- Author: Mike Hsu
CDFA grant supports research to optimize water use for iconic California crop
California growers, who account for more than 90% of avocado production in the U.S., will soon be getting some help in weathering the extreme fluctuations of climate change.
Ali Montazar, a University of California Cooperative Extension irrigation and water management advisor, recently received a grant to develop tools and strategies that optimize growers' irrigation practices across Southern California – the state's avocado belt. California avocados are valued at more than $411 million, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
“This region faces uncertain water supplies, mandatory reductions of water use, and the rising cost of water – while efficient use of irrigation water is one of the highest conservation priorities,” Montazar said. “Water is the most critically important input to avocado production.”
At the California Avocado Commission's suggestion, Orange County was added to the study to better capture the range of climates and cropping systems across the region, Montazar said.
He hopes to develop “crop coefficients” that avocado growers can use to determine the optimal irrigation for their crop based on a host of factors: soil type and salinity, canopy features, row orientation, slopes, soil and water management practices, and more.
“Growers are unclear on how much water the crop actually needs under those conditions,” Montazar said.
He will incorporate data from the actual water use in the experimental orchards – including information from the newest soil moisture and canopy temperature sensors – to help ensure growers do not under- or overwater their crops. Overirrigating contributes to a devastating disease, avocado root rot, caused by the plant pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi.
Another component of the grant supports outreach in disseminating these resources and best practices to the broader agricultural community.
“Developing and adopting these tools and information may have a significant impact on water quality and quantity issues and bolster the economic sustainability of avocado production not only in the well-established production region of Southern California, but also in Kern and Tulare counties where new avocado plantings are growing,” Montazar said.
Preliminary findings and recommendations are expected at the end of 2022./h2>
- Author: John M Harper
This is another press release from USDA that provides updates to the Covid19 pandemic assistance program for livestock, poultry contract producers and specialty crop growers.
USDA Sets October 12 Deadline for CFAP 2
WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2021—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is updating the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) for contract producers of eligible livestock and poultry and producers of specialty crops and other sales-based commodities. CFAP 2, which assists producers who faced market disruptions in 2020 due to COVID-19, is part of USDA's broader Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Additionally, USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) has set an Oct. 12 deadline for all eligible producers to apply for or modify applications for CFAP 2.
“We listened to feedback and concerns from producers and stakeholders about the gaps in pandemic assistance, and these adjustments to CFAP 2 help address unique circumstances, provide flexibility and make the program more equitable for all producers,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “The pandemic has had a tremendous impact on agricultural producers, and we have made significant progress since announcing our plans in March. While additional pandemic assistance remains to be announced in the coming weeks, USDA is also ramping up its efforts to make investments in the food supply chain to Build Back Better.”
Assistance for Contract Producers
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, provides up to $1 billion for payments to contract producers of eligible livestock and poultry for revenue losses from Jan. 1, 2020, through Dec. 27, 2020. Contract producers of broilers, pullets, layers, chicken eggs, turkeys, hogs and pigs, ducks, geese, pheasants and quail may be eligible for assistance. This update includes eligible breeding stock and eggs of all eligible poultry types produced under contract.
Payments for contract producers were to be based on a comparison of eligible revenue for the periods of Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 27, 2019, and Jan. 1, 2020, through Dec. 27, 2020. Today's changes mean contract producers can now elect to use eligible revenue from the period of Jan. 1, 2018, through Dec. 27, 2018, instead of that date range in 2019 if it is more representative. This change is intended to provide flexibility and make the program more equitable for contract producers who had reduced revenue in 2019 compared to a normal production year. The difference in revenue is then multiplied by 80% to determine a final payment. Payments to contract producers may be factored if total calculated payments exceed the available funding and will be made after the application period closes.
Additional flexibilities have been added to account for increases to operation size in 2020 and situations where a contract producer did not have a full period of revenue from Jan. 1 to Dec. 27 for either 2018 or 2019. Assistance is also available to new contract producers who began their farming operation in 2020.
