California Dairy Industry Headline News

 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Water News

  • New Drought Fund To Support Those Most In Need - - The drought in California is predicted to severely affect communities all over the Valley and many are wondering what they can do to help. In order to provide assistance to those in need of emergency aid, the Fresno Regional Foundation has launched the “Central Valley Drought Relief Fund.” The local philanthropic organization hopes to distribute the funds raised to local organizations. <more> April 11, 2014 Valley Public Radio
  • California Drought Spawns Well Drilling Boom - - With California in a third dry year, well drilling is booming across the nation's most productive agricultural region, and some drilling companies are booked for months or a year. In some counties, requests for permits to dig new wells have soared, more than doubling over this time last year. Farmers expect to get only a fraction — if any — of the water they need from vast government-controlled systems of canals and reservoirs interlacing the state. In an effort to make up the difference, they are drilling hundreds of feet deep to tap underground water supplies. <more> April 13, 2014 U-T San Diego
  • Drought chokes ag research efforts in California - - California’s drought: if you live and farm in the state there’s little else you could be told to illustrate just how bad it is for the state’s agriculture industry. One of those impacts stretches off the farm and onto the test plots of the state’s Land Grant institution, which this year celebrates its centennial of cooperative work with California agriculture. The University of California Cooperative Extension is not an unlikely victim of the drought, though theirs is not an impact that will cause them to lose the farm. Still, they see and feel it. <more> April 14, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Merced Irrigation District working on water deal with state - - Irrigation officials will consider a potential deal with state water officials that could give Merced growers a little more water for their crops this year and help the irrigation district partially close a projected $10 million budget gap. The Merced Irrigation District has been negotiating to lower the so-called minimum pool requirement at Lake McClure, which would give farmers more water – about 15,000 to 25,000 acre-feet, depending on runoff – for the drought-plagued growing season. An acre-foot is the amount of water it would take to cover an acre of land a foot deep, or about 325,900 gallons. <more> April 13, 2014 Merced Sun-Star
  • California looking to recycled water to ease drought concerns - - At two treatment plants in El Dorado Hills, millions of gallons of brown wastewater pour in every week, and millions of gallons of clean water pour out through purple pipes that irrigate the lawns of 4,000 homes. Proponents call it water recycling. Critics call it “toilet-to-tap.” But as the drought has taken hold in California, opposition to the idea has been drying up, and recycled water is winning acceptance. <more> April 14, 2014 The Sacramento Bee

     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Dairy industry rebounds at last in Northern San Joaquin Valley - - Dairy farming in the Northern San Joaquin Valley has turned profitable, at long last, thanks mainly to booming exports for powdered milk and other products. Michael Marsh, chief executive officer at Western United Dairymen in Modesto, said the industry has to guard against “consumer pushback” from increased milk prices. But he also noted a strong outlook for demand, including the pizza makers that buy much of the state’s mozzarella. “It’s diminished right now by the drought, but the margins for the farmers in California are positive,” Marsh said. “The enhanced margins are being used to pay off debts from the past five or six years.” <more> April 12, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • Five challenging Jim Costa's bid for sixth congressional term - - Five people -- four Republicans and a Democrat -- want to take out Rep. Jim Costa in the 2014 election. Two are under 30. Two have military experience. One may lose land to the state's proposed high-speed rail line. One ran for the seat two years ago. One has a parent who is up for election in Merced County, which is part of the district. All of them know it won't be an easy task. <more> April 12, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • Will immigration undermine Republicans in 2016? - - Immigration has long been a divisive issue that has stymied the GOP, and it is already shaping up to be one of the most challenging issues that Republicans must address in the next presidential election. A weekend cattle call of many of the party's prospective nominees showed that, like 2012, the GOP's base may still reward the candidate who seen as the biggest hard-liner on the issue, even though there may be a price to pay among Hispanic voters. <more> April 14, 2014 CBS news
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Beef prices reach highest level since 1987 - - The highest beef prices in almost three decades have arrived just before the start of grilling season, causing sticker shock for both consumers and restaurant owners — and relief isn’t likely anytime soon. A dwindling number of cattle and growing export demand from countries such as China and Japan have caused the average retail cost of fresh beef to climb to $5.28 a pound in February, up almost a quarter from January and the highest price since 1987. <more> April 12, 2014 AP
  • Dean Foods CEO's Pay Drops 42% as Milk Business Struggles - - The chief executive of Dean Foods Co.'s pay plunged 42% last year as the company grappled with persistent challenges in the milk industry. Dean CEO Gregg Tanner received $3.7 million in total compensation, including stock awards and other payments, in 2013, down from $6.4 million a year earlier, according to an annual proxy filing Friday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. <more> April 11, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
     

Environmental News

  • Gassy Cows Are Warming The Planet, And They're Here To Stay - - Sorry to ruin your appetite, but it's time to talk about cow belches. Humans the world over are eating meat and drinking milk — some of us a little less, some of us a lot more, than years past. Farmers are bringing more and more cows into the world to meet demand, and with them escapes more methane into the atmosphere. In 2011, methane from livestock accounted for 39 percent of all the greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, according to a report that United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization released Friday. <more> April 12, 2014 NPR
  • Farmers offered funding to help nesting Tricolored Blackbirds - - Farmers who have Tricolored Blackbirds nesting in their fields may be eligible for financial assistance from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to delay harvesting and allow the birds 35 days to fledge their young. Interested producers have until May 2, 2014, to apply for funding. This initiative is being coordinated through a partnership effort with Audubon California. <more> April 11, 2014 WUD Friday Update
  • California Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees - - Sand County Foundation, the California Farm Bureau Federation and Sustainable Conservation are accepting applications for the $10,000 California Leopold Conservation Award. The award honors California farmers, ranchers and other private landowners who demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources. <more> April 9, 2014 Dairy Today
  • SDA Officially Announces Sign-Up Date for Farmer and Rancher Disaster Assistance Programs - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that farmers and ranchers can sign-up for disaster assistance programs, reestablished and strengthened by the 2014 Farm Bill, beginning Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Quick implementation of the programs has been a top priority for USDA. "These programs will provide long-awaited disaster relief for many livestock producers who have endured significant financial hardship from weather-related disasters while the programs were expired and awaiting Congressional action," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. <more> April 7, 2014 FSA news release
  • Central Valley farmers need to report practices - - Farmers are filling out a four-page survey that will help assess how well they are keeping pesticides and fertilizers out of waterways. The East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition has set a May 1 deadline for completion of the surveys, which involve most of the irrigated land east of the San Joaquin River in Stanislaus, Merced and Madera counties. For farmers, the coalition is a cheaper and simpler way of complying with water-quality rules than direct regulation by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, a state agency. It matters as well to Valley residents at large, if it protects them from nitrates and other pollutants in drinking water. <more> March 28, 2014 Modesto Bee

