DoJ’s stance on California egg law could bode well for other states

In a surprising amicus brief, the Justice Department last week recommended that the Supreme Court not hear Missouri’s challenge to California’s animal-welfare laws, which mandate larger cages for some farm animals. The stance could bode well for animal-welfare advocates fighting for similar legislation in other states.

California fights an invasive rodent that poses threat to farms

Nutria, invasive and elusive rodents that weigh up to 20 pounds and were once thought to be eradicated from California, have made a comeback and are posing a threat to agriculture, according to FERN's latest story with KQED's The California Report. Lisa Morehouse and Angela Johnston report that a few of the rodents were first spotted last year in Merced, but are spreading. (No paywall)

How Oakland became a leader in cutting school food waste

Among the 40 percent of all food thrown out is this statistic: America’s school lunch programs waste $5 million in food every day. FERN’s latest story, published with Grist, focuses on Nancy Deming of the Oakland Unified School District, a leader in the movement to cut school food waste and redirect the food to students and people in need. Here’s the main take-aways:

White House delays farm bill in fight over forests, says senator

Three weeks remain in the lame-duck session and farm bill negotiators are at odds over the forestry title of the farm bill despite hopes of enacting the bill this year. Vermont Sen. Pat Leahy puts the blame on the Trump administration and House Republicans for seeking "extremely partisan provisions on behalf of a small minority in the timber industry."

Three House Ag members in toss-up races: Republicans Denham, Faso and Bost

By a tiny margin, Rep. Jeff Denham, a fourth-term Republican from the Central Valley of California, may be the most endangered member of the House Agriculture Committee, although two other Republican panelists are also in toss-up races. Analysts say Democrats increasingly are likely to win control of the House in the elections six weeks away.

At global summit, farming and land ‘central pillars’ in climate solution

At the two-day Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, food, forestry and agriculture—long viewed as step-children when it came to climate solutions—were recognized as central to whatever progress is going to made in reaching climate goals established in the 2015 Paris accord. Attendees …

Grocery-tax referendum in Washington state would block soda taxes

The three largest soft drink companies in America have donated more than 98 cents of every $1 given to a campaign in Washington state to ban local governments from imposing new taxes on groceries, including soda and other sugary beverages. Voters will decide whether to enact Initiative 1634 in a statewide vote as part of the Nov. 6 election, 10 months after a soda tax took effect in Seattle, the largest city in the state.

U.S. citrus harvest down 20 percent in one year

Citrus production has trended downward for years, but it dropped abruptly, by 20 percent, in the just-ended 2017/18 season, affected greatly by Hurricane Irma in Florida, said the USDA in its annual Citrus report.

WWF finds enormous rate of food waste in produce

In a study on food waste in the United States, the World Wildlife Fund found that on a specific set of farms in four states, 40 percent of tomatoes, 39 percent of peaches, 56 percent of romaine lettuce, and 2 percent of processing potatoes were left in the field rather than harvested.

California avoids the SNAP snafu engulfing farmers markets

California offers an example of how to avoid the electronic equipment snarl that threatens SNAP sales at 40 percent of farmers markets across the nation, says The New Food Economy. "Their method? Creating a system partially, if not fully independent of the federal system."