Farmers assess damages after recent California storm surge
With a respite from stormy weather, farmers say they are surveying for damage and waiting for the ground to dry so they can access fields and orchards to make repairs or do other practices. Historic and deadly storms that brought two weeks of rain and powerful winds to California led to mudslides, flooding and widespread power outages and related evacuations. A state of emergency was declared for eight Southern California counties. Even with farming challenges caused by the storms, farmers say they are grateful for the winter weather, which adds water to the state.
Valentine’s Day inspires, tests flower retailers and wholesalers
With Valentine’s Day falling on a Wednesday and clear skies forecast for most regions in the U.S., flower retailers were preparing for a busy Feb. 14. Two separate consumer data analyses projected record Valentine’s Day flower sales this year. The holiday typically trails only Mother’s Day in flower sales. For California cut flower farmers, the winter holiday brought a welcome boost in demand alongside renewed frustration. For two years running, dark skies and stormy weather have impacted flower crops grown in the state for Valentine’s Day.
Researchers strive to ramp up studies to meet needs of organic farmers
California leads the nation in organic agricultural production, accounting for more than $14 billion in organic sales and 36% of the U.S. organic market in 2021. Yet research has lagged behind the exponential growth of organic farming in the state. Now that trend may be changing, thanks to an increasing focus on supporting organic studies and information sharing. With organic studies drawing increasing funding interest, researchers and growers are looking to identify potential study areas that are best connected to day-to-day challenges of organic farming.
USDA offers grants up to $250,000 to inspire ‘value-added’ farm products
Federal funding is available under the Value-Added Producer Grants program to help farmers and ranchers generate new products and create marketing opportunities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture may award up to $75,000 for planning activities or up to $250,000 for capital expenses related to producing and marketing value-added agricultural products. USDA said it is interested in proposals for initiatives aimed at reducing pollution and increasing resilience to impacts of climate change. Some $31 million in funding is available through the program.