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Agriculture adds sustainability to forecast

By   /   Monday, January 4th, 2010  /   Comments Off on Agriculture adds sustainability to forecast

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In 2010, the tri-county agriculture industry will deal with perennial challenges of water, weather and pests. But at farms large and small, sustainability is working its way up the agenda.

“The public sentiment seems to be building in favor of locally grown food, sustainably grown food and buying your food from the farmer you know,” said John Krist, chief executive officer of the Ventura County Farm Bureau. “That can only benefit the kinds of farmers we have here. We’re producing food right in the back yard of everyone in the county and in the backyard of 20 million people to the south.”

As it enters a new decade, the region has seen a number of large operations go greener where it makes sense economically: Santa Paula-based citrus grower Limoneira installed a one-megawatt “solar orchard” to power its packing house, Oxnard’s Gill’s Onions is using onion juice to power a fuel cell, Oxnard’s Houweling’s Nursery is growing tomatoes in a $50 million solar-powered, hyper-efficient hot house and J. Lohr winery in Paso Robles installed 756 kilowatts of solar energy. More big projects are slated for 2010.

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