Ag Today April 18, 2019

IID sues to halt Colorado River drought plan signed by Trump, says officials ignored Salton Sea [Palm Springs Desert Sun]

It’s not over yet. The Imperial Irrigation District has sued to halt a sweeping Colorado River drought plan that was signed in to law by President Trump on Tuesday. Officials with the sprawling, sparsely populated rural water district in southeastern California say the Salton Sea was wrongly left out of the plan….The petition, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges violations of the California Environmental Quality Act by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and names the Coachella Valley, Palo Verde and Needles water districts as well. It asks the court to suspend the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan until a thorough environmental analysis has been completed.


Trump team readies PR offensive on North America trade deal’s economic effects [Reuters]

The Trump administration is readying a public relations offensive over the economic impact of its new North American trade deal to counter a crucial report expected on Thursday that economists see as likely to show minimal gains at best. Industry sources familiar with the administration’s plans told Reuters the U.S. International Trade Commission’s analysis of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement would be met with a rosier forecast from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office….The ITC report has been kept under wraps and is being keenly awaited by U.S. lawmakers to help them decide whether to support USMCA.


Possible legislation would ban certain pesticides [Marysville Appeal-Democrat]

Legislation that would ban the use of pesticides containing the active ingredient chlorpyrifos was passed by the Senate Health Committee last week, clearing its first hurdle towards law….Prior to the introduction of the bill, California was already strictly regulating the use of pesticides containing chlorpyrifos….Since January 1, however, regulations specified that chlorpyrifos cannot be used on most crops in California….Although the pesticide is still in use, the stricter regulations put in place this year restrict how the product can be used.


Major Merced County employer selling a factory. What happens to the employees? [Merced Sun-Star]

The Hilmar Cheese Company has opened a dairy-based escape room in its visitor center. The new feature challenges players to help save a herd of cows by finding clues. BY MARIJKE ROWLAND

Hilmar Cheese Company Inc. has reached an agreement to sell its Turlock milk powder facility to Visalia-based California Dairies Inc., according to a news release. The sale is part of Hilmar Cheese’s new “Strategic Plan 2021,” which the company announced last month….The company will continue to own its factories in Hilmar and Dalhart, Texas, according to officials. Hilmar Cheese will also continue operations with no impact on the dairy farm families who sell milk to the company.


Fred Starrh, 1929-2019: Local farmer took on local oil company, rose to national leadership [Bakersfield Californian]

Fred Starrh, a longtime Shafter cotton farmer and industry leader whose landmark legal victory over a Bakersfield oil producer earned him local renown, died Tuesday at the age of 89 after suffering a stroke….Active in national cotton industry groups, Starrh served on the Kern High School District and the Kern County Farm Bureau, where he served as the local industry group’s 35th president from 1973 to 1975. Among his accomplishments at the bureau were authorization of overweight loads for perishable produce on county roads and establishment of group’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee, President Tito Martinez said in a written statement.—local-farmer-took-on-local-oil/article_9e725684-6172-11e9-89b6-53322d5bcbda.html


California gives out too many tax breaks. And it’s losing billions on them each year [Los Angeles Times]

…Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) — considered a pesky liberal by many moderates and conservatives — is trying to shake up the comfy world of tax breaks. She is pushing Senate Bill 468, which would “sunset” — or kill — nine tax expenditures in three years unless they could be justified by the Legislative Analyst’s Office….Jackson wants to investigate a $634-million state sales tax exemption on animals used for human food, and on feed for that livestock. Also covered by the exemption are edible plants and their fertilizers. She also hopes to look at a $172-million sales tax exemption for farm equipment and an exemption for custom computer programs.