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Ag Today October 27, 2020

PG&E wants changes to system of dividing costs among customers [Bakersfield Californian] Residential customers of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. would pay a smaller share of the utility's costs than they do now while small businesses and farmers would pay substantially more under a proposal set to be aired publicly next week. The San Francisco-based company says it supports making adjustments to its cost-distribution system because a recent study found the utility's system for balancing rates has become lopsided. The proceeding will not affect how much money the utility receives from ratepayers; that's the topic of a separate process now entering...

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Ag Today October 26, 2020

Oilfield wastewater slowly gains value in agriculture [Bakersfield Californian] Conceptually it makes a lot of sense to farmers and oil producers alike: Use the latest filtration technology to turn one of Kern's most troublesome waste streams — oilfield produced water — into a safe irrigation source....But as badly as local growers need new water supplies, produced water still isn't cutting it financially for most local ag, the president of the Kern County Farm Bureau said by email. "Margins are tight within the agricultural industry, and oil produced water hasn't yet been economic," President John Moore III wrote. "That's going to drive...

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Ag Today October 23, 2020

Bayer’s request for Roundup appeal rejected by California court [Wall Street Journal] The California Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by Bayer AG seeking to reverse a jury verdict that the company’s Roundup herbicide caused a groundskeeper’s cancer, leaving the company with few remaining options to avoid paying a $20.4 million judgment. The German drug and agriculture conglomerate had challenged a 2018 verdict in California state court that found the company’s Roundup products posed a danger to users like plaintiff Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, and that the company failed to warn consumers of potential health risks. It was the first of...

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Ag Today October 22, 2020

Farm Bureau warns ag interests of Proposition 15 impacts [Ramona Sentinel] ...Robert Spiegel, a policy staff representative at the California Farm Bureau Federation, said at the town hall meeting that nearly every farmer and rancher in California would be affected because the measure does not discriminate between small, medium and corporate farms. “The split-roll tax raises commercial, industrial and agricultural property taxes separate from residential properties, which are afforded protection by Proposition 13 that puts caps on tax increases at 2 percent annually,” said Spiegel, noting that tax assessors are bound to levy taxes based on the tax code. The taxes...

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Ag Today October 21, 2020

Why Sonoma is the only Bay Area county stuck in the strictest reopening tier [San Francisco Chronicle] California has achieved notable success corralling the coronavirus pandemic while cases have again surged nationwide. The Bay Area in particular is a standout, with eight of nine counties progressing to less-restrictive levels in the state’s four-tier reopening system. The exception: Sonoma County, still stuck in the purple tier indicating “widespread” virus risk. It’s one of just 12 counties in California with that designation, which places tight restrictions on businesses and other public activity....Sonoma’s agricultural industry sets it apart from the Bay Area and brings...

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Ag Today October 20, 2020

San Joaquin Valley family says company’s toxic pesticide caused child’s disabilities [Fresno Bee] Seventeen-year-old Avenal resident Rafael Cerda Calderon has always struggled with severe seizures, autism, and a developmental disability. He will likely need care for the rest of his life. According to a lawsuit Cerda’s family recently filed in Kings County Superior Court, the multi-billion dollar agribusiness company Corteva, Inc., is to blame. Cerda’s parents alleged that a widely banned pesticide and its more toxic, unregistered byproduct are responsible for their child’s neurological injuries. The municipalities of Huron and Avenal, where he was raised, have also been named as defendants in...

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Ag Today October 19, 2020

Many California wineries will make no wine this year because of wildfire smoke [San Francisco Chronicle] California’s 2020 wildfire season will be remembered not only for its destruction of wineries, homes and vineyards but also for another lasting impact: the unprecedented number of California wineries that have decided, due to wildfire smoke, to make far less wine than usual — or in some cases, to make no wine at all. Just how much California wine will go unmade in 2020 is impossible to quantify right now, as many farmers and winemakers are still assessing the impact of wildfire smoke, which can...

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Ag Today October 16, 2020

Trump administration blocks California wildfire relief [Los Angeles Times] The Trump administration has rejected California’s request for disaster relief funds aimed at cleaning up the damage from six recent fires across the state, including Los Angeles County’s Bobcat fire, San Bernardino County’s El Dorado fire, and the Creek fire, one of the largest that continues to burn in Fresno and Madera counties. The move heightens tensions between California and the president over wildfires. … The decision came to light when the administration denied a request from Gov. Gavin Newsom for a major presidential disaster declaration, said Brian Ferguson, deputy director of crisis communication...

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Ag Today October 15, 2020

Which businesses would pay more property tax under Proposition 15? It’s complicated [Los Angeles Times] … Critics remain unconvinced by the promise of protecting small businesses and have warned its protection for agricultural land includes a worrisome loophole. … Farmers, in particular, believe the ballot measure’s silence on land improvements could mean higher property tax assessments for barns, offices — and even fruit trees planted as part of new farming operations. “This affects agriculture,” Jamie Johansson, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation and an Oroville farmer, said during the Sacramento Press Club debate. “And multiple-generation farmers, as well as first-time...

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Ag Today October 14, 2020

  Trump makes water demand of farms priority for new office [Associated Press] President Donald Trump on Tuesday created what he called a “subcabinet” for federal water issues, with a mandate that includes water-use changes sought by corporate farm interests and oil and gas. … Establishment of a water subcabinet “will streamline decision-making processes” across federal agencies, the EPA said in a statement. The first priority set out by the executive order is increasing dam storage and other water storage, long a demand of farmers and farm interests in the West in particular. https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/california/story/2020-10-13/trump-makes-water-demand-of-farms-priority-for-new-office   Latinos, farmworkers, 20-year-olds have most COVID-19 cases in Santa Barbara...

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