Food and Farm News

Grazing animals help with wildfire prevention

Demand has risen steadily for livestock to provide grazing services to attack weeds as a wildfire-prevention measure. The California Wool Growers Association says it has more requests from private landowners and public agencies than its members can fulfill. University of California Cooperative Extension says it plans to create a statewide database to match landowners with ranchers whose sheep, goats or cattle could provide grazing services.


Fish-habitat restoration projects continue

More projects are planned this fall to enhance habitat for juvenile salmon in the Sacramento River. The projects, to add side channels, will complement other habitat work. For example, crews added 12,000 tons of gravel to the river earlier this year, to develop new spawning habitat for Chinook salmon and steelhead trout. Water rates paid by Sacramento Valley farmers include a restoration fund to help pay for the habitat work.


Marketers report rising demand for organic avocados

As demand for avocados has risen, so has demand for avocados grown organically. The California Avocado Commission reports organic fruit represents about 10% of the current year's avocado harvest, and that the proportion has been increasing. Most organic avocados have been transitioned from conventional production--a process that takes about three years before the fruit can be sold as organic.


Forecast expects smaller walnut crop

Weather during the growing season has contributed to an expected smaller California walnut crop, according to government estimates. The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast walnut production down about 7% compared to a year ago. The USDA says rainy winter and spring weather delayed the walnut bloom, and that local weather conditions resulted in "variable crop development" around the state. California farms produce the entire U.S. walnut crop.   

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