May 15, 2023



May 30 Agucation crafting class - Greeting Cards

June 10 EDCFB Annual Dinner

June 16-18 El Dorado County Fair

Meetings This Week

Mon 7:30am Taxpayers Assn Online

Tue  9:00am  Board of Supervisors Agenda



JUNE 10 2023 4pm

Our Annual Meeting of Members will again be held, picnic style at the Farm Bureau office.

We will enjoy a menu of grilled tri tip, barbeque chicken, green salad, red potato salad, corn on the cob, dinner rolls, apple pie and lemonade or tea.

Tickets available now: $25 PER PERSON for pre-sale orders


  • Donations for the Silent Auction are being accepted. Please call or email our office to schedule a dropoff.

  • Volunteer to help with preparation, setup and cleanup.

Greeting Card Workshop

May 30 6:30 pm

Join others as we create homemade cards with a country flare. Design a set of five greeting cards for various occasions to use in the upcoming summer months. Farm animals, gardens, sunflowers and more will take center stage for your creations. 

$10 per set Farm Bureau members only ($5off)

$15 per 5 card set

Tickets are available here

Forest Forum to visit Cal Fire reforestation center

With the heavy snowfall this winter, Amador-El Dorado Forest Forum organizers decided to take the annual spring field tour in a different direction. Forest Forum President Robert Little arranged for the group to take a May 20 of tour Cal Fire’s L.A. Moran Reforestation Center in Davis. 

The tour will visit the facility’s greenhouses, cold storage and seed processing areas. Attendees will hear about the staff and their various jobs, the cycle of work through a typical year, production numbers, species grown and various programs or partners served by the nursery. The tour will wrap up with the one- to three-year outlook and goals for the nursery. (continued)

Providing a story or event for an upcoming edition

Share your stories or events with members and submit to be included in an upcoming newsletter. Send to

Lake levels as of May 2-4

Stumpy Meadows Reservoir Percent full 100%

Folsom Reservoir Percent full 85%

Union Valley Reservoir Percent full 94%

Loon Lake Percent full 56%

Ice House Percent full 67%

Caples Lake Percent full 56%

Silver Lake Percent full 51%

Sly Park Percent Full 99.7%

American River Flow 1781 cfs (down from 2624)

xx% indicates - reduction xx% indicates - increase xx% unchanged


California and the 2023 Farm Bill

Investment in agriculture is an investment in our nation’s future. The federal Farm Bill, typically renewed every five years, gives policymakers an opportunity to address agricultural and food issues. As the nation’s largest agricultural producer and exporter, California’s $51.1 billion agricultural industry plays a vital role in our national economy and the health of our citizens. California’s 70,521 farms and ranches are remarkably productive given their average size: 70% of these farms are less than 100 acres, and 89% are less than 500 acres. California’s farmers produce 50 percent of the nation’s fruits, nuts and vegetables; twenty percent of the milk; and more than 400 different agricultural commodities. California has submitted recommendations (below) to Congress for the 2023 Farm Bill, to inform deliberations by members of the House and Senate Agricultural Committees and their colleagues in national leadership. (More info)

New California rule to phase out most diesel trucks in state

California is set to phase out nearly all diesel trucks in the state over the next two decades. The California Air Resources Board has voted unanimously to approve a ban on medium- and heavy-duty diesel trucks, including the big rigs that transport fresh agricultural products throughout the state. The state rule will ban the sale of new diesel trucks and buses by 2036 and require that most diesel trucks operating in the state are phased out by 2042. Diesel trucks and buses represent around 3% of vehicles registered in California.

California flower inventory impacted by a gloomy spring

April showers may bring May flowers. But historic storms and flooding in January and March have left California flower growers with diminished inventory as they prepare for Mother’s Day, the cut-flower sector’s busiest time of year. Cut-flower farmers and wholesalers in the state say standing water from heavy rainfall destroyed some flowers while the lack of sunshine stunted the growth of others, making the stems too short for Mother’s Day bouquets. However, the majority of cut flowers sold in the U.S. are imported, primarily from Colombia and Ecuador.

California Marketplace

California Marketplace features exhibit booths highlighting the bounty and artisan goods from Farm Bureau members and agricultural-related businesses during California Farm Bureau Annual Meeting (CAFB). We encourage all Farm Bureau members to reserve a booth for the 2023 event to showcase their products and services. Attendees will experience cooking demonstrations and taste, sample and purchase their way through the California Marketplace!

Why Exhibit at California Marketplace?

