Ag Today October 4, 2018

Denham is desperate to stop a California water plan. Nothing has worked – yet [McClatchy News Service]

Rep. Jeff Denham, one of the nation’s most vulnerable Republicans, is trying desperately to shut down a state water plan that’s widely disliked in his district. But nothing has worked so far. One thing could: Yet another lawsuit between the Department of Justice and the state of California over the issue….Farm bureaus and other agriculture worker representatives have staunchly opposed the plan, known as the Bay Delta Plan, as it relates to the San Joaquin Valley, and water is one of the — if not the most — important issues in the district. The State Water Resources Board is expected to finalize part of the plan on November 7, unless water districts can come to a voluntary settlement with the board.


Trump officials blame ‘environmental terrorists’ for wildfires. California loggers disagree [Sacramento Bee]

…Timber industry officials say they’ve found common ground with environmental groups to thin out overgrown forests and reduce fire hazards. While forestry project approvals can take years — and hundreds of thousands of acres of acres still need to be thinned — logging advocates say the Trump administration’s argument is outdated in California….Environmental groups are even less likely to sue now, given there’s growing agreement that California’s wildlands require some form of human intervention.


Firing back at Trump in the trade [New York Times]

President Trump may have been overstating things when he argued from a United Nations podium last week that the Chinese were going after American farm products to hurt his political base because “they do not want me or us to win.” But China clearly would like to send a signal to rural American voters. Mapping the counties that voted for Mr. Trump in 2016 and those affected by China’s tariffs shows the extent to which Trump voters’ jobs rely on the products being targeted. Beijing hopes it can convince those voters — and their elected representatives — that the president’s trade war could hurt them.


California wine hopes to uncork Canada’s alcohol policies in new trade agreement [Los Angeles Times]

Wine exporters in California and other states will get equal treatment for their bottles on the grocery shelves of Canada’s westernmost province under the terms of the renegotiated United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The California-dominated wine industry has spent four years fighting a policy allowing grocery stores in British Columbia to favor domestically produced wine over imports. In a side letter that was part of the new trade agreement announced last weekend, the Canadian government agreed to end that policy by next year, and the U.S. said it would halt its complaint before the World Trade Organization.


Trump’s trade war with China has a surprising beneficiary: Food banks [Arizona Republic]

The Trump administration’s escalating trade war with China and other nations threatens job losses, higher prices and loss of export markets for many American businesses. But food banks and the mostly lower-income people who rely on them could be unlikely beneficiaries, with more food and greater selection….When the White House announced it would offer support to farmers facing lower sales abroad — in retaliation for higher U.S. tariffs slapped on foreign imports — it meant the U.S. Department of Agriculture would start purchasing food products for distribution to social-services groups, such as food banks and child-nutrition programs.


Lettuce on the blockchain: Walmart’s push lends legitimacy to much-hyped technology [NBC News]

After an E.coli outbreak in romaine lettuce sickened more than 200 people in April, Walmart laid out a strict new policy to its suppliers of salad products….To do this, Walmart introduced a new system for its suppliers that is fueled by a much-hyped technology — blockchain….Blockchain is a technology in which computers each contribute to a shared public ledger, allowing for automated systems to work without a central authority….While bitcoin has become the best-known application of blockchain technology, businesses have been experimenting with alternative uses — one of those being IBM’s “Food Trust Solution,” which employs blockchain technology to create a transparent and secure tracking system for the food industry.