Ag Today January 29, 2021
California is soaking wet. But drought looms if we don’t get more rain — a lot more [Sacramento Bee]
… This week’s deluge left many Californians shoveling snow and splashing through puddles as an “atmospheric river” swept the state. More precipitation is in the forecast for next week. But experts worry that without repeated downpours over the next two months, the painful memories of the last drought could become reality again. … Fears of another big drought intensify the further one gets from California’s population centers. While urban Californians endured the last drought by watching their lawns go brown, their rural...
Ag Today January 28, 2021
Despite Cal/OSHA’s emergency COVID-19 safety rule, workers say little has changed [Los Angeles Times]
As California became the national epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the final weeks of 2020, state officials adopted sweeping emergency measures meant to protect workers. But implementation of the new rule has been a letdown, further casting doubt on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ability to wrangle a virus that has killed tens of thousands of Californians. … A lawsuit set for a preliminary hearing Thursday in San Francisco called the mandate so “ruinous” it threatens the “continued existence” of small businesses. Another topic of the hearing will be a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles by agricultural groups...
Ag Today January 27, 2021
Pesticide report renews debate on health risks [Bakersfield Californian]
A new report showing greater use of pesticides in Kern and other Central Valley counties has rekindled a discussion about whether enough is being done to protect local communities from health risks presented by certain agricultural practices. … A leader at the California Farm Bureau said Tuesday the report clearly shows the state is succeeding in reducing the use of carcinogens, fumigants and other hazardous materials. Administrator Jim Houston said the increase in total volume of pesticides applied is a result of lower toxicity levels requiring application in larger volumes. … John...
Ag Today January 26, 2021
California food and farm workers next in line for COVID vaccine [Bay Area News Group]
… On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said food and agriculture workers will be considered along with other people in the state’s Phase 1B distribution plan … On Monday, Monterey’s agricultural community – growers, unions and public health clinics – are meeting with the county’s Board of Supervisors to discuss possible strategies. For instance, growers are offering to host vaccination clinics, staffed by local doctors and nurses, to protect their workers, said Lauro Barajas, regional director for the United Farm Workers in the Santa Cruz, San Benito...
Ag Today January 25, 2021
Newsom expected to cancel California’s coronavirus stay-at-home orders [Los Angeles Times]
Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected on Monday to lift regional coronavirus stay-at-home orders across California, a change that could allow restaurants and gyms in many counties to reopen outdoor dining and services. All counties will return to the colored tier system that assigns local risk levels based on case numbers and rates of positive test results for coronavirus infections, according to sources briefed on the plan by the governor’s office. … The outdoor dining ban has been highly controversial, with some elected officials and the restaurant industry fighting in court...
Ag Today January 22, 2021
Farm workers get a stab at a vaccine jab, without leaving the fields [Southern California News Group]
… Riverside County’s public health department teamed up with area non-profits and vaccinated about 300 workers from two ranches in eastern Coachella Valley. The clinics are part of an effort to educate and assist farm workers with coronavirus testing and vaccinations throughout Riverside County, which includes nearly 190,000 acres of agricultural land in communities as diverse as Temecula, San Jacinto and Lake Elsinore. … George Tudor, owner of Tudor Ranch in Mecca, where the clinic took place Thursday, said it was a “no brainer” to...
Ag Today January 21, 2021
Biden immigration plan: Undocumented farmworkers could apply for green cards immediately [Palm Springs Desert Sun]
Undocumented farmworkers could qualify to apply for green cards immediately under the immigration legislation that President Joe Biden unveiled on his first day in office. … The bill, entitled the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, is estimated to benefit about 1 million undocumented farmworkers. … The California Farm Bureau looks forward to reviewing Biden's proposal. "Immigration legislation must deal fairly with the existing farm workforce and their families, and it should ease the process for people who want to enter the United States legally to work on farms...
Ag Today January 20, 2021
What Newsom wants from Biden + Finally tally on Becerra v. Trump + Vaccines for farmworkers [Sacramento Bee – third item]
Half a dozen California lawmakers have signed on to a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, urging him to authorize a pilot project to vaccinate farmworkers as soon as possible. Sens. Anna Caballero, Melissa Hurtado, Ben Hueso and Assemblymen Robert Rivas, Jim Frazier, Eduardo Garcia added their signatures to the letter to the Democratic governor. … The letter argues that California’s pharmacies are the ideal vehicle for getting the COVID-19 vaccine into as many arms as possible. In addition, the lawmakers say that churches and community centers could be...
Ag Today January 19, 2021
Joe Biden to propose 8-year citizenship path for immigrants [Associated Press]
President-elect Joe Biden plans to unveil a sweeping immigration bill on Day One of his administration, hoping to provide an eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. without legal status, a massive reversal from the Trump administration’s harsh immigration policies. … Under the legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfill other basic requirements. …...
Ag Today January 15, 2021
Here’s what California lawmakers want to do to prevent the wildfire crisis from getting worse [Capital Public Radio, Sacramento]
… The ongoing threat that wildfires pose for people that live across the Golden State has pushed lawmakers to introduce a dozen bills so far this legislative session to potentially prevent the wildfire crisis from getting worse. … Preventing wildfires is perhaps the loudest cry of the bills in the legislature this session. … In response to the recent devastating wildfire seasons, a group of state lawmakers say agricultural workers need to have a designated supply of face masks to protect them...