Ag Today, February 7, 2020

Lone wolf traveled 8,700 miles looking for a mate. She was just found dead in California [Sacramento Bee]

An endangered female gray wolf known as OR-54 didn’t live long enough to find a mate, despite making an 8,700-mile meandering journey through three states looking for one. On Wednesday, California wildlife biologists found the lonesome wolf’s carcass in Shasta County. It’s not clear if the wolf died naturally, accidentally, or is the second California wolf to be killed by a poacher in as many years….OR-54 was suspected in at least five different attacks on livestock in Plumas County last year, according to incident reports biologist post on the state’s wolf website.


California bans common pesticide linked to brain damage in children [Bay Area News Group]

A ban on the sale of a controversial but widely used pesticide that has been linked to brain damage and other health problems in children took effect across California on Thursday, in a rebuke to the Trump administration, which has worked to keep it legal. The chemical, chlorpyrifos, is an insecticide used by farmers to control worms, insects and other pests on a variety of crops, including grapes, walnuts, lemons, oranges, alfalfa and cotton….Newsom also added $5.7 million to the state budget last year to fund research and grants into alternative, less toxic alternatives. But farmers say that work has yet to show results. “Insects and crop diseases pose a real threat to the food farmers grow, and losing an important tool such as chlorpyrifos will leave food crops more vulnerable,” said Jamie Johansson, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation.


Local wine, strawberries will benefit from trade agreements, says US deputy ag secretary [Santa Maria Times]

Santa Barbara County wine and strawberry industries as well as specialty crops will benefit from recently reached trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, Japan and China, the deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture told a crowd of more than 200 people Thursday at the EconAlliance Ag Forum. Stephen Censky, keynote speaker for the fourth Ag Forum, also said the Trump administration is devoted to reducing government regulation, including on gene editing technology, which he said represents the future for agriculture….He said reducing regulatory barriers will spur more innovation and technological advances, which he said has led to America becoming the top agricultural producer in the world and California the top ag producer in America.


Editorial: Farming for nation’s greatness [Santa Maria Times]

These are discomforting times for American farmers….It’s not just President Trump’s mercurial trade negotiations with major trading partners….A more direct threat to border-state farms has been the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration, leaving many growers with not nearly enough seasonal workers needed to do the job…In fact, if not for the successful farm operations in North County, Santa Barbara County’s economy could shrivel like an avocado left too long in the summer sun.


Opinion: Stop farmers’ poisoning of Bay Area drinking water supply [San Jose Mercury News]

The Central Valley Regional Water Board has issued a 25-year permit for toxic discharges of agricultural wastewater into the San Joaquin River and Bay-Delta, which provides millions of Californians drinking water in parts of Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Alameda and Solano Counties….We cannot afford to permit another quarter-century of selenium pollution in California’s water. Changing course on this permit does not mean the end of farming; it only means farmers of poisoned lands will have to accept that some of their land may not be irrigable any longer and that they must stop piping their waste into the San Joaquin River.


Opinion: Dairies not source for renewable energy [Porterville Recorder]

The Central Valley is home to the largest concentration of dairies in California….These massive dairy operations cause pollution that has local and basin-wide impacts….Despite the harmful impacts on already overburdened communities, the gas industry promises these same dairies are an appropriate source for “renewable” energy….Dairy digesters aren’t a solution….As California aims to move away from dirty energy, dairy digesters and the attempt to paint them as “clean,” “green,” and “renewable” undercuts genuine attempts to develop the state’s clean energy infrastructure.