Ag Today April 30, 2019

Few details in Newsom’s water policy directive [Los Angeles Times]

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday ordered key state agencies to develop a blueprint for meeting California’s 21st-century water needs in the face of climate change. The executive order includes few details and doesn’t appear to set a dramatic new water course for the state. Rather, it reaffirms Newsom’s intentions to downsize the controversial twin tunnels project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, use voluntary agreements to meet new river flow requirements and provide clean drinking water to impoverished communities.


Despite abundant snowpack, water still limited for some farmers [KSEE TV, Fresno]

It’s an exceptional year for Sierra snowpack — 150 to 200% in some places. Mountain snow is the main water source for agriculture on the Valley’s west side. But those farmers are getting just 65% of their allocation, raising the question, ‘what else has to happen for it to reach 100%?’ Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen says, “65% — that’s ridiculous in a year like this year.”…Project water is prioritized to different users….This all changed with laws concerning environmental factors, essentially creating a new top priority.  Still last on the list, West Side farmers feel this impact the most.


What Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke said at Modesto Junior College [Modesto Bee]

Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke made a stop in Modesto to discuss ideas for combating climate change with a panel at Modesto Junior College….O’Rourke looked at an irrigation demonstration project at MJC’s west campus before motoring to the school’s east campus for a roundtable with representatives of state and local government, agriculture, social justice groups and academia….Central Valley agriculture could participate in the broad array of solutions for combating climate change through land management and regenerative practices that keep carbon locked up in the soil.


Opinion: How does your love of wine contribute to climate change? [New York Times]

The exquisite vulnerability of grapes to nuances of weather makes wine both particularly susceptible to climate change and a harbinger of what’s to come for many other agricultural products….Just as politicians have little incentive to address climate change unless voters require it, many wine producers are less inclined to reduce their own carbon footprints unless consumers demonstrate that such steps are important to them. Some producers are already actively engaged in the fight, whether by changing their agricultural practices, reducing their carbon footprints or carefully limiting their use of water. Others, whether out of a sense of fatalism or greed, have chosen either to wait it out or do nothing, seeing only the expense without the benefits.


No ‘big barn-buster’ this year as declining local crop continues to face weather challenges [Modesto Bee]

The cherry harvest gaining momentum in Kern County this week is serving as a good reminder why the crop has become such a risky proposition locally. Farmers in the southern Central Valley say this looks to be a decent cherry season — nothing special but far better than last year, when a freeze cost some farmers their entire crop….What’s more, a late bloom has reduced the timing advantage Kern cherry farmers normally enjoy….Some worry this could add up to a cherry glut that helps consumers but hurts growers.


In Louisiana, a fight over what’s rice [Wall Street Journal]

Is cauliflower rice really rice? Many lawmakers in rice-growing states say no. In Louisiana, home of spicy red beans and rice, a bill blocking companies from putting a “rice” label on products if they aren’t made from actual grains of rice is moving quickly through the legislature. It is the latest salvo from traditional agriculture groups and their supporters, who say makers of plant-based alternatives like cauliflower rice—made from bits of cauliflower—almond milk and nonmeat hamburgers are causing confusion with their marketing. But advocates on the other side say such moves won’t stop a broad public shift to what they call healthier offerings.