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San Luis Obispo County Agriculture News

February 6, 2023


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SLO County Farms Suffer Millions in Losses From Storms. But the Real Toll is Unknown

SLO Tribune - Feb. 3, 2023

Written by Mackenzie Shuman, Photos by Dave Middlecamp

In the fall, farmers prayed for rain.

And then it came — all at once.

“We just weren’t prepared for any of this,” said Dave Alford of Turri Ranch in the Los Osos Valley.

When the big January storm hit on the 9th and 10th of the month, Alford’s fields of cabbage flooded and disappeared under a new lake of water from the half-a-foot of rain that overwhelmed debris-clogged drainage ditches.

Now, the vegetables’ leaves are tinged yellow, a clear sign that the cabbage is too waterlogged and won’t make a quality product to market. ... Continue reading the SLO Tribune article here.

Headline photo: Grant Talley, Talley Farms and article photo Dave Alford, Turri Ranch

2022 Census of Agriculture Due Today

PUBLISHED ON WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reminds our nation's farmers and ranchers that the deadline to respond to the 2022 Census of Agriculture is Feb. 6. Producers can respond online at agcounts.usda.gov or by mail.

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This Week In SLO County Agriculture

In This Week's Issue:

  • Community: Application available for California Ag Leadership Program Class 53
  • County Government: San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors Meeting Tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 7
  • Storm Disaster Resources: What Storm Survivors Should Know About FEMA Determination Letters
  • State Government: California Farm Bureau's Farm Bureau at Work
  • Federal Government: AFBF in Your Corner in Court, Again
  • Business Member Spotlight: Astound Business Solutions
  • Environmental: Farmers Generally Hesitant to Dive into Carbon Markets
  • Featured Member Discount: Budget Truck Rental
  • Avocado: California Avocado Season Forecast Announced
  • Produce: Nurseries Feel the Pain of Climbing Natural Gas Prices
  • Labor: California Farm Bureau's DPR and CCA Credit Classes Announced
  • Livestock: Consumer Demand for Beef Remains Strong Among Inflation Woes
  • Wildfire: Paso Robles City Council Given Presentation on Proposed Changes to Fire Hazard Zones
  • Vineyard & Wine: After Years of Steady Growth, Wine Sector Faces Challenges
  • Water: SLO County supervisors move to change new rules giving more water to Paso Robles farmers

January 30 Most-Read

1.   SLO County supervisors move to change new rules giving more water to Paso Robles farmers

2. Video: Board of Supervisors Special Meeting, 1/29

3. County, federal services help agricultural community affected by floods

4. SLO County supervisors change priorities, policy directions

5. Newsom says 95% of Texans pay more than Californians in taxes. But is he correct?

6. TH Estate Wines to close, owners Jennifer, Terry Hoage retiring

7.  Crowded avocado market to cool last year's hot prices

8.  Fake Meat Was Supposed to Save the World. It Became Just Another Fad

9.  Eric Jensen named 2022 Paso Robles Wine Industry Person of the Year

10.  Last Year was the Best Yet for One California Avocado Grower

Executive Director Report

Here are a few things we worked on this week:

  • -Assisted several farmers and ranchers with questions on applying for disaster relief programs;
  • Participated in a SLO County Immigrant Resource Advisory Hub advisory committee meeting;
  • Monitored the Shandon San-Juan Water District meeting;
  • Did a media interview with SLO Tribune about flood damage to local agriculture;
  • Spoke to Cal Poly Young Cattlemen’s Association;
  • Participated in the SLO County Water Resources Advisory Committee meeting;  
  • Held a SLO County Young Farmers & Ranchers officers meeting; 
  • Gave our weekly agriculture update on 98.1 KJUG’s Tom & Becky Show;
  • Attended a meeting on electric vehicle infrastructure for the agriculture industry; and
  • Spoke at a meeting with olive growers about complying with Ag Order 4.0 reporting for nitrogen.  

