Ag Today December 20, 2018

Trump administration wants huge limits on food stamps — even though Congress said no [McClatchy News Service]

A lot more people could have to meet work requirements for food aid under a Trump administration plan unveiled early Thursday, even as the president later in the day is expected to sign legislation that’s supposed to keep the current food aid eligibility system largely in place. The proposed administration limits will have a significant impact in California, where in the application period lasting from September to August 2019 55 of 58 counties qualified for federal exemptions from work rules….Under the new administration proposal, far fewer people would be granted that exemption.


Deal could avoid shutdown, but California wildfire and water measures have to wait [McClatchy News Service]

Congressional leaders reached a short-term spending deal Wednesday that effectively punts most of the contentious funding decisions into the new year. That includes the question of whether to extend a federal law designed to deliver more Northern California water south, which has become a factor in the Delta water-sharing agreement reached earlier this month. Congressional aides said federal wildfire recovery funding will have to wait until the new year.


Democrats’ House takeover could mean big changes for California water policy [Los Angeles Times]

…With Republicans in control of the House, Senate and White House since 2016, the four Republican congressmen from the Central Valley — McCarthy and Reps. David Valadao, Devin Nunes and Jeff Denham — have been able to pass bills favoring water flows to the region’s farmers and residents….On the other side, opposing Democrats from the Delta area have had eight years — since their party lost the House majority in 2010 — to prepare for their chance to craft water policy that they consider best for the state….Huffman, who is expected to become chairman of the House’s Water, Power and Oceans Subcommittee, is a well-known environmental advocate and thorn in California Republicans’ side.


‘This plan is illegal.’ Merced Irrigation District challenging state’s water decision [Modesto Bee]

The Merced Irrigation District board gave direction Wednesday to take legal action challenging the state’s Bay-Delta water quality control plan, which is strongly opposed by communities in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. A series of lawsuits against the state’s “water grab” are expected from affected irrigation districts, following last week’s decision by the State Water Resources Control board approving the regulatory plan and a supplemental environmental study. The Merced district vowed to aggressively fight the plan calling for increased river flows in the lower San Joaquin River tributaries, including the Merced, Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers.


Why is romaine riskier than other kinds of lettuce? [Arizona Republic]

…Does contamination occur in the field? From the water? Air? Soil? Is it the result of animal incursions? Weather? Or does it happen elsewhere in the supply chain?  A processor? Distributor? Transporter? State and federal health officials charged with protecting America’s food supply can’t tell you. Growers don’t know. Food safety researches can’t explain it. Scientists can offer only theories. The way romaine grows might explain how E. coli gets into the lettuce and stays there in defiance of industry tests and inspections designed to keep food safe from farm to fork.


Napa Supervisors surprised by deluge of comments on family farm woes and winery rules [Napa Valley Register]

Helping small farmers who say they are facing a crisis, rethinking winery restrictions and further protecting watersheds are issues that some claim belong in Napa County’s three-year, big-vision action plan….Advocates of Measure C, the watershed and oak woodland protection ballot measure that narrowly failed to pass in the June 5 election, attended the meeting….Johnnie White of the Napa County Farm Bureau didn’t address these proposals. But he did talk of making sure regulations are based on data and don’t kill “the spirit of the little guy,” a reference to those who have small farms.