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Ag Today October 31, 2016

Farm Beat: Healthy soil teems with life, experts say at Modesto conference BY JOHN HOLLAND Farmers have fertilized for much of the past century with nitrogen obtained from petroleum and phosphorous mined from rocks. Experts meeting in Modesto this week suggested looking at something else right under our feet – the microbes that can enhance the soil if given a chance. Healthy ground has lots of plant residues that the tiny creatures break down into nutrients for the next crop. They also help make the dirt porous enough for proper movement of water and air. “Microbes are critical in creating soil structure,” said Kate Scow,...

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Ag Today October 28, 2016

In 3 years, 1,500 farmworkers suffered injuries at night. California now eyeing regulations Gustavo Solis , The Desert Sun3:40 p.m. PDT October 27, 2016 Because there are no state regulations requiring growers to provide adequate lighting for farmworkers picking crops at night, the workers have developed their own system. Each farmworker buys a headlamp with two different colored lights – one red and one white. They use the white light while picking crops and the red light while taking a break. Workers sleep on the field during their breaks, so the red light tells drivers not to run them over. The red light also has an...

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Ag Today October 27, 2016

Farmworker housing or dead-end road? Man proposing controversial Acampo project wants to fulfill need Posted: Thursday, October 27, 2016 12:04 am By Christina Cornejo/News-Sentinel Staff Writer For the people who work out in the fields, be they migrant workers or low-income citizens, there are few affordable options available for housing. That’s why, when John Droge was thinking of what he could do with an investment property in an agricultural area, he thought it would be a good idea to develop a small cluster of farmworker housing units. “The altruistic part of this appealed to me, and I found on a website for the county that the...

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Ag Today October 26, 2016

Wine industry wants greater say in Sonoma County groundwater regulation ANGELA HART THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | October 25, 2016, 6:55PM Vintners and wine industry representatives on Tuesday pressed Sonoma County supervisors to give farming interests a greater say in how California’s new law governing groundwater is put into place on a local level. As proposed by staff from Sonoma County Water Agency and county administrator’s office, those interests are set to hold an advisory role — but not voting power — on the agencies that will oversee the three local aquifers that fall under the state law. Environmentalists and rural residents who depend on...

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Ag Today October 25, 2016

Gerawan Farming settles 2013 labor charge with UFW BY ROBERT RODRIGUEZ brodriguez@fresnobee.com   Gerawan Farming, the United Farm Workers union and the Agricultural Labor Relations Board have entered into a settlement agreement over a 2013 charge that the Fresno County farming company violated state labor law. The Fresno County tree fruit grower has been at odds with the union over representing its workers. In 2013, the grower was accused by the UFW of not supplying accurate employee contact information to the union. A second and third complaint were later filed, accusing the grower of the same problem. “Supplying accurate worker information, especially home addresses, is necessary so...

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Ag Today October 24, 2016

State letter to farmers demands water to fix nitrate problem BY LEWIS GRISWOLD lgriswold@fresnobee.com A state water agency has told some farmers in Tulare County that their operations caused nitrates to get into drinking water, and that the contamination must be replaced with a clean source. If the farmers don’t do it voluntarily, the state will order them to do so, the enforcement division of the State Water Resources Control Board says in a confidential letter obtained by The Bee. Nitrates in drinking water can harm human health, and in infants causes blue-baby syndrome. Nitrates are a byproduct of nitrogen in fertilizers used in agriculture...

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Ag Today October 21, 2016

Water board, farm bureau differ on approach to Delta fish State Water Board report says Delta fish would benefit from increased water flows Max Resnik -Reporter California’s State Water Control Board released a report on the second phase of an updated Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan, which is focused on the preservation and growth of Delta fish and other wildlife. FAST FACTS -- Water board releases Phase 2, which is focused on Delta fish -- Reports finds range of tributary flows from 35 to 75 percent of unimpaired water could be key in helping fish -- Farm bureau strongly opposes such a move It’s been 21 years since an update to...

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Ag Today October 20, 2016

Proposed pesticide limits raise concerns among local farmers Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 11:25 pm By Kyla Cathey/Special to the News-Sentinel The California Department of Pesticide Regulation is proposing new limits on crop dusting, fumigation and the application of several other pesticides near school sites and day care centers. “This regulation not only builds in additional layers of protection for students and school staff that are located in agricultural areas, but it also ensures meaningful communication between farmers and the schools and child day care facilities that are their neighbors,” Brian Leahy, director of the state Department of Pesticide Regulation, told the Los Angeles Times...

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Ag Today October 19, 2016

Will New California Buffer Zones Protect Children From Pesticides? Lawmakers have proposed pesticide-free zones around schools and daycare centers. Environmental and community activists say they fall short, given pesticides’ reach and persistence; pesticide manufacturers say they're unwarranted.   By Elizabeth Grossman on October 19, 2016 Tens of thousands of California children attend schools located within a quarter mile of a farm field where pesticides are used. Now the state’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is proposing the first regulations that would restrict this use. California produces about half of all fruits, vegetables, and nuts grown in the United States, so environmental health advocates argue that the children in question are being exposed disproportionately...

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Ag Today October 18, 2016

How the First Farmers Changed History By CARL ZIMMER Beneath a rocky slope in central Jordan lie the remains of a 10,000-year-old village called Ain Ghazal, whose inhabitants lived in stone houses with timber roof beams, the walls and floors gleaming with white plaster. Hundreds of people living there worshiped in circular shrines and madehaunting, wide-eyed sculptures that stood three feet high. They buried their cherished dead under the floors of their houses, decapitating the bodies in order to decorate the skulls. But as fascinating as this culture was, something else about Ain Ghazal intrigues archaeologists more: It was one of the first farming villages to...

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