Ag Today November 6, 2020

Washington Supreme Court: Farmworkers to get overtime pay [Associated Press]

A divided Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday the state’s dairy workers are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours a week, a decision expected to apply to the rest of the agriculture industry….The majority said the Washington state Constitution grants workers in dangerous industries a fundamental right to health and safety protections, including overtime, which is intended to discourage employers from forcing employees to work excessive hours. The ruling applied directly only to the dairy industry, but its reasoning covers all of the 200,000-plus farmworkers in the state’s $10.6 billion agriculture industry, said Lori Isley, an attorney with the nonprofit Columbia Legal Services who represented the dairy workers. “Since 1983, the Washington Supreme Court has recognized that all farm work is very dangerous work, so it’s very easy to see how this will extend to all farmworkers,” Isley said. “We are so happy to see the law in our state moving forward in this direction.”…California is phasing in some overtime protections, while New York this year began requiring overtime pay when farmworkers work more than 60 hours in a week.


Study: Fix to food climate problem doesn’t require veganism [Associated Press]

The world likely can’t keep global warming to a relatively safe minimum unless we change how we grow, eat and throw away our food, but we don’t need to all go vegan, a new study says. Researchers looked at five types of broad fixes to the food system and calculated how much they fight warming. They found that sampling a buffet of partial fixes for all five, instead of just diving into the salad bar, can get the job done, according to a study published in Thursday’s journal Science….“The whole world doesn’t have to give up meat for us to meet our climate goals,” said study co-author Jason Hill, a biosystems engineering professor at the University of Minnesota. “We can eat better, healthier foods. We can improve how we grow foods. And we can waste less food.”


Science group issues valley-focused advice on climate change [Bakersfield Californian]

The San Joaquin Valley has received a specially addressed message from the Union of Concerned Scientists about what it thinks people across the region should be doing about looming water shortages, worsening air quality and generally more volatile weather in the years ahead….The county’s most powerful politician, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, declined to say at a political debate last month whether he thought humans are responsible for climate change. But he said the phenomenon is happening and humans will solve it….The report it published last month titled “Climate Change in the San Joaquin Valley: A Household and Community Guide to Taking Action” says changing weather patterns across the region will bring higher temperatures and more volatile precipitation….There will be more flooding in the years ahead, it predicted, less snowpack, a shorter wet season, worsening wildfires and “the water system will increasingly fail to meet the needs of California’s communities, industry and agriculture.”


Lopez elected to National FFA [Imperial Valley Press]

David Lopez, of Holtville, was recently elected as the western region vice president of National FFA. Lopez is a 2019 Holtville High School graduate, and an alumnus of Holtville FFA. Lopez served as state sentinel for the California FFA’s 2019-20 team….Lopez is the only student from Imperial County to ever be elected to national office, Holtville FFA chapter reporter Gianna Irunguray stated. Lopez served as a three-year officer with Holtville FFA. Lopez is currently an agricultural communications major at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, but will take a year off to serve the more than 730,000 members of National FFA and move to the FFA Center in Indianapolis in January.


Makers of ‘Kiss the Ground’ hope to inspire in fight against global warming [San Diego Union-Tribune]

The documentary “Kiss the Ground” is an upbeat whirlwind tour of people and organizations advocating for regenerative agriculture. If you don’t know the definition of the phrase, the film will show you soon enough. If you do know, you’re likely to learn a lot more….You’ll also meet scientists, government officials, farmers, ranchers and composters from all over the globe. Many are living proof of how farming techniques can capture carbon in our soil and plants, rather than our clogged air. Doing so, they maintain, has the potential to balance our climate, replenish water supplies and feed the world. “Kiss the Ground” will be screened during the Coronado Island Film Festival, which runs Wednesday through Nov. 15.


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