Ag Today October 31, 2018

SF supes urge backing off alliance with farmers, Trump on reviving rivers [San Francisco Chronicle]

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors issued a rare rebuke of the city water department Tuesday, claiming the agency is on the wrong side of a state water debate that pits California against President Trump. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which provides water to the city and more than two dozen suburbs, has fiercely opposed a far-reaching state plan to revive California’s river system, including the languishing Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, because it means giving up precious water supplies….San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin put forward a resolution Tuesday, insisting that a city known for its environmental bona fides should stand up for the rivers and not partner with Washington to let them run dry. The board unanimously approved his measure, which pledges full city support for the state plan.


The biggest share of Colorado River water in the West is up for grabs [Palm Springs Desert Sun]

A public agency and a powerful farmer are gearing up for a high-stakes court battle to determine who owns the largest share of Colorado River water in the West, complicating the river’s future as seven western states scramble to avoid severe water shortages. There’s a long history of fighting over water in California’s Imperial Valley, which has a legal right to more than 1 trillion gallons of Colorado River water each year — twice as much as the rest of California, and as much as Arizona and Nevada combined. But officials at the publicly owned Imperial Irrigation District say the lawsuit brought against the agency by Mike Abatti, an influential farmer, could be a game-changer for the U.S. Southwest. They say Abatti’s lawsuit could shift control of the Imperial Valley’s water supply away from the public and toward a small group of landowning farmers.


Dairy farmers ask for more aid as tariffs wipe away $1B in profits [Fox Business]

U.S. dairy farmers who were caught in the middle of President Trump’s escalating trade war with several countries this summer are pleading for more cash as the tariffs have cost them more than $1 billion in profits since May. In a letter sent to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the National Milk Producers Federation’s chairman and dairy farmer Randy Mooney said the first round of subsidies issued in August has done little to compensate for lost sales and lower milk prices….While the USDA has made more than $4.7 billion available to farmers, starting in September, and has bought $1.2 billion worth of surplus food, the $127 million of that which has been allocated for dairy farmers would only pay such farmers 12 cents per 100 pounds of milk, on half of this year’s production, which is simply not enough.


Huge layoffs loom at ‘struggling’ Fresno poultry processor [Fresno Bee]

Zacky Farms, one of the San Joaquin Valley’s leading poultry companies, is facing layoffs, a company official said Tuesday….At one time, the company employed at least 1,500 people and was one of the nation’s largest turkey farmers and processors. Last year, the company processed 82.96 million pounds of turkeys, according to industry statistics. But the turkey grower and processor has struggled over the years. In 2001 it sold off its chicken business to rival Foster Farms, and in 2012 it filed for bankruptcy protection with debt estimated at $50 million to $100 million.


Cal Poly Pomona uses tiny wasp to help protect California’s citrus trees [KABC-TV]

At Cal Poly Pomona, an army of wasps are being readied to do battle against the Asian citrus psyllid, which carries Huanglonghbing, a citrus tree killing disease responsible for wiping out 70 percent of Florida’s citrus industry….Two years ago, researchers began breeding the wasps known as Tamarixia radiata in a state-of-the-art greenhouse on Cal Poly Pomona’s campus. On Tuesday, researchers and students released hundreds of the tiny insects to wage war on the citrus pest….So far, 12 million of the wasps have been released since 2012 in an effort to control pest populations and spread of the citrus disease.


Can pot save the pumpkin farm? [Washington Post]

On Nov. 6, residents of this small, coastal city will vote on whether Muller, 72, can use a section of his 21-acre farm to grow thousands of young marijuana plants. Muller and his wife, Eda, said they need this revenue to save their property, Daylight Farms. If voters don’t approve Measure GG, the Mullers could be forced to sell everything before next year’s harvest….For California farmers — many struggling like the Mullers — the state’s legalization of marijuana has offered the prospect of raising a lucrative crop that could keep them on their land. They must first win the approval of their communities, and the debate dividing Half Moon Bay has also paralyzed other parts of the state.