Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Strawberries are America's favorite fresh fruit

From the California Strawberry Commission:
Strawberries are America’s favorite fresh fruit, according to a recent survey of primary grocery shoppers. Without the aid of a list, roughly one-third (32 percent) of respondents identified strawberries as their favorite fresh fruit, with bananas (9 percent) and watermelons (8 percent) taking second and third place, respectively.

The California Strawberry Commission has focused its recent marketing efforts on educating consumers about the health benefits of strawberries, which include being high in vitamin C and antioxidants and low in sugar, and the survey results indicate these messages are resonating with consumers.

“It’s good to know that Americans are choosing strawberries for their families,” said Leslie Redmond, PhD MS RDN, at the California Strawberry Commission. “Studies show eating just eight strawberries a day may help prevent chronic disease and some cancers, so the results of this survey are encouraging.”

The survey also identified a spike in consumer purchase intent, with 90 percent of respondents indicating that they “definitely would buy” or “probably would buy” fresh strawberries, an 8 percent increase as compared to 2013.
The survey comes as production in California has boomed in 2017. With more than a month left in the year, growers and their crews have brought in nearly 200 million trays of strawberries from the field, which assures them of another record.

For my story, check CapitalPress.com soon.

Monday, November 20, 2017

UCANR promotes 'unselfies' as part of fundraising effort

From a news release:
On Nov. 28, UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources will participate in #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving powered by our social networks. Celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season.

Although not as well-known as the shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday appeals to people who are swept up in the spirit of giving at the end of the year. Participants post "unselfies" on social media, as opposed to selfies, stating why they donate. By posting these photos on social media about why they give on #GivingTuesday, donors and volunteers celebrate and encourage giving.

Anyone can post an "unselfie." Simply visit ucanr.edu/givingtuesday, download and print an unselfie sign that says, "I #UNselfie for ____ #GivingTuesday," "Together, we can reach for California’s greatest potential on this #GivingTuesday" and "I’m donating to UCANR this #GivingTuesday because…" Participants can hold the sign below their face and snap an unselfie to post on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other social media with the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #UCANReach.

For UC ANR, #GivingTuesday is an opportunity to raise funds for UC Cooperative Extension county programs, research and extension centers and statewide programs. As a result of the ongoing effects of the drought, recent wildfires and persistent pockets of poverty, California’s needs in the coming year will be great, and year-end giving presents an opportunity for donors to assist.

"UC Cooperative Extension professionals have a deep passion for their work and a dedication to the communities they serve," said Glenda Humiston. University of California vice president for agriculture and natural resources. "While most deliver their research and programs quietly every day, it is especially incredible to witness their response to disaster; for example, recent wildfires saw local UCCE offices responding immediately with vital information for coping with the fires, care for livestock and pets, as well as service in food banks and other volunteer needs."

In Sonoma County, as residents evacuated during the fires, UC Cooperative Extension staff and 4-H members helped rescue livestock. In Solano County, wildfire took the homes of 17 UC Master Gardener volunteers so the UC Master Gardener Program connected them with volunteers throughout the state who wanted to provide relief.

"UC Master Gardener volunteers are true to their generous nature and have offered tremendous support to fellow volunteers who have lost homes in the fires. With compassionate hearts, they have offered lodging, supplies and words of support," said Missy Gable, UC Master Gardener Program director. "In the future, we will look to replant what was lost and find healing in the care and establishment of new landscapes and wild spaces."

For UC ANR stakeholders, #GivingTuesday is an opportunity to support the many research and outreach programs that strengthen California communities each day and more importantly, during times of crisis.

"The value of the programs cannot be overstated," Chico farmer Rory Crowley wrote in the Chico Enterprise-Record. "Agriculture is the main economic driver in Butte County, and it is extremely important to support our farmers and ranchers through these initiatives. This year we have a unique opportunity to give back to our Butte County researchers and agriculturists."

Over $64,000 was raised on #GivingTuesday last year to support UC ANR programs including the 4-H Youth Development Program and UC Master Gardener Program.

"Last year, the 4-H Foundation recorded a 430 percent increase in donations over the previous fiscal year, raising over $30,000 in one day from 37 counties!" said Mary Ciricillo, director of annual giving for UC ANR. This was due in large part to a match challenge from an anonymous donor.

