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Ag Today July 26, 2019

Consumer Reports finds potentially deadly bacteria in pre-washed greens [CBS NEWS] A new report out Friday reveals some leafy greens recently sold at supermarkets were contaminated with a potentially deadly bacteria. Consumer Reports says it tested nearly 284 samples of fresh greens like lettuce, spinach and kale and found six of those samples tainted with listeria….Consumer Reports notes their study is not large enough to draw any conclusions about a specific brand or retailer, but rather is a "snapshot" intended to highlight that more needs to be done to ensure safety. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/consumer-reports-finds-listeria-in-pre-washed-greens-sold-at-supermarket/   Economists say Trump administration is overpaying farmers for trade losses [NPR] If...

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Ag Today July 25, 2019

Gov. Gavin Newsom signs $1 billion clean-water package for poor areas [San Francisco Chronicle] California will dedicate more than a billion dollars over the next decade to help the estimated 1 million residents who do not have reliable access to clean drinking water. Gov. Gavin Newsom traveled to Sanger, near Fresno, on Wednesday to sign SB200, which establishes a fund for communities that are struggling to maintain their water systems….The pollution is largely concentrated in agricultural communities in the Central Valley and Salinas Valley. Water systems there are often contaminated by nitrates from pesticides, fertilizer runoff and dairy waste, as well...

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Ag Today July 24, 2019

White House's Kudlow hopeful on U.S.-China trade talks, agriculture buys [Reuters] White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Tuesday called it a good sign that top U.S. officials would be traveling to China to discuss reviving stalled trade talks, and said he expected Beijing to start buying U.S. agriculture products soon. In recent phone calls with Chinese negotiators, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had emphasized the need for Beijing to make good on its pledge to buy more U.S. agricultural products….U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross downplayed the prospect, however. Asked whether China was moving toward buying...

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Ag Today July 23, 2019

As rats overrun California cities, state moves to ban powerful pest-killers [Sacramento Bee] …The state is seeing a troubling resurgence of rodents, which can carry a wide array of diseases that have been around since the Middle Ages….At the same time, researchers are finding widely used rodent poisons at sometimes lethal levels in the bodies of beloved California predators such as birds of prey and mountain lions….As a result of the widespread wildlife poisoning, nearly every prominent environmental group in the state is advocating for a ban on anticoagulant rodenticides….In its current form, Bloom’s bill would only allow government officials to...

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Ag Today July 22, 2019

China backs away from U.S. food fight [Wall Street Journal] China’s food fight with the U.S. is getting costly at home. That doesn’t mean a resolution to overall trade tensions is near, but it could help keep further escalation in check. Some Chinese enterprises have made inquiries with U.S. exporters about purchasing agricultural products and have applied to Beijing for tariff exemptions, according to a Sunday report from China’s official news agency Xinhua….The Xinhua report didn’t specify when any exemptions, if granted, would come into effect. But the dovish signal on trade fits with a longstanding pattern by Beijing of framing...

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Ag Today July 18, 2019

Salmon study may foil Trump’s plan to boost water deliveries to Central Valley farms [Los Angeles Times] Federal biologists worked frantically this year to meet a deadline to assess the environmental impacts of Trump administration plans to send more water to Central Valley farmers. But the biologists’ conclusion — that increased deliveries would harm endangered Chinook salmon and other imperiled fish — would foil those plans. Two days after it was submitted, a regional federal official assembled a new review team to improve the documents. The move is the latest salvo in the decades-long battle over the environmental harm caused by...

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Ag Today July 17, 2019

Is Memphis the next California for farming? Conservationists want to find out [Memphis Commercial Appeal] Conservationists at a Washington philanthropy noticed ever more arid growing conditions on California farms. They asked a simple question. If drought-prone California can no longer supply the nation as it has for decades, who can? They have no answer yet. But the question has led them to Memphis. World Wildlife Fund has geared up the Next California project — a study of whether the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta’s water-rich farms can someday grow vegetables on a scale large enough to sustain the United States. World Wildlife,...

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Ag Today July 16, 2019

California pledges millions to battle enormous, destructive swamp rats [Bay Area News Group] A growing menace in the form of 15-pound swamp rodents is threatening Delta waterways, and the state is throwing money, hunting dogs and birth control at the invasive pests which have the potential to destroy crops and wetlands. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has received $10 million in new funding for the eradication of nutria, or coypu, which are native to South America and have found their way to the Golden State after wreaking havoc in Louisiana and other places....The new money will allow the state...

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Ag Today July 15, 2019

Administration sidelines federal biologists who could stand in way of more water for Calif. farmers [KQED, San Francisco] After rushing forward on a plan to send more water to California’s Central Valley, the Trump Administration has unexpectedly hit the brakes and ordered the work already done by federal scientists to be completed by a different team. Just days before federal biologists were set to release new rules governing the future of endangered salmon and drinking water for two-thirds of Californians, the administration replaced them with an almost entirely new group of lawyers, administrators and biologists to “refine” and “improve” the rules,...

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Ag Today July 12, 2019

Utility customers will pay $10.5 billion for California wildfire costs under bill sent to Newsom [Los Angeles Times] Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign legislation Friday to overhaul how the state pays for utility wildfire damage — a complex bill the governor championed and moved swiftly through the California Legislature this week at Wall Street’s urging. The bill’s passage was a political victory for the governor, but some questioned whether California leaders were just making a down payment for wildfire costs that will skyrocket if more isn’t done to prevent ever-larger blazes….Utility customers will be required to pay $10.5 billion...

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