<b>Dollars - $ense seminar coming Jan. 15</b>

The Sonoma County Winegrowers is presenting its 23rd annual Dollars - $ense seminar and trade show on Jan. 15.

This year's theme is "Sustaining the Moment" and will focus on the importance of sustainability in Sonoma County. Speakers include Brian Clements and Marc Cuneo of Turrentine Company, who will discuss bulk wine and grape market prospects for 2014.

Karissa Kruse, president of Sonoma County Winegrowers, will present the organization's year in review and an overview of its marketing plans for 2014.

The event will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa. Details are available at www.sonomawinegrape.org.

For information contact Karen Thomas at 707-522-5862 or karen@sonomawinegrape.org.

<b>Crop insurance payouts drop</b>

NAU Country Insurance and the California Association of Winegrape Growers recently examined crop insurance claims by California farmers over a 12-year period.

Insurance payouts for crop losses peaked in 2008, when $13.2 million in indemnities were paid to growers, and reached highs again in 2011, when growers were paid $21.6 million. In 2012, a bumper crop year, growers were paid $6.4 million in indemnities.

In 2012, growers paid $9.2 million in policy premiums, while federal subsidies brought those totals to $21.4 million.

<b>Vino Farms honored for stewardship</b>

Vino Farms, a multi-generational farming operation owned by the Ledbetter family, was among 45 California farmers recognized by the American Farmland Trust's "Profiles in Stewardship."

The company was recognized for its work to improve the environment by adopting conservation practices that can serve as models to others.

Headquartered in the San Joaquin Valley, Vino Farms owns and manages more than 15,000 acres of vineyards throughout the state.

The company converted its truck and tractor fleet to B20 Biodiesel engines and cut emissions by 50 percent on 4,800 acres of farmland operations. Vino Farms also installed solar panels to power vineyard irrigation systems as well as the domestic water for the vineyard manager's house and storage sheds, saving more than 400,000 pounds in greenhouse gases to date.

Compiled by Cathy Bussewitz. Submit items to cathy.bussewitz@pressdemocrat.com.

Read all of the PD's fire coverage here