     

Stories of Interest


 
  • 22nd Annual California Antique Farm Equipment Show - - The International Agri-Center will host the 22nd Annual California Antique Farm Equipment Show, April 25-27, 2014 in Tulare, California. The event will showcase the agriculture industry's heritage with a focus on antique dairy equipment this year. Hundreds of antique trucks, tractors and equipment will be on display, along with entertainment, demonstrations and fun for the whole family. <more> April 14, 2014 International Agri-Center press release
  • POM Wonderful takes on Coke over pomegranate juice - - Some of the nation's pre-eminent lawyers are now fighting over pomegranate juice. Soon, the Supreme Court will taste the tang, too, in a conflict that pits California's politically well-connected POM Wonderful against soda giant Coca-Cola. It's a labeling dispute, and then some. "Coca-Cola and its industry supporters are asking for dispensation from the rules applicable to the rest of the national economy," POM Wonderful's attorneys declared in a brief filed Friday. <more> April 11, 2014 Fresno Bee


     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • The North Valley WUD Golf Tournament will tee of on Tuesday, June 3 at Stevinson Ranch in Stevinson, with a shotgun start at 12:30pm.
  • Registration now open for regional National Mastitis Council meeting - - Registration for the National Mastitis Council (NMC) Regional Meeting, August 4-6, 2014, is now open. This three day event will be held at Ghent University in Ghent, Belgium. The regional meeting provides attendees with information and skills necessary to strengthen milk quality programs and increase dairy profitability. The conference also provides an excellent opportunity to network with individuals from around the world who share the common interest of quality milk production. The meeting is being organized jointly with the M-team at Ghent University. <more> April 10, 2014 Ag Web
  • Assembly water bond hearing set for April 17 in Modesto - - The Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee will hold an oversight hearing in Modesto on the need, from a local perspective, for a 2014 water bond. The hearing will be held April 17 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Modesto Junior College, West Campus, Mary Stuart Student Learning Center, 2201 Blue Gum Ave., Modesto. Public comment will be taken after two panels of speaks offer their testimony. Public comment will be limited to two to three minutes. The committee is chaired by Assemblymember Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood). He has established an Assembly Water Bond Working Group that crafted a set of principles to set spending priorities and increase accountability to the public. Rendon is the author of AB 1331, The Clean and Safe Drinking Water Act Of 2014. This bill in its present form includes, $2.5 billion for above - and below -ground storage projects (includes a “modified” form of continuous appropriation language), provides $1 billion for water quality, $1.5 billion for protection of rivers and watersheds, a total of $2 billion for regional projects and integrated regional water management (IRWM), and $1 billion for the Delta Sustainability projects. More information on the proposed water bonds can be found at http://awpw.assembly.ca.gov/waterbond
  • Public Meetings Scheduled to Discuss CDFA’s Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program - - Emergency drought legislation (SB 103) signed earlier this month by Governor Brown allocates $10 million to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for on-farm water conservation practices throughout the state. The funding will be used to establish the CDFA Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, a grant program to increase water conservation through efficiencies and better management and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Two public stakeholder meetings have been scheduled in April 2014 to explain the new program and to receive comments and suggestions. <more> March 27, 2014 CDFA press  release
  • UC Giannini Foundation Conference on Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources - - The University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics will hold a forum, "Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources," on Monday, May 19, 2014, at The California Museum in Sacramento. The one-day conference will bring together leading economists, analysts, scientists and policy makers from University of California, the state government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss the potential impacts of climate change and the associated challenges to California's agriculture and natural resources. The speakers and panelists will provide comprehensive, objective, and up-to-date information of the likely impacts of climate change on California’s rural economy. Please visit the conference website, which includes the program, directions to the venue, and a registration page. Registration is required and it is free-of-charge. The deadline for registration is May 12, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact Julie McNamara, Outreach Coordinator, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. March 19, 2014 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics
  • California Bioresources Alliance Symposium - - The ninth annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium will be held June 3-4 at UC Davis and will feature the latest research in the field being done at UC Davis on organic residuals issues. Sessions will include legislative and policy developments on organic residuals in California, impacts of mandatory recycling and landfill closures, waste-to-energy issues, biogas issues including clustering dairies and use for vehicle fuel, and local initiatives. The symposium brings together industry professionals, municipalities, regulators, legislators, state and federal agencies, students, researchers, financers and others involved in California organic residuals. The two-day event is co-hosted by UC Davis Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. For more information about the symposium, contact Lauren Fondahl, US EPA Region 9, at fondahl.lauren@epa.gov or (415) 972-3514. For more information about registration or to become a sponsor, contact Sara House at sdhouse@ucdavis.edu or (530) 757-8549. <more> March 18, 2014 UC Davis

 

 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Water News

  • El Niño could bring big storms next winter, new report says - - Raising hopes that California's severe drought could end with a series of soaking storms next winter, federal scientists on Thursday announced there is now a 2-in-3 chance of an El Niño climate pattern developing in the Pacific Ocean by the end of this year. <more> April 10, 2014 San Jose Mercury News
  • No water for ag despite recent Calif. storms - - Despite more late-season storms in California, state and federal water planners weren’t ready April 9 to start sending water to farms without senior water rights.Agencies maintained zero-water allocations for State Water Project and federal Central Valley Project contractors as they unveiled a comprehensive drought management plan to guide them through the remainder of 2014.Officials said new allocations could still come in the next couple of weeks as they examine improved March runoff and an April 1 snowpack survey that was conducted amid a rather prolific snowstorm in the Sierra Nevada range. <more> April 10, 2014 Capital Press

