Ag Today

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Ag Today December 30, 2020

Farmers got a government bailout in 2020, even those who didn't need it [NPR] … The $46 billion in direct government payments to farmers in 2020 broke the previous annual record by about $10 billion, even after accounting for inflation. … Yet as the flood of money continued through the summer and fall, most farmers' economic worries were receding. … Farmers didn't have to prove that they needed help in order to qualify for subsidies. They simply got paid based on their previous production of grain or pigs or cattle. The more crops they grew, the more government money they got, up to a...

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Ag Today December 29, 2020

Is dairy farming cruel to cows? [New York Times] … The effort to turn Americans against dairy is gaining traction at a time when many of the nation’s farms are struggling to turn a profit. … Among those caught in the battle to win the hearts and minds of dairy consumers is a small group of animal welfare scientists quietly working to answer knotty questions: Are cows that spend their entire lives confined indoors unhappy? Does the separation of a newborn calf from its mother result in quantifiable anguish? And are there ways to improve the life of a dairy cow that...

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Ag Today December 28, 2020

Salinas Valley: Growers contend with how to make sure leafy greens are safe [Monterey Herald] The Salinas Valley has long billed itself as the Salad Bowl of the World. Last year alone, Monterey County grew $1.4 billion worth of lettuce....The recurring contamination has sparked distrust in international markets, leading to a bombshell announcement in October that Canada effectively banned the importation of Salinas Valley-grown romaine lettuce until Dec. 31. The restrictions apply to romaine grown in four counties: Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Santa Clara....The move was a stark reminder to local growers who have been working vigorously for more...

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Ag Today December 24, 2020

Thousands gather in Sacramento, block traffic on Highway 50 to protest India farming laws [Sacramento Bee] Thousands of protesters blocked traffic on Highway 50 in Sacramento during a day of protest against India’s new agricultural laws, which advocates say will cut Punjabi farmers’ profits and make it easier for large corporations to drive them out of business. The implications, organizers say, can be felt a world away in California, which has nearly 300,000 Indian Americans, and the U.S., one of India’s key trading partners.... India is one of America’s largest agricultural producers, bringing $2.6 billion into the country — including spices,...

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Ag Today December 23, 2020

GOP state senator from Valley will chair ag committee in Democrat-controlled Capitol [Modesto Bee] Republican Andreas Borgeas will chair the State Senate Agriculture Committee, a rare distinction in the Democrat-controlled Legislature. Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins made the appointment for the session that starts Jan. 11. Borgeas’ vast 8th District includes part of Stanislaus County as well as the Fresno area and much of the Sierra Nevada. “The Central Valley is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world, and we need strong, effective advocates in Sacramento on behalf of our agricultural community,” Borgeas said in a news...

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Ag Today December 22, 2020

Here is what's in Congress' COVID-19 relief package [NPR] Congress passed on Monday a bipartisan $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill after intense negotiations over its final details. … The measure includes up to a $600 relief check for many Americans as well as an assortment of aid for small businesses and money to purchase and distribute vaccines. … The agreement includes some $284 billion for Paycheck Protection Program loans. … There is some $13 billion in the measure for farmers and agriculture, including money under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for growers and livestock, dairy and poultry producers. https://www.npr.org/2020/12/21/948744901/here-is-whats-in-congress-covid-19-relief-package   Air quality regulators adopt plan to...

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Ag Today December 21, 2020

'A lot of people are scared': Groups work to educate California farmworkers about COVID-19 vaccine [Palm Springs Desert Sun] … Efforts to prioritize agricultural workers for vaccination will likely fall flat unless accompanied by targeted outreach and education campaigns. Like many Americans, farmworkers have concerns about the vaccine, including about its safety and potential side effects. Those fears are compounded by concerns that getting vaccinated could jeopardize their status in the country, advocates say. … Convincing agricultural workers of the vaccine’s safety and efficacy could be a massive task. https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/politics/immigration/2020/12/19/groups-work-educate-worried-farmworkers-covid-19-vaccine/6543289002/   Here's why few farmworkers isolate in California’s free COVID-19 hotel rooms [CalMatters/Salinas Californian] … A joint...

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Ag Today December 18, 2020

Next in line for California’s COVID-19 vaccine? Teachers and first responders, panel says [Los Angeles Times] California’s first responders, farmworkers and educators would be among those next in line to be vaccinated against COVID-19 under recommendations a state advisory committee discussed this week. Should that guidance eventually be put into effect, those workers — as well as others in the broadly defined fields of education and childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture — would be prioritized within the second major stage of the state’s wider vaccination push. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-12-17/teachers-first-responders-next-california-covid-vaccine   Basin Tribes react to Haaland's Interior Secretary nomination [Klamath Falls Herald and News] President-elect Joe...

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Ag Today December 17, 2020

COVID-19 safety steps urged for Fresno farmworkers. Will it protect food supply chain? [Fresno Bee] To slow the coronavirus’ spread in the agricultural industry, Fresno County officials launched new safety guidelines to protect farmworkers. … Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen supports the recommendations, but he said that the rules apply differently to various sectors of the farm industry. For the agricultural workers who predominantly work outside, many recommendations can be done relatively easily, he said, because individuals are separated, and the risk of transmission is much lower. But when the bulk of the work is done indoors, such as...

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Ag Today December 16, 2020

Investors can now trade on and profit from California water — how might that work out? [San Francisco Chronicle] The novel marketplace allows speculators to make money betting on future prices of California water while allowing farmers, businesses and municipal suppliers to hedge against price swings and stabilize their costs. How well this will work remains to be seen. While many say a commodities market can help those in need of water, finance and water experts say the new financial instrument may provide only limited risk protection and could even put upward pressure on water prices. … Unlike oil, grain and...

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