California farmers now must abide by the nation’s strictest rules for a widely used pesticide in a change designed to protect farmworkers and people who live and work near agricultural fields but is likely to raise prices on produce.
Budget Proposal Prioritizes Austerity, Lacks Plan for Helping Ensure Broadly Shared Economic Recovery
The CBP’s report shows that even with increased state revenues and a continuing economic recovery that has yet to reach many Californians, the Governor’s proposed budget prioritizes fiscal austerity over investing in broadly shared prosperity. The Governor’s proposal does reflect a focus on policy changes enacted in prior years — such as California’s new K-12 funding formula and the state’s implementation of federal health care reform — that move the state forward in important ways. Yet, while the Governor’s proposal includes long-term plans for paying down budgetary debt and saving for a rainy day, it does not present a similar vision for tackling California’s biggest challenges: still-high levels of unemployment and poverty, widening income inequality, and a safety net severely weakened by years of funding cuts.
Already, the specter of California’s regulations are believed to be contributing to record prices for eggs. The average wholesale cost of a dozen large eggs hit a peak of $2 on Thanksgiving Day — doubling in price from the start of November before settling this week to about $1.40. It comes at a time when soaring meat prices are expected to help push U.S. egg consumption to its highest level in seven years.
Egg prices could jump by as much as 20 percent in California as a result of the the new rules, Dermot J. Hayes, an agribusiness professor at Iowa State University in Ames, told Bloomberg.
The mere anticipation of the change has already driven prices up by more than $0.25 over the past month in California. And that increase comes on the heels of what has already been a pretty unkind year for omelette prices across the country: wholesale egg prices are averaging nearly $2.30 per dozen, up almost 35 percent since the start of the 2014.
In a letter to the Obama administration released Tuesday, the Agriculture Transportation Coalition of Washington, D.C., and its 61 signees said the delays at the West Coast ports, including Los Angeles and Long Beach, are having a “disastrous impact” on United States exports. Customers are cancelling their orders, the letter says, and getting new sources for their produce.
Exports of California food products took a dive in August, with fruit and tree nuts decreasing by 8 percent when compared to the same time last year and vegetables dropping by 7.8 percent, according to data released Friday by Beacon Economics.
With harvest time across California, many of the state’s once-robust crops — from the grapes that make world-famous wines to popular almonds — are anticipated to be smaller than usual this year due to the state’s historic drought.
The drought could cost the region’s farm industry $1.7 billion in 2014 and cause more than 14,500 workers to lose their jobs, according to preliminary results of the study, which also predicts that Central Valley irrigators will only get two-thirds of their normal water deliveries.
Heading into the third year of a prolonged drought, the Allens are among the many California farmers forced to make dire choices that could leave as much as 800,000 acres, or about 7 percent of the state’s cropland, fallow. While some think that estimate may be inflated so early in the planting season, the consensus is that drier and drier seasons are on the horizon.
Federal officials announced Friday that the ongoing drought in California means there likely will be no water available for agricultural water customers in the Central Valley this year, including its customers in the Sacramento Valley.
On Friday, amid California’s driest year on record, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency in the state. As days pass without snow or rain, dairymen, farmers and other livestock producers are finding themselves in the same predicament as Imhof. Without water to irrigate, produce growers fear they will have to leave some fields fallow.
San Joaquin Valley farmers are idling thousands of acres, bulldozing hundreds of trees and shifting production of some crops out of the area as the state enters its third straight year of dry weather.