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Ag Today February 1, 2018

Lack of rainfall in the Valley continues to disappoint farmers   By Reuben Contreras Wednesday, January 31, 2018 09:02PM FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- After one of the driest Decembers on record Valley growers had hope the month of January would be the turning point for rain to return. Ryan Jacobsen with the Fresno County Farm Bureau says water levels on the Kings River are nothing to brag about either. "You know the indications right now are somewhere near the 25 to 35 percentile of where we should be as far as normal. So we are way behind. The end of January helped a little but we...

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Ag Today January 31, 2018

State Assembly Rejects Bill to Increase Pesticide Fines By Ted Goldberg JANUARY 30, 2018-KQED News Legislation that would expand the enforcement power of California’s pesticide regulator and increase penalties for farming companies that violate the state’s agricultural chemical laws failed in the state Assembly late Monday. Assembly Bill 1419, authored by Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, would have given the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) the authority to issue $25,000 fines for serious violations of the laws. Currently, county agricultural commissioners can levy fines up to $5,000. The legislation needed 41 votes to pass but got only 35. The bill garnered significant support from Democrats in...

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Ag Today January 30, 2018

California water: Desalination projects move forward with new state funding By PAUL ROGERS | progers@bayareanewsgroup.com | Bay Area News Group PUBLISHED: January 29, 2018 at 1:27 pm | UPDATED: January 30, 2018 at 4:31 am California water officials have approved $34.4 million in grants to eight desalination projects across the state, including one in the East Bay city of Antioch, as part of an effort to boost the water supply in the wake of the state’s historic, five-year drought. The money comes from Proposition 1, a water bond passed by state voters in November 2014 during the depths of the drought, and it highlights a new...

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Ag Today January 29, 2018

In California’s Sierra Nevada, putting the trees to work By Julie Cart, CALmatters POSTED: 01/28/18, 7:53 PM PST | UPDATED: 6 HRS AGO, Santa Cruz Sentinel  SACRAMENTO >> This is going to be a big year for one of the state’s smallest agencies. As California redoubles its efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, officials are rooting around for new ways to meet the state’s goals. Included in their plan: recruiting billions of redwood, oak and pine trees to help diminish planet-warming gases by pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It’s a major pivot, from regulating harmful emissions solely from factories and cars to calling on nature to pitch in....

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Ag Today January 26, 2018

Gov. Jerry Brown defends blueprint for California’s future in final State of State speech By CASEY TOLAN | ctolan@bayareanewsgroup.com | Bay Area News Group PUBLISHED: January 25, 2018 at 10:54 am | UPDATED: January 25, 2018 at 6:57 pm SACRAMENTO —  For a politician who winces at the L-word — “legacy” — Gov. Jerry Brown spent much of his State of the State address on Thursday defending the key projects and policies that will likely define his: the state’s beleaguered bullet train, his Delta tunnel plan and criminal justice reforms reducing California’s prison population. And he vowed to fight for the state’s controversial gas tax hike as a campaign to repeal...

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Ag Today January 25, 2018

Canada unveils ideas to save NAFTA, Trudeau lobbies U.S. firms David Ljunggren, Anthony Esposito, Reuters MONTREAL (Reuters) - Canadian negotiators at the NAFTA talks on Wednesday unveiled ideas to address contentious American demands for revamping the 1994 pact while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged top U.S. executives to back free trade. The sixth and penultimate round of negotiations to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) opened in Montreal on Tuesday with time running out for Canada and Mexico to settle big differences with the United States. With financial markets skittish about the possible collapse of a $1.2 trillion global trading bloc, Canada and...

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Ag Today January 24, 2018

Congress misses deadline to approve west-side water fix, but deal not unraveling yet BY LEWIS GRISWOLD lgriswold@fresnobee.com January 23, 2018 02:10 PM Updated January 23, 2018 02:10 PM A key deadline has passed to solve the irrigation drainage problem that caused massive bird deaths and deformities at Kesterson wildlife refuge. But a Westlands Water District official said Congress is still on track to pass legislation benefiting both the district, which delivers water to farms over an area the size of Rhode Island, and the federal government. Jan. 15 was the deadline set last year by officials at the Justice Department and Westlands in which the district said it would...

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Ag Today January 23, 2018

Ag Industry Fights Pesticide Penalties and State Efforts to Increase Future Fines By Ted Goldberg JANUARY 22, 2018, KQED News Several produce and farm labor contractors are contesting fines they face in connection with two separate pesticide drifts in the Central Valley that sickened close to 130 agricultural workers last year. In August the Kern County agricultural commissioner issued more than $50,000 in fines against two firms, including Sun Pacific, the produce company behind the popular Cuties oranges, for violating pesticide rules in an incident that sickened 37 farmworkers near the town of Maricopa in May. Investigators determined that Vulcan, a pesticide with the chemical chlorpyrifos, had drifted...

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Ag Today January 22, 2018

Canada and Mexico Seek to Head Off U.S. Exit From Nafta at Montreal Talks By Paul Vieira in Ottawa, William Mauldin in Washington and Juan Montes in Mexico City Updated Jan. 22, 2018 9:33 a.m. ET OTTAWA—Canadian and Mexican trade officials in Montreal on Sunday began laying out proposals aimed at convincing their U.S. counterparts not to put an end to the North American Free Trade Agreement. Delegations from Canada and Mexico will present an array of responses to some of the Trump administration’s most hard-line demands for changing the trade pact, in what many observers believe could be a make-or-break round of talks. Negotiators’ initial focus will be on...

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Ag Today January 19, 2018

Tax law gives unexpected break to farmers who sell to co-ops BY STEVE KARNOWSKI Associated Press January 18, 2018 12:09 PM Updated January 18, 2018 12:10 PM MINNEAPOLIS  Key senators and farm groups are trying to fix a provision in the federal tax overhaul that gave an unexpected tax break to farmers who sell their crops to cooperatives rather than regular companies. Lawmakers say they didn't intend to give a competitive advantage to co-ops. But it's not clear they can rework the legislation given the partisan divide on Capitol Hill. That means many companies — from local grain companies to agribusiness giants such as Cargill and ADM...

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