     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • U.S. farm industry seeks rules on data privacy, no consensus yet - - The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) said on Thursday it had more work to do to find consensus on a set of standards aimed at protecting farm data privacy, after meeting in Kansas City with a dozen leading U.S. agricultural industry players. At stake is who will spearhead the drive toward a common standard for data produced on farms as the industry aims to turn information into profit and productivity, projected to be a multi-billion dollar industry in the coming years. <more> April 10, 2014 Reuters
  • Assembly panel sour on bill allowing limited raw milk sales - - Citing overwhelming evidence of the health risks, lawmakers on Wednesday rejected a bill that would allow small farms to sell or give to friends portions of raw dairy products. Assembly Bill 2505 by Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, would allow small farms to sell or give away fresh-from-the-udder, unpasteurized milk without complying with some of the standards that apply to larger dairies. <more> April 9, 2014 Capitol Alert
  • Hoping for Asylum, Migrants Strain U.S. Border - - After six years of steep declines across the Southwest, illegal crossings have soared in South Texas while remaining low elsewhere. The Border Patrol made more than 90,700 apprehensions in the Rio Grande Valley in the past six months, a 69 percent increase over last year. The migrants are no longer primarily Mexican laborers. Instead they are Central Americans, including many families with small children and youngsters without their parents, who risk a danger-filled journey across Mexico. <more> April 10, 2014 The New York Times
  • Dairy groups welcome voluntary GMO labeling bill - - National Milk Producers Foundation and International Dairy Foods Association are applauding a bill in the House of Representatives to establish federal standards for the safety and labeling of foods and beverages containing genetically modified ingredients.The bill, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., would require FDA to set standards for companies that wish to voluntarily label their products as containing or not containing GMOs. <more> April 11, 2014 Capital Press
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • U.S. Corn Exports to China Dry Up Over GMO Concerns - - China's tougher stance on imports of genetically modified corn is roiling U.S. agribusiness, largely halting trade in the biggest U.S. crop in its fastest growing market. By one industry estimate, exports are down by 85% compared with last year. <more> April 11, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • Grain, ethanol shippers unhappy with rail car delays - - U.S. grain and ethanol shippers told federal regulators Thursday that delays in getting rail cars to ship their products are causing them financial havoc, and warned of long-term damage to their businesses unless conditions improve. Farm groups, grain elevator operators and government officials from Midwestern states told members of the Surface Transportation Board in Washington that the inability of major railroads to deliver enough cars on time has resulted in grain piles on the verge of spoiling and cash crunches for some growers unable to ship their crops. <more> April 11, 2014 USA Today
  • Cheese price hemorrhaging may be over - - The hemorrhaging may be coming to an end at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.Cash Cheddar cheese blocks dipped to $2.1650 Thursday, then inched up a half-cent Friday, to close at $2.17 per pound, down 18 cents on the week, down 26 1/4-cents from its recent record high, but still 33 1/4-cents above a year ago. <more> April 11, 2014 Capital Press
  • Cattle leader says deal undermines U.S. beef - - A member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association board of directors from Missouri says the Japan/Australia trade deal seeks to undermine U.S. trade in the Trans Pacific Partnership which is under negotiation. <more> April 11, 2014 Brownfield Ag News

     

Environmental News

  • Farmers offered funding to help nesting Tricolored Blackbirds - - Farmers who have Tricolored Blackbirds nesting in their fields may be eligible for financial assistance from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to delay harvesting and allow the birds 35 days to fledge their young. Interested producers have until May 2, 2014, to apply for funding. This initiative is being coordinated through a partnership effort with Audubon California. <more> April 11, 2014 WUD Friday Update
  • California Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees - - Sand County Foundation, the California Farm Bureau Federation and Sustainable Conservation are accepting applications for the $10,000 California Leopold Conservation Award. The award honors California farmers, ranchers and other private landowners who demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources. <more> April 9, 2014 Dairy Today
  • SDA Officially Announces Sign-Up Date for Farmer and Rancher Disaster Assistance Programs - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that farmers and ranchers can sign-up for disaster assistance programs, reestablished and strengthened by the 2014 Farm Bill, beginning Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Quick implementation of the programs has been a top priority for USDA. "These programs will provide long-awaited disaster relief for many livestock producers who have endured significant financial hardship from weather-related disasters while the programs were expired and awaiting Congressional action," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. <more> April 7, 2014 FSA news release
  • Central Valley farmers need to report practices - - Farmers are filling out a four-page survey that will help assess how well they are keeping pesticides and fertilizers out of waterways. The East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition has set a May 1 deadline for completion of the surveys, which involve most of the irrigated land east of the San Joaquin River in Stanislaus, Merced and Madera counties. For farmers, the coalition is a cheaper and simpler way of complying with water-quality rules than direct regulation by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, a state agency. It matters as well to Valley residents at large, if it protects them from nitrates and other pollutants in drinking water. <more> March 28, 2014 Modesto Bee

     

Stories of Interest


 
  • Registration now open for regional National Mastitis Council meeting - - Registration for the National Mastitis Council (NMC) Regional Meeting, August 4-6, 2014, is now open. This three day event will be held at Ghent University in Ghent, Belgium. The regional meeting provides attendees with information and skills necessary to strengthen milk quality programs and increase dairy profitability. The conference also provides an excellent opportunity to network with individuals from around the world who share the common interest of quality milk production. The meeting is being organized jointly with the M-team at Ghent University. <more> April 10, 2014 Ag Web
     
  • 12th Annual WUD Golf Tournament - - The 12th annual North Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament is just around the corner! Event will take place on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at Stevinson Ranch, Stevinson, CA. Check-in and lunch 11:30am. Shotgun start: 12:30pm. Dinner, prizes and awards: 5:45pm (approximately). Registration is $150 and supports Western United Dairymen’s Federal PAC. A registration flyer will be mailed at a later date. For more information contact Heidi Savage at (209) 527-6453 or (209) 614-5625.

     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • The North Valley WUD Golf Tournament will tee of on Tuesday, June 3 at Stevinson Ranch in Stevinson, with a shotgun start at 12:30pm.
  • Assembly water bond hearing set for April 17 in Modesto - - The Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee will hold an oversight hearing in Modesto on the need, from a local perspective, for a 2014 water bond. The hearing will be held April 17 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Modesto Junior College, West Campus, Mary Stuart Student Learning Center, 2201 Blue Gum Ave., Modesto. Public comment will be taken after two panels of speaks offer their testimony. Public comment will be limited to two to three minutes. The committee is chaired by Assemblymember Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood). He has established an Assembly Water Bond Working Group that crafted a set of principles to set spending priorities and increase accountability to the public. Rendon is the author of AB 1331, The Clean and Safe Drinking Water Act Of 2014. This bill in its present form includes, $2.5 billion for above - and below -ground storage projects (includes a “modified” form of continuous appropriation language), provides $1 billion for water quality, $1.5 billion for protection of rivers and watersheds, a total of $2 billion for regional projects and integrated regional water management (IRWM), and $1 billion for the Delta Sustainability projects. More information on the proposed water bonds can be found at http://awpw.assembly.ca.gov/waterbond
  • Public Meetings Scheduled to Discuss CDFA’s Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program - - Emergency drought legislation (SB 103) signed earlier this month by Governor Brown allocates $10 million to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for on-farm water conservation practices throughout the state. The funding will be used to establish the CDFA Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, a grant program to increase water conservation through efficiencies and better management and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Two public stakeholder meetings have been scheduled in April 2014 to explain the new program and to receive comments and suggestions. <more> March 27, 2014 CDFA press  release
  • UC Giannini Foundation Conference on Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources - - The University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics will hold a forum, "Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources," on Monday, May 19, 2014, at The California Museum in Sacramento. The one-day conference will bring together leading economists, analysts, scientists and policy makers from University of California, the state government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss the potential impacts of climate change and the associated challenges to California's agriculture and natural resources. The speakers and panelists will provide comprehensive, objective, and up-to-date information of the likely impacts of climate change on California’s rural economy. Please visit the conference website, which includes the program, directions to the venue, and a registration page. Registration is required and it is free-of-charge. The deadline for registration is May 12, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact Julie McNamara, Outreach Coordinator, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. March 19, 2014 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics
  • California Bioresources Alliance Symposium - - The ninth annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium will be held June 3-4 at UC Davis and will feature the latest research in the field being done at UC Davis on organic residuals issues. Sessions will include legislative and policy developments on organic residuals in California, impacts of mandatory recycling and landfill closures, waste-to-energy issues, biogas issues including clustering dairies and use for vehicle fuel, and local initiatives. The symposium brings together industry professionals, municipalities, regulators, legislators, state and federal agencies, students, researchers, financers and others involved in California organic residuals. The two-day event is co-hosted by UC Davis Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. For more information about the symposium, contact Lauren Fondahl, US EPA Region 9, at fondahl.lauren@epa.gov or (415) 972-3514. For more information about registration or to become a sponsor, contact Sara House at sdhouse@ucdavis.edu or (530) 757-8549. <more> March 18, 2014 UC Davis

