Ag Today December 14, 2018

Tainted romaine lettuce traced to at least 1 California farm [Associated Press]

U.S. health officials have traced a food poisoning outbreak from romaine lettuce to at least one farm in California. But they cautioned Thursday that other farms are likely involved in the E. coli outbreak and consumers should continue checking the label before purchasing romaine lettuce….Officials said a water reservoir at Adam Bros. Farms in Santa Barbara County tested positive for the bacterial strain and the owners are cooperating with U.S. officials. Officials from the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not determined how the water reservoir — which is used to irrigate lettuce — became contaminated.


‘This is an assault on farm workers’ Farmers react to state ‘water grab’ approval [KXTV, Sacramento]

Farmers are speaking out about the Bay-Delta water quality control plan that was just approved by the California State Water Resources Control Board on Wednesday night.…”It’s aggravating, it’s not heartbreaking, it’s aggravating,” Jake Wenger, a fourth-generation farmer in Modesto said….In the state water board meeting on Wednesday night, about 55 people spoke out on this plan. Still, at the end of the day in the final hour, four out of five board members decided to move forward….Farmers believe this could be tied up in litigation before we see an immediate impact.

Southwestern US states get Jan. 31 deadline for drought deal [Associated Press]

The head of the federal agency controlling the Colorado River said Thursday the U.S. government will impose unprecedented restrictions on water supplies to the seven Southwestern U.S. states that depend on the river unless everyone agrees by Jan. 31 on a plan to deal with an expected shortage in 2020. Water users from Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming should have had a pact to sign at an annual water users’ conference this week in Las Vegas, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said. They didn’t. However, a flurry of approvals in several states in recent weeks signaled urgency and set a stage for an overall agreement to use less water from a river beset by drought and locked into promises to deliver more water than it takes in.


New Farm Bill provides funds for research in California ‘ag,’ but no big boons [Capital Public Radio, Sacramento]

…”What’s fascinating about the Farm Bill is, after all that hyper-partisan debate … it’s really a lot of the same of what we already had,” said Glenda Humiston, vice president of University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. Humiston is pleased that California will get an increase of $25 million a year for research of specialty crops, agricultural jargon for fruits, vegetables and nuts, as opposed to commodity crops like soybeans, corn and wheat….California is traditionally underrepresented in the Farm Bill, with subsidies going to commodity producers, said Josh Rolph, manager for federal policy at the California Farm Bureau Federation.


Did you know antibiotics are being used in citrus? Here are the facts [Fresno Bee]

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the use of two antibiotics in the fight against a dreaded citrus disease, despite concerns from critics who fear it may contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant diseases in humans. The two drugs, streptomycin and oxytetracycline, have been used in Florida for the last several years as a last-ditch effort to try to slow the progress of citrus greening, or huanglongbing….But scientists have found that antibiotics, known in agriculture as bactericides, can delay the spread of the deadly citrus bacteria. The disease is passed from tree to tree by a tiny winged insect called the Asian citrus psyllid. Environmentalists, however, don’t believe the benefits outweigh the potential risks to humans.