Ag Today August 1, 2019

Judge orders Westlands to stop work on Shasta Dam raise [Redding Record Searchlight]

A judge has ordered a Fresno-based water district to stop working on plans to raise the height of Shasta Dam. The Westlands Water District, which provides irrigation water to farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, was working on a report assessing the environmental impacts of raising the height of the dam. But a judge ruled that Westlands’ work violated a state law that prohibited local and state agencies from participating in any projects that would have an adverse impact on the McCloud River….Bureau spokesman Jeff Hawk said Wednesday he hadn’t reviewed the court ruling, but said the project would likely continue to go forward.


Thirsty for sustainability: Is Paso Robles any closer to solving its groundwater problem? [New Times, San Luis Obispo]

On a blistering hot July day in San Miguel, Robert Galbraith, 68, bends down and scoops up two handfuls of dry soil….A San Luis Obispo County policy regulating pumping from the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin has hamstrung how Galbraith can farm his land….The Galbraiths aren’t the only local farmers caught in the crosshairs of the Paso pumping moratorium. Their plight is a window into the imperfections of a policy passed hastily to try to halt the precipitous overdraft of the basin—the only source of water for 29 percent of SLO County residents and 40 percent of its agricultural industry, according to the state.


U.S., Japan Edge Closer to Limited Trade Pact [Wall Street Journal]

The U.S. and Japan are working to hammer out a limited trade pact that would pave the way for more U.S. farm exports to Japan, while dropping the threat of U.S. tariffs on Japanese cars. Such an accord with Japan would give President Trump a modest win amid diminished expectations for a landmark deal with China and uncertainty over congressional ratification of the administration’s updated deal with Mexico and Canada….President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the unratified 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, which included Japan, on his first working day in office in 2017. A revised TPP took effect last year without the U.S., and now U.S. farmers are complaining as member countries—including Australia, Canada and New Zealand—as well as the European Union get greater access to Japan’s long-protected markets for beef, pork and dairy products.


Three separate lawsuits by four families allege growers, Dow to blame for disabilities. [Monterey County Weekly]

Three Monterey County farming companies, four mothers with homes near agriculture fields, and four children with physical and intellectual disabilities. Those mothers are Virginia Perez, Marisol Padilla, Isela Velarde and Veronica Herrera, and together they are the plaintiffs in three separate lawsuits filed in Monterey County Superior Court against Dow AgroSciences LLC, Braga Ranch Inc., Valley Farm Management Inc. and D’Arrigo Brothers Co., alleging their children suffer from disabilities due to exposure to chlorpyrifos, a pesticide manufactured by Dow that’s also a neurotoxin particularly harmful to pregnant women and small children.

E. coli test results show no clear source of deadly county fair outbreak [San Diego Union-Tribune]

Environmental and animal testing has failed to reveal a clear source of the deadly E. coli outbreak among San Diego County Fair visitors. In an update published Wednesday afternoon, the county health department said that none of the 32 environmental samples, nor any petting zoo, pony ride or cattle testing, has come back positive for O157:H7-type E. coli bacteria….Dr. Eric McDonald, medical director for the county’s epidemiology and immunization services branch, said Wednesday evening that the common thread among all 11 cases means that the original hypothesis about the outbreak’s origins remains unchanged.


Meatless Burgers Stoke Sales and Questions About Nutrition [Wall Street Journal]

Plant-based burger makers say their products are better for the planet than beef. Whether they are better for consumers’ health is a different question. Debate over the nutritional merits of patties made from soy, peas, coconut and other plants is growing as meatless products stampede into tens of thousands of supermarkets and restaurants, and their manufacturers rush to ramp up production. Beyond Meat Inc. BYND -11.56% and Impossible Foods Inc. say their plant-based products contain less cholesterol and saturated fats than other meats. Some nutritionists point out that they contain almost as many calories and more sodium than beef and that they are highly processed.