Ag Today July 27, 2017
Fatal citrus tree disease continues to spread in California
By Robert Rodriguez, The Fresno Bee
A fatal citrus disease that has citrus growers on edge continues its deadly path through Southern California, this time infecting a tree in Riverside County, state and federal officials confirmed.
The recent discovery of the disease, called Huanglongbing, or HLB, has increased the level of concern among agriculture officials who have been fighting for years to keep the disease from infecting commercial citrus growing areas, including those in the San Joaquin Valley.
The disease is passed from tree to tree by the Asian citrus psyllid, a tiny insect that...
Ag Today July 26, 2017
California farmer tries new strategy in fight with federal government over $2.8 million plowing fine
By Dale Kasler and Ryan Sabalow, Sacramento Bee
Northern California farmer John Duarte, facing millions of dollars in fines for plowing a Sacramento Valley wheat field, previously sought help from President Donald Trump’s attorney general and EPA chief to get the government off his back.
Now Duarte is making an 11th-hour bid for a dismissal of the federal government’s high-profile case against him.
In papers filed over the weekend, Duarte’s lawyers said the case should be tossed out because they say the Army Corps of Engineers didn’t have the authority...
Ag Today July 25, 2017
Senate confirms David Bernhardt, controversial Trump pick, for No. 2 post at Interior
By David Bernhardt Los Angeles Times
The Senate on Monday confirmed David Bernhardt, who has a history of lobbying for oil, mining and western water interests, as deputy secretary of the Interior Department.
Both of California’s Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, voted against his appointment — which was approved, 53 to 43, with little discussion.
As the No. 2 official, Bernhardt will oversee an Interior Department that has dealings with clients who have paid his law firm millions of dollars in legal and lobbying fees, including two major players...
Ag Today July 24, 2017
State formally approves Delta tunnels
By Alex Breitler
Record Staff Writer
Posted Jul 21, 2017 at 4:01 PM Updated Jul 21, 2017 at 6:12 PM
State officials on Friday formally decided to build the $17 billion Delta tunnels, setting the stage for a flurry of lawsuits over the next month.
Friday’s decision was no surprise. The state Department of Water Resources has been pursuing the project for more than a decade.
“I think it’s been a foregone conclusion for many years,” said Stockton attorney Dante Nomellini, who represents central Delta farmers.
Friday marks the first time since the old peripheral canal days of the 1970s and ’80s that a formal decision has been made to replumb the Delta by siphoning...
Ag Today July 21, 2017
China to import rice from the U.S. for the first time ever
BY ROBERT RODRIGUEZ
For the first time in history, U.S. rice growers will be allowed to sell rice to China. Yes, the world’s largest consumer of rice has opened its doors to U.S. farmers. And some people couldn’t be happier.
Sonny Perdue, the U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary, made the announcement Thursday, saying that not only is China the largest consumer of rice, but it’s also the largest importer. Last year, the Chinese purchased nearly 5 million tons of rice.
“The agreement with China has been in the works for more than a decade...
Ag Today July 20, 2017
California farm region plagued by dirty air looks to Trump
By SCOTT SMITH, ASSOCIATED PRESS
FRESNO, Calif. — Jul 20, 2017, 12:33 PM ET
California's vast San Joaquin Valley, the country's most productive farming region, is engulfed by some of the nation's dirtiest skies, forcing the state's largest air district to spend more than $40 billion in the past quarter-century to enforce hundreds of stringent pollution rules.
The investment has steadily driven down the number of days with unhealthy air — but on hot, windless days, a brown haze still hangs overhead, sending wheezing people with tight chests to emergency rooms and hundreds each...
Ag Today July 19, 2017
New wells will require discretionary permit in Santa Barbara County
April Charlton email@example.com
Jul 18, 2017 Updated 6 hrs ago
Contributor, Frank Cowan
Well users in municipal areas of unincorporated parts of Santa Barbara County who are served by water districts will have to apply for discretionary permits if they want to drill for water in the future.
With a 3-2 vote Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors amended county policy to require all new residential well users in urban areas with existing municipal water district service connections to obtain a discretionary permit before drilling.
All new wells, whether a replacement or brand-new well, will also...
Ag Today July 18, 2017
These farmers say they may not pay for Delta tunnels pushed by Gov. Brown
BY DALE KASLER
The governor’s proposed Delta tunnels ran into a roomful of skeptics Monday – an influential group of San Joaquin Valley farmers who remain unconvinced the controversial project will deliver the water they need at a price they’re prepared to swallow.
Three weeks after the tunnels received a crucial green light from federal environmental regulators, the $17.1 billion project got a cool reception from nearly 100 growers who farm in the powerful Westlands Water District. Provided with detailed financial projections at a Westlands board meeting for the...
Ag Today July 17, 2017
It’s going to be a fight’
By Alex Breitler
Record Staff Writer
Posted Jul 16, 2017 at 1:28 PM
Some call it political theater. Others call it a serious threat.
Whatever the prognosticators say, the latest effort by south San Joaquin Valley Republicans to wring more water out of the Delta is undeniably ambitious.
A bill that cleared the House of Representatives last week requires the Delta to be governed by 20-year-old water quality standards that scientists say are inadequate for the estuary’s freshwater ecosystem. It places new roadblocks before the legally required restoration of the San Joaquin River, which normally runs dry upstream of Stockton. And it takes a hatchet to a 1992 law, signed...
Ag Today July 14, 2017
'Most important vote of your life’ coming on climate, Jerry Brown tells lawmakers
BY CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO AND TARYN LUNA/ SacBee
Gov. Jerry Brown, pressing for support of a climate package slated for votes next week, held up the state’s cap-and-trade program as the most efficient and elegant way to reduce emissions from greenhouse gases, warning legislators Thursday that the alternative would be significantly more burdensome and massively expensive.
“Don’t throw this thing out,” Brown said during a rare appearance at a legislative committee. “Don’t put us under the Air Resources Board for an intrusive command-and-control. Cap and trade is the way forward.”