Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Rancher-activist to headline logging conference

Jeff Fowle, an Etna, Calif., rancher who has been at the forefront of agriculture's social media revolution, will be a featured speaker at the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference Feb. 7-11.

Fowle, a past president of AgChat Foundation, will give the keynote address at a kickoff breakfast Feb. 9 at the fairgrounds here. He'll also lead a seminar Feb. 10 on how foresters and other farmers can use social media to their advantage.

The 63rd annual conference and forest products exposition will also include panel discussions on the public safety threat caused by marijuana gardens, forest carbon regulations and other topics.

The event also includes logging exhibitions, log loading and truck driving skills competitions and a "backhoe rodeo". Tickets are required for the breakfast, a luncheon and banquet.

For more information about the conference, click here. The complete schedule is here.

We'll see if any articles about Fowle's "radical conservatism" are forthcoming. :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bull sale cracks million mark again

About $1.24 million in total sales from Saturday's sale, to be exact, although the average price per bull dipped a bit from last year because more bulls passed through the ring, easing demand. Full results are available online.

For my story, check CapitalPress.com soon.

Inspiring cattle expert to speak at Chico State

From California State University-Chico's College of Agriculture:
The Chico State Young Cattlemen’s Association, Butte County Farm Bureau, and College of Agriculture will host internationally respected animal behaviorist Temple Grandin, who will speak to a sold-out crowd at the Bell Memorial Union Auditorium on the California State University, Chico campus on Wednesday Feb. 15, 2012.

A professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University, Grandin is a highly sought after speaker, lecturing around the world on autism and livestock handling. Grandin gained worldwide fame as well as seven Emmy awards and a Golden Globe for the 2010 HBO biopic based on her life, “Temple Grandin.” She was also named a “Hero” in TIME Magazine’s 2010 list of 100 “Most Influential People in the World.”

Grandin will provide two separate lectures on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at the BMU. She will speak on “Animal Agriculture and Animal Rights: What the Future Holds” from 9 to 10:15 a.m., followed by “Taking in Pictures: My Life with Autism” from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. There will be time devoted to questions, book signing and a chance to personally meet Grandin after each lecture. Tickets to both lectures are currently sold out, but the College of Agriculture office is keeping a waiting list. Call 530-898-5844 to be placed on the waiting list.

For more information please contact Dave Daley, associate dean of the College of Agriculture, at ddaley@csuchico.edu.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Can you have a relationship with food?

Do you want "a personal relationship" with what you eat? Yes, if one Obama administration official can be believed. From CNSNews.com:
"As I’ve traveled the country, I’ve talked with more and more consumers who want a personal relationship with their food and are demanding to know more about it, where it came from and how it got to their plate," [...]
The quote is attributed to Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, whom I've interviewed. She had an entry in the USDA's blog on the day the administration was announcing new school lunch regulations.

The CNSNews article continues:
Merrigan says one of USDA's goals is to "connect" American demand for fresh, local food with producers who see that demand as a "ripe business opportunity."

As part of the Obama administration's "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative, USDA says it has developed a "dedicated Farm-to-School Team" and increased the number of farmers markets that accept federal assistance programs, such as food stamps. It also supports retailers featuring local foods as well as new farmers entering the local food system.

"But this is just the beginning," Merrigan said. Next month -- at its annual Agriculture Outlook Forum on Feb. 23-24 -- USDA will host a session on "making locally grown food more available."
That'll be my excuse the next time I eat a dessert with a little too many calories. "But we have a relationship."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Court ruling won't affect beef industry

From the California Cattlemen's Association:
Following this week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the slaughter of non-ambulatory livestock, there is some lingering confusion about the slaughter of non-ambulatory cattle. In short, the court’s ruling that California law cannot be stricter than federal law does not affect the slaughter of non-ambulatory cattle because federal regulations already prohibit the slaughter and sale of meat from cattle that are unable to walk. But federal law allows meat sales from other non-ambulatory animals, like pigs, sheep and goats that pass federal inspection and are deemed safe to eat.

The following is a statement from California Cattlemen’s Association President Kevin Kester, a beef producer from Parkfield, Calif., stressing that the new ruling is not an issue related to the slaughter of beef as some have indicated:

“This week, the U.S. Supreme Court said the ban on the sale of pork from non-ambulatory or "sleeping" hogs, those that are too weak to walk before being slaughtered, can't be enforced because a less stringent federal law regulates slaughterhouse inspections. This decision was made primarily regarding the slaughter of pigs and does not change the way that beef is harvested in California or across the nation.

I want to make clear that the new ruling does not relieve cattle producers, auction yards or packing houses from the responsibility of treating sick or crippled animals ethically, humanely and in accordance with state and federal statues. It continues to be illegal to sell and slaughter downer cattle.

In 2008, the California Cattlemen’s Association supported efforts to ban the sale and slaughter of downer livestock and today, beef producers continue to follow those rules and work daily to provide humane care for their cattle.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Poll: Voters prefer jobs over environmentalism

From Rasmussen:
Despite President Obama’s decision last week to delay the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas for environmental reasons, most voters think creating jobs trumps the environment.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 59% of Likely U.S. Voters say, generally speaking, that creating new jobs is more important than environmental protection. Twenty-nine percent (29%) disagree and say protecting the environment is more important. Another 12% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

SOTU and the West

U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, uses President Obama's State of the Union (campaign) speech as an opportunity to poke the president for his less-than-stellar economic record -- and detail how it's stifling Western states.

A snippet:
“The President took an economic emergency and turned it into a national tragedy.

“Instead of focusing on creating jobs, President Obama by using his party’s majority in Congress to push for greater government control, more burdensome and debilitating regulations, and a failed stimulus package that [led] to record-setting annual deficits.

“The Western States, such as Utah, have felt the pain acutely. Through a series of efforts to block domestic energy production and prevent the responsible use of public lands, the Obama Administration has cut off an important supply of revenue and jobs.

“He has placed unnecessary and unjustified moratoriums on offshore exploration for oil and gas. He has blocked plans to look for oil in Alaska and Virginia, and has prevented the development of oil shale in Utah.

“This Administration has delayed or revoked energy development permits and used heavy-handed regulation to slow the creation of new projects.

