Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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The Involuntary Agreement

By Scott Hamilton, President, Hamilton Resource Economics Many of California’s native fish species are in serious trouble. They face significant population decline, with many species designated as endangered and several more whose status is pending. The State Water Resources Control Board decided to take on the issue under the umbrella of their update of the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan...
Kern River Canyon Bakersfield California
By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice Agricultural water supplies continue to face hurdles in the Central Valley, ranging from potential Tulare Lake groundwater basin probation to environmentalist-sought legal battles. Compiled with new state regulations on water rights and groundwater adjudication filing standards, farmers and ranchers in the San Joaquin Valley enter yet another obstacle in supplying the nation’s food.   The...

KCFB: President’s Message 

By Jenny Holtermann, President, Kern County Farm Bureau As the new year approaches, many of us may look for positive change or hope to try something new. We tend to make resolutions or commit to fundamentally changing something for the new year. I am not big on resolutions; it doesn’t take long to forget what you committed to or...
By Christine Johnson, Chair, Kern County Young Farmers & Ranchers  Greetings and Happy New Year! I am honored to have been elected as the 2024 Kern County Young Farmers & Ranchers Chair. My hope is to bring you a fresh perspective and a renewed sense of appreciation for young professionals in agriculture. Be encouraged that there are some very bright,...
By Rachel Nettleton, Executive Director, Kern County Farm Bureau As we enter the new year, the agricultural landscape in Kern County is undergoing a notable transformation. This shift is evident in the ongoing changes in technology, the growing emphasis on environmental sustainability, and the dedicated efforts of our local farming and ranching community. These changes set the stage for...
Kevin McCarthy
By Valley Ag Voice Editorial Staff  With the loss of representation from Central Valley native and agricultural advocate Kevin McCarthy, California faces an uncertain future. Still, the groundwork so diligently laid out by the former Speaker has further cemented the foundation and history of the valley in its efforts to feed the nation and the world.   Throughout his extensive career, McCarthy...
By Valley Ag Voice Staff The new year offers several opportunities for California farmers and ranchers to apply for and secure financial assistance as the industry faces ongoing challenges. Increased costs in almost every part of production, including a boost to minimum wage, have created another obstacle for Central Valley agriculture.  DROUGHT RELIEF AND SUSTAINABILITY  The California Department of Food and Agriculture...
By Valley Ag Voice Staff A tropical storm during harvest created an unfavorable outlook for Central Valley almond production, and acreage has declined for two consecutive years. A recent report from Land IQ to the Almond Board of California showed that roughly 74,000 almond acres were lost in 2023.  According to the report, this second year of reduction is an unprecedented...
By Valley Ag Voice Staff The Kern County Farm Bureau is hosting its 18th annual Spray Safe Event on Jan. 19 at the Kern County Fairgrounds to bolster educational outreach to farmers and agricultural employees on safe pesticide techniques. While Spray Safe has been adopted by various counties in the state, a group of farmers in Kern County created...
By Peter Hecht, Chief Editor of Publications, California Farm Bureau Federation  Reprinted with permission from the California Farm Bureau Federation  California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson called on lawmakers to work to sustain agriculture into the future by securing water supplies and rejecting policies that merely ask farmers and ranchers to be resilient in the face of unaddressed challenges.  Speaking before the...
By Amrith Gunasekara, Director of Science and Research, California Bountiful Foundation  Reprinted with permission from the California Farm Bureau Federation   In 2022, the Breakthrough Institute global research center advanced a concept called “deregulating abundance.”  The idea is that we have an abundance of tools and technologies that for various reasons—namely due to excessive regulation—are no longer “abundant.”  This is concerning when it comes...
By Valley Ag Voice Staff The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has several rules ranging from worker safety to drift, but mistakes in application and management are not entirely avoidable. Enforcement actions for a violation include civil penalty or disciplinary action, which can refuse, revoke, or suspend a permit. In order to combat the frequency of certain violations, DPR shared...
By Katie Little, Senior Policy Advocate, California Farm Bureau  Reprinted with permission from the California Farm Bureau Federation  California farmers and ranchers are no strangers to our continuing onslaught of state regulations. Now, as the New Year approaches, several new mandates that will take effect come from one agency alone: the California Air Resources Board.  CARB has been particularly busy enacting transportation...
World Ag Expo
By Valley Ag Voice Staff With the new year, California’s diverse agricultural landscape will host several events for farmers, industry professionals, and stakeholders, ranging from educational sessions to commodity-specific conferences. The next two months’ line-up of events introduce technological innovations, networking opportunities, and industry insights that will help shape the trajectory of California agriculture this year.   ENTERTAINMENT  On Sat. Jan 6, The...

