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...
Ag Today May 1, 2020
There’s a rural-urban divide in California’s coronavirus infection rates. Here’s the data [Sacramento Bee]
… A Sacramento Bee review of infection and death rates in each of the state’s 58 counties shows vast differences in the depth of the crisis, notably between lightly-hit rural and harder-hit urban spots. The rural north state in particular stands out with lower rates. The numbers help explain why some rural counties are pushing the governor to rescind or loosen his statewide “stay at home” order for their areas. … Rural areas of California are generally faring far better than urban areas.
Sen. Steve Glazer looks at...
Ag Today April 30, 2020
Trump immigration ban does not include agriculture workers [KERO TV, Bakersfield]
President Trump last week placed a temporary ban on immigration in the U.S. in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. … And President Trump adding a stipulation that it will not be affecting those who want to immigrate for agriculture work on an H-2A visa. … The California Farm Bureau Federation says undocumented workers make up roughly 60% of California's 450,000-member seasonal ag workforce, while H-2A workers make up only about 4%. … “To hire an h2a visa holder you have to provide them housing, food and transportation,"...
Ag Today April 29, 2020
Trump takes executive action to keep meat-processing plants open [Wall Street Journal]
President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday paving the way for meat-processing plants to remain open during the coronavirus pandemic, as hundreds of workers have fallen ill and concerns mount about food-supply shortages. The move is expected to relieve pressure on meatpackers and farmers, who have struggled with food-supply upheavals following pressure from local and state officials to close plants. It is likely to draw fire from unions and worker advocates, who have said such closures are a necessary step to stem the virus’s spread through communities.
Editorial: Trump’s meat...
Ag Today April 28, 2020
Getting answers: Are we at risk of a break in the food supply chain? [KOVR TV, Sacramento]
With several national meat processing plants, including Tyson Foods, shutting down amid the coronavirus pandemic, there’s new concern about a break in the food supply chain. “You just have to keep a cool head about it, we are not going to starve,” said David Dewey, President of the California Association of Meat Processors. … “If it’s a national processor, what are the regional steps that we can take and turn to in terms of getting that food supply from the farm to the consumer?”...
Ag Today April 27, 2020
Coronavirus forces farmers to destroy their crops [Wall Street Journal]
… As the coronavirus pandemic disrupts supply chains, American farmers are dumping milk, throwing out eggs and plowing under healthy crops. Produce suppliers are especially vulnerable to surpluses because fruits and vegetables are perishable and can’t be stored. … Lettuce producer Mark Borba, in Huron, Calif., said he has had to plow under 230 of 680 acres of recently harvested lettuce since the pandemic swept the country a month ago. … John Harris, president of Harris Farms in Coalinga, Calif., said his business has seen a drop in demand for lettuce, too, but that he...
Ag Today April 24, 2020
Plan to change workers’ comp rules for employees with COVID-19 angers business, ag groups [Fresno Bee]
A proposed executive order from Gov. Gavin Newsom to substantially expand protections for coronavirus-infected employees who qualify for workers’ compensation insurance is raising concerns among leaders in the agriculture and business communities, who say it could cost billions of dollars. … What many are opposed to is a recommendation that any essential employee who becomes infected with the coronavirus during the stay at home order will be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. … Ryan Jacobsen, executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, said he...
Ag Today April 23, 2020
Tanimura & Antle says employee tested positive for COVID-19 [KION TV, Monterey]
Produce company Tanimura & Antle tells KION that one of its employees has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee was sent home to quarantine. … The company said it has taken several steps to protect employees and those they come in contact with from COVID-19. … While no information has been released regarding where in the company the infected employee worked, Monterey County said they are preparing for things to get worse in the fields.
Foster Farms employee in Fresno has coronavirus, company confirms [Fresno Bee]
An employee at a Foster...
Ag Today April 22, 2020
Farm workers not impacted by Trump’s executive immigration order: CA Farm Bureau [KNSD TV, San Diego]
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump clarified what he called a "temporary suspension of immigration into the United States." Trump said the executive order he plans to sign would apply only to those seeking permanent residency and not to temporary workers. … The California Farm Bureau Federation has confirmed this ban would not apply to H2A/B employees, which is what the California agricultural community relies upon for workers, according to the San Diego County Farm Bureau.
Fear factor high for farm community as President Trump announces immigration ban...
Ag Today April 21, 2020
How the COVID-19 pandemic is sending American agriculture into chaos [PBS News Hour]
COVID-19 is disrupting agriculture on many levels. The Trump administration recently announced it will spend $19 billion to help farmers. But they aren’t the only group in need of support -- undocumented immigrants are roughly half of American farmworkers, and they have been excluded from the federal aid. … In California, there may be some temporary relief, after Governor Gavin Newsom announced $75 million in state funding for undocumented workers. From the crop pickers to farm owners, COVID-19 is taking its toll. … The pandemic is making the...