Toro’s Inge Bisconer to Receive Award

Bisconer recognized for outstanding contributions to the irrigation industryThe-Toro-Company

Author: The Toro Company

The Toro Company is pleased to announce that Inge Bisconer, technical marketing and sales manager for Toro’s Micro-Irrigation Business, will receive the Irrigation Association’s Industry Achievement Award for 2016.

Established in 1966, the Irrigation Association Industry Achievement Award recognizes employees or retirees from the irrigation industry that have demonstrated outstanding contributions to the advancement of the industry and its products and programs.

In her 35 years in the industry, Bisconer has established herself as a leader in helping agricultural growers improve profitability and sustainability through improved water and resource use efficiency, in addition to serving as an advocate for more efficient irrigation at both the state and national level. Bisconer’s recent achievements include:

  • Created Toro’s education portfolio, including: the award-winning Toro Micro-Irrigation Owner’s Manual, which helps educate growers of row, field and permanent crops about the proper design, installation, operation and maintenance of drip irrigation systems and complements; Toro’s AquaFlow design software; Drip Irrigation Payback Wizard; and, Solutions Brochures.
  • Recorded the “Agriculture Industry Response to California’s Drought” presentation at the invitation of the University of California’s Agriculture and Natural Resource Division for their Water and Drought Seminar Series.
  • Served on the California Irrigation Institute (CII) board of directors since 2010, and as president in 2014.CII is California’s oldest independent forum on irrigation and water.
  • Participated in the Irrigation Association’s “DC Fly-in” and “Agriculture Irrigation Technology Day on Capitol Hill” in 2013 and 2015 to advocate on behalf of efficient agricultural irrigation.
  • Presented on “Optimizing Irrigation Uniformity and Water Use Efficiency” to the East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition, which represents 3,500 California landowners who farm 700,000 acres.
  • Co-host of monthly agriculture segments for The Water Zone, an award-winning radio show on KCAA 1050 AM that is sponsored by Toro. High profile guests from agriculture, industry, academia, government, water agencies and associations have helped move the California water discussion forward.
  • Presented numerous webinars on The Grange Network, including: Making Drip Pay, The Toro Micro-Irrigation Owner’s Manual, Designing for Uniformity with Toro’s AquaFlow Design Software, Drip Irrigation System Operation and Maintenance, Overcoming Drip Irrigation Uniformity Challenges using Aqua-Traxx® FC Flow Control Drip Tape, and California Irrigation Institute 2014 Conference Wrap-Up.
  • Led efforts for The Toro Company to be invited to participate in The White House Water Summit on March 22, 2016, highlighting Toro’s innovation and initiatives in water use efficiency for agriculture, golf and grounds, commercial and residential.
  • Represented the agricultural irrigation industry in July 2015 at the Efficient Agriculture Irrigation Stakeholder Meeting, hosted by California Governor Edmund Gerald “Jerry” Brown’s office and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) at the Capitol in Sacramento

“It is an honor to have my efforts recognized by such an important industry membership association like the Irrigation Association,” says Bisconer. “Toro’s steadfast support has enabled me to broaden education and outreach efforts, which will ultimately affect change toward improved water use efficiency in local and global agriculture.”

Bisconer is a prime example of Toro’s attitude and dedication to enrich the beauty, productivity and sustainability of the land. “Toro’s legacy of innovation is rooted in the passionate employees who dedicate their lives to supporting our communities and the environment,” says Phil Burkart, vice president for Toro’s Irrigation and Lighting Businesses. “We have always known what an important asset Inge and those like her are to the industry. We congratulate her on this achievement and are immensely proud to have her on our team.”

Bisconer will be formally presented with the Industry Achievement Award at the Irrigation Association Show and Conference that will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, in December 2016.

Full article shared from Toro Drip Tips website.

Salinas and Watsonville Stores Hosting Open Houses

 Attendees invited to meet the staff, learn more about full company offerings, and enjoy lunch RDO-Equipment

Author: RDO Water

RDO Equipment Co. / RDO Water in Salinas and Watsonville are hosting open house events for customers and individuals interested in learning more about complete agriculture equipment and irrigation solutions.

