Ag Today October 16, 2020

Trump administration blocks California wildfire relief [Los Angeles Times]

The Trump administration has rejected California’s request for disaster relief funds aimed at cleaning up the damage from six recent fires across the state, including Los Angeles County’s Bobcat fire, San Bernardino County’s El Dorado fire, and the Creek fire, one of the largest that continues to burn in Fresno and Madera counties. The move heightens tensions between California and the president over wildfires. … The decision came to light when the administration denied a request from Gov. Gavin Newsom for a major presidential disaster declaration, said Brian Ferguson, deputy director of crisis communication and media relations for the governor’s Office of Emergency Services. Ferguson could not provide a reason for the federal government’s denial.


Western Growers Association and Calif. Farm Bureau: Current GSP ‘will decimate agriculture’ [Ridgecrest Daily Independent]

The Western Growers Association and the California Farm Bureau Federation voiced its concerns regarding the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority’s draft groundwater sustainability plan in a letter addressed to the IWVGA and its chair, Mick Gleason. … This letter follows two lawsuits recently filed against the IWVGA, one by Mojave Pistachios, LLC, and Paul and Mary Nugent, as well as one by Searles Valley Minerals. … “A legitimate and objective consideration of the interests of overlying agricultural landowners would inescapably conclude that pricing their groundwater at $2,130 per acre-foot is functionally equivalent to forcing them out of business and, for those engaged in the cultivation of permanent crops, amounts to a taking,” the letter reads.


Napa ag groups urge caution on water unity proposals [Napa Valley Register]

Talk of unifying Napa County’s fractured water world has sparked concerns that such a move — if done wrong—might unintentionally weaken farmland protections in famed Napa Valley wine country. Move cautiously, the California Farm Bureau Federation, Napa County Farm Bureau, Napa Valley Grapegrowers and Winegrowers of Napa County advised. They want to make certain a countywide water agency wouldn’t hurt farmland, possibly by influencing land use. … “You create a new layer of government and it does tend to take on a life of its own,” said Christian Scheuring of the California Farm Bureau Federation.


Dry, warm winter, drought on tap for 2021 [North Bay Business Journal]

With the world coming off the hottest September since 1880, California’s North Bay to the south is likely to experience a continuance of warmer, drier weather conditions into the winter, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Thursday. … Ground zero for indicators, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center Deputy Director Mike Halpert said 2021 is shaping up as “the most widespread drought than we’ve seen since 2013” for both ends of the state to just south of the Oregon border. … “Clearly, we don’t want to see extremes that add another disaster layer to what we’ve already experienced,” Napa County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Klobas said on National Farmer Day Monday.


San Joaquin farmers, farmworkers share concerns with Assembly Agriculture chairman [Stockton Record]

Assemblyman Robert Rivas, D-Hollister, the new chairman of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, thought it might be a good use of his time this month — his re-election is virtually assured — to learn as much as he can about what makes up the state’s vast and diverse $50 billion ag industry and help keep it No. 1 in the nation. That included a couple of stops in San Joaquin County on Wednesday. … “I’m very excited to be chair of the Ag Committee in the state Assembly and very excited to have launched this statewide tour. I had a really productive day in San Joaquin County,” Rivas said after visiting the Wagner Dairy in Escalon, officials with El Concilio social services and members of the San Joaquin County Farm Bureau.


Ninth Circuit upholds California’s law governing meat production standards [Courthouse News Service]

A Ninth Circuit panel on Thursday upheld a district court’s ruling that says meat producers who want to sell their products in California need to abide by the state’s animal cruelty law. The three-judge panel reaffirmed a federal judge’s ruling that denied the North American Meat Institute’s fight to keep the law from applying to businesses from outside the Golden State. … California voters in 2018 approved Proposition 12, the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act, that bans the sale of eggs and meat not produced to the state’s standards. … Attorneys for NAMI claimed the law forced producers to a standard they had no say in and took away an advantage from those producers outside California.


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