Ag Today November 29, 2018
Deal reached in farm bill talks [Politico]
Farm bill negotiators said Thursday they reached an "agreement in principle," offering hope of breaking a months-long impasse over commodity and food-stamp policy that would pave the way for Congress to send legislation to President Donald Trump before the end of the year. Details of the compromise weren’t immediately released….Timing is critical. Before the sweeping agriculture and nutrition bill can become law, a conference report needs to be finalized, and Congress must pass the measure in both chambers before the end of the year. If not, the legislative process will start anew when the...
Ag Today November 28, 2018
Farmers frustrated after tainted romaine tied to Central Coast [Bay Area News Group]
Lettuce is king on California’s Central Coast, where row crops and produce stands line the roadways in a region that boasts of being the Salad Bowl of the World. So it struck deep when federal authorities this week linked a rash of severe bacterial infections to romaine lettuce from California’s Central Coast. Now farmers who adopted a host of safety measures after local spinach was tied to a deadly 2006 outbreak fear another battle to win back consumers’ trust.
Local romaine growers glad to be harvesting again [Imperial Valley...
Ag Today November 27, 2018
Regulators tie tainted romaine lettuce to California [Wall Street Journal]
Food regulators are closing in on the source of the E. coli outbreak that shut down the romaine lettuce market last week, and are asking producers to change the way they label the leafy salad green….On Monday, the FDA said the contaminated lettuce was likely grown in the central coast region in California, where the vast majority of lettuce originated at the time of the outbreak. The FDA also outlined a new voluntary labeling regime for romaine lettuce to help consumers better identify whether it is safe to eat. Romaine lettuce...
Ag Today November 26, 2018
California E. coli outbreak takes toll on Monterey County growers, laborers [Salinas Californian]
Amidst an outbreak of E. coli linked to romaine lettuce, a crop worth over a half-billion dollars nationally, Monterey County growers expressed concern for consumers as well as for their own employees. Some also say that produce packaging improvements could lessen future outbreaks' impact on the industry while keeping consumers safe....Tom Nunes IV, one of the owners of the Nunes Company, which owns Foxy and Foxy Organic, said harvesting and packaging ground to a halt once they received the alert...."Money is the least thing that we're concerned about,"...
Ag Today November 21, 2018
Monterey County ag commissioner: E. coli-tainted romaine 'very likely' from region [Salinas Californian]
Romaine lettuce recently alerted as tainted with E. coli is likely to have originated in Monterey County or the surrounding region, according to the county's agricultural commissioner. Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner Henry Gonzales said the date of the 32 reported illnesses — from Oct. 8 through 31 — corresponds with the romaine lettuce season in Monterey and San Benito counties….The Grower-Shipper Association of Central California, an organization comprised of local agricultural companies, said its partners are immediately removing romaine products from store shelves and restaurants, as advised by...
Ag Today November 20, 2018
As immigrant farmworkers become more scarce, robots replace humans [New York Times]
…Mr. Montoya is among a new generation of farmworkers here at Taylor Farms, one of the world’s largest producers and sellers of fresh-cut vegetables, which recently unveiled a fleet of robots designed to replace humans — one of the agriculture industry’s latest answers to a diminishing supply of immigrant labor….Enlisting robots made sound economic sense, Taylor Farms officials said, for a company seeking to capitalize on Americans’ insatiable appetite for healthy fare at a time when it cannot recruit enough people to work in the fields or the factory….In...
Ag Today November 19, 2018
Trump, touring fire ruins in California, repeats disputed claim on forest management [New York Times]
President Trump walked through the ashes of the Northern California town of Paradise on Saturday, promising to help the state recover but repeating his disputed view that forest management was to blame for the fire, the most destructive in California’s history. The president, expressing shock at the scale of the devastation and praising the efforts of emergency workers, offered much more conciliatory words than he had used a week earlier when he accused state officials of mismanaging California’s forests and threatened to withhold financial assistance….Mr. Trump...
California recommends restrictions for popular pesticide [Associated Press]
California regulators recommended new restrictions Thursday on a widely used pesticide blamed for harming the brains of babies. The Department of Pesticide Regulation issued temporary guidelines for chlorpyrifos that include banning it from crop dusting, discontinuing its use on most crops and increasing perimeters around where it's applied. The DowDuPont pesticide currently used on about 60 different crops — including grapes, almonds and oranges — has increasingly come under fire from regulators, lawmakers and courts.
California judge orders next Monsanto weed-killer cancer trial for March [Reuters]
A California judge on Thursday granted an expedited trial...
Ag Today November 15, 2018
Feds to Butte County: ‘You’re not going to be able to rebuild Paradise the way it was’ [Sacramento Bee]
Backing away from President Donald Trump’s blistering criticisms of California’s forest and fire management, top federal officials pledged a unified effort to help Paradise heal from the devastating Camp Fire, but also warned that the Butte County town is years away from full recovery….The press briefing, at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico, was noteworthy for the absence of rancor between Brown and the Trump administration officials….Zinke refused to endorse Trump’s claim that California’s forest-management practices are the cause of the state’s...
Ag Today November 14, 2018
Trump and Brown stir up rhetoric on wildfires but overlook pressing problems [Los Angeles Times]
President Trump took to Twitter to blame bad forest management. Gov. Jerry Brown pointed to climate change. Their arguments about the cause of disastrous wildfires roaring across the state have turned a California catastrophe into the latest political cudgel in the ongoing slugfest between Washington and Sacramento….The Trump-Brown exchange ignores what many experts consider core reasons for fire’s escalating toll: Humans keep sparking them, and Californians keep building in high-fire zones prone to the fierce winds that inevitably drive the state’s most calamitous blazes.
Lake, Mendocino grape...