Ag Today June 4, 2021

California votes to continue requiring masks at work if anyone is unvaccinated [San Francisco Chronicle]

If anyone in a workplace is unvaccinated, all colleagues must wear masks when in the same room, according to a new California workplace standard passed Thursday. … The standards board for California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA, passed the new rules as a stopgap measure after a marathon meeting Thursday, minutes after it initially rejected the same rules by a 4-3 vote, swayed by business groups’ arguments that they are too strict. The board said it considers the measure temporary and will act quickly to craft a replacement. If the board had rejected the new rules, the existing standard, which requires everyone to wear masks at all times, would have remained in place.


Valley ag community adjusts to heat wave; Cal/OSHA reminded fieldworkers earlier this week that they are entitled to water, rest, and shade [KFSN TV, Fresno]

The Valley’s agricultural community has had to adjust quickly to blazing hot temperatures. … “It certainly came on strong,” Tulare County Farm Bureau Executive Director Tricia Stever-Blattler says. “We’ve had some pretty moderate, enjoyable temperatures the last few weeks, so it’s always hard when we get that first major heat wave in early June.” Stever-Blattler says she expects ag employers will follow the state’s strict rules related to heat illness prevention. … “There are probably a lot of crews right now starting work at three and four in the morning and probably getting finished by 11 or 12 o’ clock, midday,” Stever-Blattler says.


Few Klamath Project irrigators involved in protest at canal [Klamath Falls Herald and News]

A group affiliated with People’s Rights Oregon has made clear their intentions to forcibly open the headgates of the Klamath Project. But many irrigators say the protesters don’t represent a majority of water users. … Though most irrigators agree that the Bureau of Reclamation isn’t managing water properly in the Klamath Basin, they disagree on what to do about it. Some feel the science behind lake level and river flow requirements needs to be reassessed, some think courts should clear up who’s entitled to the water in Upper Klamath Lake, and many support a basin-wide settlement that would divide water after negotiations between tribes, irrigators and environmental advocates.


These maps show ‘all of the pieces are in place’ for serious fire season in Northern California [San Francisco Chronicle]

Northern California’s impending wildfire season is looking more and more grim by the day. The outlook for fire potential is above normal for much of the region through the summer, and by fall, virtually all of Northern California will be under serious threat, according to the most recent report and maps from the interagency Northern California Geographic Coordination Center. … According to the outlook, grasses and weeds have dried several weeks ahead of schedule, and the lack of brush growth may lead to dead outer branches and leaves, increasing their flammability.


Around Kings County: Corcoran settling Curti lawsuit [Hanford Sentinel]

On May 3 the Corcoran City Council voted to settle a city-initiated lawsuit against the nearby Curtimade Dairy, records show. City Clerk Marlene Spain confirms that the council voted in closed session to settle the long-standing legal action and reported that out that evening. … In their complaint, the city had argued that their municipal water wells were increasingly contaminated with high nitrates beginning back in 2004, testing above acceptable limits for toxicity. … Curti’s lawyers have argued that their nitrate levels applied to the soil have not been out of compliance and that they are monitored by the state.


Lawmakers scrutinize meatpacking as JBS rebounds from cyberattack [Wall Street Journal]

JBS SA meat plants ramped up production after a cyberattack this week, while some farm-state lawmakers called for an overhaul of practices that they said had left meat production vulnerable to calamities. … Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) said the cyberattack’s fallout showed the risks of industry consolidation that has led to a handful of big companies processing the bulk of America’s meat. … Mr. Grassley and other farm-state senators in March introduced legislation that would require beef processors to make at least half of their weekly livestock purchases on the open market, versus through pre-negotiated contracts. Proponents say the requirement would make cattle markets more competitive and improve prices for ranchers.


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