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Ag Today March 22, 2019

Newsom to declare California wildfire emergency. Here are some details on his plan [Los Angeles Times] Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to declare a state of emergency in California on Friday and waive environmental regulations to expedite nearly three dozen local forest management projects to protect communities from the deadly wildfires that have decimated communities up and down the state. A preview of the governor’s order, obtained by The Times, shows that Newsom plans to suspend environmental laws and rules that would otherwise apply to the projects….Critics voiced concern about the governor’s decision to suspend guidelines put in place to protect the...

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Ag Today March 21, 2019

California governor pushes for fee to clean up tainted water [Associated Press] Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to charge California water customers up to $10 per month to help clean up contaminated water in low-income and rural areas, but he will face resistance from some legislative Democrats hesitant to impose new taxes….The fee on water customers would affect households and businesses — an idea that lawmakers killed last session. Newsom wants to combine it with fees on animal farmers, dairies and fertilizer sellers to raise about $140 million per year….Democrats hold 75 percent of the legislative seats, but some who represent moderate...

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Ag Today March 19, 2019

Western drought deal is a go, without IID and as Salton Sea clean-up remains stalled [Palm Springs Desert Sun] It's done. The Colorado River Board of California voted 8-1-1 Monday to sign on to a multi-state drought contingency plan, which, somewhat ironically, might not be needed for two years because of an exceptionally wet winter. The process was fractious until the very end, with blistering rebukes from the river's largest water user, and charges that state and federal laws were possibly being violated to cross the finish line. The Imperial Irrigation District, a sprawling rural water district in the southeastern corner...

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Ag Today March 18, 2019

Deadly chicken disease spreads to Bay Area, flocks at risk [Bay Area News Group] ...News that a highly contagious and deadly bird virus was detected at a veterinary clinic in Redwood City on Thursday has alarmed the Bay Area’s poultry community, indicating that the dreaded Virulent Newcastle Disease has moved north from Southern California....“The really big concern is the spread into commercial flocks,” said Richard Blatchford, a poultry specialist at UC Davis Department of Animal Science. It has already been found in three commercial facilities in Riverside County. https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/03/15/deadly-chicken-disease-spreads-to-bay-area/   Tulare Co. Farm Bureau seeks action for olive growers affected by contract cancellations [KMPH...

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Ag Today March 15, 2019

US eases land restrictions meant to protect bird in West [Associated Press] The Trump administration on Friday finalized changes to sweeping federal land use plans for Western States to ease energy industry restrictions in a way officials say will protect a struggling bird species. The changes by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management will guide future efforts to conserve greater sage grouse, ground-dwelling birds that range across portions of 11 Western states....U.S. Bureau of Land Management Acting Director Brian Steed told The Associated Press the changes address concerns aired by state officials that previous policies governing millions of acres of federal...

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Ag Today March 14, 2019

Trump says his budget has more money than ever for wildfire prevention. It doesn’t. [McClatchy News Service] President Donald Trump says in his budget that he’s asking for the highest amount ever for certain wildfire prevention programs. His proposal actually contains less money for wildfire prevention efforts than the current federal spending plan….Meanwhile, Trump’s budget would increase money that could contribute to harvesting timber and clearing trees. Trump has encouraged more logging in the past year. He publicly blames California and environmental groups for lax forest management on federal lands, where it is the responsibility of the federal government. https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article227469734.html   Trump raises possibility...

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Ag Today March 13, 2019

Water wars: Imperial Valley is being cut out of western US drought plan [Palm Springs Desert Sun] The Imperial Irrigation District is being written out of a massive, multi-state Colorado River drought plan at the eleventh hour. IID could sue to try to stop the revised plan from proceeding, and its board president called the latest development a violation of California environmental law. But Metropolitan Water District of Southern California general manager Jeffrey Kightlinger disagreed, and said Tuesday that attorneys for his agency, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and others in a working group are finalizing new documents to remove IID...

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Ag Today March 11, 2019

Momentum builds for public investment in California water-storage projects [Bakersfield Californian] …Bills introduced last week by Bakersfield Republicans in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., would redirect money from the state's high-speed rail project toward a series of reservoir projects, as well as repairs to a canal serving Kern County farmers….Past efforts by Central Valley politicians to redirect bullet-train money toward transportation projects have failed, and it's unclear whether there is sufficient political will — or legal precedent — to steer rail money toward water storage. But the new legislation could benefit from timing. https://www.bakersfield.com/news/momentum-builds-for-public-investment-in-california-water-storage-projects/article_195ea028-41ca-11e9-ae20-1f8d5cf520f2.html   Top fed backs IID push for Salton Sea Farm Bill...

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Ag Today March 8, 2019

Disaster aid fix would open spigot for cherry growers [Roll Cal] …An arcane provision moving through Congress as part of must-pass disaster aid legislation would let farmers earning more than $900,000 on average for the past three years qualify for President Donald Trump’s $12 billion program compensating producers for trade-related losses. Ostensibly, the language would benefit any well-to-do farmers and ranchers. But the obscure $2 million provision was designed specifically with one constituency in mind, according to congressional aides: growers of fresh sweet cherries, predominantly in Washington state….That could include almond growers as well, another crop that hasn’t traditionally been eligible...

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Ag Today March 7, 2019

Opinion: Trump has been bad for farmers [Wall Street Journal] …As a consequence of the President’s policies, farmers saw crop prices drop even further and the expenses like fertilizer and equipment spike….The longer the president’s slapdash trade policy persists, the more opportunities American farmers will lose to their competitors….Mr. Trump has also pursued an immigration agenda designed to stoke his political base, not fix our broken system….If the White House were serious about helping American farmers, it would embrace comprehensive immigration reform, like the proposal we put forward in the 2013 Gang of Eight bill, which earned 68 votes in the...

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