Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Energy mandates may lead to ‘hard decisions’
Updated renewable-energy mandates from the state of California will likely raise costs for farms and agricultural businesses. A California Farm Bureau energy specialist says she expects rates to rise as a result of the mandates, and a spokesman for food processors say they face “hard decisions” because of their dependence on natural gas. The mandates also add impetus to studies by California universities into further renewable-energy use in agriculture.

Expiration of farm bill affects federal programs
More than three-dozen federal agriculture programs have seen their funding lapse, because five-year farm legislation expired at the end of September. A California Farm Bureau policy specialist says most impacts on farmers and ranchers would be avoided if Congress finalizes a new farm bill before the end of the year. A conservation program popular with California farmers was not affected, because its funding was authorized through next year.

UC looks at impact of wildfires on grapes
The Wine Country wildfires of a year ago may help University of California researchers learn how to offset the impact of smoke on winegrapes. Vineyards at a UC research station in Napa County were exposed to smoke from the fires. Now, a UC Davis specialist has made wine from grapes picked at the station just before and just after the fires. She hopes to learn more about winemaking techniques that would prevent smoky flavors from hurting the wine.

Farm advisors put technology to the test
Startups and established companies alike have been investing in agricultural technology—and University of California farm advisors say they’re testing some of the new products to see if they’re practical for on-farm use. UC and other colleges held a field day in Fresno County to report on technological services in areas including water management, crop testing and plant-disease detection. A university program aims to connect farmers with technology developers.


The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 40,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.