Posts Tagged: climate change
The story said Paul Verdegaal, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in San Joaquin County, has been tracking local crop and weather data for 30 years and to date has seen only normal year-to-year variability.
"There's no particular trend in early bud break (in vineyards); there's no particular change in earlier harvest," Verdegaal said. "I haven't seen any hint of a trend, let alone a consistent pattern of increase or decrease."
Bud break, the point when grapevines begin to leaf out, falls each spring around March 15.
"This year, it was the 18th; last year, it was the 17th," Verdegaal said. "There's no change."
Saving county's 4-H program is essential
Linda Greco, Santa Maria Times
The UC Cooperative Extension Santa Barbara County is once again on the chopping block, according to a commentary by Linda Greco in the Santa Maria Times.
"I implore our community and county supervisors to consider the consequences and repercussions of such an action. Without the county’s commitment, the program will be lost and no longer exist," Greco wrote.
Greco's article noted that the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors planned to cut UCCE from the county budget in 2010, but after "community outcry," provided one-time funding with significant cuts.
"While 4-H celebrates 100 years in California in 2014, will 4-H continue to exist in our county for future generations? Assist me and ask the Board of Supervisors not to cut the UCCE funding, and to replace it as a permanently funded item to ensure the sustainability of the 4-H program into the future," she wrote.
These are problems that will be addressed by scientists and policymakers at the Climate-Smart Agriculture Global Science Conference at UC Davis this week.
For the story, Ortiz interviewed Eduardo Blumwald, professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, one of the conference speakers. Blumwald believes many of the problems of world food production can be addressed with genetically modified organisms.
Eric Holt-Giménez, executive director of Food First, told the reporter he believes genetically modified crops are no silver bullet solution for salty and thirsty soil or for pest control.
"Building resilience into the ecosystem is the only way to address the problem," he said.
Alan McHughen, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at UC Riverside, said he is a proponent of the judicious use of GMO technology.
"We have to investigate it – it has to be treated with respect," he said. "There will be some products that come through that we don't want to be commercialized, and then there will be others that should be commercialized more rapidly."
- Cherries, said reporter Mark Schapiro, are the canary in the climate coalmine for California tree crops. "They're highly sensitive to changes in temperature and rainfall, which scientists say are being altered by climate change," he said.
The segment included comments from Joe Grant, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in San Joaquin County.
He said California cherry growers have traditionally had a competitive edge in the U.S. because their crop ripens early compared to cherries grown by competitors in Oregon, Washington, Michigan and New York.
"The market price for sweet cherries very early in the season is very, very high," Grant said. But now, California's moderate climate may be getting too warm, and cherry production could become unsustainable.
- Water was the focus of the second part of the documentary, especially the fact that less water and limited drainage options prevent farmers from leaching salts out of crops' rootzones on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. The salty environment for an almond grower featured in the segment has prompted him to consider uprooting the trees and replanting with rootstocks that have greater salt tolerance.
- The third segment dealt with tomato-potato psyllid, which has recently begun surviving the winter in areas where it used to be too cold. John Trumble, professor in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside, said that, in addition to direct feeding damage, the psyllid transmits a disease in potatoes that creates zebra-like markings when they are fried to make chips.
"Some of them come out with wonderful patterns," Trumble said. "But unfortunately, what's happened, instead of starch they have sugar in the vascular system. When you cook that, it turns brown and the consumer sends it back."
View the documentary below:
The story centered around Kingsburg Orchards, one of the largest local tree fruit producers. The organization's board met recently to sample 30 experimental stone fruit varieties.
Kevin Day, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Tulare County, said the push to find an edge in the marketplace is no surprise in today's highly competitive retail market.
"People are doing anything they can for product differentiation, including having exclusive varieties," Day said. "And the focus is really shifting to flavor."
Climate change is another reason to protect farmland
Rich Rominger and Renata Brillinger - Sacramento Bee
This op-ed piece references a new report released by the California Natural Resources Agency and the California Energy Commission that focused on a study by Louise Jackson and her team of UC Davis researchers. "Thanks to the team of UC Davis researchers and government funding for their study, we can add climate protection to the compelling list of reasons to invest in the long-term protection of California's farms and ranches," wrote the authors.
Progress reported in efforts to control growing threat to local and state citrus crops
Lance Orozco - KCLU, California Lutheran University Radio
Orozco interviews Ted Batkin of the Citrus Research Board and John Krist of the Ventura County Farm Bureau. In the six-minute story, Krist mentions work by Mark Hoddle, UC Cooperative Extenison specialist in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside, to introduce natural enemies of Asian citrus psyllid to help bring down populations of the exotic pest.
UC Cooperative Extension specialist Max Moritz has noticed that reporters are displaying a keen interest in the role played by global warming in what has so far been an unusually fierce 2012 fire season.
"For me, that marks a significant shift," wrote Moritz in a op-ed published in Nature yesterday. "This fresh curiosity about the link between fire and climate change is an important opportunity, of sorts."
Moritz, a wildfire expert in the UC Berkeley Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, is the author of a journal article published this summer in Ecosphere that linked climate change to global fire activity. The article is cited on a press release from U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee Democrats that calls for a hearing about reducing wildfire risk.
In the Moritz op-ed, he notes that a second common question from the press about the 2012 fire season is: “If these fires are related to climate change, what can we do about it?”
The inquiry, he said, reveals a growing anxiety over how humanity can adapt to the fire-related impacts of climate change, rather than how to mitigate climate change itself.
"To co-exist with fire will require extending our approach to living with environmental risks," Moritz wrote. "Mapping other natural hazards, such as flood and earthquake zones, has taught us to avoid building on the most dangerous parts of the landscape or to engineer solutions into the built environment when we do. Encouraging the 'right kind of fire' — with frequencies, sizes and intensities appropriate to the ecosystem in question — will be necessary, where possible, so that 'record-breaking' fires are less likely to occur during 'record-breaking' heat or drought."
For some people, climate change will become a fact only when its effects hit close to home.