Thursday, February 27, 2014

Placer-Nevada Farmer-Rancher Drought Meeting

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
UCCE – Auburn
11477 E Avenue
Auburn, CA

The Placer County Water Agency and the Nevada Irrigation District will be making preliminary determinations about summer 2014 water deliveries in early March.  We’d like to meet before these decisions are made to discuss the impacts of various scenarios, opportunities for cooperation, and coordination of commercial agriculture interests.

To make sure we have enough meeting room, please RSVP at this website:

For more information, contact:

UCCE – Placer/Nevada

Monday, February 24, 2014

Farming for Success in the 21st Century:

Webinar Series for Agriculture Conservation Professionals

This three-part webinar series is geared to agricultural conservation professionals such as RCD, Extension and NRCS staff. Each session will provide an overview of expected climate impacts such as increased water scarcity, warming temperatures and unpredictable and extreme weather events, and tools for enhancing on-farm resilience and adaptation to changing climate conditions. Participants can attend any or all in the series. Each webinar will focus on one of the following strategies:
  • Increasing Biodiversity
  • Water Stewardship
  • Soil Building 
For more information and to register, please click here.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Drought info from UCCE

Drought cutbacks to water deliveries in Placer/Nevada will probably be 25 to 35% depending on precipitation totals and storage. Even though we have gotten some rainfall, the snowpack is not adequate, so that will be a real problem for mid-to-late-summer irrigation. So what is your drought plan?

As you may have heard, there is special cost share assistance from the NRCS EQIP program for drought assistance. For those of you with overhead sprinklers, this might be a very good time to change them out for microsprinklers, and get some assistance with it. Or for monitoring irrigation.

The catch is that the NRCS deadline is March 3rd. The Farm Services Agency(FSA) also has some assistance, with a March 27th deadline, but it seems to be more focused on livestock.

Nevada County NRCS office 530.272.3417
Placer County NRCS office 530.885.6505
FSA office serving Placer: 916.714.1104 Elk Grove
FSA office serving Nevada: 530.671.0850 x2 Yuba City

This is the situation, as described by FSA:
From now until March 3 FSA will be prioritizing applications for water hauling (livestock) and NRCS will be handling all other practices.  After March 3 until the ECP deadline on March 27 FSA will take all available practices.  That being said NRCS will be funding some practices that will not be available through FSA.   FSA will not be funding any fencing or irrigation. 

Attached are some information sheets from NRCS and info from FSA. If you have overhead sprinklers or need water storage tanks to be able to irrigate your crops adequately, please call your NRCS office this next week.

Drought Information resources…

We have created a Facebook Group called the Farmer-Rancher Drought Forum.  This group is open to farmers and ranchers, as well as those who work with us.  It is a place to share ideas, ask questions and talk about the impacts of the drought on our farms and ranches.  To join, send an email to Dan Macon at
The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board is about to adopt a new long-term regulatory program for irrigated agriculture.  The new program WILL increase your costs to comply, and WILL require you to do more paperwork.  This meeting will be a great opportunity to learn about what is on the horizon, and what your local coalition is doing to prepare and represent you.

You are invited to the 8th Annual PNSSNS Membership Meeting.  Join us for coffee, tea and cookies and some good discussion.
Date:                    Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Time:     6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Location:             Placer County Water Agency – Click here for directions
American River Room
144 Ferguson Road
Auburn, California  95603

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Beginning Farming Academy

April 4th, 8 AM to 8 PM, April 5th, 8 AM to 5 PM
UC Cooperative Extension Placer/Nevada, Dewitt Center, Auburn, CA

This is a 2-day intensive introduction to starting a small commercial farm or ranch. If you are considering starting a small ag operation in the foothills, you should attend the Academy. Learn about assessing your resources and choosing products, the basics of market-driven farming and basic economic tools. The Academy includes two field trips to complement classroom instruction and discussion. You will finish with an action plan for jumpstarting your operation.

This workshop does not address production practices, but focuses on market, business, and economic planning for small farms. Local expert farmers and ranchers and UCCE Farm Advisors will help you refine your plans for your farm or ranch.

The class runs from 8 AM to 8 PM on April 4th, and 8 AM to 5 PM on April 5th. Participants are expected to attend the entire Academy.
The Beginning Farming Academy is partially funded by a Specialty Crop Block Grant from CDFA, so instruction and materials are free of charge. Meal cost for the two days is $70, and includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks on Friday; and breakfast, lunch, and snacks on Saturday.

