Ag Today August 13, 2019

‘We’re ready to fight’: Wildlife activists vow to protect Endangered Species Act from Trump [Sacramento Bee]

Wildlife advocacy groups and two state attorneys general vowed to fight the Trump administration’s proposed regulatory change to the Endangered Species Act, arguing that it could threaten species ranging from the California condor to the monarch butterfly and the northern spotted owl….The Trump administration says it’s a necessary change to balance economic considerations with the law’s intent to protect endangered wildlife….California Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey in signaling they’d sue the Trump administration over the change.


Opinion: Right-wingers again demonize the tiny delta smelt to protect Big Agriculture [Los Angeles Times]

We’ve written before that among the most dangerous natural predators of the delta smelt are conservatives blaming the tiny freshwater fish for a host of ills befalling California’s agricultural Central Valley. They’ve blamed the unassuming fish for putting farmers out of business across California’s breadbasket, forcing the fallowing of vast acres of arable land, creating double-digit unemployment in agricultural counties, even clouding the judgment of scientists and judges. Now, with the state Legislature returning to Sacramento with an environmental protection bill tops on its agenda, they’re at it again.


Farmers turn to tech as key river in US West faces distress [Associated Press]

…This U.S. Department of Agriculture station outside Greeley and other sites across the Southwest are experimenting with drones, specialized cameras and other technology to squeeze the most out of every drop of water in the Colorado River — a vital but beleaguered waterway that serves an estimated 40 million people….The federal government will release a closely watched projection Thursday on whether the Colorado River system has enough water to meet all the demands of downstream states in future years….Agriculture uses 57% to 70% of the system’s water in the U.S., researchers say. The problem facing policymakers is how to divert some of that to meet the needs of growing cities without drying up farms, ranches and the environment.


Continuing tariff trouble worries local farmers [Chico Enterprise-Record]

…The long standing tariffs placed on imported Chinese goods are affecting local farmers in Butte County, forcing growers and farmers to make necessary financial safeguards in the event the trade wars worsen….As many local farmers gear up for more tariff ridden prices on their crops, they bear down in hopes that a resolution is reached sooner than later. “The ongoing tariff dispute is frustrating for anyone who depends on the export market, including Butte County farmers,” said Butte County Farm Bureau Executive Director Colleen Cecil.



Ag leaders object to plan to expand Manteca’s Forward Landfill [Stockton Record]

…Agricultural leaders in the region said they are hoping the board denies the request for a landfill that not only takes in waste from the county but from the Bay Area and other parts of the Central Valley, as well. “All of these landfills have a lifespan and this (landfill) was supposed to be nearing the end of its life,” Bruce Blodgett, executive director of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation, said Monday. “Shouldn’t we be more than a dumping ground for the rest of the state?”…Farm advocates say the landfill is on prime farmland and that future dumping should take place at two other existing county dumps that are less useful for agriculture.


Opinion: Keep natural gas and renewable natural gas in California [Bakersfield Californian]

…Renewable natural gas makes dairy farming more sustainable and reduces pollution from California’s agricultural sector. And yet, just as we begin to make real progress in creating renewable gas from our dairies, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has decided that all homes and businesses in California must switch to electricity only, eliminating natural gas—and even renewable natural gas—as an energy source….To add to this, the California Energy Commission held a workshop in June to discuss their study that concludes the state should get rid of our natural gas pipeline infrastructure.