Ag Today September 3, 2019

The U.S. wants to adopt a Cap-and-Trade plan for water that isn’t working [Wall Street Journal]

…Water crises are unfolding across the world as surging populations, industrial-scale farming and hotter temperatures deplete supplies. Australia thought it had the answer: a cap-and-trade system that would create incentives to use water efficiently and effectively in the world’s driest inhabited continent. But the architects of water trading didn’t anticipate that treating water as a commodity would encourage theft and hoarding….Australia’s experience is a warning to the U.S., where western states including California, Nevada and Arizona are looking at Australian-style water-trading plans to apply more market discipline to water usage.


Trump heaps more tariffs on China, still no deal in sight [Bloomberg News]

The Trump administration slapped tariffs on roughly $110 billion in Chinese imports on Sunday, marking the latest escalation in a trade war that’s inflicting damage across the world economy….China’s retaliation took effect as of 12:01 p.m. Sunday in Beijing, with higher tariffs being rolled out in stages on a total of about $75 billion of U.S. goods….Higher Chinese duties that took effect Sept. 1 include an extra 10% on American pork, beef, and chicken, and various other agricultural goods, while soybeans will get hit with an extra 5% tariff on top of the existing 25%. Starting in mid-December, American wheat, sorghum, and cotton will also get a further 10% tariff.


Opinion: Trump has angered the wrong people: Farmers [Washington Post]

…We are to conclude that Trump possesses magical political power, that farmers are too dumb to know what’s good for them or both. Well, it turns out Trump has no magic, and farmers know exactly what the president is doing to them….Instead of visiting those West Virginia diners to find Trump voters still enamored of the president, the media should head out to Nebraska, Ohio and other hard-hit farm states to find out what Trump is doing to their farms and the economies in rural America. They might find that farmers’ patience has worn thin.


McCarthy calls on Pelosi to allow a vote on U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade pact [Bakersfield Californian]

Rep. Kevin McCarthy said Friday there are enough votes in Congress to approve the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, asserting the next step is for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call a vote on the trade deal also known as the “New NAFTA.” The Bakersfield Republican, speaking with reporters after a closed-door meeting downtown with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky and members of the local ag industry, said the accord would be a “tremendous boon” for the local community….Farmers and ag industry representatives who attended McCarthy’s and Censky’s closed-door meeting said a variety of topics of deep concern to local growers were covered, from the H-2A temporary visa program for foreign ag workers to water infrastructure to the U.S.-Chinese trade war that has limited the overseas market for almonds and other key Central Valley crops.


Deadly bird virus detected in San Diego County as outbreak of virulent Newcastle disease continues [San Diego Union-Tribune]

A new case of virulent Newcastle disease, a deadly viral illness that affects birds, has been identified in San Diego County, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The disease is most troubling for the poultry industry and those raising chickens in their backyards, according to agriculture experts….Officials said this most recent case was identified in the Ramona area and came to light after a private veterinarian submitted dead birds to the state’s agricultural laboratory system. The incident impacted multiple properties.


Could teff, an ancient African grain, find a foothold in a warming California? [Los Angeles Times]

…Teff is grown and sold mainly as horse feed in the United States, when it is grown at all. But at a time when scientists worry that climate change will decimate the wheat, corn and rice that dominate Western diets, its hardy nature may give teff an edge….She hopes her experience running a farm in her native Ethiopia would be helpful in bringing the crop to farmers in California. Tadese isn’t alone in her quest. Plant scientists are beginning to study the grass as a serious alternative crop.