The Salinas event takes place on Thursday, October 6, while Watsonville’s event is happening on Friday, October 7. Both events will begin at 11 a.m. and end at 1 p.m., during which time the stores will be open for tours and lunch. Team members from RDO Equipment Co. and RDO Water will be available to answer questions and talk with attendees about the products, services, and support offered.

As a full-service John Deere agriculture dealer, RDO Equipment Co. stores offer both new and used equipment, vast parts inventories, and service departments with highly-trained, certified technicians.

“We’ve been proud to partner with agricultural professionals in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties,” Darrell Olson, General Manager of RDO Equipment Co. in Salinas and Watsonville said. “I personally look forward to seeing our longtime customers, as well as meet new ones.”

Bruce Daughters, Vice President of RDO Water, echoed Olson’s enthusiasm, saying, “We have unique strength in the Salinas and Watsonville stores, with RDO Equipment Co. and RDO Water operating under one roof. Our team is eager to show customers the advantages of working with a single enterprise for their agriculture equipment and irrigation needs.”

RDO Water’s full irrigation solutions include pipe and system rental, pipe and pump repair, system automation, consulting, design and installation services, and products including drip tape, sprinkler heads, and fertilizer.

To learn more about the open houses or offerings from RDO Equipment Co. / RDO Water in Salinas and Watsonville, contact your local store.

RDO Water Acquires Kuida Ag Supply Company of Salinas

Acquisition expands irrigation offerings at RDO Water stores in Salinas & Watsonville RDOWater_Salinas

Author: RDO Water

RDO Water, along with RDO Equipment Co., announces the acquisition of Kuida Ag Supply Company of Salinas. Over the next few weeks, RDO Water will be moving all Kuida Ag operations to its combination RDO Equipment Co. / RDO Water stores in Salinas and Watsonville.

The acquisition expands RDO Water’s offerings of irrigation products and solutions, which includes pipe and system rental; pipe and pump repair; system automation, design and installation services; consulting services; and products including drip tape, sprinkler heads and fertilizer.

RDO Water is also retaining the full Kuida Ag staff, bringing its strong community ties, deep knowledge of the industry and region, and more than 25 years of experience to the RDO Equipment Co. and RDO Water businesses.

“We’re thrilled to be adding Kuida Ag to the RDO Water team,” Bruce Daughters, Vice President of RDO Water said. “The company’s strong customer relationships and regional insights are all valuable on their own, but most important is the philosophy of Kuida Ag. One that treats customers as stakeholders in the business and, above all else, puts people first. It aligns with how we’ve always done business at RDO Water and will continue to do going forward.”

Not only does the acquisition enhance RDO Water’s offerings, it opens additional opportunities for RDO Equipment Co. customers as well. Darrell Olson, General Manager of RDO Equipment Co. in Salinas explained, “Our customers have come to expect a total solutions experience from us, with agricultural equipment, service, and irrigation solutions. It’s exciting for us to provide them even greater opportunities to enhance their business.”

RDO Equipment Co., a full-service John Deere agriculture equipment dealer, has been serving the Salinas and Watsonville areas since the dealerships were acquired in 2011. The company acquired RDO Water – Salinas in 2013 and added RDO Water to the Watsonville store in 2015.

A grand opening celebration is planned in October at the RDO Equipment Co. / RDO Water store in Salinas. Customers and partners can stay up-to-date on details by visiting the RDO Water and RDO Equipment Co. websites.

Drought Brings New Attention to Recycled Water

1.5 million acre-feet of recycled water to be contributed to the overall water supply by 2020 Water-Recycling

Author: Kate Campbell, AgAlert

Agricultural demand for recycled water is increasing along with the ability to supply it. But water experts say competition for access to the resource is rising—and say they’re unsure what the growing demand may mean for prices.

State water officials plan a survey of recycled water use in coming months—the first since 2009, when they estimated use of recycled water at 700,000 acre-feet. Results from the new survey could come early next year.

