Ag Today June 21, 2019

Summer is rolling in with high temperatures and gusty winds as California braces for fire season [Los Angeles Times]

Fire weather officially arrived in Northern California this week, signaling the beginning of what officials expect will be an exhausting year for firefighters across the state. The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning beginning Thursday night for the Sacramento Valley and adjacent foothills warning of high fire danger from gusty winds and low humidity levels that are expected to linger though Saturday evening. Friday marks the first day of summer….This week’s red flag warning comes on the heels of the deadliest and most destructive wildfire season in state history and as officials across California are growing increasingly concerned about what many fear will be another one.


PG&E: Prepare to lose power for five days [Ukiah Daily Journal]

When weather conditions warrant it this fire season, Pacific Gas and Electric could shut off power to large areas of California for up to five days at a time. “Forty-eight hours is a reasonable number, but there is nothing wrong with being prepared for five days,” said PG&E representative Alison Talbott at the Ukiah City Council meeting June 19, adding that everyone should be preparing for all types of outages….If and when PG&E determines a shutoff is warranted, he said “ideally” the company will begin alerting public safety agencies like the Ukiah Police Department, Ukiah Valley Fire Authority and the Mendocino County Office of Emergency Management 48 hours in advance, then begin pushing the information out to more public sources like social media and news outlets 24 hours beforehand.


Who owns groundwater? Lawsuit seeks to answer the question [Camarillo Acorn]

A case making its way through Santa Barbara County Superior Court is challenging the amount of water farm owners can pump from a groundwater basin that sits below Moorpark. The lawsuit was filed more than a year ago, in March 2018, by a group of Ventura County landowners and agricultural business owners. The group claims that Fox Groundwater Management Agency, an entity that oversees groundwater basins in the area, overstepped its responsibilities as a supervisor of local water sources….The case, which will allocate the basin’s water rights, will be heard in Santa Barbara today, Fri., June 21.


Sonora District to pay $90,000 in Tuolumne County Farm Bureau legal fees [Sonora Union Democrat]

A settlement agreement signed Wednesday between the Sonora Union High School District and the Tuolumne County Farm Bureau stipulates the district must pay $90,000 for the farm bureau’s legal fees and produce additional public records related to negotiations over the failed sale of 112-acres of the Wildcat Ranch to The Park Foundation, a Sonora-area non-profit….The agreement stipulates that if the district takes up the sale again, “it shall take all steps required to designate the property as surplus, regardless of any action prior to execution of this agreement by the Parties.” A dismissal motion on the lawsuit — filed in February alleging Brown Act and procedural violations in the district’s negotiations with the Park Foundation — will be submitted pending the payment of the fees and the complete return of all requested records, said Kelly Aviles, the La Verne-based attorney representing the Tuolumne County Farm Bureau, a non-governmental agriculture advocacy non-profit.


Trade war could shake almond sales this year [Manteca Bulletin]

The good news for almond farmers is that for the second year in a row, it doesn’t appear that they have to worry about whether they’ll have enough water to produce a bumper crop. But they do have international trade policy – and a new round of retaliatory tariffs – to contend with….While local growers and brokers like Dave Phippen – a partner in Travaille and Phippen and a private almond rancher himself – would prefer unfettered trade, some economists believe that the escalating trade tensions could ultimately lead to a better trade that would ultimately help growers….“We would love unimpeded trade and it looks like there is going to be a little bit of pain for us before we get there, but hopefully that pain is a temporary thing as we work towards a ‘no barriers’ sort of arrangement.”


Editorial: California Legislature must extend clean-air checks to trucks [San Francisco Chronicle]

Californians who endure the hassle and expense of having their vehicles smog-checked every other year might be surprised and irritated to learn that those big-rig diesels are exempt from such thorough scrutiny….Senate Bill 210, authored by Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino (San Bernardino County), would close that gaping loophole….The California Trucking Association is worried about the potential of exorbitant fees; the California Farm Bureau Federation is worried about the tight timeline for compliance and how it might affect harvest schedules. In our view, there is reasonable room for compromise on each concern.