“Most recently, the President denied the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. The project would create 20,000 American jobs, inject much-needed private sector capital into our economy, and increase the country’s energy security.

“However, the President has chosen to block the project as an election-year nod to his friends in the extreme left-wing of the environmentalist movement.

The January storms: where we stand

Short version: Rainfall totals in the north state in the past week have been impressive, but we're still way behind where we usually are at this time of year. And the spigot looks to be shutting off again.

Here's what selected communities have received since Wednesday, Jan. 17, according to the National Weather Service:

Redding: 5.54 inches, including 2.45 inches on Friday alone
Red Bluff: 4.08 inches, including 1.85 Friday and more than an inch Sunday
Arcata: 6.77 inches, with 2.68 inches falling on Thursday
Eureka: 5.77 inches, including 2.26 on Thursday
Sacramento: 2.45 inches, with a high mark of 0.74 yesterday

As I reported today, Redding's 11.87 inches of rain so far this season is well behind the normal 18.21 inches we've averaged for this time of year. But the chances of getting significantly more rain soon are iffy at best.

The NWS sees a small chance of more rain in Redding over the next couple of days, but mostly sunny skies after that. AccuWeather.com gives us a shot at rain in the middle of next week and some showers the week after.

The U.S. Climate Prediction Center has reverted to a drier-than-normal outlook for California in the next two weeks, and its longer-term forecasts show much of the state below their average rainfall amounts.

Overview of Klamath project issued

From the U.S. Department of the Interior:
The Interior Department today published a draft report summarizing two years of scientific and technical studies conducted to help inform the Secretary of the Interior on a forthcoming decision on whether to remove four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River, per the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) of 2010. The comprehensive draft report, entitled Klamath Dam Removal Overview Report for the Secretary of the Interior: an Assessment of Science and Technical Information (Overview Report), and each individual study conducted on the environmental and economic impacts of the potential dam removal, are available at www.KlamathRestoration.gov.

The draft report presents in plain language a summary of dozens of peer-reviewed reports that have been prepared by the federal government and made public as part of the effort to fill important data gaps prior to a Secretarial Determination. Many of the findings – in disciplines including economics, engineering, biology, water quality, recreation and real estate – were first published in September.

“The science and analyses presented in these reports are vital to making an informed and sound decision on the Klamath River dam removal,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “As we work toward strengthening the health and economic prosperity of all that depends on the Klamath – including our watersheds, fisheries, and forests - I encourage members of the public to offer their input on this draft overview report and perspectives on the opportunity that lies ahead.”

The Interior Department today also released an updated Economics and Tribal Summary Technical Report and the Klamath River Basin Restoration Nonuse Value Survey Final Report. The Economics and Tribal Summary Report provides an assessment of the economic benefits and costs of dam removal. The Nonuse Value Survey Final Report provides estimates of one important component of the economic benefits, nonuse values.

The economic reports analyzed in the draft Overview Report find that dam removal and implementation of the related watershed-wide restoration program provide an opportunity to bring significant additional jobs to the region and strengthen local economies in the Klamath Basin for reasons that include improved fish populations; additional recreational and commercial fishing opportunities; and increased agricultural output due to more certainty in water deliveries.

A summary of the key conclusions from the scientific and technical reports is available here.

As part of its commitment to openness, transparency and scientific integrity, the Interior Department is arranging for a scientific peer review of the draft Overview Report by a six-member independent panel. In addition, the Department is encouraging the public to review and offer technical comments on the draft report for the peer reviewers to consider during their deliberations.

The peer reviewers were selected based on their expertise to review the technical information contained in the draft report, including engineering, fisheries biology, stream restoration, geomorphology, stream ecology, hydrology, water quality, natural resource economics, and anthropology/tribal history. Atkins North America, a firm with a specialty in overseeing scientific peer reviews, will facilitate the deliberations of the peer review panel and will assist them in the preparation of their report of peer review comments.

The final Overview Report, and the dozens of reports it summarizes, along with the final Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report on Klamath River dam removal, will help inform the Secretarial Determination, which is expected later this spring.

Additional information is available at www.KlamathRestoration.gov

The public comment period on the Klamath Overview Report is open from January 24 through February 5, 2012. Comments received after this date will not be considered by the peer reviewers. Public comments should be emailed to: ksdor@atkinsglobal.com, or mailed to:

Atkins North America, Inc
% Tamara Mayer
7406 Fullerton St., Suite 350
Jacksonville, FL 32256

Monday, January 23, 2012

Candidates fighting 'a three-front war'

Columnist and radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt thinks he knows the reason for Saturday's surprise South Carolina win for Newt Gingrich.
Saturday's big win in South Carolina for Newt Gingrich was not an endorsement of the former speaker's resume or his platform. You would be hard-pressed to find many voters who could tell you what Newt is actually committed to doing.

But even the 60 percent who didn't vote for him in the Palmetto State can tell you what Newt is committed to being: aggressive, assertive, and especially confrontational with the Beltway-Manhattan media elite when the MSM manipulates the news and the debates, distorts the process, and repeatedly covers the president's rear.

No questions on Iran in the CNN, ABC and NBC debates? No questions about the president's treatment of Netanyahu? No questions about the veto of Keystone XL pipeline?

No questions about Solyndra, Operation Fast and Furious," Joe Biden's serial inanities, the unconstitutional recess appointments? Gibson Guitar, Boeing, the Environmental Protection Agency's generation and cement rules?

Nothing about cutting 20,000 Marines and up to 100,000 soldiers?

Newt's ex-wife is tracked down, but we never got an interview with Bill Ayers or saw the Rashid Khalidi tape? Romney's tax returns are demanded again and again, but we never saw the president's college or law school transcripts?

Newt's display of anger -- even the over-the-top characterization of John King as despicable -- got cheering from everyone who had wanted the GOP candidates to run straight at the MSM and their deeply corrupt insularity and embedded biases.
Hewitt opines the candidates are now fighting on three fronts -- each other, President Obama and left-leaning media.

Friday, January 20, 2012

CFBF goal: boost political fundraising

In the photo, Ned Coe (left), a California Farm Bureau Federation regional representative, talks with CFBF president Paul Wenger during last night's Tehama County Farm Bureau annual meeting and dinner in Red Bluff.

