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

Grower Day 2016 – Nov. 3oth

The Butte County Farm Bureau and the Butte County Agriculture Department are excited host the 3rd Annual Grower Day on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at the Silver Dollar Fairground in Chico, CA. The Continuing Education credit program has been approved for 3.5 hours of CE Credit for Private Applicator License holders. Along with the 3.5 hours of CE Credits, the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program update will also count for the Outreach Opportunity requirement to remain a member in good standing with the Butte-Yuba-Sutter Water Quality Coalition.

You will want to join us for outstanding education program, great trade show of area ag businesses, complimentary coffee and donuts in the morning, FREE boxed lunch at Noon and cookies during the afternoon break. Everything starts at 7:30 AM with registration, the trade show and coffee and donuts.

Here is the program for the day:


7:30     Registration, Trade Show, Coffee & Donuts

9:00    Welcome & Update from the County
Louie B. Mendoza Jr., Butte County Agricultural Commissioner

9:15      Navel Orangeworm Management
Elizabeth “Betsy” A. Boyd, Assoc. Professor in Plant Science CSUC

9:45    Controlling Pests in Walnut Production
Emily J. Symmes, PhD, UC Cooperative Extension

10:15   Break and Trade Show

10:45   Pesticide Container Recycling
Bill Graves, Green Planet Plastics

11:15   DPR Worker Health & Safety Regulations
Sidney Hilton, Department of Pesticide Regulations

11:45  New Regulations – Pesticide Applications Near Schools
Rick Strider, Department of Pesticide Regulations

12:15  Trade Show and Free Lunch

12:45  Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
Jack Rice, California Farm Bureau

1:30    Cookie Break and Trade Show

1:45    Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program Update
Kayla Zilch, Butte-Yuba-Sutter Water Quality Coalition

2:15    Trade Show

3:00    End of Day – Thank you for coming!

We have a FANTASTIC list of sponsors and exhibitors already lined up for the Trade Show. Spaces for the trade show are still available. Call 530-533-1473 for details.

Chico Electric
Pacific Gas and Electric

Peterson Cat

Business Sponsor
North State Electric & Pump/ North State Drilling

Ag One Solutions
Agra Marketing Group
Agromillora California
Alternative Energy Systems
Bidcal Online Auctions
CSU, Chico College of Agriculture
Dave Wilson Nursery
Deerpoint Group
DeRuosi Nut
Duarte Nursery
Farm Data Systems, Inc.
Farmers International, Inc.
GIG7 Crop Insurance Services
Hortau-Simplified Irrigation
North State Electric & Pump/ North State Drilling
North State Solar Energy
North Valley Ag Services
Northern California National Bank
PBM Supply & MFG. Inc.
Trece, Inc.
Tri Counties Bank
Water Right Technologies, Inc


Sutter County RCD Positions Available


The Sutter County Resource Conservation District (SCRCD) writes and implements grants, works under fee-for-service contracts, and provides technical information for partners at all levels of government, private sector, and non-profits throughout the Sacramento Valley.

They are currently working to fill two positions. Interested individuals should send a cover letters and resume to



Likely full time position.

 District Administration and Management
– Invoicing on all SCRCD agreements
– Work with Admin Assistant to stay up-to-date on financials
– Preparing and presenting progress reports at monthly Board Meetings
– Attend appropriate stakeholder meetings to represent SCRCD
– Inform Board of pertinent information as it comes in
– Update website and social media page as necessary
– Coordinate and/or participate in local outreach events

NRCS National Air Quality Initiative (NAQI) Program
– Manage incoming applications, create conservation plans and submit for TechReview to Area Office, certify payments, witness destruction at local destruction yard, schedule and attend field appointments, assist Farm Bill assistant in answering general questions about program

NRCS Irrigation Water Management
– Assist NRCS contract holders with their Irrigation Water Management records following the installation of their new system via phone, in the field, or in office
– Education and outreach

