Ag Today February 21, 2019

Jared Kushner privately working on reshaping legal immigration [McClatchy News Service]

As debate in public rages about illegal immigration and a border wall, Jared Kushner has been holding private meetings in the West Wing on ways to overhaul the legal immigration system, according to six people familiar with the conversations and documents obtained by McClatchy. President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law is operating on at least two tracks — the first is working with a small group studying specific ways to redistribute employment visas and the second is helping lead a series of “listening sessions” with about three dozen interest groups important to Trump to see if there is a position that Republicans can rally around before the 2020 elections….According to meeting agendas obtained by McClatchy, those invited to sessions with Kushner come from some of Trump’s core constituencies in the worlds of religion, law enforcement, agriculture and business.


Feds announce initial Central Valley Project water allocation. Westlands isn’t pleased [Fresno Bee]

San Joaquin Valley farmers on the east side will be getting their full allocation of San Joaquin River water, while farmers on the west side will be getting only 35 percent to start, according to the 2019 initial water supply allocation released Wednesday by the federal Bureau of Reclamation….The forecast prompted Westlands Water District, which covers more than 1 million acres on the west side, to express concern that the bureau is being too restrictive….The Fresno County Farm Bureau expressed similar concerns. “Today’s announcement of a 35 percent water allocation for Fresno County’s West side federal water contractors once again shows the brokenness of California’s water systems,” said CEO Ryan Jacobsen.


Opinion: Why California should turn down Trump’s offer to raise Shasta Dam [Los Angeles Times]

If the Trump administration wanted to increase California’s water supply by the most cost-effective means possible, it would immediately drop its attempt to raise Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet. It would instead put $1.5 billion — the cost of the proposed Shasta enlargement, in 2019 dollars — toward a completely different approach to water supply: watershed and forest restoration. Not only would such restoration add to the state’s water supply, it would help California deal with mega-fires, flooding and climate change.


It’s official, Bill Lyons joins Gov. Newsom’s staff as a voice of the Valley [Modesto Bee]

Bill Lyons officially became the Agriculture Liaison to Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday afternoon. What is the Agriculture Liaison? That’s something Lyons will have to help figure out. The position is new, apparently created specifically for Lyons and for a governor trying to deepen his understanding of how the Central Valley works….Lyons, 68, is a political rarity in that he has received prestigious awards both from agriculture and environmental groups – organizations frequently in conflict over water and land use. He was president of the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau and is a former California Cattleman of the Year.


Cold, wet weather has almond growers worried about this year’s pollination [Bakersfield Californian]

…It’s still too early to say how big an effect recent chilly weather will have on this year’s pollination, but there is some concern in Kern almond orchards that the bees probably won’t be working as hard as they would be if conditions were warmer. Unfortunately, colder-than-normal weather has set in just as the world’s largest pollination event gets under way in the Central Valley….Second on the list of worries is how cold moisture will affect blooms themselves. Frost can damage blooms that have already been pollinated, and every one ruined by weather is a nut that won’t develop.


An unsettling sight: Someone strung dead coyotes along a fence near Oakdale [Modesto Bee]

A woman driving to Oakdale over the weekend came across a grotesque scene: seven dead coyotes hung by their snouts on a wire fence along 26 Mile Road north of Woodward Reservoir….There are very few restrictions on killing coyotes and nothing illegal about displaying their carcasses in that manner, but Patrick Foy, Captain of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement Division, agrees that it is “highly offensive.”…People most often kill coyotes to protect livestock, some do it for their pelts and even fewer to eat. There is cattle on the property where the coyotes were hung but the owner said neither she nor her tenants know anything about who killed the coyotes or hung them there.