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Rice growers optimistic; seeking biomass growers

Rice harvest has started in Sutter County.
The (Marysville) Appeal-Democrat checked in on the rice harvest which started recently, with an article by reporter Ashley Gebb. USDA reports that harvested acreage for rice in California is up 6 percent this year, to 588,000 acres; in 2010, Yuba and Sutter counties had approximately 154,000 acres planted in rice. The reporter talked to Chris Greer, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor for Sutter-Yuba and Colusa counties, about what this summer's cooler weather means for the rice harvest. "Overall things look pretty good from a yield standpoint," he told the reporter. "We will have to see what the numbers come out. From what we are seeing, we are pretty optimistic on the prospects."

Harvesting jet fuel
Kathy Johnston, (San Luis Obispo) New Times

Reporter Kathy Johnston examined both government and grower interest in camelina sativa, an oilseed crop that can be used in jet fuel. Growers interested in camelina can sign up for USDA's Biomass Crop Assistance Program, the deadline for which has been extended. The reporter talked with Steve Kaffka, UC Cooperative Extension agronimist in Davis and director of the California Biomass Collaborative, who is seeking cooperating growers for trial plantings of camelina under local conditions this winter. “It hasn’t been adapted specifically for California. We’re trying to figure out what conditions it likes, the range of rainfall and soil types where it might be suitable in San Luis Obispo County,” Kaffka told the reporter.

She also talked to Royce Larsen, UC Cooperative Extension natural resources advisor in San Luis Obispo county, who explained that though meetings about the crop have been well attended, no San Luis Obispo growers have signed up for the program yet. “A lot of people showed up [at a meeting about camelina in Templeton] with great interest, but they left, I think, a little downhearted,” Larsen told the reporter. “The bottom line is it’s too new, with too many unknowns for people to want to jump on board and give this a try."

(Though this article is about San Luis Obispo county, other California counties included in this project area are Butte, Colusa, Fresno, Glenn, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Riverside, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Stanislaus, Riverside, Tehama, Tulare and Yolo, according to an article on the California Ag Network website.)

Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 10:16 AM
Tags: biofuel (12), biomass (3), camelina (1), Chris Greer (7), rice (22), Roy Larsen (1), Steve Kaffka (4)

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