Calendar- Upcoming Events:

  • Feb 16: Cover Crops: A Leading Strategy for Soil Health & Ag Order 4.0 Compliance Workshop, 9am-5pm in Monterey, Register here.
  • Feb 28: Farm Bureau Board Meeting (all members welcome, please RSVP for dinner by calling the office at 805-543-3654)

Community: Application available for California Ag Leadership Program Class 53

SoCalGas: Natural Gas Prices to Drop in February

There's good news today for residents who were hit with shockingly high natural gas bills. Southern California Gas Co. says the natural gas commodity price will drop by 68% this month compared to January's record-high prices, translating to dramatically reduced bills.

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Application available for California Ag Leadership Program Class 53

PUBLISHED ON MONTEREY, Calif. - Applications are now being accepted for Class 53 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program (CALP). Applicants should be mid-career growers, farmers, ranchers, horticulturalists, foresters and/or individuals working in other areas of California's diverse agriculture industry.

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Registration Open for 2023 Central Coast Olive Oil Competition

PASO ROBLES - The Central Coast Olive Oil Competition, hosted annually by the California Mid-State Fair and in partnership with the Lodi Grape Festival, is now accepting entries. The 15th Annual competition will take place in April 2023 and feature olive oil from across the state of California.

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Morro Bay 4-H Needs Help Recovering from Storm Damage

From Morro Bay 4-H parent Christy Dunn:

Hi, my name is Christy I’m a parent with 2 kids in the morro bay 4H and we are asking for donations to help rebuild our farm. On Monday, January 9th a disastrous storm ripped through our small town of Morro Bay causing devastating mudslides and flash floods, destroying many homes and businesses.

The Morro Bay 4H farm located on Chorro Creek Rd was one of the places hit by this disaster. This farm was under 3 feet of water destroying storage sheds, feeders, show supplies, fencing and animal shelters. This farm is where 90% of the Morro Bay 4H kids keep and raise an animal for the California Mid State Fair. Without the repairs to this farm, those kids who would raise an animal won't be able to this year.

The 4H program runs solely on donations and fundraising and they do not have the funds needed to replace what this storm has done. Please consider a donation for our future agriculture youth and help us repair what they lost.

4-H Clubs are overseen by the University of California Cooperative Extension and have different contribution rules depending on the amount.

  • Donations of $999.00 and under can be made by check payable to “Morro Bay 4-H" and mailed to: Morro Bay 4H Club, PO Box 202 Morro Bay, CA 93443 
  • Donations of $1000.00 and over can be made by check payable to “SLO Co 4-H YDP” with “Morro Bay 4H Club flood assistance” in the memo line and mailed to: SLO Co 4-H YDP, 2156 Sierra Way, Suite C, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Special thanks to the many Farm Bureau members who have already donated, and thank you to Farm Supply Company and JB Dewar for working on logistics of supporting the Morro Bay 4-H program. 

County Government: San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors Meeting Tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 7

Redistricting left some SLO County residents without supervisors. Who will represent them?

Redistricting in 2021 left residents in areas of San Luis Obispo County without their own elected representatives on the SLO County Board of Supervisors. On Jan. 24, the board voted unanimously to assign supervisors to represent those so-called "orphaned districts."

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PG&E releases new numbers of cost of shutting down Diablo Canyon Power Plant

We are getting new numbers on how much money it will take to decommission the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. PG&E says it will cost $4.1 billion to shut down Diablo Canyon, but it's still unclear exactly when that will happen. The future of California's last operating nuclear power plant is still uncertain.

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San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors Meeting Tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 7

The San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors meeting will start at 9:00AM and can be viewed in real-time here. The agenda for the meeting can be found here and additional item documents here. The addendum to the agenda can be found here.

