Cherries are finicky trees. They don’t like it when it gets too hot, when there’s not enough rain, and when it doesn’t stay cold enough during the winter. For the last few winters, California’s cherries have had all three of these environmental stresses and responded by producing fewer cherries.
While the scientific jury is still out as to whether or not human-caused climate change is the source of extreme storms and other natural disasters, scientists say climate change has increased global warming, which in turn increases California’s risk for drought, according to a September 2014 report examining recent extreme weather events.
The severe drought that California and the west is suffering is the worst in more than a hundred years. It’s so bad that in February, President Obama pledged $183 million in federal funds for drought relief programs. Ranchers, who rely on the rains to grow grass on which to pasture their animals, have been especially hard-hit.
Recently, California’s growers and water districts approached Governor Jerry Brown to declare California in a state of drought. It has been one of the driest winters on record and the state’s reservoirs, snow pack, streams and rivers have been greatly depleted. Here in the valley we are holding our breath anxiously anticipating the start of the rainy season. We hope that it will come quickly and quench the sunbaked hills.
California Governor Jerry Brown declared on January 17, 2014, what farmers and ranchers have known for some time -- the state is in a drought, possibly the worst one in living memory. Farmers, ranchers, wildlife, and consumers are all likely to be impacted by a third year of so far record low precipitation.
By Heidi Lewis
In agriculture, weather is more than a conversation starter—rain, sun, wind, and frost are collectively the Numero Uno topic for farmers. This year for Midwest farmers, weather is more about the Walk than the Talk. The Midwest fruit belt region in general, including southwest Michigan, where The FruitGuys buys a lot of local fruit, has had devastating fruit yields this summer.
By Chris Mittelstaedt
There’s a fast-paced smart device game called “Fingerzilla” that lets you rain Godzilla-like destruction down upon virtual cityscapes and towns using only your finger. While being at the helm of such fiery chaos may make users feel invincible, the truth is that we are all at the mercy of the elements in ways we often forget.