January 17, 2020

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Editor’s note: Monday is a federal holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., so the next Agri-Pulse Daybreak will go out on Tuesday. Follow Agri-Pulse.com for news developments.
Chlorpyrifos workshop productive, but some felt too late
The Department of Pesticide Regulation, in partnership with CDFA, hosted the second of three workshops yesterday on replacing chlorpyrifos.
The Sacramento session saw more professionals from trade groups, political representatives and environmental interests than the Fresno workshop on Tuesday. Joe McIntyre of Ag Innovations facilitated the meeting and has been moderating the DPR Alternatives Working Group. He began by saying many will inevitably be disappointed that the group has yet to present a list of alternatives. Those are expected in April.
According to McIntyre and a draft outline for the action plan, the recommendations will come as four lists:

  • Readily available alternatives,
  • A list of crops that will still need further research for alternatives,
  • A list of the toxicity of alternatives,
  • And current biopesticides available.

McIntyre noted several members of the Alternatives Working Group also pushed for more funding for the UC Integrated Pest Management program and Cooperative Extension.
Several participants told Agri-Pulse the session was productive. Yet ag representatives felt both this engagement and the long process to find alternatives should have come before the decision to cancel the insecticide. Farmers worried about the next products “on the chopping block.”
Miriam Rotkin-Ellman of the National Resources Defense Council said both the workshop and the cancellation should have happened 20 years ago. She wanted more action on more pesticides now, rather than one every five years.
DPR Chief Deputy Director Jesse Cuevas said the department is looking for more ways like this to increase engagement at a deeper level.

Joseph McIntyre, Ag Innovations
UC Davis builds a bridge to Sacramento with food institute
UC Davis yesterday launched a new food initiative in Sacramento, anchoring the nation’s top ag school about a mile from the Legislature. The Alice Waters Institute for Edible Education will be housed at the planned Aggie Square complex. Waters is a renowned chef and organic foods advocate made famous by her elite Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse, where she's sourced directly from farmers.
The institute will engage students and communities on healthy eating and sustainable agriculture. It also plans to host summits and inform policymaking.
Some local leaders speaking at the press conference strongly backed organic agriculture and spoke of the dangers pesticides pose.
Chancellor Gary May explained to Agri-Pulse this is not his area of expertise, but the UC Davis experts in ag will be a big part of the institute, in both research and educating the community. May added that some of the campus’ policy experts will likely be "on the ground" here as well.  

Asm. Kevin McCarty-D, who represents the Sacramento region, said “it doesn’t have to be either-or” with organic and conventional. He said combining UC Davis research with Alice Waters’ philosophy will bring a more rounded approach to sustainability.

Alice Waters, founder of Chez Panisse
Romaine outbreak over
Outbreaks involving contaminated romaine lettuce appear to be over, the Centers for Disease Control has concluded.
In an update, the Food and Drug Administration said the E. coli-contaminated romaine from the Salinas, Calif., growing region “is likely no longer available. Consumers need not avoid romaine lettuce, or any other produce” from that area. FDA is still investigating.
In three different outbreaks involving the same salad mix, about 90 people went to the hospital.
Scott Horsfall, CEO of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, said LGMA is “currently conducting a systematic overhaul of the food safety practices included in our program. We’re working with our industry partner Western Growers to conduct an open, transparent review of the required food safety practices under the LGMA. We will be bringing in outside expertise so that we can incorporate new knowledge and research.”
USMCA easily clears Congress
The Senate has overwhelmingly approved by 89-10 the Trump administration’s revision of the North American trade pact with Canada and Mexico. The deal is now at the White House, where the president has said he may sign it in a grand ceremony next week.
EU proposing scaled-down ag option for U.S.
The European Union still isn’t willing to include a full-blown agriculture chapter in the trade agreement it’s negotiating with the U.S. But the Europeans are proposing smaller-scale options, such as agreements on sanitary and phytosanitary trade barriers, says EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan.
USDA: Expect third 2019 MFP payment   
Farmers can expect a third round of payments under the 2019 Market Facilitation Program, but don’t expect there to be a 2020 program. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Deputy Secretary Steve Censky have separately made those points in the past two days.
He said it:
“We need to understand the harmful impact of flonicamid on these crucial pollinators.” - Attorney General Xavier Becerra criticizing the U.S. EPA yesterday on its risk assessment of the pesticide.

Bill Tomson, Ben Nuelle and Steve Davies contributed to this report.

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