Ag Today

AG Today

Updated Daily

Ag Today May 15, 2020

Coronavirus to slow U.S. meat production for months, CEO says [Wall Street Journal] The coronavirus will likely hamper U.S. meat production for months, as new safety measures and reduced staffing slow plant operations, said the head of the biggest U.S. beef producer. JBS USA Holdings Inc., which slaughters 23% of the country’s cattle and produces nearly one-fifth of its pork, is revamping plant operations to space workers farther apart while about 10% of its workforce has been sent home because of their higher risk from Covid-19, Chief Executive Andre Nogueira said. https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-to-slow-u-s-meat-production-for-months-ceo-says-11589540400?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=3   Fresno adds new relief for small farms and businesses, also renters hurt by...

Read More

Ag Today May 14, 2020

Newsom promises new wildfire prevention efforts during coronavirus crisis [Los Angeles Times] Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday that California’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has not blunted efforts to prepare for what is expected to be an active wildfire season, emphasizing the state’s effort to reduce or prevent power shutoffs by utilities when fires are a major threat. Newsom said the California Public Utilities Commission is creating a 106-person wildfire safety division to monitor the state’s investor-owned utilities to ensure they abide by requirements to modernize their electrical systems and transmission lines to reduce the risk of igniting a wildfire....

Read More

Ag Today May 13, 2020

Trump deems farmworkers 'essential' but not safety rules for them. That could threaten the food supply. [Politico] … The lack of federal action has left state and industry leaders scrambling to shield their farmworkers from the coronavirus. As harvest season ramps up, farmers across several major produce states have installed more hand-washing stations, instructed workers to keep their distance and provided face masks — but those efforts have been inconsistent and largely voluntary. … Labor officials have said they have all the enforcement tools necessary to ensure worker safety. … American fruit and vegetable growers, who are heavily reliant on migrant...

Read More

Ag Today May 12, 2020

Still working, farmers take hit during crisis [Bakersfield Californian] Permission to keep working as an essential activity during California's stay-at-home order has obviously made a big difference for the state's farmers. But that doesn't mean local growers are raking in money during the COVID-19 crisis. … Recent survey results show many California farmers are losing income during the pandemic. … More than 500 farmers responded to a survey the California Farm Bureau Federation conducted in mid-April. Of the 57 percent who reported suffering harm from the pandemic, more than half cited restaurant and other customer closures during the shutdown, the trade...

Read More

Ag Today May 11, 2020

Some California farmers prosper, while others struggle [San Jose Mercury News] … The pandemic has left virtually all California farmers staring into the unknown. For Gilroy farmer Paul Mirassou, the uncertainty has led him to till 30 acres of lettuce he could no longer sell. Another 100 acres he had planned to plant will be bare until at least June, said Mirassou, who is president of the Santa Clara County Farm Bureau. … According to a new survey from the California Farm Bureau Federation, 57% of the Golden State’s farmers have lost customers or revenue because of COVID-19. https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/05/11/some-california-farmers-prosper-while-other-struggle/   As food supply chain breaks...

Read More

Ag Today, May 8, 2020

Most California voters back coronavirus protections for undocumented farmworkers, poll finds [Los Angeles Times] A substantial majority of California voters support work protections for farmworkers — including undocumented immigrants — such as paid sick leave, medical benefits and replacement wages if they contract the coronavirus, a new statewide poll finds. Some 80% of state voters support employers providing full replacement wages to farmworkers to stay home when sick with COVID-19, while 79% back equitable pay for such workers regardless of legal or guest worker status, according to a survey from the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies released Friday. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-08/coronavirus-farmworkers-benefits-protections   Fight brewing over...

Read More

Ag Today, May 7, 2020

California makes it easier to receive workers’ comp for coronavirus claims [Los Angeles Times] Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday that will make it easier for essential workers who contract COVID-19 to obtain workers’ compensations benefits in a win for labor unions that called for the change. The order streamlines workers’ compensation claims and establishes a rebuttable presumption that any essential workers infected with COVID-19 contracted the virus on the job, Newsom said. In effect, the change shifts the burden of proof that typically falls on workers and instead requires companies or insurers to prove that the employees didn’t...

Read More

Ag Today, May 6, 2020

Rural farmers feeling the pain during pandemic [KRCR TV, Redding] Industries around the world and across the country have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and agriculture is no exception. A recent survey by the California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF) showed lost markets and lost off-farm income related to the COVID-19 pandemic have proven doubly difficult for many California farmers and ranchers. … "Just as in the rest of society, the effects of the pandemic have reverberated throughout rural California,” CFBF President Jamie Johansson said. https://krcrtv.com/news/local/rural-farmers-feeling-the-pain-during-pandemic   Coronavirus: Homeless, farmworkers moved into Monterey County motels [Monterey County Herald] … At the same time, 24 farmworkers...

Read More

Ag Today, May 5, 2020

Rotting food. Hungry masses. Chaotic supply chains. Coronavirus upends the U.S. food system [Los Angeles Times] … In less time than it takes a farmer to plant and harvest a head of lettuce, the nation’s entire food industry has been flipped on its head by the COVID-19 pandemic. An intricate system for matching supply with demand, established over decades, has been thrown out of whack just as unemployment and food insecurity are skyrocketing among families. The fallout has been particularly severe in California … In response, a vast network of food producers, distributors, retailers and advocates have been scrambling to find...

Read More

Ag Today, May 4, 2020

Billions in coronavirus aid will go to farms. But farmers say it’s not enough to keep them afloat [Fresno Bee] … While demand at California’s food banks has risen by 73 percent during the pandemic, demand for the products of farmers and ranchers has dropped by 50%. Because it’s too costly to harvest and transport the food, and much of it is perishable, California growers are destroying some crops, milk and livestock. Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen expects the problem to grow as the region approaches harvest season and restaurants and ports remain closed or barely operating. … The...

Read More