Ag today February 25, 2020

Historically dry: This could be first February on record in Redding with no rain [Redding Record Searchlight]

This is shaping up to be the driest February on record in the North State. Not a drop of precipitation has fallen this month. This could be the first February since records started in 1893 that that has occurred….“And you know, in 2018 we had a dry early spring, but then we had a late spring storm event that really turned things around,” Elizabeth Hadley, the Bureau of Reclamation’s deputy area manager, said Monday…Despite this long stretch of dry weather, Hadley said Lake Shasta is still in good shape. The lake is more than three-quarters full and about 3 feet higher than it was a year ago….Hadley said at this time it’s difficult to say how the water year and allocations will play out.


Toxic mineral selenium to blame for spinal deformities in California Delta fish [UPI]

Exposure to elevated levels of the toxic mineral selenium caused fish native to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, sometimes called the California Delta, to develop spinal deformities. In 2011, biologists collected hundreds of minnows, juvenile forms of the Sacramento splittail, from the California Delta. Of the approximately 1,000 specimens studied, 80 percent had deformed spines….Scientists still aren’t sure of the causes of the elevated selenium levels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.


Opinion: California governor’s water negotiations leave no one behind, senator says [Modesto Bee]

Recently, Governor Newsom announced his framework and support for Voluntary Settlement Agreements (VSAs)…The VSAs provide a pathway forward, without costly litigation, to rely on the best, most current science for eco-system management of our state’s waterways, while ensuring stability to Central Valley communities that economically depend on water as their lifeblood….The VSA process needs to be fair to each different watershed which will be making voluntary, but nonetheless impactful, water diversions to the Delta. The process must not allow those watersheds and water users with more political clout to get more water at the expense of others.


Farmworkers struggle with high cost of housing [CalMatters]

…In Salinas, overcrowding and unhealthy living conditions are common, thanks to a lack of affordable housing, which often leaves the area’s tens of thousands of farmworkers squeezed into garages and living rooms. Entire families might live in one bedroom….According to the 2018 Salinas and Pajaro Valley Farmworker Study, more than 90,000 farmworkers live in the region, earning an average of $17,500 a year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Yet Salinas is one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S., according to Harvard’s State of the Nation’s Housing 2016 study.The county also has one of the highest rates of food insecurity in the state.


Meat trade group advances suit against California [Courthouse News Service]

A trade group for the U.S. meat industry says its members are being curtailed by a California anti-animal cruelty law that requires farm animals raised for consumption get more space. The lawsuit filed by the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), a trade group of big producers of meat found in grocery stores across the country, including Tyson Foods and Butterball, calls the California voter-approved law a detriment to its industry….But last November U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder ruled against the group and allowed animal rights advocacy groups to join the suit as intervenors along with the state of California. On Monday, Snyder said she would likely not dismiss the lawsuit but will give NAMI leave to amend its complaint to address issues about harm to its members.


As Trump visits India, a trade deal remains elusive [New York Times]

President Trump’s visit to India includes a state dinner, tens of thousands of cheering onlookers and even a marching band on camels — but a long-awaited trade deal between the United States and India is notably absent. For the second time since September, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India visited the United States, the two countries have failed to reach even a limited “mini-deal” that would increase trade for focused groups of goods, like dairy products, medical devices and Harley-Davidson motorcycles….The two sides were close to reaching a modest agreement in early January that would remove barriers for American farmers and medical device makers and strengthen India’s intellectual property protections, among other issues. But new demands — like a U.S. request for India to buy more walnuts and turkeys — kept popping up, delaying an agreement.