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» January 30, 2009 «
Start conserving water is what the California Department of Water Resources is asking all Californians. The Thursday snow measurements found overall the Sierra snowpack is 61 percent of average. Weather forecasts for the next week show no sign of rain. Compounding the problem is the dry fall. As a result more snow moisture will soak into the ground to replenish the soil instead of running into streams.
Westlands Water District farmers have been told that without additional precipitation they won't get any water from the Central Valley Project this year. In addition, the water they saved from last year may not be available when they need it. Growers will now cut production to what they can nourish with well water. Permanent crop production will be less as farmers use what little water they can get to keep the trees alive. Farmers will begin dismissing their permanent workers, as they will have nothing to do.
Food Check-Out Week will be celebrated February 15 to 21 this year. Farm Bureau celebrates that week as when the average American has earned enough disposable income to pay for the entire year's food supply. Tulare County Young Farmers and Ranchers members will commemorate the week early, with the Great Shopping Cart Race this Sunday in Tulare. Money raised will be donated to a local food bank.
With more than one month remaining in the chill season, farm advisors report accumulations of more hours than last year. This is good news for tree farmers whose orchards need a certain number of hours with temperatures below 45 degrees for the trees to set a good crop for the coming season. But, with below-average rainfall thus far, farmers may not have adequate water to nourish the trees. Cherries and apples require about 1,200 chill hours, and one area has already recorded more than one thousand.Top