  • Reach over 700 attendees from both the YF&R State Conference and the CAFB Annual Meeting
  • Promote yourself and your business face-to-face with potential sales and lead opportunities
  • Marketing opportunities through print, digital and social media
  • Provides unique opportunities to increase exposure for your existing and new products and services
  • Forge alliances with other ag experts and key industry stakeholders
  • Prominent placement in a high-trafficked conference area

Reserve Booth Here!

For more information, please contact or (916) 561-5594.


Invitation to Participate in AFBF’s Advocacy Survey

Your feedback is extremely valuable to us. It will help us to understand how you prefer to be contacted and how we can better engage others to stand up for agriculture policies in their state and communities.

A summary of the findings will be provided in a future email.  Thank you in advance for your participation and for your continued support of agriculture across America.  Working together, we make a difference. 


How to Make Rennet for Cheesemaking

Though some folks try to search for ways around using it, rennet is a crucial ingredient for coagulating milk into curds when cheesemaking. Clean, sustainable sources of rennet can be difficult to find for the home dairy but you can learn how to make rennet on the homestead. 

Anyone who has added cheesemaking to their homestead skill set will likely have heard the story of the very first cheese. Naturally, there are variations to the age-old tale, but if you imagine a nomadic wanderer with a refreshing milky beverage jostling around over the miles at his side in a vessel made from a dehydrated stomach, and when tipping it to their lips, finds that it had curdled into a chunky slurry, you’ve got the picture. In reality, I find it more likely that a young animal was harvested at some point and the curds were discovered in the stomach. And found to be quite edible. (continued)

Job Opening? For Sale? Place your free add here.

El Dorado County

Placerville City

El Dorado Ag In The Classroom has opportunities on several committees: Program, Finance, Development, and Marketing. If you have interest in serving as a volunteer on one of these please send an email here.
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California will provide levee funds to protect Corcoran from floods. How much money is coming?

The state of California is stepping in to contribute millions of dollars to raise the levee protecting the city of Corcoran and a pair of nearby state prisons from the ongoing flooding in the Tulare Lake basin. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the investment in the levee Thursday as part of a larger package of $290 million to deal with flooding issues in the Central Valley and elsewhere in the state. Those funds will be included in his May budget revision to be formally unveiled Friday. The cost for raising the 14.5-mile levee is estimated at about $17.2 million. The state’s latest spending on the levee is paying to raise the earthen structure to 192 feet above sea level, or about four feet higher than before the repairs began. Newsom’s office said in a statement that the latest work on the Corcoran Levee is the third time that either the state or the federal government have intervened to raise the levee, made necessary after decades of overpumping of underground water tables have caused ground levels in the area – including under the levee – to sink or subside. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers previously made repairs to the levee 1969 and again in 1983, Newsom’s office reported. “Raising the Corcoran levee provides greater certainty that we won’t need to evacuate critical facilities and will ensure public safety,” Newsom said. “However, the state and federal government cannot continue stepping in to raise this levee. I look forward to a conversation on what (Kings County) is going to do differently so that we don’t find ourselves in this situation again.”


Newsom restores floodplain funds, adds $290 million to flood control budget [CalMatters]

Four months ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom yanked $40 million in funding to restore San Joaquin Valley floodplains from his proposed budget, angering legislators from both parties and conservationists. Today, he gave all of the money back as part of a $290-million package to increase flood protection funding statewide. The funding comes in addition to $202 million already included in Newsom’s 2023-24 budget proposal in January. That makes a total of $452 million in investments that Newsom is proposing to protect Californians from flooding in the wake of winter storms that inundated towns in the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Coast. "California is facing unprecedented weather whiplash — we just experienced the driest three years on record, and now we’re dealing with historic flooding,” Newsom said. “Our investments must match this reality of climate-driven extremes."


Severe storms have devastating impact on Central California crops [CBS News]

California's Central Valley produces a quarter of the nation's food, but a parade of atmospheric riversthis winter caused severe storms that destroyed thousands of acres of crops. The storms, which have been linked to climate change, swamped 150,000 acres in the region, according to numbers from Kings County officials. About 99% of the nation's pistachio supply is grown in Central California, per data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Pistachio farmer Nader Malakan estimates that about 1,200 acres of pistachio crops were destroyed, to the tune of $15 million. The flood damage in Kings County this winter is estimated to have caused $1 billion in losses, county officials said.