Items of Interest to the Agricultural Community:

36* Request by the County of San Luis Obispo to 1) amend Title 8 and Title 22 of the San Luis Obispo County Code and the Agriculture and Conservation and Open Space Elements of the San Luis Obispo County General Plan to rescind Ordinance No. 3483, the Paso Basin Land Use Management Area (PBLUMA) Planting Ordinance, and re-enact and extend until January 1, 2028 the previously adopted Agricultural Offset Requirements for New or Expanded Irrigated Crop Production Using Water from the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin; and 2) decertify the Final Program Environmental Impact Report (FPEIR) for the PBLUMA Planting Ordinance. Exempt from CEQA. Districts 1, 2, and 4.

*Note: This Paso Basin Planting Ordinance agenda item will be held as the first order of business at 9:00 am on February 7th, preceding the consent agenda and regular public comment. The agenda that was initially posted by the County listed the item at an incorrect time. If you plan to attend, be aware that 9:00am is the correct time.

2 Request to reappoint Martin Settevendemie as the County Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures. All Districts.

9 Request to reappoint Lisen Bonnier as the District 2 representative to the Agricultural Liaison Advisory Board. District 2.

12 Request to approve appointments to the Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District Board. Districts 1, 2, and 4.

18 Request to appoint four members and three alternates to the San Luis Obispo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District Zone 9 Advisory Committee. Districts 2, 3, 4, and 5. Zone 9 encompasses the San Luis Obispo Creek watershed and its tributaries, which includes all the area within the City’s boundaries.

28 Submittal of a resolution proclaiming February 2023 as "San Luis Obispo County Ranching Month". All Districts.

30 Request to approve the County's 2023 State Legislative Platform. All Districts.

31 Update on the January Storm response and recovery efforts and recommendation to continue the current emergency proclamation. All Districts.

34 Request to consider a resolution rendering a final determination and interpretation on Rural Recreation and Camping pursuant to Section 22.30.520 of the Land Use Ordinance (Title 22 of the County Code) and Section 23.08.072 of the Coastal Zone Land Use Ordinance (Title 23 of the County Code). Exempt from CEQA. All districts.

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Storm Disaster Resources: What Storm Survivors Should Know About FEMA Determination Letters

FEMA delivers over $1.5 million in disaster relief grants in SLO County | News Channel 3-12

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - More than 1,000 people have applied for storm related help from FEMA in San Luis Obispo County. That's according to SLO County Emergency Services Coordinator Rachel Dion, who appeared live on News Channel 3-12 to talk about disaster assistance.

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What Storm Survivors Should Know About FEMA Determination Letters

If you were impacted by recent storms and applied for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance, keep an eye on your mailbox or inbox because you could receive a letter from FEMA very soon. The determination letter will update you on the status of your application and let you know if you were approved for assistance.

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SLO County saw more than $43 million in storm damage costs. Which city was hit the hardest?

A series of storms in January leftSan Luis Obispo County public infrastructure with more than $43million of damage, according to emergency services officials. Heavy rains and strong winds resulted in widespread flooding, fallen trees, mudslides, power outages and road closures.

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State Government: California Farm Bureau's Farm Bureau at Work

California Farm Bureau's Farm Bureau at Work

February 3, 2022


CDFA reported today that the statewide pesticide use decreased in 2021, according to reports released today by the Department of Pesticide Regulation. In 2021, the total pounds of active pesticide ingredients applied in California decreased by 11.5%, and the total area treated by pesticides decreased by 10.3%, as compared to 2020 reported use data.

Data reported to DPR for the Pesticide Use Reports (PURs) includes pesticide use on farms, parks, managed urban landscapes, rights of ways, roadsides, and structures. The department published annual PUR data reports for 2019 and 2020, and a summary of pesticide use in 2021. The department anticipates releasing the 2021 annual PUR data report in spring 2023.

