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How Extreme Weather Affects Ag and Wine Production Keynote Address at 2022 Unified Symposium

With so much attention paid to climate change, the 2022 Unified Wine and Grape Symposium this January has appropriately recruited the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) climate director to open the prestige three-day event. As Unified’s Tuesday luncheon keynote speaker, Dr. Steven Ostoja, director of the USDA California Climate Hub, will offer his  insights into how a changing climate …

Departments of the Interior, Agriculture and Homeland Security Jointly Establish New Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission

The Departments of the Interior, Agriculture and Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced the establishment of a new Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission. Establishing this Commission fulfills a key provision of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and represents a critical step in combating the nation’s wildfire crisis and improving resilience in America’s landscapes. The Commission is tasked …

A Producer’s Guide to Drought

Drought events are often wide-spread, persistent, and long lasting. Drought losses are as substantial as those from hurricanes, tornadoes, and other immediate-impact disaster events. Drought causes losses to agriculture, and affects domestic water supply, energy production, public health, wildlife, and contributes to wildfire.   If drought has impacted your operation, USDA can help you recover from your losses, mitigate risk, and prepare for future natural disasters. USDA offers a suite of programs that help with recovery as well as those that can help …

Preparing Your Orchards for 2022 in the Face of Drought

Plan for the worst, hope for the best. That’s a tough, solid, strategy as the 2021 season winds down and almond growers and PCAs look to 2022. The following are some considerations when following this strategy. Every operation is different, and growers must decide what works best for their business. Final decisions may not need to be made until early …

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 …

How Can We Mitigate Wildfires?

As wildfires rage across the western U.S., incinerating hundreds of thousands of acres, destroying entire communities, and polluting the air, Bill Pekny has a message: We need to get more educated on what causes these disasters. It’s the only way we’ll be able to reduce the devastation. “There are a lot of misconceptions around wildfires,” says Pekny, author of A Tale …

Preharvest Conversations Growers & Wineries Need to Have Regarding Smoke Taint

“Uncertainty” seemed to be the theme of 2020 for all, and it was no different for the wine industry.  Unfortunately, this uncertainty continues this year for wine grape growers as they gear up for harvest amidst another threatening wildfire season.  With severe drought plaguing the American West, it’s not a question of if, but when more wildfires will occur and …

Preparing to Harvest Raisins Under Smoky Skies: What Growers Need to Know

Most agricultural news coverage of the wildfire impact last year focused on the wine grape industry.  Though raisins don’t share the same concern for smoke taint as wine grapes, the lack of radiant sunlight due to smoky overcast skies had a significant effect on the sugar accumulation and natural drying process for much of Central Valley raisin crop last year. …

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