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Ag Today April 12, 2021

Panetta Preserving Family Farms Act could keep rich ranch land within families [Salinas Californian] … Joined by Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02), Panetta's act would increase the amount of farmland that can be valued for family farming operations and decrease the amount of farmland that must be valued for development purposes when someone inherits the property. … "Land values are increasing as domestic food supplies are recognized as critical during the pandemic, and no more so than here in the Salinas Valley, the Salad Bowl of the World," stated Norm Groot Monterey County Farm Bureau executive director. … “Revising the estate tax for agriculture would be a significant benefit...

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Ag Today April 9, 2021

Newsom unveils $536-million forest management, wildfire prevention plan in Fresno County [Visalia Times-Delta] As California teeters on the edge of another devastating drought, Gov. Gavin Newsom visited Fresno County to unveil a $536-million plan to bolster the state's firefighting efforts. On Thursday, Newsom outlined a plan that prioritizes forest management and wildfire mitigation projects before the worst of the fire season begins, more than doubling spending on such projects compared to last year, advocates said. … Crews are rushing to thin forests, build fuel breaks around vulnerable communities and allow for planned burns before a dry winter turns into a tinder-dry summer. https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/2021/04/08/newsom-unveils-536-million-forest-management-wildfire-prevention-plan-in-fresno/7142499002/   SF...

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Ag Today April 8, 2021

Biofuels producers, farmers not sold on switch to electric [Associated Press] The president and auto industry maintain the nation is on the cusp of a gigantic shift to electric vehicles and away from liquid-fueled cars, but biofuels producers and some of their supporters in Congress aren’t buying it. They argue that now is the time to increase sales of ethanol and biodiesel, not abandon them....Each year, U.S. refineries produce about 15 billion gallons of ethanol — about 10% the volume of gasoline — and 1.5 billion gallons of biodiesel, which is typically blended with petroleum-based diesel for trucks and other heavy...

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Ag Today April 6, 2021

Farmers file antitrust lawsuit against big ag companies [Associated Press] A group of farmers has filed an antitrust case against several big agricultural companies, contending the companies worked together to ban e-commerce sales in order to keep prices artificially high. The farmers are seeking class-action status and they want a judge to force the companies to give up “unlawful profits” and pay compensation to those impacted by the high prices. The Idaho farming operations — B & H Farming, Tyche Ag. LLC, Ceres Ag. LLC and Cedar Draw LLC, all based in Rupert — filed the lawsuit seeking class-action status on...

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Ag Today April 5, 2021

California farmers could get fire insurance help under proposed bill [inewsource, San Diego] State lawmakers are moving forward with a bill that would give farmers in high fire risk areas like San Diego County’s backcountry an insurance option if no company is willing to cover them. … The new legislative proposal, SB11, would clarify that only crops are excluded from being insured by the FAIR Plan, allowing farmers to insure their buildings and equipment under the policy. State Sen. Susan Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, introduced the legislation amending the FAIR Plan on March 1 after being lobbied by the California Farm Bureau Federation. https://inewsource.org/2021/04/05/california-farmers-could-get-fire-insurance-help-under-proposed-bill/   California targets critical...

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Ag Today April 2, 2021

Sierra snowpack at 59% but ‘next few weeks will be critical’ for California water officials [Sacramento Bee] California water officials on Thursday reported the statewide snowpack is just 59% of average for this time of year as the state continues to experience one of the driest years on record. … He said the next few weeks will be critical to watch to see how much of that snowmelt will actually enter the state’s reservoirs. … “With below-than-average precipitation statewide, California’s reservoirs continue to show the impacts due to dry conditions,” de Guzman told a group of reporters gathered at Phillips Station Thursday....

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Ag Today April 1, 2021

On tap in California: Another drought four years after last [Associated Press] … The state appears in the midst of another drought only a few years after a punishing 5-year dry spell dried up rural wells, killed endangered salmon, idled farm fields and helped fuel the most deadly and destructive wildfires in modern state history. … “Guys are in a really tough spot when they don’t know what water’s going to be available until the planting season, which is now,” said Danny Merkley of the California Farm Bureau Federation. With less water to draw from rivers and the state’s intricate network...

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Ag Today March 31, 2021

Here's what's in Biden's infrastructure proposal [CNN] … He is set to unveil the effort, dubbed the American Jobs Plan, on Wednesday at an event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania -- the opening move in what's expected to be a months-long negotiation with Congress. … The President plans to pay for this part of his recovery package by raising corporate taxes -- a core campaign promise the administration says would raise more than $2 trillion over the next 15 years. … The proposal would upgrade the country's drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems, tackle new contaminants and support clean water infrastructure in rural parts...

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Ag Today March 30, 2021

US departments urged to become year-round wildfire agencies [Associated Press] California’s U.S. senators and nearly two-dozen representatives asked the Agriculture and Interior departments on Monday to transition their agencies to a year-round wildland workforce because blazes are no longer limited to traditional fire seasons. The move would require reclassifying more seasonal federal firefighter positions as permanent, said a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. … The letter signed by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla and 21 members of Congress notes that 57% of forest land in California is owned by the U.S. government. https://apnews.com/article/wildfires-dianne-feinstein-fires-california-alex-padilla-7d690794b862dac82d75ccef37c0c6e5   Panetta introduces bills...

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Ag Today March 29, 2021

Immigration bill sparks hope for farmers, worker advocates [Bakersfield Californian] Supporters of a farmworker immigration bill awaiting introduction in the U.S. Senate say chances look better than they have in years that soon the federal government will address one of the thorniest issues in Central Valley agriculture. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021, passed by the House March 18 with bipartisan support, offers a path to legal status for ag laborers and their spouse and children under age 18. Permanent residency would be available to those who pay a $1,000 fine and put in additional years in farm work...."Certainly I...

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