Foothill Farming
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Foothill Farming

Foothill Farming Blog

  • Observations on Mandarin Mulching Research

    Added June 27, 2019
    Fruit Drop in Unmulched Control

    Two years ago, UCCE Placer/Nevada embarked on a study to evaluate pruning and mulching in five local mandarin orchards. In a blog posted in June 2017, I discussed the beginnings of the study, the specific treatments and what the study was hoping to accomplish in the coming years. As the study enters the third year and data analysis begins, there are some observations that we should share. The environment in our orchards is changing. We are experiencing unpredictable temperature swings and...

  • Barn Owls: Biological Control

    Added March 11, 2019
    Barn owl flying- PC Linda Wright

    I usually enjoy life and growing things as a farmer, however I was excited in the recent weeks to see the remains of something most definitely dead; owl pellets under an artificial nesting site. After a couple barn owl boxes were installed last year, I have eagerly awaited their occupation. Did you know that a family of barn owls will eat about 1,000 rodents in a single nesting season? The recent owl pellet observation sparked my interest in researching the benefits of barn owls in...

  • Everything You Want to Know About Labor but Are Afraid to Ask

    Added February 22, 2019
    If you use the labor readiness self-assessment tool listed below, part of your results will include a capture graph like this and a detailed interpretation of each labor-related area and how you can improve.

    Do you have questions about hiring farm employees? Are you considering making the jump from farmer to owner-operator? We have compiled a few key questions you might want to ask yourself if you answered “yes” to either of those two questions.  Have you completed a cash flow analysis? Cash flow is not profitability, it is the statement of incoming dollars and outgoing dollars at different times of the year, which results in a cash flow statement. Analyzing your cash flow will...

  • Who knows??? - Operational Continuity

    Added January 24, 2019
    Happy Apple Kitchen

      The other day as I noticed the bright shoots of green from daffodil bulbs popping up from under the leaves, I was reminded of the silly little sprinklers lining the landscaped space near my family home. My grandpa had put in the great little irrigation system, years ago, while my parents were building the house. Not long after my grandpa passed away unexpectedly. Nobody ever thought to ask about that irrigation system until a few years later when the house was completed and the...

  • Did You Miss the Farmer-to-Farmer Breakfast?

    Added January 14, 2019
    Domenic Fino talks with a room of farmers about crop insurance options at the January 9th Farmer-to-Farmer Breakfast in Auburn.

      A room full of farmers came out on a rainy Wednesday morning to enjoy breakfast together. Our guest speaker, Domenic Fino of Golden Pacific Crop Insurance Services, came all the way from Dinuba, California. He is a farmer, with a family legacy of farming and has been in the crop insurance business for 17 years. Revenue - While farm acreage and the number of zeros after the dollar sign may be smaller for local farms, revenue earned is revenue that can be lost and can be insured. Fino...

  • Risk - What are You Waiting For?

    Added January 2, 2019
    Erosion comparison, control on the left, cover crop on the right.

    Risk – What are you waiting for? As the old saying goes, when it rains it pours. Nobody knows that better than we do right now, literally. For most farmers, rain is a good thing. However, for mandarin growers the amounts of rain and lengthy periods of high humidity are not good for mandarins in the middle of the season. This brings up the issue of risk on the farm. Drought, wildfire, food safety issues, crop loss, rain or frost damage are just a few of those risks. Despite the...

  • Open House - Do you know what University of California Cooperative Extension Placer & Nevada Counties Agriculture Programs do?

    Added December 10, 2018
    Small Animal Grazing School 2018

    That is a long name for a little job right? Nope! The UCCE Placer & Nevada Counties serves a growing number of small farmers and ranchers in these two counties. Over 75% of commercial farms and ranches are small scale(less than 50 acres). While the acreage of land in farms may be declining, the number of small farms is increasing. Over 500 local small-scale farmers and ranchers participate in our workshops and field meetings each year! Why is UCCE Placer & Nevada Counties' work so...

  • “There’s no point in having a dull knife (pun intended)”

    Added November 30, 2018
    Sharpened and sanitized pruners and other tools can decrease the chance of spreading disease.

      There is nothing more frustrating than having to fix or track down a tool in order to use it when it is needed on the farm. As Livestock and Natural Resource Advisor, Dan Macon would say, “There's no point in having a dull knife (no pun intended) – poorly maintained tools make us less efficient and can actually be dangerous. Setting aside time for maintenance is an investment in future productivity!” Sadly, there are a lot of dull, rusted tools out there, even on...

  • Support Your Local Bee Keepers: how you can do your part

    Added October 15, 2018
    bee hives in field

    The humming sound of busy honeybees filled the fall air, darting back and forth as I followed longtime beekeeper Randy Oliver around his bee yard. I was there to learn about a new issue for local beekeepers. Oliver explained that local honeybee colonies have been robbed of their honey in places they have been kept year-after-year for several decades. Robbed?? Yes, by other honeybees, from hives from other parts of California. In the last couple years, numerous out-of-area hives have been...

  • Farm Preparation for Wildfire and Other Emercencies

    Added September 14, 2018
    Farm country sign

    According to many state fire officials, we no longer have simply a ‘Fire Season' but a ‘Fire Year'. In winter drought conditions, some parts of our region do not receive enough rain to mitigate fire danger.  It is more important than ever to constantly assess your farm for fire safety and be prepared for any emergency. The following information will assist you in thinking through four important areas of disaster preparedness for your farm: Paperwork & Plans, Farm Map...

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