Butte-Yuba-Sutter Water Quality Coalition (BYS)
– Serve as a contractor as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the local subwatershed under the Irrigated
– Attend SVWQC meetings to represent local subwatershed and to gain information to then report back to Members
– Assist Members with their requirements via phone, email, in-office appointments, and oral presentations
– Coordinate education and outreach to Members via newsletters, e-newsletters, and special meetings


  • Organized, high work standard, efficient, diligent work ethic
  • Friendly, patient, professional
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office (Outlook, Publisher, Excel, Word)
  • Time management
  • Effective, proficient and eloquent writer
  • B.S. in Agriculture
  • General knowledge in conservation planning
  • Self-motivator, optimistic
  • Independent
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Supports the District’s mission and vision
  • Task oriented
  • Works well in team setting


NRCS Liaison
Likely a part time position.

Duties and Responsibilities
 – Answering telephones and directing calls
– Aiding the Farm Bill Assistant with incoming office traffic
– Provide information on programs and application/contract process
– General office tasks such as making copies, preparing mailings, ordering supplies, etc.
– Must be organized, punctual and friendly. This is the first person contract holders see when coming into the field office
– Represent both the NRCS and SCRCD in the highest regard
– Other tasks deemed necessary by the NRCS Farm Bill Assistant


  • Organized
  • Friendly and professional
  • Knowledgeable in agricultural basics
  • Self-motivator, always looking for next task at hand
  • Patient
  • Task oriented, effective prioritization
  • Willingness to learn details of several programs and associated application process
  • Takes direction well
  • Works well in a team setting
  • Eye for detail
  • Excellent communication skills


Fall and Winter gardening

If you are a member of the Butte County Farm Bureau than you are familiar with the regular UCCE Master Garden Column by Bill Parish in each issue of the BCFB Farm News. We’re sharing the September/October Column with all you this month. If you’d like to me a member please call the BCFB office at 530-533-1473 or visit

Although the arrival of cooler fall temperatures is a blessing to most, it also signifies the conclusion of the generous summer garden. But the beauty and bounty of a winter garden must not be dismissed.  For an eye-catching winter display, consider planting a vibrant border of leafy greens, such as rainbow chard, red leaf lettuce, or blue curled scotch kale.  Edible flowers, such as pansies or calendulas, planted amongst the vegetables will offer splashes of color throughout the season.


*The following is intended as a rough guide toensure success in the garden and, therefore, fresh food on the table!  Please be aware that planting and harvest dates may vary, depending on location.  For more information visit the Master Gardener website at



Transplant broccoli and cauliflower through mid-September.  Swiss chard, radishes, kale, parsley, and cilantro can be transplanted through late September.

Direct-sow or transplant lettuce every couple of weeks for a continual harvest.

Plant garlic and shallot seeds through October. Hardneck garlic comes in a wide variety of complex flavors; Softneck has a milder flavor and tends to store better than hardneck.

Direct-seed or transplant spinach.


Enjoy the bounty of summer: tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, Swiss chard, eggplant, green beans, summer and winter squash, peppers, corn, and melons are all available to harvest.

September marks the culmination of most summer fruits, such as peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, pluots, and apriums.

Apples, pears, pomegranates, persimmons, olives, kiwis, grapes, and figs will be available at least through October.


Remove and compost any exhausted summer vegetable plants.  Diseased plants should be thrown in the garbage to avoid passing along unwanted pathogens.

Add fully-decomposed compost to the garden in order to provide nutrients and improve soil structure.

If cabbage loopers, aphids, white flies or other pests have been a problem in the past, try using row covers in order to protect the crop.

Protect grapes from hungry birds by draping them with bird netting, or something similar.  Hanging mylar strips or old CDs may work, as well.

Hand¬-pick caterpillars, snails, and slugs off crops.




Continue planting radishes, lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and garlic.

Direct-sow snow and snap peas from late October through mid-November for an early spring harvest.

Consider planting a nitrogen-fixing cover crop, such as fava beans, to help improve the soil.  Don’t forget to plant a few to harvest, as well!