El Niño is coming: What it means for California weather [San Jose Mercury News]

El Niño conditions — the warming of ocean waters off South America that can alter weather across the globe, including California’s summer temperatures and the amount of rain it might receive next winter — are emerging in the Pacific Ocean for the first time in 4 years. While El Niños do not automatically guarantee wet weather for California, historically, the stronger they are, the more likely it is that the state will have a rainy winter season. And after the dramatic series of storms this past winter that ended the drought and filled nearly empty reservoirs, another one back-to-back could increase flood risks. “The climate models are in strong agreement that there will be an El Niño,” said Michelle L’Heureux, a climate scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who led a new report out Thursday. The chances of any El Niño forming are now 82% by July and 94% by November, according to the NOAA report.


Opinion: The Supreme Court says California can regulate pork. That’s big, even if you’re not a pig [Los Angeles Times]

Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of UC Berkeley School of Law: The Supreme Court issued a major ruling Thursday upholding a California animal-cruelty law and therefore the authority of state and local governments to regulate what’s sold within their borders. The pork producers alleged that Proposition 12 violates the Constitution by impermissibly burdening interstate commerce. Most of the pork sold in California is produced out of state, much of it in Iowa, so the plaintiffs claimed the state was unconstitutionally attempting to regulate commerce outside its borders. If the Supreme Court had accepted this argument, the implications would have been enormous. California probably would not be able to set stricter emissions standards for vehicles, for instance, because most are manufactured in other states. A state might not be able to prevent the use of a pesticide manufactured elsewhere. The examples are endless. Fortunately, the Supreme Court followed well-established principles in rejecting the challenge to the California initiative.


California ‘weather whiplash’ fuels uncertainty in upcoming wildfire season [Los Angeles Times]

When Jonathan O’Brien sees the rolling green hills of Southern California, the grasses lush from this winter’s heavy rains, he can’t help but feel uneasy. “Even if it’s not this year or next year, sooner or later we absolutely will go into a drought period again, and all this vegetation that has grown will eventually suffer — that’s just the cycle we face,” said the National Interagency Fire Center meteorologist. “When that happens, it’s all but inevitable we will see a severe fire season or two.” This summer, however, O’Brien and other forecasters project that portions of the state could get a break. The storms of the past couple of months have left behind a deep mountain snowpack that is expected to act as a buffer against massive wildfires like those that twice burned from one side of the Sierra Nevada to the other in 2021. At lower elevations, the outlook is uncertain. Those grassy hills could burn sooner rather than later. Any lull in the fire season would just be temporary, experts say. Climate change is supercharging California’s natural climate variability, making wet spells wetter and causing dry spells to run hotter and longer. At the same time, the prohibition of Indigenous cultural burns and the effects of industrial logging and aggressive fire suppression have made much of the state’s forests more flammable.

Supreme Court rejects challenge to California pork law mandating more space for pigs [Associated Press]

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a challenge to a California animal cruelty law that affects the pork industry, ruling that the case was properly dismissed by lower courts. Pork producers had said that the law could force industry-wide changes and raise the cost of bacon and other pork products nationwide. California’s law requires more space for breeding pigs, and producers say it would force the $26 billion-a-year industry to change its practices even though pork is produced almost entirely outside California. The justices upheld lower court rulings dismissing the pork producers’ case. During arguments in the case in October, liberal and conservative justices underscored the potential reach of the case. Some worried whether greenlighting the animal cruelty law would give state legislators a license to pass laws targeting practices they disapprove of, such as a law that says a product cannot be sold in the state if workers who made it are not vaccinated or are not in the country legally. They also worried about the reverse: How many state laws would be called into question if California’s law were not permitted? The case before the court involved California’s Proposition 12, which voters passed in 2018. It said that pork sold in the state needs to come from pigs whose mothers were raised with at least 24 square feet of space, with the ability to lie down and turn around.


Supreme Court Rejects Pork-Industry Challenge to California’s Animal-Cruelty Law [Wall Street Journal]

In a splintered opinion, the court rejected a challenge to the law by pork producers, who said the California law violated the so-called dormant Commerce Clause, the constitutional doctrine that prohibits state governments from imposing excessive burdens on interstate commerce. “While the Constitution addresses many weighty issues, the type of pork chops California merchants may sell is not on that list,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the court’s majority opinion. Californians account for about 13% of the country’s pork consumption but raise hardly any pigs. That means that the costs of complying with Proposition 12 fall mostly in states like Iowa, which raises a third of the country’s pigs. Meatpacking companies and hog farmers have opposed California’s ballot measure, saying it would raise meat prices by causing hog farmers to spend millions of dollars building new barns and changing their operations.


