Tim Hearden

Northern California Reporter
Hearden, Tim

Drought, heat take toll on almond sizes, weights

- The harvest of early almond varieties is under way in California, and growers say the sizes and weights of some nuts are down. Drought, heat and disease pressure are seen as contributing to the troubles.

LaMalfa urges Senate, Obama to act on border bills

- A congressman who sits on the House of Representatives' agriculture committee is calling for President Barack Obama and the Senate to act on border security legislation that recently passed the lower chamber. Rep. Doug LaMa...

Farm groups cheer California water bond proposal

- Farm groups in California hailed the $7.5 billion water bond measure agreed to by Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers. The measure, which will appear on the November ballot, would include $2.7 billion for storage.

Ranch owners to pay $1.1 million for destroying vernal pools

- Ranch owners near Red Bluff, Calif., agreed to pay out $1.1 million in a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after allegedly destroying wetlands on their property.

Drought, freezes diminish Calif. table olive crop

- The National Agricultural Statistics Service forecasts that this year's table olive crop in California will be 45 percent smaller than last year's. But an industry leader says NASS may even have been too optimistic with its...

Ranchers, others grapple with wildfires’ aftermath

- Fire crews are gaining an upper hand on several major wildfires in northeastern California, which have burned thousands of acres of timber and grazing land.

California fresh fruit group changes name

- The California Grape and Tree Fruit League is changing its name to the California Fresh Fruit Association. Members wanted a name that better reflects the many commodities the group represents.

Study: Beef checkoff returns $11.20 on every dollar

- Ranchers who serve on the 103-member Cattlement's Beef Promotion and Research Board expressed enthusiasm about a return-on-investment study done by Cornell University researcher Harry Kaiser. The study asserted that each do...

Forecasters say El Nino too weak to end drought

- Climate forecasters have backed off somewhat on their prediction that El Nino conditions will prevail off the coast of California this winter. While it's still likely to develop, El Nino won't be strong enough to bring Cali...

Citrus group credits APHIS for reopening China to fruit

- China has reopened its market to citrus fruit from California after closing it about 15 months ago because of brown rot discovered on fruit. California Citrus Mutual credits a USDA agency for helping to reopen the market.

California’s hotter-than-average summer continues

- Hot weather prevailed in California's Central Valley in July, with some areas averaging above 100 degrees for the month. Despite a weather system that brought cooler temperatures and a little rain this week, more heat is ex...

California wildfires burn timber, menace cattle country

- A pair of wildfires in northeastern California were burning through thousands of acres of timber and grazing land while threatening towns and prompting ranchers to move their livestock.

Lawmakers urge FEMA to ease ag building rules

- U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and two California congressmen are calling on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's flood insurance program to ease its requirements for building agricultural structures in deep floodplains.

California growers converting rice straw to cattle feed

- Growers and University of California researchers have been working at converting rice straw left over from harvest into feed for livestock, which they say could be valuable to ranchers amid the drought.

Summer camp teaches city kids about farming

- An agriculture-themed summer camp in Redding, Calif., gave urban youngsters a chance to do actual farm activities such as discing a field and using horses to move cattle into a pen. The camp was put on by the city recreatio...

Calif. cattlemen turn up heat on rustlers

- A bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown will bar those convicted of livestock theft from holding a registered brand in California for five years, and the person will face increased scrutiny after that. The bill was the second in ...

Drought reports prompt farm groups to push state for solutions

- New reports from Fresno County and the University of California paint a bleak picture of the future of agriculture in the Central Valley, prompting farm groups to call for more solutions from state leaders.

House Democrats push for vote on forest bill

- Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are circulating a discharge petition to force a floor vote on a bill that would require money to be retained in wildfire disaster budgets for forest management.

Researcher to take over for UC bee expert

- On Sept. 1, Elina Lastro Nino will step into the shoes of the retiring Eric Mussen, a nearly 38-year extension apiculturist at the University of California-Davis. Nino has her own extensive background in honey bee research.

Promotion aims to boost confidence in Calf. cantaloupes

- The California Cantaloupe Advisory Board is using a sweepstakes promotion to encourage consumers to eat more of the melon. The cantaloupe industry is still rebounding from a listeria outbreak from a Colorado farm in 2011 th...

UC seeks public input on extension positions

- The University of California is seeking input from farmers and other members of the public about which of 123 proposed Cooperative Extension positions it should fill in the coming year.

Gerawan attorney says pay hike unrelated to union fight

- The embattled Gerawan Farming in Fresno recently hiked its workers' base pay from $10 to $11 an hour. The company's attorney says the raise was unrelated to Gerawan's battles with the United Farm Workers.

Water board to use ‘light touch’ on urban water regs

- California's State Water Resources Control Board is set to adopt fines for urban dwellers who waste water outdoors, but the regulations would only apply in communities that don't already have conservation plans in place and...

Calif. official rebuffs call to reconsider water regs

- The chairwoman of the California State Water Resources Control Board has rebuffed a state senator's request to reconsider ramped-up enforcement of stop-diversion orders issued to water rights holders.

California strawberry production still on record pace

- California strawberry production is still on a pace to set another record this year despite drought conditions and a drop in acreage.

Summer to heat up throughout West

- Summer temperatures are likely to be hotter than normal throughout the West in July as a high-pressure ridge is expected to persist over the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Advocates push bill to make ag ed funds permanent

- Though the California Legislature restored about $4.1 million for an agricultural education program in the state budget, backers of the program are pushing for a bill to effectively make the funding permanent.

Harvest of Valencias, other summer fruit proceeding

- The harvest of valencia oranges is ongoing as growers have finished picking a freeze-damaged navel crop. Valencias are among many summer fruits now hitting the market in California.

Calif. water board to crack down on urban waste

- As many California farms grapple with little or no water this summer, the state may be about to crack down on urban water users' wasteful practices.

California officials defend senior water rights holders

- California water officials say senior rights holders don't have an unlimited supply of water but must adhere to specific diversion amounts at specific times. Their comments come as the State Water Resources Control Board is...

UC working to replace ranks in wake of retirements

- As another wave of retirements is set to hit the University of California Cooperative Extension, officials say they're working diligently to try to replenish their crop of advisors and specialists.