Ag Today October 20, 2020

San Joaquin Valley family says company’s toxic pesticide caused child’s disabilities [Fresno Bee]

Seventeen-year-old Avenal resident Rafael Cerda Calderon has always struggled with severe seizures, autism, and a developmental disability. He will likely need care for the rest of his life. According to a lawsuit Cerda’s family recently filed in Kings County Superior Court, the multi-billion dollar agribusiness company Corteva, Inc., is to blame.

Cerda’s parents alleged that a widely banned pesticide and its more toxic, unregistered byproduct are responsible for their child’s neurological injuries. The municipalities of Huron and Avenal, where he was raised, have also been named as defendants in the lawsuit, as are pesticide applicators Woolf Farming Co. and Cottonwest, LLC.


Farmers stick with Trump, despite trade-war pain [Wall Street Journal]

About two months into the Trump presidency, Ron Prestage clutched a shovel and grinned at a photographer on an Iowa cornfield. He had $309 million riding on 160 acres near the town of Eagle Grove, the site of a future pork plant that would help his family’s company, Prestage Farms Inc., tap surging U.S. exports. Just weeks after bulldozers began rolling, though, President Trump came within a pen stroke of upending Mr. Prestage’s plans, preparing to announce the termination of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trade battles with Mexico, Canada and China that followed cut into pork-producer profits in a three-year roller-coaster ride that threatened the Prestage family’s biggest-ever investment.  “He’s made things more volatile, with the saber-rattling,” said Mr. Prestage, 65. “It does create a lot of angst and concern about, ‘Oh my God, what is he doing?’ ” Yet Mr. Prestage plans to vote for Mr. Trump, as he did in 2016.


More Hispanic workers impacted by Covid-19 in food processing and agriculture workplaces, CDC study finds [CNN]

More Hispanic workers were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in food processing plants, manufacturing plants and agriculture workplaces in the US last spring than workers of other races or ethnicities, a team led by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday….The CDC examined information collected from state health departments about workers with confirmed Covid-19 in food processing and manufacturing plants and agricultural settings between March 1 and May 31….The researchers found reports on mass testing in US meat and poultry plants revealed widespread coronavirus outbreaks and found high numbers of asymptomatic or presymptomatic infections.


New reservoir in Stanislaus County could move forward with approval of final study [Modesto Bee]

The Del Puerto Water District board is set to vote Wednesday on approving a final environmental impact study on a much-disputed storage reservoir in western Stanislaus County….A coalition of groups including Save Del Puerto Canyon, Friends of the River, Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter and others, said the risk of landslides was understated in the draft environmental study….According to proponents, the reservoir storing up to 82,000 acre feet of water will provide for more reliable water deliveries to farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin river delta, increase water supplies for when crops need it the most and improve management of groundwater. Water pumped from the nearby Delta-Mendota Canal would be stored behind the dam.


La Niña: Is California heading into another drought? [Bay Area News Group]

Federal scientists say that La Niña — the phenomenon where Pacific Ocean waters off South America are cooler than normal — is underway this winter. A commonly held assumption among many Californians is that La Niña means a dry winter is coming, and in years when the opposite occurs, El Niño, a wet winter is considered more likely. So brown lawns and water rationing are just around the corner, right? Not necessarily. Looking at historical records, there isn’t a clear pattern. In the Bay Area, La Niña years have been drier than normal only about half the time.


Opinion: Proposed Point Reyes ranch management plan fails public [Marin Independent Journal]

The National Park Service’s recently announced preferred plan for Point Reyes National Seashore fails the public….Taxpayers paid full market value (in today’s dollars it would be about $370 million) to purchase all these farms and ranches more than 30 years ago. The purchase contracts allowed limited continued use of the properties for family transition purposes, but clearly stated the intent to end private  commercial uses on our national seashore. However, NPS preceded to grant unlawful extensions of the private leases for decades, without public review, until the Resource Renewal Institute and others sought a court review of NPS compliance failures with the Seashore Act and with several other laws.


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