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February 21, 2020
Wasco-area almond farmer Jenny Holtermann was called on stage by President Trump to talk briefly about her family farming operation and the important roll sustainable surface water deliveries play in the production of almonds. California produces 100 percent of the U.S. almond crop and about 80 percent of the world's almond supply. Holtermann said California almond farmers do this with a third less water than was used by previous generations.Todd Fitchette
Water issues commanded much of the week in California as on Feb. 18 U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt was in the San Joaquin Valley to announce formal action by President Trump that would make surface irrigation deliveries easier for farmers.
Bernhardt's meeting in Tulare with Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and Friant Water Authority Chief Executive Officer Jason Phillips preceded a larger event the following day in Bakersfield with President Trump.
Trump's visit to the Valley formalized an order two years earlier for federal agencies to write new biological opinions, based on current science, that could help water agencies get irrigation supplies quicker and in greater quantities to farmers.
Both events were by invitation-only with about 600 in attendance at Tulare and several thousand packed into an airport hangar in Bakersfield for the president's visit.
Associate Editor, Western Farm Press
Todd Fitchette, associate editor with Western Farm Press, spent much of his journalism career covering agriculture in California and the western United States. Aside from reporting about issues related to farm production, environmental regulations and legislative matters, he has extensive experience covering the dairy industry, western water issues and politics. His journalistic experience includes local daily and weekly newspapers, where he was recognized early in his career as an award-winning news photographer.
Fitchette is US Army veteran and a graduate of California State University, Chico.
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