San Luis Obispo County Agriculture News
July 16, 2021
Strawberries Still SLO County's Top Value Commodity
On July 20, the Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer will present the Board of Supervisors with a summary of crop and livestock statistics for the calendar year of 2020. The summary includes industry trends, production levels, and gross values. To download the crop report details click here. The summary below is from the Ag Commissioner.
The agricultural industry in San Luis Obispo County continues to be a major contributor to the county’s economy. The overall crop value recorded for 2020 is $978,675,000, down just slightly from 2019 and down over 5% from the record high amount recorded in 2018. Although the overall value was relatively flat on the year, the COVID-19 pandemic created a variety of challenges for the local agricultural industry. This figure represents only commodity gross values and does not reflect net profits received by local agricultural producers. Also, reported values do not include multipliers related to secondary economic benefits. 
  • Animal Industry: The total value of the county’s animal industry increased over 13% in 2020, based on significant increases in cattle sales. With prices holding relatively steady, the gross value in the cattle and calves sector increased by over 21% due to a substantial 28% increase in the number of head sold compared to 2019. 
  • Field Crops: The overall value of field crops produced in the county fell significantly in 2020 with a 16% reduction in gross value stemming from a variety of both market and weather-related factors. Overall grain hay value fell slightly due to decreases in per acre yield and pricing. Planted acreage of high-value alfalfa fell significantly, with a 29% decrease in total production area in 2020, as growers shifted toward other crops. 
  • Fruit and Nut Crops: Although strawberries reached their highest annual value in county history, wine grapes experienced considerable challenges in 2020 bringing the overall Fruit & Nut sector value down slightly. With both prices and yields down considerably due to a combination of challenges, including reduced demand, oversupply in the market, and concerns about possible smoke taint from late season wildfires, the overall value for wine grapes decreased 14% from the previous year and marked their lowest value in the past five years. Despite problems in the wine grape industry and the industry wide challenges in market demands experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the overall value of the Fruit & Nut sector was buoyed by the high yields of avocados, lemons, strawberries, and English walnuts. 
  • Nursery Products: Nursery values fell substantially in 2020 as local growers were impacted by reduced demand, especially for commercial vegetable transplants and cut flowers. Overall value in this sector decreased nearly 6% from the previous year based largely on COVID related changes in market demands. However, certain segments within the nursery industry fared surprisingly well, as those growers who produce bedding plants, indoor and outdoor ornamentals, and direct-to-consumer vegetable transplants flourished due to increased consumer demand from home gardeners. 
  • Vegetable Crops: Vegetable growers experienced a chaotic year in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic weighed heavily upon consumer demand and market trends. Despite challenging markets during the early stages of the pandemic, demand for vegetables rebounded later in the season after the initial shock of restaurants closing around the country subsided. Favorable weather conditions also helped vegetable growers withstand the challenges brought on by the unprecedented nature of a global pandemic. Leaf lettuce values were up overall for 2020 due to both strong demand and solid prices late in the year, and head lettuce value was up slightly on the year due to excellent per acre yields. A variety of other vegetable crops also benefited from the favorable growing conditions, leading to increases in overall value despite the unpredictable consumer demand. 
The 2020 Annual Report will be distributed in late July or early August 2021. Annual Reports from 1928 through 2019 can be viewed here.
This Week in SLO County Agriculture
This Issue includes: 
  • Community News: SLO County Farm Bureau 2022 Sportsmen Raffle Calendar Advertisement Spots now Available;
  • Local Government News: Supervisors to Begin Redrawing District Boundaries at July 20 Hearing;
  • State Government News: California Farm Bureau's Friday Review;
  • Federal News: The Verge - Biden's 'Right to Repair' Exec. Order Impacts Agriculture;
  • Business Member Spotlight: The Rice Partnership;
  • Labor News: ABC News - Undocumented Farmworkers Push Congress for Protections Amid Historic Heat;
  • Vineyard & Winery News: JDSUPRA - California Wineries Take Note: State Water Board Releases Draft General Order for Winery Process Water for Public Comment;
  • Environmental News: Visalia Times Delta - Tulare County Ag Commissioner Backtracks on Pesticide Study;
  • Wildfire News: The Guardian - More Than 60 Wildfires Rage Across US West - Including Blaze Bigger Than Portland;
  • Produce News: LGMA Votes to Mandate Risk-Based Pre-Harvest Testing;
  • Water News: AgAlert - Rural California Hammered as Drought Spreads;
  • Wildlife News: Sierra Sun Times - Disease Outbreak Strikes California Deer Herds;
  • Research Resources: AgAlert - UC Offers Drought tips for Citrus Trees, Other Crops;
  • Wisdom From the Farm & Ranch.
All Farm Bureau Members and Young Farmers & Ranchers Are Invited to Cattlemen & Farmers Day!
Please join us this Thursday, July 22 at the California Mid-State Fair for Cattlemen & Farmers Day! If this is your first time coming to the fair and you have questions, call the office or email Brent at

