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Ag Today, December 2, 2016

California's new water conservation plan focuses on cities BY ELLEN KNICKMEYER AND SCOTT SMITH Associated Press FRESNO, CALIF. California officials crafting a new conservation plan for the state's dry future drew criticism from environmentalists on Thursday for failing to require more cutbacks of farmers, who use 80 percent of the water consumed by people. Gov. Jerry Brown ordered up the state plans for improving long-term conservation in May, when he lifted a statewide mandate put in place at the height of California's drought for 25-percent water conservation by cities and towns. Ben Chou, a water-policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, criticized state planners for...

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Ag Today December 1, 2016

Pesticides hearing in Salinas Thursday Roberto M. Robledo , The Salinas Californian5:16 p.m. PST November 30, 2016 The controversial use of pesticides in agricultural fields near schools is the focus of a public hearing set in Salinas on Thursday. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation added a hearing in Monterey County in response to numerous requests to be heard on proposed new regulations. The public has until Dec. 9 to weigh in on the issue. The CDPR’s proposed regulation would give more protections to children when pesticides are applied close to schools and child daycare facilities. The proposed rules: Ban growers from making certain pesticide applications within...

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Ag Today November 30, 2016

California poised to tighten rules on pesticide spraying near schools BY SAMMY CAIOLA scaiola@sacbee.com Standing on the edge of his 500-acre produce ranch in Sloughhouse, farmer Rick Grimshaw can just see the sloped rooftop of the Cosumnes River Elementary School in the distance, its fluttering flag a constant reminder of the threat it poses to his livelihood.   Grimshaw depends on pesticides to grow tons of corn every year, but along with hundreds of other California growers whose orchards and fields run up against school property lines, he’s bracing himself for a newly drafted state policy that would limit what pesticides farmers can spray...

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Ag Today November 29, 2016

State mulls strict pesticide rules near schools Rule would include limited spray ban, notification requirements Seth Nidever Staff Reporter HANFORD – Proposed rules that would ban some pesticide applications within a quarter mile of schools from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays are drawing skepticism from local school officials and outright opposition from the Kings County Farm Bureau. Todd Barlow, superintendent of Kit Carson Elementary School District in Hanford, described the rules as unnecessary. “Quite often with top-down rules like this, our experience sort of runs counter to it,” Barlow said. Plowed-under fields, with no crops planted on them this time of year,...

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Ag Today November 28, 2016

Sides brace for hearing on river flow plan jholland@modbee.com Fishing and environmental groups will get the first say Tuesday about how much water should run down the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers. The session in Sacramento will be the first of five before the State Water Resources Control Board, which is considering a major boost in the flows. Irrigation districts, city water suppliers and other critics will get their chance as the public hearing moves to Stockton, Modesto and Merced next month. The board Wednesday released a detailed agenda for the hearing, which will be webcast live. Its staff already has heard plenty of...

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AG Today November 18, 2016

With an Eye on Hunger, Scientists See Promise in Genetic Tinkering of Plants By JUSTIN GILLIS NOV. 17, 2016   URBANA, Ill. — A decade ago, agricultural scientists at the University of Illinois suggested a bold approach to improve the food supply: tinker with photosynthesis, the chemical reaction powering nearly all life on Earth. The idea was greeted skeptically in scientific circles and ignored by funding agencies. But one outfit with deep pockets, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, eventually paid attention, hoping the research might help alleviate global poverty. Now, after several years of work funded by the foundation, the scientists are reporting a remarkable result. Using genetic...

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Ag Today November 17, 2016

Rules limiting pesticides near schools debated in Oxnard jean.moore@vcstar.com, 805-437-02367:15 p.m. PST November 16, 2016 About 175 people attended a hearing this week in Oxnard to tell state officials what they think about regulations that would limit how growers use pesticides near schools. Farmworkers and their allies, worried about the impact pesticides could have on children's health, said the regulations don't go far enough. "We get that pesticides need to be used to improve production, but we need to find a balance between that and our health," said Felix Cortes, representing MICOP, the Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project. "Because it’s the health of our community, the health of our...

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Ag Today November 16, 2016

What’s Organic? A Debate Over Dirt May Boil Down to Turf By STEPHANIE STROM NOV. 15, 2016 If a fruit or vegetable isn’t grown in dirt, can it be organic? That is the question roiling the world of organic farming, and the answer could redefine what it means to farm organically. At issue is whether produce that relies solely on irrigation to deliver nutrients to plants — through what is known as hydroponic and aquaponic systems — can be certified organic. And the National Organic Standards Board, an advisory group that makes recommendations to the federal secretary of agriculture, will get an earful on the topic at its...

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Ag Today November 15, 2016

California Agriculture Industry Optimistic About Trump Ag Policy  Julia Mitric Monday, November 14, 2016 | Sacramento, CA | Capital Public Radio News From almonds to dairy products California exports 20 percent of what it produces. Federal trade policy has a huge impact on state agricultural exports. Despite many unknowns, one AG industry leader has an optimistic outlook about what a Trump administration would do on trade. When it comes to what specific policies president-elect Trump will pursue no one has a crystal ball. Paul Wenger, President of the California Farm Bureau Federation, says despite the unknowns he's optimistic about how Trump will steer trade policy. Wenger...

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Ag Today November 14, 2016

Delta levee repair: New fees may target entities that benefit but ‘do not pay’ By AARON DAVIS | aarondavis@bayareanewsgroup.com PUBLISHED: November 11, 2016 at 3:22 pm | UPDATED: November 13, 2016 at 11:56 am BETHEL ISLAND — Officials are hammering out a set of new fees that would permanently pay for the maintenance, repair and improvements on the levees in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The new fees explored by the committee identify beneficiaries of the levees inside the Delta, around the region and down into Southern California. The three fees are a flood prevention fee, aimed at industry and citizens, a water use fee and a water conveyance fee. “It’s long been...

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