List of Stories
Obesity among 6- to 11-year-old youth has tripled over the past 30 years. Many youth and adults lack basic meal planning and food preparation skills. In a typical week in 2007, the number of dinners that were cooked and eaten at home was 4.8, but only 57 percent were prepared from scratch (Food Technology, 2008). Empowering youth and their families to adopt healthy food habits - such as planning, preparing and sharing meals at home - will improve the well-being of the entire household.
Sudden Oak Death is a disease of oak trees caused by an introduced fungus-like organism, Phytophthora ramorum. This destructive pathogen is now killing oaks by the millions in 14 coastal counties, affecting watersheds and altering forest ecosystems and species diversity.
Applying nitrogen and phosphorus with irrigation water is a common practice in the Imperial Valley. If the fertilizers are applied incorrectly, the nutrients end up in the drains rather than in the crop. Nitrogen and phosphorus are the two main nutrients that cause eutrophic conditions (high algal biomass and low dissolved oxygen concentrations that cause massive fish kills) in the Salton Sea. Current and proposed federal water quality standards for California require growers to improve the quality of drainage waters. To achieve both federal and state water quality objectives, growers will have to reduce the amount of phosphorus that reaches the drains and the Salton Sea.
Reducing livestock impacts on water quality, aquatic and riparian habitat, and biodiversity are continuing goals for livestock producers, natural resource managers, and conservation groups. These livestock impacts are frequently due to problems with livestock distribution. While fences are usually an effective tool for controlling livestock distribution and reducing impacts on riparian zones or other critical areas, manipulation of grazing patterns can also effectively reduce adverse impacts from livestock. These practices can also facilitate the use of grazing to manipulate vegetation to meet management goals. It is crucial that livestock producers, land managers, community watershed groups, environmental interest groups and policy makers understand the factors that influence where animals graze, rest, and drink, and how livestock can be predictably and effectively redistributed so that they do not produce undesirable effects in grazed watersheds.
Young people engaged in their communities and organizations in meaningful ways are more likely to be civically involved and philanthropically inclined throughout their lives. Youth also have considerable knowledge and energy they can give to better their communities if encouraged to do so. However, society often does not value these contributions and it is a challenge to find or create opportunities to involve youth in authentic and meaningful community roles.
The Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District has a mandate to reduce pesticide applications by home gardeners to keep the San Joaquin River safe and healthy. The District discovered that after city-allowed watering days, the river had increased levels of toxic pest management chemicals. Toxic pest chemicals are broad-spectrum pest control chemicals which do not target one or a few pests but most insects they come into contact with, including beneficial insects.
Due to the economics involved in agriculture, the southern San Joaquin Valley has seen significant expansions in the acreage of almonds and pistachios. As of the late 2000s, the value of these two crops in Kern, Kings and Tulare counties approaches $1 billion annually. Along with the increase in acreage has come the need for additional pest control advisers to make decisions regarding the management of insects, diseases and weeds. It is imperative that this new generation of advisers be versed in integrated pest management practices that are safe, effective, affordable and respectful of the environment.
Knowledge of farming is an obvious prerequisite for business success. However, just as important are knowing regulatory requirements, having a market for one's crops, securing financial resources and advice, and staying up to date on all the latest farming and pest management practices. Knowing who to call for information or how to find help can be daunting tasks for any farmer, and more so for a new-entry farmer or one with limited English skills.
Goat milk production in California is increasing. Goat milk producers are typically small- to medium-sized dairies who sell their milk to milk processors or cheese makers. There are also dozens of farmstead cheese makers who raise fewer goats but add value to the milk by making their own cheese. Other goat milk products are yogurt, dried milk, canned milk and ice cream. The consumption of goat milk products, especially in the cheese sector, has been rising steadily. Some specialty goat cheese producers report sales increases of 30 percent per year.
