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Ag Today September 27, 2018

Congress seeks species law changes after grizzly hunt barred [Associated Press] Galvanized by court rulings protecting grizzly bears and gray wolves, Congressional Republicans on Wednesday pushed sweeping changes to the Endangered Species Act despite strong objections from Democrats and wildlife advocates who called the effort a "wildlife extinction package." Republicans began with a morning vote in the House Natural Resource Committee to strip protections from gray wolves across the contiguous U.S….Later Wednesday, lawmakers took up changes to the endangered species law itself, with a suite of bills that supporters said would make the law work better and eliminate obstacles to economic...

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Ag Today September 26, 2018

Sun-Maid strike ends after 15 days, new contract effective immediately [Fresno Bee] Two weeks after walking off the job, striking Sun-Maid workers approved a new contract on Tuesday and will be headed back to work….The contract reflects a nine percent increase in value from the previous three-year contract, according to Sun-Maid spokesman Erin Stevenson….The new contract includes “an increase in year-over-year, market competitive wages, monthly medical contributions throughout every year of the contract, and an increased pension contributions in the second and third year of the agreement,” Stevenson said in a news release. https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article219015790.html   Feinstein urges voluntary water agreements ahead of vote by...

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Ag Today September 25, 2018

Walmart to salad growers: If you want to sell, you have to blockchain [Los Angeles Times] Produce companies that want to sell lettuce and salads at Walmart and Sam’s Clubs will have to learn the skills of cryptocurrency traders, the giant retailer announced Monday. By the end of January, 2020, Walmart will require California-based produce companies such as Dole, Taylor Farms and Fresh Express to join a blockchain-based supply chain that the mega-retailer has been experimenting with for nearly two years to enable Walmart to trace the source of food-borne illness....The move by Walmart could upend the way the produce industry...

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Ag Today September 24, 2018

Stanislaus County appeals ruling that would make it harder for farmers to dig wells [Modesto Bee] Stanislaus County will ask the state Supreme Court for a ruling on whether environmental review is a necessary step for a new water well....The plaintiffs claimed the county was violating the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in approving well permits without considering environmental harm...Wayne Zipser, executive director of Stanislaus County Farm Bureau, said a victory for the plaintiffs would be terribly burdensome for land owners. https://www.modbee.com/news/article218804095.html   A Delta farmer says the state poisoned his crops. Is California’s water supply safe? [Sacramento Bee] ...Fluridone is just one chemical the...

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Ag Today September 21, 2018

Valadao, Costa, other Valley leaders rally in support of California water ballot prop [Fresno Bee] A coalition of local leaders gathered Thursday at the Friant-Kern Canal near Millerton Lake to formally launch the Yes on Prop 3 campaign in support of a state water bond they say would bring billions of dollars in much-needed relief to the central San Joaquin Valley….Proposition 3 would authorize $8.9 billion in general obligation bonds for various infrastructure repair and maintenance programs, wastewater treatment upgrades, safe drinking water improvements and environmental conservancy efforts such as fishery improvements and groundwater replenishment. The coalition praised specifically a section...

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Ag Today September 20, 2018

The Salton Sea is shrinking even faster, and California still hasn't done much to fix it [Palm Springs Desert Sun] In November 2015, there was a rare celebration at the Salton Sea….Three years later, the dirt at Red Hill Bay is still dry, and it could be dry for another year or more. The shoreline is receding faster than ever. The lake's few remaining fish have been dying off rapidly. And state officials have fallen even further behind on their promise to prevent an ecological and public health disaster at this oasis in the desert. https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/environment/2018/09/19/salton-sea-dying-california-still-hasnt-done-much-help/1306235002/   Victory for Monterey Coastkeeper as court rules...

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Ag Today September 19, 2018

Five years later, ballots show fruit workers have rejected the UFW [Los Angeles Times] More than 2,000 workers whose ballots were impounded five years ago saw the results of their vote Tuesday — an ouster of the United Farm Workers as their representative at Gerawan Farming, the state’s largest grower of peaches and other stone fruits. A preliminary tally showed 1,098 workers voted against the union founded by Cesar Chavez, while 197 supported the UFW, said Jesse Rojas, a spokesman for Pick Justice, the worker group that fought for three years to have the ballots opened. The count has not been...

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Ag Today September 18, 2018

China retaliates with tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods [Wall Street Journal] China scrambled to deal with an escalating trade fight with the U.S., issuing an expected volley of tariffs and weighing whether to agree to Washington’s offer for more trade talks. The announcement by the country’s cabinet came half a day after President Trump announced new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, an action that left Chinese officials seeking an appropriate response. The new Chinese levies, on imports from the U.S. ranging from farm products and machinery to chemicals, will take effect on Sept. 24, the same day...

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Ag Today September 17, 2018

Farmers thought they had 20 years to use groundwater as they wished - maybe not anymore [Sacramento Bee] …For the first time, a California court has said state and county governments have a duty to regulate groundwater usage when it’s clear that the pumping drains water from adjacent rivers….The Aug. 29 ruling by the Third District Court of Appeal involves the Scott River in Siskiyou County, an obscure 60-mile tributary of the Klamath near the Oregon border that suddenly looms as a major artery in California water law….The court case spotlighted the often overlooked connection between rivers and aquifers….The court established...

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Ag Today September 14, 2018

More critical water storage is finally coming to California. It took nearly 40 years. [McClatchy News Service] ...The House approved several provisions Thursday that help fund water storage projects. The Senate is expected to concur shortly, and Trump is expected to sign the legislation into law next week. Republican Rep. Jeff Denham and Democrat Rep. Jim Costa have been pushing for additional water storage for the state for years in constantly-at-risk-of-drought California.... “This has been on our agenda for ages, before I even started here in 1991,” said Bruce Blodgett, executive director of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau, which has endorsed...

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