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Water News

  • Feinstein pressure helps farms over fish - - First came the urgent e-mail to two Cabinet secretaries from San Joaquin Valley farm interests, demanding that officials allow "maximum pumping" of water from recent storms for agriculture and cities and minimize flows for endangered fish making their river migrations amid the worst drought in years. Two days later, on March 25, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein allied herself with the same Central Valley House Republicans she had criticized just weeks earlier for trying to override endangered species laws. <more> April 10, 2014 San Francisco Gate
  • California water plan unveils hardships to come as drought persists  - - As California’s drought stretches toward the hot summer months, state and federal officials are planning extraordinary measures to protect drinking water supplies and endangered Sacramento River salmon, according to a plan unveiled Wednesday. The “Drought Operations Plan” was released by the state Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operate the primary systems of water reservoirs and canals in California. <more> April 9, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • California Drought: San Joaquin Valley sinking as farmers race to tap aquifer - - So wet was the San Joaquin Valley of Steve Arthur's childhood that a single 240-foot-deep well could quench the thirst of an arid farm. Now his massive rig, bucking and belching, must drill 1,200 feet deep in search of ever-more-elusive water to sustain this wheat farm north of Bakersfield. As he drills, his phone rings with three new appeals for help. "Everybody is starting to panic," said Arthur, whose Fresno-based well-drilling company just bought its ninth rig, off the Wyoming oil fields. "Without water, this valley can't survive." <more> April 9, 2014 Contra Costa Times
  • Farms feel drought’s wrath - - California’s severe drought is having a profound effect on farming and an unprecedented amount of acreage likely will be left fallow, the Brown administration’s top agriculture official said today. Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross told an Assembly budget subcommittee that “no doubt there will be a tremendous impact on agriculture this year.” <more> April 9, 2014 Capitol Weekly
  • Water deliveries remain at 0 pending further study - - Water managers are determining if recent storms helped California's dwindling water supplies enough to warrant increases in water deliveries to farms and thirsty cities. Meantime, the California Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on Wednesday announced that water deliveries will remain at zero until the analysis is complete. <more> April 9, 2014 AP

     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • NMPF Praises New Voluntary GMO Labeling Bill - - The National Milk Producers Federation today applauded introduction of legislation establishing federal standards for the safety and labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients (GMOs). Under the bill, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), the Food and Drug Administration will set standards for companies that wish to label their products as containing or not containing GMOs. In addition, FDA is required to conduct a safety review of all new genetically modified traits and could mandate labeling if there is a health, safety or nutrition issue with a particular ingredient. The legislation is co-sponsored by Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Jim Matheson (D-UT) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY). <more> April 9, 2014 NMPF press release
  • U.S. bill seeks to block mandatory GMO food labeling by states - - A Republican congressman from Kansas introduced legislation on Wednesday that would nullify efforts in multiple states to require labeling of genetically modified foods. The bill, dubbed the "Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act" was drafted by U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo from Kansas, and is aimed at overriding bills in roughly two dozen states that would require foods made with genetically engineered crops to be labeled as such. <more> April 9, 2014 Reuters
  • Bill would have FDA decide on labeling genetically modified food - - Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo is pushing a bill in Congress that would shift responsibility for any labeling of genetically modified foods to the hands of the federal government, potentially stopping the efforts underway in many states to mandate labels on such foods. <more> April 10, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • Nancy Pelosi’s immigration reform road show - - Nancy Pelosi is harnessing the same level of energy to push immigration reform that she brought to her biggest legislative achievement when she ran the House: the health care overhaul. The California Democrat does not wield the speaker’s gavel anymore, but she’s hitting the road to bring attention to immigration, which she calls her top legislative priority. In recent weeks, she’s pitched an overhaul to audiences from Miami to Los Angeles to Laredo, Texas. <more> April 9, 2014 Politico
  • White House may slow immigration deportations unless Congress acts - - After meeting with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus voiced confidence Wednesday that if the Republican-led House fails to undertake immigration reform this year, the administration will act by executive action. <more> April 9, 2014 LA Times
  • Water is the magic word as Californians lobby Congress for aid - - San Joaquin Valley lobbying priorities this week can be summed up simply. “Water, water, water,” Brenda Veenendaal, senior regional planner with the Fresno Council of Governments, said Wednesday on Capitol Hill. In separate, but overlapping lobbying trips that formally began Monday, officials from both Fresno and Tulare counties have been seeking support from elected lawmakers, all-important staff and Obama administration higher-ups. These are annual ventures that this year took on a different, wetter cast. <more> April 9, 2014 Fresno Bee

Pricing/Commodity News

  • California Class I Milk Prices Jump a Buck - - The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced their May Class I milk price today at a record high $25.88 per hundredweight (cwt.) for the north and a record $26.15 for the south. Both are up $1.00 from April, after slipping 50 cents from March, and are $6.49 above May 2013. That pulls the 2014 Class I average for the north to $24.42 per cwt., up from $19.66 at this time a year ago, $18.03 in 2012, and $19.03 in 2011. The southern average now stands at $24.69, up from $19.93 a year ago, $18.30 in 2012, and $19.30 in 2011. The Federal order Class I base price is announced by USDA on April 23. April 10, 2014 Dairy Business Update

     

