Farms + Data: California’s farms are smaller than the US average, but they’re big on diversity – and productivity

From the California Department of Food and Agriculture

California is America’s agricultural leader, providing $54 billion in crops and commodities in 2014. In a word, California’s farms are diverse. We grow approximately 400 crops and commodities, from almonds to zucchini. Our top five ag products include dairy, nuts, fruit, berries and livestock. The top ten also include leafy greens, vegetables and feed. That’s unmatched variety.

Our farmers are diverse, too. Although California has just 2.9 percent of all the farms in America, we are home to 14.6 percent of the nation’s “principal farm operators” whose origins are Hispanic/Latino/Spanish. The same goes for 35.1 percent of Asian farmers, 21.9 percent of Native Americans/Alaskan Natives and 6.4 percent of farmers claiming more than one race, as well as 4.9 percent of female principal farm operators.

Averaging 328 acres, California’s 76,400 farms are considerably smaller than the national average of 434 acres. Nearly three-quarters (74.2 percent) of our farms are under 100 acres, and another15.9 percent are between 100 and 500 acres. Only 3.1 percent are more than 2,000 acres.

California is the top dairy state with 19 percent of the nation’s milk supply in 2014. Dairy farmers earned $9.36 billion for 43.6 billion pounds of milk.

California also ranks first in crops at $30.4 billion, and we’re third behind Texas and Iowa in Livestock/Poultry at $12.3 billion.

Organic continues its rise

In 2000, organic agriculture in California had yet to break the 1,000-farm mark, and it represented a modest 157,804 acres. Fast-forward to 2014 and we have 2,805 certified organic farms with 687,168 acres. That’s 20 percent of the nation’s organic farms and 18.7 percent of the nation’s organic acreage.

California leads the nation in organic farming with $2.2 billion – that’s more than the rest of the top ten states combined.

Sources: CDFA Resource Directory, USDA Ag Census and Organic Survey, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

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Share Your Thoughts on the Future of Transportation in Contra Costa County at a Public Open House!

The 2017 Countywide Transportation Plan (CTP) provides the overall direction for achieving and maintaining a balanced and functional transportation system within Contra Costa County while strengthening links between land use decisions and transportation. It outlines the Contra Costa Transportation Authority’s vision for Contra Costa and establishes goals, strategies, projects, and actions for achieving that vision.

The CTP will play an important role in shaping our transportation policy and investment decisions over the next two decades. Currently about $3.7 billion in project funding has been identified, which is not enough to meet our long-range transportation needs. The CTP outlines the strategies that are essential for a smooth transition from vision to reality.

So far, more than 5,000 people from all over Contra Costa have participated in a range of activities to inform the CTP. We’re now holding an additional phase of engagement to enable the community to weigh in on the 2017 CTP. We invite you to join us at our upcoming public meeting to learn more about the CTP, the process to date, and upcoming opportunities to participate in shaping the CTP:

CTP Public Open House
Thursday, June 29, 2017
6:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m.
2999 Oak Road, Suite 150
Walnut Creek, CA 94597

We also invite you to submit your feedback at our convenient Online Open House portal, http://2017CTPupdate.net, which will remain open through August 1, 2017. Let’s work together on a path toward an even better transportation future for Contra Costa and the Bay Area!

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The California Budget: A Primer

From California City News

California lawmakers approved a $183.2 billion budget Thursday, an all-time record. Cal Matters has an excellent breakdown of California’s spending plan here. In the meantime, some highlights:

EUCATION DOMINATES THE SPENDING PLAN

Public schools command one-third of the overall budget. K-12 students and community colleges will get $74.5 billion, a $3 billion increase from this year.

The plan also assumes another 1,500 students will enter in-state higher education this year and calls for $131.2 million and $162.3 million for the University of California and California State University respectively.

HEALTH CARE COMMANDS THE SECOND LARGEST SHARE OF BUDGET DOLLARS

The Legislature has approved $105.6 billion for health care, the second largest slice of California state tax dollars after public education. Payments to physicians who treat Medi-Cal patients will also increase as a result of the recent tobacco tax.

TRANSPORTATION IS GETTING A $2.8 BILLION BOOST

Speaking of new taxes, most of the money raised from a new 12-cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline will go toward street, road, and transit overhauls.

Interestingly, that very tax also gave way to one of the most controversial provisions, which would change the recall petition process. It is a direct response to the recall effort against Senator Josh Newsman (D-Fullerton) which began after his vote for the much maligned tax. The practical effect of this provision would be to stretch the effort against Newman out, perhaps long enough to prevent it from going anywhere. That’s important because, if the recall against Newman were to prevail, it would break the Democrats’ legislative supermajority.

PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PENSIONS WILL GOBBLE UP MORE STATE DOLLARS THAN EVER BEFORE

Under this budget, contributions to CalPERS and CalSTRS will hit $8 billion. On top of that, Gov. Brown plans to borrow $6 billion from a state agency surplus fund for an early payment to CalPERS this summer. Finalization of that plan is expected this summer.

COUNTIES BREATHE A SIGH OF RELIEF AFTER IN-HOME CARE SERVICES FIX

California’s counties were practically apoplectic after the January budget proposal, which would have shifted responsibility for in-home supportive services (IHSS) to counties. But an IHSS trailer bill will mitigate the fiscal impacts to counties by reducing their overall contributions for IHSS costs.

You can read more about the budget’s impact on California’s local governments via the California State Association of Counties and the League of California Cities. Their summaries also touch on some important provisions regarding jails and cannabis, plus the significant changes coming to the State Board of Equalization.

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A Spare the Air Alert is in effect, Friday, June 23, in the San Francisco Bay Area

Enviroflash_top_email

Concentrations of ground-level ozone pollution are forecast to be unhealthy. High levels of ozone pollution are harmful to breathe, especially for young children, seniors and those with respiratory and heart conditions.

Exhaust from vehicles on Bay Area roads accounts for more than half of the air pollution in the region. Bay Area residents are asked to drive less to reduce smog and improve air quality in the region. Residents are also encouraged to consider an all-electric vehicle as their next vehicle purchase to help reduce the amount of gas powered vehicles that contribute to unhealthy smog.

Change your daily commute by carpooling, vanpooling, taking transit, biking or walking instead of driving alone. Doing this will help reduce pollution levels and health concerns when temperatures are high. To learn how to change your commute online, visit 511.org.

To find out how your company could help you save money on your commute by offering commuter benefits, visit commuterbenefits.511.org.

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First Transit Signs Exclusive Partnership with GoMentum Station for Autonomous Vehicle Innovation and Research

First Transit announces that it has signed an agreement as the exclusive transit operator partner at GoMentum Station. The partnership will foster research and innovation in the field of shared autonomous vehicle (SAV) application and technology research.

First Transit will join GoMentum Station and use the facility as a test site for innovative transit applications, including a pilot project with EasyMile and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) to deploy the first SAV shuttle on public roads in the United States. This pilot project, which began in late 2016, recently launched the second phase of testing at Bishop Ranch, an office park in San Ramon, California.

First Transit is responsible for providing staffing, maintenance and operational support for the two SAV shuttles during the testing and deployment phases of the program.

“The partnership with GoMentum Station allows us to identify new mobility solutions for our customers using SAV technology,” said Brad Thomas, president of First Transit. “We see the broad application of SAV technology as a great first and last mile solution plus countless other transportation challenges.”

GoMentum Station in Concord, California is a 5,000-acre test facility where the CCTA and its partners are accelerating the next generation of transportation technologies. Named by the U.S. Department of Transportation as one of ten federally designated automated vehicle proving grounds, GoMentum Station is the largest secure test track of its kind.

“As a leader in innovative transportation solutions, we are proud to have First Transit as one of our exclusive collaboration partners at GoMentum Station,” said Randell Iwasaki, Executive Director of CCTA. “The partnership with First Transit expands the international reach of GoMentum Station, and will provide a unique opportunity for multi-modal testing with a firm that specializes in transit operations. This will enable us to explore how automated vehicles can complement and enhance existing mobility options.”

