effective in the field. In and around the home, insecticides that have efficacy are mostly pyrethroids and neonicotinoids, both of which can have harmful off-site effects.
Pesticides showing efficacy on farms also include organophosphates and carbamates. But growers have worked hard to develop effective Integrated Pest Management programs, and the use of these broad spectrum sprays will set these programs back. There are also pest resistance concerns with increasing use of these products.
“Because they are strong fliers, it’s just a matter of time before they reach farms,” Ingels said.
The pest can be distinguished from ordinary brown stink bugs by its larger size, marble-like coloring on its shield and white markings on the extended edge of the abdomen. BSMB also has distinctive white bands on the antennae and legs. The UC Integrated Pest Management Program has posted a video on YouTube to aid in identifying the pest. (The video is also embedded below.)
Traps with sex pheromones or other attractants can be used to monitor for the pest, but they are often poor at trapping the bugs even when populations are high. The best monitoring method is to inspect foliage throughout the year, and larger branches in late summer and fall for aggregating bugs. A quick method is to beat foliage over a piece of cardboard or sheet. If suspected BSMB are found, place some in a container and note where and when they were collected. Take the sealed container to the county agricultural commissioner or local UC Cooperative Extension office.
The following UC IPM video was created to help identify brown marmorated stink bug: