Posts Tagged: Ventura County
Ventura County Star.
At the event, UCCE advisors talked about the status of ag industry in Ventura County, where total farm production is nearly $2 billion annually. Strawberries, the county's leading crop since the early 2000s, are valued at $690 million. However, production is threatened by dwindling water supplies.
"We can't avoid this topic," said Oleg Daugovish, UCCE advisor.
UCCE advisor Ben Faber also discussed the water situation. The average annual rainfall in Oxnard was 17 inches between 2003 and 2008.
"We're living in an environment that rarely sees the average rainfall," Faber said.
Faber's work includes showing growers how using too much or too little water is more likely to cause plant disease and demonstrating new ways of measuring the water content in soil, the article said. One solution to water woes is using recycled water in nurseries. The practice saves 14 to 42 percent of water.
UCCE advisor Jim Downer talked about the movement of exotic pests that are a potential challenge to agriculture. California is particularly vulnerable to these pests because of its vast and varying geography and climate, he said.
Ventura County's top 10 ag commodities were on dispaly in a Model T truck at the UC Cooperative Extension Celebration of Science and Service.
John Krist, Chris Sayer and Edgar Terry wrote that the historic Faulkner Farm, which now operates as the Hansen Agricultural Center, did not provide the boon for agriculture that was expected when the facility was acquired by the trust 13 years ago.
On the contrary, "ownership of the property has saddled the organization with crippling financial and logistical burdens," the authors wrote.
The op-ed says Thelma Hansen's objective when she bequeathed much of her estate to the University of California in 1990 was to support and maintain University research and extension activities and related facilities in Ventura County.
However, a large share of the Hansen Trust's annual budget has been devoted to maintaining the Faulkner Farm's historic structures and grounds. Only 10 percent of the trust’s annual budget of approximately $1 million is now available for direct support of activities benefiting local agriculture.
The Hansen Agricultural Center entrance.
The farm now houses the UC Hansen Agricultural Center, named for Ms. Thelma Hansen. She left almost all of her family's estate -- nearly $12 million -- to the University of California when she passed away in 1993 to benefit and sustain local agriculture through research and education. In 1997, funds from the trust were used to purchase the 27-acre Faulkner Farm.
The stately Faulkner House, built in 1894 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the facility's centerpiece. Designed in the Queen Ann style, the house has a basement, two main living floors and a finished room in the tower. A large red barn on the Faulkner property was built in 1886.
John Krist, a member of the Hansen Trust advisory board and chief executive officer of the Ventura County Farm Bureau, said the trust has not been able to carry out its mission with Faulkner Farm, according to the article. Only 10 percent of the trust’s $1 million annual budget now directly supports education and research, he said.
An aerial view of the Faulkner Farm.