Gall Busters are Busting the Gall in Growers Sides

Crown gall is a disease that has been plaguing walnut growers for decades It costs the industry millions with crop loss, replacing trees and laborious treatments that seem to be never ending. Gall Buster is a chemical treatment for crown gall that hit the retail market in 2016 as an environmentally friendly, worker safe and time saving product to effectively treat infected trees.

Caused by a naturally occurring bacteria in all soils, crown ball is a cancer like growth on the trunk and roots of walnut and almond trees. It acts very much like a cancer in humans and the bacteria changes the DNA structure of the cells infected causing rapid, tumor like growths. It can stunt a trees growth, reduce production and even kill the tree.

Sutter County walnut grower John Lewin experienced firsthand the devastation that can come with a crown gall infection and sought for an economical and safe way to treat the disease. Working with a chemical engineer at University of California, Davis, Lewin developed Gall Buster which has been proven in field test as an effective treatment for crown gall.

“Necessity is the mother of all invention,” said Lewin. “I was exhausted trying to treat the crown gall in my orchard not to mention the costs in time, labor and production loss.”

Lewin planted a new walnut orchard which later became prevalent with crown gall infection. At the time, the only treatment recommended growers was to dig or chop out the crown gall and then burn the effected tissue. This long laborious project could take over 45 minutes per gall. As a small grower, it was a never-ending job.

In 2002, he started mixing and experimenting with treating crown gall in his own orchard. He quickly saw that his invention was highly effective. With neighbor’s encouragement, Lewin sent the product for a field test in 2011 that came back with astounding results of 97 to 100 percent effective. Lewin knew that the product could be valuable to the California walnut industry and started the process to get it approved for use.

“I want to provide a service to other growers,” said Lewin. “Growers need help treating crown gall like I did.”

After five years working with the Environmental Protection Agency, Gall Buster was deemed Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) and approved by the EPA. An additional year to get through the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and Gall Buster was on the market and helping growers.

Since Gall Busters founded in 2008, over 150,000 trees have been effectively treated. Gall Busters, located in Yuba City, Calif. is a full-service company. They can come out and treat the crown gall with Gall Buster for you and sell Gall Buster for growers to self-treat. For more information visit or call Lewin at 1(800)330-5521.

Sohnrey Family Foods Offers New Benefit to Farm Bureau Members

Butte County is lucky to have several farms that have remained within a family for sohnreyfamilyfarmslogoadjustfinalmultiple generations. Keeping a farming tradition alive in family is a difficult task, but the Sohnrey family has managed to do so by putting family first. In 2014, the Sohnrey family realized a long time goal to have its own brand to sell to local consumers. Sohnrey Family Foods was born and is now a full operating almond processing company with a unique gift shop right on the farm.

“We decided to start Sohnrey Family Foods when we had enough family members to not only keep the farms running but also to start and run the gift shop,” said Derek Sohnrey. “Our hope with this business is that as our family keeps expanding we can continue to create enough jobs to keep everyone involved with our family business.”

Sohnrey Family Foods specializes in creativity by developing innovative flavor profiles for its products. For instance, they have exciting flavors like Maple Bacon Almonds and a new Snickerdoodle Almond Butter. To support other local producers and the community, Sohnrey Family Foods also carries locally made olive oils, hand crafted wood products, art and much more.

The Sohnrey family has also been longtime supporters of the Butte County Farm Bureau and Sohnrey Family Foods is no exception.

“Farm Bureau does so much to help protect and promote agriculture,” said Sohnrey. “Agriculture and farming is our way of life and it is nice to know that someone is helping protect that for not only us, but future generations to come.”

The Butte County Farm Bureau is very excited to welcome a new member benefit from Sohnrey Family Foods to other Farm Bureau members. Farm Bureau members now receive 10 percent off of their purchase in the Sohnrey Family Foods gift shop.

“We wanted to support the people that support Farm Bureau,” said Sohnrey. “This is just one way that we can help give back and support Farm Bureau and its members.”

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, keep Sohnrey Family Foods in mind when shopping for your significant other. They can create the perfect local gift with having everything from wine to chocolate covered almonds and locally made candles they have what you need.

You can visit Sohnrey Family Foods and meet the Sohnrey family in the gift shop located at 41 Skillin Lane, Oroville, CA 95965 (Off HWY 99 between Durham and Bigs) or shop online at

You can also follow them on social media through the following:

Chico Electric – Business Spotlight

As previously printed in the November/December 2016 Butte County Farm Bureau News

Butte County is fortunate to have the innovative and dynamic local businesses that call it home. chico-electric Chico Electric has been a model business of community support and innovative technology since N.C. “Cec” Nielsen founded the company in 1960.

Chico Electric has risen to the challenging needs of a changing energy world. As the world has shifted and demand for energy independence has increase, Chico Electric has put boots to the ground to find ways to provide services to customers that meet their needs. With meeting those demands, Chico Electric has always kept agriculture in the forefront of their mind. In fact, 85 percent of the customer base is agriculture or industry related.

“We are fortunate to have the best customers in the world.” – Norm Nielsen, Chico Electric, Chief Executive Officer

“We are fortunate to have the best customers in the world,” said Chico Electric Chief Executive Officer Norm Nielsen. “Our purpose, our passion, our business and our success has always been and will be to exceptionally serve our customers. Our mission is our customer’s complete satisfaction and is the essential measurement for the success of our entire company.”

Over the years, Chico Electric has designed, installed and maintained state of the art electrical technology for farm petersonphoto_160511-341irrigation systems, nut processing facilities, rice drying plants, fruit dehydrators, cold storage buildings and breweries. The staff at Chico Electric can also install and maintain photovoltaic solar, high efficient combined heat & power systems (CHP) and battery storage to offset high energy costs.

In fact, at one of the walnut dryer installations conducted by Chico Electric, they also installed solar. The dryer operates about a month out of the year and the solar system generates and builds kWh credits the other 11 months creating a very low payback and high return on investment. At the same time they petersonphoto_160511-771provide energy conservation devices such as variable frequency drives (VFD) and LED lighting reducing the pay back even further.

“Our experience in energy generation runs nearly 40 years designing, installing and maintaining over 700 renewable energy systems including solar, bio fuel, micro turbines and battery storage,” said Nielsen. “From residential solar systems to off grid cattle watering projects to large multi megawatt industrial and agricultural systems. Creating value for our customers.”

Whether it is assisting local businesses or residents in their energy needs, or supporting a local events and organizations, Chico Electric is a leader in the community. Contact Chico Electric with your next energy project to see how they can work with you at 530-891-1933 or see