Ag Today November 26, 2018

California E. coli outbreak takes toll on Monterey County growers, laborers [Salinas Californian]

Amidst an outbreak of E. coli linked to romaine lettuce, a crop worth over a half-billion dollars nationally, Monterey County growers expressed concern for consumers as well as for their own employees. Some also say that produce packaging improvements could lessen future outbreaks’ impact on the industry while keeping consumers safe….Tom Nunes IV, one of the owners of the Nunes Company, which owns Foxy and Foxy Organic, said harvesting and packaging ground to a halt once they received the alert….”Money is the least thing that we’re concerned about,” said Nunes IV. “The people that got ill — that’s the only thing we’re concerned about.”


U.S. should do more to keep salmonella out of poultry [Sacramento Bee]

…The industry and the government agency tasked with protecting consumers have shifted too much of the burden for food safety to the public, especially when it comes to poultry….We have come to accept the idea that salmonella is common in many of our poultry products. We shouldn’t, even in poultry that is industrially farmed. The USDA has found that a fourth of all chicken parts were contaminated; it adopted new rules in early 2016 to reduce that to 15 percent. Somehow, that number fails to excite.


San Joaquin River salmon make big gains, but don’t call it a comeback yet [Fresno Bee]

Fish biologists bringing back salmon runs on the San Joaquin River say a record number of fish nests have been found in the river below Friant Dam east of Fresno….The numbers are encouraging to fish scientists because they show the restoration program is making progress in re-establishing a wild salmon fishery on the San Joaquin after six decades of absence. But there’s a lot of work to do before scientists can say they’ve done all they can.


Point Reyes cattle ranches gain national historic status [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]

Ranchlands at Point Reyes National Seashore in West Marin County, where cattle have thrived on grassy, fog-shrouded hills since the mid-19th century, now are nationally certified historic places, a designation that blends California’s early times with current modern controversy….There are more than 150 old homes, barns, creameries, carriage sheds and other structures on the rolling, windswept land, many in sore need of repair, and all now recognized as testaments to history at the same time their future is clouded….But the beef and dairy ranchers of Point Reyes and Olema Valley remain on tenterhooks over an unresolved issue facing the federal agency.


Clashing with Trump, U.S. government report says climate change will batter economy [Reuters]

Climate change will cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century, hitting everything from health to infrastructure, according to a government report issued on Friday that the White House called inaccurate….Global warming would disproportionately hurt the poor, broadly undermine human health, damage infrastructure, limit the availability of water, alter coastlines, and boost costs in industries from farming, to fisheries and energy production, the report said. But it added that projections of further damage could change if greenhouse gas emissions are sharply curbed, even though many of the impacts of climate change – including more frequent and more powerful storms, droughts and flooding – are already under way.


A warming climate brings new crops to frigid zones [Wall Street Journal]

…It is hard to predict precisely the effects of a changing planet, but the world of business and finance is trying to put prices on it. Agriculture is among industries on the front lines because a warming climate changes the crops that farmers can plant, affecting the productivity and value of their land. Agricultural giants such as Bayer AG , Cargill Inc., DowDuPont Inc. and Bunge Ltd. are pushing to develop hardier crops, plan new logistics networks and offer new technologies designed to help farmers adapt.