Ag Today May 6, 2019

China trade team still plans on U.S. talks as Trump vows to raise tariffs [Reuters]

China said on Monday that a delegation was still preparing to go to the United States for trade talks, even as U.S. President Donald Trump dramatically increased pressure on Beijing to reach a deal, saying he would hike tariffs on Chinese goods this week. Trump’s comments on Sunday marked a major escalation in tensions between the world’s two largest economies, and a shift in tone from the president, who as recently as Friday had cited progress toward a deal….A less-than-rosy update from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, including details that China was pulling back from some previous commitments, prompted Trump’s weekend decision.


Sanders calls for breaking up big agriculture monopolies [Associated Press]

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Sunday proposed a sweeping agriculture and rural investment plan to break up big agriculture monopolies and shift farm subsidies toward small family farmers….His plan includes a number of antitrust proposals, including breaking up existing agriculture monopolies and placing a moratorium on future mergers by big agriculture companies. He would also ban “vertically integrated” agribusinesses — companies that control multiple levels of production and processing of a product.


There’s a Congressional Wine Caucus. And it does a lot more than drink [San Francisco Chronicle]

…In its 20th year, the under-the-radar, bipartisan coalition of lawmakers works in Washington to promote and address the needs of the wine industry….Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, started the caucus shortly after he arrived in Congress in 1999….Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., was announced last week as the new co-chairman. Both grower-lawmakers are oenophiles and happy to talk fine wines. But they said the purpose of the caucus is help raise awareness of wine as a major agricultural industry in the United States — one that also faces challenges and could use champions in Washington.


Editorial: Governor sets welcome new course on Delta water issues [San Jose Mercury News]

…The goal of a single Delta tunnel should focus on the “big gulp, little sip” approach that allows the state to capture greater water exports during wet years while reducing diversions during dry years in order to better protect fish and wildlife. The state can take the savings from not building two tunnels and instead invest in innovative storage, recycling and conservation projects throughout the state….The state can best meet its future needs by heeding the governor’s call to for a coordinated, broad-based plan that embraces efficiency, water recycling and other local water supply projects that reduce reliance on the Delta.


The shortage of agricultural workers continues to challenge California farmers. [Monterey County Weekly]

Not even paying higher wages is solving the farm labor shortage problem in California, a recent survey of more than 1,000 farmers discovered, according to a press release from the Monterey County Farm Bureau on April 30. Conducted jointly by the California Farm Bureau Federation and UC Davis, the 2019 survey showed that 86 percent of farmers had raised wages in the past five years in an effort to secure enough workers to harvest their crops. Unfortunately it hasn’t helped much.


Opinion: Farmworkers, food need to be safe from pesticide [San Francisco Chronicle]

…The EPA does not protect us because many new pesticides are introduced to the market annually and the agency does not have the regulatory framework needed….The UFW and other environmental groups are campaigning to ban the use of chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxic pesticide used on apples, oranges, strawberries, corn, citrus, broccoli and wheat….Join the UFW in urging the government to keep this toxic pesticide out of our food, our water, our schools, our yards and our bodies. Contact your members of Congress.