At the meeting, Wenger shared his goal of increasing farmers' clout in Sacramento by boosting fundraising for the Farm Bureau, which now spends about $500,000 or so a year on political action, he said. He'd like to see that number increase someday to $30 million, which would put the Farm Bureau on par with police, prison guards' and teachers' unions.

Such a large amount would make the CFBF a player even in urban legislative districts, thus candidates would have to care about agriculture, he reasoned.

"We're a $37 or $38 billion industry," he said in an interview. "People know we're such a minority with such a huge impact on California. You have to give (legislators) time to educate them about your issues. It's not trying to buy their vote. We're just trying to educate them."

For my complete story, check CapitalPress.com soon.

The Farm Bureau also presented me with its Media Person of the Year Award for ag coverage (most likely including this, this, this and this), and I received certificates from the offices of our area's state lawmakers and Rep. Wally Herger. I'm just glad to have made an impact in our area for the Capital Press. Before they hired me in 2008, their previous Northern California reporter was based in Clear Lake, so this was sort of a new area for them and one they wanted to cultivate.

The Capital Press is a great company with great vision, and I'm just glad to be a part.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What the USDA has done for California

After our interview yesterday, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's office sent me a synopsis of all of the things the department accomplished for Californians in the three-year tenure of the Obama administration. Here it is:
Support for American Agriculture

· Over the past three years, USDA’s crop insurance program has paid out about $356.1 million in crop insurance indemnities to more than 98,656 California farmers who lost crops due to natural disasters.

· Other disaster assistance programs have provided nearly $143 million in aid to more than 15,000 California farmers and ranchers recovering from natural disasters.

· Provided 2,047 loans to California family farmers, totaling $328.6 million in total credit. In California, nearly 60 percent of the loans went to beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

Conserving our Natural Resources

· We increased the pace of restoration on our National Forests, creating hundreds of jobs improving more than 1,600 miles of roads and reducing the risk of wildfire for over 400 communities by removing flammable vegetation on nearly 590,000 acres.

· Worked to improve water and soil quality and enhance wildlife habitat on 3,724,491 acres of private lands.

· Implemented projects to improve air quality for the American people. In California alone, USDA partnered with landowners to install nearly 500 projects that are estimated to reduce emissions equivalent to taking 240,000 vehicles off the road.

Rural Economic Development

· Provided 250 grants and loans to assist 1,917 rural small and mid-sized businesses in creating or saving 6,359 jobs.

· Invested in 228 community facilities projects, reaching 1,987,210 rural Americans.

· Helped 12,606 rural families throughout California buy or refinance a home.

· Invested over $268 million in approximately 90 water and waste water community infrastructure projects to help safeguard the health of over 200,000 rural residents.

· Invested in new and improved broadband service for 18,122 households, businesses and anchor institutions.

· Helped improve and modernize rural electric infrastructure for over 12,000 rural households and businesses with 183 miles of new and upgraded electric lines.

· The Rural Energy for America program helped approximately 77 rural small businesses, farmers, and ranchers, save energy and improve their bottom line by installing renewable energy systems and energy efficiency solutions that will save a projected 7,116,888 in kWh.

I was impressed by the fact that Secretary Vilsack called me directly -- just picked up the phone in his office and dialed my number. Often you'll have these three-way conversations where the press office orchestrates a conference call and directs traffic, but that wasn't the case this time.

And while the reason for his call was undoubtedly to tout the administration in an election year, I appreciated that he gave me ample time to ask whatever questions were on my mind.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lucero and the Shasta Lake fiefdom (updated)

I haven't followed the Dolores Lucero situation in Shasta Lake much, since I no longer live there and am no longer subjected to that city's politics. But a few observations come to mind as the continuing saga unfolds.

Lucero, we've been told, has made baseless allegations against city officials, is rude to the city staff and to community members, and is disrupting city business "for no reason". She counters that the recall against her is retaliation for the councilwoman's investigation into the city's alleged abusive, wasteful and possibly fraudulent spending.

The Record Searchlight has made no secret of the fact that it wants the tea party-backed Lucero gone, even going as far as to suggest she "is just proving the pro-recall crowd's point that she has no business being in office." Bruce Ross told me in a Facebook conversation she's had some considerable missteps amid her push to clean up the city -- disregarding CEQA hurdles in trying to scale back a hillside ordinance, failing to fully abide by an FPPC ruling with regard to the city's election consolidation, etc. So whatever.

I have never met Dolores Lucero, although a friend who's spent time with her tells me she was always quiet and unassuming. But I can simply draw from my own experiences as a former resident/homeowner in that city, and the few times I covered them for the paper. In short, the staff and culture there make the oft-criticized city of Redding look tame and citizen-friendly by comparison.

I'll give you just one example. There was a busted pipe under the street in front of our house that made for a wet, muddy mess, even on warm, sunny days. After calling the city several times and getting no response, I called then-City Councilwoman Gracious Palmer (who's had her own controversies and efforts to bring some accountability to City Hall) and explained that I was concerned about the street being undermined, and she called city officials on my behalf. They were out there the next day. But I got a nasty phone call from a top city official who was angry that I'd called Palmer, adding "we're very busy, we have dozens of pipes that have leaks" and that they'd get to my street when they were good and ready. The very clear message I got was that the city didn't appreciate calls from residents about problems within its jurisdiction, so I never made such a call again.

While city staffers and their supporters on the council and among a few local activists perfect the art of circling the wagons against any outside inquiry into how they conduct their business, a community long derided for its blight keeps getting worse. The specter of rottweilers and pit bulls breaking loose make many of its streets unwalkable; red-tagged and abandoned houses with overgrown lawns and abandoned cars pollute the landscape; pot farms cause an eyesore while stinking up neighborhoods; and gang activity makes the parks unsafe for families at night. And property values have plummeted, in some cases to one-fifth of what their value was in the middle of the last decade. Last I checked, more than 100 foreclosed homes still sat vacant in the city.