Decline in almond acreage good news for growers, even as bearing acres expand [Bakersfield Californian]

New data showing California acreage for Kern’s fourth highest-grossing crop shrank in the past year, even as bearing acreage expanded, has come as overall positive news for an industry suffering from oversupply. Numbers last month from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service suggest total almond acreage declined by 1.2% last year to settle at 1.63 million acres across the state. But bearing acreage, defined as the total land dedicated to almond orchards planted before 2021, expanded by an estimated 1.7% to reach 1.37 acres in California, according to a snapshot of the upcoming harvest provided in April by Sacramento-based Land IQ. Prices have improved somewhat, said Senior Analyst and Vice President David Magaña at RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness. He noted new plantings have declined in recent years. In another sign likely to cheer some in the industry, Magaña said a “particularly challenging pollination season” will likely drag the average yield to the lowest level in almost two decades. That could lower supply at a time of increased demand, potentially boosting prices further.


US West Braces for Another Year of Heat and Drought: Weather Watch [Bloomberg]

California’s San Joaquin Valley is also under a heat advisory from Saturday to Monday. Temperatures are forecast to reach between 94F to 99F. The weather service advises against working too long outside and recommends people check on neighbors and relatives. California started started 2023 with nearly 98% of its land in drought. After a series of deadly winter storms that flooded the landscape and piled record snow in the mountains, drought has dropped to below 8% through last week. However there will still be problems due to almost 20 years of continuous dryness across the US West, a panel of experts said earlier this week. Groundwater supplies across large parts of California haven't rebounded and in many places the surface has dropped many feet because the Earth is compacting on itself without the aquifers to hold it up. In addition, Lakes Mead and Powell on the Colorado River still haven't recovered. It would take six to eight years of these record years consecutively to refill the reservoirs in the upper Colorado River basin, and that includes Lake Mead as well, said Paul Miller, from the Colorado River Basin River Forecast Center. He added this "isn't very likely."


How Farmers Markets’ Vendors Make Their Money (or Not) [Wall Street Journal]

The most recent U.S. Department of Agriculture survey estimated that there were 8,140 farmers markets in operation in the continental U.S. in 2019. (The agency doesn’t have estimates from previous years for comparison.) Markets are particularly popular in California, which has the most of any state, with around 660 certified by the state’s county agricultural commissioners. Many of those were forced to close or scale back during the pandemic, says Jay Van Rein, spokesperson for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, “but have rebounded significantly.” Joe Schirmer, owner of Dirty Girl Produce, is a farmers-market veteran. He has sold goods around Northern California since the mid-1990s, and bought his own farm in 1999 in Watsonville, Calif., 90 miles from San Francisco. The 40-acre operation—named by the previous owners, two women whose nicknames were “Dirty Girls”—grows everything from beans and broccoli to strawberries and tomatoes. In 2022, the farm did $74,000 in sales at the smallest market and $500,000 at the largest, according to Mr. Schirmer. In all, he took in roughly $1,000,000, 60% of which was direct off-the-table sales at the farmers markets, while the rest was wholesale and to restaurants and subscriptions, he says. But after expenses—the biggest of which is labor—the company posted a net loss of $60,000. There are many reasons for the losses, according to Mr. Schirmer, among them pandemic-related issues, a labor shortage and drought.


The Robledo family: Generations of farmers built an empire in Wine Country [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]

On a gusty spring day in Sonoma, the gates to Robledo Family Winery sat wide open, inviting visitors to the first tasting room opened by former vineyard workers on their own land. Surrounded by olive trees, sheep and goats chew grass in a pasture adjacent to a vineyard, three flags fly vigorously from flagpoles stationed steps away from the tasting room. They are: an American flag, a Mexican flag and a flag bearing the Robledo family crest. “We love the United States. Our heritage is from Mexico ... It’s just who we are. It represents who we are,” said Everardo Robledo, the CEO of Robledo Family Winery. He is one of nine children of Reynaldo Robledo Sr. and Maria Robledo who founded the internationally recognized winery together in 1997. Today, members of the Robledo family operate mostly wine-related businesses under their family umbrella: wineries, a vineyard management business, a winery management business and an olive tree business in Napa and Sonoma counties. They produce 15,000 to 20,000 cases of wine annually and about 1,200 tons of grapes per year, of which some are sold to other wineries, Renaldo, Sr. said. It is one of 43 Latino-owned wineries in California, according to Alex Saragoza, an ethnic studies professor at UC Berkeley.

