Ag Today March 11, 2020

U.S. farmers still dependent on trade aid after China deal [Reuters]

…Now, with Chinese buying of most farm goods still lagging their 2017 levels, the administration says it may extend the farm subsidy program for a third year – money farmers say they still desperately need….The about-face reflects vagaries in the so-called Phase 1 trade deal: China did not commit to a timeline for ramping up imports of U.S. farm goods to make the 2020 goal of $36.5 billion, up from $24 billion in 2017. It also underscores economic uncertainty as China slowly reopens ports, roads and factories amid a coronavirus outbreak that has killed thousands of people and spread globally.


U.S. farmers urge lawmakers to continue trade aid until China deal is secure [The Hill]

U.S. farmers are urging House lawmakers to work with the Trump administration to continue the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) as the President Trump’s trade deal with China appears less secure amidst the coronavirus outbreak….At a House Agriculture Committee hearing on Tuesday, members heard from farmers who have been affected by tariffs….“As far as trade with China picking up, it’s hard to tell when that’s going to happen,” David Salmonsen, an economist with the American Farm Bureau, told The Hill. “That was a historical pattern but now with this coronavirus virus, we’re not sure.”


West’s biggest reservoir is back on the rise, thanks to conservation, snow [Wall Street Journal]

The largest reservoir in the Western U.S., Lake Mead, is rising again after more than a decade of decline, and at least some credit goes to the local National Hockey League team. “Reality check!” Ryan Reaves, right wing for the Vegas Golden Knights, yells as he body-slams a man through a plate-glass window for excessive lawn watering in a television commercial….The savings are crucial because Lake Mead, which is fed by the Colorado River, supplies more than 40 million people in seven states in the fast-growing Southwest and had dropped precipitously during a drought between 2000 and 2015, undermining a $1.4 trillion economy tied to the river, according to Arizona State University estimates.


Editorial: A week of rain is nice, but does virtually nothing to help L.A.’s water issues [Los Angeles Times]

…This week’s rain, while nice, is no March Miracle. It’s more of a March Meh….Warmer winters will mean shrinking Sierra snowpacks, which in turn means that winter precipitation will come more often in the form of rain that can’t be captured, because it will come too fast and can’t be stored, because reservoirs can’t hold it. That’s something to keep in mind as we decide where to spend money on water projects. We will always have to rely at least in part on water imported from elsewhere in California. But in an era of March Meh, should we shore up a system built for 20th century snowpack, or build out a local system to capture and use what nature delivers right on top of our heads?


Opinion: President Trump is attacking California’s salmon fishing industry and its 23,000 jobs [CALmatters]

…We urge Newsom to support efforts by the State Water Resources Control Board and the California Department of Fish and Game to set new, science-based water diversion rules that increase protections for salmon and the Bay-Delta.   The governor should then use state law to bring federal water operations in California into compliance with state standards. Using these tools, the governor can protect California from Trump environmental attacks and reverse the decline of salmon and the Bay-Delta.


Growing hemp: Rules and odors barriers to Shasta County crop [Redding Record Searchlight]

With a two-year moratorium on growing hemp expiring Thursday, Shasta County officials are racing to come up with rules for grows. And with the ban ending, County Agriculture Commissioner Rick Gurrola will start accepting applications to grow hemp on Friday. Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously voted to direct Gurrola and county planners to come up with a hemp ordinance with conditions for them to consider. Among supervisors’ concerns are money to enforce and regulate the industry, the amount of property needed to grow hemp and the odor from the plants.