Friday, April 28, 2017

Road trip: FFA, UC research, sustainable wine, rice prep

This week I made my annual trek to the San Joaquin Valley, where I covered the FFA's annual state convention in Fresno and visited the University of California's Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier.

You can read my coverage of the FFA meet here and here.

On my way back up north, I stopped at the LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards in the Lodi, Calif., area to do a Western Innovator feature on the two founding brothers, Randall and Bradford Lange. I also took some photos of growers preparing fields in the Williams and Maxwell areas for rice planting.

In the photos, from the top: Outgoing FFA state president Andrew Skidmore (left) presents a new jacket to incoming president Luke O'Leary; FFA members Kaitlyn McFarland (left) and Mia McCormick of Exeter celebrate a science award; UC Cooperative Extension researcher Kevin Day stands in a "ladderless" peach orchard; Bradford Lange stands with his niece, Marissa Lange, underneath a solar array at the winery; and a grower prepares a rice field near Williams for planting.

I'll be doing several stories on UC research at the Kearney facility in the coming weeks, including an update on the Asian citrus psyllid and huanglongbing and a centerpiece on what researchers and growers in the valley are doing to prepare for the next major drought.

Also, Fresno city leaders and California State University-Fresno are making a last-ditch attempt to keep the FFA convention from moving to Anaheim next year, and rice growers are taking advantage of a break in the weather to furiously prepare for the upcoming growing season.

Look for all of these stories at in the coming days and weeks.

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