The State Water Resources Control Board is calling for recycled water to contribute 1.5 million acre-feet to the overall water supply by 2020 and at least 2.5 million acre-feet by 2030. Observers say the 2020 goal may be difficult to achieve, but say they’re more optimistic about reaching the 2030 standard.

Given drought pressures on California water supplies, Jennifer West of WateReuse California said she expects the upcoming survey to show an increase in the amount of recycled water being used statewide since the previous survey. In 2009, researchers found agriculture used nearly 40 percent of California’s recycled water supply, with landscape irrigation and groundwater recharge the next-most-popular uses.

West said the drought has increased the number of competing uses for recycled water and that negative public sentiment about its quality and use has diminished.

“Since the last survey, a lot has happened and there have been a lot of positive changes for water recycling,” she said. “Funding is available now through Proposition 1 (the water bond passed by California voters in 2014). There’s new technology and interest. I’m expecting the next survey will show a significant bump in all uses of recycled water.”

Because of adherence to strict water quality regulations for using recycled water on food crops, this irrigation option has a long history of safety, she said.

Danny Merkley, director of water resources for the California Farm Bureau Federation, said Farm Bureau supports use of recycled water as a supplemental supply. He said institutions that furnish recycled water for irrigation should be responsible for assuring and maintaining proper quality for the intended crop uses.

“State and federal governments should do everything they can to increase supplies of freshwater, but recycled water can be an important part of our portfolio for addressing the California water crisis,” he said.

Merkley noted that CFBF favors overall expansion of the available water supply through increased storage—both aboveground and underground—plus recycling, desalination and improvements in water use efficiency.

In an agreement approved last week, the city of Turlock joined the city of Modesto in a 40-year agreement to sell recycled water to the Del Puerto Water District, which provides irrigation water to about 45,000 agricultural acres on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley between Vernalis and Santa Nella.

The district relies on water delivered through the federal Central Valley Project, which cut deliveries to zero in 2014 and 2015, and to 5 percent this year.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation signed the record of decision last week for what is being called the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program at the Del Puerto district office in Patterson, certifying the program’s federal environmental documents. Del Puerto will cover the estimated $100 million construction cost, including pipelines from the treatment plants to the federal Delta-Mendota Canal for delivery to contractors.

Interim water deliveries could begin as early as this summer, with as much as 30 percent of the district’s supply needs being met by 2018.

West estimated there are about 100 recycled-water projects on the drawing boards in California, all in various stages of development. Whether they will be online in time to meet the state’s strategic goals under its recycled-water policy is not known at this time, she said.

Water district managers are increasingly looking at water supply options, she said, and recycled water projects can provide cities both a new revenue source and new ways to manage the discharge of treated water.

Recycled water beneficial uses vary considerably around the state, the Department of Water Resources found in its 2009 survey, and West said she expects new survey results will reveal continued diversification in the uses of recycled water.

Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, said recycled water can come from a variety of sources, including treated urban wastewater and oilfield-produced water. No matter the source, he said, “it’s required to be high quality, treated water that meets every standard set by state water quality officials.”

On land north of Bakersfield, the Cawelo Water District and North Kern Water Storage District are currently working with the oil industry to use treated water on crops, Wade said.

The districts have been delivering water for more than 50 years to irrigate about 45,000 acres in Kern County, including irrigation water to about 34,000 acres of orchards, vineyards and field and row crops.

Oilfield-produced water is the byproduct of oil production, Wade said, and has been used in the growing region without any health or environmental issues.

Kate Campbell is an assistant editor of Ag Alert.

Full article shared from AgAlert, with credit to the California Farm Bureau Federation.

10 Tips for Rodent Control

Strategies to ward off rodents in drip and SDI systems Gopher-Control

Author: Danilu Ramirez, RDO Water

Rodents are a major concern for all growers, including those who run drip and SDI systems. Pests like mice, voles and gophers, when not properly managed, cause yield loss and crop damage. However, drip and SDI systems have several unique aspects and natural defenses to efficient and effective rodent management.

 

Because there is no one, “magic” solution for controlling pests, those looking to employ a drip or SDI system and successfully manage rodents need to build an integrated plan with these Top 10 tips.