Onion seeds can be direct-sown through mid-November.  Short- and neutral-day types will perform the best in our northern region.


Depending on the weather, some of the summer crops may still be producing harvestable crops.  Otherwise, carrots, Swiss chard, and lettuce will be the main producers.

Apples, pears, pomegranates, persimmons, olives, kiwis, grapes, and figs are available.


The brown marmorated stink bug, a serious pest of fruits and vegetables, will likely be moving indoors looking for a warm place to spend the winter.  Exclude them by making sure all cracks are sealed and doors are tight.

Of Note: 

One of the most common mistakes in fall gardening is over-watering.  As the temperatures decrease, so do the water needs of each plant.  Adjusting irrigation according to weather will not only keep crops healthy and happy, but will aid in the conservation of water.

Are you a groundwater user?

In 2014, the California legislature passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which was then signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.  This legislation triggers a more intense and hands on approach to groundwater management at the local level and requires cooperation and participation by all water users including agricultural groundwater pumpers.

The Butte County Department of Water and Resource Conservation will be hosting three public outreach meetings to make groundwater pumpers aware of the legislation and the impacts of SGMA implementation to your farming operations and to Butte County. The meetings are as follows:

Monday, June 13, 2016 from 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Chico Masonic Lodge
1110 W East Avenue
Chico, CA

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 from 6:00 – 9:00 PM
Durham Memorial Hall
9319 Midway
Durham, CA

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 from 9:00 – 11:00 AM
Gridley Fairgrounds, Butte Hall
199 E Hazel Street
Gridley, CA

The content of each meeting will be the same requiring you to only attend one event. In addition, at the Durham meeting   Christina Buck, PhD, will present her findings regarding the updated Butte County Water Inventory & Analysis report that she has coordinated with Davids’ Engineering.

Michael Harty of Kearns and West will serve as the meeting facilitator, guiding the public through the SGMA language and purpose as well as fielding your questions.

“How do I know if I am a groundwater pumper?” If you use a well to irrigate your crops/pasture or use a well for your home, you are a groundwater pumper.

You attendance at one of these three meetings is crucial to learning and understanding how SGMA will have a bearing on your groundwater use. Please do not hesitate to contact our office at (530) 533-1473 or email Colleen Cecil at if you have questions. You can also contact Vickie Newlin at Butte County Water and Resource Conservation directly at (530) 538-2179.

SGMA and IA meeting advertisement

Summer Barbecue 2016

The 2016 Butte County Farm Bureau Summer Barbecue is right around the corner! Now is the time to get your tickets and make plans to attend. You can return the ticket order form on the invitation you received in the mail or you can call the office and order your tickets over the phone. (530) 533-1472

 Don’t delay- we will have a full house with lots of fun to be had!

See you on Thursday, June 16th at the Summer Barbecue!

What is the BRCP?

Editorial from the Executive Director…

For almost nine years, the Butte County Association of Governments (BCAG) has been working on behalf of the cities of Biggs, Chico, Gridley and Oroville and Butte County to develop the Butte Regional Conservation Plan (BRCP.) The BRCP is a federal Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and a state Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP). It reportedly is supposed to provide streamlined state and federal endangered species act and wetlands permitting for transportation projects, land development and other covered activities over the 50 year term of the state and federal issued permits. It also provides comprehensive species, wetlands and ecosystem conservation and contributes to the recovery of endangered species within Butte County.

The BRCP Formal Public Draft is currently closing in on the conclusion of its 180 plus day public comment period that ends on June 8, 2016. The Butte County Farm Bureau would encourage you to consider sending in your comments about this environmentally motivated plan.

The plan will be executed through in perpetuity contracts with land owners who voluntarily wish to sell a conservation easement on their land, or sell their land in fee title for conservation purposes.

