05/25/2018

News

Exporting Jobs Instead of Food

House Republicans are brawling over immigration again, and it could scuttle their farm bill. Most of the public debate focuses on the so-called Dreamers. But another big problem receiving less media attention is that the immigration restrictionists are detached from the reality of the American farm economy and a worker shortage that’s driving food production […]

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The Transformer of Autonomous Farmbots Can Do 100 Jobs on Its Own

The first fully autonomous ground vehicles hitting the market aren’t cars or delivery trucks—they’re ­robo­-farmhands. The Dot Power Platform is a prime example of an explosion in advanced agricultural technology, which Goldman Sachs predicts will raise crop yields 70 percent by 2050. But Dot isn’t just a tractor that can drive without a human for […]

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Judge orders California agricultural officials to cease pesticide use

A judge has ordered California agricultural officials to stop spraying pesticides on public and private property to control insects that threaten the state’s $45-billion agriculture industry. The injunction by a Sacramento County Superior Court judge, issued late last week, could throw a substantial hurdle in front of efforts by the state Department of Food and […]

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Fertilizer on farm fields is a major source of California smog, researchers say

A startling new study led by UC Davis, however, says the fertilizer in farm soils is a major contributor to smog in California. In a study published Wednesday in the research journal Science Advances, a team led by UC Davis says agricultural soils contribute 25 to 41 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions in California. Natural […]

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Low Food Prices Are Hurting Farm State Economies

Farmers are producing too much food, holding down prices and holding back economies in states with big agricultural industries.

South Dakota and Iowa are the only two states in the country where gross domestic product fell in the second quarter. Ultra-low crop and livestock prices stemming from a global oversupply have squeezed farm incomes, pulling down Iowa’s GDP 0.7% and South Dakota’s 0.3% from the prior quarter.

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California Supreme Court rules for farmworkers, and upholds binding mediation

California’s highest court decided unanimously Monday that farmers may have a labor contract imposed on them if negotiations with a union fail to produce an agreement. The state Supreme Court, overturning a lower court ruling, upheld a 2002 law that permits the state to order farmers and unions to reach binding contracts. The Legislature passed the law after determining that farmers were refusing to negotiate with unionized workers. The law allows either side to ask for a neutral mediator and for that mediator to impose a contract covering wages and working conditions.

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California Farmers Face Labor Drought

This year’s rains brought a welcome respite to California’s farmers, who had grappled with surface water supply shortages for the previous four years. But now farmers are increasingly worried about the availability of another crucial element to their farms’ productivity―farm labor. The connection between farm labor and immigration patterns was among the topics covered in a recent conference at UC Davis.

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California Ag Biz Loses Equivalent to Ebay Being Wiped Out, and it Could Get Worse

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced in October, “In 2015 California’s farms and ranches received approximately $47 billion for their output. This represents a decrease of nearly 17 percent compared to 2014.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service said prior-year comparable receipts were $56.6 billion. That’s a revenue loss of $9.6 billion in a single year. . . It’s estimated that the average California farmer now is required to pay and be compliant with nearly 80 local, state, and federal regulatory agencies in order to grow food, fiber, and fuel for our nation’s citizens and the world.

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California farmworker overtime bill signed by Jerry Brown

His signature followed narrow passage in the Legislature and intense lobbying by farmworkers. Assembly Bill 1066 will raise overtime wages for agricultural workers incrementally over four years, ultimately matching other industries by requiring time-and-a-half pay for more than eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week.

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107 Nobel laureates sign letter blasting Greenpeace over GMOs

Nobel laureate Randy Schekman, a cell biologist at the University of California at Berkeley, told The Post, “I find it surprising that groups that are very supportive of science when it comes to global climate change, or even, for the most part, in the appreciation of the value of vaccination in preventing human disease, yet can be so dismissive of the general views of scientists when it comes to something as important as the world’s agricultural future.”

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Shasta water release plan has no cutbacks to farmers – for now

After weeks of uncertainty and pressure from members of Congress, federal officials on Wednesday announced a plan for managing water releases from California’s largest reservoir this summer in a manner that will not involve cutbacks in farm water deliveries – at least if all goes as hoped.

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A Boon for Soil, and for the Environment

Now, though, a growing number of experts, environmentalists and farmers themselves see their fields as a powerful weapon in the fight to slow climate change, their very soil a potentially vast repository for the carbon that is warming the atmosphere. Critically for an industry that must produce an ever-larger bounty to feed a growing global population, restoring lost carbon to the soil also increases its ability to support crops and withstand drought.

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International crime rings stealing truckloads of California’s nuts

The sophisticated organizations in many cases use high-tech tactics, hacking into trucking companies to steal their identity. Armed with false shipping papers, they pose as legitimate truckers, driving off with loads of nuts such as almonds, walnuts or pistachios valued at $150,000, and some worth $500,000 each.

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California Punishes Its Farmers With More Bad Policies

We tried to make the case that with diesel and gas prices at $1.00 / gal higher then AZ, the higher CARB [California Air Resources Board] standards on sprinkler pumps, higher electrical rates in California, restrictions on insecticides, fungicides and fumigants and a plethora of government agencies capped by one of the highest income tax rates in the nation, all combine to put us at an economic disadvantage.

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Many Central Valley farmers face severe water shortages despite easing drought

In another sign that California’s drought has eased but the state’s water system is far from fully recovered, federal regulators announced Friday that Sacramento Valley farmers would get full water deliveries for the upcoming growing season, but many San Joaquin Valley growers would face another year of severe shortages.

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