A farm in Dixon, California.

From citrus groves to tomato fields, California is home to a $30 billion agricultural industry. But rising temperatures and lower water levels, which some attribute to climate change, are hitting crops hard. The cherry industry alone lost $22 million last year. How are these changes affecting our farmers? We get an overview of the new documentary “Heat and Harvest,” a co-production of KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Heat and Harvest: Climate Change and California’s Farms 28 September,2012forum

Craig Miller, KQED Science editor, host and co-reporter for "Heat and Harvest"
Mark Schapiro, correspondent for the Center for Investigative Reporting/California Watch which co-produced "Heat and Harvest"
John Trumble, professor of entomology at UC Riverside
Barat Bisabri, managing partner at Shiraz Ranch, a farm in Stanislaus County where they grow almonds, olives, pomegranates and other citrus fruits

  • OldVet

    Any comment on farm financing? If I recall correctly Cal Coastal a farm bank did 50% of the business it usually does because it lacked access to capital. Not to diminish the import of climate, but not putting the seeds in the ground has its effect both on lower production and higher food costs. I am neither blaming Cal Coastal, but the money center banks that have cut off the funding.

  • shinyparticle

    Thank you for doing this program! I’m really looking forward to it!

  • RB

    The fires in Colorado was due to climate change in that the insects that kill trees have grown so that they feed on more trees, which die and then are fuel for fires.

  • Chemist150

    I’ve been told that the last 100 years has been wetter than before in California. In retrospect, that statement makes sense when you consider the collapse of the thermosphere which is on a near 100 year cycle. The minimum (peak of collapse) occurred in mid-2009 according the NASA. NASA’s measurements for the amount of water dropped from the thermosphere from the reduction in volume can account for 1/8 in the rise of the ocean over the past 20 or so years of reported measurements.

    Considering now that the thermosphere has been expanding since 2009, one can assume that it’ll reabsorb the water that it once lost. So, we can now expect the droughts that we’ve not seen in nearly 100 years. Be prepared for less water for the next few decades until we pass the inflection point once again as we approach the apex of the cycle.

  • Mo

    For all the produce that is imported into the US, are other countries finding the same issues with climate change?

  • BayAreaFarmer

    One of the most difficult obstacles to beginning farmers such as myself is
    the lack of precedence to farming in a changing environment: every season’s
    strangeness and unpredictability is as befuddling to seasoned farmers as it is
    to new. There is no Farmer’s Almanac for global farming. Unfortunately, folksy
    remedies and avuncular advice has no efficacy in a topsy turvy world.

    “Spring came in Winter, Summer came in Fall, when it comes to seasons,
    you can’t predict at all!”


    Greenhearts Family Farm


  • Paul Marx

    The question was asked about changing crops to adapt to the higher temperatures. The difficulty may be that beneficial insects and other pollinators may be “out of sequence” with their respective plants. Or it may be that the pollinator required for the change in fruit or vegetable is not native to California. That is a significant consideration.

  • C.P.

    I grew up in a farming town here in California. Seems like enough water for farming has always been a big issue.
    Just a thought, but what about some statewide incentive program to help people convert their home lawns from water hogging areas of grass to native landscaping that would require a lot less water? Or at least statewide programs to teach or help people do this…..where the time and money costs were practical and realistic for the majority of people.
    Most homes seem to have the front and backyards with grass lawns because that has been the default landscaping for decades. Kind of like a relic. A lot of water would be saved by decreasing personal home water use and it could be diverted towards farming water needs.
    Hope my comment gets read by people that might be able to move this idea forward, even though this program has already aired. Thanks!

  • Diana Donlon

    Please follow the Center for Food Safety’s “Cool Foods Campaign” on Facebook to learn how consumers can make climate friendly food choices!

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