Ag Today September 25, 2018

Walmart to salad growers: If you want to sell, you have to blockchain [Los Angeles Times]

Produce companies that want to sell lettuce and salads at Walmart and Sam’s Clubs will have to learn the skills of cryptocurrency traders, the giant retailer announced Monday. By the end of January, 2020, Walmart will require California-based produce companies such as Dole, Taylor Farms and Fresh Express to join a blockchain-based supply chain that the mega-retailer has been experimenting with for nearly two years to enable Walmart to trace the source of food-borne illness….The move by Walmart could upend the way the produce industry controls its supply lines — a system that lags behind not just last century’s “digital age,” but the current era of “smart” interconnected devices and data encryption capabilities.


Young farmers, healthy food programs to suffer in farm bill delay [Bloomberg Government]

An agriculture program assisting farmers just starting out would lapse if a final farm bill compromise isn’t reached before the current law expires at the end of the month. There will probably be no agreement on the authorization bill before the Sept. 30 deadline of current law, according to two agriculture lobbyists familiar with the matter. That will put out to pasture a number of programs that don’t have budget baselines, which are Congressional Budget Office projections of continued funding levels.“…Another program that would be on hold is the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program, which was authorized by the 2014 farm law to promote the purchase of fruit and vegetables among SNAP recipients by providing an incentive at the point of purchase.


USDA gives aid to almond farmers pinched by China tariffs [KBAK TV, Bakersfield]

On Monday the United States Department of Agriculture announced the addition of commodities to the trade mitigation package to assist farmers facing business drop-off from Chinese tariffs. The Market Facilitation Program that provides direct payments to help corn, cotton, sorghum, soybean, wheat, dairy, and hog farmers, now includes shelled almonds and fresh sweet cherry producers….On his family’s 12,000-acre farm in Wasco, Greg Wegis grows corn, table grapes, weed alfalfa, pistachios, and of course, lots and lots of almonds. “It’s a penny game, every cent does matter,” Wegis, who is chairman of the board for California’s Farm Service Agency, said.


IID director lambasts study suggesting canal water contaminated [Imperial Valley Press]

Norma Sierra Galindo, Division 5 director is fuming over a study that may suggest water delivered by canals in Imperial County could be contaminated by industrial and agriculture runoff and therefore could place the health of customers downstream at potential risk….At issue is an ongoing pilot study being conducted by the University of Washington in partnership with Comite Civico del Valle and the California Environmental Protection Agency to identify potential locations where industrial or agriculture pollution could collect before being used in the about 2,800 private homes where canal water is the only source of tap water….Luis Olmedo, Comité Civico del Valle executive director, in the video says such raw water may be contaminated by industrial or agricultural runoff before making its way to homes for residential use.


Threatened spring-run chinook salmon are sparse this year [Chico Enterprise-Record]

The rare spring-run chinook salmon is rarer than usual this year, according to counts in the three streams that support the bulk of the wild fish left in the Sacramento River system. In Butte Creek, a snorkel survey counted 2,118 fish this year, according to Colin Purdy, who supervises the count for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. That’s less than half the average since 1989 of 4,427 fish. “It is low unfortunately,” he said, “but it’s better than last year.” In 2017, only 950 fish were counted.


Why modern machines are key to harvesting California food [KXTV, Sacramento]

It’s harvest season in Northern California and it takes a lot of modern-day machinery to get food to your table. That modern-day machinery picks, pulls, and sorts just about any kind of produce you can think of….It takes modern machines to harvest California food and a modern farmer to bring it to your table.