The fact is that Shasta Lake's City Hall has seemed to have a closed, cliquish, heads-in-the-sand, don't-you-dare-question-me culture that dates back, probably to near the city's founding. If Dolores Lucero has gone all Newt Gingrich on the situation and done more harm than good, then she won't last (though I suspect her fate in some circles was sealed with her election-night remark that the outcome would be "in God's hands"). But somebody -- left, right or center -- would do well to bring some accountability to the place so it can more effectively address the community's ills. Otherwise, expect the gang sweeps to continue, the blight to keep getting worse and the property values to keep falling.

Farmers assess impact of freeze

From the California Farm Bureau Federation:
During this week's very cold nights, orange and mandarin growers in the northern part of the Central Valley citrus belt have used wind machines, irrigation and other techniques to try to prevent damage to their crops. California Citrus Mutual reports that navel oranges now have enough sugar content to help them avoid freezing. But mandarins are more susceptible. On the Central Coast, farmers report scattered freeze damage to artichokes and broccoli.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Newt Gingrich, ESA champion?

Jonathan H. Adler of NRO's The Corner makes a point that may be of interest to people in the north state and other rural areas. In a post titled, "Gingrich's Record on Property Rights," he writes:
This morning on “Meet the Press,” former Speaker Newt Gingrich repeatedly insisted that he and the other candidates should be evaluated based upon their respective records. Fair enough. As it happens, Gingrich may be the only nominee who actively sabotaged an important conservative reform effort. Even though the protection of property rights was a plank in the Contract with America, and the enthusiasm of the property rights movement had been important in the GOP takeover of Congress, Gingrich personally prevented property-rights-protective reforms of the Endangered Species Act from passing the House and then gave one of the most liberal members of the Republican caucus and environmental activist groups a de facto veto over environmental legislation. These machinations were documented in an article in The Environmental Forum, a magazine published by the Environmental Law Institute — an article Gingrich cited favorably in his own book on environmental policy. Does Gingrich still believe he made the right choice? What should conservatives make of this part of his record? Are there any other candidates who betrayed conservative principles so directly and with equivalent results? I’m still waiting for the former Speaker to address this part of his record (if he has, I have not seen it).

For what it's worth.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Cattle group to 'monitor wolf situation'

From a California Cattlemen's Association newsletter, hot off the presses:
As most cattlemen and women are aware, on Dec. 28, 2011, a 2 ½-year-old, male gray wolf, designated “OR7” and nicknamed Journey, entered California after traveling from northeast Oregon. As of Wednesday, Jan. 10, the wolf was in north Lassen County, having traveled 80 miles in the previous two days.

Historically, wolves inhabited California, but were extirpated. Before OR7, the last confirmed wolf in California was in1924 in Lassen County, but many in the state and many within state agencies have anticipated that wolves would eventually migrate to California, and have been preparing thusly for it. Because the gray wolf is listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act, it is protected as it moves into California. In a meeting with the Department of Fish and Game (DFG), CCA was told that , historically, wolf packs take about ten years to establish in an area, indicating that major threats to livestock may be a few years out.

Last fall, gray wolves in other areas of the U.S., including Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and parts of Utah, Oregon and Washington were delisted from Endangered Species Act protection after political pressure from hunters and ranchers. CCA has been engaging with other agricultural groups and DFG to discuss the potential next steps in addressing the possibility of a wolf population in California. While CCA does not want to see the wolf find a home in the state, we are discussing possible management plans and the options they might include. Like several other states with wolf populations, ensuring that ranchers will be compensated for any loss of livestock and developing a depredation permit process that streamlines any bureaucratic review that might impede the ability to deal with a wolf promptly are components to any plan that CCA would consider supporting.

DFG has scheduled meetings with the Board of Supervisors in Modoc, Shasta, Del Norte and Lassen Counties on Jan. 24, Feb. 7, Feb. 14 and Feb. 21, respectively. CCA encourages local cattlemen’s associations to seek an audience with DFG during those times so that concerns and suggestions may be presented. CCA will continue to provide information on this issue.

LaMalfa proposes fire tax repeal

Via Brenda Haynes in Sen. Doug LaMalfa's office:
Senator Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) today announced the introduction of a measure that would repeal the rural fire tax passed last year. Assembly Bill 1506, authored by Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries and coauthored by Senator LaMalfa, eliminates the State Responsibility Area “fee” of up to $150 per habitable structure in rural areas of California.

“We believe this ‘fee’ to be, in fact, an unconstitutional tax with Prop. 26 implications,” said LaMalfa. “Not only should this tax have required a 2/3 vote rather than the majority-vote it received, but it results in triple taxation for residents who already fund local fire protection districts.”

Residents that reside within local fire protection districts may never receive these services they will be paying for from the state. The money collected from these residents, as a result, is spent on fire protection for other areas. According to Proposition 26, a majority-vote fee would provide a “specific government service or product provided directly to the payor.” This clearly makes this a 2/3 vote “tax.”

“We cannot continue to penalize the residents of California for the bad fiscal policy of our government,” added LaMalfa. “The devastation caused in recent years by wildfires in the state is a result of our mismanagement of public lands, not rural residents living their lives.”

Infighting? What infighting?

Michael Goodwin, a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist, gives us more examples of so-called news organizations deliberately suppressing news -- specifically, information about infighting within the White House. He writes:
Like the discovery of gambling in “Casablanca,” the mainstream media is shocked, shocked! to learn there is chaos and back-stabbing in the Obama White House. The media missed the story for the same reason Capt. Renault missed gambling at Rick’s Cafe: They chose to.

A cash kickback did the trick in the film. In real life, the Washington pack turns away from the truth for something less forgivable.

Three years after President Obama took office, much of the national press corps remains remarkably uncurious about what has gone wrong inside the land of Hope & Change. Whether still mesmerized by hypnotic chants of “Yes we can” or afraid to risk access by asking unpleasant questions, the press largely has failed to pierce the secrecy surrounding all the president’s men, their conflicts and policies.

It is a shameful dereliction, given that the Great Recession has left 25 million Americans out of work or looking for a full-time job, and the national debt has reached 100 percent of GDP. To state the obvious, no Republican president ever enjoyed a similar lack of scrutiny during a national emergency.

Read the rest here.

