Ag Today November 15, 2018

Feds to Butte County: ‘You’re not going to be able to rebuild Paradise the way it was’ [Sacramento Bee]

Backing away from President Donald Trump’s blistering criticisms of California’s forest and fire management, top federal officials pledged a unified effort to help Paradise heal from the devastating Camp Fire, but also warned that the Butte County town is years away from full recovery….The press briefing, at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico, was noteworthy for the absence of rancor between Brown and the Trump administration officials….Zinke refused to endorse Trump’s claim that California’s forest-management practices are the cause of the state’s terrible fires. “Now is not the time to point fingers,” Zinke said….Zinke is scheduled to visit Southern California, site of the Woolsey Fire, on Thursday.


Opinion: Doug LaMalfa: We need common-sense forest policies to prevent wildfires [Redding Record Searchlight]

…Common-sense forest policies that will treat overgrown lands and prevent a manageable wildfire from turning into a catastrophic inferno are long overdue. We need a streamlined process to responsibly thin forests, especially public lands. Our forestry professionals need to be out in the forests, assessing and doing their work, not spending half their time filling out paperwork, responding to activist-funded environmental litigation….It’s time to reassert our ability to limit the impact wildfires have on our communities. These fires have caused unthinkable yet, unfortunately, predictable tragedies. Allow us to be good stewards of our land once again — it will save lives.


California’s dry fall extends fire danger and deepens water worries [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]

The longer that California waits for its early-season rain, the more its roughly 40 million residents will have to confront the risk of catastrophic wildfire, not to mention dropping reservoirs and parched farm fields. And this year is a clear example of that pattern, with deadly wildfires burning at both ends of the state and scant rainfall since autumn began eight weeks ago….State firefighters, observing fog-free mornings and wildfire fuels virtually bereft of moisture, worry that an inferno like the Butte County catastrophe could strike close to home.


Gray wolf population could lose federal protection under GOP bill [McClatchy News Service]

…Republicans are furiously pushing legislation that would remove gray wolves in the 48 contiguous U.S. states from the list of threatened and endangered animals protected under the Endangered Species Act, which safeguards those animals’ habitats. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bill Friday….Congress returned this week for a post-election session that’s expected to last about a month. Republicans are eager to get the bill passed in this lame duck session, figuring that once Democrats take control in January, conservationists will make it tough to get it enacted.


Fresh Harvest reaches settlement over farm worker transportation pay [Salinas Californian]

Farm laborers working for Fresh Harvest won’t be paid for their travel time to and from work under a settlement agreement. Instead, the company will pay $1 million in back wages, according to California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. which filed the lawsuit along with the UFW law firm Martínez Aguilasocho & Lynch. Fresh Harvest, Inc. reached an agreement on Nov. 7 with Calexico-based harvest workers who claimed to have not been paid while using company vehicles to get to and from work. Under the agreement, Fresh Harvest said it will not be required to pay for future transportation time of employees to and from work.


Opinion: With climate law, legislators said control costs; but CARB said no [Bay Area News Group]

…The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is proposing a new regulation that may impose skyrocketing costs on Californians’ fuel, energy, and other necessities….AB 398 authorizes CARB to continue administering California’s greenhouse gas cap and trade program, which otherwise was scheduled to expire. But AB 398 does not authorize CARB to trigger massive cost increases with zero accountability- just the opposite.


For CFBF president, communication is key [Western Farm Press]

For Jamie Johansson, a Farm-City Night celebration in Red Bluff, Calif., in early November was the perfect place to talk about the importance of communication – both among farmers and with the public….Johansson is in a position to communicate agriculture’s needs and benefits. He was chosen last December as the California Farm Bureau Federation’s 16th president, succeeding Modesto tree nut grower Paul Wenger, and has made it a point to promote the importance of advocacy and diligent pursuit of the organization’s mission.