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New Explorer Course Gives Aspiring Farmers Quick Intro to What They Can Expect

Since 2013, the Center for Land-Based Learning in Woodland has offered Beginning Farmer Training through its California Farm Academy. The intensive seven-month program combines lectures by farmers and agricultural professionals, hands-on field experience, and farm visits to expose students to topics critical for a future in farming. The program went virtual in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions and this year …

Protecting Workers from Wildfire Smoke

CA Department of Public Health Occupational Health Branch — In 2020, California had five of the largest wildfires in state history during that one year alone. This year, the Dixie fire continues to burn and is now the largest single wildfire in state history. Poor air quality due to wildfire smoke may persist for months and spread to neighboring counties and states. …

Critical Groundwater Supplies May Never Recover From Drought

Along with hurricanes and wildfires, there’s another important, but seldom-discussed effect of climate change — toxic water and sinking land made worse by groundwater drought. Water from snow and rain seeps deep into the ground between layers of soil and accumulates in sponge-like underground bathtubs, called aquifers. Farmers rely heavily on this groundwater to irrigate their crops when they can’t get …

Higher Loan Limit Now Available for USDA Farm Loans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing a higher loan limit will be available for borrowers seeking a guaranteed farm loan starting Oct. 1, 2021, from $1.776 million to $1.825 million. “Farm loans are critical for our customers’ annual operating and family living expenses, emergency needs, and cash flow,” FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux said. “Raising the guaranteed loan limit …

What is “soil carbon”?

You may have heard a lot about soil carbon, “storing” carbon in soil, or “carbon markets.” So, let’s look at the relationship between soil and carbon in basic terms. First, carbon. It’s the sixth element on the periodic chart. In nature, only two things are pure carbon: diamonds and graphite. However, carbon can interact with other elements to form compounds …

Grant Takes on Organic Challenges with Third-Party Certifications

Although all food producers are subject to food safety rules, organic farmers face unique challenges in trying to also work out incongruities between National Organic Program standards and third-party food safety requirements. For instance, organic farmers must support biodiversity, yet some food safety organizations pressure them to limit habitat and wildlife on or near their farms despite a lack of …

USDA Expands Local, Electronic Communication Options for CA Producers

Agricultural producers in California can now signup to receive free email and text messages directly from their local U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Service Center for information related to loans, farm disaster assistance, conservation programs, crop insurance and other USDA programs. USDA is expanding the service that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) has used for years to now include local …

CDFA To Celebrate Farmer And Farmworker Month In Virtual Meeting, October 5, 2021

The California State Board of Food and Agriculture will celebrate “Farmer and Farmworker Month” with perspectives and presentations from the agricultural community. The Board will also hear updates on federal and state disaster assistance programs related to drought and wildfires. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. –  2:00 p.m. via GoToWebinar.Meeting Link:              https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4232674882293680908Webinar ID:                 …

Don’t Miss the Sonoma Grape Expo, Nov. 5

Save the date, Friday, November 5th for the Sonoma Grape Expo at the Cloverdale Citrus Fairgrounds in Sonoma County, Malcolm Media’s premier event for North Coast  Wine Grape Growers and PCAs.  Held biennially in collaboration with American Vineyard Magazine, California Ag Network (and the Sonoma County Vineyard Technical Group this year), it is the ultimate postharvest regional gathering place for …

Improving California’s Water Market

Water trading and banking are important tools that can help California bring its groundwater basins into balance by the early 2040s, as mandated by the 2014 Sustainable Water Management Act (SGMA). But the expansion of the state’s water market still faces some bottlenecks, including aging infrastructure and complex regulations. The stakes for preserving California’s groundwater are rising, however, as is …

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