A Question and Answer 

By Joshua Stevens, Faith Contributor, Valley Ag Voice  “Bone cancer in children, what’s that about? How dare you, how dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault? It’s not right; it’s utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid god who creates a world which is so full of...
CALIFORNIA DAIRIES INC MILK PRODUCTS
By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice A new dairy bottling facility in Bakersfield, which broke ground in 2021, is proceeding through city reviews for a long-life milk plant — the first of its kind in Kern County. Valley Natural Beverages, owned by California Dairies Inc., will bring an estimated 350 quality jobs to the area. CDI currently owns six co-ops...
Farmers compensated for not farming. By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice On Wed., the Biden Administration announced a series of agreements with water districts and tribes — primarily in California — to use less water in return for $295 million. The conservation agreements expect to save up to 643,000 acre-feet in Lake Mead rather than allowing flows down to users...
By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice Dairy digesters are most prominent in California, hosting 227 projects that capture methane from 255 dairy farms and create renewable electricity, renewable natural gas, or hydrogen fuel. According to Dairy Cares, the state’s digester program achieves 22% of greenhouse gas reduction from all climate programs in the state, but it operates with 1.7%...
By Valley Ag Voice Staff The California Farm Bureau boasted a series of recognitions to local agricultural industry leaders spanning Kern County to Stanislaus. Every year, the CFB highlights members from each county who continuously show their commitment to agriculture and the betterment of their local industry. The 2023 awards were exchanged at the 105th California Farm Bureau Annual Meeting...
California Governor Gavin Newsom
By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice As the new year approaches, several finalized actions determined by Governor Gavin Newsom will go into effect in Jan. 2024 or later relating to water, pesticides, labor, and climate change.  WATER By Jan. 1, Assembly Bill 779 will go into effect, making procedural changes to the groundwater adjudication process. The bill introduced by Democratic...
By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice With huanglongbing disease carried by Asian citrus psyllids becoming increasingly prominent throughout Southern California, the state’s citrus industry faces another potential threat from the Queensland fruit fly. Two Queensland fruit flies were detected near Thousand Oaks, leading to a first-of-its-kind quarantine in the United States, covering 90 square miles. According to Hamutahl Cohen, the...
By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice “This is an exciting day,” was echoed by various Bakersfield College faculty, staff, and students at the groundbreaking ceremony of the college’s new Agricultural Sciences Building. The ceremony was held on BC’s main campus on Nov. 30, and according to the Associate Vice President of Instruction and Dean of Agriculture at BC, Jessica Wojtysiak,...
plane spraying pesticide on farm field
By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice The California Department of Pesticide Regulation proposed a regulation to notify the public prior to applications of restricted material pesticides a month after requesting that a Bakersfield pilot be barred from application. In Sept., DPR responded to complaints of various illegal drift incidents which “harmed at least one person and damaged property.” DPR went...
By Valley Ag Voice Staff Bakersfield College is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Agriculture Sciences Building on Thursday, Nov. 30, at 8:30 a.m. on its main campus. The groundbreaking takes place days after BC Delano celebrated the grand opening of its Regenerative Agriculture Education Center on Nov. 14, ushering in a series of opportunities for agriculture students. The...
By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice As labor costs continue to increase, agriculture is moving toward a technical future. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, labor expenses are expected to increase more than 4% in 2023. For every $100 spent on production, almost $10 goes toward labor, including contract and hired labor payments, the report...
By Scott Hamilton, President, Hamilton Resource Economics Farmers’ water rights have been under attack for decades now. The list of acronyms is daunting: CVPIA, SJRRP, Bay-Delta Accord, D-1641, 2008 BiOps, ITP, VAMP, and the list goes on. Each one of these acronyms represents a major regulatory decision that costs farmers in the San Joaquin Valley hundreds of thousands of acre-feet...