Ag Today November 5, 2018

Water sustains everything in California farm country. It may also save this House Republican. [Washington Post]

…For decades, farmers in the Central Valley have found themselves knotted in a tug-of-war with coastal residents over how much of California’s finite water supply should be divided among sating city dwellers, supplying habitat for river critters and cultivating crops….With California’s state government firmly controlled by urban Democrats, California’s almond, walnut, dairy and grape producers have increasingly turned to the federal government for help after Republicans took the White House in 2017….With Republicans holding about a half-dozen vulnerable seats in California, according to the Cook Political Report, Democrats believe their path to recapturing the House runs, like San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers that have made the Central Valley into an agricultural powerhouse, right through the Golden State.


Opinion: State Water Board Member D’Adamo: We must find a better approach [Modesto Bee]

I am one of five members on the board, and the only one who lives in the San Joaquin Valley….It is clear that in successive dry years our staff’s proposal will result in major reductions in surface water supplies in 23 Bay Area cities and zero to near zero supplies for agriculture….Unfortunately, the high flow proposal before our board is unlikely to result in an increase in fish populations. There are other approaches that show greater promise. These alternative approaches would at the same time reduce the serious impacts to cities, agriculture and industry.


Opinion: Time’s up. We’ll see if water board passes the test on our rivers [Modesto Bee]

…It appears entirely likely the five-member water board will vote on Phase 1 of the Delta water quality plan – the part that doubles flows from the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers. With three members having said last August they would pass it then, expect a 4-1 vote….If the board votes, all “voluntary agreements” negotiations will come to a screeching halt….Within 24 hours, we predict a lawsuit will be filed on behalf of the San Joaquin Tributaries Association.


Opinion: COMMUNITY VOICES: Yes on Prop. 3 secures water, food supply [Bakersfield Californian]

California is in a crisis to secure a safe, reliable and clean water supply, especially in the Central Valley. Both our communities and the agricultural industry have been affected by our state’s water challenges and continue to struggle without a solution. In November, California voters should vote Yes on Proposition 3, the Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018. The $8.9 billion investment will upgrade the state’s water infrastructure, but more notably, provide funds for the Central Valley in a significant way.

E. coli still haunts desert romaine lettuce season [Los Angeles Times]

Lettuce growers in the desert valleys of the U.S. Southwest will face more federal scrutiny during the winter growing season, in hopes of preventing the type of contamination with E. coli bacteria that killed five and sickened another 205 people earlier this year. The Food and Drug Administration for the first time will routinely test samples of romaine coming from the lower Colorado River area in Arizona and California, which will begin its harvest this month and continue through April. Growers in both states also have committed to treating irrigation water drawn from canals that pass within 400 feet of a cattle feed lot, and will triple the distance between their fields and those feeding operations.


‘Red ink’ year for citrus farmers who could be shut out from sending fruit to China [Visalia Times-Delta]

Small-size fruit, retaliatory tariffs from China and more foreign competition add up to a squeeze play on Tulare County citrus growers this season….Joel Nelsen, California Citrus Mutual president, says those continuous 34 days of 100-degree temperatures this summer “shut down the trees” for a period of growing. The result is a big crop of small fruit….He added that offshore fruit continues to move into US markets during the traditional California citrus growing months both in the beginning and end of Tulare County’s season. That competition will be moving into China, too.