Placer County representatives learn about water, agriculture, drought
Ryan Summerlin June 19, 2014
More than 85 local, state, and federal representatives toured Placer County to learn about local water resources, agriculture and how farmers are dealing with the drought.
The tour began at Placer County Water Agency (PCWA), where participants were welcomed by Placer County Supervisor Jim Holmes, PCWA General Manager David Breninger and Placer Resource Conservation District (RCD) Executive Director Elisa Noble.
PCWA staff began by providing an overview of the water resources in Placer County and of the PCWA system, in particular. Participants then loaded onto buses and traveled to the PCWA American River pump station near the Auburn Dam overlook.
Here they saw and learned about the river restoration project and the associated pump station that lifts water 400 feet to make it available to PCWA customers, including farmers in western Placer County.
PCWA were gracious hosts, and participants thoroughly enjoyed this portion of the tour.
The second stop was a ranch just west of Auburn where Dan Macon of Flying Mule Farm grazes his sheep. Dan provided an overview of their business that sells lamb meat and wool, and demonstrated the ability of his herding dog, “Mo,” to move sheep. Some of the biggest impacts of drought on Flying Mule Farm have been the need to downsize their flock, find additional feed and make the decision to not sell any meat products this year.
The third and final stop was Highland Orchard, a mandarin orchard and cane berry farm owned by the Tony Aguilar family in Penryn. Tony explained how they manage their farm, and what management decisions they’ve made because of the drought. Highland Orchard runs a very efficient irrigation system, utilizing automatic controllers to guarantee the timing and exact amount of water applied.
Participants were then provided a tri-tip and salad lunch, sourced from local farms, and ice cream with fresh-picked Highland Orchard berries. Placer High FFA barbecued the tri-tip, served the meal, and helped with logistics.
The annual Ag Tour is coordinated by Placer Resource Conservation District with the goal of providing government officials an on-the-ground exposure to Placer County agriculture.
The tour is sponsored and supported by the Placer County Board of Supervisors, PCWA, Nevada Irrigation District (NID), Placer County Farm Bureau, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, the United Auburn Indian Community and several other partners.
About Placer Resource Conservation District
The Placer County RCD is a California special district dedicated to the conservation of agriculture and natural resources in Placer County. Established in 1946, Placer RCD is governed by a board of local landowners, and works in partnership with the local office of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Placer RCD fulfills its mission through a variety of projects and programs, such as establishment of fuel breaks, invasive weed removal, stream restoration, erosion control, and a variety of outreach and educational efforts.
As a non-regulatory agency, Placer RCD assists landowners and entities for voluntary conservation, specializing in providing landowners with technical assistance on how to manage land for conservation and agricultural goals. Visit www.placercountyrcd.org.
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