This time, no one can claim surprise over a handful of mega-corporations' state-media-like backing of the current administration. Everyone can see it coming, and plan their information-gathering accordingly.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

'Activists posing as journalists'

John Hinderaker at Power Line posts about media bias in the presidential contest, which I think is a misnomer. Bias, to me, is when someone tells a story but emphasizes certain things and downplays others based on a particular perspective, or point of view. Much of what the formerly mainstream media does nowadays is deliberate distortion to achieve a specific result. There's a difference. But I digress.

He writes:
From now until November, the leading offender likely will be the Associated Press. Today the AP described last night’s debate in November; its account began:

Mitt Romney brushed aside rivals’ criticism Saturday night in the opening round of a weekend debate doubleheader that left his Republican presidential campaign challengers squabbling among themselves far more than trying to knock the front-runner off stride.

Three days before the first in-the-nation New Hampshire primary, Romney largely ignored his fellow Republicans and turned instead on President Barack Obama. “His policies have made the recession deeper and his policies have made the recovery more tepid,” he said, despite a declining unemployment rate and the creation of 200,000 jobs last month.

The AP’s gratuitous editorializing is intended to suggest that Romney’s assertion that Obama’s policies have worsened the recession and weakened the recovery is self-evidently false. But that is absurd: the nation’s “declining unemployment rate” is all the way down to 8.5%, whereas it was 7.6% when Obama took office. Moreover, that comparison understates the deterioration in the nation’s employment since Obama took office, since hundreds of thousands of people have given up and left the labor force. Further, as I noted here, the slow rate of job creation under Obama has made this the slowest recovery from a major recession on record.

The AP's "gratuitous editorializimg" is why I haven't read a political story written by that organization in many years, and is a big reason why most daily newspapers that rely heavily on the wire service have seen precipitous declines.

Granted, the AP is good for some things. For sports, they're OK. For ag stories, they're OK usually, though not always. I've been assigned to reassemble stories that AP tanked more than once. But with politics, they can't be trusted. Period.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Farm Bureau: Arrest 'animal terrorists'

From the California Farm Bureau Federation:
As authorities continue to investigate the arson attack on Harris Ranch Beef Co. in Coalinga, the California Farm Bureau Federation said the arrest and prosecution of those responsible must be a high priority.

“The terrorists who attacked a beef production company in California this week must be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger said. “We know the local authorities are working hard to find the attackers and we offer our full support.”

Wenger also said animal-welfare groups should become involved in helping to resolve the case.

“We encourage animal-welfare organizations to help authorities find those responsible. If they sit by silently while animal rightists attack law-abiding businesses, they are passively endorsing domestic terrorism,” Wenger said.

“Farmers, ranchers and everyone involved in agriculture do their best to grow food safely and responsibly. They should not have to fear attacks on their property or on themselves for producing products that Americans want,” Wenger said.

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of more than 74,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.

Who's the GOP's real 'fringe' candidate?

It's not Ron Paul, suggests Daniel Foster at NRO's The Corner.
[N]ot only do I think Ron Paul deserves to be taken seriously right now, I think he’s right when he says that he is the long-fabled “anti-Romney.” You don’t come in around 20 percent — in a crowded field, with electorates as divergent as Iowa and New Hampshire — on a goof. I get that Paul is pulling in a lot of independents and some Democrats, but you know what, any Republican nominee will need to do the same to win in a general.

Look, I don’t think Paul has a serious chance to win the nomination, but to my surprise he has run a quite serious campaign. Watching his speech last night confirmed this. Paul knows he is a million-to-one shot to win, but he also knows that if it comes down to just him and Romney, with the vote floor he’s established early, that he could run as high or higher in a lot of states, and come to the convention with a non-trivial number of delegates and an agenda. His holding his fire on, and even defending, Romney from Perry/Gingrich attacks confirms the strategic sophistication of his campaign. Paul’s defense of free enterprise is certainly a principled one. But it also supports his interest in seeing the field winnowed down. It might also reflect a desire not to do damage to the presumptive party nominee — whom Paul has suggested he prefers to Obama — if he can build a strong position without doing so. Either way, Paul has shown a level of rationality and maturity that contradicts the caricatures.

By contrast, Newt Gingrich, the would-be anti-Romney who flew higher and fell farther than all the others, is looking ever more like an embittered fringe candidate running on pure spite, caring but little about the damage he may be doing to the party or the chances of defeating Barack Obama.

So which is the serious Anti-Romney, and which is the nut?

Siskiyou residents howl over wolf's arrival

In the photo, Liz Bowen of Scott Valley Protect Our Water complains about the potential for wolf packs settling in Northern California.

The arrival of the first known gray wolf into California in more than 80 years is causing a veritable panic among north state farmers and other residents.

The state Department of Fish and Game has received a flood of purported wolf sightings around the state – reports that turn out to be wolf-dog hybrids or coyotes, said Karen Kovacs, a DFG regional wildlife biologist.

Ranchers and others jammed a Board of Supervisors meeting room in Yreka yesterday to express misgivings about the potential arrival of packs of wolves, which are predators that can attack livestock.

“I am concerned because this wolf came from a pack that has a female with a predilection for calves,” Siskiyou County Supervisor Jim Cook told Fish and Game officials during a board workshop. “Suppose we get a no-snow year again next year and we get a few more wolves?”

For my story, check CapitalPress.com soon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nielsen backs LaMalfa, will run for his seat

From Assemblyman Jim Nielsen:
Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R - Gerber) today announced his endorsement and strong support for State Senator Doug LaMalfa of Richvale to succeed Congressman Wally Herger in the United States House of Representatives. Herger announced his retirement from the House of Representatives Tuesday morning in Chico.

Nielsen also expressed his intention to seek election to the State Senate when LaMalfa is elected to the House of Representatives. LaMalfa announced his endorsement of Assemblyman Nielsen to succeed him in the State Senate.

"Doug LaMalfa is an extraordinary representative for the people of the Northstate and will take to Washington his experience as a family farmer and businessman, as an effective advocate for taxpayers and small businesses and for our conservative values. I am proud to endorse Senator Doug LaMalfa for the US House of Representatives and will work tirelessly for his election," said Nielsen.

If Senator Doug LaMalfa is successfully elected to the House of Representatives, the governor would be required to call a special election to fill the unexpired term to which LaMalfa was elected in 2010.

