AgToday June 25, 2020

California farmers stand to lose up to $8.6B says Farm Bureau-commissioned study [Salinas Californian]

California farmers have already lost $2 billion thanks to the pandemic and stand to as much as $6.6 billion more, an economic report released today by the California Farm Bureau Federation said. And calculating in multiplier effects, the report estimates losses could exceed $10 billion statewide….Monterey County, home to a $4.4 billion agricultural industry, was among the hardest-hit when it came to job loss, the report says….Payment caps in particular prevent specialty growers from recovering substantial costs when they lose a crop or the market for said crop has disappeared. California Farm Bureau Jamie Johansson, an olive farmer himself, said the study illustrates the scope of the pandemic’s impact and urged legislators to bear that in mind to “avoid making farming even more costly and difficult in California.”


Bayer draws uncertain line under Roundup in $12 billion deal [Bloomberg News]

Bayer AG’s $12.1 billion settlement to resolve U.S. lawsuits over its flagship weedkiller Roundup and other products offered only fleeting relief to investors looking to move on from the legal woes that have hobbled the stock for almost two years. The shares declined as much as 2% in Frankfurt trading, erasing early gains a day after the German company’s move to resolve a trio of major litigation risks that soured its $63 billion purchase of Monsanto….Bayer on Wednesday announced settlements that included as much as $10.9 billion for Roundup, the embattled weedkiller inherited from Monsanto, $820 million for toxic-chemical pollution and $400 million related to damage from dicamba, another herbicide.


Government agency tells Modesto to hit the brakes on putting urban limit on 2020 ballot [Modesto Bee]

The government agency that regulates cities’ boundaries has raised red flags over Modesto’s proposed urban limit line, saying the city is not following the normal process to set boundaries for its growth. Mayor Ted Brandvold is leading the effort to have the city place an urban limit line on the November ballot for voter approval. The City Council will hold a Thursday workshop on this and could vote at its July 7 or July 14 meeting on whether to place the limit line on the ballot….LAFCO is concerned that the proposed urban limit line includes land outside of what is called Modesto’s sphere of influence. A sphere is a LAFCO-approved boundary outside of the city limit but where a city can expect to grow through annexations, which also are approved by LAFCO. That land includes 1,164 acres along the west side of Highway 99 in Wood Colony, the close-knit farming community. Brandvold has talked about how Modesto needs that land for business parks and jobs and to help secure Modesto’s economic future.


County to allow Los Olivos winery to ferment grapes grown elsewhere [Santa Maria Times]

A Los Olivos winery that’s been in operation for some 40 years will be allowed to make wine using grapes grown elsewhere, rather than on site, after the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission decided the change substantially conforms to the conditions of its original land use permit….But a condition attached to the permit also bars importing more than 50% of the grapes processed over a five-year period from outside Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, and it requires the winery to maintain 30 acres of grapes on the premises.


Commentary: California farmers already practice sustainable agriculture [CalMatters]

…Thanks to California farmers adherence to science, they have reduced pesticide use by 66% since 1998. And the effort to utilize science, doesn’t stop with pesticides. California farmers use strict fertilizer management plans, grow more with less water, meet the challenges of climate change, create better habitat for fish, and produce some of the healthiest, safest food in the world.


Opinion: Bolster our communities by investing in water [Bakersfield Californian]

As the president of an association representing more than 15,000 farmers throughout California, ranging from farmer-owned businesses to the world’s best-known brands, I cannot overstate how essential water is to our communities….That is why Agricultural Council of California joined a coalition of more than 500 state and national voices, from environmental justice advocates to utilities to businesses and also fellow agriculture organizations, with a clear message for Congress and our state representatives: any federal package to help the nation recover from COVID-19 must include water.