Ag today August 2, 2019

Trump imposes new 10% tariff on Chinese goods as trade talks stall [Los Angeles Times]

Barely one month after agreeing to a ceasefire in his trade war with China, President Trump on Thursday loaded up the tariffs again in a surprise announcement that he would slap 10% duties on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods starting Sept. 1. In a series of tweets, Trump suggested he was taking the step in response to the slow-moving trade negotiations, which resumed this week, and China’s lack of action. He accused President Xi Jinping of not following through on agreements to purchase American farm products and to end the sale of the opioid drug fentanyl to the United States.


Trump gave billions to farmers for Chinese tariffs. How much did the Valley, California get? [Fresno Bee]

Farmers in California received about $76.3 million in federal subsidy payments for economic harm they may have suffered as a result of President Donald Trump’s trade war with China. According to data acquired by The Associated Press, 4,442 payments between October and May were made to California farmers growing commodities affected by China’s imposition of tariffs on American agricultural goods imported into that country….Farmers in the agriculture-rich central San Joaquin Valley – Fresno, Kings, Madera, Merced and Tulare counties – received the lion’s share of subsidies paid to California….While the average subsidy amounted to more than $42,000, many individual farmers received far less, depending on how much their particular crop or commodity was affected by tariffs under USDA guidelines.


Appetite for California almonds still growing, but farmers feel squeeze from new water rules [Sacramento Bee]

The California almond has proved resilient under fire….But the almond may not be out of the woods yet. This time, instead of immediate drought jeopardizing the almond industry, Valley farmers say they’re feeling the pinch of water politics, the result of a series of conflicts among the California State Water Resources Control Board, environmentalists and growers. Farmers face cutbacks to the only two water sources available to them as state water managers roll out a new set of rules: The state’s “unimpaired flows” decision, which affects surface supplies, and the Legislature’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which governs groundwater.


Opinion: Sites Reservoir needed for reliable water future [San Francisco Chronicle]

It’s well past time to make critical investments in water infrastructure — particularly water storage — to sustain us through future droughts and help us adapt to our new normal, one which includes extended droughts, diminished snowpack, warmer winter storms and a need for a more flexible water storage portfolio….Of all the projects vying for California’s attention, the proposed Sites Reservoir in Northern California offers the most tangible benefits….Each year we delay building Sites Reservoir, we lose an opportunity to increase the value of storm-related water for people, the environment, farms and businesses.


Federal agency stops killing beavers in Siskiyou County to protect Oregon spotted frogs [Redding Record Searchlight]

Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture have agreed to stop trapping and killing beavers that are considered to be a nuisance. The move by the department’s Wildlife Services program comes nearly two months after an environmental group threatened to sue the agency if it did not consult with other federal agencies whether the killings are affecting endangered species that live where there are beavers….Tanya Espinosa, a spokeswoman for Wildlife Services, said in June that beavers are sometimes considered nuisances for “burrowing/undermining levees and floodwater control infrastructure, blocking water conveyances, flooding and agricultural damage to vineyards, orchards, crops, etc.,” she said. From 2010 to 2017 there were there were 6,952 beavers killed statewide.


California honeybees are still declining. Trump administration says it can’t afford to study it [McClatchy News Service]

It’s the last federal report on honeybee populations we’ll see — at least for a while — and the numbers for California show the number of colonies are still decreasing. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced in July that it would no longer be funding a nationwide annual survey of the honeybee population, citing a need for cost cuts. The survey was started under the administration of former President Barack Obama in 2015. “The decision to suspend data collection was not made lightly but was necessary given available fiscal and program resources,” the USDA said in a notice on its website, though officials have not said how much the survey costs.