"I'm honored to have Senator LaMalfa's endorsement to succeed him in representing northern California in the State Senate. Continuing the work we have done together for our constituents is extremely important to both of us. Working closely with Senator LaMalfa, we have fought effectively for taxpayers and farmers, for our veterans and for our water, and against the burdens of an over-reaching state government. I look forward to carrying on those efforts in the State Senate," stated Nielsen.

"I have also decided not to seek reelection to the State Assembly because of the enormous expense to taxpayers that yet another special election to fill my seat would require," concluded Nielsen.

A leading voice for California farmers and agriculture, Nielsen was raised on a small farm and graduated from Fresno State with a Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Business. After college, Jim Nielsen first worked as a ranch foreman; then founded a company that utilized rice hulls and rice straw for fuel; and operated his family's cattle ranch.

Nielsen on the Herger exit

In case you haven't seen it elsewhere, from Assemblyman Jim Nielsen:
Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R – Gerber) this morning released the following statement regarding the announcement by Representative Wally Herger that he would not seek re-election to the United States House of Representatives.

“Wally Herger has served the people of northern California with dedication and honor for more than 35 years. I’m grateful for his steadfast commitment to our conservative Northstate values and for his long record of fighting for the unique people and resources of our area. I know Wally will continue to be a leader and strong voice for the region. Marilyn and I wish Wally and Pam continued health and happiness,” said Nielsen. “

Rep. Herger on his retirement

From his press release:
United States Congressman Wally Herger (R- CA 02) announced this morning that he will not seek another term in the House of Representatives. The conservative Congressman’s decision will bring to a close a distinguished public service career that began 35 years ago on a local school board, took Herger from the Capitol in Sacramento to the Capitol in Washington, D.C. and spanned the terms of seven U.S. Presidents.

“I have been blessed with the privilege of serving my community, district, state and country for 35 years and being part of some of the most important events in our nation’s history,” said Herger. “That privilege came with many sacrifices, the foremost of which was all the time spent away from my family and my home here in Northern California. I want to focus on my family and enjoy spending time with my grandchildren before they grow up.”

Representative Herger was born in Sutter County in 1945. He was raised on a cattle ranch in the small community of Rio Oso. Growing up, he worked on his family's ranch, and later ran the family's small business, Herger Gas Company.

As a rancher and small businessman, Wally took his experiences to Sacramento and Washington, where he fought the negative impact of high taxes, overregulation, and big government . He was elected to the California State Assembly in 1980 and to the United States House of Representatives in 1986.

A longtime member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, the current Chairman of the Subcomittee on Health and a leading opponent of Obamacare, Herger successfully sponsored H.R. 674 last year to repeal the 3% withholding tax, which required government agencies at all levels to withhold 3% of their payments to businesses for goods and services. There has been broadly expressed concern among small businesses that this tax could wipe out their already slim profit margins and make it harder to create jobs.

Among the many other highlights of Herger’s career include playing a leading role in the reauthorization and expansion of the landmark 1996 welfare reform law, which broke the cycle of generational welfare for hundreds of thousands of families. In an effort to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in federal welfare programs, Congressman Herger championed the "Criminal Welfare Prevention Act," which was enacted in 1996. This hugely successful provision, designed to stop the fraudulent payment of Social Security benefits to incarcerated individuals, has saved billions of taxpayer dollars.

Throughout his career Herger has been a strong proponent of better balance in federal environmental laws and policies and a critic of laws and regulations that needlessly harm farmers and small business owners, particularly the Endangered Species Act. He has been a vocal and active supporter of efforts to enhance and improve flood control and water storage infrastructure to meet the public health and safety needs of growing communities in Northern California. Herger has also worked to improve forest management to protect communities from catastrophic wildfire and provide local economic development opportunities. He championed several pieces of common sense forest health legislation including the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act of 1998 and the Secure Rural Schools and Communities Self-Determination Act of 2000.

“My most important concern when making the decision to retire from Congress was that the North State continue to be represented by a conservative who fully understands, and appreciates, our agricultural and natural resources-based economy and who has the proven ability to represent such a vast and unique area. That’s why I asked local farmer and State Senator Doug LaMalfa to consider running and am happy that he has agreed,” said Herger. "Doug has my endorsement and full support".

Wally Herger is married to Pamela, and they reside in Chico. They are the parents of nine children and have eleven grandchildren.

I'm not surprised that Rep. Herger is retiring and leaving an opening for Sen. LaMalfa; my only question was when it would happen. I don't expect the Republicans currently running for Herger's seat to back out; in fact we could have a crowded field to choose from in the primary. I heard speculation today that former Sen. Sam Aanestad would join the race. He and LaMalfa were hardly joined at the hip when they were both legislators.

No matter who runs, though, I would have to think LaMalfa would be the odds-on favorite, based on money and popularity. And if he wins, he'll be our congressman for the next 20 years at least.

UPDATE: First salvo from Pete Stiglich on Facebook: "Wonder why Doug personally told me he would fulfill his promise to the people and complete his State Senate term and would never consider running for Congress until 2014 when his term was up?" As Rick Santorum said, game on.

Cattle groups raise $18,000 for scholarships

Local cattle groups' annual winter dinner and auction Saturday night in Red Bluff raised more than $18,000 for scholarships for 10 high school and college-bound students.

The event, sponsored by the Tehama County Cattlemen's and CattleWomen's associations, included a prime-rib dinner and an auction of such donated prizes as a trip for two to the 2012 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas and numerous truckloads of livestock feed and supplements.

“People are very, very generous with their donations, and they're very generous in buying the items,” said Cathy Tobin, co-chair of the event.

About 400 people attended the event, which is held each year at the fairgrounds.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I just don't get it

Mitt Romney is supposed to be the non-conservative in the GOP presidential race, yet his opponents are pulling out the Occupy talking points to rip him for being a venture capitalist?

I don't entirely get it -- and neither does Jay Nordlinger of NRO's The Corner, who issues this rant about the whole situation. My favorite line: "What do you have to do to be a 'real conservative'? Speak bad English and belch?"

He concludes:
I could go on: the $10,000 bet, the pink slips, conservatives wetting their pants, over and over. They have no appetite to defend capitalism, to persuade people, to encourage them not to fall for the old socialist and populist crap. I fled the Democratic party many years ago. And one of the reasons was, I couldn’t stand the class resentment, the envy, the hostility to wealth, the cries of “Richie Rich!” And I hear them from conservatives, at least when Romney is running.

