Food & Farm News
September 10, 2014
Farming towns face drought impacts
As trucks loaded with donated food fanned out across the state during the past week, Central Valley farmers and officials expressed concerns about delayed drought damage. The food donations aimed to bolster food banks where stocks have been depleted by the drought. Many farming towns have seen fewer jobs due to reduced crop plantings and a short growing season, meaning more people will be out of work longer … and officials said that could mean “a long winter.”
Beekeepers expect less honey production
California-grown honey may be harder to find in coming months, as a result of the drought. Formal estimates haven’t been released, but individual beekeepers report they expect their honey production to drop by half to three-quarters or more. The drought has reduced the native plants and crops from which bees collect pollen. Beekeepers are providing supplemental feed for their hives but say honey production will suffer.
Drought challenges organic cattle ranchers
The drought presents particular challenges to people who raise organic beef and dairy cattle. All sources of hay have become stretched by the drought, but organic hay has been particularly tough to find. In some cases, ranchers have lost the organic certification for their animals because of inability to buy organic hay. More ranchers have had to buy hay for their animals because drought has ruined pastures.
New farm trails open
New agricultural tourism options will become available in Northern California this summer and fall, as three “farm trails” projects debut. Farm-trail maps feature farms and ranches that invite people to visit for tours, tastings and other activities. The University of California Small Farm Program says the new farm trails are the Sacramento River Delta Grown trail, the Capay Valley trail in Yolo County, and the North Yuba Grown trail.