 

Pre-Plant Planning

The first line of defense in the war on rodents is to identify areas of high rodent concentration, not only in the proposed drip or SDI field, in surrounding areas as well. Then, the following steps should be taken in each area.

 

  1. Create a buffer zone surrounding the field by eliminating weeds, ground cover and litter
  2. Cultivation and/or weed control is advised to destroy runways and weed roots, and kill existing rodents
  • Bonus: This also fosters healthier soil, one of the best baseline defenses against rodent as well as insect infestation
  1. Deep rip the soil to destroy burrows and disrupt the gopher’s habitat needed for survival
  • Note: excludes minimum tillage operations

 

Control While You Grow

After proper pre-plant steps have been taken to control rodents, the integrated plan continues with best practices throughout the growing season.

 

  1. Bait for a week, then set traps after bait has been continually taken
  2. For best success with gophers, set traps on both tunnel entrances then check back within 48 hours
  • Note: traps not visited within 48 hours should be moved and tested in a new location
  1. Burrow fumigates, both aluminum phosphide and carbon monoxide-producing machines, are an effective alternative to traditional chemicals and common poisons
  2. Consider a product that addresses rodent control within the system; for example, Netafim USA has developed a product that can be injected into the dripline to irritate rodents and drive them to the surface where they’re more vulnerable to predators

 

Post-Cutting and Crop Rotation

Add these final strategies to complete the thorough pest management plan.

 

  1. After harvest (or each cutting for alfalfa growers), closely monitor the area for any burrowing activity and take immediate action if needed
  2. Consider rotating in a cover crop like beans or legumes to enrich the soil and provide good organic matter
  3. Ask for help – seek out the advice of fellow growers who operate drip or SDI system, as well as pest management experts and local extension agents.

 

There Is No Good Luck – Only Good Planning

With proper planning and ongoing best management practices, rodent threats can be minimized in drip or SDI systems, leaving growers to enjoy benefits of higher yields, and greater WUE and RUE.

 

 

About The Author
Danilu Ramirez, CCA, PCA is a Water Quality Consultant for RDO Water, based in Santa Maria, CA. Contact her at 805.345.5418 or dramirez@rdowater.com.

 

Additional contribution to this article provided by Netafim USA and Toro Micro-Irrigation.

Article originally written for Progressive Forage Grower magazine. Full article can be viewed on Progressive Forage Grower website.

6 Must-Ask Drip/Subsurface Drip Irrigation Questions

Questions to ask the design engineer when converting to drip or subsurface drip irrigation RDO-Water-Drip-Irrigation

Author: DuWayne Fritz, RDO Water

With contribution from Eurodrip USA and Toro Micro-Irrigation

Once it has been decided to convert a field to drip or SDI, growers can expect many questions from the irrigation engineer designing the system. It’s equally important growers are proactive and ask questions that ensure a full understanding of the system – how it works and how it affects current operations.

 

The following 6 questions are a solid starting point and put all growers in the best position to reap benefits of greater yields, WUE and RUE that have become synonymous with drip and SDI systems.

 

Existing Field Conditions

The initial questions to ask the irrigation engineer should focus on the present situation. The three major areas to explore:

 

  1. Question: How will the system affect crop rotations?

Answer: A system can be built to accommodate future crop rotations.

 

For example, say the proposed field is primarily a vegetable crop field but will be rotated to alfalfa in the future. A good designer will ensure the system’s infrastructure is designed to support greater water pressure and capacity demands to accommodate the future alfalfa crop.

 

  1. Question: How does soil type affect the system?

Answer: Soil type affects the system’s emitters.

 

Sandy soils need a different flow emitter than a loamy soil. Another parameter determined by soil type is emitter spacing. A soil that encourages the spread of water can have emitters spaced further apart vs. a soil that holds water close.

  1. Question: How are lateral spacing and depth determined?

Answer: Several factors, including crop type, influence these design parameters.

 

As mentioned above, soil type/texture determines approximate emitter spacing – but it’s only part of the story. Crop type plays a huge role in spacing. A crop that requires more water, alfalfa, for example, needs closer-spaced emitters vs. crops like lettuce, cotton or berries.