The drafted plan identifies an estimated $377 million dollars in plan costs. Of these costs $139 million will come from direct mitigation or developer fees to carry out the program. The remaining $238 million required for acquisition of land for the conservation portion of the plan to be executed will be derived from state and federal grants according to the plans draft. This places the burden directly on tax payers. Moreover the plan was written using figures generated in 2011 and does not take into account inflation and the 50 year term of the plan and the likely increase in costs.

What the plan draft does not tell you is who it will impact and how. The Butte County Farm Bureau believes the BRCP will create unnecessary permanent burdens on our most valuable ag land and for that reason should not be approved in its current form.

The written plan is more than 1000 double sided pages and is not written in a format designed to be casual reading for the general person in my opinion. BCAG has created some easier to understand fact sheets that you will find at that we encourage you read.

We would also encourage you to read the Butte County Farm Bureau comment letter we submitted on the Formal Public Draft of the Butte Regional Conservation Plan. Read it here. Have questions about our letter? Feel free to call me at (530) 533-1473 or send me an email.

If you wish to submit your own letter, you must do so by June 8, 2016 to the following:
Chris Devine, Planning Manager
Butte County Association of Governments
326 Huss Drive, Suite 150
Chico, CA 95928
Fax (530) 879-2444

Thanks for reading!

Colleen Cecil has served as the Executive Director of the Butte County Farm Bureau since 2006. As Executive Director, Colleen advocates for the more than 1300 family members of the Butte County Farm Bureau on issues such as land use, rural crime, and water and manages the day-to day operations of the organization with guidance from the 26-member volunteer Board of Directors. 

Controlling Winged Water-Primrose

Best Management Practices for the control of Winged Water-Primrose (WWP)

Winged Water-Primrose (Ludwigia decurrens) is a non-native weed that was identified in Butte County rice fields in 2011. In February of 2016, the California Department of Food and Agriculture Division of Plant Health’s pest ratings made the determination that WWP is an “A” rated weed pest and a “P” rated seed pest (prohibited). These ratings have the potential to impact certified rice fields and the movement of seed as well as the export of rice to other countries.

After the initial identification of Winged Water-Primrose in Butte County, it was determined by Farm Advisors and the Agricultural Commissioner that the distribution extends over several square miles. Most infestations are along borders of rice fields and irrigation and drainage canals.

WWP flowers and produces seed capsules at every leaf node starting when the plant is small (~ 1 foot tall). Seed capsules contain thousands of seeds which are viable before the light brown seed coat is formed. Early monitoring and control are essential. The seed capsules can float on the water surface and are readily dispersed along irrigation canals. The seed can germinate in shallow water or moist soil. Based on field observations WWP will germinate from mid-May through mid-September. Season long vigilance is required. Once established, WWP will survive in a flooded rice field and set seed. Also, part of the WWP root system floats in the water. Root segments will quickly produce new plants. Care must be taken when physically removing the plants to ensure that root segments are not allowed to move in the water canals. This suggests that mowing of levees as a means of control may potentially increase dispersal of this weed. Field observations also indicate that WWP is spread by tillage and harvest equipment.

Results from UC Researchers Albert Fischer and Jim Eckert preliminary research on this weed: “Behavior of Ludwigia decurrens (winged primrose willow) and herbicide options for control” are available via the UC Rice Blog .

In an effort to manage and control WWP and stop the spread, the Agricultural Commissioner is requesting that Best Management Practices (BMP’s) be followed. The BMP’s were developed by stakeholders including UC Extension, Rice Experiment Station, irrigation districts and rice industry representatives. The ultimate goal for the the Winged-Water Primrose project is eradication of this invasive weed, however, in the short term our goal is to “manage and control” the weed.


Best Management Practices for the control of Winged Water-Primrose (WWP)

1. Monitoring and Surveillance of WWP:
a. Staff from the Agricultural Commissioner’s office and Rice Experiment Station will
conduct routine surveys of fields and ditch banks beginning in mid-April through
September. We ask for your full cooperation with this project, including easy
access to the fields in the control zone.
b. Any potential or suspected WWP locations should be reported to the Agricultural
Commissioner at 530-538-7381 or to the Rice Experiment Station at 530-868-5481.
This process will allow for verification, monitoring, and recording of WWP sites.

