Farmworker safety agency is needed in California, says report

The pandemic “simply became another life-threatening hazard” among many facing Indigenous farmworkers in California, said a report released on Monday. Based on surveys and interviews of more than 300 workers, the report called for the creation of a state agency dedicated to enforcing …

Orange production plummets in Florida and California

The U.S. orange crop will plunge to 3.88 million tons this year, down 12 percent from last season, said the USDA on Tuesday in its first forecast of the new crop. Both of the leading orange states would see large reductions: Florida down by 11 percent and California down by 13 percent.

Congress approves $10 billion in disaster aid to agriculture

Farmers and ranchers would be eligible for $10 billion in disaster relief for losses in 2020 and this year under the short-term government funding bill passed by Congress on Thursday. The bill also extended the life of a livestock price-reporting bill until Dec. 3, giving lawmakers time to agree on a multiyear reauthorization.

Farm groups ask Supreme Court to block California’s Prop 12

With California's Proposition 12 animal welfare law set to go into effect on Jan. 1, two farm groups asked the Supreme Court to invalidate the voter-approved standards as an unconstitutional burden on farmers and consumers everywhere. Prop 12 bans the sale of pork products that are produced outside the state but do not match California's rules.

Arguments over Prop 12 sizzle as implementation nears

After years of fighting California's voter-approved Proposition 12 in court, meatpackers and the pork industry are asking for more time to comply with its animal welfare requirements. Estimates of the impact on consumers when Prop 12 takes effect on Jan. 1 vary widely, from increased pork costs of $10 per person annually to a warning by a hog-state senator that bacon could cost $17 a pound next year.

California’s organic-waste law set a high bar, but most cities struggle to reach it

In 2016, California passed the nation’s most ambitious restrictions on landfilling food and yard waste, with the aim of slashing the greenhouse gases these organic materials generate when buried. The law mandated turning the waste into compost or biogas, with a goal of cutting landfill disposal by 50 percent, from 2014 levels, by the end of 2020 and 75 percent by 2025. But already, cities have fallen behind on setting up the costly systems for collecting and processing this waste. Starting Jan. 1, 2022, lagging communities could be fined up to $10,000 a day.(No paywall)

USDA puts $15 million into drought relief for Klamath basin farmers

The Klamath Drought Response Agency was awarded a $15 million grant by the USDA to reduce demand for irrigation water in Klamath River basin of southern Oregon and Northern California. The money “will assist in allowing the limited amount of water to be used for practices that are vital to …

Relying on birds to battle farm pests

In California, farmers are building nesting houses for birds, attracting swallows, Western blue birds, and barn owls to combat pests, rather than relying on pesticides, according to FERN's latest story by Lisa Morehouse, produced in collaboration with KQED's The California Report. No Paywall .

Supreme Court rejects challenge of California animal welfare referendum

The U.S. Supreme Court refused on Monday to hear a meat industry challenge to California's voter-approved Proposition 12, which requires farmers to give sows, veal calves, and egg-laying chickens more room to move about and bans shipments of pork, veal, and eggs produced outside of California if the animals are housed in conditions that do not meet California's standards.

As drought limits irrigation in Klamath Basin, feds offer aid

Growers in the Klamath Basin, in the Pacific Northwest, will receive the smallest amount of water ever from the federal government due to unrelenting drought, said the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on Wednesday. The water will be available around June 1, weeks later than usual.