Ag Today September 23, 2019

Chemical exposures in California’s vast cropland spark fear for growers and workers [Fresno Bee]

…Solorio, who now works a construction job, was among dozens of workers at a Tulare County vineyard on June 18 who were exposed to a chemical used in pesticides. The chemical was sprayed at a nearby peach orchard owned by Peters Fruit Farms….No penalties have been issued and the investigation now is in the hands of the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office….But the large-scale exposure, followed by another in Fresno County a week later, alarmed the farm community and opened old divisions over pesticide use and worker protections in the San Joaquin Valley.


They’re big, furry and Congress might help California kill them all to save the Delta [Sacramento Bee]

A rookie California lawmaker plans to haul a 20-pound rodent carcass into Congress on Tuesday to press his colleagues for money to fight an invasive species wreaking havoc on his district. Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, hopes a hearing on his bill will convince his colleagues that funding to stop an invasive species in California’s Central Valley is sorely needed — before the problem gets worse and costs drastically increase….The bill would award $7 million to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife over five years to combat the spread of nutria. Harder’s proposal is scheduled for a hearing in the House of Representatives Water Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee on Tuesday.


Butte County leaders could greenlight sustainable groundwater agreement [Chico Enterprise-Record]

An agreement could be made Tuesday at the Butte County Board of Supervisors meeting that could make way for groundbreaking research for the Butte Subbasin’s groundwater supply. As many sustainable groundwater agencies in the area gear up to comply with the state of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, Butte County aims to sign that agreement….The agreement, if approved, could further develop and implement a groundwater sustainability plan within Butte County.


Meat is getting pricier because China is peckish for protein [Wall Street Journal]

China is on a global meat-buying spree, pushing up beef, pork and poultry prices around the globe as the world’s most populous nation scrambles to fill a large void in its meat supply. Meat buyers for China are ramping up purchases after a swine disease hit hog farms across the country and reduced its pig herd—the world’s largest—by more than a third….American shoppers so far haven’t felt much price impact from China’s meat purchases, but that could soon change. December-dated U.S. lean hog futures have climbed 4.5% so far this month, rising after Chinese officials said the country could exempt U.S. pork and some other agricultural goods from punitive tariffs, though President Trump on Friday said the U.S. didn’t need to complete a trade agreement with China before the 2020 election.


Opinion: Vetoing SB 1 will help save the Central Valley way of life [Bakersfield Californian]

…Attacking the federal administration should not come at the cost of our agriculture industry now, or ever. California’s government should be focusing on addressing real problems affecting the environment and agriculture, such as ensuring the state has adequate water storage to survive another severe drought or supporting free trade agreements with our neighbors Canada and Mexico….The governor’s informal announcement of his plans to veto this legislation comes as a success to our farmers, but I call on him to officially do the right thing, veto SB 1, and put a stop to any future action that put our Central Valley way of life in jeopardy.


Opinion: Farmers are living the facts of climate change. By focusing on soil, they can lead the way on climate adaptation [Fresno Bee]

…The science is clear that the challenges facing agriculture aren’t going away. And those of us who have been in agriculture for a few generations realize that things are changing in unpredictable, unprecedented ways. We are going to need new tools and training to keep up, and resources to support the climate solutions farms and ranches can offer. With innovative farmers, state-of-the-art science and sound public policy, we can make California agriculture a global leader in climate smart farming.