Tag Archives: county

Growing Yolo County’s ag industry

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 1, 2012 —


Telling you that agriculture is important in Solano and Yolo counties is not news to any of us.  But if we told you that agriculture is the engine behind a $2.5 billion sector of our economies, you might be interested.  When we add that agriculture is our region’s brightest promise to increase jobs and prosperity, we know that we now have your full attention.

That’s exactly what happened when a study on this subject came out last year.  It got the attention of farmers, processors, bankers, government and academia.  They all wanted to know how they could be a part of growing this broad, yet integrated sector known as the food chain industry cluster, which makes up 10 percent of our shared economy.  That interest resulted in a tremendous turnout for the Solano and Yolo Counties Joint Economic Summit in December.

  “The Food Chain Cluster: Integrating the Food Chain in Solano and Yolo Counties to Create Economic Opportunities and Jobs” report describes the food chain as the full spectrum of economic activity related to agriculture – from seed to the table – from before the crops get into the fields, to the goods and services used in farming, to the value-added processing that converts crops into consumer goods.

The report highlights some opportunities and challenges to adding more value to agriculture.  The opportunities range from increasing demand for high-value products that we grow, such as almonds and walnuts, to the fact that seven out of the top 10 seed producers in the world are located here. While having established food processing facilities is one of our strengths, the need for additional slaughtering facilities and other essential processors was identified as a weakness. Regulatory issues, costs of operations and the lack of a chilling capacity are some of the other challenges to overcome.

The purpose of the summit was to engage participants in building strategies that will preserve, promote and expand our agricultural industry and all of the value it brings to our communities. A key message we heard was the need for the urban public, the business community and economic development staffs to have a better understanding of the importance of bringing processing facilities to the region. This will bring growers much-needed contracts for their commodities – an economic incentive to keep agricultural production local.  New processing facilities will also generate a wave of other job-producing companies that will spur retail purchases, home sales and other positive drivers for our local economy.

The summit reinforced this region’s capacity to continue to grow our food chain cluster. One speaker suggested we could make our Agricultural Valley the next Silicon Valley. For this to be possible, we need to capitalize on our competitive advantages – highly productive lands, plentiful water, top-notch research at the UC Davis, an entrepreneurial spirit, and an unwavering passion to preserve and promote agriculture.

In addition, the summit underscored how agriculture – farming and ranching – has evolved to remain competitive. Agriculture is more mechanized and less people-intensive than it once was. The vast majority of the jobs along the agriculture food chain – 77 percent – are in processing, distribution and support services. On average, the future growth in these sectors represents jobs paying around $24 per hour. These jobs will more than likely be in our cities, but some – in the best interests of both agriculture and the cities – will be located in unincorporated areas. Both counties have already set aside areas for this type of growth.

Summit participants discussed obstacles, such as ready access to capital and competing regulatory interests of federal, state and local governments. Overcoming these obstacles will require a new kind of collaboration. Bankers and government need to rethink their roles to become even better partners in growing the food chain.

In the coming weeks and months, you will see more results from this joint economic effort.  Our respective Boards of Supervisors received presentations on Jan. 24 on the basic road map of the most promising actions we can take together. You have our commitment to finding the funds for a public-private partnership for an agriculture ombudsman program to serve Solano and Yolo counties.  We need an ombudsman to help agriculture-related entrepreneurs turn their ideas into reality and create better partnerships between our businesses and regulators.
In many ways, what we have in front of us is an old-fashioned barn-raising. Our challenge is how each of us can commit to adding more value to agriculture. This cannot be about what the “other guy” should be doing. In a barn-raising, everybody pitches in because that’s what communities do to meet the need. Our communities are in need right now and agriculture is at the heart of the solution.

Supervisor, County of Solano

Supervisor, County of Yolo

Supervisor, County of Solano

Supervisor, County of Yolo

Safely get rid of ‘hazardous’ stuff


The Yolo County Planning & Public Works, Division of Integrated Waste Management holds weekly collection of household hazardous waste (HHW) at the Yolo County Central Landfill (44090 County Road 28H).  The HHW facility is open every Friday and Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The landfill also accepts hazardous waste from businesses in Yolo County that have products which are corrosive, reactive, toxic or ignitable.  Businesses in the areas of construction, printing, equipment or vehicle maintenance, furniture refinishing and farms/ranches that create hazardous waste are encouraged to utilize this program.  Business hazardous waste is accepted by appointment only and there is a fee for disposal.  For more information about this program or to schedule an appointment, call (866) 714-8470.

   Materials that will be accepted from the public and businesses include: batteries; fluorescent bulbs or tubes; used motor oil and filters; cleaning supplies; lighter fluid; antifreeze; aerosols; garden pesticides and herbicides; latex or oil based paints; solvents; poisons; electrical switches/relays; pilot light sensors; mercury thermostats and containerized syringes.

Yolo County also provides a reuse program which is open to the public during the same hours as the HHW collection program.  The reuse program makes household cleaning supplies, lawn, garden and automotive products, and household paint available to residents at no charge. Often, products are dropped off at the HHW facility simply because they are no longer needed.  These products have original labels and are nearly full.