Cattlemen & Farmers Day at the Mid-State Fair - Thursday, July 22nd at the Livestock Pavillion 
2:00-2:30 P.M. Industrial Arts Auction Preview 
2:30 P.M. Industrial Arts Auction 
4:00 P.M. – Cattlemen & Farmers Day Social Hour
5:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M. Barbeque Steak Dinner 
6:30 P.M. Presentation of Award
For the full Daily Schedule for July 22 click here
  • Dinner Ticket prices - $30.00 at Event 
  • One Day Admission Ticket Prices - $7.00 Pre-Sale or $14.00 at Gate 
  • All admission tickets are available at Single-day admission tickets are also available at Farm Supply in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo (Mon-Fri 7:30 am-6:00 pm and Sat 8:00 am-5:00 pm) 
PARKING is very limited and is paid. Consider using transit as an alternative. More information is available here. Limited paid parking available across from the Fairgrounds Main Entrance Gate on Riverside Ave for $20. You can also enter through the Livestock Gate off 24th Street. Map of the Fairgrounds
Community News: SLO County Farm Bureau 2022 Sportsmen Raffle Calendar Advertisement Spots now Available!
San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau 2022 Sportsmen Raffle Calendar Advertisement Spots Available! Reserve yours today!
Announcing our next event! + other summer projects!

We are thrilled to announce our upcoming event, the first we have hosted in almost two years! As part of our mission to support and assist the sustainable growth of local food and farm businesses, these events help promote small businesses, and...

Read more
Farmers Focus on Mental Health

On the farm, the "to do" list never seems to end-and only grows when the weather doesn't cooperate. For my family, we found a small window when it was dry enough to wean calves a few weeks ago-and it has rained off and on since, delaying other...

Read more
Did you see the goats on SLO's Terrace Hill? Here's what ...

A total of 240 goats and sheep could be seen munching dry grass and weeds Thursday on the slopes of Terrace Hill in San Luis Obispo. The animals were visible on the hillside from several spots around San Luis Obispo. The Boer goats and Barbados...

Read more
Local Government News: Supervisors to Begin Redrawing District Boundaries at July 20 Hearing
SLO County to hold first redistricting hearing on July 20

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors is kicking off its once-a-decade redistricting process with a public hearing on July 20. Residents will have their first chance to weigh in on the redrawing of five supervisorial districts by...

Read more
Redistricting on the Central Coast: How Santa Barbara...

As part of our three-part series on redistricting on the Central Coast, we're looking at the different systems for redistricting in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties. Redistricting is the process by which states, counties, cities and...

Read more
State Government News: California Farm Bureau's Friday Review
Federal News: The Verge - Biden's 'Right to Repair' Exec. Order Impacts Agriculture
Farm Hands West: Flores appointed CDFA deputy secretary

Ken Barbic Gov. Gavin Newsom has appointed Michael Flores to be the deputy secretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Flores has been a Political Consultant since 2019. He previously served as a senior adviser for the...

Read more
Biden's 'Right to Repair' Exec. Order Impacts Agriculture

A sweeping executive order aimed at promoting economic competition and signed Friday by President Joe Biden called on the Federal Trade Commission to institute rules to curb anticompetitive restrictions that limit consumers' ability to repair...