Go ahead, have your “bloodbath” in South Carolina. Make Romney the little guy in the top hat and tails, from the Monopoly game. Have your Santorum, your Perry, your Newt. They may carry something like four states in the fall, but at least they’ve never sullied their hands with — eek! — business.

Perhaps after the election, while Obama is deepening the country’s poverty, Romney and others like him can find a party friendly to capitalism. We conservative Republicans turn out to be cradle-to-gravers, like everyone else.
Regardless of who wins the nomination, I suspect some well-known supposed conservative stalwarts will lose a lot of stature as a result of this race, and that includes some household names in talk radio.

Has NorCal entered another drought?

Technically we are, says former Record Searchlight weather expert Scott Mobley (via Marc Beauchamp).
NorCal is officially in a "moderate" drought as of Jan. 3 according to the Palmer Drought Index. Storm-blocking ridge in place at least another week though rogue low might slip through tomorrow. This pattern will eventually shift, but look at Texas and Hawaii and parts of the southeast, where drought has persisted several years now. Scary indeed. [...]

Long-range ensemble forecasts suggest a wet pattern developing for Northern California starting around the 18th, still about 10 days out. These forecasts suggest decent, widespread precip chances at least through Jan. 22, their outer horizon. That's by no means a guarantee rain and snow will start falling later this month but at least it's an indication the dry spell won't last forever. This particular model actually represents a consensus of all the models out there, so it's less error-prone, but still, no forecast 10-days-plus out is particularly reliable. But here's hope. If we can get a decent series of storms going in late mid-January and another in February and so on into spring, the water season won't be a total bust, though odds of it bringing surpluses and a full lake are remote.
Kevin Kester of the California Cattlemen's Association told me over the weekend that if significant rain doesn't come in the next couple of weeks, look for guys to start paring their herds. This morning I went out looking at rangelands with Josh Davy of the UC Cooperative Extension, and they looked pretty brutal. Even if it started raining tomorrow, we probably couldn't expect a great year when it comes to feed.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Strawberries, weather in latest podcast

In the photo, Victor Acevedo of Cortez Farm in Santa Maria holds up a basket of strawberries at a farmers' market in Monterey last Friday. I took it while we were vacationing on the coast. The photo ran with this week's story on California strawberries falling short of another production record in 2011, which snapped a five-year streak.

That story, along with my report on the current California dry spell, are among the topics discussed in this week's podcast up on our main blog, Blogriculture. Listen by clicking here.

Administration 'fudging' on unemployment data

Don't buy into some media outlets' hyperventilating over the purported 8.5 percent unemployment rate. The real jobless rate is 11.4 percent with a realistic labor force participation rate, demonstrates Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge (HT; Drudge).
One does not need to be a rocket scientist to grasp the fudging the BLS has been doing every month for years now in order to bring the unemployment rate lower: the BLS constantly lowers the labor force participation rate as more and more people "drop out" of the labor force for one reason or another. While there is some floating speculation that this is due to early retirement, this is completely counterfactual when one also considers the overall rise in the general civilian non institutional population. In order to back out this fudge we are redoing an analysis we did first back in August 2010, which shows what the real unemployment rate would be using a realistic labor force participation rate. To get that we used the average rate since 1980, or ever since the great moderation began. As it happens, this long-term average is 65.8% (chart 1). We then apply this participation rate to the civilian noninstitutional population to get what an "implied" labor force number is, and additionally calculate the implied unemployed using this more realistic labor force. We then show the difference between the reported and implied unemployed (chart 2). Finally, we calculate the jobless rate using this new implied data. It won't surprise anyone that as of December, the real implied unemployment rate was 11.4% (final chart) - basically where it has been ever since 2009 - and at 2.9% delta to reported, represents the widest divergence to reported data since the early 1980s. And because we know this will be the next question, extending this lunacy, America will officially have no unemployed, when the Labor Force Participation rate hits 58.5%, which should be just before the presidential election.

Click on the link for the charts.

The gray wolf and Shasta County

Kudos to KRCR-TV and Mike Mangas and to a trio of Record Searchlight reporters for their well-balanced reporting yesterday on the arrival of the gray wolf called "OR-7", or "Journey", to eastern Shasta County.

KRCR reported correctly that it's "generating a lot of excitement and not all of it good." The TV report explained that wolves are predators and thus raise concerns among livestock producers for the safety of their animals. Likewise, the RS talked to a rancher -- Pam Giacomini of Hat Creek -- and Supervisor Glenn Hawes, himself a farmer.

For those of you who are friends on Facebook, I'll be posting a comprehensive package of stories on wolves in the West that Capital Press and its sister newspapers published over the holidays. Among those were perspective pieces by a rancher and an environmentalist. It's a complex issue, and those who try to encapsulate it with feel-good sentimentalism over the plight of the poor, misplaced wolf are only telling half the story.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rose Parade floats had California flair

From the California Farm Bureau Federation:
Two floats at this week's Pasadena Rose Parade became the first to be certified California-grown. State Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross says the floats by Cal Poly universities and the Kit-Cat Clock Company used all California-grown flowers. Ross said the state partnered with the California Cut Flower Commission to create the certification, and they hope to double the number of certified California-grown floats each year.

Moneyball, indeed

Despite being a 30-plus year A's fan (who also likes the Dodgers), I still haven't seen the movie "Moneyball". I'm not in a big hurry to watch a glorification of a GM (Billy Beane) whose decisions have done his franchise more harm than good, especially in the last five years. And I'm not alone in my criticism of Beane, either.

Columnist Jonah Keri offers a spot-on assessment of where the A's are as an organization. He begins:
Billy Beane loves to talk about Windows. The Window is the short period of time in which small-revenue clubs supposedly have to compete. Right now, the Window is closed in Oakland. The Window was open once, and the A's general manager did everything he could to keep it that way just a little bit longer. But changes in the game, we're told, have made it harder and harder to prop open the Window even a crack … much less wide open, allowing years of fresh air and pennants to waft in.

