SACRAMENTO — A workshop at The Almond Conference Dec. 3-5 looked at irrigation strategies for drought management to help provide almond growers with some answers for season-long water management under different drought scenarios.
The session discussed spreading out irrigation over March to November and matching it precisely to how much water the trees are using. Growers also discussed the fact that water-stressed trees won’t produce as much in the year after a drought, but can recover if the next year is wet.
More information is available at www.almondboard.com.
Report: More homes gain positive equity
IRVINE — Approximately 791,000 more residential properties returned to a state of positive equity during the third quarter of 2013, and the total number of mortgaged residential properties with positive equity currently stands at 42.6 million, according to real estate analysis firm CoreLogic.
The analysis indicates that nearly 6.4 million homes, or 13 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, were still in negative equity at the end of the third quarter of 2013. This figure is down from 7.2 million homes, or 14.7 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, at the end of the second quarter of 2013.
Negative equity, often referred to as “underwater” or “upside down,” means that borrowers owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Negative equity can occur because of a decline in value, an increase in mortgage debt or a combination of both.
Ag outlook bearish for 2014
HANFORD — Agricultural commodity markets are expected to face head winds in 2014 as supply rebuilds, producing downward pressure on prices and driving a change in acreage in the 2014-2015 season, according to a report released this week from agribusiness lender Rabobank.
The report looked at one commodity — cotton — which produced a $327 million Kings County crop in 2012. It’s baseline assumption is that China’s import appetite for cotton fiber will decline as that county increases its domestic cotton acreage.
Go to http://tinyurl.com/lpu7yww for the full report.
Farm Bureau to host ‘Wine vs. Beer Showdown’
HANFORD — The Kings County Farm Bureau will hold the Great Wine vs. Beer Showdown on Jan. 16.
The revamped version of the Farm Bureau’s annual wine-tasting fundraiser will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Kings Fairgrounds. There will be wine and beer tasting, appetizers, music and mingling.
Tickets are available for $50 from Farm Bureau board members or at the office, located at 870 Greenfield Ave. in Hanford. Tickets may also be purchased at Nashville’s, Mackey and Mackey Insurance and the Lemoore Chamber of Commerce.
Proceeds will support Farm Bureau programs.
For more information, or tickets, call 584-3557.
Free Internet marketing class offered
HANFORD — The Hanford Chamber of Commerce is hosting a free Web marketing workshop for small business.
The meeting, hosted by www.chavezwebdesign.com, is Jan. 23 from noon to 1 p.m. at the Brandman University building, 325 Mall Drive in Hanford. This is a bring-your-own-lunch event, though Brandman will provide snacks and drinks.
To RSVP, call 587-3466 or email email@example.com with your name and company name.
Lemoore chamber slates annual banquet
LEMOORE — The Lemoore Chamber of Commerce will honor its top citizen, business and organization at its 56th annual Membership Meeting & Awards Banquet on Jan. 24 at Golden Eagle Arena.
Don Warkentin, president of West Hills College Lemoore, is the chamber’s 2014 Citizen of the Year. Stoney’s Sand & Gravel has been named the 2014 Business of the Year, and the Lemoore Volunteer Fire Department will be recognized as the 2014 Organization of the Year.
The evening will include hors d’oeuvres and dinner. Socializing begins at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7:30 and the awards program at 8:30 p.m.
Reservations received by Jan. 17 cost $50 per person, or a table for 8 for is $350. Reservations made after Jan. 17 will be $65 per person. No tickets will be sold at the door.
For more information, contact Maureen Azevedo at the Lemoore Chamber of Commerce at 924-6401 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local chambers to offer business class
LEMOORE — The Hanford Chamber of Commerce and the Lemoore Chamber of Commerce are hosting a training session Jan. 30 for business owners looking to increase sales.
“Bigger, Better Events that Sell” is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon. at the Kings County Office of Education Lemoore Conference Center, 876 East D St.
The workshop will focus on using social media to grow your business and brand and increase referrals and customer loyalty.
Call the Hanford Chamber at 582-0483 or the Lemoore Chamber at 924-6401 for registration information.
Conservation program seeks participants
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is opening the Conservation Stewardship Program for new enrollments for federal fiscal year 2014.
From now until Jan. 17, 2014, producers interested in participating in the program can submit applications to NRCS.
The program helps farmers take their natural resource management skills to the next level to improve both their production and provide valuable conservation benefits such as cleaner water, healthier soils and better wildlife habitat.
The program is now in its fifth year. NRCS has partnered with producers to enroll more than 59 million acres across the U.S.
