The Spring equinox brings a bal­ance of light and dark­ness as the sun rises from the true east and sets in the true west.

The first day of Spring arrives this Wednes­day, no mat­ter what the weather reports might claim.

Most of us in the United States wel­come the new sea­son pos­si­bil­i­ties and the promise of milder days and nights. No one more so, per­haps, than the Cal­i­for­nia farmer.

It’s been a cold, soggy win­ter in the Golden State. This year’s storms are a dra­matic change com­pared to last year, which was extremely dry.

Snow totals are above aver­age in most of the west. The high­est snow to water totals are in California’s Sierra Nevada moun­tains, which is great news for farm­ers of the San Joaquin and Sacra­mento val­leys.

At this writ­ing, num­bers are about 200 per­cent higher than 2018 totals. This is good news for the reser­voirs in west­ern states.

The major grow­ing regions of Oxnard, Santa Maria and Sali­nas saw plenty of rain this win­ter. Closer to home, coun­ties around Sacra­mento also got good amounts of pre­cip­i­ta­tion on farms, ranches and in orchards.

Bloom­ing cro­cus pop­ping up through the hard soil are a cue to begin spring plant­i­ngs. In ear­lier times, the ver­nal equinox was con­sid­ered the begin­ning of the new year. For those whose life work is on the land to grow our foods, it sig­ni­fies the begin­ning of the sea­son of regen­er­a­tion and growth.
This fer­tile time of plant­ing seeds for new crops, along with the visual stim­u­lus of blos­soms on fruit and nut trees, means grow­ers have been multi-​tasking like mad in prepa­ra­tion for spring and sum­mer crops.

Expert farm­ers con­tin­u­ously bal­ance field and farm deci­sions around weather, ongo­ing labor chal­lenges, chang­ing tech­nol­ogy, fick­led pro­duce mar­kets and other sus­tain­abil­ity con­sid­er­a­tions.

Prepar­ing for spring crop tran­si­tions, from let­tuce to straw­ber­ries, requires skilled exper­tise. Risk man­age­ment becomes part of every deci­sion. What to plant? How much to plant? When to plant? All ques­tions sub­ject to the con­di­tions of the ground that farm­ers walk on and demand for their prod­ucts.

Cal­i­for­nia farm­ers and ranch­ers grow an unmatched vari­ety of food and farm prod­ucts for peo­ple in the United States and around the world. Their stew­ard­ship of land, water, air and wildlife is a del­i­cate jug­gling act between agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion, gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tions and rural liv­ing.

Signs of spring on the farm spark renewal and new growth cycles. Respect the ancients in the tra­di­tion of being in touch with nature — the earth, the sun and the moon.

Plant some bulbs or seeds, clean out the shed, sharpen the tools. Pre­pare for new begin­nings.

As win­ter restric­tions melt under warmer, longer days, con­nect to the ener­getic and spir­i­tual influ­ences of spring.

To read the full Mar­ket Report, includ­ing this week’s mar­ket update, see below or click here.