California Farm Update
Here are a few developing stories concerning California agriculture from throughout the state, courtesy of the California Farm Bureau.
A combination of lighter yields and smoke damage could reduce the California winegrape crush by 15% or more, according to a grape growers’ cooperative. Analysts had expected the winegrape crush to be smaller—but then wildfires in some regions exposed grapes to smoke that made them unmarketable. The Allied Grape Growers cooperative estimates as many as 325,000 tons of winegrapes may have been rejected due to smoke exposure.
With markets for crops and farm commodities continuing to fluctuate due to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers have another month to apply for federal aid to help offset some of the losses they have suffered. Applications for the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program end Dec. 11. The current program offers aid to farmers of a wider range of crops that have seen prices drop and supply chains disrupted by the pandemic.
It’s still a fairly small crop in California, but farmers and marketers say they foresee growth for pecan production in the state. Markets for pecans have been hampered this year by the pandemic and international trade tensions, but farmers say they expect long-term growth for pecans as a snack nut as well as an ingredient. This year’s pecan harvest is well underway in the northern Sacramento Valley and begins this week in the San Joaquin Valley.
[Source: California Farm Bureau Federation]