Ag Today Spetember 1, 2020

Lack of grazing, prescribed burns adds fuel to California’s wildfires, say experts and stakeholders [North Bay Business Journal]

… Two top academic natural resources experts believe it’s time for government and private enterprise to get serious about managing lands by eliminating barriers to additional prescribed burns and more grazing. … “There needs to be more collaboration between government agencies,” Sonoma County Farm Bureau Executive Director Tawny Tesconi said. … “We believe private landowners are excellent stewards of the land. This fire (year) has proven the point that prescribed burns are so necessary,” Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Klobas said, advocating for more managed burns and grazing.


As fire burns, activists sneak into Point Reyes to bring water to parched elk. Should they? [Los Angeles Times]

… They were transporting roughly 200 gallons of water to the park’s tule elk, who they say are dying from dehydration — and unable to reach other water sources because of a fence around their preserve — as drought conditions worsen in the region. … The conflicting needs of the elk preserve and neighboring dairy ranches have long been a flashpoint in Point Reyes, one of California’s most beloved seashores. The latest confrontation comes at a time when the park service is considering a final decision on a management plan for the elk.


United Farm Workers threatens to boycott Foster Farms in California due to COVID-19 outbreak [Fresno Bee]

United Farm Workers Monday raised the specter of a boycott of Foster Farms in Merced County, a day before the huge chicken processing plant is scheduled to shut down amid a coronavirus outbreak that health officials say has claimed the lives of at least eight workers. Union representatives said the company failed its employees and failed to comply with health department orders. They set forth a series of demands for the company and threatened a boycott of their products among workers and activists if those demands were not met.


California legislators cap off session with several COVID-19 protection bills [Los Angeles Times]

California lawmakers on Monday wrapped up a legislative session largely defined by the pandemic as they approved new COVID-19 sick leave for food workers, added sweeping labor protections for laid-off hotel staff and made it easier for essential employees to file for workers’ compensation. … AB 2043 by Assemblyman Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) is also headed to Newsom and would require the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health to compile and publicly report investigations into agricultural workplace conditions related to COVID-19, as well as illnesses from the virus.


America’s Salad Bowl—hit hard by COVID-19—looks to community approach [KCBX Radio, San Luis Obispo]

… To help, community organizations have launched COVID-19 education programs throughout the Central Coast. In southern Santa Cruz County, the Watsonville Campesino Appreciation Caravan, a group of local residents, regularly delivers food, masks and other supplies to workers. And in Monterey County, the Grower-Shipper Association (GSA), an industry trade organization, has been working with local hospitals to bring medical professionals directly into the fields.


Monterey County ag has second-worst pesticide-linked illness rate in the state, report says [Monterey County Weekly]

Exposure to pesticides used in agriculture was linked to illness and injury in 104 people in Monterey County in 2017, the second-highest number among all counties in California, according to a new report from the state Department of Pesticide Regulation. … The tally of cases comes from hospitals and health clinics, which are required by law to notify state authorities of illnesses that are related to pesticide exposure. … At 150 cases, only Kern County had more people falling ill than Monterey County but it also applied more three times the amount of pesticide.