Tim Hearden

Northern California Reporter
Hearden, Tim

Bumper crop produces record olive oil yields in California

- Growers of olives for oil in California are seeing a big crop this year for the alternate-bearing fruit. The California Olive Oil Council expects a yield of a record 4 million gallons of oil.

Despite El Nino promises, October to be dry in California

- Though forecasters say El Nino could bring a wet winter to parts of California, October is looking to be dry throughout the Central Valley.

Economy, social media push consumers to higher-end wines

- A pair of surveys of wine industry insiders by University of California-Davis researchers has found that consumers' tastes are moving toward more expensive wines.

New federal pesticide regs set age limit, boost training requirements

- New pesticide regulations announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Labor will bar many children under 18 from working with pesticides and boost training and reporting requirements.

Fair attractions teach kids, parents about agriculture

- Agriculture-themed children's play areas ane entertainment are becoming popular fixtures at local fairs, as companies strive to teach kids about the origin of their food.

New plant-stress sensor further aids irrigation efficiency

- A plant-stress sensor developed by researchers at the University of California-Davis promises to help growers further enhance their irrigation efficiency.

Supporters of effort to dump union will fight ruling

- An administrative law judge's decision to nullify union-decertification ballots cast by employees of Fresno-based Gerawan Farming Inc. doesn't end the workers' push to oust the United Farm Workers, attorneys and supporters ...

Sierra Pacific raises concerns over spotted owl listing

- Timber giant Sierra Pacific Industries will oppose a plan to list the California spotted owl under the federal Endangered Species Act on the grounds that such a listing isn't necessary.

Some senior water right holders to resume diversions after California storm

- California's State Water Resources Control Board has told 88 senior water right holders there is enough water available for them to resume their diversions. The move comes after the season's first significant storm doused m...

California water board tables statewide grazing regulations

- California's State Water Resources Control Board voted to discontinue efforts to impose a statewide regulation affecting grazing near streams, but agreed to revisit the issue in a year to 16 months to consider how well regi...

Pistachio yields down as growers encounter empty shells

- The pistachio harvest in California got off to an early start, and yields are down considerably as growers are finding more empty shells than normal because of the drought..

Conditions ripe for big navel orange crop despite drought

- Navel orange growers are expecting a larger crop this season as trees had a good fruit set and warm summer temperatures spurred development.

Winter El Nino outlook: Wet S. California, dry Northwest

- Federal weather officials are now confident that Southern and Central California could see a wet winter because of El Nino, but the Pacific Northwest is expected to be drier than normal.

Calif. table olive growers fret as production costs rise

- California's table olive growers are expecting a big rebound in yields this year, but they're still concerned about their ability to keep up with rising production costs.

Almond growers finishing harvest of slightly smaller crop

- Almond growers are mostly wrapping up their harvest of a slightly smaller crop in 2015 as drought stress on trees has continued to affect yields.

State climatologist, weather service tamp down El Nino expectations

- California State Climatologist Michael Anderson has teamed with Michelle Mead, the National Weather Service's warning coordinator in Sacramento, to put out a video educating the public about El Nino.

Fresno State drought study seeks consensus on water use

- Water experts at California State University-Fresno hope their study of drought impacts in the San Joaquin Valley leads to consensus on how to share limited water resources.

Sonoma wine grape growers voluntarily cut water use by 25 percent

- Growers operating 68 properties with vineyards in the northern San Francisco Bay area are the latest to agree to voluntarily cut their water use by one-quarter from 2013 levels.

California water board may scrap statewide grazing regs

- California's State Water Resources Control Board may discontinue efforts to impose statewide regulations on grazing near streams.

Cooperative helps drought-stricken member dairies

- The Organic Valley cooperative is giving dairy producers in drought-affected areas up to $2 per hundredweight extra for their milk to help them meet rising feed and other costs.

Water districts sue, blast feds over Trinity River releases

- Two water agencies in the San Joaquin Valley are suing to stop the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from releasing additional water into the Trinity River in Northern California to help Chinook salmon that are returning to the Lo...

Judge denies water districts’ motion to halt Trinity releases

- A federal judge in Fresno has denied San Joaquin Valley water districts' motion to halt releases of extra water from the Trinity Reservoir in Northern California to aid chinook salmon returning to the Klamath River.

Despite drought, Fresno County crop values set record

- Although the drought has caused one-quarter of Fresno County's farmland to be taken out of production, the county in 2014 set a record for crop values at more than $7.03 billion, according to the county's annual crop report.

Despite ruling, CFBF still seeking to challenge permit requirements

- The California Farm Bureau Federation is still looking for opportunities to challenge a state Department of Fish and Wildlife requirement that some landowners obtain streambed alteration permits for simple diversions from s...

Pack of gray wolves observed in California’s Siskiyou County

- California officials have gained photographic evidence of the first gray wolf pack in decades to roam into the state. Officials have dubbed the five pups and two adults observed in Siskiyou County the Shasta Pack.

UC research leader seeks new ways to expand grower opportunities

- Glenda Humiston, the University of California's new vice president in charge of agriculture and natural resources, plans to work on enhancing growers' economic opportunities in the 21st century.

Attorneys urge Calif. landowners to document their water rights

- Water attorneys and experts at a University of Caifornia Cooperative Extension-sponsored workshop said landowners should know their water rights and keep documentation handy to present it to state officials who challenge th...

Central Valley sinking at historic rate, state says

- California officials say drought-related groundwater pumping is causing the ground to sink at historic rates in some areas of the Central Valley. The state is encouraging counties and communities to take steps to curb pumpi...

Ranchers, USDA spar over forest management

- The National Cattlemen's Beef Association and Public Lands Council are accusing the federal government of making this year's wildfire season worse by mismanaging forests. A top federal official responds by urging support fo...

Calif. fairs to get $10 million for upgrades, operations

- California's network of 79 local fairgrounds will get $10 million from the state in fiscal 2015-16, most of which will go toward needed repairs and upgrades.

New UCANR vice president wants to boost partnerships, advisers

- Glenda Humiston, the University of California's new vice president for agriculture and natural resources, says she wants to build better partnerships with commodity groups and urban leaders and continue increasing the numbe...

Strong El Nino now likely, but don’t expect end to drought

- Conditions are pointing to a historically strong El Nino year in the West, which could mean a wet winter in California. But officials caution that even one wet winter won't likely end the drought.

Calif. prune harvest begins as growers expect lighter crop

- The harvest of prune varieties is under way in California's Central Valley. Growers are expecting a lighter crop as a warm and early spring affected fruit set and hot summer temperaturess caused some drop-offs.

Conditions ripe for abundant fresh-market, processing tomato crop

- Growers say this summer's conditions have been right for a successful tomato crop in California.

Study: Flowers can spread harmful bee parasites

- Flowers can serve as platforms for parasites that can harm bees, a University of California-Riverside study has found.

SPI mostly unscathed as wildfires rip through forest land, budgets

- Sierra Pacific Industries has so far lost less than 1,000 acres to wildfires burning forest lands throughout California. This year so far marks a bit of a reprieve for the company after it lost major swaths of land to fires...