Ag Today May 8, 2019

California to outlaw pesticide harmful to kids [Associated Press]

The nation’s most productive agricultural state will ban a widely used toxic pesticide blamed for harming brain development in babies, California officials said Wednesday. The move would outlaw chlorpyrifos (klohr-PY’-rih-fohs) after scientists deemed it a toxic air contaminant and discovered it to be more dangerous than previously thought. State Environmental Secretary Jared Blumenfeld said it’s the first time the state has sought to ban a pesticide and the move was overdue.


Finally, California and IID reach agreement on Salton Sea access and liability [Palm Springs Desert Sun]

The Imperial Irrigation District board of directors voted Tuesday to allow access across its lands for critically needed state wetlands projects at the Salton Sea, designed to tamp down dangerous dust storms and give threatened wildlife a boost. In exchange, California will shoulder the maintenance and operations of the projects, and the state’s taxpayers will cover the costs of any lawsuits or regulatory penalties if the work goes awry….Tuesday’s agreement clears a particularly thorny issue that stopped the larger wetlands projects in their tracks: Who’s responsible if something goes wrong?…The threat of lawsuits is not an idle one. Farmers along the edge of the 350 square mile sea — twice as large as Lake Tahoe — have sued before and say they could sue again if state work harms their crops, or, conversely, if nothing is done to stop increasing air quality problems.


As U.N. warns of widespread extinction, California is already losing species [Los Angeles]

A new United Nations report warning of a global extinction crisis identifies three parts of the world in particular danger: South America, Africa and parts of Asia. But there are signs of struggle everywhere, notably in California. Though the state boasts some of the most diverse plant and animal life in the United States, California has more than 300 endangered species, from the delta smelt to the birds of the Mojave Desert. Many are imperiled by loss of habitat, rising ocean temperatures and rural and urban areas’ demand for ever-increasing amounts of fresh water.


Four years after California’s largest dam removal project, how are the fish doing? [Bay Area News Group]

…The destruction of the San Clemente Dam, which had blocked the river since 1921, remains the largest dam removal project in California history. It’s still early, but one of the main goals of the project seems to be on track: The river is becoming wilder, and struggling fish populations are rebounding….Removal of the century-old dam is being watched closely around the country as a potential model for how to demolish other aging, dangerous and obsolete dams and restore rivers to a natural state not seen in generations.


Trump puts deal-making credentials to test with China talks [Associated Press]

As he cranks up the pressure on China in pursuit of a new trade accord, President Donald Trump is putting his deal-making persona on the line and injecting new risk into his bid for another four years in the White House….Dave Salmonsen, a senior director at the American Farm Bureau Federation, said the group is hopeful that the president’s threat of increased tariffs on Friday “is just part of the negotiating process.” He said agriculture exports to China fell by more than half last year from $21 billion in 2017. “They’ve retaliated on almost everything we send,” he said.


Food Fight: Trump Administration Levels Tariffs On Mexican Tomatoes [NPR]

While the trade war with China is rattling financial markets around the world, another trade skirmish is about to play out in the supermarket — in particular, the produce aisle. The Trump administration is preparing to level a new tariff — or tax — on fresh tomatoes imported from Mexico. The move comes in response to a growing outcry from Florida tomato growers, who have a lot of political leverage….Florida growers have long complained that Mexico is unfairly subsidizing its tomato crop and otherwise taking advantage of the United States.