Ag Today September 5, 2018

Costa prepares to represent both Valley growers and those in need at Farm Bill talks [Fresno Bee]

…These typically routine meetings had particular significance, as Costa returns to Washington on Wednesday as part of a bicameral committee appointed to sort out the 2018 Farm Bill – a typically routine and bipartisan piece of legislation now in flux due to controversial additions by House Republicans. Costa has the unique task of representing a slice of Fresno, Madera and Merced counties that not only produces much of the nation’s food but also struggles deeply with hunger issues. The Farm Bill negotiation process could have catastrophic consequences for both ag and the nonprofits working to feed those in need.


Bayer says more Americans are alleging Monsanto weedkillers cause cancer [Wall Street Journal]

Bayer AG BAYRY -1.17% said the number of American plaintiffs alleging its recently acquired weedkillers cause cancer has risen sharply, adding to concerns about potentially lengthy and costly litigation stemming from its acquisition of Monsanto….Bayer said it faced some 8,700 plaintiffs across the U.S. as of late August—mainly cancer patients who claim to have fallen ill after being exposed to the glyphosate-containing Monsanto herbicides. As of late July, the number of plaintiffs stood at about 8,000, up from 5,200 a few months earlier….Bayer said it hasn’t seen a decline in demand for its glyphosate products because of the litigation and doesn’t expect any as regulators haven’t changed their stance that the chemical was safe.


Oriental fruit fly spread has farmers markets seeking cover [KOVR TV, Sacramento]

A small bug is posing a big danger to fruits and vegetables and it could be devastating to California’s agricultural economy. The oriental fruit fly has been found in Sacramento County and a quarantine is now in effect….The state department of food and agriculture is requiring all nine farmers markets in the quarantine area to keep certain host fruits and vegetables protected….Growers we spoke with say it’s a harder sell when their fresh produce is under wraps but they understand the precautions.


Opinion: The Trump administration is ready to help California meet wildfire threat [Sacramento Bee]

…While we must work to contain wildfires, we are also making increased efforts to prevent the frequency and intensity of such catastrophes….For too long, our forest management efforts have been thwarted by lawsuits from misguided, extreme environmentalists. The time has come to act without flinching in the face of threatened litigation….What we can control is how we prepare and respond to them, which is where the Trump administration is taking the lead.


Opinion: Using wildfires as an excuse to plunder forests [New York Times]

President Trump recently blamed environmental protections for the loss of homes and lives in wildfires in California, and followed up that groundless suggestion by strongly implying that increased logging could protect rural towns from these conflagrations….This false narrative is part of the Trump administration’s effort to promote the inclusion of extreme logging measures in the farm bill that House and Senate leaders are now negotiating….It would be both reprehensible and counterproductive if politicians exploit the tragic loss of homes and lives in wildfires to advance the economic interests of the logging industry.


Editorial: Lawmakers take a good step toward fire prevention [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]

…There is much to like about SB 901, which was drafted by a special committee of state senators and Assembly members and approved by bipartisan majorities. For starters, the bill authorizes a $1 billion, five-year effort to clear brush, cut dead and dying trees and step up the use of controlled burns as a defense against wildfires….SB 901 also addresses utilities and fire damage caused by their equipment. This, of course, is the source of most of the controversy….But it’s a good start, and Gov. Jerry Brown should sign it.