Updates for Sales-Based Commodities
USDA is amending the CFAP 2 payment calculation for sales-based commodities, which are primarily comprised of by specialty crops, to allow producers to substitute 2018 sales for 2019 sales. Previously, payments for producers of sales-based commodities were based only on 2019 sales, with 2019 used as an approximation of the amount the producer would have expected to market in 2020. Giving producers the option to substitute 2018 sales for this approximation, including 2018 crop insurance indemnities and 2018 crop year Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) and Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) payments, provides additional flexibility to producers of sales-based commodities who had reduced sales in 2019.
Grass seed has also been added as an eligible sales commodity for CFAP 2. A complete list of all eligible sales-based commodities can be found at farmers.gov/cfap2/commodities. Producers of sales-based commodities can modify existing applications.
Applying for Assistance
Sign-up for CFAP 2 was re-opened in March and remains open to address inadequate initial outreach efforts to reach underserved producers and particularly those who produce sales commodities. Newly eligible producers who need to submit a CFAP 2 application or producers who need to modify an existing one can do so by contacting their local FSA office. Producers can find their local FSA office by visiting farmers.gov/service-locator. Producers can also obtain one-on-one support with applications by calling 877-508-8364. All new and modified CFAP 2 applications are due by the Oct. 12 deadline.
As USDA looks to long-term solutions to build back a better food system as announced in June, the Department is committed to delivery of financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and agricultural producers and businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19 market disruptions. Since USDA rolled out the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative in March, the Department has announced approximately $7 billion in assistance to producers and agriculture entities. Previously announced pandemic assistance has included:
- Additional dairy assistance related to market volatility
- Depopulated livestock and poultry
- Timber harvesting and hauling
- $1 billion to purchase healthy food for food insecure Americans and build food bank capacity
- Pandemic Cover Crop Program
- $500 million deployed through existing USDA programs
For more details, please visit www.farmers.gov/pandemic-assistance.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America's food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.
California Horticulture Sales Reach $2.63 Billion in 2019
U.S. Horticulture Operations Report $13.8 Billion in Sales
Sacramento, CA, Dec. 9, 2020 – On Tuesday, December 8, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the 2019 Census of Horticultural Specialties report, the only source of detailed production and sales data for floriculture, nursery, and specialty crops for the entire United States. The data show that horticulture operations in California sold a total of $2.63 billion in floriculture, nursery and specialty crops in 2019, down 9% from the sales in 2014. California sold 19% of the total U.S. horticulture sales of $13.8 billion in 2019, more than any other state. In addition to sales, the number of horticulture operations in California decreased 22% during this time to 1,331, and the number of operations in the United States decreased 11% during this time to 20,655.
“The horticulture census is a vital tool that highlights the contribution horticulture growers bring to our local, state, and national economies,” said Pacific Region Director Gary R. Keough. “It shows changes and trends in the industry over the past five years and beyond.”
Horticulture production occurred primarily in 10 states, which accounted for 66% of all U.S. horticulture sales in 2019. California ($2.63 billion), Florida ($1.93 billion) and Oregon ($1.02 billion) led the nation in sales.
The top five commodities in California horticulture sales in 2019, and compared to 2014, were:
- Nursery stock, $831 million, down 13%
- Potted flowering plants, $322 million, up 7%
- Transplants for Commercial Vegetable and Strawberry, $266 million, up 4%
- Cut flowers & cut lei flowers, $249 million, down 26%
- Annual bedding/garden plants, $232 million, up 6%
Other key findings for California from the 2019 Census of Horticultural Specialties report include:
- Family- or individually-owned operations made up the largest number of operations, accounting for 48%, but corporately-owned operations accounted for 80% of sales ($2.11 billion).
- Total industry expenses were at $2.21 billion in 2019, with hired labor being the largest cost, accounting for 36% of total expenses.
The Census of Horticultural Specialties is part of the larger Census of Agriculture program. It provides information on the number and types of establishments engaged in horticultural production, value of sales, varieties of products, production expenses and more. All operations that reported producing and selling $10,000 or more of horticultural crops on the 2017 Census of Agriculture were included in this special study.
For more information and to access the full report, visit www.nass.usda.gov/AgCensus.
It may be fun to grow BIG fruit. But how do you sell it? A lot of fruit like avocado and dragon fruit is sold by the piece and others like apples and navel oranges are sold by the pound. How would this be sold?
