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By Vicky Boyd

The San Joaquin County Agriculture Commissioner’s office trapped two Oriental fruit flies near Tracy in mid-October, setting in motion concentrated surveying and localized treatment programs. The California Department of Food and Agriculture won’t impose a more restrictive quarantine unless six or more flies are found.

But the discovery nonetheless raises concern among growers of the more than 230 crops the invasive pest can attack and damage. “It’s kind of frustrating that something like this comes up,” said Jake Samuel, who grows walnuts and cherries with his dad and brothers near Linden. “The last thing we need is another fruit fly.”

By Craig W. Anderson

San Joaquin County’s warm days and cooler nights provide near-ideal conditions for pumpkins, such as these white ones being harvested near Manteca. The county is No. 1 in pumpkin production statewide.
Photo by Vicky Boyd

 

Some harvests are still going on in San Joaquin County but an advance preview of what to expect is again fulfilling a tradition of informing SJFB members about what’s happening in a still-harvesting agricultural year.

“It’ll be interesting to see what 2019 eventually looks like,” said SJFB Executive Director Bruce Blodgett. “Some commodities took a hit and some did well. It’s difficult to find commodity growers who’ve had an exceptional year.”

Cherry farmers were enthusiastic as their harvest approached early in 2019. “Cherries were big, then they were hammered by adverse weather conditions and this set the course for agriculture in general having a challenging year,” Blodgett said.

By Vicky Boyd

The water year began Oct. 1 with reservoirs serving San Joaquin County well above average storage for this time of year, giving water managers a bit of a cushion should the 2019-20 water year be unusually dry. But recent dry weather also has brought at least a few concerns from growers.

“It’s very dry – we could actually use a little rain because it helps us open up the hulls on the walnuts,” said Ken Vogel, a Linden-area walnut grower and San Joaquin Farm Bureau first vice president.

By Vicky Boyd

Nearly all uses of the insecticide chlorpyrifos will be banned by the end of 2020 under a recent agreement between the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and the product manufacturer, Corteva Agriscience.

Although its use had been significantly curtailed in recent years, the product was still valuable to integrated pest management, agricultural leaders said. With the loss of chlorpyrifos, growers will have fewer pest control options.

The San Joaquin-Stanislaus CattleWomen selected Elisabeth Watkins as the 2019 Cowbelle of the Year during their September meeting. She was given an engraved cowbell and a sterling silver pendant to celebrate her hard work. The award singles out an outstanding member who dedicates a significant amount of time and effort to promote the beef industry.

Miss Watkins is a seven-year junior member of the San Joaquin-Stanislaus CattleWomen and is just 18 years old. Although she has never served as an officer, she has been on almost all of the committees.

By Craig W. Anderson 

Gov. Gavin Newsome has said he will veto SB 1 the “California Environmental Public Health and Workers Defense Act of 2019” because it would mandate California continue to enforce the baselines of overreaching federal regulations for environmental, public health and climate sectors, all of which are bad, cumbersome and expensive.

The bill was passed by both houses of  the California legislature and sent to Gov. Newsom for his signature, but he’s said he won’t put pen to paper to make the bill law because, he said, “SB 1 limits the state’s ability to rely upon the best available science to protect our environment.”