Federal Government: AFBF in Your Corner in Court, Again

California Farm Bureau's Federal Policy News -

February 3, 2023

  • Senate Agriculture Committee Sets Farm Bill Hearing Schedule
  • CAFB Sends Letter to USDA Calling for More Support Within the Walnut Industry
  • FDA Sees Several Organizational Changes
  • APHIS Proposes Rule to Strengthen Animal Disease Traceability Regulations
  • US Opens Second Dairy Dispute with Canada Under USMCA
  • Ag Census Deadline Quickly Approaches
  • Forest Service to Accept Grant Applications for Wood Innovation Programs
  • Agricultural Marketing Service Releases First Weekly National Hemp Report

AFBF in Your Corner in Court, Again

A couple weeks ago, AFBF filed a new lawsuit challenging EPA's latest WOTUS rule-joined by more than a dozen other organizations representing agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing and housing. Why? Because even though farmers and ranchers share the goal of protecting our nation's waterways, they deserve better than this rule.

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Significant FDA Structural Changes on the Horizon

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced its intention to make significant changes to its food safety and nutrition division. FDA Commissioner Robert Califf describes the FDA structural changes as a " transformative vision " to better protect public health.

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Business Member Spotlight:

Astound Business Solutions

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Why Astound Business Solutions Powered by Digital West?

We work with thousands of businesses of all sizes, at every stage of growth, in a wide variety of industries, and we’ve seen it all! Though the nature of their work and IT needs differ, these businesses still share many commonalities. Chief among them is an ongoing struggle to manage their IT infrastructure — Internet connectivity, network management, office productivity or basic tech support.

What to Expect When You Become Our Customer

  • Personalized support and attention to help you solve your unique IT challenges. Not only can we help you identify needed systems and hardware, we can help you plan for your future IT needs.
  • 24/7/365 live technical support from our Network Operations Center (NOC)
  • 24/7/365 monitoring of your network
  • Access to our client portal through which you can submit help tickets, manage your account and order additional services
  • Quarterly Business Reviews of your IT infrastructure, upon request
  • Individualized Service Level Agreements
  • Access to free security scans and workshops
  • An invitation to our annual customer appreciation event


PHONE: BUSINESS: 1-805-781-9378 and RESIDENTIAL: 1-805-373-9378

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Thank You Farm Bureau Members

Renewing Agricultural Business Support Members

Astound Business Solutions Powered by Digital West, Heredia Farm Labor, and Tompkins Ranches LLC

Renewing Agricultural Members

Mark Fugate, Marie Alexander, Silva Ranch, James Ikeda, Ryan Harris, Kathleen Marquart, Canyon Creek Ranch, Lori French, and Jeffrey Van Nest

Renewing Associate Members

Jackie Crabb, Bruce Nenadal, Janet Smith, Jerry Reaugh, Mike Buzzetti, and William And Shirley Bianchi Living Trust

New Collegiate Member

Caroline E Mathews

SLO County Farm Bureau Business Support Member List

Environmental: Farmers Generally Hesitant to Dive into Carbon Markets

California Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees - California Ag Network

Are you a California farmer, rancher, or forestland owner who improves soil health, water quality, and wildlife habitat on your working land? Apply for the 2023 California Leopold Conservation Award®. Sand County Foundation and national sponsor American Farmland Trust present the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 25 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary ...

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PG&E offers rebates to some customers buying used electric cars

CBS/Bay City News Service SAN FRANCISCO -- PG&E announced Thursday it's launching a pre-owned electric vehicle (EV) rebate program to provide qualified residential customers with up to $4,000 when purchasing or leasing a pre-owned EV. The program aims to distribute more than $78 million to promote the adoption of EVs and make EV ownership more affordable for all customers.

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Farmers Generally Hesitant to Dive into Carbon Markets

PUBLISHED ON MACON, Ga. - There is a strong case that agricultural soil is a viable tool for storing, or sequestering, carbon. It can be done. On the question of whether doing so can be used to generate income through carbon markets, farmers aren't yet sold.

