Ag Today November 27, 2019

State to donate 280 livestock pens for evacuations [Marysville Appeal-Democrat]

When an emergency occurs, like a wildfire, residents are forced to pick up and leave within a moment’s notice. For those with livestock, it can be extremely difficult to find somewhere to house and care for the animals. Two groups, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and California Farm Bureau Federation, announced this week that they would be donating a total of 280 livestock pens to fairgrounds around the state to help house sheep, goats and swine during emergency evacuations or fair events. The announcement was made during a ribbon cutting on Tuesday at the Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds, which has been the landing spot for many regional residents during recent catastrophes, like the Cascade Fire in 2017 and Camp Fire in 2018.


More E. coli illnesses linked to romaine lettuce, CDC says 67 people in 19 states sick [USA TODAY]

An additional 27 people have been infected with a strain of E. coli linked to romaine lettuce, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. Days after announcing the outbreak and issuing a safety alert for lettuce harvested in Salinas, California, the CDC released an update saying 67 people have been sick from 19 states….The Food and Drug Administration and the CDC are investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to the lettuce “to determine the source of contamination and if additional products are linked to illness.”


Opinion: Romaine has had a tough go. Here’s what has to happen to make it safe. [Washington Post]

…Surface water used for romaine irrigation should be treated throughout the growing cycle, not just in the three weeks before harvest. The FDA should also quickly issue agricultural water standards that have been postponed but are required by FSMA’s produce-safety rules. Another concern that must be addressed: concentrated animal feeding operations, where tens of thousands of cattle potentially carrying E. coli O157:H7 are housed, if they are located near leafy green growing areas. Buffers between the cattle operations and growing fields are required, but bigger ones may be needed.


Farmers at mercy of elements as rain and cold arrives in Valley [KFSN-TV, Fresno]

Growers in the middle of harvest were in a race against time with a storm moving into the Central Valley. Crews were harvesting olives before the skies opened up over the orchard. Once that happens, the harvest can’t resume until the ground dries. Dropping temperatures were also a concern for olive growers….Some citrus growers have started to run their wind machines to raise the overnight temperature in their orchards….Farmers also irrigate when it’s extremely cold because the water released helps create a micro-climate since the water is warmer than the temperature outside.


Chicken-killing Newcastle disease returns, though numbers remain small [Orange County Register]

Just as the 18-month-old poultry-killing Newcastle epidemic in Southern California was dying out, three more cases have flared up in San Bernardino County. After euthanizing 1.2 million birds in the region, the state Department of Food and Agriculture on Oct. 22 announced a “freedom of disease” phase of the eradication and an end to mandatory euthanasia in infected areas….But cases of the virulent Newcastle disease were confirmed at two neighboring homes in west San Bernardino County on Nov. 15 and at a nearby feed store on Nov. 18.


America’s cattle ranchers are fighting back against fake meat [Wall Street Journal]

…Cattle ranchers and their allies are pushing regulators to scrutinize alternative meat-makers, recruiting food scientists to test plant-based products for potential health risks, and ramping up countercampaigns to highlight beef’s nutritional benefits while comparing their rivals to dog food….Over the past two years, the beef industry has pushed legislation that restricts terms like “beef” and “meat” to the kind raised on the hoof, not products derived from plants or future ones developed using animal cells in labs….Plant-based alternatives amount to the equivalent of just 1% of the total volume of meat sold in the U.S., according to Nielsen. But some beef producers see an existential threat in the growth of meat-alternative makers like Beyond and Impossible Foods Inc.