Ag Today December 17, 2018

California cedes water to feds in Delta deal with Trump [Sacramento Bee]

Southern Californians could lose billions of gallons of water a year to Central Valley farmers under a deal Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has struck with water officials working for President Donald Trump. There’s no guarantee the agreement with Trump will accomplish what Brown’s team is seeking: a lasting compromise on environmental regulations that could stave off significant water shortfalls for farms and cities across California….The various deals began to come to light Wednesday, as the state water board, made up of Brown appointees, was about to vote on a plan that would take substantial amounts of water from cities and farms and leave it in the state’s rivers to assist struggling fish species such as salmon and steelhead….Under a separate deal made Wednesday with the Trump administration on rules governing Delta pumping, the State Water Project will relinquish an average of 100,000 acre-feet of water a year to customers of the federal Central Valley Project, which mainly serves farmers in the San Joaquin Valley, said John Leahigh, the state project’s executive manager for water operations.


Sierra Nevada snowpack on track to shrink up to 79% by the end of the century, new study finds [Los Angeles Times]

…According to a new report, the size of the Sierra snowpack could shrink by as much as 79% by the century’s end if humans don’t limit greenhouse emissions….In the new work, published last month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, scientists looked specifically at how future climate conditions could affect the snowpack directly upstream of 10 of the state’s largest reservoirs….Reservoirs in the northern part of the state would be more affected than those in the central and southern regions, the authors said. That’s because the Sierra Nevada is not quite as high in Northern California as it is in other parts of the state.


Animal rights activists meet strong police presence at ranch [Modesto Bee]

About 120 members of an animal rights group, Direct Action Everywhere, protested Sunday afternoon at a ranch north of Oakdale where three of its members were arrested in October while trying to removed an apparently dying calf from the property. They were met at Raymar Farms, on Dodds Road, by a Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department presence that included deputies on horseback and ATVs, as well as freshly strung barbed-wire fencing with new “no trespassing” signs posted at intervals along it….Letras said a detective has checked on the Raymar operation and found no violations of animal-cruelty laws.


America can’t move its cheese [Wall Street Journal]

America’s cheese hoard continues to balloon to unprecedented levels, as producers fear the mountain could grow further and put even more dairy farmers out of business. About 1.4 billion pounds of American, cheddar and other kinds of cheese is socked away at cold-storage warehouses across the country, the biggest stockpile since federal record-keeping began a century ago. Driving the glut are cheese makers who ramped up production before trade tensions abroad tamped down demand for many of their products. Shifting tastes at home have further changed the outlook for traditional cheese makers.


Farm Bill could mean big bucks, legalization for hemp industry [Fresno Bee]

With the expected approval from President Donald Trump, the 2018 Farm Bill could open the doors to making industrial hemp a multibillion dollar crop in the U.S….Hemp growers and processors hail the legislation saying it provides a major growth opportunity for what has been a boutique industry….California farmers are poised to jump on the industrial hemp train. The California Department of Food and Agriculture is in the process of finalizing the regulations that will allow for the growing of hemp in the state. The public has until Dec. 24 to submit written comments.