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Western Farm Press


New website design to improve your reading experience

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 23:17:00 +0000

We’ve opened the Western Farm Press toolbox and retooled our website and magazine. You’ll see quite a few changes. This is part of a new strategy to make your reading experience better and easier.

We understand you are busy, and we want to make sure we’re providing you the information you need as efficiently as possible.

New on the web

We’ve added new functionality to make your online experience better than ever. Here are the Top 5 enhancements.

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Pistachio Day, Jan. 18, Visalia

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 00:20:00 +0000


Visalia Convention Center
303 E Acequia Ave
Visalia, CA 93291
United States
36° 19' 44.0544" N, 119° 17' 26.4156" W

Mark the calendar for the 2017 Pistachio Day on Jan. 18 from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Visalia Convention Center in Visalia, Calif.

Pistachio Day is designed to provide the latest research-based production practices to help current and prospective pistachio growers, production managers, and pest control consultants to better achieve their pistachio-growing goals.

Topics during the morning session will include remote sensing for salinity management, a Rhodococcus fascians update, reports from local farm advisor projects, pistachio tree training, and updates on new pistachio cultivars.

The two afternoon sessions will address the produce rule for pistachios and integrated pest management for pistachios.

Registration for the event is available online at

Pistachio Day will be a full-day event with a hosted lunch.

Arizona cotton leader Rick Lavis succumbs to cancer

Rick Lavis, executive vice-president of the Arizona Cotton Growers Association, succumbed to cancer in late November. A memorial service for Lavis will be held Jan. 21, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, 6300 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, Ariz. 

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 16:53:00 +0000

Arizona agriculture has lost a great leader and stalwart - Mr. Rick Lavis - to the dreaded ‘C’ – cancer. For 36 years, Lavis led the Arizona Cotton Growers Association as the grower group’s executive vice-president where he strongly advocated for producer success.

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Outlook 2017 Agribusiness Conference, March 30, Fresno

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 15:52:00 +0000


DoubleTree Convention Center
2233 Ventura St.
Fresno, CA 93721
United States
36° 43' 57.378" N, 119° 47' 2.4864" W

Outlook 2017, considered a premiere California agribusiness conference, is scheduled for March 30  at the DoubleTree by Hilton Fresno Convention Center located at 2233 Ventura St., Fresno, Calif. 93721.

Registration information will be available in early January.

The conference is sponsored by the California chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.  


Pistachio growers: Winter sanitation critical for NOW, keep tab on chilling hours

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 16:02:00 +0000

As California pistachio orchards enter dormancy this year, growers should keep their eyes peeled on two major developments which could impact next year’s production practices – the unusually high level of Navel orangeworm (NOW) damage to the 2016 crop and the number of chilling hours this winter.

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Almonds: Latest UCCE findings on effective pruning, winter sanitation

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 15:48:00 +0000

Pruning and orchard sanitation practices during tree dormancy can play a major role in minimizing production costs and maximizing returns from the next year’s almond crop.

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Walnut growers could see higher prices despite record tonnage

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 15:20:00 +0000

What’s already been a bang-up year for California walnut growers shows signs of getting even better.

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When drought becomes a weapon of mass destruction

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 18:40:00 +0000

While it’s being called the wettest start in 30 years, some almost seem to be egging on the drought by reminding us that we could end up in our fifth year of it on short notice. While the federal government’s drought watch shows much of California still in some semblance of drought, the northern California counties of Shasta, Siskiyou, Trinity, Humboldt and Trinity are no longer officially in drought conditions. As for the rest of the state, a smaller portion of it is considered under the most-severe of conditions than we saw a year ago.

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DWR: 20 percent water allocation to 29 contractors

San Luis Reservoir lingers at low levels, in spite of opportunities to put more water into storage for state water contractors and farmers.

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 02:29:00 +0000

Initial allocation for 2017
The initial allocation is the first announcement each year to the 29 water agencies served by the SWP of what they can expect as the water year moves along. The 29 public water agencies that receive SWP water collectively requested 4,172,786 acre-feet of water for 2017. Under today’s initial allocation they would receive less than 850,000 acre feet based on current water conditions.

