Ag Today June 17, 2020
COVID-19 cases among ag workers, Hispanics disproportionately higher in Santa Maria [Santa Maria Times]
Hispanics, Latinos and agricultural workers make up a disproportionate number of the COVID-19 cases in the Santa Maria area, where the number of cases is the highest in the county, according to a report delivered to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. … Based on occupation, agricultural workers make up 20% of the Santa Maria cases, with the next-highest category, 11%, being the unemployed and disabled.
Central Valley "left behind" on federal COVID contracts [KFSN TV, Fresno]
The federal government has spent more than $25 billion...
Ag Today June 16, 2020
Sonoma County health officer reveals second coronavirus outbreak at local winery [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]
On the same day Sonoma County’s health officer confirmed she plans to reopen more businesses Friday, Dr. Sundari Mase on Monday revealed a second coronavirus outbreak in the wine industry involving three employees who have contracted the infectious disease. Mase declined to disclose the name of the winery, and would only say the employees worked in production rather than in a tasting room or part of the business where they would have directly interacted with customers or other visitors to the winery.
As meat plants stayed open...
Ag Today June 15, 2020
Why milk’s best sales in a decade won’t save struggling dairy farmers [Wall Street Journal]
… Sales of cow’s milk at supermarkets in the U.S. have risen 2% by volume this year from the comparable period last year, and more than 7% since the beginning of March, according to Nielsen, reversing 10 years of declines. Overall, though, domestic demand for dairy has dropped, as restaurants and hotels that purchase nearly a third of U.S. dairy products have closed because of the pandemic, and exports are expected to suffer. … That means milk’s most promising year in a decade won’t be enough...
Ag Today June 11, 2020
Coronavirus spreads among fruit and vegetable packers, worrying U.S. officials [Reuters]
From apple packing houses in Washington state to farm workers in Florida and a California county known as "the world's salad bowl," outbreaks of the novel coronavirus are emerging at U.S. fruit and vegetable farms and packing plants. … The Trump administration said last month it may extend an executive order to keep meat plants operating to fruit and vegetable producers as well, a sign it is concerned fresh produce could be the next sector hit.
Diamond walnut workers rally for hazard pay at Stockton plant [Stockton Record]
Workers at Diamond of...
Ag Today June 10, 2020
Federal government restores Klamath Basin irrigation water following protest [Jefferson Public Radio, Ashland, Ore.]
Farmers in the Klamath Basin were notified Tuesday that the amount of water they’ll get for crops and livestock will be increased from the record low amount they thought they were getting. The change came after hundreds rallied in Klamath Falls over concerns of a devastating drought this year. … While that’s only about 40% of what they get during a normal year, it’s more than what Reclamation water managers said they’d be getting on May 1, as the basin faces a punishing drought this summer.
Ag Today June 9, 2020
In California’s ‘salad bowl,’ farmworkers crowd into homes, spreading the coronavirus [Los Angeles Times]
… Social distancing is challenging, if not impossible, in homes like Leon’s and for many other farmworkers in Salinas. … Officials in the Salinas Valley, known as the “salad bowl of the world,” and leaders in the agriculture industry are acutely aware of just how quickly the virus can spread among farmworkers, both at home and at job sites. In Monterey County, agriculture workers make up more than a third of confirmed COVID-19 cases, and Latinos make up nearly 80% of them.
Santa Maria farmworkers to deliver petition...
Ag Today June 8, 2020
Farmers get billions in virus aid, and Democrats are wary [New York Times]
… The administration is starting to send farmers tens of billions more to offset losses from the coronavirus pandemic, raising questions about how the money will be allocated and whether there is sufficient oversight to guard against partisan abuse of the program. Months before an election in which some farm states are major battlegrounds, Democrats and other critics of the administration’s agriculture policies are expressing concern that the new subsidies, provided by Congress with bipartisan backing, could be doled out to ensure President Trump continues to win the...
Ag Today June 5, 2020
Trump’s promised farm bonanza From China deal far from fulfilled [Bloomberg]
President Donald Trump’s promise that his phase one trade deal with China would provide a $36.5 billion election-year bonanza for his rural base was always a stretch. Now it looks like it may never be fulfilled. … The agreement is caught in the middle of rising tensions between the U.S. and China. … “At this point it looks to be a lot of political posturing,” said Veronica Nigh, a trade economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation, the nation’s largest general farm organization. “We’re hoping the parties can come to...
Ag Today June 4, 2020
In rare bipartisan bill, U.S. senators tackle climate change via agriculture [Reuters]
U.S. senators on Thursday introduced a bipartisan bill that would direct the Agriculture Department to help farmers, ranchers and landowners use carbon dioxide-absorbing practices to generate carbon credits, a rare collaboration on climate change. The proposed Growing Climate Solutions Act directs the USDA to create a program that would help the agriculture sector gain access to revenue from greenhouse gas offset credit markets. … Landowners and farmers can generate credits and earn money for activities ranging from reforestation to sequestering carbon in soil to capturing methane from livestock.
Ag Today June 3, 2020
California braces for second wave of coronavirus even as first wave is far from over [Los Angeles Times]
… California is one of about 20 states where new cases are increasing over the past five days, according to Johns Hopkins University. … Officials are not sure whether the new cases reflect a larger spike as the economy reopens or the result of increasing testing, or perhaps a combination of both. … The rise in cases comes as weekly hospitalizations and deaths are down statewide. … One of the nation’s most important agricultural areas, Imperial County, saw such a surge in coronavirus patients needing...