Ag Today April 28, 2021

Kern supervisors prepare to declare local drought emergency [Bakersfield Californian]

The Kern County Board of Supervisors is preparing to declare a state of emergency due to drought, which could put pressure on Gov. Gavin Newsom to do the same statewide. … Kern’s state lawmakers have also joined other legislators in calling on the governor to grant emergency powers to address the drought. … For Kern County farmers, the next few months promise to be especially painful. The State Water Project has cut water allocations to 5 percent, a figure only seen since 2014, and the third lowest ever.


Sonoma County supervisors declare drought emergency [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]

Sonoma County supervisors proclaimed a local drought emergency Tuesday, setting the stage for potential conservation mandates and other measures aimed at managing historically scarce water supplies while also positioning the county to seek disaster aid. … In the meantime, wells already are running dry on dairy lands in southern Sonoma County, forcing ranchers to cull their herds or haul water from Petaluma. About 780 individuals and interests with water rights to the Russian River are on notice the state water board might suspend their access.


Court requests IID response to Abatti petition [Imperial Valley Press]

Supporters of farmer Michael Abatti’s petition to have his case against Imperial Irrigation District reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court expressed confidence in their cause after the court directed the district to file a response. … Local attorney Katie Turner of Sutherland and Gerber said the court’s request for a response indicates it is indeed considering Abatti’s petition for a hearing. … On Friday, Turner filed an amicus brief in support of Abatti on behalf of the California Farm Bureau Federation, Imperial County Farm Bureau and Imperial Valley H2O, along with a group of local farmers consisting of Don Barioni Jr., Howard Elmore, Richard Elmore, Mike Morgan and Doug Westmoreland.


Opinion: Water created California and the West. Will drought finish them off? [Los Angeles Times]

… Residential users, growers, the fishing industry and stewards of the environment will be increasingly at odds, unless the state can craft a drought response that spreads sacrifices in a way that each group considers fair. … To begin with, the structure of California agriculture will have to change, though no one is yet sure how. … Among the crops vulnerable to changing conditions are almonds, which at $6 billion in value are the state’s second-largest farm commodity (after milk and cream). … Almonds are known as thirsty crops, but the real significance of the expansion of acreage is that they’re permanent crops — they must be watered every year.


Coachella Valley Housing Coalition’s final phase of affordable farmworker housing underway in Indio [Palm Springs Desert Sun]

The Coachella Valley Housing Coalition has broken ground on the final phase of its Villa Hermosa Apartments project, a $40 million affordable housing development in Indio earmarked for farmworker families, the agency has announced. … One-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartment units are currently under construction and will turn into homes for 100 families who can prove that someone in the household makes the minimum earnings in farmworker wages, according to CVHC.


US farmers finally see better outlook after 2 odd years [Associated Press]

… It’s hard to overstate how bizarre the past two seasons have been for farmers, who for the previous six years had repeatedly produced near-record harvests but saw little profit because commodity prices were so low. … Despite the positive signs, income actually could drop this year for some farmers because the federal government doesn’t plan to continue the billions of dollars in special payments that offset tariffs and coronavirus problems, though generous programs like subsidized crop insurance will continue.


Ag Today is distributed by the California Farm Bureau Marketing/Communications Division to county Farm Bureaus, California Farm Bureau directors and staff, for information purposes only; stories may not be republished without permission. Some story links may require site registration. Opinions expressed in stories, commentaries or editorials included in Ag Today do not necessarily represent the views of the California Farm Bureau. To be removed from this mailing list, reply to this message and please provide your name and email address. For more information about Ag Today, contact 916-561-5550 or