Production of navel oranges for the early market is big business in the southern San Joaquin Valley of California. Minimum harvest standards exist for juice sweetness and fruit color within the industry. The first harvested fruit of the season that meet these minimum requirements often receive a large price premium in the marketplace. Concern exists within the industry that standards for sweetness and some other fruit quality parameters are not sufficient to meet consumer acceptability and that disappointed consumers are unlikely to return to buy navel orange fruit later in the season when the fruit is sweeter and juicier. Growers of early-maturing orange varieties approached late-season irrigation strategies differently and little scientific research existed to guide these decisions. Some growers irrigated fully until harvest, while others reduced irrigation as harvest approached. In drought years, irrigation decisions are not only made as they affect fruit quality and yield, but also with respect to water availability and cost.
Sustainable and renewable energy is a hot topic in many circles, and the California 4-H Youth Development Program is joining the movement. A source of energy is considered renewable if it is a natural resource and can be naturally replenished in a relatively short time. Producing electricity from renewable sources will not result in harmful pollutants or emissions and will not harm ecosystems. Renewable energy can be produced using sources like the wind, sunlight, hydrogen, geothermal energy (heat from inside the earth), biomass (energy from plants), flowing rivers, and even the power of the ocean. Renewable energy is also called "clean" or "green" power.
Despite the United State's rich legacy of innovation and global contributions, we face declining proficiencies and workforce shortages in science, engineering, and technology. Nationwide only 18% of high school seniors are proficient in science while only 15% of U.S. college graduates earn degrees in natural science and engineering. The National Science Education Standards emphasize that effective science education requires good educators.
The United States is at pivotal point in its history. Despite our nation’s rich legacy of innovation and global contributions, we are facing declining proficiencies in science, engineering, and technology (SET). Too many of our youth lack the SET literacy needed for careers in the 21st century. Nationwide, only 18 percent of high school seniors are considered proficient in science while a mere 5 percent of all 24-year-olds earn undergraduate degrees in the natural sciences and engineering. The 4-H Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET) Initiative is the 4-H program’s response to our nation’s and state’s concerns for improving human capacity and workforce abilities in these fields. It combines nonformal education with hands-on, inquiry-based learning in a youth development context to engage young people in improving their SET knowledge, skills, and abilities. The California 4-H SET Initiative aims to impact 150,000 new youth members and 15,000 new adult volunteers over the next five years through innovative SET programming.
Plant-parasitic nematodes are microscopic roundworms that cause problems for home gardeners. Few control measures are available to California homeowners other than keeping the planting area fallow for two years, or planting nematode-resistant tomatoes. The root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne sp., causes the most serious problem and its effects are readily visible to home gardeners by the presence of knots or galls visible on roots.
High-risk driving is one of the most significant threats to the safety of California’s young people. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens 15 and older. Some of the factors contributing to these higher crash rates include lack of driving experience, risk-taking behavior and distractions from teenage passengers. Parents are in a prime position to influence safe teen driving because they are involved in their teenagers’ driving from the beginning and serve as primary mentors and role models in teenagers' lives.
Increasingly, Californians are living in many parts of the world and working with people from different cultures. Young people need to prepare themselves to harmoniously work, live and play with people from diverse cultures. To foster respect for others, California youth can benefit from meeting people from other countries and sharing aspects of their own heritage.
September 11, 2007 - The National Animal Identification System Information Education Project: Addressing 4-H Stakeholders’ Issues and Concerns
4-H Animal Science projects, which engage approximately 30,000 youth annually in California, pose potential risks to biosecurity and animal disease traceability. The majority of projects focus on rearing, care, husbandry, and showing and marketing live animals, including poultry, ruminants, and swine. There is a lack of standardized guidelines or protocols for tracking 4-H project animals. There are also no regional or statewide systems to inform volunteers of biosecurity risks and preventative measures. A standardized electronic tracking system that is currently voluntary in California may become mandatory, as it is in some states. The National Animal Identification System (NAIS), established in 2002, provides animal health officials with disease tracking tools to protect animal agriculture during a disease outbreak. NAIS uses an animal-specific Animal Identification Number (AIN) and a site-specific Premises Identification Number (PIN) to provide trace-back data on at-risk animals within 48 hours of exposure or potential exposure. While the system offers a standardized means of identifying and tracking animals, there have been concerns among California 4-H volunteers and youth regarding NAIS, including its potential impact on Animal Science projects.
