Ag Today December 4, 2019

Trump jump-starts repairs for sinking California canal. But who will pay? [Sacramento Bee]

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said Tuesday it will begin studying the environmental impact of fixing a 33-mile stretch of the Friant-Kern Canal — a critical water artery on the Valley’s east side….Yet despite the support from the federal government to fix the Friant-Kern Canal, a key question remains: Who’s going to step up and pay?…In 2018, California voters defeated Proposition 3, which would have raised $350 million for repairs. It was the first time a water bond failed in California in almost 30 years. After the failure, state Sen. Melissa Hurtado, D-Sanger, introduced Senate Bill 559, a bill that would have allocated $400 million in funds from California taxpayers to pay for it, but with tepid support from her fellow lawmakers, the bill failed to advance this year, though it could come back again for a vote in 2020.


Trump’s US-Japan trade deal wins Japan parliament approval [Associated Press]

Japan’s Parliament on Wednesday approved a trade deal that was agreed upon by President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier this year. The deal cutting tariffs between the countries takes effect at the beginning of next year. It cleared Japan’s upper house Wednesday after clearing the more powerful lower house earlier….The deal will pave the way for cheaper American beef and other agricultural products in Japan….U.S. farmers have felt they were at a disadvantage compared to Australian or Canadian counterparts.


Mexico resists Democrats’ labor push on trade pact [Wall Street Journal]

Mexico’s government and business leaders are voicing opposition to a key demand of U.S. Democratic lawmakers in a renegotiated North American trade pact, jeopardizing the deal’s passage this year. Congressional Democrats, blaming Mexico for not living up to labor promises in the current North American Free Trade Agreement, have asked the Trump administration to beef up labor rules in its new version of the deal, known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA….On the U.S. side, farm groups and business leaders are concerned that time is running out to pass USMCA before the end of the year.


Hundreds of thousands are losing access to food stamps [New York Times]

The Trump administration, brushing aside tens of thousands of protest letters, gave final approval on Wednesday to a rule that will remove nearly 755,000 people from the federal food-stamp program by strictly enforcing federal work requirements. The rule, which was proposed by the Department of Agriculture in February, would make states enforce work requirements for able-bodied adults without children that governors have routinely been allowed to waive, especially for areas in economic distress. The economy has improved under the Trump administration, the department argued, and assistance to unemployed, able-bodied adults was no longer necessary in a strong job market.


Israeli artificial pollination start-up targets California almond market [Jerusalem Post]

Israeli agritech start-up Edete Precision Technologies for Agriculture, the developer of an innovative artificial pollination solution, will target the lucrative Californian almond market after announcing the successful completion of local field trials. Founded in 2016, the Basmat Tivon-based company is behind a unique pollen harvesting and mechanical pollination system, which promises high-quality viable pollen and aims to solve severe agricultural challenges posed by the recent decline in insects and honeybees….The company, which has also recently tested its technology in Australian orchards, now aims to commence a pilot program in 2022 in California – the world’s largest almond-producing region.


2020 Farm Bureau calendars spotlight Santa Barbara County’s agricultural bounty [Santa Maria Times]

Iconic images representing the range of Santa Barbara County’s agriculture, captured by some of the area’s best photographers, grace the pages of the 2020 “I Am Ag” calendar. Just released by the Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau, copies of the calendar are available at locations in Santa Maria and Buellton…Funds raised by calendar sales will support agricultural advocacy, outreach and education programs sponsored by the County Farm Bureau, an organization representative said.