Ag Today May 28, 2019

Trump team is split over how hard to push North American trade deal [Wall Street Journal]

President Trump wants Congress to quickly approve his trade deal with Canada and Mexico, but his own team is divided over how to force a reluctant Democratic-controlled House to act….Democrats in Congress want changes to the trade deal, which is called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and time to work on them. But Mr. Pence’s team and other senior advisers to the president are pushing to exert pressure by sending the accord to Congress and triggering a procedural countdown that would force a decision from the House….Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, is wary of the approach.


Should big dams count as renewable energy? California Democrats divided [Bay Area News Group]

…In an effort to combat climate change and reduce smog, former Gov. Jerry Brown last year signed a landmark law that requires California’s utilities to produce 60 percent of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind by 2030. But hydroelectric power from large dams doesn’t qualify as renewable, because of another state law, passed nearly 20 years ago, that aimed to protect salmon and other endangered fish. That’s not right, says State Sen. Anna Caballero, D-Salinas….Caballero’s bill, SB 386, however, has drawn stiff opposition from environmental and health groups, from the Sierra Club to the American Lung Association.


Opinion: Westside farmers remain water short despite all the rain and snow of this wet year [Fresno Bee]

…The 2019 water year will go down as one of the wettest years on record. Reclamation’s inability to provide south-of-Delta CVP water service contractors with full contract supplies is further evidence of the draconian impact ineffective regulations have had on water supplies for people….It is for this reason Reclamation has re-initiated consultation on the long-term operation of the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project….It is the district’s greatest hope these new biological opinions will abandon restrictions on CVP operations that are unsupported by science and lead to absurd water supply reductions.


Opinion: Support Newsom’s ‘reset’ to a one-tunnel project [Bakersfield Californian]

One tunnel or two? It’s just four words, but if you say them around anyone familiar with California water issues they will know exactly what you are talking about, and it’s likely they will have a strong opinion….The Kern County Water Agency supports the state’s “reset” to a one-tunnel approach because it is more cost effective and still prepares California’s water system for earthquakes and climate change while protecting the Delta’s fish and communities. For more than a decade, the agency worked with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to develop the two-tunnel California WaterFix, which in the end was simply too costly for Kern County farmers.


California growers reeling from China’s retaliatory tariffs may be eligible for $14 billion in aid [Salinas Californian]

…A May 17 letter to Perdue from 16 members of Congress asked for assistance for farmers of specialty crops such as walnuts, pecans and table grapes….Per the California Farm Bureau Federation, the new package provides assistance to more California-grown crops not previously included in certain programs….Although California Farm Bureau Federation President and olive and citrus farmer Jamie Johansson expressed appreciation for the Trump administration’s broadened programs and the assistance for farmers, he reiterated the need to resolve the dispute at the root of the issue….”There has to be resolution because you have to turn a profit,” Johansson said.


Late storms devastate SJ cherry crop [Stockton Record]

Cherry growers throughout San Joaquin County have experienced a substantial loss to their crop this year after late heavy rains pummeled the area, and some expect the troubles are not over yet. San Joaquin County Agricultural Assistant Commissioner Kamal Bagri said numbers are still being collected, but in talking with cherry growers and packing sheds, the area is looking to experience a loss of 50-80 percent….According to AgAlert, California’s cherry yield this season was expected to be “on par with or better than 2017, when they packed nearly 9.6 million 18-pound boxes, the highest in the last 10 years.”