Ag Today March 4, 2021

Rep. Jim Costa pushes for path to citizenship for undocumented ag workers [KSEE TV, Fresno]

… Congressman Jim Costa is a co-sponsor of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act which aims to protect an estimated 250,000 undocumented agricultural workers in California. … The proposed bill would allow ag workers to be able to apply for five-year ag work visas. They must prove they’ve worked in the U.S. ag industry for at least 180 days and pass a criminal background check. Those who have been here longer have the option to apply for permanent resident status after about a decade of proven ag work. The bill also bolsters the existing H-2A visa program allowing people to come to and from the United States for seasonal farm work. Costa says he’s hopeful both sides of the political aisle will get on board.


Farmworker vaccination clinic at Salinas rodeo grounds aims to inoculate 3,000 [Monterey Herald]

The second clinic of the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California and Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas plans to expand tenfold, administering 3,000 COVID-19 vaccinations to Monterey County’s farmworkers this weekend. … The collaborative vaccination program which had its initial clinic last week grew significantly for the next one planned for Saturday at the Salinas Sports Complex Rodeo Grounds for farmworkers who live and work in Monterey County. There are no age restrictions for this clinic.


Animal rights activists say video shows cruelty at Harris Ranch beef facility in Selma [Fresno Bee]

An animal rights activist group is accusing a Selma slaughterhouse of criminal cruelty, following the release of video it says shows excessive suffering of animals at the facility. In an email sent to the Fresno County District Attorney’s office on Tuesday, Direct Action Everywhere called for an immediate investigation into the Harris Beef processing facility in Selma. … Along with calling for an investigation, Direct Action Everywhere is planning related demonstrations across the state throughout the month.


Then and now: A ‘megadrought’ in California [BBC]

This year is likely to be critically dry for California. … “There is strong evidence from climate models and centuries of tree ring data that suggest about one-third to one-half of the severity of the current drought can be attributed to climate change,” observed Benjamin Cook, a climate scientist from Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. Agency scientists added that the data suggested a “megadrought” might already be underway in this region – and that it could last for decades.


17% of food production globally wasted, UN report estimates [Associated Press]

… The U.N. report estimates 17% of the food produced globally each year is wasted. That amounts to 931 million metric tons (1.03 billion tons) of food. The waste is far more than previous reports had indicated, though direct comparisons are difficult because of differing methodologies and the lack of strong data from many countries. … Most of the waste — or 61% — happens in households, while food service accounts for 26% and retailers account for 13%, the U.N. found. The U.N. is pushing to reduce food waste globally, and researchers are also working on an assessment of waste that includes the food lost before reaching consumers.


Opinion: Creek Fire ignited in spot where Sierra tree-thinning effort was to begin. Coincidence? [Fresno Bee]

… In a previous column, I examined on-the-ground evidence of an illegal marijuana garden being a potential cause of the Creek Fire. … I can’t say for certain there even was a pot garden. So far, we only have sketchy evidence. But if growers did return to Big Creek Canyon last summer and their presence was detected by a Forest Service crew marking trees for the Musick Stewardship, that combination may have set the stage for a destructive wildfire.


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