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...
Ag Today March 6, 2019
US plans to lift protections for gray wolves [Associated Press]
U.S. wildlife officials plan to lift protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states, a move certain to re-ignite the legal battle over a predator that’s rebounding in some regions and running into conflicts with farmers and ranchers, an official told The Associated Press. Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt was expected to announce the proposal during a Wednesday speech before a wildlife conference in Denver, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Spokesman Gavin Shire said in an interview with the AP. The decision to lift protections is based on gray wolves successfully...
Ag Today March 5, 2019
Is a 'blue card' agriculture's immigration solution? [Fresno Business Journal]
...But most every farmer here, whether they’re from California or other parts of the country, likely would agree that a big part of the problem is that federal lawmakers have dropped the ball in revamping this country’s immigration laws, particularly those affecting migrant farm laborers. Some California lawmakers are looking to change that — at least as far as making changes to help the ag industry....Instead, the blue card legislation would address just immigration as it applies to the ag industry, and farmers at the Ag Expo who discussed the matter...
Ag Today March 4, 2019
Voluntary agreements shared with State Water Board. Will they replace disputed flow plan? [Modesto Bee]
The top state agencies that manage water and wildlife resources in California submitted a package of voluntary agreements with water districts to the State Water Resources Control Board on Friday, as an alternative to controversial flow requirements approved in December for the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced rivers. The agreements, hammered out in the waning hours of Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration and favored by Gov. Gavin Newsom, combine increased river flows with a larger set of tools for restoring salmon in rivers that feed into the San...
Ag Today March 1, 2019
Winter storms wash away drought, enlarge snowpack [Redding Record Searchlight]
California is drenched and its mountains are piled high with snow amid a still-unfolding winter of storms that was unimaginable just a few months ago. Drought conditions have almost been eliminated, hills blackened by huge wildfires are sporting lush coats of green, and snow has fallen in the usually temperate suburbs of Southern California, where chilly conditions have made jackets and scarves the rule….The California Department of Water Resources reported Thursday that the Sierra snowpack is now 153 percent of average to date….Where it hasn't snowed, there has been rain, and...
Ag Today February 28, 2019
U.S. employers resume fight for more H-2B visas for foreign workers [Wall Street Journal]
Employers who rely on seasonal foreign-worker permits are renewing their fight to lift limits on temporary H-2B visas, saying computer problems this year that thwarted many applications highlighted the need to raise the cap. The Labor Department website used by U.S. businesses to apply for this spring’s round of H-2B visas crashed after a scramble by employers chasing 33,000 available permits. The Jan. 1 system meltdown, in the moments thousands of employers were applying for their permits, stemmed from high demand and a move to make the...
Ag Today February 27, 2019
Wildlife and off-roaders gain room to roam in California’s new desert protection act [Los Angeles Times]
In the latest round of a 25-year battle to save the California desert, House lawmakers approved a sweeping conservation bill Tuesday that designates more terrain for wildlife and off-roaders alike and sets the stage for a final signature by President Trump. The California Desert Protection and Recreation Act, which does not come with funding, completed efforts that Sen. Dianne Feinstein started in 1994 to resolve conflicts among conservationists, off-road vehicle riders, miners, cattle ranchers, hunters, military training grounds and renewable energy interests….If signed by the...
Central Valley growers, undocumented farmworkers condemn Trump's 'emergency' [Visalia Times-Delta]
…Margarita and Jonathon are both undocumented farmworkers — two of an estimated 1.5 million working in the U.S….Margarita is not alone in her fear. Growers across the state have condemned Trump's immigration policy. They say it has contributed to a mass labor shortage that is devastating farms across California — and inflating grocery store prices for citizens across the country. "I agree with Trump on keeping drugs and the criminal element out, but he does an injustice to the overwhelming majority of (immigrants) who want to work and earn an honest...
Ag Today February 25, 2019
Trump to delay tariff increases on Chinese imports [Wall Street Journal]
President Trump said Sunday he would delay an increase in tariffs on Chinese goods set to take effect at the end of this week, citing “substantial progress” on issues including intellectual property and technology transfer after a weekend of talks. In a tweet, Mr. Trump wrote that should progress continue, the U.S. would plan a summit with President Xi Jinping of China to “conclude an agreement” that would settle a yearlong trade fight between the two nations….In recent talks, Beijing offered to increase purchases of U.S. farm and energy products...
Ag Today February 22, 2019
Opinion: Analysis says to end Valley’s groundwater overdraft, farmland must be retired [Fresno Bee]
Our new research includes a detailed analysis of a wide range of options to address this deficit. Although ending overdraft will bring long-term benefits, it entails near-term costs. We find that only about a quarter of the Valley’s groundwater deficit can be filled with new supplies at prices farmers can afford. The rest must come from managing demand. We estimate that ending the overdraft will require taking at least 500,000 acres of irrigated cropland out of production.
Passionate comments open Napa Planning Commission's watershed protection debate [Napa Valley...