Pandemic, Wildfires, and Thieves
Farmers have been faced with all sorts of adversity this year. Here’s a roundup of the most recent happenings around the state courtesy of the California Farm Bureau Federation.
Hundreds of thousands of acres of scorched rangeland leave livestock ranchers with limited options for finding more feed for their animals. California wildfires have damaged both private and public rangelands, killed animals and ruined fences, corrals, water systems and other equipment. The president of the California Cattlemen’s Association says the loss of rangeland may force some ranchers to sell off their animals early due to lack of feed.
Walnut farmers say they’re confronting two problems this harvest season: low prices for the crop and thieves who trespass into orchards to steal nuts. A number of counties have enacted ordinances to slow thefts by people who may then sell nuts on roadsides, but farmers report ongoing problems. Because of low prices, farmers say they need to sell as many nuts as they can to recoup their costs, and don’t want to lose more of their harvest to thieves.
Closure of restaurants and bars due to the pandemic brought “major hurt” to the lemon business, marketers say, and improved sales at grocery stores have only partially compensated for the losses. Farmers and marketers say lemon sales to food-service customers have improved somewhat since dropping sharply in the spring, and shoppers have bought more lemons at retail. But people in the lemon business say farmers have seen their incomes drop significantly.
[Source: California Farm Bureau Federation]