Ag Today July 13, 2020

From flour to canned soup, coronavirus surge pressures food supplies [Wall Street Journal]

Grocers are having trouble staying stocked with goods from flour to soups as climbing coronavirus case numbers and continued lockdowns pressure production and bolster customer demand. Manufacturers including General Mills Inc., Campbell Soup Co. and Conagra Brands Inc. say they are pumping out food as fast as they can, but can’t replenish inventories. Popular items such as flour, canned soup, pasta and rice remain in short supply. … There is enough food in the U.S. to keep people fed, executives say, but every product might not be available everywhere while inventories are strained.


Coronavirus outbreak at California beef company has critics calling for more transparency [Fresno Bee]

In California, there are no clear, enforceable rules for private companies — or public health officials — to report COVID-19 outbreaks at workplaces. … An example of the issue is playing out in the small town of Selma, where five employees told The Bee that up to half of the workers at Harris Ranch Beef Company had missed work due to COVID-19 concerns. That’s more than 100 workers. … Harris Ranch Human Resources Vice President Mike Casey declined to disclose the total number of COVID-19 cases or the total number of people absent due to fear or possible COVID-19 infections.


Opinion: Latino workers are being overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. What will be done? [Fresno Bee]

… We are now in “peak” picking season and in the height of packing throughout in California with thousands of employees working around the clock in dense and production-intense working conditions, inherently susceptible to infection. … It must be emphatically stressed that there is great distress within the Mexican American community that the pandemic is increasingly having a major adverse impact on them, and there are no signs that a centralized, cohesive and enforceable statewide infection control strategy is being implemented at the worksite level.


Want to work the Napa grape harvest? Due to visa freeze, opportunities abound this year [Napa Valley Register]

The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on international travel and the Trump administration’s freeze on J-1 visas have disrupted a significant portion of the harvest intern workforce for Napa Valley’s wineries. … Globally, harvest interns play a crucial role in supporting wineries, according to Benessere Vineyards winemaker Matt Reid. … ‘Intern,’ in the wine industry, does not necessarily denote a gangly college student: many are well-established professionals. … The Napa Valley Vintners this past week launched an online job board as part of a formal effort to recruit Napa-local and domestic harvest interns.


IID files opening brief in petition to suspend DCP [Imperial Valley Press]

Imperial Irrigation District made the first notable follow-up to its petition to hit the brakes on the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan for the Colorado River with an opening brief filed Wednesday. … The petition calls on the court to suspend approvals and actions related to the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan until such time an appropriate analysis of Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s (MWD) commitment to the plan has been completed in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The seven-state agreement, which was approved in March 2019, involved an escalating array of cutbacks intended to prevent a phenomenon called “dead pool” at lakes Mead and Powell, whereby water levels fall below the gates that let water out.


Mendocino County rancher and others calling for non-lethal wildlife management [Ukiah Daily Journal]

… In June 2019, Mendocino County released the EIR with an analysis of non-lethal program alternatives showing that there are many cost-effective, non-lethal methods for addressing human/wildlife conflicts. Subsequently, the county Board of Supervisors recommended renewing the contract and expanding it to include cervical neck wringing, cervical dislocation and the use of CO2, all of which can cause extreme pain and suffering. … On Tuesday, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will be voting on its $170,000 contract with Wildlife Services.