Tuesday, March 5, 2024
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Agriculture funding details from the proposed 2024 appropriations bill. By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice Senate and Congressional leaders released the first package of the Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations package on March 3 after months of stalled bills and a looming government shutdown. Of the $467.5 billion appropriations package, funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and...
By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice  Before the Feb. 16 deadline, 2,124 new bills were introduced — 1,505 in the Assembly and 619 in the Senate. With campaigns ramping up during this election year, incumbents are more inclined to introduce legislation that aligns with their constituents’ priorities.  Of the newly introduced legislation, some agricultural bills have a defined link between...
By Scott Hamilton, President, Hamilton Resource Economics  The operators of the State and Federal water projects are in a very difficult position. They are mandated to meet several important and often conflicting objectives including water supply and environmental enhancement. In trying to operate to meet competing objectives they have two big problems: one is identifying trustworthy science, and the second is...
By Valley Ag Voice Staff  For years, water woes have plagued growers in the Central Valley. From decreased groundwater allocations and critically over-drafted basins to flooded acres in 2023, farmers and ranchers have tirelessly worked to secure the future of their land and basins. While the 2024 World Ag Expo in Tulare, California, highlighted this plight, it also showcased vast...
By Austin Snedden, Ranching Contributor, Valley Ag Voice  Illegal dumping has become extremely widespread. Drive anywhere in Kern County and you will find dump sites of trash, tires, furniture, and appliances. And I don’t mean stuff thrown out of a motorist’s window — this is stuff loaded, transported, and specifically dumped. This is not a top-tier issue when it comes...
By Christine Souza, Assistant Editor, Ag Alert  Reprinted with permission from the California Farm Bureau Federation  With a respite from stormy weather, farmers say they are surveying for any damage and waiting for the ground to dry so they can access fields and orchards to make repairs or do other practices.  Historic and deadly storms that brought two weeks of rain and...
By Valley Ag Voice Staff  The University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Department is a valuable resource for local farmers and ranchers. Along with credible, data-driven studies, UC ANR offers educational workshops and innovative solutions to common problems in the Central Valley.  COST AND RETURN STUDIES   In partnership with UC Davis, UC ANR posts cost and return studies, showcasing a broad...
By Amrith Gunasekara, Director of Science and Research, California Bountiful Foundation  Reprinted with permission from the California Farm Bureau Federation  On Feb. 21, online enrollment will begin for a new program to help prepare the next generation in California agriculture.  The California Bountiful Foundation, the science, research, and education arm of the California Farm Bureau, has secured funding to offer a mentoring...
Press release provided by the California Farm Bureau Federation  Nine agricultural professionals have been chosen for the California Farm Bureau’s 2024 Leadership Farm Bureau program.  Leadership Farm Bureau class members will participate in a 10-month educational and development initiative that prepares them for leadership roles in Farm Bureau and agriculture. The program includes 250 hours of instruction, with seminars on key...
Alarming Exodus of America’s Beef Cattle Operations. Press release provided by R-Calf USA  BILLINGS, Mont., – The release of the 2022 Census of Agriculture by the Department of Agriculture reveals that two agricultural industries vital to the economic well-being of Rural America, particularly western Rural America, are in steep decline.  The new cattle and calves census shows America lost nearly 107,000 beef...
By Valley Ag Voice Staff  The 57th Annual World Ag Expo ran from Feb. 13 - 15 this year, spotlighting over 1,200 exhibitors at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, California. Every year the farm show brings tremendous revenue to Tulare County, as well as a deeper appreciation for California agriculture.   Over 100,000 attendees saw the latest in ag tech, heard from...
By Joshua Stevens, Faith Contributor, Valley Ag Voice  For nearly two millennia, Christians have looked to the gospels to read the words and acts of Christ and His ministry here on Earth. From these written works, Christians rest dogmatic views such as the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth of the Messiah, the death, resurrection, and great commission. However, skeptics...
By Valley Ag Voice Staff  This is a special month for agriculture as March 19 is federally recognized as “National Ag Day.” Along with celebrations lined up for the nation’s farmers, ranchers, and dairy producers, events are planned throughout the month from technology expos and agribusiness conferences to the local Kern County Water Summit.   TECHNOLOGY  The 2024 California Small Farm Conference is...

