Ag Today July 22, 2019

China backs away from U.S. food fight [Wall Street Journal]

China’s food fight with the U.S. is getting costly at home. That doesn’t mean a resolution to overall trade tensions is near, but it could help keep further escalation in check. Some Chinese enterprises have made inquiries with U.S. exporters about purchasing agricultural products and have applied to Beijing for tariff exemptions, according to a Sunday report from China’s official news agency Xinhua….The Xinhua report didn’t specify when any exemptions, if granted, would come into effect. But the dovish signal on trade fits with a longstanding pattern by Beijing of framing concessions in terms of domestic priorities rather than pressure from foreigners.


The pits: How China’s U.S. tariff jab choked a cherry import boom [Reuters]

…Across China’s metropolises, the appetite of a burgeoning middle class for expensively fresh U.S. cherries has become a symbolic casualty of China’s festering, tit-for-tat trade battle with the United States. A business that grew to nearly $200 million in 2017 from zero in 2000 has now withered to little more than a tenth of its volume peak, customs data shows….A search by Reuters for U.S. cherries at a supermarket and smaller groceries in downtown Shanghai on a recent weekday came up empty-handed.


Impacts of trade war on Yuba-Sutter [Marysville Appeal-Democrat]

Farmers around the Yuba-Sutter area are feeling the effects of the ongoing trade wars with several countries around the world that, in the past, have been big importers of U.S. agricultural goods. Most of the locals remain optimistic the situation will improve. The area’s top commodities – walnuts, rice and prunes – have all felt the effects of the trade war to varying degrees. “The commodity prices were doing so well in past years, therefore the price of land went up as well. Now, here we are trying to see how we can sustain with the high land value and low commodity values,” said Karm Bains, a local farmer who grows peaches, prunes, walnuts and almonds.


‘Pig scramble’ for kids at Sonoma County Fair gives way to watermelons [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]

…Fair board members, acknowledging rising public concern and protests over animal welfare, eliminated the pig scramble from the lineup of agriculture-related contests on Farmers Day….Tawny Tesconi, executive director of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, recalled her own participation in pig scrambles decades ago. “It’s been a great activity,” she said, calling the termination an “unfortunate decision” but one she supports as a former manager of the county fair….“We’re all aware that we seem to be a target for them now,” Tesconi said, referring to animal rights protests.


Opinion: As the climate gets hotter and drier, state’s water plan must consider all options [Fresno Bee]

…Our bill provides a map for improving our aging water infrastructure in three fundamental ways: 1. First, the bill invests in an all-of-the-above strategy to replace our dwindling snowpack….2. Second, the bill obtains maximum benefit from limited federal funding by leveraging federal dollars….3. Third, the bill helps protect and restore imperiled species and reduces the risk of destructive wildfires.


Opinion: California should stop subsidizing the Dolores Huerta Foundation [Bakersfield Californian]

You may have heard of Dolores Huerta, famed farm labor activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union. But have you heard of the Dolores Huerta Foundation? Maybe, or maybe not; however, if you’re a California taxpayer, you ought to become familiar with it, because you’re paying for it. Recently, The Bakersfield Californian ran a story describing millions of dollars in new subsidies for this organization under Gov. Newsom’s new budget…On its face, this seems non-controversial; getting young people involved in government is a noble goal. However, when you take a look at the Dolores Huerta Foundation, you’ll find a political-driven operation that should not receive state funds.