Ag Today March 28, 2019

Arizona Sen. McSally promises swift action on drought plan [Associated Press]

U.S. Sen. Martha McSally vowed Wednesday to take quick action on a plan to preserve the drought-stricken Colorado River, which serves about 40 million people in the U.S. West and Mexico. Seven states are looking to Congress to pass legislation to implement drought contingency plans that would mean voluntary cuts to keep two key reservoirs on the river from falling so low that their dams could not deliver water or produce hydropower. The plans that have been in the works for years got a first congressional hearing Wednesday before a subcommittee that McSally chairs. The Arizona Republican said she’ll introduce a bill soon and expects strong support.


Rafters, farmers, environmentalists all hope to benefit from Don Pedro relicensing [Modesto Bee]

…The districts are seeking to relicense Don Pedro for up to 40 years, which triggers a review of proposed environmental measures and other issues. People attending Tuesday’s meeting at the DoubleTree Hotel also spoke about the much-debated flow proposals for the lower Tuolumne, a voluntary settlement agreement, and whether it makes sense to eliminate bass to protect young salmon in the river….FERC’s environmental study recognizes a voluntary settlement negotiated by the districts and the state natural resources agencies in the waning days of former Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration.


Editorial: Ryan Zinke was an embarrassment as Interior secretary. David Bernhardt would be dangerous [Los Angeles Times]

…There is no doubt that Bernhardt is a subject matter expert on issues within the purview of the Department of the Interior. The problem is that his expertise is in circumventing the department’s rules and regulations, and undermining its mission of environmentally responsible stewardship of federal public land….He was the wrong choice to become deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior two years ago, and is the wrong choice to succeed Zinke in the department’s top job.


Man awarded $80M in lawsuit claiming Roundup causes cancer [Associated Press]

A U.S. jury on Wednesday awarded more than $80 million in damages to a California man who blamed Roundup weed killer for his cancer, in a case that his attorneys say could help determine the fate of hundreds of similar lawsuits. Edwin Hardeman proved that Roundup’s design was defective, it lacked sufficient cancer warnings and its manufacturer, agribusiness giant Monsanto, was negligent, the six-person jury in San Francisco found….Monsanto says studies have established that glyphosate, the active ingredient in its widely used weed killer, is safe. The company said it will appeal.


Weeks of rain delay construction, farming in Merced County [KFSN-TV, Fresno]

Wet weather is lingering, and with some fields still bare, Merced County farmers like Gino Pedretti are starting to worry….Pedretti and his family are cotton farmers, and they’re usually planting by now.  However, they haven’t planted any cotton yet because of all the recent storms….Pedretti is also the president of the Merced County farm bureau and says farmers with vegetable crops are also delayed.


Opinion: Hazel Davalos: Creating living spaces for farmworkers [Santa Maria Times]

Central Coast agriculture is in a labor crisis, and there is a serious debate about the long-term solution….Use of the H-2A program has exploded more than tenfold in the past few years, and continues to grow rapidly….But the key question is where will H-2A workers live?…For now, we need to craft a balance of policies that allow H-2A housing to be built, while protecting existing residents from displacement.