Report urges Metropolitan Water District to abandon Newsom’s $16-billion delta tunnel plan [Los Angeles Times]

Gov. Gavin Newsom and his administration have touted plans to build a tunnel to transport water beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, saying the project would modernize California’s water infrastructure and help the state adapt to climate change. But an advocacy group is urging the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to abandon the $16-billion project, saying it doesn’t make financial sense for the state’s largest urban water agency. In a report released this week, the California Water Impact Network said the delta tunnel may seem like a viable alternative but has three major flaws: “an exorbitant price tag, environmental restrictions on operations and the impacts of climate change on deliveries.” “This is a critical decision point,” said Max Gomberg, a former State Water Resources Control Board staffer who wrote the report and has criticized the Newsom administration.


Good News About Breakfast: Egg Prices Are Dropping [Wall Street Journal]

Plunging prices for eggs are helping ease grocery bills. Wholesale prices for the breakfast staples have fallen more than 80% since the start of the year, after soaring last year. Prices jumped in 2022 after the deadliest-ever U.S. outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, which government data shows claimed nearly 59 million birds since last year. The surging prices had people looking for alternatives, said Brian Moscogiuri, global trade strategist with Eggs Unlimited, an egg supplier. Organic and other specialty eggs also ended up costing less since their prices aren't as volatile as those of conventional eggs, he said. The combined regional price for large eggs—the average price for sellers receiving bulk orders— fell to just over a dollar a dozen, according to the Agriculture Department's latest weekly report. That's a fraction of the record $5.38 they were going for at the end of last year.


Half of US West out of drought, but not fully recovered [Associated Press]

Nearly half of the U.S. West has emerged from drought this spring, but the welcome wet conditions haven’t entirely replenished the region, scientists said Tuesday. Hydrologists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said deep snowpack across much of the West will bring short-term relief, but the equally deep “bathtub rings” at Lake Powell and Lake Mead reservoirs are a reminder of the long road to bringing supply and demand in balance. This winter brought bountiful and persistent snow from the Sierra Nevada to the Rocky Mountains, stranding residents in their homes while setting accumulation records and pulling a large swath of the region out of drought. The quantity of precipitation is impressive, but the fact that snow stuck around this late in the season is perhaps more rare, said Joseph Casola, NOAA’s western regional climate services director. A continued slow melt helps reduce danger of flooding and delays the onset of the worst wildfire danger in the region. Meanwhile, all that rain and snow means California can provide 100% of the water requested by cities and farms for the first time in years, and is flooding farmland with surplus runoff to replenish precious groundwater.


Massive snowpack’s summer bonus: Clean, cheap electricity for California [San Jose Mercury News]

The huge snowpack that has blanketed the Sierra Nevada this winter has done more than end California’s drought and extend ski season. It’s also changing how Californians keep the lights on. With reservoirs full across the state, hydroelectricity generation from dams is expected to expand dramatically this summer, after three dry years when it was badly hobbled. In 2017, a wet year similar to this one, hydropower made up 21% of all the electricity generated in California. But by 2021, in the middle of California’s most recent drought, it provided just 7%. This year, billions of gallons of water are once again spinning turbines in power plants at huge dams like Shasta, Oroville and Folsom, and will be all summer and into the fall as the snowpack melts. More hydropower means more clean electricity, less need to burn natural gas and other fossil fuels, less risk of blackouts during heat waves, and less smog and greenhouse gas emissions, experts say.


Spain’s Premier to Ask Biden to Drop Trump-era Olive Tariffs [Bloomberg]

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will ask President Joe Biden to scrap Trump-era duties on his country’s olives that have strained trade ties between the US and European Union. In his first official visit to the White House since he took office in 2018, Sanchez will appeal to Biden to remove the tariffs and put an end to a dispute that has dragged on for years, according to two people familiar with his plans. Spain, the world’s top olive producer, has demanded that Washington lift the anti-subsidy duties, which a World Trade Organization trade panel deemed illegal in 2021. Spanish olive exports to the U.S. plunged after the Trump administration in 2018 imposed import taxes on products it deemed to be subsidized with trade-distorting aid from the EU. In April, the 27-nation bloc launched compliance proceedings against Washington at the WTO for failing to remove the duties, which are some of the last remaining Trump-era trade measures against the EU. Earlier this year, the US reduced the tariff from 35% to 31% in an attempt to comply with the panel’s ruling.


Republicans agree to some changes to border bill for farmers [Roll Call]

House Republican leaders have agreed to revise a border security package to address concerns raised by some lawmakers over provisions requiring all employers to electronically verify work authorization for new hires, key lawmakers said. Rep. Tom McClintock of California, chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s immigration panel, said Tuesday that Republicans plan to put forward an amendment that would delay implementation of this requirement for the agricultural industry if the Homeland Security secretary believes it would cause a disruption. The original version of the border bill would require all employers across the country to electronically verify if new hires have authorization to work in the U.S. through a federal system called E-Verify. The requirement would be phased in over time, with a three-year implementation delay for the agricultural industry. Farm groups had raised concerns that the employment verification mandate would decimate the industry’s workforce, which relies heavily on undocumented workers. According to the Department of Agriculture, more than 40 percent of hired crop farmworkers do not have legal immigration status.

