News

Latest News

Collated List of Articles

I post Ag Data News articles every Wednesday. Here's a convenient list of past articles based on whether they include R code, use data from our apps, address the effects of events or policies, or were written in my ARE 231 class.

List of most-read articles in my first year doing this (5/27/20-5/26/21):  It's Been a Year

How Mixed Up is California Agriculture?

California is a big diverse state. According to stereotypes, it is composed of Northern Californian hippies, Southern Californian beach bums, and Central Valley farmers, but these stereotypes are a gross over-simplification. People living in each region may have some cultural similarities, but visit any town and you'll meet a variety of people.  There are even beach bums in the Central Valley.

How Much Do California Farmers Really Produce?

California was a wheat-growing state in the latter half of the 1800s. In 1890 only Minnesota produced more wheat than California. Soon thereafter, the state began a massive agricultural transformation away from grain and towards vegetables, fruit, and nuts.  Today, California grows pretty much everything except for the major grains, which creates a logistical challenge in measuring production. 

 

It's Been a Year

A year ago, on May 27, 2020, I posted my first Ag Data News article about how almonds have overtaken grapes as California's number one crop. My plan was to write an article every week on topics related to agriculture, with a focus on data: new data, old data and interesting data. 

California Dreamin'

California just saw its population decline for the first time ever, its houses are unaffordable, and wildfires make its air toxic. Who would possibly want to emulate such a state?  Well, if you're asking about low carbon fuels policy, then the answer is lots of people.

A California Avocado Hass Taken Over the World

In 1926, a mail carrier and amateur botanist named Rudolph Hass planted three mystery avocado seeds in sawdust-filled apple boxes at his Los Angeles area home. One of the seeds grew into a tree that produced fruit with a thick bumpy skin. Spurred by his children who loved the taste of these avocados, Hass began to sell them to locals before eventually patenting the tree and selling seedlings from it.

Should I Feel Guilty for Eating Beef?

I enjoy a good steak. I also enjoy lamb chops and pork ribs and many other kinds of meat. However, animal agriculture has been vilified over its contribution to climate change. Am I destroying the planet by eating meat?

Making Hay While the Water Flows

California farmers make a lot of hay. Until 2013, they used more land to grow alfalfa for hay than any other crop. Now, alfalfa uses the second-most acres behind almonds. Most CA alfalfa hay is used to feed cattle, although up to a third of it is exported to Asia.

 

Assessing Fire Damage to the 2020 Wine Grape Crop

Lightning strikes during a heat wave in a bone dry state make for a lot of devastation. This is what happened in California in August 2020, taking lives and livelihoods, causing billions of dollars of damage, and filling the air with toxic smoke.

Sign up to receive weekly Ag Data News emails