Ag Today August 24, 2020

How Valley farmers, organizations are trying to protect farmworkers amid heat, smoke, and COVID-19 [KFSN TV, Fresno]

… N95 respirators are the only masks which can filter out PM 2.5, tiny particulate matter which can get into our lungs, even our bloodstream, and cause health issues. For farmers, it has been difficult finding the masks since the COVID-19 pandemic began so a free mask giveaway at the Fresno County Farm Bureau came at the perfect time. … The state is trying to protect workers in the ag industry against the poor air quality. It has made one million N95 masks available.


Agriculture workers continue to provide essential work as wildfires scorch California [KRON TV, San Francisco]

In Napa the LNU Lightning Complex fires are affecting a great number of agricultural workers who are still out working despite current conditions. “We were alerted Monday morning that fires were raging in the eastern portion of the county, … everything went from a few hundred acres to a few thousand,” said Ryan Klobas Chief Executive Office for the Napa County Farm Bureau. … The county’s agricultural office has begun to take in requests from agricultural and winery businesses returning to their properties to assess any damages they may have sustained.


More evacuations ordered as California North Coast wildfires largely uncontained [North Bay Business Journal]

… The rural nature of this fire represents a saving grace in terms of loss of life and structural property, but the region isn’t out of the woods. Plus, the land has been scarred. “I’ve heard of members losing timber. I know a lot of the pastures are lost,” Sonoma County Farm Bureau Tawny Tesconi told the Business Journal. The verdict on the loss of livestock in the rich ranch land surrounding Cazadero is still out. … With about 11,000 lightning strikes igniting this fire complex, Cal Fire is on guard for whatever else, such as strong winds, may emerge.


Smoke, ash from River Fire raises questions about produce, farmworker safety [Salinas Californian]

… Ag industry experts say they hope the impact to consumers will be minimal, with little disruption to the supply chain than has already taken place this year under the pandemic. Right now, they are preoccupied with keeping the farmworkers who pick that produce safe from smoke, heat and fire. … If farmworkers can’t go out because it’s too dangerous to their health; if the fire is too close, the heat too high or the smoke too thick, that could mean shortages or scarcities of certain foods, and price increases. … In short, yes, food that is grown or harvested near a wildfire should be safe to eat if appropriately washed.


Lodi grape growers hopeful the year’s crop to not be tainted by smoke from wildfires [Stockton Record]

Wine grape growers in the Lodi American Viticultural Area, the state’s largest district, are in the early stages of harvest and believe the area’s topography and distance from the wild fires burning in Northern California may help prevent this year’s crop to be marred by smoke, though the area has been especially smoky in recent days mainly from the LNU Lightning Complex and SCU Lightning Complex fires. … “We’re getting smoke, but if we were right next to a fire, it would be a different situation,” said Joe Valente, vineyard manager for John Kautz Farms in Lodi and San Joaquin Farm Bureau leader.


California’s Delta tunnel project inches forward – and just got a $15.9 billion price tag [Sacramento Bee]

When Gov. Gavin Newsom downsized the Delta tunnels water project last year, the idea was to save money and try to appease at least some of the project’s critics. Yet the project remains controversial — and still figures to be costly. After months of relative quiet, Newsom’s administration released a preliminary cost estimate for the scaled-back project Friday: $15.9 billion for a single tunnel running beneath the estuary just south of Sacramento.