Tim Hearden

Northern California Reporter
Hearden, Tim

Ag in ‘renaissance’ with tech advances, Forbes says

- Media magnate and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes touted the future of agriculture because of technology and automation during the 2017 Almond Conference.

Research helps almond industry through growth spurt

- The Almond Board of California is using a portion of a temporary 1-cent assessment increase to research new uses for hulls, shells and woody biomass as well as opening new markets for the nut.

New California water bond measures endorsed by key policy group

- The Association of California Wager Agencies, whose 430 public agency members handle 90 percent of the water sent to farms and cities, backs a pair of bond measures slated for the June and November 2018 ballots, respectively.

California strawberry production already tops 2016 total

- New varieties and improved plant health are credited as California’s strawberry production has already reached 197.3 million crates statewide, up from a record 196.8 million produced in all of 2016.

Farm group reactions mixed on federal tax relief package

- The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and other groups laud the proposed eventual elimination of the estate tax, but they’re concerned about restrictions on business interest deductions they say could harm...

Ranchers take stock of rangeland, forage damage from fires

- A cluster of wildfires in California’s Butte, Yuba and Nevada counties in October burned through lots of rangeland and destroyed some hay barns. On one ranch, they caused employee houses to burn from the inside out.

Entrepreneurs encourage others to find a need in ag and meet it

- Representatives of start-up companies helped by Western Growers’ new Center for Innovation and Technology encouraged other would-be start-ups to find their own niche.

CDFA’s Ross says ag should focus more on workforce development

- California Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross discussed the state’s lingering farm labor shortage in a question-and-answer session at a growers’ conference.

Veterans find new career in farming

- After tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of American veterans have moved from the battlefield to the farm field with the help of organizations to enter careers in agriculture.

CDFA’s Ross urges growers to communicate with consumers

- CDFA Secretary Karen Ross urged growers at a conference to counter misconceptions about farming by forming partnerships with environmental groups and others and interacting with consumers on social media.

California imposes new pesticide restrictions near schools

- The state Department of Pesticide Regulation imposed a new rule restricting applications between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday within a quarter-mile of schools and licensed child care facilities.

Vibrant ag economy helps urban areas, planner says

- If growers near cities work with local planners so land-use and transportation decisions will help maximize the farms’ profitability, the result will be an improved economy for the region, an official said during a c...

Orovile Dam work enters second phase

- The reconstruction will wrap up next winter with completion of the emergency buttress and splash pad and finishing work on the main spillway.

Wine industry escapes widespread damage from Calif. wildfires

- While 11 of the area’s roughly 1,200 wineries were destroyed or heavily damaged, most wine tasting rooms are open for business and are eagerly waiting for customers to return, an industry group reports.

Most USDA new farmer trainees still in the industry, survey finds

- A survey by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition found that more than half the participants in USDA-funded training programs for new farmers and ranchers are still engaged in agriculture-related careers.

California’s first confirmed depredation ignites wolf debate

- State officials have confirmed that a cow on private property was killed by wolves in western Lassen County on Oct. 13, prompting criticism from farm groups and the affected rancher over the state’s handling of the i...

Fires expose need for better planning, equipment, UC expert says

- While the fires in California’s wine country were extraordinary, they reinforced the need for better resiliency planning in communities and equipment that can traverse small, rural roads, according to a University of...

Summer heat, pleasant autumn spur plentiful pumpkin crop

- Spring rains and summer heat caused a slight delay in pumpkin harvests, but farms report some of the best yields they’ve seen in years as pleasant fall temperatures bring big crowds to enjoy their activities.

California makes critical repairs in century-old levee system

- The state spent $80 million this summer repairing 30 of the state’s 40 most critically impaired levees, but the century-old levee system is in need of many more upgrades.

Weak La Nina portends winter of weather uncertainty in California

- The federal Climate Prediction Center’s winter outlook calling for weak La Nina atmospheric conditions means that most of California faces equal chances of a wetter- or drier-than-normal winter, although 60 percent o...

Flood control plan calls for further drawdown of Lake Oroville

- A plan released by California’s Department of Water Resources calls for Lake Oroville to be drained below 700 feet in elevation despite a congressman’s criticism of the idea.

Farms, vineyards assessing damage from wine country fires

- While many vineyards were spared by the fires that have devastated California’s wine country, some wineries and other farms are beginning to pick up the pieces after being flattened by flames.

Walnut growers step up harvests before expected rains

- As the walnut industry is expecting a slightly smaller crop this year, some growers have rushed to finish before unsettled weather was expected to arrive on Oct. 19.

Western Innovator: Improving crops, waterfowl habitat

- Marc Staunton’s family’s farm was among those that spearheaded the Walking Wetlands project.

Wine industry contributes $220 billion to economy, study finds

- The study by the trade group WineAmerica notes that while California accounts for the bulk of the revenue in wine, there are wineries in all 50 states generating jobs and income for their communities.