 

The crop type also heavily influences line depth. Again, let’s look at alfalfa. Because of its deep roots, drip lines must be installed 10 inches or deeper.

 

When depth and lateral spacing are set, lateral flow rate, emitter flow rate and spacing, and lateral wall thickness and diameter can be set. Each step is dependent on the one prior, and is also affected by general characteristics of the field.

 

Operational Changes

Converting a field to drip or SDI greatly affects the day-in, day-out operations of a farm. To be prepared and set up for best success, every grower should ask three primary questions:

 

  1. Question: How do I set irrigation periods?

Answer: There are several options for controlling irrigation periods.

 

A grower may choose daily intervals in which the system is run for a short period of time every day to put out the daily required amount of water. Another option is running the system every few days, for a longer time period, and put out multiple days-worth of water in a single day.

 

Automation systems offer assistance with setting irrigation periods. These systems come with an added upfront cost but offer time and labor-saving benefits. Every grower should analyze the cost/benefit ratio to decide if it makes sense for his/her unique operation.

 

  1. Question: Do I need to change fertilizer?

Answer: It shouldn’t be necessary to change fertilizer.

 

Operations that use fertilizer with higher acidic levels require a system that uses PVC or steel pipe, to ensure acid doesn’t corrode the system – something that a good engineer will ask about early on in the process and specify in the system.

 

  1. Question: How do I maintain the system?

Answer: An integrated, planned approach is advised for all drip and SDI systems.

A few best practices include periodic flushing every 2-4 weeks to rid the system of potentially clogging debris. Periodic filter maintenance is also recommended, as is regular inspection of the piping system for leaks.

 

An ongoing, dedicated rodent management plan is also recommended. Those looking for a place to start can access a best management practices article by Danilu Ramirez, Water Quality Consultant for RDO Water.

 

In regions that shut down systems for winter, it’s advised to either terminate crops or run the system once a week or even every-other week to prevent root intrusion.

About The Author
DuWayne Fritz is the Lead Irrigation Designer for RDO Water, based in Yuma, AZ. Contact him at dfritz@rdowater.com.

 

Additional contribution to this article provided by Eurodrip USA and Toro Micro-Irrigation.

 

Article originally written for Progressive Forage Grower magazine. Full article can be viewed on Progressive Forage Grower website.

Growing the Fruit Kings in the Low Desert

From the Coachella Valley to Yuma, taking a closer look at the date business Fruit-Trees-Dates

Author: Lee Allen, Western Farm Press

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but here’s to DATES. They’re more than a romantic rendezvous or an appointment on a calendar — they’re a big business, and continuing to grow even larger in the low desert commercial production areas in Yuma, Ariz., plus Imperial and Riverside counties in California.

There’s seldom a quiet moment on Medjool date farms, no matter on which side of the Colorado River they are grown. From the first work of the year, dethorning at the end of the dormant period, to early spring pollination, followed by training the fruit arms, ringing, and bagging, and ultimately, an always crazy fall harvest, there’s always work to be done.

While the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) has had many uses over its 5,000 year history, it’s most popular use is providing shelter, fuel, and materials for construction-weaving-basket making. But it’s most important reason for existence is the food it provides.

And for the 100 growers in California, plus a growing number in Arizona, the public’s increasing recognition of this healthy food means a rapidly-expanding fresh date industry, particularly for the Medjool variety.

According to the Bard Valley Medjool Date Growers Association (BVMDGA), a consortium of family growers responsible for producing more than 60 percent of Medjools grown in the U.S., 11 million pounds of this particular Fruit of Kings was produced last season.

This unique microclimate is the right place to grow the right product, according to BVMDGA marketing efforts, which say, “Bard Valley, nestled where California and Arizona meet, lies in a sun-drenched corner of the Southwest where Medjool date gardens are nourished by the Colorado’s high water table and ever-present sunshine.”

And while the Coachella Valley, located southeast of Indio, is still the largest overall date growing district, the geographic dateline is shifting eastward into the Yuma area, following the footsteps of pioneer Gusmar Nunez of the Imperial Date Gardens, who boldly began expansion planting there in the 1990s.