If you are interested in attending, please fill out the application as completely as possible, as we cannot accept all the applications we receive, and we rank them on the information provided.
Applicants will be notified within two weeks whether or not they have been accepted. Once accepted, an applicant with have one week to register and pay for the Academy.

For questions or more information on the Academy, please contact me at

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Drought Resources for Farmers

As California faces one of the driest years ever recorded, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be holding informational sessions on drought resources for farmers, ranchers and farmworkers in several locations throughout the state in the coming weeks. These sessions will provide information on a variety of state and federal government programs designed to assist farmers with water conservation, crop insurance, and other on-farm management tools. Information on farmworker assistance programs will also be available.

Upcoming application deadlines for federal programs include crop insurance programs offered by the USDA's Risk Management Agency (2/28); non-insured crop insurance offered by the USDA's Farm Service Agency (3/1); and water conservation enhancements offered by the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (3/3). These programs offer a variety on-farm assistance including cover crops and tree pruning as well as market-based risk management tools.

Informational sessions will be held on the following dates/locations:

February 18, 2014, 6-8pm (Redding/Palo Cedro)
Junction Elementary School - Theater Room
9087 Deschutes Road
Palo Cedro, CA 96073

February 19, 2014, 6-8pm (Salinas)
Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner's Office
1428 Abbott Street
Salinas, CA 93901

February 20, 2014, 6-8pm (Fresno)
Fresno County Farm Bureau
1274 W. Hedges Ave
Fresno, CA 93728

Several state/federal government entities will be represented at these information sessions, including: USDA Farm Service Agency; USDA Risk Management Agency; USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; USDA Rural Development; the California Employment Development Department; and other community resources.

CDFA continues to support California's drought response. The department has developed a web page as an information clearinghouse on assistance programs for farmers, ranchers and farmworkers; will continue to work with California food banks to address drought-related impacts; and is working with the University of California to develop a real-time assessment of drought impacts in farming and ranching communities.

With California facing one of the most severe droughts on record, Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency<> last month and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages. Governor Brown has spoken with President Obama about crucial federal support during the ongoing drought, and the state continues<> to work with federal partners<> to ensure a coordinated<> drought response. The administration has also expressed support<> for federal legislation introduced by Senators Feinstein and Boxer and Representatives Jim Costa, Tony Cárdenas and Sam Farr.
Across state government, action is being taken. The Department of General Services is leading water conservation efforts<> at state facilities, and the Department of Transportation is cutting water usage along California's roadways by 50 percent. Caltrans has also launched a public awareness campaign, putting a water conservation message<> on their more than 700 electronic highway signs.

In January, the state took action to conserve<> water in numerous Northern California reservoirs<> to meet minimum needs for operations impacting the environment and the economy. The State Water Resources Control Board announced it would work with hydropower generators and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to preserve water<> in California reservoirs. Recently the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Fish and Game Commission restricted fishing<> on some waterways<> due to low water flows worsened by the drought.

The state is working to protect local communities from the dangers of extreme drought. The California Department of Public Health identified<> and offered assistance<> to communities at risk of severe drinking water shortages and is working with other state and local agencies to develop solutions for vulnerable communities. CAL FIRE hired additional firefighters<> and is continuously adjusting staffing<> throughout the state to help address the increased fire threat<> due to drought conditions. The California Department of Food and Agriculture launched a drought website<> to help farmers, ranchers and farmworkers find resources and assistance programs that may be available to them during the drought.

Even as the state deals with the immediate impacts of the drought, it's also planning for the future. Recently, the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and CDFA released the California Water Action Plan<>, which will guide state efforts to enhance water supply reliability, restore damaged and destroyed ecosystems and improve the resilience of our infrastructure.

Governor Brown has called on all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20 percent, and the Save Our Water<> campaign launched four public service announcements<> encouraging residents to conserve and has resources available in Spanish<>. Last December, the Governor formed a Drought Task Force<> to review expected water allocations and California's preparedness for water scarcity. In May 2013, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order<> to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water and water rights.

For more information concerning drought resources for California farmers, ranchers and farmworkers, please visit -<>

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Farm Marketing Academy

Farm Marketing Academy is Friday February 21, 8 AM -8 PM and Saturday, February 22, 8 AM to 5 PM.  If you are planning to attend, please register as soon as possible at Cost is $70 for meals, and includes 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 1 dinner. More info at: or see attached flyer.
If you or someone you know want to jumpstart your marketing efforts, this workshop is for you.
·         Learn from experienced growers about their best and worst marketing experiences
·         Learn about analyzing different marketing channels
·         Learn to do market research
·         Get help with putting together  and trying out your marketing story
·         Assess your market risks and develop strategies to deal with them