- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
To close out this short Thanksgiving week, there are a number of UC Ag and Natural Resources hits in the media:
Capitol Press covered an agritourism seminar held recently in Stockton and developed a detailed article with much information drawn from a presentation by Holly George, UCCE's Sierra and Plumas county livestock and natural resources advisor.
Besides the more conventional agritourism ventures - pumpkin patches, corn mazes, wineries and U-pick operations - "serious" farms can benefit from the trend by opening their farms to the public for activities such as hunting, bird watching and hiking, he said.
TradingMarkets.com picked up a Lake County Record Bee story about a contentious meeting of the county board of supervisors. The board is planning to form a committee to hammer out the details of an ordinance concerning genetically engineered agricultural crops.
According to the story, the farm bureau recommended that UCCE farm advisor Greg Giusti be appointed to the committee, but local organic farmer Phil Murphy was opposed, calling Giusti "extremely biased" for having written papers against regulation of GE agriculture.
The Produce News reported that the Center for Produce Safety received $500,000 in new research funding aimed to help the produce industry gain a better understanding of ways to prevent contamination during production.
According to the story, the center was launched in response to the 2006 E. coli outbreak and funded with $2 million from the Produce Marketing Association and another $2 million from Taylor Farms. CDFA and UC also pledged financial resources for the center, which is housed at UC Davis.
Worldwatch Institute ran a story about the downside of drip irrigation. Drip irrigation has been touted for its water-saving efficiency. In traditional flood or sprinkler irrigation, the water not absorbed by crops seeps into the ground and recharges aquifers. As drip irrigation becomes more common, recharge of groundwater may be less frequent, according to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Blake Sandon was one of many experts across the nation interviewed for the story.
He said California has become the world's No. 1 producer of almonds over the past 30 years, due in part to the increased use of drip irrigation. Almond farmers have required some 15 to 20 percent more water, but average yields nearly doubled.
"You cannot produce high-yield crops without a fairly significant input of water," Sanden was quoted. "In the end of the day, hungry people will win the game."
Happy Thanksgiving! The ANR News Blog will be back with more about ANR appearances in the news media on Dec. 1.