Monday, January 20, 2014

North state farmers, ranchers not taking a holiday

Government workers are taking the day off, as are many of their ideological soulmates in the progressive media. But farmers and ranchers are working today, and so is the Capital Press.

This morning I went on a short tour of drought-impacted farms with one-time Western Innovator Michael Vasey, now president of the Tehama County Farm Bureau, then swung over to the Tehama District Fair grounds to catch set-up activities for next week's Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale.

In the photos, from the top: Vasey, manager of Lindauer River Ranch, digs up some soil in an orchard that hasn't been irrigated yet to show how dry it is; Brian Burt uses a forklift to move some livestock gates at the fairgrounds; Chad Heitman of Red Bluff puts up a screen to protect animals from weather; and workers carry a gate into one of the barns to be put in place.

The dry weather is the big topic of both casual and serious conversations in California agriculture today. Not only is the lack of water a problem, but tree growers are concerned that the balmy weather we're experiencing may trigger an early bloom, which is more susceptible to frost damage.

Watch for my advance on the bull sale at, and keep checking the website for our wall-to-wall drought coverage in the weeks and months ahead.

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