Ag Today June 28, 2019

No U.S.-EU trade deal without agriculture: U.S. official [Reuters]

The United States will not reach a trade agreement with the European Union if agriculture is not included, a senior U.S. Agriculture Department official told reporters on Thursday. Ted McKinney, undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, said he was highlighting common ground between the two sides during meetings with lawmakers, government officials and private industry in Brussels, Rome and Geneva. Europe, a top U.S. trading partner, has offered to start negotiations with the United States about removing import duties on industrial goods, but those talks have not begun in earnest as the two sides argue about the issue of market access for agriculture.


Farm workers exposed to chemicals for second time in two weeks. This time in Fresno County [Fresno Bee]

Several dozen farm workers were exposed to pesticides Thursday in Fresno County, the second time such an incident has occurred in the region this month….Castillo said the pesticide was a combination of three chemicals. He provided the names as: Zylo insecticide, Nealta miticide and spray oil….A spokesperson with Gerawan Farming company sent a statement to The Bee stating the chemicals had reached workers at their orchard and emergency crews were called. “Gerawan had not been given prior notice of the spraying,” according to the company statement.


Dried up, desperate [Chico News & Review]

…The Miocene Canal, the primary water source for their 2,000 acres of orchards and cattle pastures in Butte Valley, has run dry since Nov. 8, when the upper portion of it—otherwise known as the Paradise flumes—was destroyed by the Camp Fire….PG&E has owned portions of the canal since 1917. This year, however, the utility giant—filing for bankruptcy and finding itself culpable for the deadliest and most destructive fire in state history—announced it would not repair the system. It’s a devastating turn of events not only for the Chaffin family and the two dozen other contracted water users—including ranching and farming families that relied upon the Miocene for generations—but also for many other residents and wildlife in this rural stretch of Butte County.


Environmentalists fight for grizzlies’ return to California [Ventura County Star]

Wildlife advocates filed a federal lawsuit seeking possible restoration of grizzly bears to parts of California. After their resurgence in the Northern Rockies, the Center for Biological Diversity said grizzlies should also be considered for California’s Sierra Nevada as well as areas of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada and Oregon….The lawsuit wants an updated federal recovery plan for grizzly bears. It says such a plan should reflect current science and consider additional areas where grizzlies once lived and can be reintroduced.


Ag Sec. Sonny Perdue: We want to be most people-focused agency in the federal government [Forbes]

Many Americans feel the federal government isn’t listening to them. As U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue wants the USDA to be the exception….At the closing keynote of the 2019 Forbes AgTech Summit on Thursday in Salinas, California, he talked about how to build a framework around producers based on a motto he installed on the day he became USDA head: “Do right and feed everyone.” In 2019, farming is “on the cusp” of a new generation of discovery, Perdue said, speaking of an agricultural “regeneration” through means of carbon sequestration, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.


Three things young farmers need to know in order to harvest success [Forbes]

…With a worsening labor shortage caused by fewer people entering the industry, automation is becoming increasingly important….As technology permeates agriculture, future industry leaders must be digitally literate. But that doesn’t mean they can throw traditional leadership skills out the window,…The key is to infuse traditional leadership skills with tech savvy.