2. Use of Herbicides to control WWP: Herbicides options may vary depending on the location
of the weed (e.g. field edge, in the field, production system, ditch bank etc.). Follow all
herbicide label requirements, the application of herbicides must comply with the label for the
site to be treated, rates, and timing. The UC research report mentioned on the first page
presents results on herbicide efficacies to control WWP.
a. Treatment of WWP sites will be done in cooperation with participants including
confirmation with grower, land owner or agency.

3. Water Management: Maintain continuous flood and recommended water levels in fields
(checks) that have been found with WWP. Leather’s method, pin point flood, dry down weed control techniques provide suitable conditions for the growth of WWP.

4. Rogueing: When needed, rogue WWP plants, as well as floating shoots, and place in a
plastic bag at site. Promptly dispose plastic bags containing WWP at designated dumpster
at BUCRA “Riceton” facility (8am-3pm) or at the landfill. Do not carry the rogued WWP around in the pickup for a few days. Circumstances where rogueing may be preferred include: infestation across a field, organic rice fields or if plants have already produced seed pods. Herbicide treatment does not appear to kill the seeds. The plant may be dead but the seeds remain viable. Care should be taken to remove all of the floating root system when rogueing to discourage vegetative propagation.

5. Burning: The Agricultural Commissioner has contacted the Butte County Air Quality
Management District (BCAQMD) to prioritize fields/checks/ditches and drains containing
WWP for burning. BCAQMD burn permits are required and air quality restrictions must be

6. Tillage and harvest equipment: All equipment that has entered WWP areas or sites, should be cleaned (washed) at site prior to the movement out of the WWP area/site. It is
recommended to till and/or harvest the fields where WWP has been found last.

Certified Rice Seed: Growers should only plant certified rice seed, since the pest is not permitted in seed production fields or in any class of certified rice seed. Farm saved seed originating in the control zone is not recommended. Varieties of rice that are not in the official seed certification program should not be used if the seed source is from impacted areas.

 A map of confirmed WWP sites/locations and pictures of what WWP looks like at different growth stages can be found here. We will provide udpated WWP information and links at our website. Should you have any questions, please contact Robert Hill, Evan Padgett, or myself at 530-538-7381.

This information was provide by Louie Mendoza, Butte County Ag Commissioner to all property owners and operators  who farm rice on April 28, 2016 .  You can find the full report with additional images on the Butte County Ag Commissioner Website. 

BIT Workshop June 1st

BIT Program Update on June 1

The California High Patrol will provide an overview on the Basic Inspection of Terminals (BIT) Program to Butte County Farm Bureau members on Wednesday, June 1 at 12 PM at the BCFB office in Oroville. Lunch will be provided for those who RSVP their attendance. A law signed in 2013 approved changes to the BIT program that went into effect on January 1, 2016.

The new changes include the addition of a class of vehicles not previously included in the rule; category (J) commercial motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) between 10,001-26,000 pounds. This means that standard box pickup trucks or pickups that have an “altered” bed (flat bed, utility body, etc) with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds that are used commercially (associated with commerce or business) will be subject to the Motor Carrier Permit program which will then trigger the BIT program. Operators of category (J) vehicles will also be required to track hours of duty status as well as 90 day vehicle inspection records.

Category (K) includes any commercial motor vehicle (as defined in CVC subdivision (b) of Section 15210) with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds or a commercial motor vehicle of any GVWR towing a vehicle with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds. If you use a vehicle for your farming, ranching or affiliated business that meets the description above for Categories (J) or (K), please plan on attending this upcoming workshop. Call the BCFB office at (530) 533-1473 to RSVP for the meeting. There is no charge to attend for Farm Bureau members.

Photo courtesy of Holly Foster, Foster Ranch