The obscure scale (Melanaspis obscura) is native to the eastern U.S. where it is a pest of ornamental oaks (Quercus spp.). Severe infestations of the scale cause dieback of twigs and branches, and stress the tree. In 1962, an infestation of this exotic pest was detected on native and exotic oaks in Capitol Park in Sacramento. Application of chemical insecticides reduced the scale population, but failed to eradicate it. In 1981, this infestation became a target for biological control.
August 30, 2007 - Management practices to conserve water and reduce off-site movement of sediment and pesticides in drainage waters
Drainage waters discharged from irrigated fields in California and other states are under ever-closer scrutiny. The quality of drainage waters discharged into waterways in California is regulated under California Water Code and Federal Clean Water Act. Growers that discharge drainage waters that could affect the quality of water bodies in the state are required to comply with water quality regulations. Compliance with water quality regulations could be achieved by filing a Report of Waste Discharge (RWD) that complies with state-prescribed Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs). WDRs could be used as a permit, limiting the levels of pollutants that may be discharged in waterways to protect the beneficial uses of water bodies in the state. Complying with the Irrigated Lands Conditional Waiver Program or the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) limits may provide alternates to WDRs for growers in the state. Sediment, nutrients and pesticides in drainage waters have been identified as the leading cause of water quality impairments in rivers and other water bodies in California. For example, sedimentation/siltation TMDLs for agricultural drains and two major rivers in Imperial Valley have been implemented to address water quality problems in the Colorado River Basin of Southern California. Accurate and reliable estimates of the load of sediment, nutrients and pesticides in drainage water are needed to assess the quality of drainage water or to comply with WDRs.
California farmers face increasing challenges due to labor and water availability, environmental regulations, and competition. Cheaper and more resource-conserving systems that rely on less labor are needed for profitable and sustainable production. Reducing tillage may significantly cut fuel use, labor, and costs in intensive production systems. However, most California farmers have little experience with these techniques.
Creating a strong interest in science skills and processes at the elementary school level can be a real challenge for teachers. Yet we understand that these skills are essential for everyday living, academic success and job performance. Statistics indicate that nearly half of all California eighth graders test below grade level in science abilities. The 4-H program has long been recognized as an important collaborator and leader in school science activities. Many classroom teachers believe that inquiry-based experiences are an important component in the classroom. The 4-H Ladybug and Butterfly Garden School Enrichment project was developed to meet this need.
The year 2004 was a crossroads for Ventura County agriculture. Stricter water quality regulations promised over the past decade were finally being implemented. Regulatory agencies were mandating changes that would greatly impact agriculture, especially the intensely managed nursery industry. There was much concern that the new regulations would drive Ventura County nurseries out of business or into other areas where regulations were not as restrictive. Another concern was that substantial capital would be required to comply with these regulations, especially for those nurseries where the best solution would be the construction of recycling and water capture systems.
High levels of stable flies on dairies are more than a nuisance. The bites also reduce milk yields. To keep stable flies at bay at dairies, it is standard procedure for dairy operators to hire a pest control service that sprays the premises with pesticides every two weeks during fly season, at an average cost of $250 per treatment. Because of pesticide resistance developing in the insect population, such sprays for stable flies are rarely effective. This management practice wastes dairy resources, adds to the pesticide load in the environment, and leads to increased pesticide resistance.
Tree crop growers typically use organo-phosphate (OP) pesticides in the dormant season to control an array of harmful insect pests. However, chemical residues of OP insecticides have been found in California waterways at concentrations harmful to aquatic life in the ecosystem. Apparently, heavy winter rains wash pesticide residues from orchards into nearby streams that drain into the major river systems. As a result of river water testing, state regulations have outlawed or imposed strict limitations on the use of many chemicals. The development of environmentally safe and effective alternatives to toxic chemicals is critical to sustaining both profitable crop production and a healthy environment.
