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Ag Today August 17, 2018

Tax on California water revived to clean up drinking water – but it’s voluntary BY TARYN LUNA, The Sacramento Bee Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers are rebooting an effort to pass a new tax to attack unsafe drinking water in California. But there’s a twist: The proposed tax on water bills would be voluntary, increasing its chances of success among skittish lawmakers in an election year. After calling off a plan in June to apply a mandatory tax on water bills, the governor is backing a new pair of bills that would apply a voluntary levy on ratepayers to fund safe drinking water...

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Ag Today August 16, 2018

‘No one wins in a trade war.’ Ag advocates urge Trump to end tariffs standoff BY ROBERT RODRIGUEZ, The Fresno Bee  August 15, 2018 05:12 PM Agricultural advocates in California are ratcheting up the pressure on the White House as a months-long trade dispute threatens to cost the industry billions of dollars and potentially put farmers out of business. A group including Brian Kuehl, executive director of Farmers for Free Trade, a non-profit group, and Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, gathered at the Fresno County Farm Bureau office on Wednesday to push for a resolution to the trade war that has pitted the U.S. against...

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Ag Today August 15, 2018

Ag Secretary talks tariffs, immigration with Central Valley industry leaders Calley Cederlof, Visalia Times-Delta Published 7:38 a.m. PT Aug. 15, 2018 During a two-day tour of California, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue sat down with Tulare County industry leaders to discuss issues facing local farmers. The secretary toured HMC Farms in Kingsburg before sitting down with leaders from local dairy, citrus, nut and stonefruit companies and Representative David Valadao (R-Hanford). "There's no way to sense what's going on on the ground. You can't read about it, you can't really watch television and understand what it is," Perdue told those in the meeting. "It's really important for me...

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Ag Today August 14, 2018

Trump cabinet officials want to thin forests to prevent fire disasters U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said Monday it’s time to go on the offensive to reduce fuel loads and manage forests better to diminish the chance of future catastrophic fires. Perdue joined Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for a roundtable of local elected officials, law enforcement and business leaders at Karline’s Restaurant in Redding. Both Perdue and Zinke said thinning forests and cutting trees and brush to eliminate combustible fuels also would be an economic benefit because it would bring jobs to rural communities that have been hit by rules and regulations. “We...

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Ag Today August 13, 2018

California Wildfires Headed to Capitol Hill Lawmakers thought they fixed the U.S. Forest Service’s “fire borrowing” problem earlier this year. But the breadth and intensity of fires scorching the West this year is likely to prompt the agency to raid other accounts one last time before budgetary changes go into effect in fiscal 2020. The issue could come to a head once again on Capitol Hill in the coming weeks and months, as lawmakers and the administration weigh the need for another infusion of taxpayer dollars ahead of the midterm elections — and California’s devastating fires have already become a campaign issue. The...

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Ag Today August 10, 2018

Trump cabinet officials to inspect California fire damage BY EMILY CADEI, McClatchy DC August 09, 2018 01:53 PM WASHINGTON Two Trump cabinet officials are heading to Northern California next week to meet with officials working to contain the deadly Carr Fire, as the administration seeks to show its helping to fight this and other blazes ravaging the state. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will travel to Redding on Monday for a series of meetings and briefings with fire crews and local leaders, including a walk through of parts of the city that have been damaged by the fire....

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Ag Today August 9, 2018

Tariffs Could Take A Big Toll On America’s Nut Farmers CBS Sacramento - August 9, 2018 at 8:23 am (CNN) — The world loves America’s nuts. The United States is the largest producer and exporter of tree nuts such as almonds, walnuts and pecans. That’s why international trade is so vital to this industry. It’s also why the hefty retaliatory tariffs that China has imposed and the ones India is threatening to levy have left many growers uncertain about their next steps. Sales are faltering, prompting some growers to hold off on buying new equipment and others to halt plans to plant more trees. The...

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Ag Today August 8, 2018

Battling wildfires year-round is now the norm. How did we get here? It’s fire season in the West, and that means an overflowing inbox for Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director at Cal Fire. The emails arrive frequently, always with the best of intentions. A common recommendation from Californians: Why not just set up a sophisticated sprinkler system throughout the state’s 101 million acres? A resident recently suggested turning blimps into giant water balloons as a way to control blazes. Fill them up, drop them on wooded areas and soak the land. Easy, right? They all mean well, Berlant said, and he’s happy residents are...

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Ag Today August 7, 2018

As Trump tweets about California fires, his administration wants to expand logging By LOUIS SAHAGUN, Los Angeles Times AUG 07, 2018 Logging has long been among California’s most divisive environmental issues — and the controversy shows little chance of cooling as the Trump administration pushes new efforts to thin forests. The federal government is moving to allow commercial logging of healthy green pine trees for the first time in decades in the Los Padres National Forest north of Los Angeles, a tactic the U.S. Forest Services says will reduce fire risk. It’s an idea President Trump appeared to endorse in tweets inaccurately linking wildfire...

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Ag Today August 6, 2018

Panel, state regulators call pesticide chlorpyrifos 'toxic air contaminant' Joe Szydlowski, Salinas Californian Published 9:53 a.m. PT Aug. 3, 2018 An ag pesticide is on course for stricter regulations in the next two years following a state panel declaring it a toxic air contaminant. The state's Department of Pesticide Regulation has previously proposed that classification for chlorpyrifos, a chemical used to kill insects that attracted scrutiny and opposition in recent years. On Monday the Scientific Review Panel, a panel of nine independent scientists, endorsed the DPR's proposal to label chlorpyrifos as a toxic air contaminant, said Charlotte Fadipe, assistant director of the DPR. The decision...

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