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Ag Today February 24, 2020

California Fish and Game ends striped bass population mandate, allowing decline [Fresno Bee] The California Fish and Game Commission on Friday voted unanimously to amend its decades-old policy regarding striped bass, beginning a process that could allow the population to decline. The decision ends a 1996 policy that had committed the state to sustaining a population of about 1 million striped bass in the Delta and other California waterways….Farming groups and urban water associations have for years sought to reduce the population of striped bass, arguing that doing so would help the endangered Chinook salmon and Delta smelt that bass prey...

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Ag Today February 21, 2020

California sues Trump administration again — this time over water [San Francisco Chronicle] A day after President Trump visited the Central Valley to celebrate a boost in water for California farms, state officials sued to block the additional water deliveries. Attorney General Xavier Becerra, in a lawsuit filed Thursday, maintains that new federal rules designed to increase pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta fail to protect salmon and other endangered fish in the delta estuary. The lawsuit claims the Trump administration didn’t seriously consider the science and abused its power when it weakened protections under the Endangered Species Act to...

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Ag Today February 20, 2020

Trump signs order giving California farmers more water [Wall Street Journal] President Trump ordered regulators to give farmers here in California’s Central Valley more access to water, a decision that fulfills a 2016 campaign promise and immediately enraged environmentalists….“A major obstacle to providing more water for the region’s farmers has now been totally eliminated by the federal government,” the president told a crowd of cheering supporters in an airport hangar….Farmers in the Republican-dominated pocket of the largely Democratic state welcomed the news. “Improved flexibility in water management will benefit rural communities throughout the Central Valley,” said California Farm Bureau Federation President...

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Ag Today February 19, 2020

California Farm Bureau Federation will fight 'split-roll' ballot measure [Politico] The state’s largest agricultural organization will oppose a proposed “split-roll” ballot measure that would increase commercial property taxes, saying it will cost farmers and consumers billions by mandating costly reassessments for California barns, wineries and processing plants. Jamie Johansson, president of the 34,000-member California Farm Bureau Federation, said in an interview that it was highly unusual for his organization to oppose a ballot measure at this early stage, “but our board of directors is very concerned about the impact this initiative would have on rural California.”…The proposed initiative would untether commercial...

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Ag Today February 18, 2020

Trump's visit to Bakersfield remains a mystery after White House confirms travel plans [Bakersfield Californian] Days after the White House confirmed President Donald Trump would be traveling to Bakersfield next week, details remained scarce about his visit….Farm Bureau President John Moore said the president could address a “laundry list” of issues facing Central Valley farmers, and added the bureau was in a holding pattern until informed of plans from federal officials. A White House statement released to the media said Trump’s Bakersfield visit would focus on efforts to dramatically improve the supply and delivery of water in California and other Western...

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Ag Today February 14, 2020

Republicans hope Trump’s visit will drive ‘red wave’ in the Valley [Fresno Bee] President Donald Trump is visiting Bakersfield next week, and local Republicans hope he will sign a water bill and say a “red wave” is swelling in the state. Trump will stop in California and other Western states next week, a White House official confirmed Thursday. The California leg will include a stop in Bakersfield on Wednesday, where Trump will join House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to speak about efforts to improve water deliveries for farmers. https://www.fresnobee.com/news/politics-government/election/article240275071.html   Drought conditions are creeping back to the Central Valley [KBAK-TV, Bakersfield] After a promising start...

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Ag Today February 13, 2020

Drought conditions returning to California, new report shows [Bay Area News Group] Driven by weeks of unusually dry weather, the federal government on Thursday classified parts of California as back in a drought for the first time since last year. Altogether, 9.5% of the state’s land area is now in a moderate drought, with forecasts showing no rain in most of the state for at least the next 10 days. The area classified as in moderate drought Thursday was in the Central Valley, covering roughly 10 million acres from Tuolumne County to Kern County….The new report does not mean, however, that...

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Ag Today February 12, 2020

Not-so rainy season: Bone-dry February to stay that way, possibly boosting fire danger [Santa Rosa Press Democrat] …In a drier than usual rainy season, February in the North Bay has been downright arid. There’s been zero rain this month, and none is expected for at least several weeks….A lack of rain in these typically wet months increases the chances of an earlier start to wildfire season. But fires aren’t the only concern. Ranchers need winter rainfall to revitalize the pastures that feed and fatten their livestock. https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10694595-181/not-so-rainy-season-bone-dry-february   North Bay wineries taking insurers to court over denied smoke taint claims [Napa Valley Register] North...

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Ag Today February 11, 2020

China outbreak weighs on commodities, from oil to hogs [Wall Street Journal] China’s coronavirus outbreak has scrambled the global trade in commodities, hitting the country’s massive appetite and challenging global supply lines set up to feed it. Markets for essentials like natural gas, copper and pork have all swooned amid worry over a broad weakening of demand. Prices for some natural resources are plumbing multiyear lows. Chinese companies are canceling orders for crude oil and other commodities, and the country’s once-heaving ports are quieter. Analysts say the disruption could be long lasting, as stockpiles of commodities grow and ships lay idle....

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Ag Today February 10, 2020

PG&E and other California utilities detail future plans for power shut-offs [Associated Press] California utilities plan to continue shutting off power to customers during dry and windy conditions to prevent sparking deadly wildfires, but they aim to make outages more targeted to avoid widespread blackouts, according to plans filed Friday with the state. Plans by the state’s three largest investor-owned utilities said wildfire mitigation plans would build on efforts made last year to reduce the risk their equipment would cause deadly infernos….The thrust of the plans is to expand vegetation trimming that can cause a fire when it strikes electrical equipment...

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