As abalone numbers drop, sport fishing is banned in Northern California

The state Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to ban sport fishing of abalone in Northern California in 2018 in an attempt to preserve the imperiled marine snail, said the San Francisco Chronicle.

California court upholds mediation law for farmworker contracts

The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld a 2002 state law that allows mediation of deadlocked contract negotiations between growers and farmworker unions, including the power of mediators to set the contract terms, reported the Associated Press. The decision was a victory for "the union launched by iconic labor leader Cesar Chavez against one of the largest U.S. fruit farms," said AP.

California congressman backs organic-ag research bill

Congressman Doug LaMalfa, a Republican representing Northern California's first district, joined a bipartisan effort to increase funding for the USDA Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). The bill, originally sponsored by Reps. Chellie Pingree of Maine, Dan Newhouse of Washington, and Jimmy Panetta of California, seeks to renew OREI and increase its funding to $50 million per year.

Monsanto and ag groups sue California for listing glyphosate as a carcinogen

California regulators violated the Constitution by requiring warning labels on glyphosate containers saying the herbicide is a carcinogen, says a federal lawsuit filed by Monsanto and a dozen farm and agribusiness groups.

From bricks to clicks to groceries at the front door

A Canadian grocery and pharmacy chain says it will close 22 stores and launch home delivery in Toronto in December and Vancouver in January.

California limits pesticide spraying near schools and day-care centers

Effective Jan. 1, California farmers will be prohibited from spraying pesticides within a quarter-mile of public schools and licensed day-care centers from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on school days under a rule issued by the state Department of Pesticide Regulation. Regulators say the rule is among the strictest in the country, according to The Associated Press.

Immigrants cautious of food assistance in Trump era, experts say

Undocumented immigrants have become cautious of seeking food aid in the Trump era because of fears they could be targeted for deportation, said a panel of food security experts last week in San Francisco.

Illegal pot farms wreak havoc on national forests

Mexican drug cartels, operating illegal marijuana farms on public lands, are polluting forests and saddling the federal government with millions of dollars in clean-up costs. Trespass marijuana farms are thought to number in the hundreds of thousands in California alone. The sites “wreak havoc on the land, leaving behind hundreds of thousands of pounds of garbage, leaching caustic chemicals, polluting watersheds, and damaging the habitat of endangered and at-risk species,” reports High Country News.

California officials warn toxic algae might hurt crabbing season

With the commercial crab-fishing season approaching, California officials warn that toxic algae might delay this year’s catch. “Domoic acid is the naturally occurring toxin caused by algal blooms that delayed the past two Dungeness crab seasons,” explains the San Francisco Chronicle. “According to test results from the California Department of Public Health, elevated levels of the toxin have shown up in samples of Dungeness crab collected in recent weeks at several North Coast ports.”

California governor signs food waste bill

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to encourage manufacturers to voluntarily standardize date labeling on their products in order to curb some of the 5.5 billion tons of food tossed into the state’s landfills each year.