Ag Today July 31, 2020
Editorial: COVID is ravaging California’s essential workers. Stop stalling and protect them [Los Angeles Times]
One of California’s worst failures in the pandemic has been the woeful effort to protect the essential workers who are bearing the brunt of COVID-19. The state cannot slow the spread of the coronavirus and return to some sense of normalcy without keeping workers safe. Yet too often essential workers have been treated as an afterthought. Or expendable. That has to change. … State safety agencies and county health departments have to be much more aggressive in targeting at-risk workplaces for education, inspection and enforcement.
Opinion: Covid-19 shines a...
Ag Today July 30, 2020
California lawmakers advance three bills spurred by coronavirus [Associated Press]
California lawmakers on Wednesday advanced several bills spurred by the coronavirus, including one designed to aid food sector employees and another to stockpile personal protective equipment so the state isn't caught short again. …Democratic Sen. Anthony Portantino of La Cañada Flintridge said his bill expanding paid sick leave for food sector workers, including farm workers, would mean people who are sick "do not have to choose between a proper quarantine and going to work.” The two weeks of “COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave” would be in place for as long as...
Ag Today July 28, 2020
California won’t conquer the coronavirus, and fully reopen, until it can protect essential workers [Los Angeles Times]
Five months into the pandemic, it’s becoming increasingly clear that California is not going to conquer the coronavirus until it dramatically improves safety measures for essential workers at the epicenter of the health crisis. From farming communities to urban centers and suburbs, workers in retail, manufacturing, agriculture and logistics are bearing the brunt of COVID-19 outbreaks, and state and local officials are struggling to control the infections even as the outlook in more prosperous communities has improved. A growing number of officials and health...
Ag Today July 28, 2020
California’s Central Valley now a coronavirus hot spot [Associated Press]
As coronavirus cases spike in California’s Central Valley, the state will send “strike teams” to help staff hospitals in the vast agricultural region and spend $52 million to speed up testing and help infected people quarantine so they don’t infect others, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday. … The teams will assess outbreaks in factories, nursing homes, high-density housing and agricultural settings. Armando Elenes, secretary-treasurer of United Farm Workers, said the spike in infections in the Central Valley comes as thousands of migrant workers arrive for the harvest season.
Coronavirus ravages California’s Central...
Ag Today July 27, 2020
This county knew coronavirus could ravage its farmworkers. Why didn’t officials stop it? [Los Angeles Times]
As coronavirus cases began to grow in San Joaquin County in June, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs proposed requiring citizens to wear a mask in his city in the center of the fertile valley, where agriculture is king and poverty pervasive. The response he received from the county emergency services director, a key figure in coordinating the pandemic response, was disquieting, he said....But according to advocates for agricultural employees, the coronavirus is also ravaging Latino farmworkers because they have long been treated as disposable labor in...
Ag Today July 24, 2020
Invasive swamp rat fight getting boost from Congress [McClatchy News Service]
It looks like California is about to get more money to eradicate giant swamp rats that have infiltrated the Central Valley. The House of Representatives is voting today on a bill that includes a $1.75 million pot of money that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can tap into to kill the rats, called nutria. It also opens up about $300 million in funding to address restoring environments they’ve destroyed. The fund to kill the rats is an increase of $500,000 over last year’s funding to combat nutria, and it’s...
Ag Today July 23, 2020
UC Riverside geneticist lauded for breakthrough in battle against citrus-killing HLB disease [Inland Valley Daily Bulletin]
Citrus farmers and other industry officials are praising a UC Riverside scientist’s breakthrough in the fight against the citrus-killing disease Huanglongbing, but maintain that years of testing remain and growers must continue to be vigilant in protecting their trees. Earlier this month, UC Riverside announced that after five years of research, geneticist Dr. Hauling Jin discovered an antimicrobial peptide found in Australian finger limes that kills the bacterium causing Huanglongbin, or HLB, otherwise known as citrus greening disease....“It’s super exciting. I think it all just...
Ag Today July 22, 2020
Farmworkers are among Those at highest risk for COVID-19, studies show [PBS]
As the novel coronavirus spread across the U.S., Osmar Orellana kept going into work. Unlike millions of Americans who were able to shelter in place, Orellana was deemed “essential”: He works as a lettuce picker for a large grower called Tanimura and Antle in Salinas, California, a region that produces most of the country’s leafy greens. “I was afraid, and I was really stressed at work, thinking that I could get this disease,” he told FRONTLINE for the documentary COVID’s Hidden Toll. In a matter of weeks, his fears...
Ag Today July 21, 2020
She has cancer and is high-risk for COVID complications. But like many essential farmworkers, she can’t stay home [PBS Frontline]
… While millions of people in America have been sheltering in place, Hernandez is one of many members of the country’s largely immigrant agricultural workforce who have been maintaining the country’s food supply throughout the pandemic — and who speak out in a new FRONTLINE investigation about their experiences of having to choose between their health and their jobs. … Through the stories of people including Hernandez, the investigation examines how so far, there are no national mandatory COVID protections specifically...
Ag Today July 20, 2020
Trump rolls back landmark environmental law NEPA [The Hill]
… On Wednesday, the White House finalized its rollback of the environmental law, which President Trump called the “single biggest obstacle” to major construction projects. During his announcement on Wednesday, President Trump cited the “mountains and mountains of red tape” that had been holding up infrastructure projects across the country. … His revision of the 50-year-old law is one of the most consequential deregulatory actions by the Trump administration to date.
UFW calls on state to investigate Wasco nut processor experiencing COVID-19 outbreak [Bakersfield Californian]
United Farm Workers announced Friday it's calling on the...