News in brief: Hemp at World Ag Expo, Three Rivers business news, Sierra snowpack

Hemp, the industrial variety (not to be confused with cannabis), was center stage at the 53rd World Ag Expo. The Tulare County Board of Supervisors is expected to lift the moratorium on its cultivation at either of its next two meetings. 

53rd World Ag Expo: Hemp is all the buzz

If you were among the 100,000 that attended the annual farm show this week (February 11-13, 2020) in Tulare, then you felt the buzz generated by Ag Expo’s new kid on the block: Hemp. There was a Hemp Pavilion, Hemp Village, Hemp Innovation Challenge, dozens of exhibitors, and the most intensive seminar schedule of any of the agriculture topics.

Supervisor Kuyler Crocker (District 1-Three Rivers) was there, and he admits because he is a family farmer first, the Ag Expo is “a farmer’s dream. I’m like a kid in a candy store at Ag Expo.”

Be sure to watch the video post from the Hemp Pavilion with updates on what TCAG is doing to clear the air by collecting methane from dairies to create “carbon negative” energy, adding a new charging station on Goshen’s Betty Drive to service natural-gas-fueled trucks on Highway 99, and leveling the playing field for local farmers who want to plant hemp.

Breaking news: In the next 30 days, Tulare County will be lifting the moratorium on hemp so local farmers can get their first crop in by April. How will the hemp be used? Building materials, food (it’s the highest plant-based source of protein), an alternative to plastics (drink straws were a hit at the Ag Expo’s Innovation Showcase), clothing (an environmentally friendly alternative to cotton), livestock feed… yes, the list of applications is endless.

Hemp investments: Research the seed developers like Tesoro. They are owned by a petroleum company that knows precisely where the hemp boom is going.

Jag’s Edge (hair salon) and Balancing Touch (therapeutic massage) celebrate grand reopenings in Village Shopping Center

On Sunday, owners Jag Humphrey (second from left) and Cindy Jordan (with scissors) celebrated the reopening of their businesses, Jag’s Edge and Balancing Touch, respectively. On hand for the ribbon cutting were Chamber board members Nancy Brunson (left) and Mike Hand (right). John Jordan (center), Cindy’s husband and main handyman, is also pictured.

On Sunday, February 9, Jag Humphrey’s Jag’s Edge and Cindy Jordan’s Balancing Touch celebrated their official reopening in newly remodeled, adjoining suites at 40915 Sierra Drive in the former offices of the Three Rivers Community Services District. The massage and hair studios are located behind The Thingerie thrift shop in the Pizza Factory building.

(Speaking of Pizza Factory, they too recently were closed for remodel. They will reopen for business on Friday, February 14.)

Some Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce board members were on hand to assist with the ribbon-cutting honors.

California snowpack is 58 percent after the warmest January on record

Lake Kaweah is currently rising at about 4 inches per 24-hour period. Lake Kaweah stats as of Thursday, February 13: storage 25,813 acre feet; mean inflow, 147 cubic feet per second; and outflow, 54 cfs.

This current run of balmy winter weather has been beautiful but concerning. There hasn’t been any significant precipitation for California’s heartland in the past 40 days, nor is there any in the 10-day forecast. Add to that the news that the first month of 2020 was the warmest January ever in recorded history.

That record is worrisome as the planet continues to warm at an accelerated pace. Now the four warmest January months have all occurred since 2016. Compounding matters is that the statewide snowpack that accounts for more than one-third of California’s water is at 58 percent as of February 13; that’s a paltry 43 percent of the April 1 average.

For the Kaweah watershed, subtract approximately five percent from the statewide totals. The current area rainfall, at less than six inches, is more bad news because the 30-year norm for Three Rivers  is 20 inches.

If there is a bottom line to these stats it is that California could make up some lost ground in March  and April. Unfortunately, the later in the season that the precipitation arrives, the warmer the temperatures, which means a higher snowline. That also isn’t good news for water projections but this is becoming the new normal.







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