Ag Today June 19, 2019

U.S. farmers may need more aid if trade deals stall during election season: Lobby [Reuters]

Farmers may need a third round of government aid next year if political in-fighting during the 2020 U.S. election cycle prevents the Trump administration from landing trade deals and reopening top export markets, the head of the largest U.S. farm lobby said on Tuesday. If the U.S. Congress cannot ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), then it and the Trump administration could find it difficult to finalize any trade deals with other large markets, including the European Union and Japan, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said….“The deeper we get into this campaign season, the more difficult it might become” to get USMCA ratified or any trade deals done, Duvall said in an interview.


India has become major buyer of Modesto-area almonds, walnuts. It just hiked tariffs [Modesto Bee]

India has raised tariffs on U.S. almonds and walnuts, many of them shipped from the Northern San Joaquin Valley. The increases are not huge, but they do frustrate growers and shippers who have worked toward reducing barriers to world trade. India, a major buyer of both nuts, imposed the new tariffs last weekend. The action followed the Trump administration’s decision not to renew India’s preferential status in other trade sectors.


Dozens of farm workers exposed to pesticides in South Valley. 3 sent to the hospital [Fresno Bee]

Nearly 60 farm workers were exposed to chemicals Tuesday morning as they worked on a vineyard west of Dinuba. Three workers were taken to Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia…According to Tulare County fire Cpt. Joe Rosa, the workers were exposed to pesticides that had blown over from across the street, where a stone fruit orchard was being sprayed….An official from the Tulare County Department of Environmental Health said a miticide called Onager Optek and an insecticide called Reaper Clearform were the pesticides that were being sprayed.


The hemp market is worth billions. Did SLO County just scare away investors? [San Luis Obispo Tribune]

San Luis Obispo County supervisors have passed a temporary ban on new industrial hemp crops, just six months after the federal Farm Bill legalized hemp and paved the way for U.S. farmers to cash in on the multibillion dollar industry. The local decision is seen as a major setback by local farmers and industry analysts who saw the county as a potential leader of California’s growth in the global industry….“The Farm Bureau is very concerned about the signal this sends to potential investors in the industry. It’s unfortunate that our farmers here will not be able to take advantage of this new crop that’s sweeping across the nation,” Brent Burchett, executive director of the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau, said in a phone interview after the vote.


Chevron partners with biomethane developer to harvest, market gas from local dairy manure [Bakersfield Californian]

Chevron USA Inc. announced Tuesday it has partnered with a Visalia-based company to help fund up to 18 dairy “digesters” that would harvest methane from cow manure in Kern, Kings and Tulare counties. The oil giant, under its deal with California Bioenergy LLC, also agreed to help find a market for the resulting biomethane, a renewable-energy greenhouse gas 84 times more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Part of the idea behind the two companies’ joint investment in a holding company named CalBioGas LLC is to sell the gas as a fuel for trucks, buses and other heavy-duty equipment.


Editorial: California must not fail to deal with wildfire crisis [Bay Area News Group]

The risk is that wildfire victims and utility ratepayers will bear the costs of inaction. That’s unacceptable….The governor and the Legislature need to take action on PG&E’s abominable safety record….The Legislature’s month-long summer recess begins July 13. The wildfire season is upon us. If the governor and the Legislature won’t take steps to replace PG&E, they need to ensure the utility puts safety before profits, and protects wildfire victims and ratepayers from bearing the brunt of PG&E’s failures.