agriculture

Foothill Agrarian
Makes a Dad Proud

May 25, 2015

This past Saturday, we weaned this year's lambs.  By "we," I mean my sheep partner Roger and my daughters Lara and Emma - and our canine partners, Mo and Ernie.  Fewer sheep meant the day went quickly - but the work also went fast because of ...

Foothill Agrarian
Flying Mule Sheep Company

May 24, 2015
Flying Mule Sheep Company

Because of drought and related factors, Flying Mule Farm is transforming its commercial sheep operation to a small-scale demonstration flock.  Our new entity, Flying Mule Sheep Company, will focus on public and sheep producer education and the dem...

Foothill Agrarian
Technology vs. Biology

May 17, 2015

Last month, I was invited to speak about our approach to protecting our sheep from predators at the Central Coast Rangeland Coalition spring meeting near Carmel.  The entire workshop was devoted to examining non-lethal approaches to protecting dom...

Foothill Agrarian
Playing a Kid’s Game

May 10, 2015
Playing a Kid’s Game

As an extremely middle-aged but lifelong baseball fan, I no longer think of professional ballplayers as heroes.  As the late Jim Murray wrote in the Los Angeles Times, "If you think baseball isn't a business, then General Motors is a sport." &nbsp...

Foothill Agrarian
Embracing Complexity

May 3, 2015

In California’s ongoing conversation about drought, we seem to look for simple answers to an incredibly complicated problem.  Lauren Michele’s piece (“Why knock almonds? Alfalfa uses more water) in the April 26, 2015 edition of California Forum is no exception – “Californians need to lay off the cheeseburgers, and the media needs to lay...

Foothill Agrarian
From Anxiety to Resignation

Apr 25, 2015
From Anxiety to Resignation

Last night, we measured 1.15 inches of rain in Auburn.  The Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center (where I take care of cattle and pastures) picked up 0.71" of rain.  While the precipitation is a welcome break in our warmer-than-norma...

Foothill Agrarian
Profit and the Nature of Farming

Apr 15, 2015

Since Governor Brown announced mandatory reductions in urban water uses earlier this month,  he has repeatedly emphasized that agriculture has already taken a significant reduction in water availability.  He's also made the point that using water to grow food is different than using it to grown lawns (for a similar perspective, check out this...

Foothill Agrarian
Some Observations on my Dogs

Apr 5, 2015

They learn...Not only are Mo and Ernie learning to work cattle (after a lifetime spent working sheep).  They are learning the terrain at the Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center.  They gave me a good demonstration of this last Thursd...

Foothill Agrarian
Where are Agriculture’s Sacrifices?!

Apr 3, 2015

Finally, after four years of drought, the State of California has mandated reductions in urban water use.  After Wednesday's April 1 snow survey confirmed that the Sierra snowpack is somewhere between five and eight percent of normal (does that th...

Foothill Agrarian
Crossing a Threshold

Mar 29, 2015

I imagine that the farmers and ranchers who lived through the Dust Bowl felt like the world (at least as they knew it) was ending.  That's the thing about drought - you don't know you're in one until it's well underway, and you don't know when it ...

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