Ag Today March 16, 2020

Farmers markets canceled through end of the month [San Diego Union-Tribune]

Many farmers markets are being canceled through the end of March over concerns of community spread of COVID-19. The closures are part of the county’s decision to follow the state’s lead, banning all events of 250 people or more….In other parts of the county, there are still some markets that will remain open….Customers are encouraged to wash their hands often and stay home if they’re sick. The aisles of the market will also be widened to allow for better social distancing between customers.


Napa Valley anxious after Newsom calls for halt to wine tasting [Politico]

Napa Valley businesses already grappling with the economic fallout of coronavirus are bracing for further impact after Gov. Gavin Newsom called Sunday on all wine tasting rooms to close. While the effects of Newsom’s announcement are likely to be felt across the state, the decision could be particularly crippling in Napa and surrounding North Bay communities, where local economies are overwhelming driven by the wine industry….“We are very concerned about the impact this will have on the industry and our economy as a whole,” said Ryan Klobas, CEO of the Napa County Farm Bureau.


Canada approves North American trade deal [The Hill]

Canada on Friday formally approved the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), taking the last legislative step to implementation of the deal to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The trade deal, ratified by the Mexican legislature last June and by Congress in January, was formally ratified by the Canadian Senate Friday, and shortly thereafter received royal assent, the Canadian governor general’s approval….Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland — Canada’s top trade negotiator — said passage of USMCA was critical amid the “unprecedented challenge from the coronavirus pandemic.”


Biden commits to moratorium on deportations of immigrants [Los Angeles Times]

Joe Biden committed to halting deportations of nearly all immigrants in the country illegally. The former vice president said Sunday at the Democratic debate that he would place a moratorium on deportations in the first 100 days of his administration and then would only look to deport people convicted of felonies….Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had previously agreed to put a stop to deportations “until a thorough audit of current and past practices and policies is complete,” his website states. “They’re an important part of our agricultural economy, our construction economy. These are good people and yet they’re living in terror,” Sanders said.


2001 water “takings” case filed with U.S. Supreme Court [Klamath Herald and News]

Agricultural producers in the Klamath Project have taken the water “takings” case to the highest court in the land. Somach Simmons & Dunn from Sacramento, along with Timothy Bishop of the law firm Mayer Brown, filed a petition on the decision related to the class action case with the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday….The case, titled Baley v. United States, was filed 19 years ago when the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation re-allocated irrigation water to threatened and endangered species. A favorable outcome would mean upwards of $30 million collectively in compensation for irrigators named in the case.


The Milk Situation [New York Times]

…While nondairy milk has risen from the dusty shelves of health-food stores to Times Square billboards and supermarkets around the country, dairy farmers have faced economic turmoil. The question now is not whether anyone’s got milk. It’s how to sell it….The types of milk that are selling these days are the grass-fed, organic “specialty” milks that turn the dairy case more colorful….For those in the business of dairy milk, then, the solution may be to evolve.