About First Transit:
First Transit, Inc. has 60 years of experience and is one of the largest private-sector providers of mobility solutions in North America moving more than 350 million passengers annually. First Transit, Inc. provides operation, management and consulting for more than 300 locations in 39 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, Panama and India for transit authorities, state departments of transportation, municipalities, hospitals, universities and private companies. First Transit employs more than 19,500 dedicated transit professionals. For additional information, please visit FirstTransit.com.

About GoMentum Station:
GoMentum Station in Concord, California is where the Contra Costa Transportation Authority leads and facilitates a collaborative partnership among multiple automobile manufacturers; original  equipment manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers; communications suppliers; technology companies; researchers and academia; public agencies and other partners. At GoMentum Station, technology,  innovation and commercialization will converge to define the next generation of transportation network infrastructure. More information about GoMentum Station is available at gomentumstation.net.

About EasyMile:
EasyMile is a joint venture between a vehicle manufacturer (Ligier Group) and a high tech company specializing in services robotics (Robosoft). The company provides shared driverless transportation for the last mile that complements mass transportation solutions. This ‘green’ service addresses short distances that are too long to walk to, from a transport hub to a final destination where cars are either ‘off limits’ or where parking space is limited or non-existent. It also provides a service for short distances within confined sites. EasyMile autonomous vehicles operate either on demand or follow a set route calling at all stations.

About the Contra Costa Transportation Authority:
The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) is a public agency formed by Contra Costa voters in 1988 to manage the county’s transportation sales tax program and oversee countywide transportation planning efforts. CCTA is responsible for planning, funding and delivering critical transportation infrastructure projects and programs that connect our communities, foster a strong economy, increase sustainability, and safely and efficiently get people where they need to go. CCTA also serves as the county’s designated Congestion Management Agency, responsible for putting programs in place to keep traffic levels manageable. More information about CCTA is available at ccta.net.

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A Spare the Air Alert is in effect, Thursday, June 22, in the San Francisco Bay Area

Enviroflash_top_email

Concentrations of ground-level ozone pollution are forecast to be unhealthy. High levels of ozone pollution are harmful to breathe, especially for young children, seniors and those with respiratory and heart conditions.

Exhaust from vehicles on Bay Area roads accounts for more than half of the air pollution in the region. Bay Area residents are asked to drive less to reduce smog and improve air quality in the region. Residents are also encouraged to consider an all-electric vehicle as their next vehicle purchase to help reduce the amount of gas powered vehicles that contribute to unhealthy smog.

Change your daily commute by carpooling, vanpooling, taking transit, biking or walking instead of driving alone. Doing this will help reduce pollution levels and health concerns when temperatures are high. To learn how to change your commute online, visit 511.org.

To find out how your company could help you save money on your commute by offering commuter benefits, visit commuterbenefits.511.org.

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Starting Wednesday June 21 – Interstate 680 Nighttime Lane Reductions for Resurfacing Work in Danville/San Ramon

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is working on a storm damage repair project on Interstate 680 to replace failed concrete slabs from Diablo Road in Danville to Alcosta Boulevard in San Ramon. The work is to repair damage created when excessive rain caused delamination and undue unraveling of the top layer of road surface. Areas of pothole damage also will be addressed by the resurfacing work. Work hours are anticipated to be as follows:

I-680 northbound and southbound Diablo Road to Alcosta Boulevard 6/21/17 – 7/1/17:

  • Lane reductions nightly Wednesday through Saturday from 8:00 PM until 5:00 AM, and until 8:00 AM on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Possible ramp closures may also occur during night construction; no two consecutive ramps will be closed simultaneously. Detour signs will be posted.

The project is anticipated to be completed in late Summer of 2017. Please follow signage directions during closures. Noise, traffic delays and odors may be associated with the construction work. All work is weather permitting.

Other projects are anticipated to be starting within the coming months addressing resurfacing work on I-680 in Contra Costa County. More information can be found at http://www.dot.ca.gov/d4/stormdamageprojects2017/.

Motorists should drive with caution through the work zone. Get real-time traffic on Caltrans Quickmaps: http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/. Or follow Caltrans on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CaltransD4. Caltrans appreciates your patience as we work to maintain California’s highways. Please #BeWorkZoneAlert.

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