Environmental News

  • California Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees - - Sand County Foundation, the California Farm Bureau Federation and Sustainable Conservation are accepting applications for the $10,000 California Leopold Conservation Award. The award honors California farmers, ranchers and other private landowners who demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources. <more> April 9, 2014 Dairy Today
  • Aid available for farmers with nesting blackbirds - - Farmers who have tricolored blackbirds nesting in their fields may be eligible for federal funding to delay their harvesting and allow the birds 15 days to fledge their young, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced. <more> April 8, 2014 Capital Press
  • SDA Officially Announces Sign-Up Date for Farmer and Rancher Disaster Assistance Programs - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that farmers and ranchers can sign-up for disaster assistance programs, reestablished and strengthened by the 2014 Farm Bill, beginning Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Quick implementation of the programs has been a top priority for USDA. "These programs will provide long-awaited disaster relief for many livestock producers who have endured significant financial hardship from weather-related disasters while the programs were expired and awaiting Congressional action," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. <more> April 7, 2014 FSA news release
  • Central Valley farmers need to report practices - - Farmers are filling out a four-page survey that will help assess how well they are keeping pesticides and fertilizers out of waterways. The East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition has set a May 1 deadline for completion of the surveys, which involve most of the irrigated land east of the San Joaquin River in Stanislaus, Merced and Madera counties. For farmers, the coalition is a cheaper and simpler way of complying with water-quality rules than direct regulation by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, a state agency. It matters as well to Valley residents at large, if it protects them from nitrates and other pollutants in drinking water. <more> March 28, 2014 Modesto Bee

     

Stories of Interest


 
  • Registration now open for regional National Mastitis Council meeting - - Registration for the National Mastitis Council (NMC) Regional Meeting, August 4-6, 2014, is now open. This three day event will be held at Ghent University in Ghent, Belgium. The regional meeting provides attendees with information and skills necessary to strengthen milk quality programs and increase dairy profitability. The conference also provides an excellent opportunity to network with individuals from around the world who share the common interest of quality milk production. The meeting is being organized jointly with the M-team at Ghent University. <more> April 10, 2014 Ag Web
  • Walmart to Sell Organic Food, Undercutting Big Brands - - Walmart plans to announce on Thursday that it is putting its muscle behind Wild Oats organic products, offering the label at prices that will undercut brand-name organic competitors by at least 25 percent. The move by Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer and grocer, is likely to send shock waves through the organic market, in which an increasing number of food companies and retailers are seeking a toehold. <more> April 10, 2014 The New York Times
  • No Plows, Cows, Sows: Not Your (Grand)Father's Youth Farm Group - - A record number of kids are donning the blue corduroy jacket of FFA, formerly known as Future Farmers of America. The jacket is an icon of rural life — the organization is sort of like Boy Scouts for farming, and it dates back to the 1920s. Even though fewer and fewer young people grow up on farms these days, the extracurricular activity is attracting more urban and suburban kids interested in food and agricultural science. <more> April 10, 2014 NPR
  • 12th Annual WUD Golf Tournament - - The 12th annual North Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament is just around the corner! Event will take place on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at Stevinson Ranch, Stevinson, CA. Check-in and lunch 11:30am. Shotgun start: 12:30pm. Dinner, prizes and awards: 5:45pm (approximately). Registration is $150 and supports Western United Dairymen’s Federal PAC. A registration flyer will be mailed at a later date. For more information contact Heidi Savage at (209) 527-6453 or (209) 614-5625.

     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • The North Valley WUD Golf Tournament will tee of on Tuesday, June 3 at Stevinson Ranch in Stevinson, with a shotgun start at 12:30pm.
  • Public Meetings Scheduled to Discuss CDFA’s Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program - - Emergency drought legislation (SB 103) signed earlier this month by Governor Brown allocates $10 million to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for on-farm water conservation practices throughout the state. The funding will be used to establish the CDFA Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, a grant program to increase water conservation through efficiencies and better management and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Two public stakeholder meetings have been scheduled in April 2014 to explain the new program and to receive comments and suggestions. <more> March 27, 2014 CDFA press  release
  • UC Giannini Foundation Conference on Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources - - The University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics will hold a forum, "Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources," on Monday, May 19, 2014, at The California Museum in Sacramento. The one-day conference will bring together leading economists, analysts, scientists and policy makers from University of California, the state government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss the potential impacts of climate change and the associated challenges to California's agriculture and natural resources. The speakers and panelists will provide comprehensive, objective, and up-to-date information of the likely impacts of climate change on California’s rural economy. Please visit the conference website, which includes the program, directions to the venue, and a registration page. Registration is required and it is free-of-charge. The deadline for registration is May 12, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact Julie McNamara, Outreach Coordinator, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. March 19, 2014 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics
  • California Bioresources Alliance Symposium - - The ninth annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium will be held June 3-4 at UC Davis and will feature the latest research in the field being done at UC Davis on organic residuals issues. Sessions will include legislative and policy developments on organic residuals in California, impacts of mandatory recycling and landfill closures, waste-to-energy issues, biogas issues including clustering dairies and use for vehicle fuel, and local initiatives. The symposium brings together industry professionals, municipalities, regulators, legislators, state and federal agencies, students, researchers, financers and others involved in California organic residuals. The two-day event is co-hosted by UC Davis Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. For more information about the symposium, contact Lauren Fondahl, US EPA Region 9, at fondahl.lauren@epa.gov or (415) 972-3514. For more information about registration or to become a sponsor, contact Sara House at sdhouse@ucdavis.edu or (530) 757-8549. <more> March 18, 2014 UC Davis

 

 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Water News

  • State, federal water managers offer plan for drought measures - - The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources have unveiled what they call their “Drought Operations Plan” – a set of goals that continues water operations that have been in place since late January to manage drought conditions in the state. The two managers of the massive irrigation systems known as the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project claim their came up with the management plan in “close coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the State Water Resources Control Board.” <more> April 9, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • MID backs district-managed and open-market water sales - - There’s no longer a dispute over whether the Modesto Irrigation District should help drought-stricken farms get more water this year by paying some growers a fixed price to forgo their water shares or by allowing open-market sales among farmers. The MID board on Tuesday quit arguing which approach – both approved in February – best fits the district’s mission and agreed that both will proceed. Details of so-called farmer-to-farmer sales should emerge in about a month, while those who signed up for the district-managed program heard unexpected good news Tuesday. <more> April 8, 2014 Modesto Bee
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • National Milk Supports Legislation Blocking Brewers’ Grains Regs - - The National Milk Producers Federation supports the legislation introduced this week by four House members to stop the Food and Drug Administration from making it harder to use beer by-products in animal feed. We need to keep the brew in the moo on our farms, and this legislation is a signal that the FDA needs to rethink the regulation that it is pursuing. <more> April 9, 2014 NMPF press release
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer: Immigration not dead for 2014 - - Sen. Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat, said Monday that he thinks Congress still has a chance to pass immigration reform before the end of 2014. “Most people are for immigration reform. Most Republicans, they’re in the vote-no, pray-yes caucus, they want it to pass as long as they don’t have to vote for it,” he said on MSNBC. “I still think we have a chance to pass it this year.” <more> April 7, 2014 The Washington Times
  • Bill introduced that preempts state GMO labeling efforts - - Reps. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., and G. K. Butterfield, D-N.C., both members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, are introducing a bill today that creates a federal standard for voluntarily labeling foods that are not genetically modified and requires additional reviews for foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients, or “GMO” foods. <more> April 9, 2014 Agri-Pulse
  • Hilmar Cheese shows off new headquarters - - Hilmar Cheese Co. on Tuesday dedicated its new headquarters, including a lab where workers dream up more and more uses for dairy products. The building, just south of the world’s largest cheese plant on Lander Avenue, will help the company take advantage of a growing global market for this food and its byproducts, speakers said. “No one is more optimistic about your future than I am,” said Karen Ross, secretary of food and agriculture for Gov. Jerry Brown. <more> April 8, 2014 Modesto Bee

