Bees are known to prefer yellow and blue flowers, but pink suits them just fine, too. Here's...
There is money out there to help with irrigation improvements. Along with USDA funding through The Natural Resources Conservation Service and many local Resource Conservation Districts, there are often funds from the state. In Ventura County there is a source of funding that is being made locally administered by the VC Farm Bureau. Check this out and follow some of the threads to find other local funding for improved water management.
VENTURA COUNTY AGRICULTURAL WATER AND ENERGY USE EFFICIENCY PROGRAM (AWUE)
Technical Assistance and Equipment Rebates
Funded by a State of California Proposition 84 Drought Grant*
The drought and groundwater sustainability goals are challenging farmers to use every drop wisely. To help, the State of California has awarded Ventura County a cost share grant with $1.2 million available for technical assistance and equipment rebates to improve agricultural irrigation and energy efficiency.
What does the funding cover?
The program will rebate farmers up to 60% of equipment upgrades that demonstrate quantifiable water and energy savings. This may include irrigation timers, meters, sprinklers, soil moisture sensors, drip tape and emitters, irrigation software, high efficiency pumps, pipes and valves. (Installation costs are not reimbursable due to grant restrictions.)
Who is eligible?
All commercial farms in Ventura County may complete the AWUE Interest Survey for the program. The farming operations with the greatest potential for savings will be invited to begin the program by signing the AWUE Cooperative Agreement (sample available for review at bit.ly/AWUE-grant).
How does it work?
Participating farms will have a free, on-site technical evaluation of operations and irrigation system(s) to develop a set of recommendations to improve water and energy efficiency. The evaluation may include a distribution uniformity (DU) test of the irrigation system(s) to determine if the system is applying irrigation water optimally, a review of irrigation scheduling vs. crop need, and other related practices and operational/testing equipment.
In conjunction with irrigation efficiency, opportunities for energy savings will also be evaluated. As a cooperative evaluation, innovative ideas that improve water efficiency will be explored for possible recommendation.
Equipment upgrades that are mutually agreed upon and implemented within one year at the farmer's upfront cost will be up to 60% reimbursed following a free post-project evaluation.
Are there other funding opportunities?
Farmers in Ventura County who meet certain requirements may also be eligible for funding from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to further offset equipment costs of the same water and energy efficiency improvements. This includes special assistance funding for farms located in these Calleguas Creek subwatersheds: Revolon Slough, Beardsley Wash, Las Posas Arroyo and Lower Conejo Arroyo. Contact Dawn Afman, NRCS at firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 984-2358 x101 for more information.
What is the timing
The AWUE Interest Survey completed by any Ventura County commercial farmer are currently being accepted until funding is exhausted. Surveys will be ranked and those with the greatest potential water savings will be invited to begin the process. NRCS potentially coordinated equipment improvements will receive extra credit in the selection process.
How do I begin?
Visit bit.ly/AWUE-grant webpage for current grant information. It is recommended that you review the sample AWUE Cooperative Agreement on the webpage to fully understand the program conditions before deciding to complete the AWUE Interest Survey.
For AWUE program information questions, please contact Nancy Broschart, Farm Bureau of Ventura County, at email@example.com or (805) 289-0155.
For field evaluation questions, please contact Jamie Whiteford, Ventura County Resource Conservation District, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 764-5132.
*This is a cooperative program supported under the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006, administered by the State of California, Department of Water Resources; and the Ventura County Watershed Protection District as the Grantee.
I went out on a few farm calls in the past week, and have noticed a trend. Due to the unusually...
The 10th annual National Pollinator Week ends Sunday, June 25, and what an opportunity it's been...
Pollinator Week, June 19–25, 2017: Bee Knowledgeable!
UC Statewide IPM Program
Remember, the plant that contributes the pollen is the pollenizer (sometimes pollinzer or polleniser) and the animal that moves the pollen is the pollinator (sometimes pollenator) which doesn'talways have to be a bee, but can be another insect, bat, bird or butterfly or ....
Bees are the most important pollinators of California agriculture—helping us grow field crops, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Honey bees receive most of the credit for crop pollination, but many other kinds of bees play an important role as well. There are 1600 species of bees in California! Take time during Pollinator Week to learn about the different kinds of bees and what you can do to help them flourish.
Why should I care about other kinds of bees?
Bees other than honey bees contribute significantly to crop pollination. For example, alfalfa pollination by alfalfa leafcutter bees is worth $7 billion per year in the United States. Other bees can also boost the result of honey bee pollination—in almond orchards, honey bees are more effective when orchard mason bees are present. The more bee species, the merrier the harvest!
While growers often rent honey bee colonies to pollinate their crops, some wild bees pollinate certain crops even better than honey bees do. For instance, bumble bees are more effective pollinators of tomato because they do something honey bees do not: they shake pollen out of flowers with a technique known as buzz pollination. Likewise, native squash bees are better pollinators of cucurbits—unlike honey bees, they start work earlier in the day, and males even sleep in flowers overnight.
How can I help honey bees and other bees?
When it comes to land management and pest management practices, some bees need more accommodations than others. That's why it is important to know what bees are present in your area and important to your crop, and plan for their needs. Use this bee monitoring guide from the University of California to identify the bees present on your farm.
You can help all kinds of bees by using integrated pest management (IPM). This means using nonchemical pest management methods (cultural, mechanical and biological control), monitoring for pests to determine whether a pesticide is needed, and choosing pesticides that are less toxic to bees whenever possible. Check out the UC IPM Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings to learn about the risks different pesticides pose to honey bees and other bees, and follow the Best Management Practices To Protect Bees From Pesticides.
Bees also need plenty of food to stay healthy and abundant. Plant flowers that provide nectar and pollen throughout the year. See the planting resources below to find out which plants provide year-round food for specific types of bees.
Like honey bees, native bees need nesting areas to thrive. Bumble bees, squash bees, and other bees nest underground. Ground-nesting bees may require modified tilling practices (such as tilling fields no more than 6 inches deep for squash bees) or no-till management to survive. For aboveground nesters like carpenter bees and mason bees, consider planting hedgerows or placing tunnel-filled wooden blocks around the field. See the habitat resources below for more information about native bee nesting in agricultural areas.
Enjoy your “beesearch!”
Bee Habitat Resources
- Habitat for Bees and Beneficials
- Managing Wild Bees for Crop Pollination
- Native Bee Nest Locations in Agricultural Landscapes
- Farming for Bees: Guidelines for Providing Native Bee Habitat on Farms
- Hedgerow Planting for Pollinators: Central Valley, Central Coast, Southern California
- Conservation Cover for Pollinators: Central Valley, Central Coast, Southern California
- The Integrated Crop Pollination Project: Tools for Growers
- Insect Pollinated Crops, Insect Pollinators and U.S. Agriculture: Trend Analysis of Aggregate Data for the Period 1992–2009.
- Native bees are a rich natural resource in urban California gardens. (PDF)
- Honey bees are more effective at pollinating almonds when other species of bees are present.
- How to Attract and Maintain Pollinators in Your Garden - https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/8498.pdf
Bombus vosnesenskii ( say that fast) a CA native bumble bee buz pollinating a lavendar (not CA native) flower (photo: Kathy Keatley Garvey)