Ag Today October 1, 2018

U.S. farmers welcome new North American trade pact [Wall Street Journal]

Farmers and agribusinesses welcomed the agreement on a new North American trade pact, easing fears that the Trump administration’s tough negotiating strategy could deepen economic struggles in the U.S. heartland. Agreement late Sunday between the U.S. and Canada, following an updated U.S.-Mexico trade deal agreed in August, is expected to preserve tens of billions of dollars in farm goods traded annually across the countries’ borders, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates….“In trade negotiations, and I’ve been around a lot of them, there’s always a lot of pressure that builds in order to get anything,” said David Salmonsen, senior director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation. “We believe the outcome’s positive.”


Farm law expires as negotiators remain divided on new bill [CQ-Roll Call]

The 2014 farm bill expired Sunday, ending dozens of programs and putting others in a holding pattern until four key lawmakers either produce a replacement bill or seek some form of extension of the now defunct law. The four principal negotiators working on a 2018 farm bill say they hope to resolve differences between House and Senate farm bills and have a conference report ready in October for a vote in the lame-duck session in November or December….While negotiators appear to have closed the gap on two relatively noncontroversial trade and credit titles, they are still far apart in addressing the House bill’s proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.


67 protesters arrested after storming Petaluma poultry plant [San Francisco Chronicle]

Sixty-seven animal rights protesters were arrested Saturday after they stormed a poultry plant in Petaluma and snatched chickens, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office….The protesters, part of animal rights activist group Direct Action Everywhere, said on their Facebook page that they were rescuing animals that were sick or injured, and said that the business provides chickens to Amazon….According to deputies, the business owner and an employee were assaulted by a protester.


California wildfires: Why October is the most dangerous month [Bay Area News Group]

…October is actually the most dangerous month historically for wildfire risk in the state. Seven of the 10 worst wildfires in recorded California history, measured by the number of structures burned, have occurred in October. So have the three deadliest, ranked by number of people killed, according to Cal Fire, the state’s primary firefighting agency….There are two primary reasons, experts say: Lack of rain and strong, dry winds.


IID water conservation program attempts to limit waste [Imperial Valley Press]

When it comes to water, arguably the most important resource in the Imperial Valley, conservation is essential to the long-term success of the local farming community and to area residents….To ensure IID is meeting its obligations under the QSA and maintaining enough water for local use, IID has aggressively been conserving water to meet increasing QSA allotments each year since 2003….Through the IID’s System Conservation Program, the district is achieving portions of its contractual obligations for conserved water under the QSA from a suite of new system projects and structural upgrades to the district’s main canal systems.


Gassy cows are bad for the planet; could seaweed diet help? [Associated Press]

…The concept of reducing livestock emissions by using seaweed as feed is the subject of ongoing scientific research, and early results are promising. University of California researchers have found that cows that eat seaweed appear to emit less methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, when they belch and pass gas….Enter Australis Aquaculture of Greenfield, Massachusetts, which is in the midst of research at facilities in Vietnam and Portugal that is part of its push to become the first farm to produce the seaweed at commercial scale.