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Dairy Prices to Remain Strong Even as U.S. Dairies Yield Record Milk Supply - - Dairy prices will remain unusually strong this year, even as U.S. milk production increases to historic highs, USDA forecast today in its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. U.S. milk output is projected to climb to a record 206.1 billion pounds in 2014, up nearly 5 billion pounds from 201.2 billion pounds in 2013. Today’s production estimate also rose by 400 million pounds from last month’s WASDE forecast. <more> April 9, 2014 Dairy Today
  • Beef prices hit all-time high in U.S. - - Come grilling season, expect your sirloin steak to come with a hearty side of sticker shock. Beef prices have reached all-time highs in the U.S. and aren't expected to come down any time soon. Extreme weather has thinned the nation's beef cattle herds to levels last seen in 1951, when there were about half as many mouths to feed in America. <more> April 8, 2014 LA Times
     

Environmental News

  • Conservation award nominations accepted until July 11 - - Sand County Foundation, the California Farm Bureau Federation and Sustainable Conservation are accepting applications for the $10,000 California Leopold Conservation Award. The award honors California farmers, ranchers and other private landowners who demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources. “California farmers, ranchers and other landowners prove daily that a healthy environment and economy are not only possible, but essential, to a bright future,” said Sustainable Conservation Executive Director Ashley Boren. “The California Leopold Conservation Award celebrates these often overlooked conservation heroes who produce our food and steward our environment in ways that benefit people and the planet.” Nominations must be postmarked by July 11, 2014, and mailed to Leopold Conservation Award c/o Sustainable Conservation, 98 Battery Street, Suite 302, San Francisco, CA 94111. Learn more about the Leopold Conservation Award here.
  • San Joaquin tops list of endangered rivers in America - - The San Joaquin River is America's most endangered waterway this year, says the national advocacy group American Rivers, known for annually picking the country's 10 most troubled rivers. The San Joaquin's water is spread too thin among farmers, hydroelectric projects and other uses on the mainstem and three tributaries, the Merced, Stanislaus and Tuolumne rivers, the group announced Wednesday in Washington, D.C. <more> April 8, 2014 The Fresno Bee
  • Aid available for farmers with nesting blackbirds - - Farmers who have tricolored blackbirds nesting in their fields may be eligible for federal funding to delay their harvesting and allow the birds 15 days to fledge their young, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced. <more> April 8, 2014 Capital Press
  • SDA Officially Announces Sign-Up Date for Farmer and Rancher Disaster Assistance Programs - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that farmers and ranchers can sign-up for disaster assistance programs, reestablished and strengthened by the 2014 Farm Bill, beginning Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Quick implementation of the programs has been a top priority for USDA. "These programs will provide long-awaited disaster relief for many livestock producers who have endured significant financial hardship from weather-related disasters while the programs were expired and awaiting Congressional action," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. <more> April 7, 2014 FSA news release
  • Central Valley farmers need to report practices - - Farmers are filling out a four-page survey that will help assess how well they are keeping pesticides and fertilizers out of waterways. The East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition has set a May 1 deadline for completion of the surveys, which involve most of the irrigated land east of the San Joaquin River in Stanislaus, Merced and Madera counties. For farmers, the coalition is a cheaper and simpler way of complying with water-quality rules than direct regulation by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, a state agency. It matters as well to Valley residents at large, if it protects them from nitrates and other pollutants in drinking water. <more> March 28, 2014 Modesto Bee

     

Stories of Interest


 
  • 12th Annual WUD Golf Tournament - - The 12th annual North Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament is just around the corner! Event will take place on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at Stevinson Ranch, Stevinson, CA. Check-in and lunch 11:30am. Shotgun start: 12:30pm. Dinner, prizes and awards: 5:45pm (approximately). Registration is $150 and supports Western United Dairymen’s Federal PAC. A registration flyer will be mailed at a later date. For more information contact Heidi Savage at (209) 527-6453 or (209) 614-5625.
  • On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a cow - - Someday, your phone will be able to talk to your fridge, letting you know when you're low on milk. But wouldn't it be cooler if you could know everything about the cow your milk came from? We're not quite at that stage yet. But dairy farmers are getting an enormous boost from data and analytics as a result of new technology that helps them track detailed information about their entire herd, down to the individual cow. That technology is boosting milk yields, preventing illness and - for the ranchers - increasing profits. <more> April 8, 2014 The Washington Post
  • Cold, Then Dry: Dealing California Citrus Farmers a Double Punch - - A cold snap last December hit this area hard and dried up lots of Fisher’s fruit. Many of his baby mandarin trees are still brown and fried. The surviving orange trees face a double-whammy: first the freeze, now no irrigation water whatsoever to keep them alive as they move into the spring and summer. “The trees are already starting to go into a wilt,” says Fisher. “You see the leaves are curling. These trees are just running out of gas. It’s hard.” <more> April 8, 2014 KQED
  • Dodge Ram rallies more support for FFA - - Dodge Ram headed to the Academy of Country Music Awards over the weekend to announce a new fundraising supporting the “next crop” of the nation’s farmers and ranchers to the tune of $1 million. The announcement was made in a commercial that aired during the award show. <more> April 8, 2014 Dairy Herd Management

