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...
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...
Ag Today September 13, 2018
Five years later, Gerawan workers may finally have votes counted in disputed election [Fresno Bee]
After five years of waiting, workers who voted to get rid of the United Farm Workers union from Gerawan Farming may finally find out the results of their disputed election. The state Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a request from the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board to review a lower court’s ruling that found fault with the ALRB’s decision to impound the ballots. The election took place in 2013 and the results have been mired in legal challenges and charges of unfair labor practices.
‘Things got a...
Ag today September 12, 2018
How far can California push the nation — and the world? Jerry Brown's climate summit may provide the answer [Los Angeles Times]
Even as California forged its own path for years to battle global warming, pressing forward whether Washington agreed or not, skeptics have persistently scolded that it is just a state — it can’t set policy for the nation, much less the world. If California ever had a moment to prove them wrong, it is now. At the international climate summit Gov. Jerry Brown will kick off Wednesday in San Francisco, the state is playing a role none ever has,...
Ag Today September 11, 2018
Forest-thinning measures likely dead in Congress, despite Trump, California Republicans [McClatchy News Service]
...Multiple sources on Capitol Hill and from advocacy groups affirmed that lawmakers are likely to drop most of the controversial forestry measures from the Farm Bill, the multi-year agriculture and land use law that members of Congress are trying to finalize this month....Environmentalists, ecologists and forestry experts have raised particular concern about a proposal to log areas after fires have come through, which they argue would not help reduce the risk of future fires. House and Senate negotiators are now trying to reconcile the two pieces of legislation...
Ag Today September 10, 2018
Strange bedfellows? Westlands and San Francisco share common ground [Fresno Bee]
and San Francisco face identical problems, but plans to keep more water flowing in the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers – leaving less for irrigators and cities – is bringing the two together….It remains to be seen if Westlands and San Francisco’s water entity would ever work together on the issue….For both rural irrigators and urban entities, the plan, if adopted, would mean 7 to 23 percent less water being diverted for their use, according to state figures....But it was a similar proposal for the Sacramento River sent a shock...
Ag Today September 7, 2018
NAFTA deal unlikely this week; talks to resume Friday [San Francisco Chronicle]
A NAFTA deal doesn't look likely this week. Talks between the U.S. and Canada have seemed upbeat, but are not expected to lead to a deal this week, a Canadian government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The pace of meetings between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland has slowed since last week, as both countries look to be squaring off. The Trump administration gave notice Aug. 31 of intent to sign a deal that could include Canada. Freeland has said there's progress,...
Ag Today September 6, 2018
As NAFTA talks resume, U.S. and Canada aren’t budging on key priorities [New York Times]
Talks between the United States and Canada to salvage the North American Free Trade Agreement resumed on Wednesday, but a quick resolution seemed unlikely amid tension between President Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada. Describing the Nafta talks as “intense,” Mr. Trump accused Canada on Wednesday of “taking advantage” of the United States and said that it did not need Canada to remain in the agreement….Mr. Trump has continued to insist on a deal that benefits American farmers and businesses and has repeatedly pointed...
Ag Today September 5, 2018
Costa prepares to represent both Valley growers and those in need at Farm Bill talks [Fresno Bee]
…These typically routine meetings had particular significance, as Costa returns to Washington on Wednesday as part of a bicameral committee appointed to sort out the 2018 Farm Bill – a typically routine and bipartisan piece of legislation now in flux due to controversial additions by House Republicans. Costa has the unique task of representing a slice of Fresno, Madera and Merced counties that not only produces much of the nation’s food but also struggles deeply with hunger issues. The Farm Bill negotiation process could...
Ag Today September 4, 2018
Wildfire bill to aid PG&E clears Legislature despite ratepayer concerns [Sacramento Bee]
The California Legislature passed a sweeping proposal to address wildfires despite warnings that the legislation would raise energy bills for customers across the state. Amid calls from PG&E for a legislative response to wildfires that killed more than a dozen Californians and destroyed thousands of homes over the last year, lawmakers approved a bill that makes it easier for utility companies to recover wildfire costs from ratepayers. The measure also designates $1 billion in cap-and-trade money to the removal of dead trees and brush that fuel blazes, among many...