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By Vicky Boyd

Rains early in the bloom kept bees,
such as these east of Stockton, in
their hives. Photo by Vicky Boyd

Although spotty rains and cold weather limited bee activity during the early part of the almond bloom, industry leaders say they remain optimistic about this year’s crop.

“I’m looking out right now and I see sunshine and it’s over 50 degrees,” said Dave Phippen, a partner in Manteca-based Travaille & Phippen Inc., which grows and handles almonds. “That’s OK. We’re rocking today (Feb. 20) – we’re making nuts. Obviously, the bloom has another five to eight days to go. But it’s hard to think we’ll have as good a bloom as we did last year, except for that frost.”

By Craig W. Anderson

The Spray Safe meeting on Feb. 26 drew more than 275 farmers, supervisors, foremen, other farm employees and interested ag organizations to the Robert J. Cabral Ag Center to hear experts discuss the application of pesticides and the means of controlling drift and how to protect the health of workers and the public.

“Spray Safe is a great example of neighbor helping neighbor,” said San Joaquin County Agricultural Commissioner Tim Pelican. “The ag industry is doing a lot to protect the public and ag workers.”

By Vicky Boyd

Beginning with the 2020 season, San Joaquin County growers will have to provide the state with additional information about water use and irrigation efficiency as part of their nitrogen management plans. Also in 2020, growers will have to begin testing domestic drinking water wells on their property for nitrates, with the results being sent directly from the laboratory to the state.

Together, the new Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program requirements are expected to increase paperwork for growers, who say they’re already overburdened with a myriad of reports.

By Vicky Boyd

Although newly elected Gov. Gavin Newsom has called for downsizing the state’s twin tunnels project to a single conveyance, many of the same concerns with the larger proposal remain with the scaled-down version, say Farm Bureau leaders.

“It’s kind of like the announcement on the (high-speed) train,” said David Strecker, San Joaquin Farm Bureau, first vice president and a Delta farmer. “He says he’s downsizing the train, but they’re still going to complete the project from Merced to Bakersfield. They’re still going to waste a ton of money trying to say they’re saving money.”