Significant acres of California farmland are lost each year to residential and commercial development. The consequent economic and environmental impacts are of great concern to most Californians. To maintain rural environments and ag productivity, farms are relocating to the edges of the Central Valley, away from prime soils. Alternative farming practices must be developed to maintain production under these challenging conditions.
Sometimes “active ranch management” is undertaken to increase profits from livestock and hunting, and to reduce fire hazard. Active management may include tree thinning and the removal of shrub understory and large woody debris (LW). However, there has been little research in California oak woodland on the functional relationships between LW and wildlife diversity and abundance, and the balancing of these ecological values with the economics of ranching.
For nearly 100 years, there has been concern that several native California oak species are not regenerating adequately to sustain populations. Inadequate regeneration could adversly affect woodlands, resulting in conversions to shrub fields or bare pastures. A principal factor believed to significantly contribute to poor oak regeneration in California is livestock grazing. Since approximately 80% of California's oak woodlands are privately owned and the principal activity on many of these lands is livestock grazing, it is vital to understand how oaks can be regenerated in the presence of livestock. Such information will help ensure that our oak woodlands remain healthy and productive.
The lack of qualified shearers is a major problem for both the range and small flock sheep operations in Mendocino and Lake counties and statewide. The skills needed are difficult to learn without "hands-on" training. Sheep shearers are also often a source of educational information about management and health care and play an important role in delivery information to their clientele - the sheep producers.
The USDA, in partnership with states, tribal nations and the private sector, continues development of an initiative to identify animals and track their movements as they enter commerce. The National Animal ID System (NAIS) is being developed to quickly control diseases in cattle, sheep, goats, bison, swine, poultry, horses, deer, elk, llamas, alpacas and other animals. Once fully implemented, within 48 hours of receiving a report about an ill animal, NAIS will be able to trace all places the animal has been and all animals it was near. The program will significantly reduce the potential spread of such harmful and economically significant infectious diseases as hoof and mouth, Johnnes, Scrapie, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (mad cow disease) and brucellosis. In addition, NAIO will improve biosecurity protection of the national livestock population, distinguish animals vaccinated or tested under the USDA disease-control program, provide official identification for animals in interstate or international commerce and accurately identify blood and tissue specimens. Currently the NAIS is voluntary, but it will likely become mandatory. Livestock producers, including small-scale producers and 4-H and FFA members, need to be familiar with NAIS and obtain an identification number for their premises.
Families with limited incomes want to feed their members well but often don't have the information to make good food choices. Their neighborhoods typically have fewer supermarkets and more than the average number of fast food outlets. Chronic disease and obesity rates tend to be higher for these people. Eating a well-balanced diet can reduce the risk of chronic disease and help maintain a healthy weight.
Since pesticide and pest control regulations are very complex, anyone who uses or supervises the use of restricted materials must be certified. Commercial applicators must pass at least two qualifying examinations administered by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. Private applicators are certified by passing an examination given by county agricultural commissioners. Until UC experts stepped in, however, all those studying for the exams struggled to glean the information they needed from various sources.
Life skills give children the tools they need to respond to a diversity of life situations and to achieve their personal goals. Well-developed life skills are associated with a higher sense of self-worth and competence, and an enhanced ability to work well with others, express feelings, solve problems and welcome new experiences. There has been some debate among experts about the process through which after-school programs benefit child development and life skill acquisition.
Children’s relationships with animals are crucial to their emotional and social development and serve as the foundation for environmental stewardship. Interactions with pets and wildlife help children understand the diversity of animal life, deepen their connection to other species and develop positive attitudes toward animals. Although pets are common in United States households, our increasingly metropolitan society has limited direct interaction with agricultural animals and wildlife. Exposure to live animals through schools and community-based programs is even more limited in urban areas due to logistical and budgetary restrictions. The challenge in California has been finding effective teaching tools and strategies to help increase children’s knowledge of and improve their attitudes toward animals.