As long-dead California lake revives, flooding is hurting farms — and food prices [San Francisco Chronicle]

A year ago, Kirk Gilkey was taking stock of his newly planted cotton, watching green shoots poke through freshly tilled dirt. These days, he has a view of nothing but water. Nearly two-thirds of the Gilkey family’s 8,700 acres in the southern San Joaquin Valley has been engulfed by Tulare Lake, the long-dormant body of freshwater that has re-emerged with the wet winter and grown to half the size of Lake Tahoe. “This is the first time we haven’t planted cotton in 75 years,” said Gilkey, 65, whose cotton fields and gin are near the small city of Corcoran in Kings County. “A lot of this ground will stay underwater for another year.” The area, between Fresno and Bakersfield, is one of California’s agricultural hubs hit hardest by this year’s historic flooding. While the toll on the state’s farming industry is still being tallied, crop losses are expected to soar to potentially billions of dollars, on top of billions more in property damage. It’s a modest but noticeable dent in California’s roughly $50 billion of total farm production annually and acute for the affected regions and their mainstay crops. Supplies of farm products in the Tulare Lake basin as well as on the Central Coast are already down this year — nearly 10% or more in some counties — which, for consumers, is likely to soon translate to less variety and higher prices of goods from these areas.


The growing Tulare Lake now is visible from outer space. See NASA’s latest satellite images [Fresno Bee]

Within a matter of a few months, this winter’s series of atmospheric river storms that drenched central California and the spring snowmelt from the southern Sierra Nevada range are fueling the re-emergence of the usually-dry Tulare Lake in Kings and Tulare counties — to the point where it is now plainly visible from space. Record snowfall in the southern Sierra Nevada will continue to send water from the mountains into the Valley’s major rivers — the San Joaquin, Kings, Kaweah, Tule and Kern rivers, producing more runoff than dams will likely be able to manage and contributing to flooding on parts of the Valley floor, including Tulare Lake. “Flooding in the lakebed is likely to continue into 2024, which will affect residents and farmers in the area, as well as some of the most productive cropland in the Central Valley,” NASA reported on its Earth Observatory website. “The lakebed contains farms that produced cotton, tomatoes, dairy, safflower, pistachios, wheat, and almonds.” The last time there was major flooding in the Tulare Lake basin, after a very wet winter of 1982-83, the drying-out process in the lakebed took about two years.


Mangoes and agave in the Central Valley? California farmers try new crops to cope with climate change [CalMatters]

As California warms, Gragg — a nurseryman, micro-scale farmer and tropical fruit enthusiast — looks forward to the day that he can grow and sell mangoes in Northern California. “I’ve been banking on this since I was 10 years old and first heard about global warming,” said Gragg, 54, who has planted several mango trees, among other subtropical trees, in his orchard about 25 miles west of Sacramento. Mangoes may never become a mainstream crop in the northern half of California, but change is undoubtedly coming. Hustling to adapt, farmers around the state are experimenting with new, more sustainable crops and varieties bred to better tolerate drought, heat, humidity and other elements of the increasingly unruly climate. In the Central Valley, farmers are investing in avocados, which are traditionally planted farther south, and agave, a drought-resistant succulent grown in Mexico to make tequila. In Santa Cruz, one grower is trying a tropical exotic, lucuma, that is native to South American regions with mild winters. Others are growing tropical dragonfruit from the Central Coast down to San Diego.


The Buzziest California Wine Region Isn’t Napa or Sonoma [Bloomberg]

If you’re on an all-out quest to make great cabernet, you might aim for Napa or Bordeaux. Not Daniel Daou. After a decade-long global search for the right plot of land to start growing the grape, he found the ideal combo of soil and climate for his dream in Paso Robles, a land of oak-studded hills and winding back roads, a three-hour drive south of San Francisco. “Paso,” he says, “has a climate between Pauillac in Bordeaux and Oakville in Napa. It was my destiny.” Once sleepy and overlooked, the region has new energy and a definite wow factor. It’s California’s shiny new wine hot spot, and not just for cabernet. It’s where to go for top Rhone style wines, and tourism is booming. The center of winemaking on California’s Central Coast, Paso Robles (pronounced ROH-buhlz) now boasts more than 200 wineries parceled out across 11 subregions approved in 2014, all with different soils and rainfall, and elevations from 700 to 2400 feet. The number of planted acres of cab is second only to Napa in California. The other 50% includes more than 60 grapes, even Italian Nebbiolo and Spanish tempranillo. Zinfandel has roots in the 19th century, and trailblazer Tablas Creek winery, founded by the American Haas family and the Perrin family of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, started popularizing Rhone grapes such as syrah in the 1990s.


