10-25 AM Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif.

In Sonoma County, the cooler summer led to a longer growing season, which shortened the harvest season. Some growers have been picking grapes practically every night, but the recent rain put an end to that.

"If the water sits on the bunches, or if we get cool weather, we get bunch rot which will ruin the grapes," said grape grower Ryan Peterson.

Zinfandel grapes are the most vulnerable. The crop suffered the most, this season. A brief stint of high temperatures burned sixty-percent of those grapes in some fields.

Cabernet grape growers in the Alexander Valley aren't worried. They say they'll be finished with the harvest later this week.

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As tomato farmers finish this year's harvest, they say the crop appears to have recovered from a rough start.

The tomato crop ran behind schedule all season, after a cool, rainy spring and a mild summer. Farmers and tomato canneries say, despite the delays and concerns about harvest-time rain, the crop may nearly meet pre-season estimates.

California dominates production of the processing tomatoes made into ketchup, salsa and other products.

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The state wants to know what you think of farmers markets.

The state ag secretary is holding a series of listening sessions to get feedback on California's farmers markets and how to make them better. More than 2,200 certified agricultural producers participate in farmers markets throughout the state.

State officials want to make sure they remain a fair marketplace for all producers. A listening session will be held at Fresno City Hall on November 3rd starting at 5:30 pm.

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California's budget problems are affecting ag education.

More students have been enrolling in high school agriculture courses, but the California Agriculture Teachers Association says schools are losing teachers as they gain students.

Many school districts are struggling to accommodate the growth because of shrinking budgets. Many teachers have less time to supervise the student projects that form a key component of agricultural programs.

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