People who are most "food insecure"--those unable to use traditional means for acquiring and managing their family food supply--are at greater risk for obesity and poor health. That fact, confirmed by a recent UC study, is one reason that poor health is more common among low-income and minority populations. Obesity is not just a matter of personal health. It is a costly and deadly public health concern that affects economic productivity and state budgets as well as personal and family well-being.
Weeds play a major role in California crop production, costing growers millions of dollars annually. More than 250 plants are considered weeds, each with its own particular life cycle, growth habit, mode of reproduction, competitiveness and susceptibility to chemical or mechanical control. With so many crops grown in the state and the vast number of weed types, it is obvious that no one control program will work for all growers or in all situations. This means that farmers, pest control advisors (PCAs), managers and others involved in weed control must be able to identify the weeds that are present before deciding which management or control strategies to use.
Lygus bugs prefer alfalfa to many other crops, but don't damage it. Alfalfa can sustain high populations of lygus, but when the fields are cut every month the pest moves into neighboring susceptible crops. Retaining lygus populations in alfalfa fields is the centerpiece of a promising regional pest management strategy. This involves leaving strips of uncut alfalfa which act as a temporary habitat for lygus bugs, thus limiting their movement out of the field. The method works well, but growers are concerned about the effect that the strips of more mature alfalfa have on hay quality and marketability.
In Imperial County, there are several species of nematodes (microscopic roundworms) that can cause damage to many crops. Nematode-infested roots are inefficient in taking up water and nutrients, and yield or quality of the product is reduced. Although these pests are widespread and the damage is substantial, the most commonly-seen symptom in many cases is simply lack of vigor. For that reason, the cause of the problem is frequently misidentified.
Invasive and noxious weeds do not respect property lines or jurisdictions. To help prevent their introduction and spread, a public-private partnership that combines resources and expertise is required. These invasive plants are often detrimental or destructive to agriculture. They also degrade wildlife habitat and impair plant biodiversity.
Precise application of nitrogen (N) fertilizer based on plant need and location in the field greatly improves fertilizer use efficiency in rice growing. This maintains yield while helping to reduce nitrogen runoff into surface and ground water. Moreover, higher energy costs have increased fertilizer prices. One way to improve the economics of rice production is to estimate tissue N status at critical points in the plant's life cycle. To do this effectively, a rice grower must evaluate large acreages and make management decisions quickly.
Walnut growers throughout the state have recently experienced increased difficulty controlling a bacterial disease called walnut blight. The disease, which is spread by spring rains, can reduce nut quality and production. Northern California walnut growers, who are hardest hit as a result of more spring rain, have asked for more effective and economic methods of controlling this disease. A new chemical providing improved control has been discovered but registration has been allowed only on a year-to-year basis.
California walnut growers were having increasing difficulty both monitoring walnut husk fly and controlling it with chemical treatments. Walnut husk fly damage was causing high off-grade on many deliveries despite up to three chemical treatments in a season. Local growers requested help on how to better monitor this pest, how to time chemical treatments and how to achieve control with a minimum number of applications.
During wet years in the 1990s a new and unknown plant disease, later identified as an anthracnose fungus, occurred throughout most of California's almond growing region. It destroyed flowers and developing nuts, producing toxins that killed almond tree branches up to two inches in diameter. Losses continued throughout the season whenever rains occurred. Growers were at a complete loss for control of this disease and believed they might have to remove the affected orchards. Processors also were concerned because nuts infected near harvest could have internal discoloration that was difficult to detect and reduced product quality.
Medusahead is an aggressive and invasive non-native annual grass causing severe undesirable effects on western rangelands. Medusahead grows on more than a million acres of grassland, oak woodland and chaparral shrubland in California. The presence of medusahead can reduce the land's livestock carrying capacity by as much as 75 percent. Medusahead also impacts ecosystems by reducing plant diversity, the productivity of desirable plants, and wildlife habitat. Medusahead control has been explored since the 1950s, but with limited success. Burning is an effective method, but it is not widely used because of air quality and liability issues. Herbicides are not practical in rough terrain and selective herbicides targeting medusahead are not available.