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Whole-orchard recycling improves air quality, soil characteristics

UCCE Farm Advisor Brent Holtz, San Joaquin County, at center, explains the benefits of whole-orchard recycling to almond growers at a field demonstration at Manteca, Calif.


Tue, 29 Nov 2016 01:59:00 +0000

Exclusive to Western Farm Press

The Almond Board of California (ABC) last December embarked on a journey to accelerate research on certain pressing almond sustainability issues, including water management and air quality.

At the same time, San Joaquin County farm advisor Brent Holtz presented his research on the feasibility of ripping up, grinding, and incorporating entire almond orchards back into the soil where the trees once grew.

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Low prices, regulations threaten raisin grower’s survival

Third-generation California grower Mitch Sangha once grew only raisins on his Ag Telesis farm in Fresno County. Due to declining consumer demand for the dried fruit and lower grower prices, he’s reduced his raisin acreage by about two thirds and planted almonds, cherries, and olives to boost revenues.

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 15:42:00 +0000

On this early October morning, third generation California raisin grower Mitch Sangha meandered through a 100-year old Thompson seedless vineyard on his family’s Ag Telesis farm at Caruthers in Fresno County.

He reminisced about learning the essentials about vineyard management as a young man from his father Kishan and grandfather Santa, both now deceased, tools to produce the highest quality raisins possible.

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Steve and Jill Klein Matthiasson: Their unique viticulture/wine dream fulfilled in Napa

Steve and Jill Klein Matthiasson are living their dream, growing unique wines and bottling them as Matthiasson Wines from Napa Calif.

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 14:44:00 +0000

He is Canadian-born, son of two anthropology professors, and spent part of his childhood in Arizona before getting a philosophy degree at Whittier College, Los Angeles. She grew up in Pennsylvania, where her family owned mill town bars. Each had some early agrarian experience: His family farmed in North Dakota and Manitoba, where he spent summers growing up; she grew tomatoes in her family’s backyard.

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Labor of Love program celebrates vegetable field workers

Sat, 26 Nov 2016 23:01:00 +0000

A special recognition of hard-working fieldworkers called the Labor of Love program is thanking those who serve the agricultural industry in vegetable fields from Yuma, Ariz. to California’s Salinas Valley.

Now into the busy winter produce season where upwards of 40,000 laborers may be working fields to help make Yuma “the Winter Leafy Greens Capitol of America,” the efforts of these workers are being recognized and rewarded by surprise breakfasts in the field and other random acts of kindness.

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Cal Poly Pomona honors California pistachio grower

Donald Huntley, left, is honored with a portrait by Mary Holz-Clause, dean of the Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture, center, and Cal Poly President Soraya Coley at a celebration naming the agriculture school in his honor.

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 17:03:00 +0000

University names agriculture school in honor of alum Donald Huntley


Don Huntley makes no bones about his love of Cal Poly Pomona.

“I am very prejudiced,” said Huntley, who grew up in the San Gabriel Valley. “I just think there is a lot of romance and history in the Kellogg Ranch. It’s just a fabulous campus. I think they give individuals some ideas of being creative, wherever they are in engineering or business. This is a glorious campus.”

Huntley was recently honored at a campus celebration to rename the agriculture school the Donald B. Huntley College of Agriculture.

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Dec. 9 deadline to apply for Almond Leadership Program

Applications now being taken for the Almond Leadership Program, a professional development program run by the Almond Board of California.

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 23:49:00 +0000

Deadline to apply for the Almond Board of California’s year-long leadership program is fast approaching.

Those interested in participating in the Almond Leadership Program have until 5 p.m., Dec. 9, to apply.

The Almond Leadership Program is entering its eighth year as a vehicle to prepare new industry leaders. Throughout the years, the program has evolved into helping participants grow as leaders and advocates.

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Organic wine grapes profitable on North Coast?

A University of California study suggests that wine grapes grown using biodynamic farm standard practices can be a profitable venture in the North Coast region of Mendocino County, Calif.

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 22:37:00 +0000

UC Study: Organic system can yield profits in Mendocino wine grapes

A detailed report from the University of California explores wine grape plantings in Mendocino County, Calif. (North Coast) using National Organic Program and Demeter Biodynamic standards.

