Ag Today, November 9, 2021

Thanksgiving dinner staples are low in stock thanks to supply-chain issues [Wall Street Journal]

The supply-chain crunch is about to hit another part of American life: Thanksgiving dinner. Supplies of food and household items are 11% lower than normal as of Oct. 31, according to data from market-research firm IRI. That figure isn’t far from the bare shelves of March 2020, when supplies were down 13%. For grocery shoppers this holiday season, it means that someone with 20 items on their list would be out of luck on two of them. … Turkeys, yams and pies are low in supply, though aluminum foil to cover it all will be easier to find than last year.


Vilsack says more worried about supply chain impact on planting than harvest for farmers [McClatchy DC]

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he’s more worried that supply chain delays will affect next year’s planting season than this year’s harvest. “I’m not concerned necessarily that supply chain issues will affect this year’s harvest. I think I’m more concerned about next year’s ability to plant,” he said in an interview with McClatchy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $500 million last month to provide relief for agriculture market disruptions due to supply chain issues caused by congestion at U.S. ports. … The American Farm Bureau has raised concerns that supply chain issues will increase business costs for farmers. “If you have any sort of supply chain disruption, you’re going to see increased prices for inputs. So, farmers have already started to see massive increases in prices for their inputs,” American Farm Bureau Federation associate economist Danny Munch said in a podcast posted to the farm bureau’s website Thursday.


As the world gets hotter, can cattle survive? A rancher’s quest for drought-proof cows [Los Angeles Times]

He calls them his “little project.” Compared with humans, they’re not little at all. Some weigh 600 pounds. But for cattle, they’re tiny and immature — less than half the size of those usually slaughtered for beef. Langdon Hill bought them at auction and gated them in his backyard, an acre covered in sudangrass hay and mesquite, jojoba and palo verde trees in the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness 70 miles northeast of Tucson. … The U.S. and dozens of countries have pledged to reduce methane emissions. Others such as Australia have refused, citing the beef industry as a reason. Some believe weaning America — the fifth-largest producer of beef in the world — off cattle would make a significant contribution. Then there’s a growing group of ranchers, like Hill, who think beef simply needs to be reimagined to survive.


Livermore Valley creating wine heritage district to attract visitors [San Jose Mercury News]

In a bid to draw more people from around the Bay Area and California to the Livermore Valley, where more than 50 wineries large and small operate, vintners are working to form a heritage district to help generate more money for marketing campaigns, among other efforts. Although the valley drew roughly one million visitors a year before the pandemic, some winemakers say many people in the greater Bay Area are still unaware of the winemaking region and its diverse set of varietals. “Marketing our area and spending more money on marketing benefits everybody, and everybody wants to see the region grow and become stronger and more visible,” said Steven Mirassou, the president of the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association and the CEO of The Lineage Collection wines.


New Kern River Watermaster in the wings [Bakersfield Californian]

It appears a new Kern River Watermaster will be chosen to replace Dana Munn, whose contract winds up at the end of this year. If he’s officially approved by all the voting members of the “river interests,” Mark Mulkay will likely become the fourth ever Kern River Watermaster. He said he’s discussed it with all the parties and let them know he wants the job. Other sources confirmed that the river interests, entities that hold rights to the Kern River, have unofficially agreed on Mulkay as incoming Watermaster. Mulkay had managed the Kern Delta Water District, one of the river interests, from 1993 until he retired in 2020. … The Kern River Watermaster acts as the liaison with the Army Corps of Engineers, which operates water releases from Isabella Lake. The Watermaster also keeps track of all the rights and contracts that govern the river and checks on record keeping.


Opinion: Agriculture is the solution to nutrition security [The Hill]

Food, agriculture and nutrition are intrinsically linked, holding the keys to saving lives lost to diet-related chronic diseases, and as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic experience that exacerbated the effects of these diseases, it’s time to focus on ending this underlying epidemic of malnutrition. As policy discussion in Washington moves from food security to nutrition security, agriculture is the primary solution. …  Low-income, minority and rural populations are disproportionately affected by nutrition-related diseases. With the coronavirus, people with diet-related chronic disease are facing more adverse outcomes when they contract the virus, underscoring the need to invest in addressing this underlying disease, its causes and practical solutions. … A responsive agricultural and food system capable of adapting to changing demands to promote human and environmental health while being economically sustainable for producers seems, now, like an abstract concept. Yet, by keeping agriculture producers and researchers involved in the conversations about these challenges, we will be able to meet the needs of a growing population and changing environment.


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