Hemp marketing on tap for World Ag Expo

Growing techniques and marketing strategies for hemp will be discussed during four seminars as part of the online World Ag Expo. The seminars will be available online beginning Feb. 9 at worldagexpo.com.

The hemp-related seminars start at 2:45 p.m. with a session for first-time farmers and presented by the Texas Hemp Growers Association.

Another series of seminars are scheduled for Feb. 10. They include one at 9 a.m., which focuses on the status of market maturation for hemp and compare hemp to more mature agricultural markets and discuss what farmers, processors, and investors could expect in 2021 and beyond; and another 9 a.m.  talk on the “Ten steps to grow a successful hemp crop;” and finally one at 3:45 which looks at “HEmp and the Law.”

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Visit Yolo reported earlier this week it was supporting National Plan for Vacation Day, the annual day for Americans to plan their vacation for the entire year at the start of the year. The day was held last Tuesday. Don’t worry if you missed it because you were working. A lot of folks did, but you can still start planning a vacation — assuming that you can find a place that won’t make you quarantine or take other precautions because of the pandemic.

National Plan for Vacation Day coincides with the Let’s Go There initiative to encourage Americans to still plan — or even book — future vacations, or to simply keep their travel flame alive and think about their next trip.

Let’s Go There is led by a coalition of businesses and organizations, including many of the most recognizable U.S. brands from both within and outside the travel sector, whose mission is perfectly aligned with NPVD: As you plan your future trips, the travel industry is ready to safely welcome you back — when you’re ready.

“Visit Yolo is celebrating National Plan for Vacation Day to encourage Americans to plan ahead for future travel and take some much-needed time off,” said Terry Selk, executive director, Visit Yolo. “By committing to planning on January 26, Americans can all enjoy the many benefits of taking a break while giving themselves something to look forward to — and Visit Yolo has some great lodging deals and trip ideas to help you plan your perfect getaway.”

Visit Yolo continues to urge travelers to adhere to healthy travel practices — whether one is planning a vacation in the short term or for later this year. U.S. Travel Association’s Travel Confidently has a wealth of resources and guidance to encourage safe and healthy travel, which includes wearing a mask, frequent hand washing, maintaining physical distance when possible and staying home if feeling sick.

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For those who may have missed it, Yolobus is seeking community input on proposed transit improvements critical to the region’s future and is holding a virtual community workshop through Feb. 26.

Community members are encouraged to participate online at RideYolobus.com from now through Feb. 26.

“A lot has changed since we heard from the community last year – especially here in Yolo County,” said Terry Bassett, executive director of the Yolo County Transportation District. “Transportation choices and patterns are different, particularly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we want to know how we can help community members get where they need to go.”

YCTD has reevaluated the Yolobus transit network and analyzed new ridership data to develop a set of proposed changes to bus routes. These revised recommendations are intended to better serve the region based upon changes in employment, commute patterns, and public health regulations. Recommendations include increasing route frequency, restructuring local routes, and introducing on-demand transit in some communities.

Virtual workshop participants can watch a short informational video and answer a short questionnaire to help inform future changes to the Yolobus network. The workshop is available in English and Spanish. Community members who wish to participate but do not have internet access can call the Yolobus office at 661-0816 and provide feedback over the phone, or visit the Yolobus office at 350 Industrial Way in Woodland to fill out a hard copy of the questionnaire.

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The Davis community is rallying around a beloved Mediterranean restaurant’s owner and family after his wife sadly passed away after a two year battle with Acute Monocytic Leukemia.

Over $104,000 has been raised to save Sam’s Cuisine as donations are pouring in to help Sam with the back rent that is due and other expenses he’s been unable to pay off. Their business has been closed for almost a year because of the pandemic and so that he could take care of his wife, in addition to helping support their five children. He shared the fundraiser on the restaurant’s Facebook page Friday evening.

To view the GoFundMe please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-save-sams-restaurant-after-death-leukemia

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One of the sources of information I monitor is the “From the Fields” column in the California Farm Bureau Federation’s Ag Alert. In a recent issue, Yolo County farmer Jeff Merwin reported on conditions thus far in the year.

Merwin grows alfalfa, dichondra seed, hybrid onion seed, chardonnay winegrapes, safflower and wheat.

“This year, we managed to get all of our onion seed bulbs planted and set early,” he wrote. “The dichondra is asleep and dormant right now, so it’s in good shape. We’ve had enough water to germinate wheat. We planted wheat in the fall — as little as possible because the price is not great but better than last year.

“One of the things that was kind of interesting is the pandemic may have had some influence on white wine consumption because our winery went from having too much chardonnay the year before to taking all that we could produce for them this year,” he added. “In other words, we didn’t have to worry about thinning really aggressively or leaving crop on the vine or trying to find another home for it. I was very happy with that.”

Merwin also reported in April, “when our (alfalfa) season was starting up, dairies were dumping milk. We had our first cutting, and the guy who was going to buy it backed out because he didn’t get stimulus money or the check he got wasn’t anywhere near as big as he thought it was going to be. I was thinking I might end up with five cuttings in stacks not sold. It didn’t work out that way. We actually wound up selling hay and having a pretty decent year, both production and price-wise. I guess that’s the silver lining if you will.”

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Farm Credit West reported recently that the Board of Directors has voted to distribute a patronage dividend to customer-owners equal to 150 basis points or 1.50% of eligible average outstanding loan balances in 2020.

This patronage dividend includes a pandemic related relief payment of 50 bps distributed to customers during the summer of 2020. Distribution of the additional 100 bps cash patronage will begin in February 2021.

“The dramatic events of 2020 imposed significant challenges to growers and agribusinesses throughout our chartered service area, none of which could have been anticipated,” said Sureena Thiara, chairwoman of the board of directors at Farm Credit West. “While growers and agribusinesses are very familiar with managing the unpredictable, as a member-owned association we felt it was our duty to do everything in our power to support our customers during these challenging times.”

The combined 150 bps patronage distribution for 2020 represents the highest payout Farm Credit West customer-owners have received since the program’s inception in 2002. In each of the years 2018 and 2019, Farm Credit West distributed 100 bps in patronage dividends to customers.

Janelle B. Smith

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