To reduce impacts on salmon habitat, water-quality regulations concerning sediment are being established for Northern California watersheds. These regulations require agricultural landowners to inventory, monitor and control sediment delivery to salmon-bearing streams, with the overall goal of reducing the impacts of fine sediment on salmon habitat. Exactly how to conduct such surveys across millions of acres of private and publicly managed rangeland was not entirely clear. Effectively identifying sites of water quality impact in an efficient manner is the critical first step for reducing the impacts. This is particularly true for rangeland managers, regularly facing overburdened schedules and limited budgets.
Since 1995, increasing numbers of tanoak, coast live oak, and black oak trees were dying from an unknown cause in several California counties. This widespread mortality threatened wildlife habitat, reduced property values, increased wildfire hazards, and increased risk to human safety from tree failure. This new threat came to be known as "Sudden Oak Death" because of the rapid browning of the foliage of the infected trees.
The two key insect pests of cling peaches, oriental fruit moth and peach twig borer, are conventionally controlled with broad-spectrum toxic insecticides. These sprays can create problems such as contamination of surface water due to runoff from orchards, development of pest resistance from overuse, and safety concerns for field-workers and pesticide applicators. Because peaches are one of the top 20 foods consumed by infants and children, eliminating pesticide residues is also an issue.
A large part of California's open space and wildlife habitat is provided by ranchers, whose yearly return on their investment ranges from 3% down to minus 4%. In addition to this economic squeeze, increasing urban encroachment is limiting the sustainability of these open spaces. Marketing grass-fattened beef directly to the consumer could provide both a higher return to ranchers and a product that has many health advantages for consumers.
In the early 1980s, managers of grazing on California’s annual rangelands were beset with a host of problems exacerbated by drought. A simple and yet scientifically defensible method for determining grazing capacity and regulating grazing intensity was needed. The available science was primarily based on work by federal agencies outside of the state and on perennial-dominated grasslands.
Managing bees for pollination is becoming more difficult as beekeepers face challenges from the Africanized honey bee, the Red Imported Fire Ant, Varroa and tracheal mites and several other pests and diseases. Colony strength, winter survival and restrictions on movement of bees in to and out of the state all affect the economics of beekeeping. Growers who rely on honey bees for pollination are concerned about future availability of bees as well as increasing costs for pollination. Leafcutter bees are used for pollination on certain crops in Canada and the Pacific Northwest, but they had not been used in California due to their higher cost and more intensive management requirements. If leafcutter bees could be used to pollinate several commodities in this area, there would be greater incentive to establish the necessary infrastructure, the cost would go down, custom pollinators might become involved and more growers could take advantage of the leafcutter bee's superior pollinating activity on certain crops.
The US consumes 50 million gallons of olive oil (7% of the world's production) per year, but produces only 300,000 gallons of this high-value commodity. Consumptive demand has increased by 88% just in the last few years and California would have to plant 350,000 acres of oil olives in order to offset imports. Many producers see olive oil as a opportunity to diversify their current mix of agricultural crops and enter into a market that has been dominated by low-quality, refined foreign oils. Gourmet chefs and consumers interested in fine food products are very interested in buying fresh, locally produced olive oil. Considerable interest in this alternative crop from local producers requires information on varieties, cultural practices, pest management, processing methods and quality assessment.
Enhancing the elementary school classroom by bringing in outside resources helps children learn. Children's natural curiosity and interest in animals and plants creates learning moments, encourages agricultural literacy and provides opportunities for students to discuss and learn about life experiences. To affect the classroom, however, the program must be longer than a one-day exposure.
Environmental problems related to urbanization in California include rapid depletion of landfill capacity, excessive use of water resources and contamination of waterways from garden pesticide runoff.