“There are 5,000 acres already planted in Arizona, and a good rule of thumb is you get 10,000 pounds of production per acre,” says Dave Mansheim, manager of Bard Date Company, custom growers and packers, and current BVMDGA president.

“It’s safe to say that the industry, in total, represents in excess of 40 million pounds annually, representing something north of $140 million,” says John Haydock, chief executive officer of DatePac (owners of the Natural Delights brand).

Lorrie Cooper is manager of the California Date Commission (CDC) at Indio, where they predict another volume increase this year and throughout the decade ahead. “Growers have seen lots of new growth coming on board — perhaps a little at a time, but there is a constant uptick, and it’s a good time to be in the industry,” she says.

33 Different Types

According to CDC statistics, 33 different types of dates are grown in the Coachella Valley. The majority of date palms are the Deglet Noor variety, which like hotter and dryer conditions, while the Medjool variety prevails in the Yuma Valley’s humidity.

Emphasizing that dates are not a get-rich-quick scheme, but a long-term that may take a dozen years to reach a break-even point, Mansheim is optimistic about the industry’s future.

“We’re on a double-digit growth curve, and I anticipate a 15 percent to 20 percent increase in volume over the next 5 to 10 years,” he says.

Once new trees enter commercial production, date palms can continuously bear fruit for decades. The average lifespan for a date palm is 200 years. When it grows to a height of 80 feet, it is no longer economically feasible to harvest.
But if it were that easy — plant, produce, pick — everybody would be a date farmer. In real life, problems exist, ranging from water to labor supply issues, along with changing climate conditions that can bring pests and disease.

Lots of gallons of water (200 gallons a day per palm in Yuma, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times) have allegedly affected local aquifers.

“We’re trying to stay ahead of the curve and are converting from flood irrigation to drip, which will save us 1 to 1½ acre feet of water annually,” says Mansheim. “Not only will this be a significant cost reduction, it’s part of our effort at sustainability. Our food value output, versus our cost input, makes dates a sustainable product — if we continue to maintain our efficiency.”

When it comes to pests and diseases, he knocks on wood … literally. “Currently, in the lower desert areas we have no natural pests, and not much insect pressure in Yuma, Bard, and Imperial. In Coachella, they get a bit more insect pressure. With no major pests attacking our crop, we don’t use any pesticides on our trees.”

California growers contend with a continual battle involving the carob moth, and a new problem wit the hibiscus pink mealybug. “That little bugger will go after everything, from date palms to citrus,” says Cooper. “There’s nothing it doesn’t like, so everyone is working to find a way to eradicate this bug from the valley.”

There is continual monitoring for two other specific pests that have made their presence known. Red palm weevil, a native of North Africa, was found a couple of years ago in the Long Beach area (although not seen again since), and two specimens of South American palm weevil have shown up, one near Mexicali and the other north of Yuma. It’s believed they were brought there on banana plants from Central America.

Constant Monitoring

“We work with the Department of Agriculture to constantly monitor for these pests, because they could decimate the industry,” says Mansheim.

Labor issues are his greatest frustration, he says. “Bureaucrats in Washington have come up with a one-size-fits-all worker program that causes hardships everywhere. On a daily basis, three quarters of our Yuma-Bard Valley labor force comes from Mexico. We’re not cold, heartless corporate barons — if we could have a guest worker program under local or regional control, our labor shortages could be resolved efficiently.”

At harvest time, more than 500 laborers (palmeros) can be involved in a date palm site. “We appreciate the work force we have,” says Natural Delights’ Haydock. “To harvest a Medjool takes six or more trips up the trees for hand work. We couldn’t do it without the work force we have.

Taking a page from the avocado industry playbook when it comes to marketing a healthy product, area date producers and packers want to expand their domestic market and further increase exports.

“Of our total production, about 40 percent is exported outside of North America and, of that number, nearly two thirds goes to, or through, Australia. The rest goes to Europe and Asian markets, so our international growth looks strong,” says Mansheim.