Written by Mendocino and Lake County Farm Advisor Glenn McGourty, Daniel Sumner, director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center, and, staff research associates Christine Gutierrez and Donald Stewart, the report looks at cost structures and cultural practices necessary for the non-conventional farming practices.

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Southwest Agriculture Summit, Feb. 22-23, Yuma

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 20:48:00 +0000

Location Arizona Western College 2020 S Ave 8 E Yuma, AZ 85265 United States 32° 41' 19.662" N, 114° 29' 43.9548" W See map: Google Maps The 2017 Southwest Agriculture Summit will be an agricultural industry event including keynote speakers, exhibitor booths, educational seminars, a field demonstration, networking, golf, social events, and more. The summit will be held Feb. 22-24 at Arizona Western College located at 2020 S Ave 8 E, Yuma, Ariz. 85365. The summit schedule will begin with a field demonstration event and related burrito breakfast, and conclude with the Harvest Dinner, the latter a celebration of Yuma agriculture and the partnerships with other agricultural communities. Groups putting on the event include the Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association in partnership with Arizona Western College Foundation, University of Arizona, and the Yuma County Farm Bureau. On Wednesday, Feb. 22, the always popular field demonstration event will feature hands-on opportunities to see new equipment, systems, and strategies in action. There will also be a farm welding seminar where new and valuable applications to repairing and strengthening farm equipment will be discussed.  The afternoon will include a golf tournament held at the Mesa Del Sol Country Club, followed by an evening reception at the college. On Thursday, Feb. 23, events will include a morning keynote panel discussing water issues in the Desert Southwest. Speakers will include George Seperich of Arizona State University and Tom Davis of the Yuma County Water Users’ Association. Following the morning educational sessions and exhibitor show, the keynote panel will include Willard Lewallen, superintendent and president of Hartnell College; and Jacqueline Cruz, Office of Institutional Advancement and the Hartnell College Foundation, speaking on partnerships that create a strong workforce for a dynamic agricultural industry. Educational sessions will include discussions on integrated pest management - regulatory update; IPM in vegetable crops, micronutrient fertilization in desert production system, heavy metals in leafy vegetables, and other topics. A complete list of events and description of breakout sessions will be available online at in December 2016.   The Summit will close with the sold-out Harvest Dinner. An advanced agriculture tour will be available Friday morning, Feb. 24. Call (928) 246-9108 for sponsor opportunities. [...]

Pesticides give consumers pest-free produce they want

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 19:33:00 +0000

A thought occurred to me the other day while listening to a farm advisor talk pest control in vegetable crops.

As farm advisors are good for, the PowerPoint presentation was peppered with data that need to be explained and photographs that didn’t. I’m going to talk about the photos that didn’t need explaining and ‘splain them anyway.

One such photo included a large head of romaine lettuce infested with a bunch of tiny bugs. Then the though occurred.

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Drought remains normal part of California landscape

UC's Irrigation Water Management Specialist Khaled Bali, left, and Daniele Zaccaria, Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources, spoke on the importance of irrigation management strategies during the 27th annual Fall Desert Crops Workshop held Nov. 15 in Imperial, Calif.

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 18:17:00 +0000

Proper irrigation scheduling critical to water saving efforts

Though by most estimates California appears to be ebbing away from drought conditions, some say it will take more time to recover.

According to the California Department of Water Resources, 420 percent of normal rainfall fell in October across the Northern Sierra Nevada between Blue Canyon and Mt. Shasta City

That was followed by half the normal rainfall across the region the following month.

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SJV Grape Symposium, Jan. 11, Easton

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 16:44:00 +0000

The 2017 San Joaquin Valley Grape Symposium takes place Jan. 11 at the C.P.D.E.S. Hall, 172 W. Jefferson Ave., Easton, Calif.


C.P.D.E.S. Hall
172 W. Jefferson Ave.,
Easton, CA
United States
36° 39' 24.8076" N, 119° 47' 38.544" W

The 2017 San Joaquin Valley Grape Symposium takes place Jan. 11 at the C.P.D.E.S. Hall, 172 W. Jefferson Ave., Easton, Calif.

Cost is $15 pre-registration and $20 at the door. Pre-registration is available online.

Registration is at 7 a.m. with the first talk slated for 7:50 a.m.

Lunch, sponsored by Allied Grape Growers, is at noon.

