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60-year-old Flight Instructor Propels Himself to Winemaking Degree

When local flight instructor Paolo De Censi is flying over the Central Valley, it gives him a chance to glance over at the Fresno State vineyard and winery that have fueled his other passion the past four years.  De Censi, who turned 60 in April, received his bachelor’s degree in enology this month, after balancing a full-time class schedule with …

CA Farmers Can Now Apply for Financial Assistance through Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Agricultural producers can now apply for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides direct payments to offset impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. The application and a payment calculator are now available online, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) staff members are available via phone, fax and online tools to help producers complete applications. The agency set up a call …

Connecting the Watermelon Industry with Retail and Foodservice Buyers

The new National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB) Watermelon Supplier Database is the perfect platform to connect retail and foodservice buyers with suppliers as the summer season takes off for America’s favorite melon. Each year the NWPB staff promote watermelon to retail and foodservice audiences, both in-person and digitally. When a contact asks where they can get watermelon, this new database …

Supreme Court Ruling Expands Reach of Clean Water Act NPDES Permitting

In April, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling clarifying the reach of the federal Clean Water Act.  The Court decided that a discharge of pollutants from a point source to groundwater is subject to regulation under the act, if the discharge is the “functional equivalent” of a discharge to waters of the United States (which include rivers, …

California Raisin Grape Mechanical Harvest Report

Total acreage harvested by mechanical means was 44,091, nearly 30 percent of the State’s total raisin-type grape acreage, according to the Pacific Region Office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The Overhead Trellis System was used on 13,031 bearing acres in 2019, accounting for 8.8 percent of the total raisin-type grape acreage. Fresno and Madera County growers have 49 and …

LGMA Partners with Western Growers to Offer Remote Food Safety Audits During Pandemic

Mandatory government food safety audits of leafy greens farms under the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement are continuing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Announced today by Western Growers (WG) and the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (CA LGMA), is the availability of a new process developed through a collaboration with iFoodDecisionSciences (iFoodDS), that streamlines all verification documents and data for online …

CDFA Reschedules STOP QIP Petition Hearing for June 9-10

Notice is hereby given that the California Department of Food and Agriculture is calling a public hearing to consider the suspension of Chapter 3.5 of the Food and Agricultural Code (62750 et seq).  This hearing is being called pursuant to Division 21, Part 3, Chapter 3.5, section 62752 of the Food and Agricultural Code, as implemented by the procedure described …

CAL/OSHA COVID-19 Infection Prevention for Ag Employers & Employees

California employers are required to establish and implement an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) to protect employees from all worksite hazards, including infectious diseases. This guidance contains information, recommendations, and requirements for agricultural employers on how to update their IIPPs to include preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. This guidance does not introduce any new legal obligations, but because COVID-19 …

USDA Approves Program to Feed Kids in California

(Washington, D.C., April 24, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced California and Connecticut have been approved to operate Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), a new program authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), signed by President Trump, which provides assistance to families of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals dealing with school closures. …

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