Ag Today March 14, 2019

Trump says his budget has more money than ever for wildfire prevention. It doesn’t. [McClatchy News Service]

President Donald Trump says in his budget that he’s asking for the highest amount ever for certain wildfire prevention programs. His proposal actually contains less money for wildfire prevention efforts than the current federal spending plan….Meanwhile, Trump’s budget would increase money that could contribute to harvesting timber and clearing trees. Trump has encouraged more logging in the past year. He publicly blames California and environmental groups for lax forest management on federal lands, where it is the responsibility of the federal government.


Trump raises possibility of walking away from China deal [Associated Press]

President Donald Trump on Wednesday dangled the prospect of walking away from a new trade deal with China if it’s not to his liking, just as he cut short his summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un when the two sides failed to reach an agreement. Trump spoke on the state of negotiations with China shortly before meeting with Republican senators on trade issues….Farmers are anxious for the president to work out an agreement with China as well as for Congress to ratify a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.


Mexican tomato growers brace for U.S. import tariffs [Wall Street Journal]

Mexican tomato growers said Wednesday a U.S. decision to end a 1996 agreement suspending antidumping tariffs on imports from Mexico could push up their costs and put them at a disadvantage to other exporters unless a new accord is reached before a May 7 deadline….The Florida Tomato Exchange, which represents Florida growers, requested its termination in November, arguing it had too many loopholes and was unenforceable….A group of Arizona legislators including Republican Sen. Martha McSally and Republican Rep. David Schweikert urged Mr. Ross not to end the pact. “Erecting new barriers to trade in fruits and vegetables risks hurting U.S. consumers and the U.S. agriculture industry,” they said in a March 1 letter to Mr. Ross.


U.S. lawmakers tuck into juicy debate over meat substitutes [Reuters]

Towering over a wooden podium in the Arkansas General Assembly this month, Republican representative David Hillman, a self-declared calf-roper, spoke of steak to pitch his latest bill. “I want my rib-eye steak to have been walking around on four feet at one time or another,” he said. His proposal, making it illegal for meat-substitute products to be labeled as meat, was swiftly adopted….In contrast, legislative bodies in states with enthusiastic backers of vegan diets – green groups, animal rights activists and health campaigners – have pushed bills encouraging plant-based food, first in California, followed by Washington D.C., New York and Oregon.


Controversial wildlife measure passes 3-2 with toughened restrictions for Ventura County [Ventura County Star]

A proposal aimed at protecting passage of wildlife in unincorporated areas of Ventura County narrowly passed Tuesday, marking the approval of what appears to be the most comprehensive effort in the state to keep paths open for mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats and other animals to roam….The measure requires the reduction of nighttime outdoor lighting shown to be harmful to nocturnal species, curtails development and removal of vegetation near rivers and streams, restricts fencing and protects native vegetation around wildlife crossings so animals will use the pathways….Exceptions were made for agriculture, including exempting the planting and harvesting of commercial crops in the buffers around waterways and wildlife crossings.


Napa Valley Grapegrowers coordinates with global wine industry on climate change [Napa Valley Register]

Seeking international colleagues and fresh ideas in the hunt for answers to the question of climate change, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) took their search abroad last week. A delegation from the NVG spent several days at the Climate Change Leadership conference in Porto, Portugal, coordinating with other envoys from global wine regions on the meaning of climate change for the worldwide wine industry….NVG is developing a report composed of takeaways from the Porto conference, Williams said….Another outcome of the conference was the creation of the Porto Protocol, which obliges members to limit their impacts on the environment even more than they may already be doing.