Read more
Business Member Spotlight:
The Rice Partnership
The Rice Partnership makes financial strategies tailored to fit individual goals and risk tolerance. One-on-one collaboration to grow assets. Creative Solutions to fulfill legacies.

We also utilize the extensive resources of top global partners such as Charles Schwab, whose universe of managers and funds, as well as portfolio construction tools integrate high-quality research, manager selection and continuing analysis, enabling us to provide clients with highly-customized investment strategies.

Unlike traditional wealth management firms such as banks, brokerages and trust companies that concentrate only on investments, The Rice Partnership offers Family Office services where we oversee and manage the complex financial lives of families we serve. They may include: daily accounting and document management, household and trust administration services, family education, and philanthropy.

In addition to Family Office, we offer a range of advisory services that can address specific needs of our clients. This includes creative solutions for charitable transfers, as well as
sustaining legacies over generations.
1304 Santa Rosa Street | San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
(805) 517-4122
Monday - Thursday 8:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M.
Friday 8:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M
Thank You Farm Bureau Members
New Business Support Member
New Agricultural Members
Michael Bradley, Cal Coast Orchids LLC
Renewing Members
Norman Fawley, Lora Eade, Rolling Hills Vineyard, Creston Enterprises LLC, Morris & Garritano Insurance
Labor News: ABC News - Undocumented Farmworkers Push Congress for Protections Amid Historic Heat
Undocumented farmworkers push Congress for protections...

Sebastian Francisco Perez, a 38-year-old undocumented farmworker from Guatemala, was working at a tree farm in Oregon on June 26 when he died during the record-breaking heat wave that swept across the region. "He had dreams of starting a family...

Read more
Farmworkers on the Central Coast: From the 1930s to now

To tell the story of farmworkers in this country, let alone the Central Coast, Cesar Chavez needs to be mentioned. In a 1984 speech to the Commonwealth Club of California, Chavez outlined the mission of his work.

Read more
Vineyard & Winery News: JDSUPRA - California Wineries Take Note: State Water Board Releases Draft General Order for Winery Process Water for Public Comment
Independent Grape Growers of Paso Robles Area -July Speakers

At our July Seminar we will hear from two regulatory experts. Laura Ramage will give the pesticide laws and regulations update on behalf of the SLO County Ag Commissioner's Office. Grower's will also hear from Dana Merrill, President of the...

Read more
Company wants to store wine on seafloor off Central...

Ocean Fathoms, an offshore ocean wine cellar company, is asking the California Coastal Commission for after-the-fact authorization for the placement and use of three wine storage cases installed on the seafloor nearly a mile offshore of Fernald...

Read more
Booker Wines breaks new ground with 'Popping Corks' podcast

From guests such as Chicago Cubs star Joc Pederson to comedian Erin Darling to Grammy Award-winning mix engineer Manny Marroquin, Booker Wines is breaking new ground with a podcast that leads wine into the realms of popular culture and raw...

Read more
California Wineries Take Note: State Water Board...

On July 3, 2020, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) released proposed General Waste Discharge Requirements for Winery Process Water Treatment Systems ( proposed General Order) along with the draft California Environmental ...

Read more
Environmental News: Visalia Times Delta - Tulare County Ag Commissioner Backtracks on Pesticide Study
Pesticide study renews conflict between growers,...

Controversy has again soured relations between local growers and environmental-justice activists, this time over concerns related to a three-county study of pesticides' effects on rural air quality. Central Valley agricultural officials have...

Read more
Tulare County Ag Commissioner backtracks on pesticide study

A study looking at the effects of pesticides on farmworkers and rural residents in the central San Joaquin Valley is off to a rocky start after local agricultural leaders falsely warned growers that participants in the UC Davis-led study were...

Read more
Advertise With San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau
Get Your Message in Front of Over 1600 San Luis Obispo Countians!

Our weekly E-News is sent out every Friday to our membership and local leaders. If you're interested in an effective, low-cost advertising campaign ($150 a month) please give us a call or send an email to SLO County Farm Bureau Executive Director Brent Burchett.
Wildfire News: The Guardian - More Than 60 Wildfires Rage Across US West - Including Blaze Bigger Than Portland
Fighting wildfires in the West: 'I don't think we can...

