Ag Today August 6, 2020

More farmers declare bankruptcy despite record levels of federal aid [Wall Street Journal]

More U.S. farmers are filing for bankruptcy, as federal payments projected to reach record levels this year fall short of compensating for the coronavirus pandemic and a yearslong slump in the agricultural economy. … The pandemic has pressured prices for many commodities, squeezing farmers who raise crops and livestock, and prolonging a six-year downturn in the Farm Belt. … In California, agricultural businesses stand to lose as much as $8.6 billion, according to a study commissioned by the California Farm Bureau Federation.


New bill would require employers notify workers of COVID-19 infection within 24 hours [KSBW TV, Monterey/Salinas]

New legislation working its way through the California Senate would require employers to notify workers within 24 hours if they have been exposed to COVID-19. The goal of the bill is to provide workers with the information they need to protect their families. Assembly Member Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) said the bill would benefit the Central Coast’s farmworker population specifically. … In Monterey County, Christopher Valadez with the Grower-Shipper Association said Ag companies are already notifying employees is already part of the protocol but did not say how long it takes for notification to be made.


A growing concern: SJ County turns its attention to farmworkers with COVID-19 testing in Linden [The Record, Stockton]

… Because of the disproportionate impact the virus has had on the Latino population, Community Medical Centers, San Joaquin County Public Health Services, Univision and the office of Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs collaborated to provide free coronavirus tests, face masks, hand sanitizer and information to farmworkers. … As of Wednesday, Latinos, which comprise 41.1% of the population in San Joaquin County, accounted for 30.2% of the county’s 12,034 reported cases and 38% percent of the county’s 187 deaths from COVID-19, the most of any ethnic group, according to the county department of public health’s dashboard.


Imperial Irrigation District scores another win in court battle with farmer Michael Abatti [Palm Springs Desert Sun]

A California appellate court on Wednesday denied Imperial Valley farmer Michael Abatti’s request for a rehearing in his long-running legal fight with the Imperial Irrigation District over control of Colorado River water. The decision could likely spell the end to his legal challenges. The court had ruled in mid-July that IID, the single-largest user of Colorado River water, was the rightful manager and distributor of the millions of acre feet that are diverted to the far southern valley every year via an intricate system of canals.


State bans home use of products containing carbaryl [New Times SLO]

Products containing an ingredient commonly found in household pesticides that are used to control insects in lawns and gardens are no longer available for residential use or for sale in California retail stores. … Brent Burchett, president of the SLO County Farm Bureau, said he and other farmers expect to see agricultural restrictions on carbaryl and most other pesticides tighten in coming years. “[Farmers] are all trying to transition to more organic-approved products,” Burchett wrote in an email to New Times, “but their efficacy usually does not compare to conventional pesticides.”


San Diego County supervisors hold off on weed-killer ban [City News Service]

The Board of Supervisors Wednesday paused a proposed ban on weed-killers that have been linked to certain cancers, but also voted to spend $60,000 for a pilot program to use organic alternatives on county-owned properties. … Hannah Gbeh, executive director of San Diego County Farm Bureau, said that glyphosate is safe to control invasive weeds and maintain roads, which in turn enables wildlife restoration and rodent control. She added that without proper vegetation management, there is a greater flood and fire risk.