"This year, I’m excited to share that we will have two match challenge funds. One supporting the California 4-H Foundation and one for all UC ANR." said Ciricillo.

Clicking "Make a Gift" at ucanr.edu/givingtuesday reveals links to all UC ANR programs, research and extension centers and UCCE offices so donors may designate the programs or locations to which they wish to donate.
The California FFA is also tying a fundraiser to Giving Tuesday.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Gallagher calls out Newsom for politicizing shooting

From a news release:
Today, Assemblymember James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) released a video calling out Acting Governor Gavin Newsom for the statement he issued yesterday in response to the mass shooting in Rancho Tehama. Gallagher represents Rancho Tehama in the California State Assembly.

Below is the transcribed text of the video message:
Dear Acting Governor Newsom:

I want to say thank you for your heartfelt condolences for the victims of this violent rampage that was carried out against my constituents in the community of Rancho Tehama. As you could imagine this has been a tough couple of days for us. Our North State community is still reeling from this senseless act and is anxious for all of the facts to come out.

What is not appreciated is using our tragedy for your own personal political agenda. While you point the finger at Congress, perhaps you might ask yourself whether California’s policies that you support played a role in this tragedy.

Your disastrous prison realignment scheme for instance, has dumped tens of thousands of criminals into our local county jails and onto our streets. Our jail is full and our law enforcement resources are overtaxed. The fact that you are hamstringing local law enforcement has nothing to do with Congress.

We can all agree that this monster had no business possessing firearms. Even his own family has said so. But where was your Department of Justice? The state APPS program is designed for California DOJ officers to remove all firearms from dangerous persons who have either a felony, restraining order or mental illness. This guy had a restraining order and was reportedly shooting off guns all the time. He was clearly mentally ill. Did the DOJ do its due diligence?

Maybe you should also ask yourself why California has chosen to make our schools soft the ultimate target. Laws that you support have taken away the ability for trained individuals to conceal carry on campus. Why didn't this madman respect that in California, our schools are "gun free zones"? Maybe he didn't see the sign as he was ramming down the school gate. As you travel around California campaigning protected by armed guards, does it ever cross your mind that our children deserve the same protection?

While you veil your agenda with concern for a town you have never heard of, let alone visited, maybe you should consider that in your own City of San Francisco young women are gunned down on the pier by illegal immigrant felons, fully protected by a Sanctuary City policy that you have now made statewide. In other words Acting Governor Gavin, maybe it’s not the guns or Congress, maybe it's your policies.

Again, I thank you for your condolences. We will all feel safer when we truly put the public's safety ahead of political posturing.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Farm groups sue California over glyphosate classification

From the National Association of Wheat Growers:
Agriculture groups from across the country today joined forces to file a lawsuit in federal court against the State of California for ignoring science and conclusions from regulatory bodies around the world in a fundamentally flawed regulatory classification of Glyphosate, an environmentally-safe and widely-used herbicide. The coalition’s case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

“The unified voice of this diverse coalition of agriculture and business groups illustrates the devastating impact California’s flawed action would have across the country,” said Gordon Stoner, President of the National Association of Wheat Growers, the lead plaintiff in the case. “California’s erroneous warning about glyphosate is unconstitutional and would result in higher food costs, crushing blows to state and agricultural economies and lost revenue up and down the entire supply chain."

Fellow agricultural association plaintiffs in the case include Associated Industries of Missouri, the Iowa Soybean Association, Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Missouri Farm Bureau, the National Corn Growers Association, North Dakota Grain Growers Association, South Dakota Agri-Business Association and the United States Durum Growers Association.cleardot

At issue is California’s July action ignoring their own scientific reviews, as well as studies conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and every other leading regulatory body around the world and falsely classifying the environmentally-benign herbicide as a probable carcinogen.” This erroneous warning is based entirely on a highly-controversial and deeply flawed finding by a non-regulatory, French-based foreign body called IARC.

As a result of California’s Prop 65 false warning, manufacturers of products containing glyphosate, or residues thereof, sold in California will need to affix a false and misleading warning label to their products. This violates the First Amendment, which protects individuals and businesses from compelled false speech. As a result, farmers, manufactures and distributors of products that are legally permitted under strictly enforced federal regulations, would have to place a warning label on those products they know to be false.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Lawmakers call for unity after Tehama County shootings

Tehama County's two representatives in the Legislature voiced prayers for victims and called for unity after this morning's series of random shootings in Rancho Tehama that killed five people and wounded others.

