Ag Today June 24, 2020

$2B in COVID-19 losses: Report shows how California farms have suffered [KSEE TV, Fresno]

A new report on the devastation the pandemic has caused California farms shows that the business has already suffered $2 billion in losses so far. The report, commissioned by the California Farm Bureau Federation, warned that those losses could reach more than $8 billion by the end of the year. … “Immediately impacted was the California dairy industry, suffered losses almost overnight,” said CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau Ryan Jacobsen. “We’re also seeing losses in the wine industry, which is very important here in the valley, as well as the nursery industry.”


31 workers test positive for COVID-19 at Wasco-based farming company [KGET TV, Bakersfield]

A total of 31 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at Primex Farms since June 10, the company said Tuesday. … Following the positive tests, the company has made the wearing of masks mandatory, reduced capacity to one-third to increase social distancing and sent all employees with any chance of exposure to be tested before they can return to work. … On its website, Primex describes itself as a fourth generation grower of nuts and dried fruits that manages more than 5,000 acres of pistachio orchards in California.


Tariffs on European food could expand under new U.S. proposal [Wall Street Journal]

The Trump administration is considering expanding and raising tariffs on $7.5 billion of imports from the European Union and U.K. that it first imposed last year, part of a long-running dispute at the World Trade Organization that faults European countries for subsidies to aircraft manufacturer Airbus SE. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative filed paperwork late Tuesday that would allow companies to comment on a proposed increase to as high as 100% on all goods already tariffed and broaden the list to tariffs on new items such as certain coffees and olives.


Proposed rule worries local hemp growers [Imperial Valley Press]

A local hemp grower is expressing grave concerns about proposed federal and state regulations that would shorten the amount of time allowed to harvest hemp after it has been sampled for laboratory testing. Primordia, which has grown and harvested more than 2,500 acres of hemp locally since late 2019, is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state to amend its respective rules governing industrial hemp operations.


Monterey County agriculture industry grew in 2019 but flowers, seeds saw sharp losses [Salinas Californian]

Monterey County’s agricultural industry saw $200 million in growth in 2019, including the addition of cannabis, a brand-new crop for the county. Yet some sectors saw sharp losses, according to the 2019 Monterey County Crop Report. … Vegetable crops, which the Salinas Valley is known for as the Salad Bowl of the World, increased by 7.9% to $3.09 billion and cannabis, a first-year crop grown on just 86 acres in the valley, was valued at just under $500 million, the report said.


Yolo County agriculture taking a blow from trespassers’ sunflower photo shoots [KXTV, Sacramento]

It’s summer in Yolo County, and rows and rows of gorgeous, bright sunflowers stretch to fill the horizon. … What was once a paradise-like view is now marred by groups of people, local and tourists alike, trying to get the perfect photo. … Along some of the sunflower fields of Davis, there are signs that state “No Trespassing” quite clearly. It seems that people have chosen to ignore these signs, at the detriment of farmers and the sunflowers themselves. … Rather than enter someone’s private property to take a pic, Rominger suggests finding a spot off the side of the road.