Ag Today May 2, 2019

California farms are suffering from a labor shortage. Here’s why [Fox Business]

California farms are suffering from a labor shortage due to the lack of a comprehensive immigration policy, and are increasingly turning to machines and technology to cope with the lack of employees, according to a new study. According to the California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF), more than 50 percent of farmers in California said they have been unable to find the necessary workers required to produce their main crop over the past five years….“What’s interesting in this survey is that decisions are being made on the farms that will really affect the next generation of people on that land,” Jamie Johansson, the president of CFBF, told FOX Business.


California Water Board faces lawsuit over new wetlands rules [Courthouse News Service]

With the Trump administration trudging ahead and re-writing another Obama-era environmental law, wary California regulators last month approved new protections for wetlands in the Golden State….Hoping to freeze the new wetlands rules, a coalition consisting of several California water suppliers and the city of San Francisco sued the water board late Wednesday in state court. “By regulating previously unregulated wetland features as waters of the state…the procedures set new regulatory requirements that stand to impact farmers’ and ranchers’ agricultural activities by mandating compliance with new and costly water quality regulations,” the complaint filed by the San Joaquin Tributaries Authority states.


Editorial: It’s OK to stop, take a deep breath with state water policy [Modesto Bee]

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call on Monday for a new comprehensive water plan for California looks like a smart timeout on one of the state’s trickiest and most intractable battlefronts. As with many political hot potatoes, there is no way to make everyone happy when it comes to water management, because the sides have mutually exclusive goals:…Because the law, in the form of long-held water rights, is on our side, the have-nots have spent years and decades building support in Sacramento in hopes of changing the tide.


Opinion: Newsom says he has a fresh approach to California’s longtime water woes [Los Angeles Times]

At first blush, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest action on water seems fanciful and naive. But it has logic and conceivably could work….“Part of the problem of water is that everybody is fighting to protect what’s theirs and keep everyone else from taking it,” says Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced), who represents part of the San Joaquin Valley farm belt….“Part of the problem of water is that everybody is fighting to protect what’s theirs and keep everyone else from taking it,” says Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced), who represents part of the San Joaquin Valley farm belt….He points out why there’s a ray of hope for an epic truce. San Joaquin Valley farmers, he says, “are insecure about the future.” So are rival farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta — and, in fact, farmers all over the state.


Roundup sellers boost advertising as lawsuits mount for weedkiller [Wall Street Journal]

Roundup is getting an advertising boost after thousands of plaintiffs have alleged that the world’s most widely used weedkiller causes cancer. Bayer AG, the manufacturer of Roundup, and Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. , which markets it to home-and-garden retailers in the U.S., have spent millions of dollars this year on expanded marketing for the weedkiller, Scotts executives said….So far, he said, U.S. consumers haven’t abandoned the product….Regulators have stood by their assessments showing the herbicide to be safe.


Beyond Meat fattens up as shares rise in IPO [Associated Press]

…Beyond Meat, the purveyor of plant-based burgers and sausages, made its stock market debut on Thursday, with shares zooming upward by mid-afternoon. It’s the first pure-play maker of vegan “meat” to go public, according to Renaissance Capital, which researches and tracks IPOs….The IPO comes amid growing consumer interest in plant-based foods for their presumed health and environmental benefits.