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Certainties for life in California's Central Valley include death, taxes, and drought, says Sacramento environmental attorney Amanda MacGregor Pearson


Officials say there's no obvious sign of foul play, but it's hard to tell because the body was outside, in the sun for an extended period of time


The perfect storm of "smart farming" is about to be unleashed, with the world's population expected to surpass 9 billion people


Production of grapes, the county's No. 2 crop, increased in 2013, though the county report didn't include the average cost paid per carton. Still, grape sales in the county increased to $984.8 million that year, up from $863 million in 2012.


Like a 25-year-old zombie, the Delta Wetlands Project has lumbered out of the shadows again to threaten Delta farmland by flooding two islands for water storage, turning two others into habitat and eliminating 14,824 acres of productive farmland in the process.


Stockton can continue to pump water from the Delta this summer, ensuring that its new $220-million drinking-water plant -- funded by ratepayers -- won't be standing idle.


The drought situation is driving up prices nationwide for produce grown in the Golden State's Central Valley and other agricultural areas stricken by drought, such as Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. And among rising food costs, access to clean water and growing unemployment, the drought's hardest-hit victims are the country's poor.


As junior water rights holders throughout California's Central Valley have received stop-diversion orders because of the drought, holders of senior and riparian rights fear they could be next.


Fresno State University officials and donors break ground Friday on a 30,000-square-foot interdisciplinary research building where the university's brightest minds will collaborate to solve the most pressing agricultural issues facing the region and the world.


As reported in the March 27 issue of The Grapeline, this past winter researchers based at the University of California and Sacramento State University surveyed six groups of grape growers in various regions of the state as part of a project to develop techniques for earlier detection of grape vine canker diseases. That, in turn, could lead to more effective, longer-term control.


Officers had decoys stand outside seven stores


Junior water rights holders in the San Joaquin River watershed are the latest to receive stop-diversion orders because of California's drought. Sacramento Valley farms and water districts have also received notices.


Central Valley farmers expect one-third less irrigation water in a state that leads the nation in the production of fruits, vegetables and nuts. The report estimates 6 percent of farmland in the Central Valley - or 410,000 acres - could go unplanted because of cuts in water deliveries. A more detailed report is due out this summer.


Because of this season's early start, Sangha is expecting earlier-than-usual pressure from insects. In mid-May he applied abamectin to control mites and plans to follow up with an additional treatment, if needed, in four to six weeks.


The University of California Cooperative Extension is accepting applications through July 7 for viticulture advisor positions in Fresno and Madera counties.


Groundwater depletion in the Central Valley causes the Sierra Nevada to rise - and could be at fault for an earthquake, according to a study published in the journal Nature and reported on the National Science Foundation website.


J & L to Represent Santa Lucia Highlands Producer on the Central Coast and in the Central Valley


A small winery owned by long-time Galt-area farmers Richard and Janis Barsetti Gray plans to expand into downtown Galt if the city's council gives its approval. It would be the first wine tasting room in Galt in the last several years. Earlier this month the Galt Planning Commission unanimously voted to allow wine tasting in Galt's downtown area, clearing the way for the Barsetti Vineyards' proposed tasting room to open, pending approval for wine tasting in the downtown from Galt City Council, which is expected to take up the issue at its May 6 meeting.


Ecologic Brand Inc. expects to quickly add a second work shift to its paper-bottle manufacturing operation in Manteca and further expand to a third by year's end as a result of a new contract to supply containers for the Paper Boy brand of wines. Officials of the Oakland-based container company said Friday that the deal means additional jobs at their 60,000-square-foot Manteca plant but are not yet sure how many openings will result.


Proposed rules for San Joaquin County wineries add more definitions to describe the dinners, weddings, parties and other events that had become the center of controversy as the growing success and popularity of the Lodi wine country began to bump up against country life and other farming in the county's rural areas.

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