Ag Today March 25, 2019

As Trump tries to roll back clean water rules, California seeks stronger protections [San Francisco Chronicle]

When grower Brad Goehring looks across his rows of grapes, he can’t help but see a pool of murky water that breaks the rhythm of his vines, which otherwise stretch steadily into the Sierra foothills….Now Goehring is worried about seeing more cropland lost to regulation. He’s among the many California farmers caught in the middle of a tug-of-water between President Trump’s administration and the state over the reach of the federal Clean Water Act….The stakes are huge. Whatever regulation emerges between the state and federal governments will affect potentially millions of acres — where developers may want to build homes, where cities are eyeing new roads, and where farmers may wish to extend their fields.


Who keeps buying California’s scarce water? Saudi Arabia [The Guardian]

Four hours east of Los Angeles, in a drought-stricken area of a drought-afflicted state, is a small town called Blythe where alfalfa is king….What Fondomonte Farms is doing is merely a chapter in the long story of water management in the west, one that pierces the veil on the inanities of the global supply chain – how easy it is to move a commodity like alfalfa, or for that matter lettuce or clementines or iPhones, across more than 13,000 miles of land and sea, how much we rely on these crisscrossing supply lines, and at what cost to our own natural resources.


Napa County supervisors search for elusive watershed middle ground [Napa Valley Register]

Napa County supervisors on Tuesday will take on what to date has been a baffling brainteaser – how to heal community divisions prompted by ongoing watershed and tree protection debates. Some community members are demanding the county do more to safeguard reservoir water quality and save carbon-sequestering trees to combat climate change. Others say no proof exists that drastic steps are needed and that the results could hurt agriculture and vineyard development.


Avocados recalled; local packer cites possible health risk [San Diego Union-Tribune]

Henry Avocado Corp., an Escondido-based grower and distributor, is recalling whole avocados that have been distributed to retailers across the country, citing a risk of listeria infection. The recall covers California-grown conventional and organic avocados that were packed in California and sold in bulk across this state as well as Arizona, Florida, Wisconsin, North Carolina and New Hampshire. Avocados imported from Mexico and distributed by Henry Avocado are not being recalled and are safe to eat, the company said in a statement issued Saturday.


Editorial: Gavin Newsom’s fire alarm [Wall Street Journal]

Over the years sundry government reports have detailed how California’s environmental regulation has limited tree trimming and increased wildfire risk, only to have the reports discarded on the political ash heap amid opposition from the left. So credit Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom for finally whacking through the regulatory overgrowth….Wildfire prevention shouldn’t be partisan, and letting nature take its course will result in more destruction and death. Good for Mr. Newsom for taking on his party’s progressive fringe who, while screaming about climate change, would let California burn.


Opinion: Bees converge on Central California from across the pollen nation [Wall Street Journal]

…Almond farmers won’t know for sure how the uncertain situation with the bees has affected their crops until the beginning of April, but they’re already nervous. Some say hive shortages and scarcity are affecting their cost inputs….With the bees holed up in their hives, the Central Valley’s almond farmers now teeter between hope and despair.