Ag Today May 5, 2021

Fish or farmers? Newsom drought declaration would trigger new war over California water [Sacramento Bee]

… Experts say a statewide drought declaration would help drive home the need for conservation to Californians. But its impact would go well beyond symbolism and communications; it could bring significant consequences for the regulatory structure governing California’s complicated water-delivery system. Many farmers believe an emergency order could loosen environmental regulations and free up water supplies for them. Environmental groups fear the very same thing – that more of California’s dwindling water supply could be directed to farming at the expense of fish and wildlife.


Visalia area braces for ‘just-below-record’ heat as Tulare County declares drought emergency [Visalia Times-Delta]

… This week’s heatwave will likely exacerbate the drought’s impacts on local farmers. … Nearly 95% of Tulare County is considered to be in “extreme drought” while the remainder is experiencing “severe drought,” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a federal snapshot. Exceedingly dry conditions and a paltry snowpack across the Sierra prompted the Tulare County Board of Supervisors to declare a drought emergency last week.


‘New normal’ for U.S. climate is officially hotter – and experts see trouble for California [San Francisco Chronicle]

… The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday released its new climate averages, based on the 30-year period from 1991 to 2020. The averages, known as “climate normals,” are updated every 10 years, and they show most of the country, including California, heating up. … In California, Diffenbaugh said, trends indicate an increase in frequency of severe heat, intensity of drought, extreme wildfire weather and low snow years. He said the high temperatures will increasingly impact California’s agriculture and the many crops that are grown in the state.


How growers had to sidestep county and state programs to vaccinate farmworkers [CalMatters]

… With the Salinas Valley harvest season fast approaching, growers were worried that infections would start spreading, decimating their workforce. So Valadez and the clinic made a decision: They cut out both Monterey County and the state, applying directly to the federal government for vaccine shipments. … The decision by state and county officials to prioritize Californians 65 and older delayed vaccinations for thousands of farmworkers for several weeks as infections began spreading, prompting growers and doctors to step in to fill the void.


Driscoll’s desperately needs to know America’s appetite for strawberries [Wall Street Journal]

… Colossal challenges for food suppliers arrived with the pandemic last year, affecting every stop along food’s course from farm to table. Now, as the pandemic moves into its latest phase—under attack by vaccination, yet still unpredictable—it is proving even trickier for food businesses to navigate consumers’ ever-evolving appetites and a balky supply chain. The list of unknowns is long, ranging from how many restaurants will reopen, and at what pace, to how long many Americans will keep working from home. Labor shortages and supply disruptions complicate whatever plans food companies set in motion.


Opinion: Napa County Farm Bureau celebrates 108th birthday [Napa Valley Register]

… For 108 years, NCFB has a long tradition of serving and balancing the needs of community, agriculture and the environment throughout Napa County. … Throughout its history, the Farm Bureau has maintained a reputation for excellence in innovative programs aimed at providing the best possible representation for Napa County’s agricultural community. Entering its second century, NCFB continues building on its success in the county and utilizes California Farm Bureau to represent our statewide issues.


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