Ag Today January 23, 2019
January storms added 580 billion gallons of water to California reservoirs [Bay Area News Group]
…Over the three weeks from Jan. 1 until this Tuesday, 47 key reservoirs that state water officials closely monitor added 580 billion gallons of water — as much as roughly 9 million people use in a year, according to an analysis by this newspaper….Nearly all of the major reservoirs around California are now at or above their historical averages, swelled by runoff that continues to pour in from brimming creeks, rivers and rising water tables. Meanwhile, the statewide Sierra Nevada snow pack, which provides about one-third...
Ag Today January 22, 2019
Blue Card' bill would give agricultural workers pathway to citizenship [Salinas Californian]
Rep. Jimmy Panetta and Sen. Dianne Feinstein have co-sponsored a bill that would allow agricultural workers an eventual pathway to citizenship as well as provide the agricultural industry with a more stable workforce....According to Monterey County Farm Bureau Executive Director Norm Groot, the temporary agriculture worker program has been an issue for more than a decade in the Salinas Valley....The California Farm Bureau Federation, a nonprofit that works to protect family farms and ranches, commended the 'Blue Card' bill Thursday in a press release. According to CFBF President Jamie...
Ag Today January 18, 2019
Feinstein introduces bill to give farmworkers 'blue card', shield them from deportation [NBC Bay Area]
Democratic lawmakers introduced a new legislation Thursday to give undocumented farmworkers an ability to earn a "blue card" and put them on the path to citizenship. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who represents the 19th District in Santa Clara County, drafted the the Agricultural Worker Program Act (H.R. 641) to allow farmworkers who have worked in the field for at least 100 days in the past two years to apply for a card that will allow them to work legally in the U.S….Once...
Ag Today January 17, 2019
Trump and Democrats are far apart on immigration. Can they work together for California farms? [McClatchy News Service]
…Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Zoe Lofgren of San Jose are preparing to introduce legislation that would provide a one-time opportunity for experienced agricultural workers to apply for legal status, aides confirmed. The bill, expected to be unveiled later this week, is largely modeled after a provision of the bipartisan immigration overhaul that passed the Senate in 2013….The proposal does not attempt to amend the existing H-2A visa system for temporary farm workers, which both agriculture employers and workers advocates complain is dysfunctional,...
Ag Today January 16, 2019
U.S. lettuce industry, wary of E. coli, wants FDA back on the job [Washington Post]
...The multiple romaine lettuce disasters have exposed the complexity of the food system, in which a head of lettuce goes through so many facilities and is potentially mixed with so much other leafy produce that it can be impossible to trace the origin of a salad. The outbreaks remain mysterious....That’s a source of consternation for the $2 billion leafy greens industry, which desperately wants to avoid a repeat of what happened last year and is counting on the FDA for help. But because of the federal...
Ag Today January 15, 2018
Trump defends trade policies to farmers feeling the pinch [New York Times]
President Trump, seeking to shore up his base of support in rural America, promised farmers on Monday that “the greatest harvest is yet to come” and insisted that the pain they were experiencing from his economic policies would ultimately make them better off. In a speech to the American Farm Bureau Federation at its annual convention in New Orleans, Mr. Trump asked farmers to be patient as he tried to rewrite trade agreements with China, Europe, Canada and Mexico and as he battled with congressional Democrats over immigration….In a...
Ag Today January 14, 2019
Shutdown hurts farmers, but many stick with Trump [Bloomberg News]
Farmers are used to playing the long game. Bad weather comes and goes, prices rise and fall, but they are a patient lot. So it is with their support for Donald Trump. That's the signal from farmers these days during the partial government shutdown that's keeping some growers from filing for payments to help them overcome crop tariffs resulting from Trump's trade war with China. On Monday, when Trump speaks to the American Farm Bureau in New Orleans, he is likely to face an audience willing to give him the benefit...
Ag Today January 11, 2019
Fight over water heads to court: Irrigation districts sue state board [Modesto Bee]
As expected, a state plan to require higher flows for salmon in the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced rivers has spawned a flurry of lawsuits from irrigation districts in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, charging that the plan won’t help the fish but will cause extensive economic harm. Thursday, the San Joaquin Tributaries Authority filed a detailed suit in Tuolumne County on behalf of its members, including the Turlock, Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission….The Modesto Irrigation District filed a separate...
Ag Today January 10, 2019
US Supreme Court declines involvement in state egg law cases [Associated Press]
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to get involved in a legal dispute in which 15 states are seeking to strike down laws in California and Massachusetts that require larger living areas for some farm animals. The attorney general’s office in Missouri, which spearheaded one of the lawsuits, vowed Tuesday to continue fighting for local farmers and consumers and said it was considering the next step. President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice had urged the Supreme Court not to accept original jurisdiction over the states’ lawsuits. It said the...
Ag Today January 9, 2019
Newsom inherits a ‘whole bunch of headaches’ despite last-minute water deals by Brown [Sacramento Bee]
…Yet as Gavin Newsom takes over as governor, the state of water in California seems as unsettled as ever. The centerpiece agreement Brown made — a giant compromise on reallocating water to help the fish — ran into immediate trouble….The board agreed to reconsider the compromise in the coming months, but opposition to Brown’s plan was instantaneous….Newsom has talked about scaling back the Delta tunnels project but otherwise has said little about water. He barely mentioned the topic in his inaugural speech Monday.
Strawberry, flower, grape growers...