Ag Today May 11, 2021

Drought emergency declared in Central Valley, Klamath region [CalMatters]

California Gov. Gavin Newsom today declared a drought emergency in 39 additional counties, including most of the parched Central Valley and Klamath River area. The declaration comes amid mounting pressure from lawmakers and growers in the Central Valley, who this year are receiving only 5% of their expected water allocations from the state. … The California Farm Bureau said today that it is grateful for the “short-term” relief for some growers that may come with the emergency order, but that what they really need is major investments in water supply projects. “By widening the drought emergency, the governor has recognized the reality facing much of rural California: Our future is not guaranteed,” said Jamie Johansson, the bureau’s president.


Governor Newsom expands drought emergency to 39 more counties, including Kern [KERO TV, Bakersfield]

Governor Newsom added 39 counties to his emergency proclamation on Monday regarding water shortage, including Kern. … President of Kern County Farm Bureau, John Moore says help from the state is crucial, since at the moment Kern County farmers are running on 5% of the water they paid for. “We’re more efficient with our water here than anywhere else, in California and really in the world, because we produce more crop per drop, it’s something that needs to be of note, but we still need that resource to make that economy thrive,” said Moore.


Gov. Newsom responds to drought with $5.1B for water infrastructure [KMPH TV, Fresno]

As we head into a second year of drought, Governor Newsom announced a new $5.1 billion drought response plan during a stop in Merced County today. … The announcement also expanded the drought emergency to a total of 41 counties … “This drought declaration does help us get better prepared for what we know is coming at this point,” said Ryan Jacobsen, the CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau. … “Ultimately, what we’re hoping for with this package is that it’s going to give a lot of monetary resources to local entities here in the valley that would allow them to do projects that get us water,” said Jacobsen.


Sonoma County officials to cut pumping from Russian River by 20% amid deepening drought [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]

Sonoma County supervisors are expected to offer their formal support Tuesday for a plan to pump 20% less water than normal from the Russian River for the remainder of the year, preserving dwindling supplies in local reservoirs but making less water available to more than 600,000 consumers in Sonoma and northern Marin counties. … Agricultural users also are feeling profound pressure, including grape growers who are seeing shorter shoots on their vines … Dairy ranchers who are trucking water to dry lands with empty water ponds in south Sonoma County also are looking for assistance, said Tawny Tesconi, executive director of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau. One rancher has decided to sell off his 600 cows, she said.


Air pollution from animal-based food production is linked to 12,700 deaths each year, study says [CNN]

Air pollution from food production in the United States is linked to an estimated 15,900 premature deaths each year, according to a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. … Scientists have known for years that farming contributes to harmful air pollution, but experts say this study offers the first full accounting of deaths connected to the production of certain types of food. … A spokesperson from the American Farm Bureau Federation questioned the study’s results. “On first review, it seems filled with data gaps and giant leaps to stretch the definition of cause and effect,” the spokesperson said.


Digital truck will announce news of COVID-19 leave pay to farmworkers in Oxnard area [Ventura County Star]

A special truck outfitted with digital and audio announcements for farmworkers will spend four days cruising agricultural roads in Oxnard to inform workers about new COVID-19 related sick pay and other rights. … “We’re here to bring a message to farmworkers,” said California Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower, addressing a small group of media representatives and labor groups. The main message being promoted by the mobile caravan is that farmworkers — along with all Californians who work for companies with 26 or more employees — get up to 80 extra hours of sick pay through the 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law.


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