Will big snowpack boost farm water supplies?
With the key April survey showing the Sierra Nevada snowpack far above average, farmers wait to see how water supplies will be affected. The state Department of Water Resources said Tuesday the snowpack stands at 162 percent of average, and most reservoirs hold above-average water levels. Despite that, many agricultural customers of federal and state water projects still face reduced water supplies.
Early spring weather slows crop development
Wet, cool weather continues to delay California crops--but farmers say it remains too early to forecast how that might affect their eventual harvests. For example, Sacramento Valley peach growers say fruit hasn't yet started to develop on their trees. In the San Joaquin Valley, farmers say the rains have slowed planting of crops including cotton and tomatoes. Development of many crops has been running up to two weeks later than usual.
Midwest flooding affects California dairies
Heavy snows in Canada and flooding in the Midwest have California dairy farmers scrambling to find substitutes for a number of feed commodities. A combination of weather damage and shipping delays has reduced availability of canola meal, soybean meal and other products used to feed cows. Dairy farmers have been able to find alternative feeds, but often at much higher prices--and changing feed formulations can also affect cows' milk production.
Farm Bureau urges Senate to act on disaster relief
With a disaster-relief bill stalled in the U.S. Senate, the American Farm Bureau Federation urged senators Tuesday to set aside political concerns and prioritize concern for the nation's food producers. In a statement, AFBF President Zippy Duvall said farms and ranches across the country have endured losses from floods, wildfires and other natural disasters, with many farmers facing "near-complete losses" of crops, livestock, buildings and equipment.