Ag Today September 29, 2020
Napa’s famed castle Castello di Amorosa one of many wineries to suffer losses in Glass Fire [San Francisco Chronicle]
Northern California’s wine industry has taken a number of glancing blows from wildfires in recent years. This week brought a direct hit. The Glass Fire plowed through vast swaths of northern Napa Valley on Sunday and Monday, destroying structures at several winery properties — including Tofanelli Family Vineyard’s 120-year-old barn and historic home in Calistoga and the stone winery of high-end estate Chateau Boswell. At least 143 Napa County wineries were within evacuation zones, according to the county’s Office of Emergency Services;...
Ag Today September 28, 2020
41-year-old family winery destroyed by fast-moving Glass Fire in Napa Valley [Sacramento Bee]
A fast-growing Napa Valley wildfire has consumed the Chateau Boswell winery, video shows. The Glass Fire, which ignited early Sunday morning, has blackened 2,500 acres with 0% containment, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. … The Rombauer Vineyards lie just across the Silverado Trail from Chateau Boswell, and Duckhorn Vineyards are a mile south, Wine Spectator reported. Chateau Boswell is one of a handful of family-owned private wineries in the Napa Valley, according to its website.
Are Salinas farmworkers protected from wildfires? [Salinas Californian]
Ag Today September 25, 2020
Virus’s unseen hot zone: The American farm [Washington Post]
At the height of harvest season, growers supplying some of America’s biggest agricultural companies and grocery store chains flouted public health guidelines to limit testing and obscure coronavirus outbreaks, according to thousands of pages of state and local records reviewed by The Washington Post. At the same time, state agencies and growers were slow to determine how and when to test workers, what protocols to adopt when workers tested positive, and how to institute contact tracing, advocates say. … The struggles to contain the virus among migrant farmworkers are documented in internal state and...
Ag Today September 24, 2020
Wildfires taint West Coast vineyards with taste of smoke [Associated Press]
Smoke from the West Coast wildfires has tainted grapes in some of the nation's most celebrated wine regions with an ashy flavor that could spell disaster for the 2020 vintage. … No one knows the extent of the smoke damage to the crop, and growers are trying to assess the severity. … The wildfires are likely to be "without question the single worst disaster the wine-grape growing community has ever faced,” said John Aguirre, president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers.
California outpaced Trump's Forest Service in wildfire prevention work:...
Ag Today September 23, 2020
House passes short-term spending bill to keep government funded through Dec. 11 [Wall Street Journal]
The House Tuesday night passed a short-term spending bill keeping the government funded through Dec. 11, after Democrats reached a deal with the White House over farm aid and food assistance. … The agreement between Mrs. Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Mr. Mnuchin would add to the spending bill $21 billion sought by the White House for the Commodity Credit Corp., or CCC, a Depression-era program designed to stabilize farm incomes that permits borrowing as much as $30 billion from the Treasury to finance its activities. … President Trump...
Ag Today September 22, 2020
House Democrats introduce spending bill to fund government through Dec. 11 [Wall Street Journal]
The House was expected to move Tuesday to pass a spending bill that would keep the government running through Dec. 11 but without farm-aid funds sought by the White House. … The bill became controversial Monday when Democratic leaders opted not to include a request from the White House to replenish early a program President Trump has tapped as aid to farmers. Negotiators had been discussing pairing an infusion of farm-aid funds with a provision sought by Democrats to extend a program expiring at month’s end for families...
Ag Today September 21, 2020
Economy’s backbone in a silent fight with COVID-19 [Salinas Californian]
… Essential agricultural workers have been at the center of the COVID-19 outbreak in Monterey County and across the nation. … As of Sept. 18, agriculture workers accounted for 2,203 positive tests. This is 23.54% of the total positive cases in Monterey County — the highest of all occupations. … Despite the efforts to protect workers in the food sector, agricultural workers continue to become infected at a rate three times higher than non-agricultural workers. … Unlike essential employees in the healthcare sector, farmworkers are less likely to have proper medical access and aren’t aware of...
Ag Today September 18, 2020
Trump announces a new round of farm aid in battleground Wisconsin [Wall Street Journal]
President Trump unveiled $13 billion in new aid to farmers facing economic harm from the coronavirus pandemic as he aimed to boost support among rural voters at a campaign rally. … The newly announced aid would be the second tranche of money issued as part of the Trump administration’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. … This time, the USDA said up to an additional $14 billion would be available to farmers and ranchers facing continuing market disruptions and costs from the pandemic, including producers of row crops, livestock,...
Ag Today September 17, 2020
Wildfires have burned over 5 million acres in the West. Are they too big for Washington to ignore? [Los Angeles Times]
… Feeling new urgency from a historic wildfire season, Western Republicans and Democrats have put forward legislative proposals for addressing the region’s forests, which are unnaturally overgrown thanks to decades of fire suppression. … On Thursday, Wyden unveiled his plan — a set of changes that would require the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to use prescribed fire more frequently to preemptively burn off excess vegetation that can otherwise become tinder for out-of-control blazes. … Another proposal,...
Ag Today September 16, 2020
After hazy weeks, threat of smoke taint lingers over Napa Valley grape crop [Napa Valley Register]
… The challenge is knowing whether grapes have actually absorbed the smoke around them, because the presence of smoke around vineyards by no means guarantees smoke-tainted grapes, researchers have said. … Growers around the North Bay are doing what they can to understand the impact of smoke on their crop this year. Almost all have turned to testing – many have sent grape or wine samples to the St. Helena-based ETS Labs. …This year’s demand has exceeded that surge expectation by “tenfold,” in part because most...