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Featured Member Benefit:

Budget Truck Rental

Budget Truck: Discounted rates in 48 states 

With more than 1,000 Budget Truck locations and 20,000 rental vehicles across the continental U.S., there aren’t many discounts with as much coverage as Farm Bureau’s 20% off truck and mileage rates. Visit BudgetTruck.com/FarmBureau and see for yourself.  

Advance reservation is required; book online or call 1-800-566-8422 and mention Farm Bureau® Member Account #56000127747. Not available in Alaska or Hawaii.

Avocado: California Avocado Season Forecast Announced

Consider Applying For The Avocado Industry Leadership Program - California Ag Network

The Hass Avocado Board is now accepting applications for its yearlong Board Leadership Development program. The program includes customized training to help participants prepare to serve on the boards of avocado industry organizations such as HAB and the California Avocado Commission, among others. The deadline to complete the application is January 31.

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California Avocado Season Forecast Announced

The California Avocado Commission has forecast the 2023 season volume to be 257 million pounds, a slight year-on-year decrease from 276 million pounds. Weather and market conditions will be key factors for when California avocado growers begin harvesting and some growers may delay picking to allow their avocados time to increase in size.

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Produce: Nurseries Feel the Pain of Climbing Natural Gas Prices

Nurseries Feel the Pain of Climbing Natural Gas Prices

By Ching Lee Skyrocketing natural gas prices this winter have sent shockwaves through California nursery operations, which use the fuel to heat greenhouses. Some of them face utility bills as much as five times higher than in previous years. Natural gas remains one of the biggest production costs in the winter for some greenhouses.

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Rains hinder early season picking for Southern California strawberries

Southern California’s strawberry season got off to a soggy start this year, with nearly 4 inches of rain falling in the Oxnard growing area in January. Average rainfall for the month is about 2.7 inches.

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How Biofungicides Are Helping Small Fruit Growers Succeed

Timothy Miles speaks well of "soft fungicides" despite any inference that such organic products might actually go easy on varying diseases of small fruit. Image zoom Botrytis (shown here) accounts for about 60% to 70% of grape rotting in Michigan.

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Labor: California Farm Bureau's DPR and CCA Credit Classes Announced

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HR in Half an Hour: Creating Transparent Compensation with Confidence

California is a state that loves to keep employers on their toes. Year over year, CA regulators enact new laws that seem to complicate an already overly complicated business landscape. One law that has everyone buzzing- The California Pay Transparency Law that now requires all employers to share their pay scale data with current employees and prospective candidates.

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California farmworkers cope with wildfire smoke, pesticides, roaches and rodents, survey says

A major UC Merced study and survey detail the harsh conditions many of California's farmworkers experience at home and work. The issues are under a spotlight following the recent mass shootings at two mushroom farms. One of the largest academic studies of California farmworkers is quantifying their difficult workplace and housing conditions at a time when the spotlight on those issues couldn't be brighter.

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Wildfire: Paso Robles City Council Given Presentation on Proposed Changes to Fire Hazard Zones

Central Coast firefighters share home fire safety tips during cold weather | News Channel 3-12

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.- The US Fire Administration reports that fifty percent of home-heating fires happen between December and February. Each year during the winter season, fire fighters at Cal fire in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara county fire say there is a risk for house fires.

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Paso Robles City Council Given Presentation on Proposed Changes to Fire Hazard Zones

Updates from Jan. 31 city council meeting - The Paso Robles City Council met Tuesday and received a presentation on proposed state changes to Fire [...]

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New research finds prescribed burns may emit more carbon as trees die faster in CA forests

More trees are dying and drying out in California's forests due to a hotter temperatures and prolonged droughts, which is causing more severe wildfires and a mass altercation in how forests store carbon. That's according to Cal Fire-backed researcher Marissa Goodwin at a research webinar Wednesday.

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Livestock: Consumer Demand for Beef Remains Strong Among Inflation Woes

Cover: A rush to curb wild pig prevealence in California leaves conflicting groups speculating about the animal's future

Camped on the undulating hills of Bradley, professional hunter Chad Wiebe and his outfitting group raced against the clock. Clad in earth tones and armed with monoculars, handheld radios, and guns, they were on a quest for feral pigs. It took all afternoon on Dec. 20.

