Farmworkers with West Coast Berry strike, join call for higher wages [Santa Maria Times]
More than 100 farmworkers employed by West Coast Berry Farms in Santa Maria walked off their job site on Oso Flaco Road Thursday to join a call for increased wages across the region. Employees at the farm, who claim they are not paid enough to meet the growing costs of everyday needs, are demanding their compensation per box of strawberries be increased and that an hourly pay system be put in place. Workers striking outside the company’s Skyway Drive office said they wanted their wage per box of strawberries to be raised from $1 to $1.25, and their wage per juice container to be raised to $2.
‘Nobody’s winning’ as drought upends life in US West basin [Associated Press]
Ben DuVal knelt in a barren field near the California-Oregon state line and scooped up a handful of parched soil as dust devils whirled around him and birds flitted between empty irrigation pipes. DuVal’s family has farmed the land for three generations, and this summer, for the first time ever, he and hundreds of others who rely on irrigation from a depleted, federally managed lake aren’t getting any water from it at all….Competition over the water from the river has always been intense. But this summer there is simply not enough, and the farmers, tribes and wildlife refuges that have long competed for every drop now face a bleak and uncertain future together.
Viewpoint: While debate rages over glyphosate-based herbicides, farmers are spraying them all over the world [The Conversation]
…In the past two years, three U.S. juries have awarded multimillion-dollar verdicts to plaintiffs who asserted that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, gave them non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system. Bayer, a German chemical company, bought Roundup’s inventor, Monsanto, in 2018 and inherited some 125,000 pending lawsuits, of which it has settled all but about 30,000. The company is now considering ending U.S. retail sales of Roundup to reduce the risk of further lawsuits from residential users, who have been the main source of legal claims. As scholars who study global trade, food systems and their effects on the environment, we see a bigger story: Generic glyphosate is ubiquitous around the globe. Farmers use it on a majority of the world’s agricultural fields. Humans spray enough glyphosate to coat every acre of farmland in the world with half a pound of it every year….Science can take a long time to reach conclusive results. Given how widely glyphosate is used now, we expect that if it is definitively found to harm human health, its effects will be widespread, difficult to isolate and extremely challenging to regulate. And finding a cheap silver bullet to safely replace it could be hard. Many substitutes on the market today are more acutely toxic. Nonetheless, there’s a need for better options, because weeds are developing resistance to glyphosate. In our view, growing concerns about glyphosate’s effectiveness and possible health impacts should accelerate research into alternative solutions to chemical weed control. Without more public support for these efforts, farmers will turn to more toxic herbicides. Glyphosate looks cheap now, but its true costs could turn out to be much higher.
Yolo County supervisors wrap up ‘straw votes’ on Cannabis Land Use Ordinance [Woodland Daily Democrat]
After three meetings, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors wrapped up taking straw votes on the county’s Cannabis Land Use Ordinance….Barajas explained that, under the new idea, new outdoor cannabis grows and any current grows that need to move would need to have a 1,000-foot buffer with no exceptions or reductions. Existing licenses could continue to have a 600-foot buffer, and there would be increased flexibility for those who do not fall into those 600 feet. All licenses must go through a permit-use process. The proposal was approved unanimously by supervisors.
Comment: The Supreme Court struck down a key United Farm Workers win. The decision has some infamous echoes. [Washington Post]
…The result is a narrow ruling that, nevertheless, is based in logic that could later be applied to a host of government regulations of businesses….Some scholars have noted that the court’s new line of reasoning is reminiscent of opinions from the early 1900s. This time period was characterized by antilabor decisions and is commonly referred to as the Lochner era, after the infamous Supreme Court case Lochner v. New York, which struck down a New York statute that had established maximum work hours for bakers. During the Lochner era, the judiciary often issued hostile labor decisions like Adair v. United States, which enabled employers to blacklist members of unions, and Loewe v. Lawlor, which allowed the government to use the Sherman Antitrust Act to suppress labor boycotts. In fact, pro-labor legislation faced such a degree of animosity that labor leaders turned to state constitutions to circumvent the federal courts.
A dry California creek bed looked like a wildfire risk. Then the beavers went to work [Sacramento Bee]
Seven years ago, ecologists looking to restore a dried-out Placer County floodplain faced a choice: Spend at least $1 million bringing in heavy machines to revive habitat or try a new approach. They went for the second option, and turned to nature’s original flood manager to do the work — the beaver. The creek bed, altered by decades of agricultural use, had looked like a wildfire risk. It came back to life far faster than anticipated after the beavers began building dams that retained water longer.
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