Ag Today April 23, 2019

Gov. Gavin Newsom hits back at Trump in new fight over who controls California water [Sacramento Bee]

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration is taking unprecedented steps to combat President Donald Trump’s efforts to ship more water to his agricultural allies in the San Joaquin Valley. Saying Trump’s water plans are scientifically indefensible and would violate the state’s Endangered Species Act, the state Department of Water Resources on Friday began drawing up new regulations governing how water is pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the southern half of the state….The state traditionally defers to the federal government on environmental rules in the Delta. For the first time, with its announcement Friday, the state is drawing up its own rules — throwing down a legal gauntlet that could force the federal government to comply with state laws.


Westlands officials disappointed by water allocation announcement [Hanford Sentinel]

While all other Central Valley Project contractors’ allocations were previously increased to 100% of their contract totals in recent months, the Bureau of Reclamation announced Wednesday that agricultural districts South-of-Delta will receive only 65% percent of their historic water allocation….Westlands Water District is the largest agricultural water district in the U.S., made up of more than 1,000 square miles of farmland in western Fresno and Kings Counties….In light of current hydrologic and reservoir conditions, district officials said this minor increase in water allocation is “astonishing.”


Federal judge dismisses key pieces of tribe’s claim against local water districts [Palm Springs Desert Sun]

A federal judge has dismissed portions of a yearslong lawsuit brought by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians against the Coachella Valley’s local water districts, ruling against the tribe’s attempt to quantify its rights to groundwater. The judge ruled Friday that the tribe’s access to water has not been sufficiently harmed to adjudicate the matter….An initial component of the tribe’s claims — that the tribe has a legal right to the groundwater below its reservation — was already adjudicated in the tribe’s favor. Another component of the claim has yet to be adjudicated: whether the tribe legally controls the groundwater storage capacity under its land.


Why Trump’s tariffs are one of the last big obstacles in U.S.-China trade talks [Los Angeles Times]

The United States and China are in the final stretch of talks to resolve a conflict over American complaints about China’s unfair trading and economic practices….But at least one big sticking point remains: what to do with all the tariffs that the two sides slapped on each other in the last year….U.S. farmers have been among the hardest hit as trading partners have aimed their counter-tariffs at various agricultural sectors that are sure to get the attention of American politicians.


AGRIscapes’ problem with orange and avocado theft [Pomona Poly Post]

Dawn Taccone, manager of the Farm Store, takes a lot of pride in Cal Poly Pomona’s oranges….Reports of students picking and stealing from the orange and avocado trees owned by AGRIscapes, which the Farm Store is a part of, are prevalent and reoccurring. Not only is this trespassing, but such actions impact the Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture’s educational programs and the Farm Store’s supply and sales, which support the college.


California scientists unravel genetic mysteries of world’s tallest trees [San Francisco Chronicle]

Scientists have unlocked the genetic codes of California’s most distinguished, longest-lasting residents — coast redwood and giant sequoia trees — in what is a major breakthrough in the quest to protect the magnificent forests from the ravages of climate change, researchers announced Tuesday. The sequencing of the towering conifers’ genomes is being presented as a transformational moment for the ancient groves because it will allow scientists to figure out which trees are best suited for a warmer, more volatile future. “This is the fundamental modern resource that enables genetic discovery going forward,” said David Neale, a UC Davis plant scientist and the lead researcher for the project, which he called “a 23andMe for trees.”