Ag Today March 2, 2021
California's wet season nears an end with big concerns about drought [San Francisco Chronicle]
A disappointingly dry February is fanning fears of another severe drought in California, and cities and farms are bracing for problems. … Growers in the Central Valley are having to make decisions about which crops to prioritize, and which to sacrifice, should the water situation see no improvement. … “You will see trees not irrigated. You will see trees pushed,” said Ryan Jacobsen, CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau. “Some of those aren’t immediate decisions but they’ll come to fruition over the next couple of months.”
Ag Today March 1, 2021
Thousands of farmworkers are prioritized for the coronavirus vaccine [New York Times]
… A landmark effort is underway across the Coachella Valley to bring the vaccine directly into the fields. … In the Coachella Valley, the vaccination program, which began in January, is the culmination of a monthslong effort to educate farmworkers about Covid-19, bringing testing close to their workplaces and encouraging them to stay home if they contract the virus. … In Riverside County, farmworker advocates and growers have been fielding calls from across the country about the vaccination effort, which is considered a model for how to administer vaccines...
Ag Today February 26, 2021
California farmers are reeling in frustration after water allocations [Visalia Times-Delta]
… Water managers announced that growers relying on California's two largest irrigation canals — the federal Central Valley Project and State Water Project — would receive no more than 20% of their standard allotment. … Local ag leaders said the disappointing news may lead to Valley farmers beginning to fallow some fields. “Who among us would be satisfied in paying 100% of the cost for a good or service, but then receive only 20% of what we paid for?" said Tricia Stever-Blattler, Tulare County Farm Bureau executive director.
Valley ag, advocacy groups tell Newsom that...
Ag Today February 25, 2021
California ag counties to receive more COVID vaccines. Sacramento, Bay Area may see drop [Sacramento Bee]
California is making a big push to substantially increase COVID-19 vaccine availability for essential farm and agriculture workers in the Central Valley, a move that has ripple effects across the state as it redistributes limited supply. … Topping the list of biggest supply boosts was Tulare County, which more than doubled from about 4,800 doses to more than 10,000. Tulare was followed by Monterey, Imperial, Kings, Merced and Kern counties, all of which increased by more than 75%. … Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday the...
Ag Today February 24, 2021
Red alert sounding on California drought, as Valley gets grim news about water supply [Sacramento Bee]
… The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said Tuesday that most of the water agencies that rely on the Central Valley Project will get just 5% of their contract supply, a dismally low number. Although the figure could grow if California gets more rain and snow, the allocation comes amid fresh weather forecasts suggesting the dry winter is continuing. … Farm groups that purchase water from the Central Valley Project complained mightily about the announcement, arguing that the miserly allocation isn’t simply about unfortunate weather patterns.
Newsom signs COVID-19 stimulus bills...
Ag Today February 23, 2021
Thousands of COVID-19 vaccines for farmworkers headed to Central Valley [KFSN TV, Fresno]
More vaccines are headed to the Central Valley in an effort to get them in the arms of the most vulnerable. On Monday, Governor Newsom announced the state is allocating 34,000 doses to vaccinate food and farmworkers through 11 mobile sites across the Valley. … The Fresno County Farm Bureau says time is of the essence as they work to get essential workers vaccinated before the busy season. "There's probably going to be a combination of on-the-farm events for some farms... We're going to be working with rural...
Ag Today February 22, 2021
Up in smoke: Burns in San Joaquin Valley vineyards, orchards may finally end [CalMatters]
… Throughout the San Joaquin Valley, growers burn thousands of tons of waste in vineyards and orchards a year, sending up plumes of particles and gases that are known to exacerbate asthma and cause other serious health problems. Now, the California Air Resources Board is poised this week to decide whether to stop the burning that stretches across eight counties, from Lodi to Lebec. Under the proposal, the board would direct its staff to work with the San Joaquin Valley’s air district to ban virtually all agricultural burning by the end of 2024.
Local farmworkers recount...
Ag Today February 19, 2021
Democrats consider piecemeal approach to immigration bills [Wall Street Journal]
Democrats in Congress and progressive advocates are coalescing around a strategy to try to pass immigration bills piecemeal, as the Biden administration looks for ways to enact a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants without a permanent legal status. … Facing an April 1 deadline to bypass the committee process for bills passed in the last Congress, Democrats are looking at two bills they hope could win Republican support in the Senate. ... One would create a citizenship path for the young immigrants, known as Dreamers. … A second, passed by...
Ag Today February 18, 2021
California virus aid plan would pay $600 each to millions [Associated Press]
Millions of low-income Californians would receive $600 checks under a $9.6 billion coronavirus aid package announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders. … The plan also provides a new round of small business grants and more housing assistance for farmworkers infected by the virus. … More half the 120-member Legislature signed on to a proposal to put $2.6 billion of California’s unanticipated revenue into one-time grants for small businesses and nonprofits. … A fresh $24 million would be provided for a program that puts farm and food processing...
Ag Today February 17, 2021
Democrats and Biden prepare to unveil bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants [Bloomberg]
The Biden administration, in concert with Hill Democrats, is preparing to unveil legislation this week that seeks to provide a pathway to citizenship to the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. … Biden's bill will also likely join a series of other immigration measures that are narrowly focused on undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children, are in the US under a form of humanitarian relief, and are working in agriculture -- setting up a dizzying number of...