Ag Today October 8, 2018

California’s carbon-credit market often pays for greenhouse gas reductions that would’ve happened anyway [San Diego Union-Tribune]

…Under the offset program, everyone from dairy farmers trapping methane to timber companies embracing progressive logging practices to nonprofits preserving natural landscapes can sell carbon credits and get paid for their efforts to fight climate change….However, reporting by the San Diego Union-Tribune has revealed numerous instances where companies and nonprofits selling offsets didn’t shrink their carbon footprint as a result of the program — raising questions about the ability of the program to fight climate change. In some situations, groups maintained green business practices that long preceded the offset program, but qualified to sell credits by pledging to continue those activities for decades to come. In other cases, companies received checks for reducing their emissions but were largely motivated to green up their operations by other financial factors.


Trump will push trade policies as helping workers in U.S. heartland [Wall Street Journal]

…His objective with these trips is to bolster Senate, House and gubernatorial candidates who could reinforce his legislative efforts in Washington and help his 2020 re-election bid. Mr. Trump is likely to boast that the new North American trade deal announced this week—which will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement if ratified by Congress and the governments of Canada and Mexico—has alleviated some of their concerns….But Mr. Trump will also have to address the impact of retaliatory tariffs on billions of dollars worth of U.S. agricultural exports by China, the European Union, Canada and Mexico, which those trading partners levied in response to U.S. tariffs on metals and a range of Chinese imports.


Californians weigh making egg-laying hens cage-free by 2022 [Associated Press]

California voters are right to think they already weighed in on how big cages should be for egg-laying hens….But a decade later, voters are being asked to revisit the issue with Proposition 12, the Farm Animal Confinement Initiative….It would also ban the sales from other states not meeting California’s standards….According to findings of the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, the measure would likely result in an increase in prices for eggs, pork and veal partly because farmers would have to remodel or build new housing for animals.


Wineries, vineyards clash over how to handle grapes affected by wildfire smoke [San Francisco Chronicle]

Along the West Coast, grape growers and wineries are locked in bitter disputes over what to do with wine grapes that may have been tainted by smoke from the summer’s wildfires. Wine producers are refusing to pay growers for smoke-tainted grapes, leaving many small-scale farmers in dire financial situations. Now many are calling for change: Why should vineyards, and not wineries, assume all the risk when wildfire strikes? And how, exactly, should smoke taint be determined?


California growers adjust safety practices after last year’s deadly E. Coli outbreak [Capital Public Radio]

A group that oversees food safety programs for big California lettuce growers has changed its protocols in the wake of an E. coli outbreak last spring which caused five deaths and sickened more than 200 people across 36 states. The outbreak was linked to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona…In response, California LGMA recently updated its food safety practices in several areas. Currently, leafy greens growers are already required to test their water on a monthly basis, according to Horsfall. Going forward, “(growers) using surface water that is run adjacent one of these very large CAFOs, then they would also be required to treat their water with a disinfectant,” says Horsfall.


Controversy over Klamath River dam removal persists as approval nears [Redding Record Searchlight]

…The Klamath River Renewal Corp. is going through a process to take ownership of four dams on the river from PacifiCorp and remove them. It is, the KRRC says, the largest dam removal project in the nation….Mike Belchick, a biologist with the Yurok Tribe, said removing the dams would improve the quality of the water in the river and restore hundreds of miles of habitat for wild salmon….The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors has long opposed removing the dams. Ray Haupt, chairman of the board, said removing the dams could seriously harm the environment when 26 million cubic yards of sediment washes downstream.