agriculture

As the brewing trade war between the United States and China escalates, North State farmers are caught in the middle. Farmers like Bill Carriere, the CEO of Carriere Family Farms and a board member of the California Walnut Commission.

Carriere greeted me outside of his office and walnut processing facility near the small town of Glenn. In the parking lot, we watched as one of his employees loaded crates of walnuts into a semi-truck. Carriere said the truck will be driving these crates to the Port of Oakland. His company ships their walnuts to 25 different countries, including China.

Carriere Family Farms grows twelve different varieties of walnuts. They have orchards in Glenn, Butte and Colusa counties. They also buy walnuts from just under 100 other farms, all north of Sacramento and package the walnuts for global export at their processing facility.

Colusa County Office of Education

It’s harvest season for peas and peaches, among other North State crops, and thousands of migrant farmworkers have come to the area to work in the fields for the season. They’ll stay until November, and many bring their families with them. NSPR reporter Adia White tells us how Williams Unified School District is adapting to their nomadic lifestyle to help students graduate.

Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

Nitrogen is essential for growing crops and producing food, but too much of it pollutes the water and air. 

A new assessment looks at nitrogen’s impact in California and how it’s affecting human health and the environment.

Marc Albert / NSPR

California’s fast-growing olive industry received a $50,000 federal grant Tuesday, aimed at encouraging information sharing among growers and processors.

The Department of Agriculture grant will help pay for a conference this fall at UC Davis. The event is aimed at limiting the duplication of research, sharing knowledge and increasing efficiencies throughout the industry.

Tom Woodward / Flickr: http://bit.ly/1WCKTfR

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials expect a record California almond crop this year, according to an annual forecast.

The official estimate predicts a total of 2 billion pounds of almonds, up nearly 6 percent from last year. The bumper crop is mainly attributable to an increase in almond acreage, rather than higher yield per tree.

Dani Lightle, Orchard Systems advisor for the University of California Extension for Glenn, Butte and Tehama Counties, said despite the larger supply, there’s been little downward pressure on prices.

File Photo / Sarah Bohannon / August 2015 / NSPR

The new Yuba City Year Round Farmers Market opens its doors Wednesday afternoon. It will be the only year-round farmers market in the area. 

Market Manager Lacie Robertson says it’s the ability to grow an abundance of crops throughout all seasons that prompted her to launch the year round venture.

Anders Gustavson / Flickr: http://bit.ly/1WCKTfR

A UC Davis professor’s research is challenging some commonly accepted concepts about global warming and raising a few hackles.

The dispute doesn’t involve denialists or outliers though. It’s statistics, not skeptics.

Valerie Winemiller / University of California

Codling moth larvae are the cause of the infamous “worm” in the apple or pear and is the immature stage of a small moth. This pest spends the winter as a mature larva in a pupal case on trunks of trees or in debris around the home orchard. When spring temperatures rise in March, the pupae mature and adult moths begin emerging in late March to April. Moths mate and lay eggs on leaves. Eggs hatch several weeks to a month later, and the larvae almost immediately bore into small fruit that has just begun to develop.

Art Siegel / Creative Commons

After an unseasonably dry and mild February, March roared into the North State with a deluge of answered prayers.

But for farmers, who likely hoped and prayed the hardest, there’s always a concern about too much of a good thing.   

“Farming’s always a risky business,” says Richard Buchner, orchard crop farm advisor for Tehama, Glenn and Butte County with the University of California Cooperative Extension. “The weather and other things always throw you twists that provide challenges.”

Marc Albert

Salmon nigiri: a small morsel of raw salmon, perched on a petite rice ball. Perhaps it’s an ignoble end for a majestic fish known for epic upriver journey. For the last several years in the Sacramento Valley, there’s an experiment turning that delicacy on its head. Having salmon begin — not end — their lives over rice.

On a recent Monday, the numbers were encouraging enough to generate elation. Researchers were catching, measuring, documenting and releasing Chinook fingerlings grown for a few weeks in an innovative way.

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