Ag Today February 14, 2020

Republicans hope Trump’s visit will drive ‘red wave’ in the Valley [Fresno Bee]

President Donald Trump is visiting Bakersfield next week, and local Republicans hope he will sign a water bill and say a “red wave” is swelling in the state. Trump will stop in California and other Western states next week, a White House official confirmed Thursday. The California leg will include a stop in Bakersfield on Wednesday, where Trump will join House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to speak about efforts to improve water deliveries for farmers.


Drought conditions are creeping back to the Central Valley [KBAK-TV, Bakersfield]

After a promising start to 2020, drought conditions are creeping back into the Central Valley….California had been drought-free since December, so this new dry spell puts Douglas DeFlitch, the chief operating officer for the Friant Water Authority, on high alert. “We haven’t received an allocation on the Friant Kern Canal yet and the Friant division hasn’t received an allocation from the Bureau of Reclamation, but things are pointing towards a very dry year,” DeFlitch said.


IID prevails against farmer Michael Abatti’s contempt of court complaint [Palm Springs Desert Sun]

The Imperial Irrigation District has been found not guilty of a contempt of court complaint brought against it by farmer Michael Abatti as part of his contentious fight over water rights in the Imperial Valley. Abatti alleged that IID had failed to prioritize agricultural users when it entered into an amended agreement in November to provide water to Heber Geothermal Co., which has been operating in the Imperial Valley since the 1980s. Imperial County Superior Court Judge L. Brooks Anderholt sided with the irrigation district, which contended that it was fairly delivering water for all its users and could continue to even if faced with water cutbacks.


Ecuador wants U.S. to eliminate tariffs on its key exports [Wall Street Journal]

Ecuador hopes to persuade the U.S. to eliminate tariffs on exports of broccoli, artichokes, tuna and roses as part of talks intended to improve trade relations between the two countries, Economy and Finance Minister Richard Martínez Alvarado said. President Lenin Moreno met with President Trump at the White House on Wednesday….The South American nation exported close to $7 billion of goods to the U.S. last year, with agricultural products and seafood together representing about 22% of the total, according to U.S. trade statistics. Only oil and gas exports, at 60%, outstripped those two food categories.


India offers U.S. dairy, chicken access in bid for elusive trade deal with Trump [New York Times]

India has offered to partially open up its poultry and dairy markets in a bid for a limited trade deal during U.S. President Donald Trump’s first official visit to the country this month, people familiar with the protracted talks say. India, the world’s largest milk-producing nation, has traditionally restricted dairy imports to protect the livelihoods of 80 million rural households involved in the industry….India has offered to allow imports of U.S. chicken legs, turkey and produce such as blueberries and cherries, Indian government sources said, and has offered to cut tariffs on chicken legs from 100% to 25%.


Cannabis farm was a model for California’s legal industry. Then came a sheriff’s raid [Los Angeles Times]

To marijuana industry boosters and Santa Barbara County officials, Barry Brand was one of the “good players,” a longtime Gerbera daisy grower who pitched cannabis as just a new type of flower in the greenhouse. When county officials gave reporters a tour of a licensed grow last year, they picked Brand’s operation on Foothill Road to showcase how their regulations were working and would make it all but impossible to divert marijuana to the black market. Last month the Santa Barbara County sheriff revealed a crease in this tidy snapshot. On Jan. 22, detectives served a search warrant at the farm and reported finding a stash of more than 100 gallons of concentrated cannabis oil, an extraction lab and evidence of “off-book” sales” — all illegal.