Cooper adds, “It’s sometimes difficult, price-wise, to sell California dates to Europe because they can get them cheaper from the Middle East. Our current export markets are Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, but we expect as production volume continues to increase that expansion of exports will be on the table for discussion.”

Looking to emulate success rather than reinventing the wheel, the BVMDGA is seeking to include more of industry players in an effort to build strength through unity.

“We can be much more productive by pooling our money to market the health benefits of our product, replicating the success of the avocado industry, which grew consumption of their product by focusing on health issues,” Mansheim says.

“Our focus is to drive consumers to our product, which will expand consumption,” says Haydock. “We’re investing heavily in advertising online, in print, and in social media.”

While price may be an issue, the ability of dates to act as a power fruit goes without question. Fresh and moist Medjools (other dates come dried) contain 16 vitamins and minerals, with 50 percent more potassium by weight than bananas, and are a good source of dietary fiber.

Medjools also contain natural sugars, are cholesterol- and fat-free, and are certified heart healthy by the American Heart Association.

In fact, when the association came out with an article about sweetener additives, food manufacturers who make protein and snack bars started purchasing Deglet Noor paste as a substitute for processed sugar.

“We’re on an upward growth curve, with a repetitive double-digit increase that should continue as new groves add to our base,” Mansheim predicts.

Full article shared from Western Farm Press

Transition Success Tips

How to transition young people into farm ownership

RDO-Water-Farming

Dobler and Sons, a family farm based in the Central Coast region of California

Author: Anna-Lisa Laca, AgWeb

The Moes began milking cows in South Dakota in 1884. The family’s fourth generation, brothers Jim and Greg, joined the operation in the early 1970s.
What was once a 200-cow dairy is now a 2,000-cow dairy, a heifer-rearing facility and the farming operation. Three of the brothers’ sons have come back to the farm to transition into ownership, something Greg says took a lot of discussion and preparation over the years.

As farm families across the U.S. prepare to transition their businesses and land, it makes sense to ask the next generation of leaders: Are you ready to be an owner?

At MoDak Dairy, the Moes say their children began learning about the operation at a young age. “Preparing to take over the farm is something that happens as you go through,” Greg explains.

Qualify For Leadership. Once their kids were grown, the Moes made them work for someone else. Not only did their sons learn to work with others, Greg says, but working off the farm broadened their perspective and helped them realize what they want in life.

Although none of the Moes has been to college, Greg says the family has made it a priority to send their returning children to workshops and seminars to prepare for ownership.

Having the skills necessary to become a farm owner is something younger generations often overlook, says David Marrison, associate professor and Extension agent at The Ohio State University.

“We are really good at looking at the older generation and analyzing what they haven’t done,” Marrison says. “Are we taking the time to look at ourselves? Do we have the skills necessary to be successful?”

He advises young people interested in taking over the family farm to do a S.W.O.T. analysis to discover the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the business. “What do you need to learn to take over, and how will you do that?” he says.

In some cases, a lack of technical knowledge about a piece of accounting software might be remedied with a class at a local community college. Yet the younger generation also must learn leadership skills.

The Moes have sent their sons to several courses during the transition.
Initiate Changes. Once producers identify the things the next generation must do to come onboard, the next step is to identify the process by which the transition will occur.

Greg recommends developing a vision for the ideal transition and being prepared to discuss that vision for the future with your children when the time is right.

The hardest part of farm succession is the initial conversation, Marrison says. After all, every family has at least a little dysfunction.

After the initial conversation, Greg suggests taking that plan to trusted advisers for their feedback.

“The hardest part was coming up with what we wanted to do,” Greg says. “Talk to your accountants, but don’t let them dictate what you should do. When we first went to our accountant, they told us our idea wouldn’t work, but they figured it out and so far, it has worked.”

The farm is required to remain a single entity, and the majority of the operation will be gifted to children who wish to return to the farm.

“We wanted to give them a legacy so when they look back, they realize we wanted to keep it together like our grandparents and great-grandparents did,” Greg says.

Article shared from AgWeb website.

