Ag Today July 23, 2021

Drought forces North America farmers to turn food crops to hay [Bloomberg News]

Drought is withering crops on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border, prompting farmers to take the rare measure of baling up their wheat and barley stems to sell as hay. The bales are providing much-needed forage for livestock operators struggling against a lack of pasture and soaring feed costs, and also signal smaller grain harvests that could keep crop prices high in the months to come. Temperatures are expected to soar next week in the Great Plains, further threatening parched farm fields….Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada reduced its principal field crop production estimates slightly on Tuesday, but said the hot and dry conditions are causing “significant uncertainty” in estimating yields during the growing season. Little relief is in the forecast. Some scattered rains have moved through the area in recent days, bringing spring wheat futures down from the highest levels since 2012.

Drought forces North America farmers to turn food crops to hay | Modesto Bee (


Editorial: To fulfill promises of Diablo Canyon closure, California ignores fossil fuel emissions [Sacramento Bee]

The pitch to close PG&E’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant was hard to refuse. It sold California on the best version of itself, where environmentalism and public safety harmonized with our goals for powering the grid exclusively with renewable sources. The twin-reactor facility along the San Luis Obispo coast powers millions of homes, and the lost output is supposed to be substituted with sources that do not emit greenhouse gases. That was a highlight of the agreement with labor and environmental groups when PG&E announced in 2016 that it would not renew the plant’s license and decommission it by 2025….California is facing unnerving realities with its power supply that are undermining the transition to a 100% green energy grid by 2045. So far, the Public Utilities Commission, California’s utility regulator, appears more concerned with replacing energy than reducing dangerous greenhouse gases….The extreme weather this summer has only deepened our dependence on it. About 28% of the state’s energy supply is imported from other states, and the vulnerability of that approach was exposed earlier this month when the Bootleg Fire in Oregon threatened transmission lines that provide 4,000 megawatts of power.


Dixie fire burns more than 100,000 acres while Tamarack fire crosses state lines [Los Angeles Times]

The Dixie fire burning in Butte and Plumas counties mushroomed to more than 100,000 acres Thursday, becoming the second California blaze this year to surpass that acreage milestone. The aggressive fire has now destroyed at least eight structures, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said, and at least 1,500 more are threatened as it continues its slow crawl east toward Lake Almanor….Wildfire experts have said California’s fires are burning faster and arriving earlier this year because heat and drought have dried the landscape and primed vegetation to burn. Wind and topography also played a role in the Dixie fire’s latest run, said Cal Fire Butte County spokesman Rick Carhart, as the area’s valleys, peaks and canyons are enabling erratic movement and spread. “There are fingers of fire that are burning, so it’s not the whole fire front moving together,” Carhart said. “With more flame-front out there, there’s more ability for it to grow.”

Dixie fire reaches megafire status, Tamarack fire grows – Los Angeles Times (


Ranchers find death, devastation in Bootleg Fire’s wake [Klamath Falls Herald and News]

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Michael and Katie Mastagni were saddling up for another long day of tracking down their cattle over landscape scorched by the Bootleg Fire. As the blaze approached, most ranchers with grazing allotments on the Fremont National Forest — including the Mastagnis of Five Mile Ranch — decided to release their livestock from their pastures and pens, with the hope that they could find safety from the inferno.

Many animals did survive, many others were not so lucky. “We’ve been riding our tails off looking for them, there’s a lot of ground to cover out there,” said Katie. “Unfortunately we keep finding casualties.” Considering the sweeping natural beauty of the ranch — with green mountains in the distance and the blue skies overhead — it was hard to believe what the Mastagnis had been through only days prior.

Ranchers find death, devastation in Bootleg Fire’s wake | Local News |


Napa Valley’s Alisa Jacobson is turning the tide [Napa Valley Register]

Over the last two decades Alisa Jacobson has been a Napa Valley-based winemaker….Now she is leaving the Napa Valley and setting out on a new journey, launching her own brand — Turning Tide Wines — and operating under a new mantra. She’s plans to dedicate more time to her own brand and to spend more time farming her own vineyards in Oregon and Southern California….Jacobson says she is excited to make wines from grape-growing regions where yearly fires, water use and extreme prices are not constant threats.

Napa Valley’s Alisa Jacobson is Turning the Tide | Wine |


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