Ag Today March 16, 2017
Trump budget plan cuts USDA food, rural water funding
By P.J. Huffstutter and Jo Winterbottom | CHICAGO, MARCH 16
President Donald Trump has proposed eliminating an international food aid program, halting funding for clean water initiative in rural areas and reducing county-level staff for a 21 percent drop in discretionary spending at the Agriculture Department, according to a White House budget document.
The proposal would save $498 million by eliminating a rural water and wastewater loan and grant program, which the White House proposal said was duplicative. The program helps fund clean water and sewer systems in communities with less than 10,000 people.
Ag Today March 15, 2017
Environmentalists seek to defend protections for wolves in California
By Sharon Bernstein | SACRAMENTO, CALIF.
Four environmental groups on Tuesday asked a court for permission to defend California's decision to grant endangered species protections to the gray wolf, the latest in an ongoing fight over the predator's future in the Western United States.
The groups are seeking to be added as defendants along with the state to a legal challenge to the designation filed on behalf of farmers and ranchers, who worry that a resurgent wolf population will endanger people and livestock.
"We chose to file a motion to intervene because we felt it was very, very...
Ag Today March 14, 2017
Farmers in conservation mode despite wet winter
Published on 03/13/2017 - 11:51 am
Written by David Castellon
With most of California out of exceptional or extreme drought status, you might expect farmers who had been desperate to find ways to save water slacking off on those efforts.
But you’d be wrong.
If last month’s World Ag Expo in Tulare is any indication, they were just as interested in seeking water-saving technology as they have been over the past five years of major drought conditions in the state.
“That was the big question last year — of how we could use water more efficiently,” said Chad Vaninger,...
Ag Today March 13, 2017
Is there too much water behind Oroville Dam? Critics say Army Corps standards unsafe
BY DALE KASLER, RYAN SABALOW AND PHILLIP REESE
Long before a fractured spillway plunged Oroville Dam into the gravest crisis in its 48-year history, officials at a handful of downstream government agencies devised a plan they believed would make the dam safer: Store less water there.
Sutter County, Yuba City and a regional levee-maintenance agency brought their recommendation to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2006, when FERC was considering the state’s application to relicense Oroville Dam.
Their plan, unveiled nearly a decade after heavy rains breached downstream levees and...
Ag Today March 10, 2017
California water regulators expand focus on climate change
Ian James , The Desert Sun12:24 p.m. PT March 9, 2017
California’s water regulators are looking to strengthen their focus on climate change, adopting policies aimed at helping the state prepare for more severe floods, more extreme droughts and shrinking snowpack.
The State Water Resources Control Board approved a resolution this week outlining plans for what it calls a “comprehensive response” to climate change. In the document, the board says given the seriousness of global warming’s impacts on California, “our response to climate change must be comprehensive and integrated” into all of the agency’s work.
Ag Today March 9, 2017
Ethics Questions Dogged Agriculture Nominee as Georgia Governor
By ERIC LIPTON and STEVE EDER MARCH 8, 2017
WASHINGTON — In Sonny Perdue’s telling, Georgians were growing weary of the corruption and scandals in their state when he took over as governor in 2003 — a time when he gave his own version of a “drain the swamp” pledge.
“My first goal as governor is to restore public trust in state government by changing the culture of state government,” Mr. Perdue told a leadership conference at Kennesaw State University in April 2003. “Our form of government depends on a mutual bond of trust between the people and their government. But...
Ag Today March 8, 2017
Angelo Papagni, one of the Valley’s pioneering wine grape growers, dies
Wine grape grower Angelo Papagni in his vineyard. Papagni Family Special to the Bee
BY ROBERT RODRIGUEZ
Angelo Papagni, a pioneering wine grape grower in Madera, is among a handful of individuals credited with laying the groundwork for the central San Joaquin Valley’s burgeoning wine industry. Mr. Papagni died Feb. 27. He was 95.
Born to Italian immigrants, Mr. Papagni grew up in Fresno, attending Fresno High School and later Fresno State College. Although he came from a farming background, Mr. Papagni also had a love of music. He mastered the saxophone and the clarinet,...
Ag Today March 6, 2017
Advocates say downstream flooding can be prevented by dam at Temperance Flat
BY ROBERT RODRIGUEZ /email@example.com
Advocates for increased water storage and a new dam gathered at a swollen Lost Lake in Fresno County on Friday to remind the community about the increased potential of flooding because of major releases of water from Friant Dam.
The water coming from Friant is being released to make room for more runoff, causing flooding in portions of the county park.
But advocates, who represent elected officials, farmers and the building trades, said the flooding could be prevented if the state and federal government invest in a dam at Temperance Flat....
Ag Today March 3, 2017
Farmers and fishermen weigh in on Trump's Clean Water Act order
Sarah Moore , KXTV 12:30 PM. PST March 03, 2017
Northern California farmers and growers associations welcome a do-over of Clean Water Act rules enacted under Obama, but conservation groups say the rules are important to protecting and preserving one of the nation's most vital natural resources.
An executive order by President Trump this week directing the EPA to review the Waters of the United States rule, which was a key part of President Obama’s environmental legacy, drew strong, mixed reactions.
The 1972 Clean Water Act authorized the federal government to regulate the discharge of pollutants...
Ag Today March 1, 2017
Isadore Hall one step closer to confirmation on ag labor board amid farmer opposition
BY TARYN LUNA
Despite opposition from farmers, the Senate Rules Committee approved the appointment of former state Sen. Isadore Hall to the Agricultural Labor Relations Board Wednesday with a 3-0 vote.
Hall’s appointment moves on to the full Senate, which must confirm him through a majority vote. The five-member board considers cases related to unfair labor practices and oversees collective bargaining rights for the industry.
The Western Growers Association and other organizations representing farmers opposed Hall’s appointment. The farmers have called Hall a “staunch” supporter of the United Farm Workers...