Published: Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 4:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 4, 2012 at 2:29 p.m.
Allen bill would pay farmers to convert to organic crops
The state Assembly has approved a bill by Assemblyman Michael Allen, D-Santa Rosa, that would give up to $250 to farmers who seek to get their crops certified as organic.
The measure would use industry and private sources to fund the program, similar to a federal program that allocates up to $750 to farmers who are going organic.
Small family farms need a leg up to transition into organic farming, Allen said. He proposes to help them achieve certification with taxpayer funds.
“It’s a positive thing for California, for the economy and for our farmers,” said Allen.
The bill now goes to the state Senate for consideration.
A similar bill was vetoed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who argued such a program would be too time-consuming for the state Department of Food and Agriculture to administer.
Farm safety training workshop on May 17
A workshop on safety training for farm and related workers will be given May 17 at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, 970 Piner Road in Santa Rosa.
Workshop topics will include pruning and pesticide safety training, heat stress, field hygiene and the safe operation of forklifts, tractors and all-terrain vehicles. Participants will learn about proper fitting of respirators and medical evaluation documentation.
The workshop will be held from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will be conducted in English.
Cost is $75 for members of Sonoma County Farm Bureau and $105 for non-members.
Advanced registration is required by May 11. To register, contact the Farm Bureau, 544-5575, or email@example.com.
Spread of Sudden Oak Death to be measured May 19
Ranchers and other property owners on May 19 can join in an annual monitoring day for Sudden Oak Death in Sonoma County.
“Sudden Oak Death Blitz 2012” will train volunteers to take samples and help document the presence and spread of the disease.
Volunteers will be trained at three locations: 9:30-10 a.m. at the Sonoma Community Center, 276 Napa St.; 10-10:30 a.m. at the Sebastopol Vet’s Building, 282 High St.; and 10-10:30 a.m. at the Environmental Discovery Center at Spring Lake Regional Park.
The blitz is hosted by the UC Cooperative Extension and the Sonoma County Master Gardeners. To register, go online to http://ucanr.org/sonomasod or call Lisa Bell, 565-2050.
Sudden Oak Death is a serious, exotic disease that is killing tanoaks and several oak species in 14 coastal counties in California.
— Staff and wire reports. Submit items to Staff Writer Robert Digitale at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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