There is a nugget of truth behind this Window obsession. Smaller-revenue teams have a tougher time signing premium free agents, or retaining their own top players past their initial six years of team control. That puts extra pressure on these poorer teams to bring up a bunch of great prospects all at once, then hope they get good at the same time before they get expensive.

But far more often it's a [baloney] excuse. It's a vague, faraway goal that always seems several years out of reach. It's a cover for cheap, greedy ownership, lousy scouting, drafting, and player development, and myopic trades. It's a weak attempt to placate a fan base screwed over by years of management incompetence and indifference.

Or in the case of the Oakland A's, their recent fire sale and justification for said fire sale, it's a bold-faced ploy by one opportunistic owner to win territory from another opportunistic owner so that another city can hand out another $500 million check for another boondoggle stadium.

Real estate developer and A's owner Lew Wolff is champing at the bit to build a new ballpark in San Jose. It's a move that's supposed to boost interest in the A's and attendance for their games. The Giants' owners are holding up the deal, claiming territorial rights in San Jose. The Giants won those rights two decades ago, when then-A's owner Walter Haas Jr. ostensibly did them a favor. Whether or not the Giants owe them repayment of that favor and whether or not the commissioner's office should step in to broker a deal, the way it did when the Expos moved to D.C. in relation to the Orioles' territorial rights, is an open question.

While all this gets debated, A's fans will get treated to some lousy baseball. And some sad talk about Windows.

There's a lot more here. If you can deal with his one F-bomb at the end, it's worth the read.

Big, cold rain to start next weekend

At least according to AccuWeather.com, which issues this long-range forecast for Redding:

Saturday, Jan. 14: Rain, high 49, low 29
Sunday, Jan. 15: Rain and snow, 44-29
Monday, Jan. 16: Freezing rain, 44-30
Tuesday, Jan. 17: Showers, 44-31
Wednesday, Jan. 18: Rain and snow, 44-31
Thursday, Jan. 19: Rain and snow, 46-31

The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center doesn't seem as optimistic, but we'll see.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Panel rejects stock pond regulations

Noticed this while going through my post-holiday stack. From the California Cattlemen's Association's legislative newsletter:
At the Fish and Game Commission (Commission) meeting [last month] in San Diego, the Commission was presented with potential regulations could potentially limit land owners’ ability to stock fish in their ponds by requiring an environmental study to be preformed to ensure that stocked fish do not negatively impact native species. CCA, along with dozens of other agriculture and commercial fisheries groups submitted letters of opposition to the commission, urging a more common sense approach. After testimony by the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) as well as numerous public comments, the Commissioners instructed DFG to come back to the Commission only if the agency feels it’s necessary and to clarify the DFG’s legal exposure for not going forward with the DFG’s regulations.

“My direction is rejection, and I’m not directing them (DFG) to come back,” said Commissioner Dan Richards of Upland. Richards said afterward that he expects the proposed regulation changes to come back to the Commission again in some form, but he said the Commission made it clear that it will not make the hatchery and fisheries groups go through the kind of permitting process the DFG sought in this round.

Testimony by the public and DFG varied greatly on what they expected the cost of the regulations to be. While the DFG showed costs to be in the hundreds of dollars, a 32 page document prepared by Sappohs Environmental Inc, estimated the cost, when applied to 24,000 potentially regulated water bodies in California, could exceed $3 billion, with recurring costs to occur on 5-year cycles. It became clear that the difference in cost was attributed to the DFG accounting for only the time for a biologist to inspect a site, not the cost the land owner would accrue to comply with the regulations.

With the pushback from both the public and the Commissioners, it is unlikely that the DFG will continue to push for such burdensome and expensive regulations, but, as indicated by Commissioner Richards, there is still the possibility that similar regulations will be proposed should the DFG legal team determine the need.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Vote early and often

The Drudge Report is offering its own GOP presidential "caucuses" -- an online poll that allows you to vote as many times as you want.

Not surprisingly, the Paulites seem to be having a field day.

2011-12: The year without a winter?

In May, all the rain we were getting caused me to speculate that we would skip summer this past year. Now it seems we're in the process of moving from late fall right into early spring, having come through one of the driest Decembers on record and seeing no appreciable rain on the horizon.

My wife and I just spent a week in Monterey and Santa Cruz and many people said the weather there was comparable to summer. The Boardwalk was packed on New Year's Eve day as the temperature approached 70 degrees.

Former Record Searchlight weather guru Scott Mobley wasn't too concerned about the dry spell a few weeks ago, but now apparently he is.

Here are some numbers.

December rainfall
Here are the December and seasonal rainfall totals and comparisons to normal for selected California cities, according to the National Weather Service. Totals are as of Dec. 31:
Redding: Month to date 0.38 inches (normal 6.27 inches); season to date 6.33 inches (normal 13.76 inches)
Eureka: Month to date 2.22 inches (normal 8.12 inches); season to date 10.87 inches (normal 17.05 inches)
Sacramento: Month to date 0.27 inches (normal 3.25 inches); season to date 2.35 inches (normal 6.62 inches)
Modesto: Month to date 0.16 inches (normal 2.04 inches); season to date 1.88 inches (normal 4.36 inches)
Salinas: Month to date 0.01 inches (normal 1.93 inches); season to date 3.31 inches (normal 4.11 inches)
Fresno: Month to date 0 inches (normal 1.77 inches); season to date 1.57 inches (normal 3.66 inches)

Reservoir levels
Here are the percentages of capacity for California reservoirs as of midnight Jan. 2, according to the Department of Water Resources California Data Exchange Center:
Trinity Lake: 79 percent
Shasta Lake: 68 percent
Lake Oroville: 72 percent
New Bullards Bar Reservoir: 66 percent
Folsom Lake: 42 percent
New Melones Reservoir: 82 percent
Millerton Lake: 64 percent
Pine Flat Reservoir: 56 percent
Lake Isabella: 29 percent
San Luis Reservoir: 95 percent

Here are average snow water equivalents and comparisons to normal for the date in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, according to the Department of Water Resources California Data Exchange Center. Totals are as of Jan. 3:
North: 2 inches, 21 percent of normal
Central: 2 inches, 13 percent of normal
South: 3 inches, 29 percent of normal
Statewide: 2 inches, 19 percent of normal