Hawaiian family claims pomelo
sets world record
reproduced from: hawaiinewsnow.comm
A family from Moanalua (Honolulu), Hawaii is claiming their tree produced a world record-setting fruit. The Nishimura family says their tree created a massive jabong, or pomelo.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the heaviest pomelo weighed 10 pounds 11.3 ounces. It was grown by the Kumamoto Prefectural Yatsushiro Agricultural High School in Yatsushiro, Japan in 2014.
The large fruit weighed in at 12 pounds, potentially setting a new world record. (Source: HNN)
“The record is like 10 pounds, so this beats it by two pounds,” Kaito Nishimura said. “My grandpa actually got the tree and he said this is the biggest one he's seen in his life,” Nishimura added.
The family isn't exactly sure what they're gonna do with the 12-pound fruit. According to hawaiinewsnow.comm they'll need to get the weight verified by world record officials to get it in the books.
Photo: Huge fruit in perspective (Source: Hawaii News Now)/h1>/h1>
Craft breweries aren't just a fun place to meet up with friends. They may be fueling an unprecedented geographic expansion of hop production across the U.S., according to researchers at Penn State and The University of Toledo. Their findings suggest that as more craft breweries emerge around the country, so may new opportunities for farmers.
Hops are a key ingredient in beer production, providing aroma and bittering characteristics. Before 2007, hop production in the U.S. was limited to only three Pacific Northwest states--Oregon, Washington, and Idaho--according to Claudia Schmidt, assistant professor of agricultural economics in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. Citing a report released this year by the Hop Growers of America, she said that 29 states are now engaging in hop production.
"Our study is the first to systematically show that the number of hop farms in a state is related to the number of craft breweries," said Schmidt. "It suggests that in areas where hop production is possible and not cost-prohibitive, breweries are expanding markets for farmers and providing an opportunity to diversify farm income."
Using data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture and ReferenceUSA, the researchers found that from 2007 to 2017, the number of breweries in the U.S. more than quadrupled from 992 to more than 4,000, and that the number of breweries in a state is associated with more hop farms and hop acres five years later. The number of hop farms grew from 68 to 817, and hop acreage expanded from 31,145 to 59,429 acres.
"This growth has not only led to interesting changes in the locations of hop farms across the U.S., but it has positioned the U.S. as the largest producer of hops globally, both in terms of acreage and production," said Elizabeth Dobis, a postdoctoral scholar at the Penn State-based Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, and lead author of the study.
Working with farm, brewery, and climate data, the researchers developed a statistical model to determine whether new craft breweries in a state between 2007 and 2017 resulted in a larger number of hop producers and hop acres planted, by both new and existing growers in that state. They built a time-lag into their model to identify the effect of new breweries over time. They also controlled for other variables that may influence farmers to start growing hops, such as average farm size, average net farm income, and climate.
Their findings, which were published recently in the Journal of Wine Economics, are correlational and do not point to a clear cause-and-effect. However, the time-lag built into the model indicates that the growth in breweries preceded the growth in hop farms, said Dobis.
One possible explanation for the trend is that the growing consumer demand for locally sourced food and beverages encourages craft brewers to seek out locally grown ingredients, said Schmidt.
"While most craft breweries serve a local market, they haven't always sourced local ingredients for their beers," Schmidt said. "But if you're a brewer looking to differentiate yourself in an increasingly crowded market, sourcing ingredients locally is an approach that some brewers have found to be effective."
For example, in a project unrelated to this study, Penn State Extension's Kristy Borrelli and Maria Graziani conducted focus groups with Pennsylvania craft brewers, who reported that sourcing ingredients locally helps them connect with their customers' sense of place and preference for a flavor profile that is unique to the region.
If more brewers are looking for hops grown nearby, then more farmers may be willing to try growing them, even if only on a small scale. For instance, in Pennsylvania only 17 farms reported hop production in 2017, and their combined acreage is small--only 21 acres in all, according to the U.S. Census of Agriculture.
Looking forward, the researchers said that they will collaborate with Penn State Extension to identify the specific attributes and price points that Pennsylvania craft brewers are looking for in order to help inform farmers' production decisions.
The Role of Craft Breweries in Expanding (Local) Hop Production