Ag Today July 14, 2020

Only eight U.S. states have virus rules for farms as cases rise [Bloomberg]

Only eight U.S. states have imposed mandatory protections specifically for farmworkers from coronavirus amid a series of agricultural outbreaks across the country and a national rise in new infections, according to a survey of state regulations by an advocacy group. … Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin are the only states to require produce growers and other farm operations to provide personal protective equipment to farmworkers and to require physical distancing, according to the advocacy group, which favors farmworker protections. … California has some mandatory measures for all workers in the state, including agricultural, but hasn’t issued farm-specific guidance, according to the group.


Opinion: Amid pandemic, California farms reflect society’s most basic needs, values [Ventura County Star]

… While most people and industries were caught off guard by the COVID-19 crisis, California farmers were already taking many of the mandated safety precautions as a matter of routine. Our farmers were able to continue supplying grocery stores and food banks throughout the state and nation because of the strict food handling and pesticide practices that were already in place. … Long after the pandemic passes, I would hope that the public continues to remember that our farmers, regulators and scientists have been able to create a system that defends our food supplies from pests, while protecting our communities, workers, school children and the environment.


Burger King addresses elephant in the room, and it’s a cow [Associated Press]

… The chain has rebalanced the diet of some of the cows by adding lemon grass in a bid to limit bovines contributions to climate change. By tweaking their diet, Burger King said Tuesday that it believes it can reduce a cows’ daily methane emissions by about 33%. … Burger King worked with scientists at the Autonomous University at the State of Mexico and at the University of California, Davis to test and develop its formula of adding 100 grams of lemongrass leaves to the cows’ daily diets. Preliminary tests indicate that the lemongrass leaves help the cows release less methane as they digest their food.


Climate change, COVID-19 stoke wildfire’s economic risk, Fed says [Reuters]

Wildfires threaten the economy of the western United States to a greater extent than the rest of the country, and the coronavirus pandemic and climate change will only make that worse, according to research from the San Francisco Fed on Monday. Some 52% of economic output in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington originates in counties with elevated wildfire hazard, putting the economies of the region in jeopardy as wildfires become more frequent and more destructive, the researchers found.


From food banks to honor fridges, rural Sierra communities get creative to feed themselves [Capital Public Radio, Sacramento]

… In Plumas and Sierra counties, food banks and food pantries are seeing their numbers double and triple. Grocery stores are struggling to keep up with demand. And many people are getting creative to meet the needs of their community. … More people wanted to shop locally rather than cross state or county lines to buy food. That put a lot of pressure on supply chains. … That’s the same issue that Jessie and Leslie are trying to address with the Lost Sierra Food Project by growing food for Plumas County, in Plumas County.


Local pumpkin farm expects to open for 48th harvest season in September [Marysville Appeal-Democrat]

It is still uncertain how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect business operations this fall, but Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm owner Wayne Bishop said they expect to open Sept. 12 for their 48th harvest season. … Bishop said it is important to note that the farm is a seasonal business and must follow retail and dining guidelines as opposed to festival or event venue orders. … In preparation for the upcoming harvest, Bishop said they have planted their normal amount of pumpkins this year, except for those meant for school field trips.