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Ag Today October 18, 2017

Trump Administration Drops Tighter Rules on Meatpackers USDA reversal is blow to some farmers, advocacy groups; companies say rules would have made meat pricier Wall Street Journal The Trump administration Tuesday reversed efforts to make it easier for livestock farmers to challenge meatpackers over pricing and allegations of uncompetitive practices. Some farmers complained for years that big meat companies enjoyed excessive control over farmers’ livelihoods by leveraging their broad influence over pricing and supplies needed to raise poultry and livestock. The U.S. Department of Agriculture in December outlined the new rules that would have made it easier for farmers to contest their big customers. Meatpackers...

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Ag Today October 17, 2017

Trump administration green-lights company's plan to pipe water from Mojave Desert to cities By Ian James, Palm Springs Desert Sun President Donald Trump’s administration has approved a company’s plan to build a water pipeline to carry billions of gallons from the Mojave Desert to California cities. The federal Bureau of Land Management told Cadiz Inc. in a letter released Monday that the company won’t need a permit to build the pipeline alongside a railroad. The agency rescinded a 2015 decision by President Barack Obama’s administration that had blocked the project. The Los Angeles-based company said with no federal permit needed, it now plans to move...

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AG Today, October 16, 2017

Where the FDA Is Going Under Trump Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says it isn’t about more or fewer regulations. It’s about efficiency By Jacob Bunge,Wall Street Journal Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb serves a president who regularly speaks of rolling back business regulation. Dr. Gottlieb has postponed Obama-era food-labeling rules, pleasing some food manufacturers. But at the same time, he says, the FDA is working to implement another law passed under the former administration: the Food Safety Modernization Act, which will require companies to develop plans to prevent foodborne illness. Dr. Gottlieb talked about his job with Wall Street Journal reporter Jacob Bunge. Edited...

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Ag Today October 13, 2017

Retailers Are Bottling Their Own Milk, Raising Pressure on Dairy Companies Kroger, Wal-Mart and Albertsons spend millions of dollars on dairy processing plants in effort to expand their foothold in the industry By Heather Haddon and Benjamin Parkin, Wall Street Journal Big food retailers are becoming large players in the milk processing and bottling business, a development that threatens to squeeze a longstanding network of farmer-owned cooperatives and dairy processors. Milk is a low-margin commodity, susceptible to price swings. Americans are drinking less of it, even as demand rises for cheese, butter and other dairy products. But grocery executives say milk remains one the most...

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Ag Today, October 12, 2017

Will wine country disaster push Congress to fix fire budget? By Emily Cadei, McClatchy News Service WASHINGTON - It’s a rare point of bipartisan agreement in divided Washington: The federal system for funding firefighting is broken, and that’s hurting our ability to prevent fires from breaking out in the first place. But lawmakers are at a loggerheads over how to fix the problem, a split that breaks down on largely regional, rather than partisan, grounds. Some in the House and Senate, however, now hope that national coverage of Northern California’s devastating fires could finally spur a congressional compromise, a bit of a silver lining...

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Ag Today October 11, 2017

Southern California water agency approves pitching in $4.3 billion for massive delta tunnels project By Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times Southern California’s largest water agency Tuesday threw a lifeline to California WaterFix, approving a $4.3-billion buy-in to the water delivery project. The closely watched vote by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California board does not ensure the survival of the $17-billion project, which needs significant funding from other urban and agricultural water districts to move forward. But it gives a much-needed boost to the long-planned proposal to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the heart of California’s complex waterworks. The influential MWD...

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Ag Today October 10, 2017

Sonoma County farmers and livestock flee from Wine Country fires By Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle The Wine Country fires are hitting the heart of Sonoma County farm and dairy land, and many ranchers and farmers had either evacuated or were preparing to evacuate their properties on Monday. The impact on the local agricultural economy could be devastating. Sonoma County farms house 30,000 dairy cows and 35,000 sheep and goats, according to the 2016 Sonoma County Crop Report. The report lists the value of its agriculture at close to $900 million, with livestock and poultry accounting for $178 million, and about $10 million from...

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Ag Today October 9, 2017

Once again, Southern California could make or break a major California water project By Dale Kasler and Ryan Sabalow, Sacramento Bee In 1960, the water barons of Los Angeles stood between Gov. Pat Brown and his dream of building a network of dams and canals to make the southern half of California bloom. He beat them – just barely, after weeks of public arm-twisting – and the State Water Project was born. Now Brown’s son, the current Gov. Jerry Brown, is calling on Southern California to support another massive water project – the Delta tunnels, a controversial plan aimed at fixing the system his...

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Ag Today October 6, 2017

Trump threatened to kill the South Korea trade deal, but now the US has changed its tone By Leslie Shaffer, CNBC President Donald Trump's threats to terminate the U.S. trade agreement with South Korea ended up spurring support for the deal — and now both parties are striking a conciliatory tone. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Wednesday he looked forward to talks on resolving implementation issues and potential amendments, which was a far cry from the chances of canceling the entire agreement. That more conciliatory tone was a marked change from a late August report in The Wall Street Journal, just before a long...

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Ag Today October 4, 2017

California Farmers Make Plea For Progress On DACA Legislation By Kelly Ryan, KOVR TV, Sacramento SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California farmworkers feed not only the state but the world. Now, an agreement that would protect thousands of undocumented workers hangs in the balance, leaving many fearing they could be deported. The California State Board of Food and Agriculture heard from those in the agricultural community about recent federal immigration changes. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was meant to protect immigrants from deportation who came to the U.S. as children. As Democrats and Republicans continue to disagree over what happens next, there are questions whether these...

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