Ag Today August 20, 2019

Wildfire acreage way down in California this year _ so far [Associated Press]

…Acreage burned through Sunday is down 90% compared to the average over the past five years and down 95% from last year, according to statistics from the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The stats are good news for a state that has seen terrifyingly destructive and deadly blazes the past two years, but the worst of those fires occurred in the fall. The precipitous drop could be due to the amount of precipitation the state received during a winter of near-record snowfall and cooler-than-average temperatures — so far.


Dam management can help salmon and sturgeon [Courthouse News Service]

Scientists working to preserve endangered fish in the Sacramento River unveiled a new water-management plan Tuesday that might protect the river’s salmon while maintaining a healthy environment for other fish….Zarri proposes that low flows of warmer water, drawn from the surface of the lake, be released in April and May when only green sturgeon spawn and agricultural demand for water is low. Then from July to November, high flows of cold water can be released in order to ensure the survival of the salmon and meet the water needs for agriculture.


Water district appeals ruling to stop work on Shasta Dam analysis [Redding Record Searchlight]

A Fresno-based irrigation district has asked the state court of appeal to overturn a judge’s decision to stop work assessing the environmental impacts of raising the height of Shasta Dam. Westlands Water District says a preliminary injunction ordering it to stop work on an environmental impact report may prevent it from helping to pay for raising the height of the dam, according to the appeal filed last week. A visiting judge ruled last month in Shasta County Superior Court the district’s work was illegal because no state or local agency can do any work — including planning — that would have an adverse impact on the McCloud River, given its designation as a wild and scenic river.


Proposal would allow oil companies keep injecting wastewater into Kern County aquifers [Palm Springs Desert Sun]

California regulators are negotiating an agreement with two major oil companies that would allow them to keep injecting millions of gallons of wastewater into potential drinking water and irrigation supplies in the Central Valley for three years. The voluntary plan would allow Aera Energy (which was jointly formed by Shell Oil and Exxon Mobil) and California Resources Corp. to continue to inject fluid remnants of oil extraction into 94 wells that discharge into shallow groundwater aquifer zones in Kern County….What sets the talks between the state and Aera and California Resources Corp. apart from many other cases is that the state water board determined that portions of the aquifers beneath Kern County’s Elk Hills and South Belridge oil fields, while brackish, are of high enough quality to be treated and used in the future as drinking water or for irrigation.


Bayer to sell animal-health unit to Elanco for $7.6 billion [Wall Street Journal]

Bayer AG is selling its animal-health business to an American rival for $7.6 billion, part of the German drug-and-chemicals giant’s plan to divest assets amid mounting legal liabilities from its Roundup herbicide. The deal to sell the unit to Elanco ELAN -9.41% Animal Health Inc., based in Greenfield, Ind., would create a new industry heavyweight in the business of preventing and treating diseases for pets and livestock….The deal for Bayer’s animal-health unit, which will double its pet business and strengthen its presence in emerging markets and in the cattle business, is Elanco’s largest since going public.


Opinion: Trump’s tariffs against China aren’t working. And there’s no quick resolution in sight [Los Angeles Times]

…The go-it-alone approach is imposing a high and growing cost on the American economy and could ultimately threaten global prosperity. No quick resolution is in sight.…When China retaliated against sensitive U.S. exports, including farm products, the U.S. fell into the classic trap of escalation without an endgame….And U.S. negotiating demands expanded to include guarantees of farm purchases and the right to review Chinese legislation prior to adoption. This may have convinced the Chinese there wasn’t a negotiated solution to be had.