Ag Today January 9, 2019

Newsom inherits a ‘whole bunch of headaches’ despite last-minute water deals by Brown [Sacramento Bee]

…Yet as Gavin Newsom takes over as governor, the state of water in California seems as unsettled as ever. The centerpiece agreement Brown made — a giant compromise on reallocating water to help the fish — ran into immediate trouble….The board agreed to reconsider the compromise in the coming months, but opposition to Brown’s plan was instantaneous….Newsom has talked about scaling back the Delta tunnels project but otherwise has said little about water. He barely mentioned the topic in his inaugural speech Monday.


Strawberry, flower, grape growers to benefit from new farm bill provisions [Santa Maria Times]

Strawberry, flower and wine grape growers across the Central Coast will receive additional assistance in the coming years as a result of the 2018 farm bill, which establishes federal food and agricultural policy for five years….”Slowly over the last decade [the farm bill] has geared itself to our issues,” explained Josh Rolph, federal policy manager for the California Farm Bureau Federation. “The 2018 bill has a lot of improvements to support our crops and the variety in our state. We’re really pleased with what we ended up getting.” Outside of commodity subsidies, the bill will contribute to research initiatives that benefit California producers as they grapple with issues posed by labor shortages and natural disasters (like mudslides and wildfires).


Gov. Gavin Newsom announces plans to improve California’s wildfire prevention efforts [Los Angeles Times]

Following the deadliest year of wildfires in California history, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday proposed $305 million in spending to accelerate the removal of thousands of acres of dense, dry forests and brush, expand emergency crews and modernize 911 systems in California….Newsom, in his first full day in office, made the announcement during a news conference at a Cal Fire station in the Sierra foothills Tuesday afternoon. He said his budget proposal will include funding for the removal of dead trees and dry, combustible vegetation; to add five new conservation corps work crews to do that work, along with 13 new fire engines; to improve mutual aid support with local agencies; and oward to improve emergency communications.


Trump threatens to block emergency funds for California fire relief [Wall Street Journal]

President Trump on Wednesday threatened to halt the flow of federal emergency relief funds to California unless officials there “get their act together” to prevent forest fires that have ravaged the state in recent months, killing dozens and destroying thousands of homes….The White House didn’t respond to a question about whether Mr. Trump had ordered FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to block the funds or whether he was considering doing so. President Trump has frequently tweeted complaints about California’s forest management practices and has previously threatened to withhold federal funds, but hasn’t followed through.


U.S.-China trade talks end. Now high-level talks can begin. [New York Times]

Three days of trade negotiations between midlevel American and Chinese officials ended in Beijing on Wednesday afternoon with progress in identifying and narrowing the two sides’ differences but little sense of when they might reach a deal. The trade talks could help clear the way for higher-level talks later this month, when President Trump attends the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland….In a statement issued after the talks ended, the United States trade representative’s office said the two sides had discussed China’s pledge to buy a “substantial” amount of American agricultural, energy and manufacturing products.