AgAlert is the California Farm Bureau Federation’s weekly publication. If you want to know what’s going on in agriculture, it’s a great resource, free to members of the Los Angeles County Farm Bureau (there are 53 county bureaus, so you can join whichever makes sense for you). It covers topics from all aspects of farming and agriculture. This past year it’s been about water, water, and water - but here’s a sampling of the bee-related headlines from the past 6 months:

7/23/2014 – Beekeepers, specialists train regulators on bee health
8/6/2014 – Cheesemakers see rising demand for specialty products – cheese goes great with honey, another specialty product
8/13/2014 – Citrus growers, shippers get OK to resume China exports
                Fruit association has new name – these are the people you pollinate for
                UC research project could yield “ladderless orchards” - do bees like shorter trees? Will it result in a wider variety of crops?
8/20/2014 – Drought boosts sales of native, water-saving plants – are they bee friendly varieties? Can’t be bad for native pollinators!
8/27/2014 – Stone-fruit growers near end of “nervous, difficult year” – drought could mean fewer orchards, fewer pollination contracts
                USDA seeks comments on honey
9/3/2014 – Strawberry growers rid soil of diseases – fewer chemicals being applied => better for bees
9/10/2014 – Beekeepers say drought may lead to “grim” honey crop
                Parasitoids provide effective biocontrol of stinkbugs – again, fewer chemicals => better for bees
9/17/2014 – In dry times, safflower becomes a more attractive crop – bees like safflower…
10/8/2014 – Local-food efforts earn USDA funds – Farmers Market and Local Food promotion programs
10/15/2014 – Young leader “loves everything about farming” – get to know a Ventura County citrus grower
                USDA announces changes to small farm loan program – microloans can help start-ups
10/22/2014 – “Best practices” for almonds aim to protect bees
                Spread of citrus psyllid adds to growers’ concerns
                 Urban farmers can find UC resources on website
10/29/2014 – Citrus psyllid quarantines add Santa Clara County
11/5/2014 – FSA offices provide aid for losses from drought– including bees through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program
11/12/2014 – “Citrus strong” program aims to aid communication
12/17/2014 – Almond conference focuses on water availability (but includes pictures of our past president Bill Lewis, and the folk from Project Apis m.)
                FSA improves crop insurance for several specialty crops – including honey
12/24/2014 – Hedgerows can offer multiple benefits to growers – and beekeepers
                First Place contest photos include swarm removal
1/7/2015 – Farmers protect citrus crop from freezing weather
1/14/2015 – Beekeeper, landowner help thwart theft attempt
                Bee-breeding course to be held
                Farm Bureau Policies 2015 include No. 13 Honey and Apiculture and No. 58 Bee Protection (can't find an online link, sadly)
                Chinese citrus imports may rise because of tree disease
1/21/2015 – UC farm advisors report on weed control options
1/28/2015 – UC tests avocado varieties for San Joaquin Valley – bees like avocado…
                Award recognizes efforts to benefit honey bee health
                New area comes under quarantine [Asian citrus psyllid]
2/4/2015 – New “management areas” form to fight citrus pest
2/11/2015 – Drought disaster declared – emergency loans, and again, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program
2/18/2015 – USDA funds projects that target citrus greening
                Bee pathogens attack year-round
                Pesticide safety brochures available in many languages
2/25/2015 – Almond growers consider beekeeping – cover article, as mentioned in our March meeting
                Grants aim to aid groups of farmers