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...
Ag Today June 2, 2020
'Lemon' or not, Trump stuck with Phase 1 China trade deal for now [Reuters]
U.S. President Donald Trump has little choice but to stick with his Phase 1 China trade deal for now despite his anger at Beijing over the coronavirus pandemic, new Hong Kong security rules, and dwindling hopes China can meet U.S. goods purchase targets, people familiar with his administration's deliberations say. … Talking tough on China and criticizing the Obama administration's more measured approach is a key part of Trump's re-election strategy. Sticking with the pact may mean accepting that China is likely to fall short of purchase...
Ag Today June 1, 2020
U.S. food prices see a historic jump and are likely to stay high [Associated Press]
… While price spikes for staples such as eggs and flour have eased as consumer demand has leveled off, prices remain volatile for carrots, potatoes and other produce because of transportation issues and the health of workers who pick crops and work in processing plants. … The Labor Department reports that the 2.6% jump in April food prices was the largest monthly increase in 46 years. … Some grocery price jumps were because of people stocking up when the coronavirus first arrived.
Meat plants reopen, but burgers...
Ag Today May 29, 2020
Mexican farmworkers crammed into border tunnel despite contagion risk [Reuters]
Every night, hundreds of farm workers in Mexico crowd for hours in a cramped tunnel to a border station to reach day jobs in Imperial Valley, California, with no social distancing enforced despite coronavirus cases saturating hospitals in the region. … Both the documented day laborers and U.S. border agents worry the lack of social distancing on the Mexican side and the slow processing at the port of entry put them at risk. … Employers have asked for Calexico's second port of entry to open at night to avoid bottlenecks. "We...
Ag Today May 27, 2020
New California relief program for undocumented overwhelmed by demand [NPR]
California's first-of-its-kind effort to get cash aid into the hands of undocumented workers affected by the coronavirus got off to a bumpy start over the past week. Across the state, tens of thousands of immigrants calling to apply encountered busy signals, crashed phone lines and frustration. … The scramble is part of a basic math problem: There's only enough aid money for 250,000 people. But there are an estimated 2 million workers in the state illegally, potentially leaving some 1.75 million people in need without aid.
Hunger program’s slow start leaves millions...
Ag Today May 26, 2020
Coronavirus pandemic: USDA program supplies food banks, creates jobs in SoCal [KABC TV, Los Angeles}
… With so many in Southern California out of work, demand at food banks has skyrocketed, up 80 percent at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank alone. A shortage of food hasn't been the problem, but rather a disrupted supply chain. … Thanks to the coronavirus relief package passed by Congress, the Department of Agriculture was granted $3 billion dollars for its Farmers to Families Food Box Program, paying farmers for their surplus food and distributing it to food banks. Don Lee Farms is one of...
Ag Today May 22, 2020
Federal checks await some but not all local farmers [Bakersfield Californian]
Local farmers will get a chance starting Tuesday to apply for some of the $16 billion set aside by Congress to help agriculture operations hurt by the COVID-19 crisis. But growers of certain specialty crops produced locally won't qualify unless federal rules change. … The head of the California Farm Bureau Federation trade group said Thursday he was told growers whose crops are ineligible under the new program will be allowed to apply for government assistance at a later stage. Bureau President Jamie Johansson described the USDA program as complicated...
Ag Today May 21, 2020
New outbreaks in fruit and vegetable operations threaten farm workers and food supply [Forbes]
… As more farm workers hit the fields and packing facilities, the industry risks the health of its workers, and the food supply chains those workers support, if widespread protective measures are not put into place. … In Salinas, where field workers typically work quite close to each other during leafy greens harvest, Christopher Valadez, President of the Central Coast Growers Shippers Association in California, says growers are definitely taking precautions. … UFW’s Elenes says the precautions being put into place are a sign that growers are feeling...
Ag Today May 20, 2020
The government has earmarked billions to help farmers. There will be winners and losers. [NBC News]
… On Tuesday, the Department of Agriculture announced the details of the largest slice yet, a $19 billion bailout called the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. … Behind the scenes, members of Congress and lobbyists for interest groups have been vying for their say on how the money is spent. … Not everyone will be happy with Tuesday’s announcement; some commodities named as needing help — from catfish to craft beer, chicken to sod — are not eligible for direct payments in USDA’s initial list. “Farmers, just...
Ag Today May 19, 2020
Undocumented workers rush to apply for coronavirus aid, overwhelming California system [Sacramento Bee]
Undocumented workers flooded California’s coronavirus disaster relief website Monday, causing the site to crash for several hours, a state official said. Additionally, the hotlines for the nonprofits distributing the funding were “jammed,” and many people struggled to get through, an attorney told The Bee. … Gov. Gavin Newsom and others have said the $125 million fund announced in April for the state’s undocumented population is not enough. Experts have noted the fund would only be enough to assist about 150,000 undocumented workers across the state.
Monterey County COVID-19 diagnoses...