Grape vines are susceptible to diseases caused by various nematode species, including root-knot, root-lesion, ring, citrus, and dagger nematodes. Research has indicated that root-knot nematode species often adapt to invade previously resistant rootstocks within two to 14 years after planting. Once nematode populations develop the means to exploit one rootstock, they are then able to attack all the plantings using that rootstock. The damage caused by nematodes is economically significant, resulting in lost fruit and vine vigor for growers.
Pest control advisors (PCAs) in California are college-educated professionals who examine agricultural fields and recommend control measures for crop pests. They help to ensure a plentiful, high-quality crop at harvest time. UC researchers are constantly developing new pest management techniques and PCAs are challenged to stay current with these developments. Although PCAs are well trained and spend much of their time in the field, they can become overwhelmed by the amount of new information.
Throughout the irrigated west, a number of weed species, including perennial and poisonous weeds, can infest alfalfa hay. The types of infestations in any given area are usually associated with planting time, previous cropping history and environmental factors. Any of these weeds left uncontrolled can seriously reduce yield or cause a complete loss of stand in the establishment year. Even if the stand is not lost, infestations can weaken young alfalfa seedlings, retard growth and delay the first cutting. Weeds also reduce the quality and value of alfalfa hay because many are less palatable and less nutritious than alfalfa. Poisonous weeds make hay unfit for livestock and some, such as sandbur and foxtail, although not poisonous are mechanically harmful.
Almost half of arable land in the irrigated Sonoran Desert, including Imperial County, is dedicated to forage production. New forage resources are always of interest to local growers.
The Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program (FSNEP) is the largest of the federal safety net programs and first line defenses against hunger. Unfortunately, not all who are eligible and can benefit from this program are enrolled. Additionally, even with financial assistance, many families are unable to effectively use this resource to provide healthy diets for their families. In Placer County in 1997, there were 17,812 low-income residents. Of these, 7,412 received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) assistance and 9,173 received food stamp assistance.
January 30, 2003 - 4-H Youth Development: Reaching Diverse Audiences, Building Understanding of DiversityCalifornia is the most ethnically diverse state in the nation. It has 35% of all Latino children in the U.S., 30% of all Asian and Pacific Islanders and 14% of all Native Americans (Children Now, 1992). Approximately 62% of California’s youth under age 18 are children of color. Additionally, California leads the nation in the number of new immigrants. In order to function effectively and successfully in today’s world, our youth must learn how to work well with people from a wide diversity of cultures and backgrounds.
Of the 58,000 acres of fruit trees in Tulare County, more than 47,000 acres are fresh-shipping peaches, plums and nectarines. These orchards are commonly replaced every 8 to 12 years as the varieties become obsolete. Industry observers suggest that this figure has recently fallen to 7 to 9 years of productive orchard life. Because of this short potential market life, it is extremely important for peach and nectarine orchards to reach full production as quickly as possible.
Most ranchers in the intermountain area of Northern California rely on irrigated pastures or public land grazing allotments for grazing during the growing season. Because of harsh winter conditions, there is insufficient good-quality forage on the range or in irrigated pastures from October to mid April or later. That makes winter feeding one of the most costly inputs in cow/calf cattle operations as ranchers feed hay, low-quality crop aftermath, or supplements. There are other incentives for cattle producers to find alternative grazing systems. Growers are facing continued and more aggressive reductions in public lands grazing. This will intensify the need for improved efficiency and increased forage supplies, especially in the fall. Water use for forage production is also falling under increased scrutiny. A forage system that decreases winter hay feeding, reduces the dependency on public lands grazing, and improves water use efficiency would be highly desirable.
Some insecticides used for controlling Egyptian alfalfa weevil have been detected in California's surface waters. Many are of concern due to their impact on water quality and toxicity to some aquatic life.
In the Central Coast, walnut husk fly has been a major roadblock to converting conventional walnut orchards to organic production. (Gross returns are as much as 50% higher for organic walnuts.) Husk fly damage can approach 100% in unsprayed orchards but no effective organic controls have previously been available. Other pests such as walnut blight and codling moth already have adequate organic controls.