Ag Today January 8, 2020
Judge: MID overcharged 122,000 electric customers to help farmers. What happens next? [Modesto Bee]
A judge has ruled in favor of two Modesto Irrigation District customers who allege the utility has overcharged its electric customers to provide a subsidy to its farm water prices….Beauchesne ruled the subsidy was an illegal tax under California law because the MID had not sought voter approval for electric customers to subsidize irrigation water customers. The second phase will consider the remedy, which could include the MID reimbursing its electricity customers for some of the years they were overcharged.
Newsom wants an extra $220 million for Salton...
Ag Today January 7, 2020
2 bills could decide fate of critical Friant-Kern Canal in 2020. Will reps outside Valley care? [Visalia Times-Delta]
A duo of bills, at the state and federal level, will likely determine the fate of the Friant-Kern Canal in a legislative year that is shaping up to be pivotal for Central Valley growers and ag communities....The repairs are crucial as the implementation of the Groundwater Management and Sustainability Act begins this year, meaning farmers will have to be increasingly reliant upon surface water provided by the Friant-Kern with new restrictions to be placed on groundwater pumping in times of water scarcity. How...
Ag Today January 6, 2020
California eyes climate bond to prepare for disasters [Associated Press]
In a state burdened by billions of dollars in wildfire damage, California lawmakers are hoping for an advance loan before the next climate-fueled catastrophe hits. Lawmakers in the Democratic-dominated state Legislature return to work Monday for the second year of a two-year session. Their to-do list includes a $4.2 billion climate bond, an ambitious proposal to borrow money before they need it to prepare for the types of natural disasters that have plagued the state….The borrowing proposal is one of dozens of holdover bills from last year that are still alive...
Ag Today January 3, 2020
Strong snowpack is good news for California’s water supply as storms hit the mark [Los Angeles Times]
After a slow start to California’s wet winter season, a series of storms that hammered the state at the tail end of 2019 dumped enough snow on the Sierra Nevada to kick off the new year with a solid snowpack....Surveyors with the California Department of Water Resources trudged through a snow-covered field Thursday at the department’s Phillips station — fresh powder crunching beneath their snowshoes —and plunged a hollow pole into the snowpack for the first monthly measurement that serves as an important marker...
Ag Today January 2, 2020
Federal judge temporarily exempts truck drivers from California gig worker law [Reuters]
A federal judge has temporarily blocked a California labor law meant to take effect from Jan. 1 from impacting over 70,000 independent truckers by granting a ‘temporary restraining order.’ U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez in San Diego granted on Tuesday a five-page order sought by trade group California Trucking Association while he considers imposing a permanent injunction, the hearing for which is set for Jan. 13….The Assembly Bill 5 or AB5 was set to go into effect on Wednesday but it faces multiple legal challenges.
California eases way for land...
Ag Today December 31, 2019
Trump says he will sign phase-one trade deal with China on Jan. 15 [Wall Street Journal]
President Trump said he would sign the phase-one trade deal with China on Jan. 15 and will later travel to Beijing for talks on a broader pact. The president, in a Tuesday morning tweet, said he would be joined at the White House signing by “high level” Chinese officials, but he did not specify who would attend. Mr. Trump also pledged to travel to Beijing to begin negotiations on the second phase of the trade deal “at a later date.” China and the U.S. agreed...
Ag Today December 30, 2019
New labor laws are coming to California. What’s changing in your workplace? [Los Angeles Times]
Sweeping new laws curbing longtime employment practices take effect, aimed at reducing economic inequality and giving workers more power in their jobs. Under one, companies could be forced to reclassify hundreds of thousands of independent contractors as employees with broad labor law protections. Under another, bosses could no longer force workers into closed-door arbitration proceedings, a tactic which protects businesses from costly lawsuits. The new laws are about “job quality — what it means to work in a just workplace,” said California Labor Secretary Julie Su....
Ag Today December 27, 2019
Farmers, UFW on board for ag labor immigration bill [Fresno Business Journal]
For years, politicians and business leaders have wanted reforms to U.S. immigration laws, but the growing rift between political parties has long stalled those efforts. That may change soon, at least on a small scale. Despite the particularly heated dispute now going on between Democrats and Republicans over efforts to impeach President Donald Trump, last week Congress passed an immigration bill that stops short of revamping major portions of our immigration laws but rather offers changes focused on the law as it applies to one narrow group — farm...
Ag Today December 26, 2019
Struggling dairy farmers building a future with hazelnuts, specialty milk, and creative thinking [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
Paul Jereczek doesn't want to be the one who loses his family's farm, not after four generations before him made it work. He and his father, Ken, milk about 200 cows on land in Trempealeau County that's been in the family since 1873. The last few years have been challenging, and not just because milk prices have been stuck in an economic valley. The Jereczeks have difficulties finding hired help, too, which means the barn and the fields take over what could be family time....
Ag Today December 24, 2019
Bay Area spillover: Farmworker housing crisis has people sleeping in dining rooms [San Jose Mercury News]
…The chronic shortage of safe, affordable farmworker housing has grown even more acute, workers and advocates say, as tentacles of the Bay Area housing crisis have reached into the region….But even as farmers and worker advocates agree on the problem, they have fought bitterly over a new law, effective Jan. 1, that makes it easier to build worker housing on surplus land….But farmers –including a coalition of farm bureaus, family winemakers, fruit growers and others — say it will make the crisis worse. They are...