Ag Today

AG Today

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Ag Today March 29, 2021

Immigration bill sparks hope for farmers, worker advocates [Bakersfield Californian] Supporters of a farmworker immigration bill awaiting introduction in the U.S. Senate say chances look better than they have in years that soon the federal government will address one of the thorniest issues in Central Valley agriculture. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021, passed by the House March 18 with bipartisan support, offers a path to legal status for ag laborers and their spouse and children under age 18. Permanent residency would be available to those who pay a $1,000 fine and put in additional years in farm work...."Certainly I...

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Ag Today March 26, 2021

Amid Prop. 19 uncertainty, family fears for 134-year-old Sonoma Coast ranch [Santa Rosa Press Democrat] … The California Association of Realtors, which led the campaign for the measure’s passage, is adamant it won’t hurt family farmers and in fact benefits them. Farm advocates disagree. California’s steep land prices, particularly in counties like Napa or Sonoma, mean the fair market value of farm land vastly outstrips what family farmers have been assessed at ... Under the new law, some properties could be reassessed at current market value when they pass to heirs. Even with buffers in the law, the lack of profitability...

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Ag Today March 25, 2021

Valley farmers see water supplies slashed - again - as California grapples with dry weather [Visalia Times Delta] Federal water managers announced that an already paltry 5% allocation of water to California farmers and cities may be nixed entirely as the Golden State grapples with another year of dry weather. … “It’s a shame that our most productive California farms and ranches will be shorted water this season. It’s unnecessary and unreasonable to expect our farms to produce the abundant and affordable crops they produce with so little water," said Tricia Stever-Blattler, executive director, Tulare County Farm Bureau. https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/2021/03/25/valley-farmers-see-water-supplies-slashed-again-california-grapples-dry-weather/6986410002/   Some water suppliers have just...

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Ag Today March 24, 2021

California, get ready for water cutbacks. Cities, farms receive grim warning about supply [Sacramento Bee] … The Department of Water Resources, in a rare turnabout, actually lowered its forecast of the deliveries it expects to make to the cities and farms that belong to the State Water Project. In its new forecast, the agency said its customers can expect just 5% of contracted supplies. … The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which supplies water mainly to farmers through the Central Valley Project, said that due to worsening hydrological conditions, the 5% water allocation promised to its customers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta...

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Ag Today March 23, 2021

Supreme Court seems ready to rule against unions in farm case [Associated Press] The Supreme Court appeared ready Monday to side with two California agriculture businesses that want to bar labor organizers from their property, a case that could be another blow to unions. … While the access regulation is unique to California, unions and others say ruling for the businesses could threaten regulations that allow government to access private property to conduct workplace health and safety inspections, among other things. … The court could also side with the businesses without making a broad ruling. https://www.pressherald.com/2021/03/22/supreme-court-seems-ready-to-rule-against-unions-in-farm-case/   Editorial: The Supreme Court should side with California...

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Ag Today March 22, 2021

Supreme Court hears bid to deny labor union access to California farms [ABC News] … The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday will hear arguments in Cedar Point's challenge to a 45-year-old California law that authorizes union organizers to access farm property for 120 days a year, three hours a day, during non-work periods to meet with workers. Farm owners call the state mandate an unconstitutional taking of private property without compensation. State officials say the rule is essential to protecting the right to organize for a highly migratory, low-income workforce. Legal scholars say a decision that strikes down the California union access law could...

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Ag Today March 19, 2021

Immigration bill creating green card process for farmworkers passes House, legislation now goes to Senate [USA Today] The House on Thursday passed legislation that would create a pathway for undocumented farmworkers to earn a green card, sending the bill to the Senate. The bill, called the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, cleared the chamber in a bipartisan 247-174 vote. Thirty Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the bill. … Unlike the American Dream and Promise Act, which also passed the House Thursday by a slim majority, Republican House leaders did not urge other GOP lawmakers to vote against the bill. … The bill passed the...

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Ag Today March 18, 2021

Despite headwinds, House set to OK Dems’ immigration bills [Associated Press] Democrats seemed poised to claim victory Thursday in the House’s first votes this year on immigration, but moving legislation on the divisive issue all the way through Congress is an uphill fight. … White House statements endorsing both measures noted that many immigrants in the U.S. illegally have been essential workers during the pandemic. … The other bill would let immigrant farm workers who’ve worked in the country illegally over the past two years — along their spouses and children — get certified agriculture worker status. That would let them...

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Ag Today March 17, 2021

More than 300 agricultural organizations support reforming nation’s guestworker program [Capital Public Radio, Sacramento] More than 300 agricultural organizations have come out in support of reforming the nation’s guestworker program, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. Advocates say it would help ease chronic shortages of farmworkers and give them legal status. … California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson grows olives and citrus fruit in Oroville. He says the bureau is committed to work for the bill’s passage. “It does create 60,000 additional visas to start off with for the first three years that can be used for year-round agricultural needs such as our...

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Ag Today March 16, 2021

Valley farmers assess impacts of recent storms [KFSN TV, Fresno] Storm activity has been bittersweet for Valley farmers. In some cases, hail has damaged crops, making them unusable, while snow and rainfall are helping Central California recover from a water deficit. … Ryan Jacobsen from the Fresno County Farm Bureau says he saw the worst hail in 10 years at his almond orchard in Easton. It was a potential big hit to his crop. Still, he says recent storms have done more good than harm. "By far, they have been much more beneficial. We are in such dire straits when it...

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