Ag Today October 23, 2018

Water bond would spread money across the state — but pour it on the Central Valley [Los Angeles Times]

…At $8.9 billion, Proposition 3 is the latest — and biggest — in a series of water bonds to go before California voters since 2006. Its largess would spread up and down the state, but the measure asks state taxpayers to subsidize Central Valley agriculture to an unprecedented degree. Whether it is the cost of repairing the Friant-Kern and other federal canals, $675 million for groundwater management or a host of smaller programs, valley farm districts stand to reap several billion dollars’ worth of direct and indirect benefits from the bond….To garner statewide support, bond measures are inevitably written with California’s sprawling geography in mind. Proposition 3 is no exception, funding programs that appeal to both urban and rural residents in the north and the south.


San Joaquin Valley farmers hoping Trump’s water policy would end ‘water grab’ [KXTV, Sacramento]

For Don Barton, a fourth-generation walnut farmer and the president of the Gold River Orchards, water is everything. That’s why a President Trump-signed memo last week promoting water delivery has Barton and other farmers across San Joaquin County hoping it may stop the so-called “water grab.”…Bruce Blodgett, Executive Director of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau said the organization is “hopeful” that after Trumps’s memo, the administration is beginning to ask what the state is trying to do with its water projects.


Stop sale and slaughter of wild horses in California, lawsuit says [San Luis Obispo Tribune]

Two animal advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit in federal court to block the U.S. Forest Service from selling wild horses gathered in a round-up in progress at Modoc National Forest, in Northern California. The American Wild Horse Campaign and the Animal Legal Defense Fund announced the filing in a statement released Monday….The Forest Service has gathered 422 horses — of a planned 1,000 — as of Oct. 20. The horse gather began to reduce a herd of nearly 4,000 that is 10 times larger than what the Forest Service says the land can support.


Judge reduces jury award against Bayer’s Roundup to $78.5 million [Wall Street Journal]

A California judge on Monday reduced by more than $200 million a jury verdict linking Bayer AG’s Roundup weedkiller to cancer but upheld the jury’s findings that the company acted with malice….The decision is the latest turn in the first Roundup case to go to trial, which resulted in an August verdict in favor of a groundskeeper who said prolonged use of glyphosate-based herbicides caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma….The ruling on Monday diverges from a tentative decision the judge reached earlier this month to completely throw out the $250 million in punitive damages and order a new trial….Bayer said it would appeal the verdict.


Valley Air District providing millions to help farmers buy newer, cleaner tractors [KFSN TV, Fresno]

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control district is providing millions to help growers buy newer, cleaner running tractors….The program is called ‘Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions,’ or FARMER, for short. It provides a hefty subsidy to allow farmers to buy new, or newer equipment….The $108 million is expected to buy about 3,000 new and newer pieces of equipment. Previous programs like this have already replaced 7,000 old and dirty pieces of farm equipment.


Can eating organic food lower your cancer risk? [New York Times]

People who buy organic food are usually convinced it’s better for their health, and they’re willing to pay dearly for it. But until now, evidence of the benefits of eating organic has been lacking. Now a new French study that followed 70,000 adults, most of them women, for five years has reported that the most frequent consumers of organic food had 25 percent fewer cancers over all than those who never ate organic….Nutrition experts from Harvard who wrote a commentary accompanying the study expressed caution, however, criticizing the researchers’ failure to test pesticide residue levels in participants in order to validate exposure levels. They called for more long-term government-funded studies to confirm the results.