Ag Today February 7, 2019

EPA wins new chance to argue against pesticide ban [Reuters]

The Trump administration has persuaded a U.S. appeals court to reconsider its recent decision ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the widely-used pesticide chlorpyrifos, which critics say can harm children and farmers. In an order on Wednesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it will again review former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s March 2017 refusal to ban chlorpyrifos for use on food crops such as fruits, vegetables and nuts….The appeals court had, in a 2-1 decision last Aug. 9, directed the EPA to ban chlorpyrifos within 60 days.


California’s $5 billion clean-air plan lacking one thing: Money [Bloomberg Environment]

Cleaner burgers and electric ATVs are all part of California’s ambitious $5 billion plan to clean up the San Joaquin Valley’s notoriously polluted air. Now the problem is figuring out how to pay for it. The state has identified only about $1.1 billion in funds for the initiatives, plus another $900 million in local, state, and federal programs….Newsom’s proposed budget includes only $25 million to replace agriculture equipment, making it a challenge for farmers, California Farm Bureau Federation Senior Policy Advocate Noelle Cremers said. “This will not be easy to achieve,” she said.


Drought concerns loom for California farmers, ranchers despite recent rain [KSBY TV, San Luis Obispo]

Even with the onslaught of rainy weather, the U.S. Drought Monitor states San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara County remain in a moderate drought. On Wednesday, the UC Cooperative Extension held a workshop in Solvang titled “Weather, Grass, and Drought: Planning for Uncertainty.”


Worried about their chickens, hundreds crowd Norco meeting on deadly Newcastle disease [Riverside Press-Enterprise]

Tara Young moved from Hacienda Heights to Norco last summer to pursue “the dream of having horses and chickens.”…Young was among 225 mostly worried people who jammed Norco’s Nellie Weaver Hall on Tuesday night, Feb. 5, to learn details about the deadly disease that threatens domestic birds in the town of 27,000 famous for its country, animal-keeping lifestyle….State officials said the biggest obstacle to halting the spread is the moving of birds. And, ironically, some owners panic and move chickens out of fear about the outbreak.


Napa County unveils draft standards to regulate noisy bird cannons [Napa Valley Register]

Napa County is looking for ways that farmers can use propane cannons to scare away grape-feasting birds without the noise rattling the nerves of some south county residents….Napa County’s Right to Farm ordinance allows farmers to use accepted commercial farming practices in a manner “consistent with proper and accepted customs and standards,” a county report stated. However, since the county has no standards for propane cannons, code enforcement has had difficulty citing those who use the cannons improperly.


Young Farmers and Ranchers club takes root at Hancock College [Santa Maria Times]

A new student group at Hancock College hopes to help budding farmers and ranchers take root and bloom into full-fledged agricultural professionals. Last fall, eight students started the Hancock College Young Farmers and Ranchers, a youth-oriented affinity group backed by the Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau….Hancock administrators revitalized their dormant agricultural program last July as part of a two-year plan to prepare students for local jobs and four-year degrees in agriculture. Erin Krier, who was hired as one of the first instructors for the new program, said groups like the Young Farmers and Ranchers club — in addition to the new courses — provide much-needed support for young professionals pursuing a career in agriculture.