A Colorado congressman who co-founded the Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus recalled the record-setting and devastating wildfires that raged in his home state - all five of them that inflicted so much damage in 2020. "We are having fire years instead of ...

Read more
More than 60 wildfires rage across US west - including...

More than 60 wildfires were burning across at least 10 states in the parched American west on Tuesday, with the largest, in Oregon, consuming an area nearly twice the size of Portland. The fires have torched homes and forced thousands to evacuate ...

Read more
Produce News: LGMA Votes to Mandate Risk-Based Pre-Harvest Testing
World's First Underwater Vegetable Garden Reopens...

From the ancient rice terraces of Yunnan to modern vertical hydroponics, agriculture comes in many different forms. Now a group of Italian brainiacs have created the world's first underwater garden for terrestrial plants.

Read more
Decade after end of marketing order, stone fruit acres...

Fewer acres of California farmland are dedicated to growing stone fruit compared to 10 years ago when growers of freestone peaches and nectarines voted to end the California Tree Fruit Agreement. But apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums, prunes...

Read more
How much more volume can the U.S. avocado market absorb?

In this installment of the ' Agronometrics In Charts ' series, Cristian Crespo F. illustrates how the U.S. market is evolving. Each week the series looks at a different horticultural commodity, focusing on a specific origin or topic visualizing...

Read more
LGMA Votes to Mandate Risk-Based Pre-Harvest Testing
Salinas, CA. -- The Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) Board voted yesterday to mandate pre-harvest testing for leafy greens grown in fields where elevated risk factors are present. Specifically, the LGMA food safety program will now require members to assess each of their fields to determine if certain risks such as proximity to animal operations exist. For fields that meet these criteria, LGMA members will be required to collect product samples and test them to determine if pathogens are present.

With this action, several steps are now set in motion to make risk-based pre-harvest testing officially part of the LGMA’s government audits. Updates are now being finalized to the LGMA Food Safety Practices, or metrics. The updates will also include the requirement that growers perform what’s called a ‘root cause analysis’ if any test comes back positive for E. coli or salmonella. 
Read the full press release here.
Water News: AgAlert - Rural California Hammered as Drought Spreads
Rural California Hammered as Drought Spreads

July 14, 2021 - By Christine Souza, AgAlert

With depleted reservoirs and limited water supplies across California, Gov. Gavin Newsom last week expanded the drought emergency order to nine additional counties and signed an executive order calling on all Californians to voluntarily reduce water use by 15%.

The action by the governor follows drought disaster orders issued in April and May, and brings a total of 50 of the state's 58 counties under the drought state of emergency. Nine counties added to the drought declaration include: Inyo, Marin, Mono, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz.

Brent Burchett, executive director of the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau, said, "In our county, we weren't waiting for the governor's declaration to make local changes.

"SGMA (Sustainable Groundwater Management Act) is the more acute regulation that we're mindful of regarding cutbacks coming to agriculture," Burchett said. "We're already prepared for that, but this current drought is just another reminder of how bad things can be and how quickly they can change."

Continue reading here.
San Luis Obispo County is in another drought, and the...

MAP COURTESY OF THE U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR Gov. Gavin Newsom stood in front of Lopez Lake near Arroyo Grande on July 8 and made an announcement to all of California: 50 of the state's 58 counties, including San Luis Obispo, are officially in a new...

Read more
With drought worsening, should California have much...

When Gov. Gavin Newsom asked Californians to voluntarily conserve water last week as he stood in front of the retreating shoreline at Lopez Lake in San Luis Obispo County, some must have had déjà vu. It was only six years ago when former Gov.

Read more
Key players in California water confront drought, fish...

A key message emerged when California water leaders gathered in Modesto: Stop grumbling about drought, and get cracking on real fixes. Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, convened the Thursday afternoon summit at the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau....

Read more
Californians will adapt to living with drought, as we...

Climate change is exacerbating droughts and accelerating the transformation and decline of California's native forest and aquatic ecosystems. As a state, we are poorly organized to manage these effects, which need extensive focused preparation....

