Tim Hearden

Northern California Reporter
Hearden, Tim

California’s new FFA officers embrace growth

- California FFA’s newly elected state officers take the reins of a growing organization that is moving its state convention next year after 24 years in Fresno. The conference will now alternate between Anaheim and Sac...

FFA students hone skills in science competition

- Students at the annual California FFA convention in Fresno entered science projects in a variety of categories, from food systems to power generation, Several dozen plaques and ribbons were awarded for the best projects.

Water agency to hold community meetings on Oroville Dam project

- The state Department of Water Resources is holding a series of meetings in Northern California to discuss repairs and reconstruction of the Oroville Dam’s spillways.

Congressman fends off criticism of USDA budget, Oroville Dam crisis

- Rep. Doug LaMalfa of California, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, says lawmakers have voiced concerns to the Trump administration about the proposed 21 percent cut in the USDA’s budget.

Many areas struggling to set up groundwater agencies as deadline looms

- As a July 1 deadline approaches, many local governments in California’s groundwater basins are struggling to agree on viable local entities to enforce the state’s new pumping regulations.

Continuing storms led to increase in SWP allocations, official says

- California announced an increase in State Water Project deliveries one day after the state’s top water official said it could be May or June before a new allocation is made.

Oroville Dam repairs hinder increase in SWP deliveries

- Repairs after the near-failure of the Oroville Dam’s spillway in February are complicating officials’ decision whether to increase State Water Project allocations.

Western Growers’ Nassif to be named Agriculturalist of the Year

- Tom Nassif, the chief executive officer of Western Growers since 2002, will be honored as the California State Fair’s Agriculturalist of the Year at a gala fundraiser in June.

CVP water boost comes late in the season for SJ Valley growers

- The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation boosted San Joaquin Valley farmers’ water allocation to 100 percent of requested supplies for the first time since 2006. But many growers already made their planting decisions months ago.

Genetically engineered citrus virus could be answer for fighting HLB

- The USDA is considering issuing permits for a Florida firm to widen its field trials of a genetically modified virus containing defensin proteins from spinach as a tool to make trees resistant to huanglongbing.

Groups say new fuel, vehicle taxes disproportionately hit ag

- Two-thirds majorities in the Legislature passed Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed $52 million in new fuel and vehicle taxes over the next decade to pay for road and bridge repairs. Farm groups say the taxes will disproport...

Navel oranges in good condition as harvest enters home stretch

- The navel orange crop in California’s San Joaquin Valley seemed to dodge major issues with fungus and rot as the harvest is about 70 percent complete.

Gov. Brown declares drought over, issues conservation orders

- California Gov. Jerry Brown issued a much-anticipated declaration that the state’s five-year drought is over, while proposing long-term conservation measures he argues will make saving water a “way of life.&#x...

Growers struggling to make use of ‘overwhelming’ data, experts say

- Advances in drone and sensor technology have created a wealth of data for growers, but putting it all together and making it easy to use has been a challenge.

Growers still seeking alternatives to chlorpyrifos despite reprieve

- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision not to ban the use of chlorpyrifos in agriculture won’t likely lead to an upsurge in the pesticide’s use, since it is already heavily regulated in Cal...

Huge snowpack prompts California officials to revisit drought status

- State officials will have an announcement about California’s drought status within the next week, as the latest manual snow survey in the Sierra Nevada found a snow-water equivalent that’s 183 percent of normal.

Outreach key to improving Monsanto’s image, official says

- John Purcell, who runs Monsanto’s vegetable seed research and development lab in Woodland, Calif., said the company has made a push in recent years to be more transparent and educate the public about its work.

Monsanto’s vegetable seed lab makes end user its first priority

- Monsanto offered reporters a tour of its vegetable seed research and development facility in Woodland, Calif., noting that the lab focuses its efforts on consumer satisfaction of the vegetables its seeds produce.

Almond blossom ‘variable’ after February storms

- Growers reported variations in crop set within their operations, as some trees fared better than others.

Almond board to spend $4.7 million for grower efficiency

- The Almond Board of California announced another round of research grants to enhance such things as water use efficiency, dust reduction and groundwater recharge.

San Joaquin Valley’s CVP allocation likely to increase, officials say

- Officials from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation say there’s sufficient snow in the Sierra Nevada and water in the San Luis Reservoir to eventually raise the water allocation to 80 percent or more.

San Joaquin growers to get 65 percent of requested CVP water

- The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced its remaining allocations of Central Valley Project water, providing 65 percent of requested supplies to growers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

Delays in water allocations hinder growers’ planting decisions

- The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has yet to determine a Central Valley Project water allocation for some parts of California, including the western San Joaquin Valley.

Strawberries enter peak season after avoiding major storm damage

- The winter’s fierce storms slowed California’s strawberry harvest.

Changes in proposed pesticide rule don’t mollify growers

- California Citrus Mutual still opposes proposed blanket restrictions on pesticide use within a quarter-mile of schools despite the state’s move to ease reporting requirements for growers.

State expects variety of large, small projects to seek Prop. 1 funds

- The California Water Commission will accept applications for $2.7 billion for storage projects in the Proposition 1 water bond through Aug. 14. The panel expects a variety of proposals to seek funds.

Marketing agreement established gold standard for greens

- Created in response to a deadly E. coli outbreak linked to spinach from a California field, the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement marks its 10-year anniversary this year. It became a model for creating the Produce Safety Rule.

Bill would enable California beef research, promotion panel

- Legislation would enable California cattle ranchers to vote on whether to set up a state beef promotion and research commission.

Farm Service Agency gears up to help flooded Calif. farms

- The Farm Service Agency is accepting applications for low-interest loans from flood-damaged farms in counties covered by federal disaster declaration, which includes most of Northern and Central California.

Groups prepare growers, workers for increased immigration raids

- Groups that serve California’s produce and strawberry industries say they’re unaware of any actual increase in ICE raids, but they’re advising members what to do and what their rights are amid a “...

Flood control benefits from new storage projects debated

- Proposed California storage projects such as Sites Reservoir, Temperance Flat Reservoir and the raising of Shasta Dam might have lessened some of the flooding and other impacts from this winter’s storms, but likely n...

Western Innovator: For the love of fairs

- Ryann Newman was recruited two years ago to manage the struggling Glenn County Fair in Orland, Calif. She has been developing ways to boost attendance and revenue.

‘Phenomenal’ snowpack brightens California water outlook

- Statewide snowpack was 185 percent of normal on March 1, improving the chances that more growers could see full or nearly full allocations of surface water this year.

Many Central Valley farms to get full federal water supplies

- The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced full federal water allocations for at least some parts of the Central Valley, including the Friant Division, where many citrus growers went without water in 2014 and 2015.