About One-Quarter of Sonoma County Winegrapes will go Unpicked
Here are a few quick updates of agriculture around the state, courtesy of the California Farm Bureau Federation.
About one-quarter of the winegrapes in Sonoma County will go unpicked this year, according to an estimate released Tuesday. The Sonoma County Winegrowers organization says wildfires and pandemic-related economic troubles led to the losses, which could total more than $150 million. More than 70% of farmers surveyed by the group say at least some of their grapes will go unpicked or be rejected by wineries due to wildfires or related smoke.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect demand for fresh fruits and vegetables. Farmers and produce marketers say they expect demand from restaurants and other food-service buyers to stay muted due to ongoing, pandemic-related restrictions. But demand at supermarkets and other retailers remains strong. As one marketer puts it, “People will still crave and eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and will seek them out at the retail level.”
As local agencies implement a new state groundwater law, farmers fear water costs could rise to unsustainable levels—and farm groups say that appears to be happening in one area. The California Farm Bureau and Western Growers say an agency in the Indian Wells Valley of eastern Kern County has imposed a water-replenishment fee so high farmers can’t afford it. The groups have asked the agency to respect farmers’ overlying water rights.
[Source: Sonoma County Farm Bureau]