World Ag Expo Sets Attendance Record

Annual show saw 106,349 attendees in three days

Author: World Ag Expo RDO-Water-Ag-Expo

Thursday, February 11, 2016, marked the final day of the three-day show, World Ag Expo. The 49th annual show, which was held at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, California, opened Tuesday, February 9, at 9:00 a.m. Attendees and exhibitors from all over the U.S. and several countries came to the show grounds to join in the largest annual outdoor agricultural expo in the world, which spans over 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space. The three-day show housed over 1,500 exhibitors and hosted a record-breaking 106,349 attendees. In 2015, World Ag Expo hosted 102,867 attendees.

“There’s nothing like it in the world—Tulare nearly doubles in size during the week of World Ag Expo, “ said Jerry Sinift, the International Agri-Center’s chief executive officer. “This year was a great success for everyone involved. Our exhibitors are happy. Our attendees were awestruck. World Ag Expo maintains relevance through showcasing everything from massive tractors to smart phone applications—all to improve ag operations of our attendees and educate the society at large about agriculture.”

“We chose the World Ag Expo to launch our Australian Water Saving Granules Product into the USA. We could not have achieved a better response or more overwhelming exposure elsewhere,” said Elizabeth Millar, Commercial Sales Manager for The Water Saving Granule Company. “The attendance was incredible…we reserved our exhibit space for 2017 before we had even left the grounds.”

Jason Parker, Director of Sales & Marketing for Lindsay Corporation said, “World Ag Expo gives us a great opportunity to get our products in front of growers from all over….We look forward to coming back to Tulare year after year!”

Other attractions at World Ag Expo this year included the Equipment Showcase in the World Ag Expo Arena, multiple Ride & Drives, educational seminars, and Wednesday’s Budweiser After-Hours party featuring country artist Jon Pardi. Next year, World Ag Expo will be held February 14-16, 2017 at the International Agri-Center grounds in Tulare, California.

 

Article shared from World Ag Expo site.

RDO Water a Key Participant at Southwest Ag Summit

Company will sponsor major panel discussion, exhibit and demo new irrigation technology at Yuma’s largest annual agriculture event

Southwest-Ag-Summit-DemoThis February 24 and 25, hundreds of Ag professionals and students from Arizona, Southern California, New Mexico and Northern Mexico will gather in Yuma for the annual Southwest Ag Summit. The event, held at Arizona Western College in partnership with Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association, Yuma County Farm Bureau and University of Arizona, brings attendees the newest info, issues, trends and regulations affecting agriculture. In addition to two days of symposium-style learning opportunities, the event features two days of exhibits and a full morning of field demonstrations.

 

RDO Water in Yuma has been involved in the show for several years, and joined on as a major sponsor and demo participant last year. The team is excited to build on the success and engagement of last year’s demo, which featured remote starting capabilities of portable diesel pumps and Certa-set irrigation pipe with automatic vales. This year’s event will again feature automation systems, with an added focus on chemigation.

 

“Chemigation is a key part of growing a crop using a pressurized irrigation system,” said Ernesto Beltran, Regional Sales Manager for RDO Water. “As we’ll show in the demo, these systems allow a grower to apply precise doses while controlling two very important components of crop management: pH and CE. This results in optimal conditions for the plant to take in the applied products.”

 

Highlighting the industry’s increased focus on chemigation, Beltran continued, “Products have been and are continuing to be developed, specifically to be used in pressurized systems. These products are also design to react quicker than a conventional product, enhancing the efficiency of the process, overall.”

 

In addition to putting on a live demo, RDO Water is sponsoring this year’s water panel discussion, a special seminar featuring industry experts. The company will also have a booth in the exhibit area. RDO Water team members will be available to answer questions at the booth, #34, during the event.

 

Those interested in learning more about automation and chemigation are encouraged to attend the demo, visit the RDO Water booth at the expo or contact his/her local RDO Water store. The full list of RDO Water’s eight locations in Arizona and California can be found on the Contact Us page of this site.

 

For more information on the Southwest Ag Summit, including online registration, educational sessions and a full event schedule, visit https://www.swagsummit.com/.