Tim Hearden

Northern California Reporter
Hearden, Tim

Despite drought, California almond acreage rose 6 percent in 2015

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SACRAMENTO — The drought has done little to slow the growth of almond acreage in California, as the more than 1.1 million overall acres planted in 2015 was 6 percent more than the previous year.

Of last year...

New state officers bring humor, passion to California FFA

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FRESNO, Calif. — California FFA’s newly elected state officer team promised the more than 5,000 students attending the organization’s state convention that they’ll put plenty of passion and en...

CDFA’s Ross urges FFA members to think of the future

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FRESNO, Calif. — State Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross told 5,000 FFA members here that California’s agriculture-related industries will need their energy and innovations in the challenging years ...

Energy bill amendment to enable Klamath Basin water, power plans

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KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Proponents of certain water solutions in the Klamath Basin say an energy bill amendment that passed the U.S. Senate provides key support for improving facilities and other initiatives.

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March storms prompt SWP to boost allocations to 60 percent

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SACRAMENTO — With runoff from the March storms filling Northern California reservoirs, the state Department of Water Resources has upped its anticipated deliveries to State Water Project customers to 60 percent of...

Strong storms spoil California prune blossom

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RED BLUFF, Calif. — Prune producers’ worst fears about El Nino have come true, as strong storms spoiled the March blossom and left many growers with about half their normal crop or less.

Cold temperat...

Wolf conservation group offers workshops for ranchers

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REDDING, Calif. — A wolf conservation group is making good on a promise to educate ranchers on how to prevent clashes between their livestock and predators.

The California Wolf Center is sponsoring a series ...

March storms were likely swan song for El Nino, forecasters say

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SACRAMENTO — The sometimes-ferocious rainstorms that hit California in March were likely the beginning of the end for El Nino, as the warm ocean system that produced a wet winter in many parts of the West is conti...

Supporters will appeal nullification of decertification vote

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SACRAMENTO — A farmworker’s allies expressed outrage — but not surprise — after a state labor board on April 15 nullified a 2013 union-decertification vote at Fresno-based Gerawan Farming, Inc...

Grape acreage in California continues downward trend

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SACRAMENTO — Overall grape acreage in California continued a slight downward trend in 2015, weighted mainly by raisin growers reeling from rising labor costs.

In all, 918,000 acres of vineyards were in the g...

Calif. rice plantings to increase only slightly from 2015

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SACRAMENTO — Though many Northern California growers will get their full allocations of surface water this year, rice acreage statewide is expected to only slightly rise from 2015 levels, according to a government...

Entertainment boosts farmers’ market attendance, sales, managers say

- Many farmers' markets in California now include live music, entertainment and other attractions, and managers say that creating a festive family atmosphere boosts sales for vendors.

Almond growers, beekeepers urged to report post-bloom hive damage

- The Almond Board of California is urging growers and beekeepers to provide information about any post-blossom problems in hives to authorities to assist ongoing research into honeybee die-offs.

State, federal officials sign new Klamath dam agreements

- U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, California Gov. Jerry Brown and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown were among the dignitaries who signed new agreements to remove four dams from the Klamath River and do fisheries improvements and ...

Rains put Calif. strawberry production behind last year’s pace

- This winter's El Nino-powered rains on California's Central Coast has put strawberry production well behind last year's pace, but industry insiders are hopeful that the peak harvest season will yield an abundance of berries.

Ranchers combine old and new

- Jim and Mary Rickert have won numerous awards for their environmental stewardship and product quality in running Prather Ranch, an organic beef operation in Northern California.

SJ Valley to get some CVP water after March storms

- Storms in March have enabled the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to give full water allocations to farms except in the San Joaquin Valley, where deliveries are initially expected to be 5 percent to 30 percent of requested suppli...

Weather uncertainty dictates continued need to conserve water, Calif. officials say

- With El Nino rapidly receding, California's near-normal snowpack could be as good as it gets for a while, as an anticipated La Nina pattern next winter brings more uncertainty to the state's ability to emerge from its histo...

