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The worst fire in California history illuminates fire preparation needs

by Jeannette E. Warnert

Posted on Tuesday April 30, 2019, 12:24 pm

Four months have passed since the Camp Fire, the worst wildfire in California history, ravaged bucolic communities in the Butte County foothills, including Paradise, Concow, Butte Creek Canyon, Cherokee, Yankee Hill and Magalia. Eighty-five people died, many of them elderly and unable to safely evacuate from an area where a wind-driven fire raced from home to home.

The unspeakable loss of human life and the serious challenges being faced by survivors has dominated the Camp Fire conversation. Now, UC Cooperative Extension is beginning a dialog with many agencies involved to understand how such tragedies can be prevented in the future.

UC Cooperative Extension fire scientists and representatives of many California organizations conduct fire behavior research, study forest treatments – such as prescribed burns, timber harvest and mastication – and share best pr...

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New Farm Bill = New Options for Mediation


Posted on Tuesday April 30, 2019, 12:14 pm

Mediation services now include farm leases, family transitions, farmer-neighbor conflicts, and organic certification

Congress has breathed new life into a thirty-year-old program that helps farmers resolve disputes outside of a courtroom. Born out of a Crisis

To address impacts of the financial crisis of the late 1980s, Congress passed the Agricultural Credit Act of 1987, which authorized the Secretary of Agriculture to help states develop certified mediation programs to assist producers with debt and certain regulatory issues.

Before the 2018 amendments, most mediations involved credit cases: helping farmers resolve disputes with creditors or vendors; working to develop payment plans; or addressing outstanding debts to qualify for a state or federal loan. But the list of “covered” cases, where mediation services are provided at no cost to th...

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Cattle Producers Approve California Cattle Council


Posted on Tuesday April 30, 2019, 12:13 pm

The California Department of Food and Agriculture recently conducted a referendum to determine whether California cattle producers favor the implementation of a proposed California Cattle Council. The results of this referendum have been certified and show that 68 percent of the producers who participated in the referendum voted in favor of the Council. Since this outcome exceeds the criteria of a majority voting favorably, CDFA Secretary Karen Ross has made the Council operative effective today.

The Council will perform research aimed at the development of best management practices to improve sustainability and efficiency of California’s beef industry; assist with regulatory compliance; and develop consumer education programs.

Now that the Council has become operative, CDFA will conduct a nomination process to appoint qualified individuals to serve on the ini...

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Weak Honey Bee Colonies May Fail From Cold Exposure During Shipping

by Kim Kaplan

Posted on Tuesday April 30, 2019, 11:40 am

Cold temperatures inside honey bee colonies may cause colony losses during and after long-distance hauling, according to a preliminary study by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.

Every year almost 2 million honey bee colonies—nearly two-thirds of the managed colonies in the United States—are loaded aboard semi-trailers and shipped across the country multiple times to pollinate crops like California almonds.

But within days of arrival, some of these colonies will have few if any honey bees left to visit almond flowers, to provide essential pollination services to California’s 1.3 million acres of almond orchards.

“We found that less robust colonies—those that have fewer than 10 frames of honey bees and larvae when loaded onto trucks—cannot maintain the temperature inside the hive and are subjected to cold stress,” said Daco...

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Life Just Got A Lot Sweeter: The 2019 Vidalia Onion Crop Heads To Stores Today

by VOC

Posted on Tuesday April 30, 2019, 11:35 am

Get ready to celebrate "The Sweet Life," Vidalia onion fans! The 2019 Vidalia Onion season has officially begun for the renowned vegetable adored by the world's best chefs and home cooks alike for its sweet and crisp flavor.

A rite of passage every spring, the sweet juicy bulbs are cultivated by 50 registered growers and are available for a limited time each year from April to August. One of the world's mildest onions, the way Vidalia onions are grown and raised enhances the onion's unique taste, sweetness and texture.

"We have had a strong harvest this year and consumers can look forward to a bountiful supply of Vidalia onions to spice up their favorite dishes from salads to desserts," said Troy Bland, chairman of the Vidalia Onion Committee (VOC), which oversees marketing for the hand-planted and hand-harvested vegetable.

According to Bland, 9,356...

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