Ag Today March 7, 2019

Opinion: Trump has been bad for farmers [Wall Street Journal]

…As a consequence of the President’s policies, farmers saw crop prices drop even further and the expenses like fertilizer and equipment spike….The longer the president’s slapdash trade policy persists, the more opportunities American farmers will lose to their competitors….Mr. Trump has also pursued an immigration agenda designed to stoke his political base, not fix our broken system….If the White House were serious about helping American farmers, it would embrace comprehensive immigration reform, like the proposal we put forward in the 2013 Gang of Eight bill, which earned 68 votes in the Senate.


Trump pressure on California water plan excludes public, rushes science, emails show [KQED, San Francisco]

The Trump Administration has ordered federal biologists to speed up critical decisions about whether to send more water from Northern California to farmers in the Central Valley, a move that critics say threatens the integrity of the science and cuts the public out of the process….Federal biologists will set these rules after completing an intricate scientific analysis, and they are the final word on how much and when water can be pumped out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. An investigation by KQED found that the analysis will be done under unprecedented time pressure, with less transparency, less outside scientific scrutiny, and without, say federal scientists, the resources to do it properly.


Opinion: David Bernhardt’s Interior nomination threatens salmon [Sacramento Bee]

…The resignation of scandal-plagued Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke last year may have seemed like a positive change for a major federal agency. However, his successor could do even more damage….Bernhardt isn’t exactly a household name, but fishermen know him well….And we know him from his work representing greedy corporations that want water reallocated to Big Ag interests….Every time water allocations change and more is diverted to agricultural interests, the life-sustaining properties of our watersheds diminish.


Wolves are about to go off the federal endangered list. Conservationists are angry [San Francisco Chronicle]

A plan announced Wednesday by U.S wildlife officials to eliminate federal protections for gray wolves has infuriated conservationists throughout the American West, but the canine carnivores will remain protected in California….“A federal decision to delist wolves under the federal Endangered Species Act will not change the legal protections the species has” in the state, Jordan Traverso, spokeswoman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said in an email….Kirk Wilbur, director of government relations for the California Cattlemen’s Association, said the federal delisting of wolves is a valuable first step in helping ranchers protect their sheep and cattle, but it doesn’t help his constituents….“Most of our members do not have any fundamental problem with the existence of wolves in California,” Wilbur said. “It’s just that they are not allowed to protect their cattle.


California wildfires: Report names priority projects for thinning vegetation [San Francisco Chronicle]

Gov. Gavin Newsom should immediately allow the thinning of vegetation on almost 94,000 acres of state land in a bid to keep more than 200 communities safe, California fire officials said Tuesday as they released a list of the state’s 35 most critical fuel-reduction projects….Newsom and other officials are under intense pressure to respond to the growing crisis, and many experts have questioned whether state and federal authorities are doing enough….In its report, Cal Fire recommended suspending some regulatory requirements, such as permitting and licensing, to streamline the effort.


Opinion: Why Trump must veto the federal land grab bill [Bakersfield Californian]

President Trump gave one of his most memorable and impactful speeches two weeks ago, when he systematically dismantled the case for socialism….And the first big step that Trump could take in preventing any slippery slide in that direction would be to veto the Land and Water Conservation Fund bill, which enables the federal government to spend billions to purchase millions of acres of private lands for “conservation.”… This is the reverse of privatization — it is the nationalization of our nation’s farmland, forests, streams and pastures.