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Ag Today June 16, 2017

How Trump’s EPA chief got caught up in farm fight in Sacramento BY DALE KASLER AND RYAN SABALOW dkasler@sacbee.com California farmer John Duarte, facing a hefty fine over water-law violations for plowing a field, wants to call in a big gun in his high-profile court case in Sacramento: Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Duarte has listed Pruitt as a potential witness in his case, in which he’s fighting a $2.8 million fine he received for harming wetlands while planting a wheat crop in Tehama County five years ago. Pruitt briefly mentioned the Duarte case during his Senate confirmation hearing in January...

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Ag Today June 15, 2017

Local farmer using excess water to flood crops and improve his water table By Dale Yurong Wednesday, June 14, 2017 05:59PM FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --ABC 30 An olive orchard at Terranova Ranch in western Fresno County is being flooded to recharge the aquifer. "A lot of people didn't think we could do it, or we'd injure the vines or crops long-term," said The water percolates underground where it's stored and pumped back up at a later date-- the olives still look healthy. "We're seeing how much water we can put on, how long we can leave it on without harming the crops," said Don Cameron, Helm farmer. Cameron is...

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Ag Today June 14, 2017

4 Things You Should Know About California’s Biggest Reservoir By Craig Miller JUNE 13, 2017   It’s Probably Not the One You’re Thinking Of Nope, not Shasta Lake. That’s California’s largest surface reservoir, which is currently bulging with more than 4 million acre-feet of water (Californians use about 40 million acre-feet in a year). You’re not likely to find the biggest “reservoir” on a map—but you might be standing on it. It’s underground, in the vast aquifers that lie beneath sections of the state, the Central Valley in particular. “I don’t think anybody’s tried to calculate the complete volume,” says Claudia Faunt, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in San Diego. But...

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Ag Today June 13, 2017

Climate change could burn a hole in the Forest Service’s budget BY ANSHU SIRIPURAPU asiripurapu@mcclatchydc.com WASHINGTON Climate change appears to be fueling more wildfires as forest service officials are increasingly concerned they don’t have the funds to effectively handle another devastating season. While Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell told senators last week he’s got enough budget funds to deal with most of the 7,000 fires that occur annually in national forests, “it's that 1 to 2 percent of our fires, that when we have a very active fire season, that goes way beyond our capability to handle within our appropriations." In 1995, 16 percent of the...

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Ag Today June 12, 2017

New oversight of groundwater taking shape in Sonoma County GUY KOVNER THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | June 10, 2017, 10:27PM | Updated 6 hours ago. Groundwater: What you need to know For information on the Sonoma County’s Sustainable Groundwater Management program, click here. For a Department of Water Resources tool that will show if your property is in a groundwater basin, click here. Groundwater basins are California’s largest reservoirs, more than 10 times the size of all surface reservoirs combined. Groundwater provides about 38 percent of the state’s total annual water supply, and up to 60 percent in dry years. Sonoma County draws more than 70 percent of its water from wells to...

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Ag Today June 9, 2017

If you don’t like California’s gas tax increase, you’re not alone BY CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO ccadelago@sacbee.com California voters overwhelmingly oppose a recent tax and fee package pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democratic-dominated Legislature to pay for road repairs, a new poll finds. The gas tax law, which ushers in a 10-year program to raise more than $52 billion for transportation projects, is so unpopular it could backfire on Democrats in upcoming elections. Fifty eight percent of voters oppose Senate Bill 1, including 39 percent who say they strongly reject the legislation, according to the survey from UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies. Only 35...

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Ag Today June 8, 2017

End of drought could mean the beginning of a busy wildfire season in Southern California By Steve Scauzillo, San Gabriel Valley Tribune POSTED: 06/07/17, 6:12 PM PDT | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO The end of a five-year drought won’t necessarily be good news for firefighters. While the plentiful rains of this past winter have colored the mountains and foothills a verdant green, left standing are those red alerts predicting high fire danger this summer and fall, according to local fire departments. “Whatever brush didn’t burn in last year’s fire season is still there but it is dead because of the five-year drought,” said Inspector Gustavo Medina of the Los...

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Ag Today June 7, 2017

Pistachio growers applaud ruling on Iranian nuts Published on 06/06/2017 - 1:28 pm Written by Business Journal staff   While one Valley farm group is suing the feds, another is lauding a decision to protect American farm products from foreign competition. Last week the U.S. International Trade Commission unanimously reaffirmed an antidumping duty order on imports of raw, in-shell pistachios from Iran. Dumping is the practice of selling goods in export markets for prices that are lower than in the producer’s home market or below the cost of production. The Iranian government also subsidizes its pistachio industry. Since 1986 the U.S. has imposed an antidumping duty order...

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Ag Today June 6, 2017

Slow trickle of progress on groundwater reform Posted Jun 5, 2017 at 8:33 PM Updated Jun 5, 2017 at 8:33 PM By Alex Breitler Record Staff Writer The first step toward sustaining one of San Joaquin County’s most precious resources took nearly two years. And it may have been the easiest part of the journey. Still, local officials sound optimistic about their efforts to comply with the state’s new groundwater mandate,largely because the county’s diverse, sometimes feuding water agencies have agreed to at least sit down at the table and talk about it. “We’ve gotten this far,” San Joaquin County Supervisor Chuck Winn said last week, ahead of a major deadline at the end of this month. “It’s a...

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Ag Today June 5, 2017

Farmers decry Trump plans to cut agriculture subsidies BY DAVID PITTAssociated Press DES MOINES, IOWA Farm groups and some members of Congress from farm states are decrying proposed cuts to crop insurance and other safety net programs for farmers included in President Donald Trump's budget. The proposed cuts come even as farmers are facing their fourth straight year of falling income, and could particularly affect farm states such as Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska that helped Trump win the November election. "Clearly, this budget fails agriculture and rural America," American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a statement. The proposed budget would cap the amount...

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