Ag Today January 25, 2021

Newsom expected to cancel California’s coronavirus stay-at-home orders [Los Angeles Times]

Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected on Monday to lift regional coronavirus stay-at-home orders across California, a change that could allow restaurants and gyms in many counties to reopen outdoor dining and services. All counties will return to the colored tier system that assigns local risk levels based on case numbers and rates of positive test results for coronavirus infections, according to sources briefed on the plan by the governor’s office. … The outdoor dining ban has been highly controversial, with some elected officials and the restaurant industry fighting in court and out to overturn it.


California could prioritize age above all for COVID vaccine. Essential workers are upset [Sacramento Bee]

… For the past few weeks, California has tried to strike a delicate balance between vaccinating essential workers and older residents, whom both have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 35,000 in the state. But with California having trouble both getting and giving the vaccine, state officials are openly mulling prioritizing older residents ahead of all the other factors, including one’s job. That has advocates worried that essential workers, from teachers to farmworkers, will be left behind.


New study ranks the riskiest jobs in California during the pandemic [San Francisco Chronicle]

As the state struggles to vaccinate people against the coronavirus, a new UCSF study shows essential workers, especially in food and transportation industries, bear the greatest risk of death among Californians of working age. The authors suggest the employees be moved up in line for shots. Cooks, packaging machine operators, agricultural workers, bakers and construction laborers are among the riskiest jobs, the study found. … Most of them, including cooks, farmworkers and drivers, continue to work during the lockdown.


Democrats start reining in expectations for immigration bill [Associated Press]

It’s taken only days for Democrats gauging how far President Joe Biden’s bold immigration proposal can go in Congress to acknowledge that if anything emerges, it will likely be significantly more modest. … No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Richard Durbin of Illinois said in an interview this week that the likeliest package to emerge would start with creating a path to citizenship for so-called Dreamers. … Durbin, who called Biden’s plan “aspirational,” said he’ll push for as many other elements as possible, including more visas for agricultural workers and others.


California to impose first statewide rules for winery wastewater, marking new era [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]

Hundreds of California wineries will for the first time be governed by statewide wastewater processing rules, a change from the long-held, regional approach that could increase production costs for wineries and protections for waterways while providing consistency for vintners across the state. The move toward a statewide regulatory framework, a five-year effort championed by industry leaders, was finalized this week by the State Water Resources Control Board, which approved an order setting up guidelines for wastewater processing at most of the more than 3,600 bonded wineries in the state. … The order ratchets up reporting requirements and caps the amount of processed water wineries can dispose of through land application and subsurface disposal.


Smoke taint aftermath: short harvest complicates grower, winery dealings in Napa Valley [Napa Valley Register]

Almost three-quarters of Napa Valley’s growers were left this year with a smaller-than-average crop yield, survey data from Silicon Valley Bank’s 2021 state of the industry report showed. … While yes, he said, there was widespread smoke impact across Napa Valley, there was “still… good wine to be made” from grapes grown this year. But a significant portion of the valley’s wineries seemed not to want to hear that, Hughes said. They canceled their buying contracts with grape growers anyway.


Ag Today is distributed by the California Farm Bureau Marketing/Communications Division to county Farm Bureaus, California Farm Bureau directors and staff, for information purposes only; stories may not be republished without permission. Some story links may require site registration. Opinions expressed in stories, commentaries or editorials included in Ag Today do not necessarily represent the views of the California Farm Bureau. To be removed from this mailing list, reply to this message and please provide your name and email address. For more information about Ag Today, contact 916-561-5550 or