A self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types.
Learn more by visiting http://tinyurl.com/lhsbv7y or by going to a local NRCS field office.
SBA taking nominations for small business awards
HANFORD — During Small Business Week, the U. S. Small Business Administration recognizes outstanding small business owners for their contribution to the American economy and society. Small Business Week will be celebrated May 12-16, 2014.
The agency is accepting nominations for several awards, including the 2014 Small Business of the Year Award. The Fresno office serves the fifteen counties of Central California, including Kings County.
Trade associations, chambers of commerce and business organizations frequently sponsor candidates. A business owner may also nominate themselves or other candidates. This is an opportunity to recognize an individual or an organization dedicated to the support of our small business community.
Criteria for all award categories and nomination instructions can be found at http://tinyurl.com/cegcozd. Nomination packages can be uploaded from the website or mailed to the Fresno office at 801 R St., Suite 201, Fresno, CA 93271. More information is available by calling Melinda Ward at 487-5791, Ext. 2709.
All nominations must be submitted online, postmarked or hand delivered to the Fresno office no later than Jan. 17, 2014.
Business Technology Center sponsors classes
HANFORD — The Business Technology Center, sponsored by the Kings Regional Occupational Program, is offering business classes for interested community members.
The classes are Business Fast Track, Modern Office Occupations and a Microsoft Office workshop covering the basics of Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Access. Classes run Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information, call 589-7026.
Job Training Office seeks work sites
HANFORD — The Kings County Job Training Office has introduced a short-term work experience strategy designed as a bridge from unemployment to gainful employment.
The Job Training Office will fully underwrite the cost of worker wages and worker’s compensation insurance. The participating employer provides training and work site supervision. The training is planned to run for a maximum of six months.
Work sites are being sought to sponsor a worker for up to 40 hours per week, with a possibility of moving to the employer’s payroll if the person demonstrates the appropriate initiative and work skills. Additionally, these workers are qualified to receive state tax credits for businesses located in the Kings County Enterprise Zone.
For more information, call 585-6699 or email Jesse.Ortiz@co.kings.ca.us.
Free counseling services offered
VISALIA — The Central California Small Business Development Center is offering free one-on-one business counseling to local residents interested in the marketplace.
The free services include training in starting a new business, marketing, making business plans, business structure, strategic planning, financing and market research and demographics.
These consulting sessions are guaranteed to be confidential and are held at the center’s office at 220 N. Santa Fe St. Free workshops are also available to provide ongoing training to business owners and prospective entrepreneurs.
For more information, call 625-3051 or visit www.ccsbdc.org.
Kings EDC offers business loans
HANFORD — The Kings County Economic Development Corp. offers 90-percent, fixed-rate, long-term loans on commercial and industrial property business loans to businesses in Kings County.
Loans may be used for the purchase or construction of a building; renovation of an existing building; purchase of machinery and equipment; purchase of furniture/fixtures/leasehold improvements; or to provide working capital
For more information, contact Steve Stone at 585-3578.
Drought disaster loans available for small business
HANFORD — Small nonfarm businesses in Kings County are eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
SBA eligibility includes nonfarm businesses that depend on farmers and ranchers. The loans have a maximum term of 30 years and are 4 percent interest for businesses and 2.875 percent for nonprofit organizations.
The disaster was declared on March 13.
For more information, go to www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance or call 800-659-2955.
Corcoran Chamber holding Fourth Friday Coffee
CORCORAN — The Corcoran Chamber of Commerce is holding an open discussion over coffee with Chamber Ambassador Mike Graville on the fourth Friday morning of every month.
The discussions start at 7:30 a.m. at El Capitan, and topics focus on local issues in and around Corcoran. The coffee is free, and topics are open to those who attend.
El Capitan is located at 1220 Whitley Ave. For more information, call the chamber at 992-4514.
USDA announces agricultural producer grants
WASHINGTON — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the availability of nearly $10.5 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture grants to help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities designed to give them a competitive business edge.
Grants are available to help producers create new products, expand marketing opportunities, support further processing of existing products or goods, or to develop specialty and niche products.
The maximum working capital grant is $200,000; the maximum planning grant is $75,000. Eligible applicants include independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, and agricultural producer groups.
Funding priority is given to socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers or ranchers, and to small- to medium-size family farms, or farmer/rancher cooperatives. Grant applications are due Feb. 24, 2014. More information about how to apply is available at http://tinyurl.com/lpjhl94 or by contacting any USDA rural development state office.
Please email business and ag briefs a week prior to publication to features@HanfordSentinel.com.