Ag Today

AG Today

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Ag Today November 15, 2019

Editorial: San Joaquin Valley farmers’ new BFF? A liberal politician from San Francisco [Fresno Bee] A year ago, Democrat Gavin Newsom swept into the governor’s office, capturing 62 percent of the vote in the November 2018 election. Farming interests in the San Joaquin Valley wondered what level of support Newsom might show for their industry. Now, a year later, the answer is that Newsom has demonstrated strong backing for agriculture in the Valley — a surprise considering Newsom’s political history as a liberal from San Francisco, not the most farm-friendly part of the state. https://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/editorials/article237376294.html   Editorial: Californians must help kill sleazy Westlands water...

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Ag Today November 14, 2019

U.S.-China Trade Talks Hit Snag Over Farm Purchases [Wall Street Journal] Trade talks between the U.S. and China have hit a snag over farm purchases, as officials seek to lock down the limited trade deal President Trump outlined last month. Mr. Trump has said that China has agreed to buy up to $50 billion of soybeans, pork and other agricultural products from the U.S. annually. But China is leery of putting a numerical commitment in the text of an agreement, according to people familiar with the matter….The dispute over farm purchases is one of several issues that have delayed completion of...

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Ag Today November 13, 2019

Sour grapes: Trade war puts cork in US wine sales to China [Associated Press] Caught in the crossfire of President Donald Trump’s trade war with China, U.S. vineyards are struggling to sell Syrah in Shanghai and Chardonnay in Shenzhen. They risk losing their foothold in one of the world’s fastest-growing wine markets….Since June, China has been imposing 93% tariffs and taxes on American wine, up from 48% before the hostilities began, according to the Wine Institute,…Overall, U.S. wine exports to China fell 25% in 2018, measured by volume, according to the Wine Institute. Calculated by dollars, the picture is just as...

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Ag Today November 12, 2019

NASA identified California's 'super-emitters' of greenhouse gases. Here's where they're coming from. [San Francisco Chronicle] When it comes to pollution, not all greenhouse gases are created — or emitted — equally. Methane is 25 times as efficient at trapping radiation in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, making it an especially potent greenhouse gas. During five campaigns between 2016 and 2018, NASA flew a specially-equipped plane equipped over 272,000 "infrastructure elements" to identify where the state's methane emissions were coming from. They found 564 sources — or just 0.2% of all sources surveyed — were responsible for 60% of all methane emissions....

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Ag Today November 11, 2019

Feds set to lock in huge water contract for well-connected Westlands Water District [Los Angeles Times] Westlands Water District, a sprawling San Joaquin Valley farm district with ties to the Trump administration, is poised to get a permanent entitlement to a massive quantity of cheap federal irrigation supplies. Westlands is the first in line to permanently lock in its contract for Central Valley Project deliveries under a 2016 law. Other valley farm districts are expected to follow, but as the project’s biggest customer, Westlands arguably has the most to gain. The deal would entitle Westlands to annual deliveries that are roughly...

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Ag Today November 8, 2019

Interior proposes coveted deal to ex-client of agency head [Associated Press] The Interior Department is proposing to award one of the first contracts for federal water in perpetuity to a powerful rural California water district that had long employed Secretary David Bernhardt as a lobbyist. Conservation groups are demanding fuller disclosure of financial terms and an environmental review of the proposed deal for the California’s Westlands Water District, the nation’s largest agricultural water supplier. The water district serves some of country’s wealthiest and most politically influential corporate farmers….Responding to questions, Interior spokeswoman Carol Danko said the handling of the Westlands’ contract...

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Ag Today November 7, 2019

Justices seem uncertain about reach of Clean Water Act [Associated Press] The Supreme Court seems uncertain about how to decide a closely watched case from Hawaii about the reach of landmark federal clean-water protections….Several justices appeared to be searching for a compromise between environmental groups on one side, and the Trump administration and the local Hawaii government on the other….The question in this case is whether a permit is needed when the pollutant first passes through the soil or groundwater….The justices seemed concerned that a ruling for Maui would provide what Justice Stephen Breyer called a “road map” for polluters to...

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Ag Today November 6, 2019

Farmers urged to think big and small to survive groundwater cutbacks [Bakersfield Californian] The thinking started small and then grew much bigger at a gathering Tuesday in Bakersfield that was intended to provide a "survival toolkit" for farmers and water managers facing drastic restrictions on Central Valley groundwater pumping. Irrigation and other technical specialists opened the meeting by promoting ways to maximize the region's existing water resources….By the end of the day, however, isolationism gave way to calls for unity as speakers asserted that the only real solution was to increase the region's water supply by as much as 10 million...

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Ag Today November 5, 2019

Does a rain-free October signal a return to drought in California? [Los Angeles Times] “There are 200 different definitions of drought,” said climatologist Bill Patzert....Southern California got no rain during October, and it was desiccated by super-dry Santa Ana winds....According to the Drought Monitor, almost one-fifth of California is either abnormally dry or in moderate drought, as of the end of October....Drought is all in your definition, said Patzert, a retired climatologist from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. Although the reservoirs are generally pretty full, he says he looks at conditions in the wildlands and forests, and after...

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Ag Today September 27, 2019

Farming the sun:’ As water goes scarce, can solar farms prop up the Valley? [Sacramento Bee] On the Changala family farm in Tulare County, the past and future are separated by a dirt road and a barbed-wire fence. “We’re still farming the sun,” he said. Farmers in the San Joaquin Valley are finding a lucrative new cash crop: solar electricity. As they struggle to cope with the Valley’s chronic water shortages, they’ve increasing turned to solar as a means of supplementing their revenue and keeping the remainder of their farming operations afloat. An estimated 13,000 acres of Valley farmland already have...

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