Ag Today February 24, 2020

California Fish and Game ends striped bass population mandate, allowing decline [Fresno Bee]

The California Fish and Game Commission on Friday voted unanimously to amend its decades-old policy regarding striped bass, beginning a process that could allow the population to decline. The decision ends a 1996 policy that had committed the state to sustaining a population of about 1 million striped bass in the Delta and other California waterways….Farming groups and urban water associations have for years sought to reduce the population of striped bass, arguing that doing so would help the endangered Chinook salmon and Delta smelt that bass prey on and make environmental regulators less likely to impose restrictions on Delta pumping stations that send water to farms and Southern California.


Opinion: Newsom hopes to broker a peace treaty in California’s water war. Some worry he’ll cave to Trump [Los Angeles Times]

Gov. Gavin Newsom may be piloting a lifeboat that will rescue the sinking California Delta. Or he may be in water over his head on a doomed mission. The governor gets angry with skeptics who say he’s being delusional. But history sides with the doubters….To succeed in fixing the delta, Newsom must navigate through eternally warring interests: San Joaquin Valley agriculture and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on one side, and delta farmers, the coastal fishing industry and environmentalists on the other.


Editorial: Don’t be fooled, Modesto farmers — Trump’s California water plan doesn’t help you [Modesto Bee]

President Donald Trump promised in a Central Valley visit on Wednesday that his new water edict would benefit farmers, drawing applause and adulation from a Kern County crowd. But the brash move is more likely to hurt than to help growers, whether in Bakersfield or Modesto. That’s because his plan may blow up delicate negotiations among all interests receiving water from rivers flowing to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, especially those here in the Northern San Joaquin Valley — the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers.


California’s new labor law is a work in progress. Here’s how lawmakers could change it [Sacramento Bee]

The California Legislature is considering nearly three dozen bills to clean up or repeal the landmark gig economy law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom just months ago. Assembly Bill 5 limits employers’ ability to label employees as independent contractors, and requires businesses to give benefits like sick pay and overtime to workers….Proposals from Republicans include exemptions for a slew of workers like youth sports umpires, pharmacists, loggers and journalists. Democrats are advocating for money to help businesses comply with the new regulations.


Study highlights sustainability gains in dairy operations [Bakersfield Californian]

California dairy operations cause much less harm to the environment than they used to because of various advances during about the last half-century, according to a new report by UC Davis. Using a cradle-to-gate “life cycle” assessment, research funded by the California Dairy Research Foundation and the university’s Sesnon Endowment concluded dairies in the state put out 45 percent less greenhouse-gas emissions per unit of milk produced between 1964 and 2014. Environmentalists remain critical of the impact such operations still have on air and groundwater quality, and the industry continues to be the focus of state regulators pushing to shrink dairies’ carbon footprint. But by highlighting improvements, the report paints a more favorable picture of an industry that has often been portrayed as polluting.


Trump says he’s prepared to give more aid to farmers hurt by trade conflict [Wall Street Journal]

President Trump said the U.S. would consider a third round of aid payments for American farmers who have borne the brunt of retaliation for U.S. tariffs for much of the past two years. Although the U.S. has said farmers would benefit from its signing of a phase-one trade deal with China and its ratification of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, Mr. Trump raised the possibility that new aid payments may be necessary until those deals bear fruit….If farmers “need additional aid until such time as the trade deals with China, Mexico, Canada and others fully kick in, that aid will be provided by the federal government,” the president said on Twitter on Friday.