Ag Today December 15, 2020
COVID-19 vaccine: Advocates push for high priority for CA farmworkers [KGO TV, San Francisco]
Vaccinations are underway for health care workers, and so are lobbying efforts to give a higher priority to workers in certain jobs. One such group is California's 800,000 farmworkers. … Rivas and other state lawmakers have made an appeal to Governor Newsom. National groups have written to President Trump and to President-elect Biden over concerns of a disruption in the food supply chain. … "Getting that food to the grocery stores and having a good, safe and healthy supply chain for transportation... those folks are important," said...
Ag Today December 14, 2020
Biden pick for USDA throws Tom Vilsack back into food-policy fight [Wall Street Journal]
… The USDA’s dual role—overseeing food aid for Americans and regulating food production—is at the heart of a renewed debate over the agency’s focus, as Covid-19’s economic toll has deepened food insecurity in the U.S. while compounding challenges for farmers. … Mr. Vilsack’s selection drew both praise and criticism from agriculture and food-security groups, signaling the battles ahead for the agency as it guides farmers and consumers out of the pandemic. … Mr. Biden faced pressure from some consumer groups to pick someone with a focus on food aid after the pandemic...
Ag Today December 11, 2020
California bill would give farmworkers, grocery employees priority for COVID-19 vaccine [Palm Springs Desert Sun]
A new California bill would lay the groundwork for farmworkers, grocery store employees and other food sector workers to be prioritized for vaccine distribution and rapid testing during this pandemic and future ones. While still short on specifics, AB 93 is intended to ensure the food sector workers, as essential workers who have been hard-hit by COVID-19, are near the front of the line for vaccination. Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, a Democrat from Coachella, said he expects the bill to start conversations, shaping the legislation that “could potentially become...
Ag Today December 10, 2020
After health care workers, which essential employees in California will get the COVID-19 vaccine? [Sacramento Bee]
… A job description isn’t the only factor the state will consider when determining who will be prioritized. … Here are some of the industries advocates argue should be considered first: Among the most at-risk essential workers are California’s 800,000 agricultural laborers. … Assemblyman Robert Rivas, D-Hollister, said he agreed it’s important to first inoculate health care workers. But, he added, farm workers must be included in the preliminary phases of vaccine distribution.
‘We have failed’: How COVID-19 affects California’s 800,000 farmworkers [Sacramento Bee]
… A new study released by the Clinica...
Ag Today December 4, 2020
California wineries brace for big losses during holiday season after looming lockdown [San Francisco Chronicle]
Following news of a looming shutdown, winery owners and executives throughout the Bay Area said that while they understood the public health concerns, they were disappointed that they would likely have to close their tasting rooms at some point in December for at least three weeks. … Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, wineries throughout California have been through a series of shutdowns, reopenings and, in some cases, partial re-shutdowns, which many vintners have complained has been excessively burdensome.
Water managers urge patience after initial, 10% allocation from State Water Project [Bakersfield...
Ag Today December 3, 2020
Study of Salinas Valley farmworkers finds 13% positive for COVID-19 over 5 months [Palm Springs Desert Sun]
A first-of-its-kind study of more than 1,000 California farmworkers is providing insight into why these low-wage laborers have proven especially vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic, and what steps should be taken immediately to protect their health as COVID-19 cases surge. The report included COVID-19 testing of 1,091 agricultural workers in the Salinas Valley. According to results from 1,071 of those workers,13% tested positive for COVID-19 between July and November. In comparison, about 3% of Californians have tested positive during the pandemic. It also included...
Ag Today December 2, 2020
Winter's dry start prompts low California water allocation [Associated Press]
California's water managers on Tuesday preliminarily allocated just 10% of requested water supplies to agencies that together serve more than 27 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland. The state Department of Water Resources cited the dry start to the winter rainy season in California's Mediterranean climate, along with low reservoir levels remaining from last year's relatively dry winter. … Last year’s initial allocation also was 10% and climbed only to 20% when the final allocation was made in May.
Dry weather mitigated by Monterey County groundwater [Salinas Californian]
The Central Coast and...
Ag Today December 1, 2020
California to receive 327,000 doses of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine in December [San Francisco Chronicle]
California will receive 327,000 doses of the first coronavirus vaccine in mid-December, Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a news briefing Monday. … The 327,000 doses will go to health care workers, but the state’s vaccine committee is still determining which health care workers will go first, Newsom said. … After health care workers, the next groups likely will be residents of skilled-nursing facilities and essential workers, such as people who work in agriculture, utilities and transportation.
Who gets the COVID-19 vaccine first in Fresno? Pressure mounts to focus...
Ag Today November 30, 2020
Editorial: Farmworkers deserve priority when it comes to coming COVID-19 vaccination [Palm Springs Desert Sun]
… As far as who should get the initial inoculations, we agree with advocacy groups that have been making that case that agricultural workers should be among those at the front of the line. … Officials must find a way to ensure our essential agriculture workers have access to vaccines in the first wave and have been given the confidence to actually take the shot. It cannot be overstated how important it is for everyone to take part in this important duty for society.
Around Kings County:...
Ag Today November 25, 2020
Many in Fresno County can’t afford a free COVID-19 test. Why it’s complicated and dangerous [Fresno Bee]
… Besides the big cities, the rural farmworker communities of Fresno County have been hardest hit by the pandemic. But eight months into the virus, frontline workers and their families in small towns continue to avoid what experts deem a key step in overcoming the virus — testing. … Overwhelmingly, however, people in Fresno’s most impoverished communities fear that taking a test will result in nothing but losing their job, missed rent and mounting bills.
UFW Foundation calls for prioritizing farmworkers in COVID-19 vaccinations [Bakersfield Californian]