Ag Today March 6, 2020

Coronavirus snarls trans-Pacific shipping and ripples through U.S. business [Wall Street Journal]

The coronavirus epidemic is upending the carefully calibrated logistics of global shipping, as plunging exports from China disrupt the trade of American goods, especially farm products such as fruit and meat destined for Asia. Congestion at Chinese ports and interrupted sailings have squeezed space on China-bound vessels and created an imbalance of the 40-foot long refrigerated containers used to ship fruit, meats and other perishables on three-week voyages across the Pacific, with many stuck on the China side. The traffic jam is pushing up transportation prices for U.S. exporters and sowing turmoil on the heels of a painful trade war.


Local citrus farmers claim coronavirus is impacting their sales and labor [KERO TV, Bakersfield]

Local Kern County citrus farmers are claiming that the coronavirus is now impacting their sales and labor cost. “Yea so we had to start reducing workers hours from five and six days a week to three and four days a week, sometimes five in a good week so shorter hours per day, so about 25% less,” Johnston Farms Partner, Derek Vaughn said. Vaughn said the price of a typical box of oranges is also taking a big hit,…Vaughn said since all of the ports in China had been closed for several weeks his exports have been getting re-routed to Korea.


Local growers fined after banned pesticide detected on strawberries outside Santa Maria [Santa Maria Times]

Three local growers were fined thousands of dollars after a banned pesticide was detected on strawberries sold at a Fresno grocery store and traced back to fields outside Santa Maria, according to state regulators….Methomyl is a restricted pesticide that only can be used on crops listed on its label, and use in Santa Barbara County requires a permit from the agricultural commissioner. State and federal law prohibits methomyl use on strawberries.


Opinion: Farms don’t need dangerous chemicals to grow food. Let’s cut our dependence on them [Sacramento Bee]

…Strong regulations with deadlines work. And public investments could create a new approach to sustainable agriculture to meet the challenges of climate change. This will be hard work. But in the long term it is better to work with life than to destroy it. Just as the public demanded the auto industry clean up our air, the public must demand that agriculture clean up our water. Then we need to work with farmers to find new ways to control pests and provide crops with the nutrients they need.


Opinion: Many would be left behind in Governor Newsom’s voluntary water agreements [Modesto Bee]

…Disregarding contributions by Delta advocates, the Newsom administration is now offering “voluntary agreements” with inadequate Delta flows for fisheries and healthy waterways….The Newsom administration claims great pride in working with Delta communities but often slides into the old ways of the Brown and Schwarzenegger administrations….To end the old binaries, the Delta must be protected while improving regional water supplies. That means protection of water quality for Delta people.


Editorial: Cowboy Regulators Need to be Lassoed [Wall Street Journal]

President Trump promised as part of his deregulation campaign to end bureaucratic “guidance” that dodges normal rule-making. Someone should tell the U.S. Department of Agriculture as it tries to impose burdensome new cattle-identification requirements….Ranchers are now urging the federal judge to reopen their case. They want a formal retraction of the policy and a more robust USDA effort to notify state and tribal officials about what the current requirements actually are. A judge may have to restore some regulatory clarity.