KCFB: President’s Message 

Chlorpyrifos pesticide sprayed by tractor
By Jenny Holtermann, President, Kern County Farm Bureau  California grows more than half of the nation’s fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Kern County rivals Tulare and Fresno for the top agriculture-producing county in the State and Nation. We do all of this with the strictest and most comprehensive pesticide program in the world. The California Department of Pesticide Regulations (DPR) oversees...
By Rachel Nettleton, Executive Director, Kern County Farm Bureau  As California’s agricultural heartland, Kern County plays a strong role in our nation’s food production and distribution. From sprawling fields of crops to bustling ports that ship California-grown products worldwide, the agricultural landscape of Kern County is a vital component of our state’s economy and sustenance. Whether you are directly involved...
 By Christine Johnson, Chair, Young Farmers & Ranchers  The Young Farmers & Ranchers group began the year with our annual Basque Crawl in January. While in recent years, we tend to park rather than crawl, this is always one of our most well-attended socials of the year. We met at Woolgrowers and saw a lot of new faces. It was...
By Bob Johnson, Reporter, Monterey County   Reprinted with permission from the California Farm Bureau Federation  California leads the nation in organic agricultural production, accounting for more than $14 billion in organic sales and 36% of the U.S. organic market in 2021.  Yet research has lagged behind the exponential growth of organic farming in the state.  Now that trend may be changing, thanks to...
By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice Central Valley almond farmers need bees like a symphony needs musicians — without them, almond production falls silent. Ninety percent of the United States bee population is in California for the almond bloom, Tim Sawyer, the marketing lead of BeeHero said.  “ is the beating heart of our agricultural system, and so managed pollination...
By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice  As the global agricultural leader with over 400 commodities, California has a major influence over the nation as a trendsetter in policy and regulation. In theory, when the Golden State adopts regulatory standards, other states follow closely behind.  David Vogel, a retired UC Berkeley professor, termed this idea of the Golden State’s sovereignty over...
By Valley Ag Voice Staff The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced initial 2024 water supply allocations for Central Valley Project contractors. Wet conditions throughout 2023 prompted a higher allotment for water users based on an estimate of available water, reflecting current reservoir storage, precipitation, and snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. “The wet hydrologic conditions we experienced during the 2023 water year...
By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice   A strong rebound in almond prices is expected over the next 12 to 18 months. In a new five-year almond outlook report by RaboResearch Food and Agribusiness Group, researchers anticipate an ongoing recovery in the global demand for almonds and record increases in production, domestic and export shipments.  According to Aubrey Bettencourt, President of...
Dam removals are underway in California. By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice Governor Gavin Newsom released California’s first strategy to restore the salmon population in January, calling for dams to be torn down in favor of improving passages for migratory salmon. The blueprint outlined several key actions including removing barriers to salmon migration, restoring and expanding habitats, and protecting water...
By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice The Almond Board of California announced its 2024 leadership class for 18 professionals to help secure the future of the almond industry. Class members come from diverse industry backgrounds including growers, processors, sales representatives, sustainability specialists, company executives, and pest control advisors. Bayer Crop Science is sponsoring the 2024 class of 18, chosen from...
By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice Agriculture and business groups are suing California over two climate disclosure laws signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October. Coined as the Climate Accountability Package, Senate Bills 253 and 261 require large U.S. companies doing business in California to report greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related financial risks.   The American Farm Bureau Federation, Western Growers...
By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice As a pair of atmospheric storms near California, Congressman David Valadao addressed the House Floor on Jan. 31, calling for increased water storage. According to Valadao, the severity of flooding in 2023 underscores the importance of increasing coordination among federal agencies for disaster relief.   “Just last year, after three years of exceptional drought, our...
Friant-Kern Canal
By Scott Hamilton, President, Hamilton Resource Economics  The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) has presented a new and different set of challenges for water leaders. Achieving groundwater sustainability and thereby protecting the future of agriculture in Kern County will be hard. The Kern subbasin is now facing its third strike.  Strike one was when DWR found its Groundwater Sustainability Plan...