Sebastopol City Council urges leniency in criminal case against animal activists; county leader ‘flabbergasted’ by move [Santa Rosa Press-Democrat]

Sebastopol’s City Council weighed in on a long-running animal rights case, urging Sonoma County’s District Attorney to drop charges against or show leniency to activists accused of stealing chickens and ducks they said were being mistreated on poultry farms near Petaluma. The council voted 3-2 to approve a resolution that said the four activists, who were due in court, were “attempting to expose the abuses of nonhuman animals in commercial animal operations.” The resolution, approved May 2, asked the district attorney to “instead investigate and prosecute potential violations of the law in commercial animal operations throughout California.” The activists belong to Berkeley-based animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere. They are charged with multiple counts of second-degree burglary, conspiracy, theft, trespassing and unlawful assembly connected to demonstrations in 2018 and 2019. Sebastopol Mayor Neysa Hinton and Council member Jill McLewis voted against the resolution, saying it was beyond the city’s purview.


Editorial: Aerial wildfire retardant fouls waterways but saves lives. We can’t simply stop using it [San Diego Union-Tribune]

Under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 — one of the first major federal environmental laws — a core principle of regulation is a cost-benefit analysis that examines the consequences of all the alternatives being considered in response to any particular problem. The smart approach acknowledges the concern reflected in a well-known saying: Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. A federal court case with this concern at its center is now unfolding in Montana, one that fire officials warn has grim implications for California's ability to fight the massive forest blazes that have become far more common over the past decade because of the hotter, drier conditions generated by the climate emergency. At issue is the government's use of aerial fire retardant in responding to giant forest fires that can't be controlled by other tactics. The group that filed suit, Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics, says this breaks federal clean water laws because the toxic red slurry that's used can foul waterways. But instead of working with U.S. agencies to develop a plan to quickly clean up waterways after fire retardant is used, the group seeks an injunction blocking its use until authorities get a pollution permit — which could take years.

Illegal Cannabis Is Making California’s Water Problems Worse [Bloomberg]

California’s stubbornly persistent illegal cannabis industry isn’t just undercutting the legal market — it’s also behind some of the world’s most blatant water theft. The state’s estimated $8 billion underground marijuana industry consumes staggering volumes of the precious resource, despite the state legalizing recreational use back in 2016. Some participants have been known to truck in stolen water, while others take it from fire hydrants or dig illegal wells. Years of off-and-on droughts in the state have exacerbated the problem. “The amount of water stolen by the illegal cannabis industry is mind-blowing,” said John Nores, a retired lieutenant and former team leader of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Marijuana Enforcement Team. “We are talking millions and millions of gallons taken annually by these unlawful operations.” In 2021, at the height of the cannabis water theft crisis, officials estimated an annual loss of as much as 4,000 acre-feet of water amid reports of supplies being hauled in or groundwater being illegally pumped from the basin, according to Mojave Water Agency General Manager Adnan Anabtawi. An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons, enough water to submerge an American football field 1 foot deep.


They’re sacrificing us’: a California town feels ignored months after flood [The Guardian]

In early January, the small Central Valley community of Planada was one of the first towns engulfed by a wave of back-to-back storms that hit California this winter. Amid relentless rains, a creek that runs past the town broke through an ageing levee. Flood waters swamped the town and surrounding agricultural fields. Months later, residents are still digging themselves out. And local leaders are pleading for more help, without which the unincorporated, rural community of 4,000 might never fully recover. A handful of families remain at the temporary shelter set up at Felix Torres Housing, a county-run housing project for migrant farm worker families, while others are sleeping in trailers parked in their back yards, or in half-disassembled homes with torn-out carpet. Most families here didn’t have flood insurance, let alone personal savings to cover the cost of repairs. Farm workers lost weeks or months of wages as one “atmospheric river” storm after another inundated planted fields. A report published this week by the UC Merced Community and Labor Center estimates that most workers in Planada are likely undocumented, and therefore ineligible for federal disaster aid or unemployment insurance.