Assembly Republican Leader Brian Dahle of Bieber released this statement:

“My prayers are with the innocent victims, their families, and those who are hospitalized from the Tehama shooting. Let our Northern California community come together as one for those affected in this horrible time. We are #TehamaStrong.”

Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Tehama, put out this statement:

“My heart goes out to the victims and loved ones affected by Tuesday morning’s horrific shooting in Rancho Tehama.

“We are heartbroken over this senseless violence, and will be praying for the speedy recovery of those injured and for the emotional peace for those affected.

“We lift up in prayer those killed and wounded, their families and loved ones, and the first responders and others who put their lives on the line to protect and save innocent lives.”

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

State imposes new restrictions on pesticides near schools

From a news release:
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has adopted new rules to further protect young students from pesticide exposure. The rules, which take effect on January 1, 2018, regulate the use of agricultural pesticides near schools and licensed child day-care facilities.

“These rules will help to further protect the health of children, teachers and school staff from unintended pesticide exposure,” said Brian Leahy, DPR director. “They build on our existing strict regulations and give an additional layer of protection that is now consistent across the state.” See video here

The new regulation was adopted following an extensive process to gather public and stakeholder input during the past two years. DPR conducted three formal hearings and 15 public workshops in five locations around the state to gather input and reviewed more than 19,000 public comments.

The new regulation:

· Prohibits many pesticide applications within a quarter mile of public K-12 schools and licensed child day-care facilities during school hours, Monday through Friday between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. This includes all applications by aircraft, sprinklers, air-blast sprayers, and all fumigant applications. In addition, most dust and powder pesticide applications, such as sulfur, will also be prohibited during this time.

· Requires California growers to provide annual notification to public K-12 schools and licensed day-care facilities, as well as county agricultural commissioners, of the pesticides expected to be used within a quarter mile of these schools and facilities in the upcoming year.

Although California has strict regulations governing the use of pesticides, population growth has created a growing number of situations where schools and day-care facilities are located near or directly adjacent to working farms, increasing the potential for unintended exposures to pesticides.

Many California counties have adopted local rules related to pesticide applications near schools and day-care centers, but until now, the state did not have a consistent, statewide standard. The regulation is expected to affect about 4,100 public K-12 schools and licensed child day-care facilities and approximately 2,500 growers in California.

In addition to tightening restrictions, the regulation is designed to encourage greater communication between growers and schools or licensed daycare facilities. By providing more information on nearby pesticide applications and increasing communication, the new rules are expected to help schools and day-care centers in responding to potential incidents and inquiries from parents.

The regulation also allows a school, a grower and the county agricultural commissioner to devise alternative application restrictions that provide an equal or greater level of protection to those provided by the regulation.
Farm groups including California Citrus Mutual opposed the regulation, arguing it was unnecessary. For my story, check CapitalPress.com soon.

Friday, November 3, 2017

NWS update: Season's first big storm to last through Mon.

From the National Weather Service:
Two waves of precipitation are expected: today - Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon into Monday. Significant rainfall is possible in the Central Valley and Foothills with the first wave of precipitation, and may cause localized flooding due to leaf-clogged drains and ash flows in areas of recent fires. Several feet of snow are forecast over the higher terrain which will impact mountain travel. Snow levels will initially be near pass levels Friday, but lower to around 5000 feet by Sunday. Significantly cooler temperatures are expected, as well as some breezy winds with the first storm today and Saturday. The second wave of precipitation looks less significant. A new timing loop was included and shows the two waves and the break in the precipitation. This is from a more "coarse" model which goes through Monday.

Chain controls and travel delays over Sierra passes
Slick roads
Localized street flooding from leaf-clogged drains
Rainfall may result in ash flows around recently burned areas

Forecast Confidence

Timing and Strength
1st wave moves through today into Saturday evening
2nd, but weaker wave, moves through Sunday afternoon into Monday
Snow: Two rounds today through Saturday night and Sunday afternoon into Monday
Snow levels: near pass levels Friday, lowering to 5000 feet by Sunday
Winds: Breezy southerly winds today through Saturday morning.
Possible Veterans Day storm late next week (Thursday and Friday)