Ag Today October 29, 2018

‘No magic shortcuts’ to fix California’s water system, Trump memo could help GOP [Visalia Times-Delta]

…Trump’s executive action aims to cut down on “burdensome federal regulations” that make it “expensive to build and maintain water projects.”…Experts and farmers alike are skeptical that the memo alone will do anything to create additional reservoirs or increase water flow to the Valley, which even after a wet 2017, is still recovering from the most severe drought in its recorded history….Many optimistic farmers have staked their water hopes on redrafting biological opinions, which could ease restrictions placed on delta inflow to protect delta smelt and chinook salmon populations. One of the memo’s concrete directives is to expedite that process, setting a Jan. 31 deadline for the Department of Fish and Wildlife and Bureau of Reclamation to issue a new opinion.


Opinion: California’s dairy farmers were struggling to regain profitability. Then came the trade wars [Los Angeles Times]

…For a few months this spring, it looked as if milk prices were finally turning around. Then came the tariffs. Starting at the beginning of July, Mexico and China imposed tariffs on U.S. dairy products in retaliation for Trump administration trade belligerence….Those moves have left dairy producers feeling like collateral damage in a war they had nothing to do with….California dairies had made great strides in opening new foreign markets, in part by exploiting the benefits of NAFTA and by focused approaches to China and other Asian markets.


Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Jimmy Panetta visit Monterey Mushrooms [Monterey Herald]

Monterey Mushrooms hosted Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Carmel Valley, agriculture leaders and farmworkers at its facility in North Monterey County for a tour and roundtable discussion on Friday….On immigration reform, farmworkers and other agriculture-related issues, Feinstein said she is working on drafting an immigration bill that essentially has three parts. The first would be reintroducing a portion of the last farm bill that had bipartisan support. Called the Blue Card Bill, it says that if a farmworker has worked in an ag field for two years, with no arrests, that individual would qualify for a blue card.


Groundwater agency mulls multitude of allocation plans, postpones final decision [Ventura County Star]

A board that manages groundwater allocations made no final decisions on a pumping formula last week, but gave preliminary support to a proposal that restricts agricultural users.The Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency considered a plan Wednesday that would allow agricultural uses to pump 56,000 acre-feet of water starting next year and municipal and industrial uses to pump 36,000 acre-feet, representing a 60 percent vs. 40 percent split between the two groups….If this plan is approved, it would mean farms must pump less than they do now and cities could pump more.


Cage-free eggs on the midterm ballot for Californians [Fox News]

Ken Klippen lives in Philadelphia, but he’s trying to save egg farmers in the Midwest from a ballot measure in California. As the president of the National Association of Egg Farmers, Klippen says that Proposition 12 on the ballot in California this November, will cause “some major changes in the way eggs are produced.”…That means most farmers who sell their produce in the state of California will either have to change their farming practices or lose one of the biggest markets in the country. The Association of California Egg Farmers and National Pork Producers Council both oppose the measure. Fox News spoke with a third-generation egg farmer, Chris Nichols of Chino Valley Ranchers, who also opposes Prop 12. “I would say the people who do suffer in the end are the consumer,” Nichols explained, “because your price is going up.”


Oceanside’s open space initiative would give voters say over development [KPBS, San Diego]

An initiative in Oceanside would make it more difficult to turn farmland into housing developments. But commercial farmers say Measure Y would put them out of business….Martinek said Measure Y aims to preserve agricultural land in Oceanside but, ironically, the San Diego Farm Bureau and commercial farmers oppose it. Neil Nagata is president of the San Diego Farm Bureau and the third generation to work his family’s land in Morro Hills….Nagata said putting restrictions on how his land can be used will lower its value as collateral for bank loans, loans that he and other commercial farmers rely on every year, before the harvest comes in.