Calif. minimum wage hike could force farm mechanization, job losses

- Farm group representatives say proposals to raise California's minimum wage to $15 an hour could lead to job losses throughout agriculture and cause some growers to mechanize or move their operations elsewhere.

Research shows walnuts have fewer calories than thought

- Research from the USDA has found that walnuts contain 21 percent fewer calories than originally thought. The study could further cement walnuts' image as a healthful food.

Growers urged to get involved in local agencies’ groundwater plans

- California's Department of Water Resources has been taking comments on emergency regulations to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, under which local aquifer-governing agencies must be put in place by mid-...

Grants to help counties implement Calif. groundwater regs

- California's Department of Water Resources has announced $6.7 million in grants to 21 counties to help them plan for new state groundwater regulations, the first deadlines for which will come in the middle of next year.

Farm groups line up against Calif. ag overtime bill

- Groups including the California Farm Bureau Federation and California Cattlemen's Association are opposing an Assembly bill that would remove exceptions for farms from the standard overtime threshold of 8 hours per day and ...

Calif. grape crush dips slightly, but wine exports booming

- California's most recent grape crush was down slightly in volume from 2014, but the smaller yields have helped boost the quality of wines and exports are still booming, industry insiders say.

March storms boost State Water Project allocation to 45 percent

- Several significant storms in March have prompted California water officials to boost anticipated State Water Project deliveries to 45 percent of requested supplies — the most water they've allocated since 2012.

Proponents say new Klamath dam pact is legal, beneficial

- At their first formal public meeting since announcing a new agreement last month to remove four dams from the Klamath River, proponents argued that they're not violating the U.S. Constitution by working around Congress.

Landowners scramble to adopt habitat plans before fisher listing decision

- Numerous private landowners are trying to develop conservation agreements with the federal government for the West Coast population of fisher, which may be listed as threatened in April.

March storms in Calif. could boost CVP water deliveries

- The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has been holding off on making allocations of Central Valley Project water to see the outcome of March storms, which are significantly improving California's water supply.

Donation helps group’s search for solutions to produce safety issues

- A $1 million donation from Western Growers has helped the Center for Produce Safety get halfway to its goal of raising $20 million by 2020 for research into safety precautions that handlers should take while moving produce ...

Meeting to raise citrus psyllid awareness in Northern Calif.

- A meeting in Auburn, Calif. on March 22 will examine how to prevent the Asian citrus psyllid's migration to Northern California and what growers can expect if it does arrive.

For PacifiCorp, separate dam-removal entity less costly, risky

- For the power company PacifiCorp, setting up a separate entity to remove dams from the Klamath River is cheaper and less risky in terms of liability than keeping the dams operating or trying to remove them itself, a spokesm...

Public meeting on new Klamath agreement set in Sacramento

- Agencies and groups proposing the removal of four dams from the Klamath River will hold a public meeting on their latest agreement March 16 in Sacramento. The meeting comes after complaints from Rep. Doug LaMalfa and others...

California’s snowpack may rebound this month

- A warm February caused California's snowpack to dip below normal for the first time this winter, but a series of March storms may put it back on track.

Oregon lawmaker says new Klamath dam removal plan may be illegal

- As Oregon, California and federal officials seek to revive the Klamath Basin agreements, an Oregon state senator argues that their plan to work around Congress to remove four dams from the Klamath River may not be legal.

Beekeepers removing hives as almond blossom winds down

- A quick and vibrant almond blossom is wrapping up in California, prompting beekeepers to remove their hives from orchards to avoid having their bees come in contact with chemicals being applied to other nearby crops.

Trade show at workshop puts vendors, growers face-to-face

- A University of California Cooperative Extension educational workshop for walnut growers was accompanied for the first time by a trade show, which gave more than 50 vendors direct access to growers.