November 10, 2020
Wednesday is a federal holiday for Veterans Day, so there will be no Agri-Pulse Daybreak that day. Daybreak will return on Thursday.
Relaxing truck weight limits could help with climate goals
One unexpected outcome from the pandemic has turned into a lesson for businesses and regulators, according to Rob Vandenheuvel, a senior vice president at California Dairies.
“Our state regulators teamed up with federal regulators to expand the limits on weights for trucks that could deliver food,” he explained at the California Dairy Sustainability Summit on Friday. “Not only do you gain efficiencies, but when you put the pencil to the paper, you have a more environmentally sustainable model.”
He said making this permanent would take more trucks off the road and reduce the carbon footprint.
State report on wildfire planning has a role for ag
The governor’s Office of Planning and Research on Monday updated its guidance for cities and counties in planning for wildfires. It offers land use strategies for reducing fire risk for buildings and communities. Along with vegetation management, the lengthy report recommends agricultural buffers to create defensible space in areas known as the wildland-urban interface (WUI).
With new housing developments in the WUI, it recommends clustering homes together with larger agricultural buffers than what has been the standard way of broadly dispersing houses.
“The changes we are seeing in the scale and severity of wildfires, combined with decades of expansion of the wildland-urban interface and a century of extensive fuel buildup, demands that we expand our approach,” said Cal Fire Chief Thom Porter.
Wildfires are reducing dam capacity
While dams are designed to store water, they also collect sediment washed down through the watershed over time. This reduces the amount of water that can be stored. In the Napa River watershed, wildfires are now accelerating this process, according to researchers at the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences.
While dams already have a finite lifespan and at some point have to be removed or replaced, this further shortens that useful timeframe. The researchers caution it is too early to see the effects of the Glass Fire that swept through the area in October.
They estimate that dozens of dams ranging in size block about 23% the Napa watershed.
McClintock wins reelection to House
Republican Rep. Tom McClintock has won reelection for his seat, which spans the eastern rim of the Central Valley from the Sacramento region to the Fresno area. McClintock has represented the district since 2009.
Corporate giants’ press farmers to go green
Multinational giants in retail, agribusiness, meat processing and food manufacturing, along with the largest restaurant chains and leading apparel brands, want U.S. farmers and ranchers to produce food and fiber more sustainably.
In the first of a five-part series, Agri-Pulse takes an in-depth look at how reductions in greenhouse gas emissions could have far-reaching effects on American farmers and ranchers.
Read the full article at Agri-Pulse.com.
California Farm Bureau backs Costa to lead House Ag
The California Farm Bureau Federation is throwing its weight behind home-state Rep. Jim Costa to be the next chairman of the House Agriculture Committee following Rep. Collin Peterson’s failed re-election bid.
“Given his decades of experience in California agriculture, we believe Congressman Jim Costa is the right person to lead the committee as Americans grapple with the challenge of keeping nutritious food available for all, growing the economic opportunities for new and existing agriculturalists and addressing the risk brought by a changing climate,” said CFBF President Jamie Johansson.
The California Fresh Fruit Association is also pushing for Costa. “A farmer himself, Congressman Costa understands the daily challenges farmers face,” said CFFA President Ian LeMay. He pointed out that California has been the top ag producing region in the world since 1867 – the last time a California representative was chair.
Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., has also announced his candidacy for the Ag chairmanship.
EU to retaliate on WTO’s Boeing ruling
The European Union is set to begin hitting the U.S. with tariffs on $4 billion worth of goods today to retaliate against unfair subsidies for Boeing, and the Trump administration is responding angrily.
“The United States is disappointed by the action taken by the EU today,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Monday. “The alleged subsidy to Boeing was repealed seven months ago. The EU has long proclaimed its commitment to following WTO rules, but today’s announcement shows they do so only when convenient to them.”
The retaliation could include tariffs on some farm and food products such as frozen concentrated orange juice, walnuts and grapes.
The wine industry has renewed calls for a negotiated solution. The Wine Institute and its European counterpart urged a de-escalation of trade tensions and the immediate suspension of all retaliatory tariffs on wine. In a joint statement, they note that the EU has decided to spare US wines from punitive tariffs.
Four new GOP senators pose with McConnell: From left, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee and Roger Marshall of Kansas.
Talk, but no sign of progress on stimulus
There’s little evidence on Capitol Hill that the chances of a new stimulus bill have improved since the election.
In a message to House Democrats, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., says his party wants a deal “along the lines of what we passed in May and October” in the HEROES Act. “So far, the Republican-led Senate has ignored this pressing challenge, and it is long past time to act,” Hoyer writes.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Monday called on Democrats to agree to a “targeted” bill.
Keep in mind: Pfizer’s announcement that its vaccine is more than 90% effective against COVID-19 throws a new twist into the stimulus debate, given the positive impact the vaccine could have on the economy. That might make it easier for Republicans to take a harder line on the cost of a stimulus package.
Trudeau seeks Biden’s help on China
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reached out to President-elect Joe Biden Monday and stressed in tweets that they agreed to “work closely together” on issues such as trade, energy and China. While Canada is preoccupied with China’s detention of two Canadians on charges of spying, the U.S. is still in a trade war with China, and Biden has vowed to work with allies to confront the Asian adversary.
On another trade issue, the U.S. farmers are concerned that Canada is not living up to its promises to import more dairy – a provision agreed upon in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
He said it:
“Both sides are saying they want one, but both sides are saying they want the one they want.” — Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., when asked by a reporter about the prospects of passing a stimulus bill in the lame duck session.
Bill Tomson, Steve Davies and Ben Nuelle contributed to this report.
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