Ag Today January 4, 2019

Will Gavin Newsom change the state’s water course? Fish and farmers will soon find out [Los Angeles Times]

…Despite a flurry of activity, Brown is leaving plenty of unfinished water business as he heads to his ranch in the Sacramento Valley….Newsom has previously said he favors a scaled-down tunnel project. Whether he reappoints state water board chair Felicia Marcus will signal whether he wants the board to stand firm or back down on the flow requirements. His picks for top posts in the Natural Resources Agency will determine whether his administration goes along with a potential weakening of delta protections by the Trump administration — or fights it.


California water below normal in season’s first snow survey [Associated Press]

Winter storms have blanketed California’s Sierra Nevada in snow, but the drought-prone state is still off to another drier-than-normal start to the crucial wet season, state officials said Thursday. California water managers said Thursday the Sierra snowpack is only 67 percent of normal in this winter’s first manual measurement….Precipitation has bounced up and down as the state continues to recover from a devastating drought that led to tight water restrictions for residents and farmers. Persistent drought has also dried out trees and brush, contributing to severe wildfires.


Newsom pledges to step up ‘our game’ for ailing Salton Sea [Imperial Valley Press]

Acknowledging the state’s mistakes in the past and lack of action as it pertains to the Salton Sea, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom pledged to make the local health and environmental challenge a priority during his visit to the Imperial Valley Thursday morning….In his remarks, Newsom didn’t mince words and recognized the state has failed to step up to the plate to adequately handle the problem….In his initial stop, the gubernatorial frontrunner got the opportunity to hear from Imperial Irrigation District Water Manager Tina Shields and Board President Jim Hanks about the specific issues and challenges recession of the lake has brought to the region.


Bayer shares jump after Monsanto weedkillers court ruling [Wall Street Journal]

Bayer AG BAYRY +7.04% shares rose by more than 6% Friday after the German chemicals company scored a court victory in the run-up to crucial trials over whether recently acquired Monsanto Co. weedkillers can cause cancer. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria granted a request late Thursday from Bayer to stagger the submission of evidence in the so-called bellwether trials, potentially limiting the evidence presented by the plaintiff’s lawyers to the jury….Lawyers for the plaintiff must demonstrate that the chemical glyphosate in the weedkillers caused his cancer, before they can present evidence that manufacturer Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, acted with malice.


China and U.S. to hold trade talks in Beijing next week [Reuters]

China and the United States will hold vice ministerial level trade talks in Beijing on Monday and Tuesday, as the two countries face pressure to end a trade war that is hurting the world’s two top economies and roiling global financial markets….A team led by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish will come to China to have “positive and constructive discussions” with Chinese counterparts, China’s commerce ministry said in a statement on its website….Now, the countries face a March deadline for talks to end the damaging trade war, or Washington could proceed with a sharp hike in U.S. tariffs and Beijing could retaliate.


U.S. delays key agriculture reports due to government shutdown [Reuters]

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) delayed several major U.S. and world crop reports because of the two-week-old partial government shutdown, the agency said on Friday. New release dates for the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report and other data originally scheduled for Jan. 11 will be set once government funding is restored, USDA said….Also delayed are a quarterly report on U.S. grain stocks, a final U.S. crop production report for 2018 and USDA’s report on winter wheat seedings for harvest in 2019.