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Ag Today March 31 , 2017

Californians at Odds as Trump’s Ag Pick Clears Senate Hurdle By Ted Goldberg MARCH 30, 2017 When the Senate Agriculture Committee voted Thursday to send President Trump’s pick to run the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the full Senate, the man who runs one of California’s top farm industry groups began to see a future where his organization had more access to the White House. Trump nominated former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to be Secretary of Agriculture in January, but his confirmation was delayed when ethical concerns about his business ties emerged. During that time, agricultural groups have had no line in to the White House, according to California...

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Ag Today March 22, 2017

West side farmers to get a 65 percent water allocation from Central Valley Project BY ROBERT RODRIGUEZ With ample rainfall and an above-average snowpack, west side San Joaquin Valley growers were hoping the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation would give them a 100 percent allocation of water this year from the Central Valley Project. They were wrong. Bureau of Reclamation officials announced Wednesday that farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta would received 65 percent from the federal water project. Farmers were dismayed at the news. They received a 5 percent allocation last year, causing them to fallow at least 200,000 acres in the Westlands...

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Ag Today March 30, 2017

Senate Agriculture chair bucks Trump on proposed cuts to ag budget BY LINDSAY WISE lwise@mcclatchydc.com WASHINGTON The chairman of the Senate’s Agriculture Committee said he was not going to go along with President Donald Trump’s deep budget cuts to food, farm and rural programs — and he’s let the White House know about it. Trump’s 2018 budget proposal would slash $4.7 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a 21 percent decrease from fiscal 2017. Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas told McClatchy he doesn’t expect Congress will take such “an inordinate amount” of funding from the Agriculture Department. I WON’T SAY IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, BUT REMEMBER...

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Ag Today March 29, 2017

That Sinking Feeling: Corcoran Fears Floods Thanks To Subsidence, Snowmelt By EZRA DAVID ROMERO • 18 HOURS AGO Valley Public Radio News EZRA DAVID ROMERO / VALLEY PUBLIC RADIO A new map released by NASA earlier this year shows that large portions of California are sinking. The worst of it is in the San Joaquin Valley. One of the main reasons is the over pumping of groundwater, especially in the last five years of drought. "The risk here of a catastrophic event is high." - Dustin Fuller All that sinking and all the snow melting in the Sierra has Central Valley water managers like Dustin Fuller worried.   He's managing an army of earth movers...

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Ag Today March 28, 2017

Farmers urge tech companies to find water solutions for more than just irrigation A soil sensor, part of the system Madera County almond farmer Tom Rogers uses to fine tune his irrigation system from home. JOHN WALKER jwalker@fresnobee.com BY ROBERT RODRIGUEZ brodriguez@fresnobee.com To use west side farmer Don Cameron’s words: farming is sexy right now to Silicon Valley tech companies. But the attraction won’t end up in a relationship if the start-ups don’t understand what farmers really need, Cameron told an audience gathered in Fresno Monday for the “Deeper Dive” forum on Water Ag Tech Innovation. Hosted by Western Growers, the forum held at the Fresno Convention Center’s...

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Ag Today March 27, 2017

Woodland hopes to link up with Yolo Groundwater Authority By Jim Smith, Woodland Daily Democrat POSTED: 03/25/17, 3:45 PM PDT | UPDATED: 1 DAY AGO With a June 30 deadline approaching, farmers and cities such as Woodland in affected California groundwater basins are working to finalize the formation of locally controlled sustainability agencies. The groundwater sustainability agencies, or GSAs, required under the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, will guide groundwater management in basins and sub-basins classified by the state as medium or high priority. Under SGMA, local agencies must work together and with groundwater users to develop local groundwater sustainability plans that would guide decisions affecting groundwater use...

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Ag Today March 24, 2017

Proposed agriculture import tax could hit consumers in wallet Tyler Hersko , Tyler.Hersko@vcstar.com, 805-437-0312 Published 1:14 p.m. PT March 23, 2017 | Updated 3 hours ago   Ventura County's $2 billion agriculture industry could be severely impacted by President Donald Trump's proposed trade and taxation policies. A crucial part of the region's agriculture industry is focused on exporting crops to countries across the globe, while imported produce is a key aspect of the consumer market in Ventura County and throughout the nation. Government policies regarding imported and exported goods and taxation, in general, could significantly change under Trump’s administration, which has floated a number of controversial policy proposals. Since...

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Ag Today March 21, 2017

Deportation Threats Worry Farmworkers — and Farm Owners By Valerie Hamilton The California Report MARCH 20, 2017 In the rolling hills above the farm community of Santa Paula, acres and acres of avocado and citrus trees spread out like a postcard from California’s small-farm past. This is a rural area, but people here aren’t Donald Trump voters — Santa Paula voted 2-1 against him. The town of 30,000 in Ventura County is largely Latino, with an economy based on agriculture — an economy that depends on immigrant workers, many of them undocumented. When I first meet Luis, he’s standing on top of a ladder in...

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Ag Today March 20, 2017

Bee deaths soar in this year’s pollination season, but why is proving to be a whodunit BY ROBERT RODRIGUEZ brodriguez@fresnobee.com As a beekeeper, Rafael Reynaga is used to losing a few bees during almond pollination. But he was unprepared for the death of tens of thousands of his bees in what Fresno County agriculture officials are calling a perfect storm of events. “It was really bad,” said Reynaga of Reedley. “I picked up one of the boxes and there were at least 10 pounds of dead bees.” Since early February, the Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office has been investigating at least 12 cases of bee deaths in...

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Ag Today March 17, 2017

California softens its proposed rule on pesticide use near schools Samantha Masunaga  Before using pesticides near California public schools, growers would have to notify school and county agricultural officials, under a revised draft regulation released Thursday — but the notification requirements would be less strenuous than what was proposed a few months ago. In September, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation released a draft proposal that would ban crop dusting and many other forms of agricultural pesticide spraying within a quarter of a mile of public schools and day-care centers on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. That original proposal said growers with fields within...

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