Food and Farm News

Agencies report progress on voluntary river agreements

Voluntary agreements to improve fish habitat in Central Valley rivers have made "substantial progress," according to state agencies. The agreements have been offered as an alternative to a state plan to redirect river flows. Leaders of the state environmental and natural-resources agencies say final evaluation of the agreements could come by October. The agreements would include targeted river flows, plus other projects to enhance fish habitat.

Analysis may help predict Sierra tree die-offs

From what they learned studying the impact of the recent, multiyear drought, researchers say they can now predict where future droughts will hit Sierra Nevada forests the hardest. Two professors at the University of California, Merced, say parts of the Sierra reached a tipping point in 2015, when a combination of drought and dry soil caused trees to die in large numbers. They say their analysis of the past drought will help diagnose and forecast future forest die-offs.  


Sensors could help ranchers locate cattle

Using a high-tech tracking system, students at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo hope one day to help cattle ranchers keep track of their herds. The students designed sensors that could allow ranchers to find cattle that separate from the herd. The sensors would be worn on a collar to monitor an animal's location and temperature. The students plan to begin testing the system with cattle, and want to use similar technology to benefit other aspects of ranching.


Survey shows little price change for cookout foods

Retail prices remain virtually unchanged for traditional Independence Day cookout foods, according to an annual survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation. The survey showed prices for a summer cookout to serve 10 people averaged $52.80, up less than 1 percent from a year ago. Volunteer shoppers across the country checked prices on foods including hot dogs, cheeseburgers, potato salad, lemonade and watermelon.

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