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Bureau of Land Management and USDA Forest Service announce 2023 grazing fees

PUBLISHED ON WASHINGTON - The federal grazing fee for 2023 remains at $1.35 per animal unit month for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and $1.35 per head month for lands managed by the USDA Forest Service.

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Consumer Demand for Beef Remains Strong Among Inflation Woes, New Report Shows - California Ag Network

According to the newly released "Today's Beef Consumer" report from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, demand for beef continues to remain strong. The compilation of research from 2022, outlined below, shows that despite various challenges faced by the industry, consumers have repeatedly stated that they will continue purchasing ...

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Vineyard & Wine: After Years of Steady Growth, Wine Sector Faces Challenges

After Years of Steady Growth, Wine Sector Faces Challenges

By Caleb Hampton California winegrape growers and wine professionals are taking stock after a year of navigating challenges from drought to inflation to weather extremes. In addition, pessimism around sliding demand for wine over the past two years, following roughly two decades of steady growth in U.S. consumption, is causing concerns.

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8 things to know about the wine industry in 2023

The American wine industry isn't doing so hot. That's the overall sentiment expressed by Rob McMillan, a longtime wine industry analyst, in his new highly anticipated report, " State of the U.S. Wine Industry 2023." Released annually by Silicon Valley Bank, the report reveals wine sales data and trends from the prior year, as well as predictions for the next 12 months.

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Water: SLO County supervisors move to change new rules giving more water to Paso Robles farmers

Report Details Toll of Agriculture, Oil and Gas Sectors on California Water Crisis

Increasing demand and climate change have taken a toll on California's water supply. In a new report, researchers lay out how industrial agriculture and the oil and gas sectors impact supplies. Researchers recommend switching to more renewable energy sources and curbing expansion of mega-dairies to help address the crisis.

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Farm Bureau president's message: California must capture water in wet years and expedite projects

Jamie Johansson Now that the recent series of Pacific storms have abated and we are in a period of dry weather, we are reminded of the twin imperatives to operate our water infrastructure for sporadic flood threats while we store water against ever-present drought. California's hydrology is famously flashy.

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SLO County supervisors move to change new rules giving more water to Paso Robles farmers

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors took steps Sunday to dismantle the county's new planting ordinance, which allows farmers in the Paso Basin Land Use Management Area to use more water to irrigate their crops. On Sunday, the board voted 3-1 to put the ordinance on the Feb.

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Why epic California rains might not prevent a dangerous fire season ahead

It's something of a Golden State paradox: Dry winters can pave the way for dangerous fire seasons fueled by dead vegetation, but wet winters - like the one the state has seen so far - can also spell danger by spurring heaps of new growth that can later act as fuel for flames.

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THIS JUST IN ... Second snow survey reflects boost from atmospheric rivers; Statewide, snowpack is 205 percent of average

California Could See a Return to Warm and Dry Conditions in Remaining Two Months When the State Snowpack Usually Peaks From the Department of Water Resources: The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today conducted the second snow survey of the season at Phillips Station. The manual survey recorded 85.5 inches of snow depth and a...

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Farm Bureau Membership Matters

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We cannot support your freedom to farm and ranch without your membership.

Join SLO County Farm Bureau now or renew your membership online. Go to slofarmbureau.org to join, or download the membership form PDF.

Have your renewal notice available to speed up the process; you will need to enter your membership number, name and ZIP code. Renewal dues may be paid online or over the phone by credit card.

We're here to help! Call us if you need us to lookup your member number or we can process your membership for you, at 805-543-3654.

All California county Farm Bureau memberships are processed through the California Farm Bureau Federation, but please reach out to our SLO County office if you need your membership number or have questions.

Join or Renew Your San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau Membership

Thank You Platinum Members

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