Ag Today June 11, 2019
California taps clean air money to pay for drinking water [Associated Press]
California legislative leaders agreed Sunday to spend $130 million a year to improve water systems in communities where people can’t drink from their taps, something Democratic leaders say amounts to a crisis in one of the nation’s wealthiest states. To pay for it, the state would tap a fund dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a move that alarmed some environmental activists who say its set up an unfair choice between clean air and water….To pay for the water improvements, budget writers are taking money away from the agricultural...
Ag Today June 7, 2019
U.S. on track to impose tariffs on Mexico as migration talks resume [Reuters]
The Trump administration pushed ahead on Friday with a plan to slap a 5% tariff on imports from Mexico, as the two sides started a third day of talks to reach a deal to stem the flow of mostly Central American migrants into the United States….Mexico has prepared a list of possible retaliatory tariffs targeting U.S. products from agricultural and industrial states regarded as Trump’s electoral base, a tactic China has also used with an eye toward the president’s 2020 re-election bid. Such a move would leave the...
Ag Today June 6, 2019
Rising Rents Collide With Immigration in California Agriculture Region [Wall Street Journal]
…As border security has tightened in recent years, agricultural companies in this farm town are relying less on illegal immigrant laborers and instead turning to a visa category called H-2A….Like most of the state, the Central Coast has also been dealing with an affordable housing shortage for years….Illegal immigrants have long been a backbone of the labor force here, as in many farming regions, and they usually find their own housing. They are among those concerned about being pushed out as more H-2A workers arrive and rents rise.
Ag Today June 5, 2019
Trump says Mexico ‘wants to make a deal’ as Mexican officials head to White House to avoid tariffs [New York Times]
Vice President Mike Pence and other top administration officials will meet Wednesday with Mexico’s top diplomat as both sides try to avert the potentially crippling economic consequences of President Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on all Mexican imports….Mr. Trump’s threat to tax Mexican products has rattled financial markets and prompted an outcry from businesses that would be affected, including automakers, agricultural companies and retailers….Businesses are also worried that the president’s move risks derailing what would be his signature trade achievement:...
Ag Today May 30, 2019
Turning poop into power: California dairies appeal for more state climate change money [Sacramento Bee]
…So far, California has steered at least $260 million in those grants to methane digester projects like the one Airoso joined. The California Air Resources Board projects they’ll remove millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere, and Gov. Gavin Newsom is asking lawmakers to put another $35 million into the dairy grants. But this year, the subsidies are meeting new opposition from some of the state’s leading environmental organizations. They argue that California-style large dairies are unsustainable even with methane digesters because the...
Ag Today May 29, 2019
Seeking more water, Silicon Valley eyes Central Valley farmland [Bay Area News Group]
The largest water agency in Silicon Valley has been secretly negotiating to purchase a sprawling cattle ranch in Merced County that sits atop billions of gallons of groundwater, a move that could create a promising new water source — or spark a political battle between the Bay Area and Central Valley farmers. The Santa Clara Valley Water District, based in San Jose, is in talks with the owners of the 4-S Ranch, a 5,257-acre property located about 15 miles northeast of Los Banos, for what would be a...
Ag Today May 28, 2019
Trump team is split over how hard to push North American trade deal [Wall Street Journal]
President Trump wants Congress to quickly approve his trade deal with Canada and Mexico, but his own team is divided over how to force a reluctant Democratic-controlled House to act….Democrats in Congress want changes to the trade deal, which is called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and time to work on them. But Mr. Pence’s team and other senior advisers to the president are pushing to exert pressure by sending the accord to Congress and triggering a procedural countdown that would force a decision from the House….Robert...
Ag Today May 23, 2019
More California fruit and nut growers will get help with Trump tariffs in new farm aid deal [McClatchy News Service]
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Thursday that grapes, tree nuts and cranberries will be added to the list of crops that are eligible for direct payments from the federal government to compensate for losses in the trade war with China. The new farm aid package, which will distribute $16 billion to farmers, up from the $12 billion given in aid last year, will distribute the assistance in three payments, with the first in July or August, according to...
Ag Today May 22, 2019
The Energy 202: EPA blocks a dozen products containing pesticides thought harmful to bees [Washington Post]
The Environmental Protection Agency is pulling from the market a dozen products containing pesticides known to be toxic to a linchpin of the U.S. food system — the honeybee. The agency announced Monday it has canceled the registrations of 12 pest-killing products with compounds belonging to a class of chemicals known as neonicotinoids, as part of a legal settlement….The EPA has pulled other neonics from market before, agency spokesman John Konkus said in an email. But close observers of the agency say such actions are...
Ag Today May 21, 2019
They grow the nation’s food, but they can’t drink the water [New York Times]
Water is a currency in California, and the low-income farmworkers who pick the Central Valley’s crops know it better than anyone. They labor in the region’s endless orchards, made possible by sophisticated irrigation systems, but at home their faucets spew toxic water tainted by arsenic and fertilizer chemicals….Many factors have led to the groundwater contamination reflected in the state’s data, but public health experts say the region’s agriculture industry has played an outsize role….It is exceedingly difficult to say with certainty whether any illness is directly tied...