     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • The North Valley WUD Golf Tournament will tee of on Tuesday, June 3 at Stevinson Ranch in Stevinson, with a shotgun start at 12:30pm.
  • Public Meetings Scheduled to Discuss CDFA’s Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program - - Emergency drought legislation (SB 103) signed earlier this month by Governor Brown allocates $10 million to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for on-farm water conservation practices throughout the state. The funding will be used to establish the CDFA Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, a grant program to increase water conservation through efficiencies and better management and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Two public stakeholder meetings have been scheduled in April 2014 to explain the new program and to receive comments and suggestions. <more> March 27, 2014 CDFA press  release
  • UC Giannini Foundation Conference on Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources - - The University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics will hold a forum, "Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources," on Monday, May 19, 2014, at The California Museum in Sacramento. The one-day conference will bring together leading economists, analysts, scientists and policy makers from University of California, the state government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss the potential impacts of climate change and the associated challenges to California's agriculture and natural resources. The speakers and panelists will provide comprehensive, objective, and up-to-date information of the likely impacts of climate change on California’s rural economy. Please visit the conference website, which includes the program, directions to the venue, and a registration page. Registration is required and it is free-of-charge. The deadline for registration is May 12, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact Julie McNamara, Outreach Coordinator, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. March 19, 2014 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics
  • California Bioresources Alliance Symposium - - The ninth annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium will be held June 3-4 at UC Davis and will feature the latest research in the field being done at UC Davis on organic residuals issues. Sessions will include legislative and policy developments on organic residuals in California, impacts of mandatory recycling and landfill closures, waste-to-energy issues, biogas issues including clustering dairies and use for vehicle fuel, and local initiatives. The symposium brings together industry professionals, municipalities, regulators, legislators, state and federal agencies, students, researchers, financers and others involved in California organic residuals. The two-day event is co-hosted by UC Davis Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. For more information about the symposium, contact Lauren Fondahl, US EPA Region 9, at fondahl.lauren@epa.gov or (415) 972-3514. For more information about registration or to become a sponsor, contact Sara House at sdhouse@ucdavis.edu or (530) 757-8549. <more> March 18, 2014 UC Davis

 

 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Water News

State/Federal News and Politics

Pricing/Commodity News

Environmental News

Stories of Interest


 

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

 

Monday, April 7, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

Water News

Pricing/Commodity News

Environmental News

Stories of Interest


 

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Water News

  • Droughts in California are nothing new, expert says - - While California is enduring one of its worst droughts in the last 500 years, drought in the Golden State is certainly nothing new, a climate expert observes. Such natural evidence as submerged tree stumps, sediment patterns and archaeological remains of abandoned towns suggest periods when California was much warmer and droughts lasted a century or longer, said B. Lynn Ingram of the University of California-Berkeley. <more> April 4, 2014 Capital Press

     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Lawmakers Worried About Fate of Pacific Trade Pact - - Lawmakers who shape U.S. trade policy expressed fears Thursday that a multiyear bid to create a trans-Pacific trade pact may go the way of other moribund trade negotiations. House members who oversee trade policy say the talks to form the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, are at a fragile stage. U.S. officials had sought to wrap up a deal last year, but now they are saying 2014 is the goal, although no high-level meetings have been scheduled since trade ministers last gathered in February. <more> April 3, 2014 Wall Street Journal

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Analysts expect dairy feed costs to drop - - Analysts say dairy feed costs will be significantly lower this year compared to the last three years, pushing profits up.“Overall, we’re going to see lower feed cost,” said Katelyn McCullock, dairy economist with Livestock Marketing Information Center.Combined with record-high milk prices in the first half of 2014 that are expected to taper only slightly in the second half, it’ll be a profitable year for dairymen, she said.LMIC expects the all-milk price to average $20.50 to $22 per hundredweight and the average Class III milk price to average $19.25 to $20.75 in 2014. <more> April 4, 2014 Capital Press
  • Farmland values post historic increase - - California is in the midst of a historic rise in farmland values, driven largely by strong crop prices and increased plantings of tree nuts and winegrapes, a group of rural appraisers recently reported. That is true as well for arable land in San Joaquin County, where the price of most types of irrigated crop and orchard lands are on the rise or, at worst, holding steady, according to the Trends 2014 report from the California Chapter of the American Society of Farmland Managers and Rural Appraisers. <more> April 4, 2014 Stockton Record
  • World Food Price Index up in March - - World food prices were at their highest levels in almost a year in March, after jumping a “sharp” 2.3 percent, the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported yesterday. Prices in the FAO's index, which is based on the costs for a basket of food commodities, increased in most measured groups. Sugar and cereals saw the largest gains - 7.9 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively. Dairy, meanwhile, was the only group to take a dip, as prices fell 2.5 percent. <more> April 4, 2014 Agri-Pulse

Environmental News

  • Targets to be set for greenhouse gas reduction in California agriculture - - A new draft of a scoping plan for meeting long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions in California includes new greenhouse gas targets specifically for agriculture. The scoping plan provides a roadmap for meeting required GHG reductions under Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32) for eight key economic areas, including energy, transportation, water and agriculture. AB 32 was passed into law in 2006 and requires California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent (back to 1990 levels) by 2020, and even further (to 20 percent of 1990 levels) by the year 2050. <more> April 3, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Lawmakers push EPA for more time on water rule - - Industry groups and more than a dozen GOP senators are urging the Obama administration to reconsider plans to regulate many of the nation’s streams and wetlands, saying the proposed rule hurts economic activity and oversteps legal bounds. In a letter Thursday, the senators faulted the Environmental Protection Agency for announcing a proposed rule last week before the government’s peer-reviewed scientific assessment was fully complete. They are calling on the government to withdraw the rule or give the public six months to review it, rather than the three months being provided. <more> April 3, 2014 AP
  • Storm runoff to aid salmon migration - - There’s at least one immediate benefit from the most recent storms that swept through California: Wildlife officials will temporarily stop transporting hatchery salmon by truck, and instead release those fish at the hatcheries following usual practice. <more> April 3, 2014 Sacramento Bee
  • Central Valley farmers need to report practices - - Farmers are filling out a four-page survey that will help assess how well they are keeping pesticides and fertilizers out of waterways. The East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition has set a May 1 deadline for completion of the surveys, which involve most of the irrigated land east of the San Joaquin River in Stanislaus, Merced and Madera counties. For farmers, the coalition is a cheaper and simpler way of complying with water-quality rules than direct regulation by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, a state agency. It matters as well to Valley residents at large, if it protects them from nitrates and other pollutants in drinking water. <more> March 28, 2014 Modesto Bee

     

Stories of Interest


 
  • Program Looks to Give Bees a Leg (or Six) Up - - Helping America’s beleaguered bees could start with something as humble as planting a shrub. Here in California’s Central Valley, researchers are trying to find assortments of bee-friendly plants that local farmers and ranchers can easily grow, whether in unusable corners and borders of their land or on acreage set aside with government support. <more> April 2, 2014 New York Times
  • Small Avocado Groves in Peril - - The rising cost of water is forcing small avocado growers all over the North County to give up on their groves. Just 10 years ago, there were nearly 30,000 acres of avocado trees growing in such places as Fallbrook, Valley Center, Bonsall and the San Pasqual and Pauma valleys. Today that number has dwindled to between 18,000 and 22,000 acres, experts say, and the trend is expected to continue downward for the next couple years before stabilizing at around 15,000. <more> April 3, 2014 U-T San Diego

