Food & Farm News
October 15, 2014
Drought affects agricultural tourism
It’s the high season for people who operate agricultural tourism businesses, but the California drought has restricted activities at some sites. For instance, the operator of one Central Valley pumpkin patch decided not to plant a corn maze this year, because of water shortages. Other operators say their pumpkins didn’t grow as large as usual this year—but no one predicts there will be a pumpkin shortage.
Unmanned aircraft could help on farms
Now that use of unmanned aircraft has been approved in film and television production, manufacturers also hope to win an exemption for use on farms. One manufacturer says it has asked the Federal Aviation Administration to allow use of drones in precision agriculture. At a University of California test vineyard in the Napa Valley Wednesday, researchers will demonstrate how remote-controlled aircraft could be used to treat winegrapes.
UC works with urban farmers
As more areas allow small-scale farming within city limits, the University of California has begun surveying urban farmers. UC specialists say they visited more than two-dozen urban farms. According to the informal survey, most urban farms are small and many are operated by people who are first-time farmers. The most common challenges for urban farms include access to land, plus business and marketing concerns.
Chicken farm competes in entrepreneurship contest
A Southern California group wants to raise chickens on pasture on a large scale—and its business plan has won recognition in a nationwide competition. Pasturebird LLC of Temecula uses floorless, moveable pens to give birds access to fresh grass. It’s one of 10 groups announced as semifinalists in the Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. The winner will be named in January at the American Farm Bureau convention in San Diego.