Ag Today November 12, 2018

Gov. Brown: Killer firestorms are ‘the new abnormal,’ while Woolsey blaze 15% contained [Southern California Newspaper Group]

Killer firestorms devouring homes and devastating lives represent a  “new abnormal” for California, a state stricken by drought, climate change and wind, Gov. Jerry Brown warned late Sunday. As forecasts of continued high winds and low humidity filled firefighters with foreboding, Brown called for the state to pull together. “This is the new abnormal and this abnormal will continue for the next 20 years,” said the outgoing governor. “We have a real challenge threatening our way of life.” Brown’s warning came amid a glimmer of hope; no new structures were burned in the Woolsey Fire on Sunday despite heavy winds. The fire had already destroyed 177 buildings and forced the evacuation of 265,000 people in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Fire authorities were worried about forecasts that 40-mph winds and low humidity would continue until Tuesday evening, potentially firing up embers and fanning flames.


Brown swings back at Trump: Climate change is propelling California’s fires, governor says [Sacramento Bee]

Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday said wildfires like the ones spanning the state today threaten “our whole way of life” and lend urgency to efforts that would slow the impacts of man-made climate change. “This is not the new normal,” he said, employing a phrase that state leaders have used to describe the past two deadly, prolonged California fire seasons. “This is the new abnormal, and this new abnormal will continue certainly in the next 10 to 15 years.” He spoke a day after President Donald Trump wrote a message on Twitter that seemed to blame California government for the 2017 and 2018 wildfires that wiped out parts of Santa Rosa, Redding and now Paradise. “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” Trump wrote. Brown earlier Sunday asked the Trump administration to make a major disaster declaration, which would free up federal resources for emergency relief.


What Denham’s likely defeat says about our people, our priorities [Modesto Bee]

What did we learn from the announcement Friday that Jeff Denham has likely lost his fight to remain our Congressman? We learned that Stanislaus County is moving, ever so slightly, west. We learned what colors to use in painting a political portrait of our area. We learned that voters have long memories….Friday evening, election officials in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties provided their first update of results since Tuesday. While the Tuesday results had skewed conservative based on early-arriving absentee ballots, Friday’s results – which included thousands of late-arriving absentee ballots – pushed Harder ahead of the four-term incumbent by 3,218 votes. Even with an estimated 11,000 provisional ballots yet to be counted in Stanislaus County, most observers don’t believe Denham can make up the difference. Provisional ballots usually trend toward late-arriving absentees. Some takes-aways:


Democrats’ House takeover spurs hope for farm bill this year [Associated Press]

Prospects have improved for Congress to pass a bipartisan farm bill before the end of the year after Democrats secured the House majority during the midterm elections, key lawmakers and other experts said. Work requirements for food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, had been the biggest stumbling block holding up an agreement. The version that narrowly passed the House with no Democratic votes includes the tougher rules. The bipartisan version that won easy Senate approval does not, and few Senate Republicans want them. Observers say it’s likely that House Republicans will now be ready to pass a compromise in the upcoming lame duck session rather than starting over in a Democratic-controlled House and risking a result they would like even less….Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said a news conference Friday in Frankfort, Kentucky, that passing a farm bill is one of his top priorities for the lame duck session, too. McConnell, who like Peterson is on the conference committee that’s trying to work out a final deal, said compromise on work requirements is needed.


Depressed milk prices forcing more farmers out of operation [Associated Press]

High production costs and falling commodity prices over the past four years are forcing more and more dairy farmers out of business in Iowa and other dairy states, according to agribusiness experts and farm groups. “We’re seeing a significant loss of dairy farms,” said Larry Shover, president of the Iowa State Dairy Association board. “They don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.” Iowa is the nation’s 10th-largest milk producer, with 1,150 dairy farms, and it’s lost about 80 dairy operations this year — nearly 7 percent. Wisconsin Agricultural Statistics Service data show the state had 8,304 licensed dairy herds in October — 634 fewer than a year ago. The global flood of milk has depressed prices to about half what they were in 2014, and they still haven’t hit all-time lows, The Des Moines Register reported . But U.S. production has continued to increase despite the large number of dairy cows being culled from herds, said University of Wisconsin-Madison dairy policy analyst Mark Stephenson.–dairy-farm-struggles-20181110-story.html