Ag Today August 27, 2019

E-Verify is intended to detect workers without legal status. How do immigrants get around it? [Los Angeles Times]

…The operation exposed the poultry industry’s widespread use of unauthorized workers despite the federal system known as E-Verify, which was unveiled more than a decade ago to ensure potential hires could work legally in the United States….And even when employers utilize the system, it has a major weakness well known to those who work in the chicken factories: It does not detect when a job applicant is using somebody else’s identity….Some workers without legal status borrow the identities of friends. Others pay for the stolen identification of unknowing or dead citizens. Meanwhile, some companies use E-Verify improperly, and unscrupulous ones can accept shady documents while maintaining that they use the system.


Farmers’ frustration with Trump grows as U.S. escalates China fight [New York Times]

…American farmers have become collateral damage in a trade war that Mr. Trump began to help manufacturers and other companies that he believes have been hurt by China’s “unfair” trade practices….The predicament of farmers is becoming a political problem for Mr. Trump as he heads into an election year. For months, farmers have remained resolute, continuing to pledge support to a president who says his trade policies will help the agricultural industry win in the end. While there are few signs of an imminent blue wave in farm country, a growing number of farmers say they are losing patience with the president’s approach and are suggesting it will not take much to lose their vote as well.


As Trump policies deepen farmers’ pain, Democrats see an opening in rural America [Reuters]

Seizing on mounting Farm Belt frustration with President Donald Trump’s economic agenda, Democratic rivals are stepping up their push to take back part of rural America, whose overwhelming support for Trump helped propel his upset 2016 election victory….From front-runner Joe Biden to U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, many of the more than 20 Democratic presidential candidates have highlighted the economic damage caused by Trump’s trade war and biofuel waivers as the central plank of their pitches to rural America….In the past, Democratic candidates often just paid lip service to rural voters, said former U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota,…This year is different, she said in an interview.


There’s a steak war sizzling in Japan’s lucrative beef market [Bloomberg]

While America’s cattle ranchers rejoice at Japan’s plans to slash tariffs on U.S. beef imports, their biggest rivals – Australian farmers – will be eager to ensure they’re not pushed out of the way. At risk for Australia is Japan’s prized import beef market, which hit a record $3.3 billion in the year ended March thanks to the growing popularity of leaner cuts produced in the West. Australia and the U.S. are the biggest suppliers, with Aussie beef dominating at 51% of the market share compared to America’s 41%….Australia had so far been at an advantage to the U.S. after Japan had agreed to lower tariffs in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement.


California counties maintain tradition of excluding value of legal cannabis [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]

…There’s nothing in state law or memorandums between the federal, state and county governments that explicitly prohibits any type of crop or agricultural commodity from being listed in the annual crop report, including cannabis. But since legalization, no California counties have updated their reports to include cannabis, the annual flowering herb known worldwide as a signature California product….The reports are ultimately provided to the U.S. Department of Food and Agriculture. But cannabis remains illegal under federal laws….That link to federal funding has made California hesitant to include cannabis with traditional agriculture, said Hezekiah Allen, former executive director of the California Growers Association, who until recently worked in Sacramento as a lobbyist for the industry.


Editorial: Trump’s assault on Delta threatens Bay Area water supply [Bay Area News Group]

…The latest assault on the Delta, which supplies roughly one-third of the Bay Area’s water, is the Trump administration’s efforts to gut the federal Endangered Species Act….The California Legislature can fend off the president’s move by passing Senate Bill 1….We would be more sympathetic to Central Valley farmers’ needs for additional water if almond growers weren’t exporting more than 65 percent of their crops every year, primarily to India and China….That’s a nutty use of the state’s limited water supply.