Read more

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Paso Basin Cooperative Committee will hold a Regular Meeting at 4:00 P.M. on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Based on the threat of COVID-19 as reflected in the Proclamations of Emergency issued by both the Governor of the State of California and the San Luis Obispo County Emergency Services Director, as well as the Governor’s Executive Order N-29-20 issued on March 17, 2020 relating to the convening of public meetings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this meeting will be conducted as a phone in/web-based meeting only. There will be no physical meeting location for this Cooperative Committee Meeting. Members of the public can participate via phone or by logging into the web-based meeting.

Click here to view/download the agenda packet for this meeting.
Click here to join the meeting.
Wildlife News: Sierra Sun Times - Disease Outbreak Strikes California Deer Herds
Disease Outbreak Strikes California Deer Herds -...

Fawns in Mariposa CountySierra Sun Times file photo July 14, 2021 - The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has confirmed outbreaks of adenovirus hemorrhagic disease in deer in several northern California counties and is asking...

Read more
Endangered Elk Starve While the National Park Service...

This summer, as California is experiencing some of the hottest conditions on record, around 293 endangered tule elk isolated on the Point Reyes National Seashore are in a fight for their lives-with no help from the National Park Service, the...

Read more
Agronomic Resources: AgAlert - UC Offers Drought tips for Citrus Trees, Other Crops
Ask your PCA: Which Summertime Pests Threaten Citrus?

During the warm season, there are several pests that are damaging to citrus. They will become more active, and their populations can explode very quickly as temperatures rise.

California red scale, or CRS, is one of the more economically damaging pests, and it's widely distributed throughout the state. It has a biocontrol agent: Aphytis melinus, a parasitic wasp.

Beneficials are released early in the season to reduce the pest population, but in some warmer regions, biocontrol alone won't control the pest. If the pest levels remain too high, then a chemical treatment is applied.
UC offers drought tips for citrus trees, other crops 
By Bob Johnson, California Farm Bureau’s AgAlert 

The simplest part of a drought management plan for citrus trees may be making sure that none of the scarce applied water leaches below the root zone, where it will be of no use to the crop.

Although the depth of the roots may vary depending on the variety and age of the trees, University of California experts advise the effective area for irrigation can be assumed as the top 2 feet of soil.
UC Ag Experts Talk: Biology and Management of Avocado Lace Bug in California

Dr. Mark Hoddle, Extension and Biological Control Specialist at UC Riverside and Director at the Center for Invasive Species Research, discussed biology, damage and distribution of Avocado lace bug. He also discussed their invasion into California and the response to that, which included phenology studies, natural enemies, and insecticide evaluations.
Upcoming UC Ag Experts Talk webinar: 

August 11, 2021 (1 to 3 pm) - Grape Powdery Mildew Management and Challenges

In this webinar, various speakers from UC and UCCE will discuss biology and ID of powdery mildew; history of sulfur use, formulations, mode of application, and role in resistance management; air assisted sprayer settings, air induction nozzles, and using spray cards to assess coverage; the effect of certain weather conditions on drift; powdery mildew fungicide resistance and the importance of FRAC codes; and efficacy of various products for management of powdery mildew in vineyards.

Two DPR CE units (other) and two CCA CE units (IPM) were requested.

Register here
Wisdom From the Farm & Ranch
A Better Job - Red Steagall

Ride up a little faster, boys,
I've dropped out of the drive,
and won't be there for breakfast,
when ol cooky calls at five.

Don't bring no long sad faces,
when you lay me in the ground,
for I'll be thru with calvin jobs,
and pore cows that are down.

Just think of roundups, we have made,
with all the fun we had,
a ridin horses good and true,
and some few that were bad.

We've not spoke of religion much,
but anyone could seem
the handiwork of God,
in baby calves, a runnin free.

I put my faith in Jesus Christ,
some few years in the past,
and didn't worry non about,
how long this life would last.

So 'member all the good times,
and know that where I'm at,
the horse all are gentle,
and the cattle are always fat.
Farm Bureau Membership Matters
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 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 some assistance with membership, 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.
Thank You San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau
Platinum Members