Commentary: Why California Insists on Wasting Its Scarce Water Supply [Wall Street Journal]

Edward Ring, California Policy Center: With the nation’s two largest reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead, drawn down to historic lows, the seven states that use water from the Colorado River have failed to agree on how to adapt to its dwindling flow. The impasse pits California against everyone else. If California’s political leaders had the political will, they could solve the problem for every member of the Colorado River Compact by developing infrastructure to use untapped sources of water. But to do that, the state Legislature would have to stand up to a powerful environmentalist lobby that views humans as parasites and demands rationing as the only acceptable policy. Unlike anywhere else in the American Southwest, California can rely on so-called atmospheric rivers that saturate the state with enough rain to supply the state’s farms and cities with adequate water. Californians can, and must, agree on new infrastructure solutions that will safely harvest more of this water for human consumption.


What to Know About California’s Boosted Water Allocations [New York Times]

California Today: California’s reservoirs are filled to the brim. Our snowpack is epic. And, in what feels like a near-miraculous turn of events, less than 8 percent of the state is still considered to be in a drought. Another perk of this water bounty: The two biggest water systems that send clean water throughout California will both, for the first time in nearly two decades, deliver all of the water requested by cities, farms and businesses. This is great news for a state that was mired in extreme drought and struggling to survive off reduced water supplies for years.“It’s just been a phenomenally wet year,” said Jay Lund, vice director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California, Davis. This provides some immediate relief to farmers, and it means that water supplies are generally less tight statewide — but “it’s not a free-for-all,” said Rebecca Kimitch, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. This year’s bountiful water allocations need to be used to replenish those drained resources, Kimitch said. “We’ve got a pretty big hole to fill,” she said.


Cracks, hacks, attacks: California’s vulnerable water system faces many threats [Los Angeles Times]

In California, where epic Sierra Nevada snowpack and “the Big Melt” have substantially increased the stakes for reservoir managers, officials say they’re taking steps to protect the state’s water systems from hackers, terrorist attacks and natural disasters, such as the flooding that temporarily severed the Los Angeles Aqueduct — the city’s water lifeline to the Owens Valley. But experts say the challenges are numerous. Many of the systems in California and nationwide are still operating with outdated software, poor passwords, aging infrastructure and other weaknesses that could leave them at risk. “We’ve seen a steady rise in both the prevalence and the impact of cyberintrusions, as well as an extraordinary increase in ransomware attacks, which have become more destructive and more expensive,” said Joe Oregon, chief of cybersecurity for Region 9 of the federal Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency. Andrew Reddie, an assistant professor of practice in cybersecurity at UC Berkeley’s School of Information, said much of the problem is “driven by the fact that the infrastructure is really, really old, and ultimately predates the era that we find ourselves in now, where we actually bake cybersecurity into these ... systems by design.”


This year’s salmon run is a celebration along the Klamath River [Oregon Public Broadcasting]

For more than 120 years, four dams have had a chokehold on the Klamath River. In 2002, a massive fish kill left over 70,000 salmon floating belly up in the river, dead from diseases that flourish in waters drained low by drought and agricultural diversions. “This year is actually going to be the last official year that all four of the dams are still going to be standing,” said Crispin McAllister, a former Karuk Tribal Councilman. Preparation for the planned September demolition of the Copco 2 Dam is already underway. The work was approved as part of the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, a historic cooperative agreement that included PacifiCorp, state agencies and tribes. Together, they formed the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, the nonprofit in charge of dismantling the four dams. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the $450 million dam removal project in November 2022. After the first dam is removed in September, the other three will come down by the end of 2024, making it the largest dam removal project in the world. The Klamath River will flow free once again, and the salmon will finally return home.


2022/2023 Board of Directors

President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mike Ranalli

Secretary . . . . . . . . . . . . . Maryann Argyres

Treasurer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gordon Helm

Jim Davies

Chuck Bacchi

Bill Prosser

Carolyn Mansfield

Norm Krizl

Shamarie Tong


Managing Director . . Barb Kildow 530-622-7773 530-620-8292 (cell)

El Dorado County Farm Bureau News is a weekly publication for its members. Dues for membership are $185 for agricultural members, $150 for Business Ag Support, $72 for Associate members and $25 for Collegiate. Non-profit postage paid at Placerville, CA. Postmaster: Send changes to 2460 Headington Road, Placerville, CA 95667 El Dorado County Farm Bureau does not assume responsibility for statements by advertisers or for products advertised in El Dorado County newsletter, nor does Farm Bureau assume responsibility for statements or expressions of opinion other than in editorials or in articles showing authorship by an officer, director or employee of El Dorado County Farm Bureau or its affiliates.
A private nonprofit organization serving El Dorado County agriculture since 1917.

2460 Headington Road, Placerville, CA 95667
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