Ag Today May 20, 2021

The drought’s assault on California’s $50 billion farm industry [KTVU TV, Oakland]

A growing number of drought stricken California farmers are making the painful decision not to plant as much or anything at all for fear of losing it all. It costs a lot of money to put seeds or seedlings into the ground. But if a farmer cannot be reasonably sure of a crop, why do it? … California’s monster drought is a farming tragedy with a growing number of farmers choosing to plant less or not at all. … Farmers are just coming out of the pandemic that cut off a lot of restaurant business and now this, the drought.


Marin farmland trust allots $250K for drought aid [Marin Independent Journal]

The Marin Agricultural Land Trust has allocated $250,000 for a grants program to help Marin County farmers and ranchers adapt to the drought. Thane Kreiner, trust’s new chief executive, said the organization created the initiative — called Drought Resilience and Water Security, or DRAWS — in response to pleas for help from members of the agricultural community. … The Marin County Board of Supervisors has allocated $53,000 to help ranchers and farmers cover the cost of trucking water between July 1, 2020, and June 30. Parnay said he has asked supervisors to allot an additional $150,000 for water transport costs, and they’re likely to make their decision during budget hearings in June.


Bureau of Reclamation employee info posted online; KWUA urges bad actors to stop [Klamath Falls Herald and News]

After the names and addresses of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation employees were published on social media, the Klamath Water Users Association on Wednesday urged its supporters to stop the intimidating and inappropriate behavior immediately. “Stop it,” said KWUA President Ben DuVal. “It is completely out of line. It will hurt Klamath Project agriculture.” KWUA Executive Director Paul Simmons said that ““Reclamation is the messenger for bad news, but rarely the cause of that bad news … blaming them for our problems reflects a lack of understanding, and will get no more results than blaming President Nixon for signing the Endangered Species Act.”


Opinion: With the help of the White House and Congress, water shortage does not have to be a way of life [The Hill]

… There is a solution to help us moderate the inevitable swings between dry and wet years, to make our water supply more reliable in the face of climate change and changing hydrology. But it will require massive, long-overdue investments in our aging water infrastructure. That’s why a large coalition representing thousands of farmers, ranchers, water providers and businesses have joined together in calling on Congress to include water infrastructure in the package being negotiated in Washington, D.C.


EPA to review Roundup weed killer to assess potential ‘ecological risks’ [San Francisco Chronicle]

Biden administration environmental officials say they will consider restrictions on the world’s most widely used herbicide because of concerns about potential harm to monarch butterflies and other species. But the Environmental Protection Agency told a federal appeals court Tuesday it has not identified any risks to humans from the main ingredient in the weed killer Roundup, whose manufacturer, Monsanto, has been hit with multimillion-dollar jury verdicts in suits by cancer victims. The EPA is not proposing to limit the use of Roundup or add label warnings, at least until after it reviews the chemical’s environmental effects.


Spotted owl challenge delays Trinity County forest thinning project 13 years [Redding Record Searchlight]

After at least 13 years of planning, studies and court battles, a federal judge ruled this week on a case that may allow the U.S. Forest Service to go forward on a fuels reduction and logging project in Trinity County. At the heart of the case was whether the 13,162-acre Shasta-Trinity National Forest project would harm northern spotted owl habitat in an older stand of forest near Weaverville. … Work on the project still hasn’t begun, and Denise Boggs, director of the Conservation Congress, one of the groups that sued the forest service, said she may appeal the judge’s decision.


New farm bureau director looks to engage policymakers on regulatory hurdles [Bakersfield Californian]

… Romeo Agbalog, the 42-year-old president of the Kern Community College District board of trustees and departing executive director of Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government, said Wednesday he plans to reach out to elected officials at all levels of government after he takes over Monday as executive director of the Kern County Farm Bureau. … The Delano native and son of two farmworker parents likened the industry’s struggles with that of local oil and gas production. … Bureau President John C. Moore III noted Agbalog comes to the organization with broad experience in the public and private sectors, plus “a wealth of knowledge of policy and government at all levels.”


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