California Agriculture Headlines

Taylor Hillman Citrus, General, Specialty Crops, Tree, nut & vine crops

Sabrina Hill wraps up some of this week’s California agriculture news, including this year’s grape crop and a new way to fight the Asian citrus psyllid.
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A natural predator is released in parts of California to kill off the Asian citrus psyllid. It’s a tiny wasp imported from Pakistan. The predators feeds on the psyllid, and many believe it will be best tool in the fight against the Huanglongbing disease. Huanglongbing, which some call citrus greening, is caused by a bacteria spread from tree to tree by the Asian citrus psyllid. It causes the fruit to turn bitter and then destroys the trees. So far, it’s affected only one tree in California, however the psyllid has turned up in traps in nine counties – including Tulare, which is the state’s number one citrus producer.

In other ag news,
Growers are expecting a boost in the California raisin crop this year. The Central Valley had perfect weather for the crop, and growers are saying it’s leading to a big increase. The USDA is forecasting about a 26 percent increase over last year, with production of 2.4 million tons of raisin grapes. It comes after several years of declining numbers, as growers are planting fewer vines and turning to other crops.

Introducing kids to agriculture is the theme of a training program.

School gardens can be a great way to introduce kids to agriculture. And today school garden teams made up of teachers, parents, volunteers, school administrators and others are attending the California School Garden Training Program. It’s organized by the University of California Cooperative Extension Ag and Environmental Literacy Program, the Lake Tahoe Master Gardeners and the California School Garden Network. Teams are learning about planning and designing a school garden, gardening skills, curricular connections, and outdoor classroom management.

For those not in the Lake Tahoe area who would like to know more about implementing a school garden in your area, the California School Garden Network has a wealth of information and holds conferences all over the state. And, there are workshops coming up in Santa Cruz and San Marino. They also have a variety of free resources like online videos and presentations.

Find out more by visiting their website at