The agenda includes:

8:00 am – Updates of salt and drought resistant rootstock breeding Andy Walker, Department of Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis;

8:40 am – Updates of laws and regulations Bill Griffin, Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office;

9:10 am – Vineyard vertebrate management Mike Konda, Fresno County Department of Agriculture;

9:40 am – Break and refreshments;

10:10 am – Moderator Lindsay Jordan, viticulture farm advisor, UCCE Mariposa, Merced and Madera Counties;

10:20 am – Red blotch Epidemiology and its vector, Neil McRoberts, Department of Plant Pathology, UC Davis;

11:00 am – Deficit irrigation for wine grapes, Larry Williams, Department of Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis;

11:40 pm – Final Questions & Comments

Continuing education credits of 1.5 hours, PCA, and 3.0 hours CCA, have been requested.

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Ag at Large: California farmers accept political change

President-elect Donald Trump, left, and Vice-President-elect Mike Pence.

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 01:21:00 +0000

Since the presidential election, several opinion pieces have appeared that offer a farmer view of the result. Not one has confined it to views that might be held only by farmers in California.

Into that vast abyss tumbles today’s Ag at Large, sustained by several direct expressions from farmer friends before the election, comments from them since, and a kind of compilation of attitudes formed from years of associating with and listening to them.

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Lohr assumes California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance board helm

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 14:22:00 +0000

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) has tapped three new board officers.

They include: Chairman Steve Lohr (J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines); Vice-Chair Aaron Lange (LangeTwins Family Winery & Vineyards); Secretary Cheryl Murphy Durzy (Clos LaChance Winery); and Treasurer Mike Boer (Stipp Ranch).

The officers’ terms are for one year and can be elected for an additional year.

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UC releases North Coast wine grapes cost study

UC study looks at Chardonnay and Pinot Noir plantings in Russian River Valley of northern California.

Sat, 19 Nov 2016 19:05:00 +0000

A University of California study reveals the costs and practices necessary to grow Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes in the Russian River Valley, an American Viticultural Area of Sonoma County, Calif.

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Growers say pesticide use changes are unnecessary

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 22:44:00 +0000

In the week leading up to a public hearing in Tulare, Calif. on proposed changes to pesticide applications near schools, the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association (CCGGA) and Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) called on members to testify against the plan.

About 20 growers from both organizations gathered to provide public comment opposing the Department of Pesticide Regulation’s (DPR) proposed draft rule that would prohibit many crop protection applications within a quarter mile of a school site and day care facility.

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"The Rat Pack" helps CCM celebrate 39 years

Sammy Davis Jr., Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, otherwise known as "The Rat Pack Group," provided the evening entertainment at the 39th Annual California Citrus Mutual meeting in Visalia.

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 21:22:00 +0000

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Marketing efforts need to get more nuts

Thu, 17 Nov 2016 19:36:00 +0000

If numbers hold, the combined production of U.S. walnuts, almonds and pistachios could be well over four billion pounds. That says at least two things: marketing efforts must continue to grow; and, processing capacity will need to keep pace with the higher volumes.

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Pistachio industry poised to market 2016 record crop

Thu, 17 Nov 2016 13:59:00 +0000

Members of California’s pistachio industry, who last year bemoaned a disastrously meager crop of just 275 million pounds, are now looking at the challenge of marketing a record crop this year likely to total about 900 million pounds.

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New innovations to reduce dust in almond orchards

Thu, 17 Nov 2016 13:50:00 +0000

Like death and taxes, one thing is certain with almond harvest. It kicks up a lot of dust.

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Raisin Bargaining Assn. turns ‘50’ amid shrinking industry

Glen Goto, left, and Steve Spate represent the grower members of the Raisin Bargaining Association, based at Fresno, Calif. The organization turns 50 years young on Dec. 7. 

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 22:51:00 +0000

The Raisin Bargaining Association (RBA) based at Fresno, Calif. celebrates its 50th anniversary on Dec. 9 – a half century spent representing the interests of its dried grape grower members. The group will celebrate this monumental achievement at its annual membership meeting in March.

The first 50 years have been full of challenges, says Glen Goto who has served as RBA’s chief executive officer (CEO) since 2002 - 14 years.

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