California farmers, anchors of a $50 billion industry that represents 13 percent of the nation’s agricultural value and a critical source of its produce and milk, are facing an unprecedented squeeze on their livelihoods that could have repercussions in households from coast to coast. Beyond a decade-in-the-making labor shortage, spurred in part by a lack […]
From New York to California, the nation’s agricultural workers are aging. They are also in short supply, as fewer immigrants are arriving to replace those who retire, and younger generations are finding less physically taxing work. In a 2017 survey of farmers by the California Farm Bureau Federation, 55 percent reported labor shortages, and the […]
The law requiring these plans, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), already is having a big effect on prices for agricultural land, particularly in the areas from Madera County down to Kern county, where some of the most severe over drafting in the state commonly occurs. “In anticipation of the SIGMA rules, prices are already […]
State regulators proposed sweeping changes in the allocation of California’s water Friday, leaving more water in Northern California’s major rivers to help ailing fish populations — and giving less to farming and human consumption. By limiting water sent to cities and farms and keeping more for fish, the proposal by the State Water Resources Control […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.