Ag Today January 11, 2021

California North Coast farmers fear dry winter amid dismal snow survey [North Bay Business Journal]

The slow drip from Mother Nature’s faucet so far this winter has caused cautious concern from farmers and their bureaus reliant on adequate water supplies. … “Right now, it’s not looking good,” said Loren Poncia, who runs Stemple Creek Ranch based in Tomales in Marin County. … Santa Rosa dairy farmer Doug Beretta feels his Sonoma County counterpart’s pain. … “We’re really lucky we have (Lake) Berryessa, and at this moment, it’s still early,” Solano County Farm Bureau Director Lisa Shipley said of the Napa County reservoir. … “I’m worried we’ll see that prediction for a dry winter (come into fruition),” Sonoma County Farm Bureau Executive Director Tawny Tesconi said.


Local health officials setting aside COVID vaccines for agriculture and food industry employees [KFSN TV, Fresno]

Fresno County Health officials say they’re setting aside 3,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for agriculture and food industry employees — who are a part of tier 1B. … They’re looking at three models. The first would be taking doses of the vaccine to indoor facilities for on-site immunization. … The second model also applies to employees of indoor facilities. It would involve developing partnerships with rural health clinics — who would then administer the vaccine. … The third and last model looks at outdoor Ag employees. Health officials are considering bringing the vaccine to them.


Gavin Newsom said he would punish counties for not enforcing COVID rules. Why hasn’t he? [Sacramento Bee]

Gov. Gavin Newsom in July warned local officials they could lose out on $2.5 billion worth of state assistance if they didn’t enforce the state’s coronavirus orders. … The threat was supposed to be part of the state’s effort to fight the virus, which at that time had killed 5,500 Californians. Nearly six months later, almost every Californian is under a stay-at-home order. … Yet the state has yet to withhold any county money. Two cities saw money redirected to support COVID-19 testing in their communities.


Newsom’s budget calls for investment in prescribed fire to combat catastrophic blazes [San Francisco Chronicle]

Following a record wildfire season in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to invest an additional $1 billion to make the state’s forests and communities more resilient to future blazes. The bulk of the money, detailed in a far-reaching budget proposal released Friday, would go toward improving the health of California’s wildlands by preemptively burning and thinning dangerous buildups of vegetation — to ensure that the landscape won’t burn as catastrophically as it has in recent years. … The proposal includes $512 million for landscape-scale vegetation projects, including prescribed burning.


Farm prices boosted by current events [Hanford Sentinel]

An unexpected increase in major farm commodity prices this new year coupled with the falling greenback are bolstering hopes in the San Joaquin Valley farming community for a better year despite increasing likelihood of continued drought. … Helping these US ag exports is a weakened dollar that makes our products cheaper overseas. … The California Farm Bureau notes that the recent 5,500-page stimulus package signed by the President contains many provisions important to California farmers, ranchers and rural residents with $13 billion in assistance to help U.S. livestock, poultry, dairy and crop farmers recover from COVID-19 disruptions.


Apeel CEO James Rogers wants to extend the shelf life of your avocados and oranges [Wall Street Journal]

… His company, Apeel, applies an edible, plant-based coating to fruits and vegetables that extends their shelf life without refrigeration. Apeel-treated avocados, limes, apples and cucumbers are already in some of the largest grocery chains in the U.S. and Europe. … Mr. Rogers was a graduate student in materials science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, when he first sensed that time was key to solving the world’s food problems. … All fruits and vegetables spoil by the same process—water goes out, oxygen comes in—but creating an invisible barrier that locks in moisture requires a different formula for each one.


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