Ag Today March 5, 2019

Is a ‘blue card’ agriculture’s immigration solution? [Fresno Business Journal]

…But most every farmer here, whether they’re from California or other parts of the country, likely would agree that a big part of the problem is that federal lawmakers have dropped the ball in revamping this country’s immigration laws, particularly those affecting migrant farm laborers. Some California lawmakers are looking to change that — at least as far as making changes to help the ag industry….Instead, the blue card legislation would address just immigration as it applies to the ag industry, and farmers at the Ag Expo who discussed the matter seemed fine with that.


Feds say Salton Sea won’t be adversely impacted by multi-state drought plan; IID can join when it chooses [Palm Springs Desert Sun]

Days after Imperial Irrigation District officials said there had been a breakthrough in their negotiations with federal officials to commit to the restoration of the Salton Sea in a mammoth Colorado River drought plan, a top federal official offered a different assessment. “California has already found a path that ensures that the Salton Sea is not impacted by the (drought contingency plan) and we hope to be able to find a path to work as partners with IID to approve the DCP as soon as possible, while we continue to be a strong partner on the Salton Sea,” Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said in a written statement….Officials with the Colorado River Board of California and the Environmental Defense Fund said all sides are working collaboratively to cross the finish line, and that Burman’s statement rightly supports both the seven state drought plan and cleanup of the Salton Sea, though they are not explicitly linked.


Recent storms have Shasta Dam putting on a show [Redding Record Searchlight]

…The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the dam, has kicked up the amount of water coming out of the dam to 30,000 cubic-feet per second, or 224,400 gallons per second. The releases could increase to as much as 50,000 cfs, or 374,000 a second, said Elizabeth Hadley, the bureau’s deputy area manager. Hadley said they need to increase the amount of water coming out of the dam because the lake is higher than normal, and with more rainstorms in the forecast, they need to make room in the lake for the additional runoff.


Wildfire in California no longer stifled by wet winters, scientific report finds [San Diego Union-Tribune]

For centuries, a wet winter in California would significantly have tamped down the chances that a large wildfire would break out the following summer and fall. However, heavy rain and snowfall no longer protects the state from massive conflagrations in the same way, according to research published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The authors — a U.S.-German team, which included scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — found that an abundance of fuel in overgrown forests and rising temperatures from global warming are now cancelling out those fire-suppressing benefits.


As pigs await slaughter at Farmer John, strangers offer water, love and comfort to the doomed [Los Angeles Times]

…Despite the strong feelings involved, the events defy the stereotype of uncompromising animal-rights protests. They’re not overtly militant affairs, and there is no aggressive proselytizing. Just as strangely, perhaps, they have the blessing of the Vernon Police Department and Farmer John….The demonstrations are organized by two nonprofit groups, the Animal Alliance Network and L.A. Animal Save. They’re associated with the Save Movement, a network of activists who promote veganism and “bear witness” outside slaughterhouses around the world to what they say is the innate cruelty of modern-day meat production.


California is the nation’s biggest GMO and organic food battleground [Bay Area News Group]

California was the first state to have genetically modified crops sold commercially, but it is also the state with the most organic farms. Do you remember the Flavr Savr tomato? It was the first genetically engineered crop to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval 25 years ago. The growth of genetically modified food has increased rapidly since 1994, but the Flavr Savr ended in commercial demise….California has a million organic acres farmed, about four times more than the state with the second most.