HHW events are sponsored by the Yolo County Department of Planning & Public Works, Division of Integrated Waste Management.  For more information on proper disposal of HHW, call (530) 666-8856 or visit: www.yolocounty.org.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Pepper spray update: no charges against UC Davis protesters

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — 11:57 A.M., JAN 20, 2012

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig has just announced that there is “insufficient information contained within the police reports submitted by the UC Davis Police Department to justify the filing of criminal charges against those individuals arrested during the November 18, 2011, confrontation with UC Davis Police during the “Occupy UC Davis” protest.”

The District Attorney will not be filing charges against the protesters.

The District Attorney’s investigation of the use of pepper spray by police during the incident is still underway.

The D.A.’s office and Sheriff’s Department had asked California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris to take over the investigation of the use of pepper spray by police at the campus, but Harris declined, saying there were no conflicts of interest or other factors to warrant her office taking over the investigation from the county.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Sewage district sues over upgrades


The sewage district that serves much of the region – including West Sacramento – has filed a lawsuit in Sacramento’s superior court asking for relief from new regulations that it says would force ratepayers to foot the bill for $2 billion in sewage plant improvements.

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has required the district to better filter and disinfect its discharges and remove more ammonia from waste in order to protect water quality in the Delta and Bay.

The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (SRCSD) appealed the order, but without success.
The district argues that the new measures aren’t necessary or are “not scientifically justified” by the benefits they would produce to the Delta ecosystem.

It has also said that ratepayers will see huge increases in their sewage bills if the order isn’t overturned. Connection fees for new development will also go up if the district has to upgrade its facilities, said SRCSD.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Food bank to distribute free food


The Food Bank of Yolo County will give away food to eligible West Sacramento and Clarksburg residents on Tuesday, Jan. 17.

The schedule will be: 9-10 a.m. at the county building, 500 Jefferson Blvd. in West Sacramento; 10:30-11:15 a.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1500 Park Blvd., West Sacramento; 11-noon at the Yolo Housing Authority, 685 Lighthouse Dr., West Sacramento; and noon-1 p.m. at the Clarksburg Firehouse in Clarksburg.

Please bring a bag and attend only one site.

For information, call (530) 668-0690.

Courts evacuated after bomb threat


All Yolo County court facilities  in Woodland were evacuated after a bomb threat received at the Superior Courthouse at 8:30 a.m. today.

West Sacramento police and CHP officers helped the sheriff’s department and Woodland police look for a bomb. None was found, and the courts were re-opened at 10:30 a.m.

Investigators have “several credible leads” as to the suspect, said a court press release.

A court spokesperson said the last time the courts received a bomb threat was in 2005, and that suspect was arrested and charged for the crime.

As for today:

“Court operations were delayed, but judges and court staff are working hard to ensure that there will be only minimal disruption,” reports the office of Court Executive Officer James B. Perry.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Students, volunteers plant trees in Yolo nature preserve

Cache Creek Nature Preserve will monitor and support newly planted trees (Courtesy of the County of Yolo)

NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 21, 2011 —

From Beth Gabor
Yolo County Information Officer

On Dec. 13, the Cache Creek Conservancy, the Sacramento Tree Foundation and the Center for Land-Based Learning partnered to plant 200 native trees and shrubs on the grounds of Yolo County’s Cache Creek Nature Preserve in Western Yolo County.  Follow up instruction on tree identification, monitoring techniques and how to use handheld GPS devices will be provided in February.

“This collaborative project illustrates the potential for local students to play a central role in positive work for the environment, while learning about career opportunities,” said Yolo County Supervisor Duane Chamberlain in a county press release.

  The Cache Creek Conservancy, a non-profit corporation dedicated to the restoration of the lower Cache Creek corridor, manages the Cache Creek Nature Preserve which is owned by Yolo County.  The conservancy coordinated the tree planting and maintains all plantings for a period of three years.

The Sacramento Tree Foundation, whose mission is to grow healthy, livable communities in the Sacramento region by building the best regional urban forest in the nation, provided the native trees and shrubs and assisted with the planting, including instructional demonstrations.  The foundation will assist with the educational program in February.

The Center for Land-Based Learning is dedicated to creating the next generation of farmers and teaching youth about the importance of agriculture and watershed conservation.  The center’s SLEWS (Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship) program teaches high school students about habitat restoration and protection while working on active projects.  By including students in habitat restoration, SLEWS addresses the need for healthier land and more wildlife habitat, and instills conservation and stewardship values in high school students.

Yolo County’s Cache Creek Nature Preserve is open to the public 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  A weekend open day is held on the third Saturday of each month, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

  For more information about these programs, contact:

Cache Creek Conservancy, Lynnel Pollock/Christopher Gardner, (530) 661-1070, cgardner@yolo.com

Sacramento Tree Foundation, Kelly Rathburn, (916) 924-8733, kelly@sactree.com

Center for Land-Based Learning, Nina Suzuki, (530) 795-1544, nina@landbasedlearning.org

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Copyright News-Ledger 2011