     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Ag crime prevention seminar set in Tulare - - With farmers and ranchers reeling from a recent rash of agricultural crimes in the Central Valley, a daylong agricultural crime prevention seminar is planned for Saturday, April 5, at the International Agri-Center in Tulare. It’s sponsored by Western Executive Protection, with on-site registration starting at 7 a.m. Presentations on how to prevent ag crime, the various types of crimes facing farmers and ranchers and how to respond in the case of criminal activity are scheduled. <more> April 2, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Public Meetings Scheduled to Discuss CDFA’s Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program - - Emergency drought legislation (SB 103) signed earlier this month by Governor Brown allocates $10 million to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for on-farm water conservation practices throughout the state. The funding will be used to establish the CDFA Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, a grant program to increase water conservation through efficiencies and better management and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Two public stakeholder meetings have been scheduled in April 2014 to explain the new program and to receive comments and suggestions. <more> March 27, 2014 CDFA press  release
  • AgSTAR Partners with BioCycle for AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop - - AgSTAR is partnering with BioCycle for the 14th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (BioCycle REFOR14 West). A one-day workshop will be held in conjunction with BioCycle REFOR14 West on Monday, April 7, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The theme for the event is "Navigating the Biogas Maze: Learning from the Leaders". Attendees will hear experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. For more information visit the BioCycle REFOR14 West website. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. Feb. 20, 2014 AgSTAR news
  • UC Giannini Foundation Conference on Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources - - The University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics will hold a forum, "Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources," on Monday, May 19, 2014, at The California Museum in Sacramento. The one-day conference will bring together leading economists, analysts, scientists and policy makers from University of California, the state government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss the potential impacts of climate change and the associated challenges to California's agriculture and natural resources. The speakers and panelists will provide comprehensive, objective, and up-to-date information of the likely impacts of climate change on California’s rural economy. Please visit the conference website, which includes the program, directions to the venue, and a registration page. Registration is required and it is free-of-charge. The deadline for registration is May 12, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact Julie McNamara, Outreach Coordinator, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. March 19, 2014 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics
  • California Bioresources Alliance Symposium - - The ninth annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium will be held June 3-4 at UC Davis and will feature the latest research in the field being done at UC Davis on organic residuals issues. Sessions will include legislative and policy developments on organic residuals in California, impacts of mandatory recycling and landfill closures, waste-to-energy issues, biogas issues including clustering dairies and use for vehicle fuel, and local initiatives. The symposium brings together industry professionals, municipalities, regulators, legislators, state and federal agencies, students, researchers, financers and others involved in California organic residuals. The two-day event is co-hosted by UC Davis Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. For more information about the symposium, contact Lauren Fondahl, US EPA Region 9, at fondahl.lauren@epa.gov or (415) 972-3514. For more information about registration or to become a sponsor, contact Sara House at sdhouse@ucdavis.edu or (530) 757-8549. <more> March 18, 2014 UC Davis

 

 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Water News

  • California water managers ease delta pumping limits - - Officials announced Tuesday that they are temporarily waiving an endangered species protection to enable water managers to send more Northern California water south. The move comes as fishery agencies are under increasing political pressure to take advantage of late winter storms and ramp up pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the center of the state's water distribution system. <more> April 1, 2014 LA Times
  • Feinstein applauds decision to pump more water in Central Valley, seeks more - - Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Wednesday applauded a decision by federal and state officials to release more water in the Central Valley, and pushed for much more supplies to be made available to the parched farming region. At a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing that she presided over, the California Democrat said the latest fish surveys show a negligible number of deaths among endangered species like chinook salmon and the Delta smelt. <more> April 3, 2014 Salinas Californian
  • Feinstein's revised California water bill designed to woo GOP - - In a move designed to lure Republican support, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein has introduced a revised California water bill that could move lawmakers closer to meaningful negotiation. The new bill drops spending proposals that had been included in the original California water bill introduced by Feinstein and Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer on Feb. 11. The $300 million in spending, in turn, had stuck in the craw of some Senate Republicans. <more> April 2, 2014 Fresno Bee
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Denham Sees Defense Bill as Vehicle for ENLIST Act Immigration Vote - - Rep. Jeff Denham wants a vote on his bill that would allow illegal immigrants brought to the country as children to gain permanent residence in the United States in exchange for military service — and he’s got a plan in the works. The California Republican is looking for Democrats and Republicans who are members of the House Armed Services Committee to sign on as co-sponsors of his legislation, known as the ENLIST Act, a House GOP aide familiar with Denham’s efforts told CQ Roll Call. <more> April 3, 2014 Roll Call
  • CDFA Announces Vacancy on Livestock Identification Board - - The California Department of Food and Agriculture Bureau of Livestock Identification is announcing a vacancy on the Livestock Identification Advisory Board. The Board makes recommendations to the Secretary relative to improvements and changes in the administration and enforcement of the hide and brand laws and regulations which are adopted pursuant to such laws; procedures which are followed by the Bureau of Livestock Identification; curbing of livestock thefts; the annual budget for the Bureau of Livestock Identification; and legislation designed to improve the functioning of the bureau. <more> April 1, 2014 CDFA news release
  • USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announces progress on 2014 Farm Bill implementation - - USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack is announcing significant progress on implementing the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill), which President Obama signed into law on February 7. The 2014 Farm Bill reforms agricultural policy, reduces the deficit, and helps grow the economy. “We are making tremendous progress implementing the new Farm Bill,” said Secretary Vilsack. “This law is critically important to America’s farmers and ranchers and to our nation’s economy. Every USDA agency is working diligently to implement the Farm Bill’s new provisions quickly and effectively.” <more> April 3, 2014 CDFA Planting Seeds blog
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Food safety rule threatens cows’ ‘happy hour’ - - The Brewers Association is concerned that FDA’s proposal might force the 2,000 craft breweries it represents to dry or package up their spent grain - a resource-intensive process - instead of allowing farmers to just pick up the wet grains in trucks, as most operations do now. The group estimates that 80 percent of its members currently give away their spent grain to livestock farmers. FDA’s regulations could cause the craft brewing industry to spend nearly $43 million per year to send their spent grains to landfills instead, according to the Brewers Association. <more> April 3, Politico
  • DeJong Group Buy Visalia Land For Cheese Plant - - The De Jong family has completed the purchase of 117 acres in the Visalia Industrial Park as of April 1. Realtor Doug Burr confirms the sale as does family spokesman Johnny Gailey. <more> April 3, 2014 Sierra2thSea
  • Solid week for export sales - - USDA reports weekly export sales for corn, soybeans, and wheat for the week ending March 27 were within pre-report estimates. Physical shipments of corn and soybeans were more than what’s needed weekly to meet USDA projections for the 2013/14 marketing year, but wheat was short of its mark. <more> April 3, 2014 Brownfield Ag News
     

Environmental News

  • Central Valley farmers need to report practices - - Farmers are filling out a four-page survey that will help assess how well they are keeping pesticides and fertilizers out of waterways. The East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition has set a May 1 deadline for completion of the surveys, which involve most of the irrigated land east of the San Joaquin River in Stanislaus, Merced and Madera counties. For farmers, the coalition is a cheaper and simpler way of complying with water-quality rules than direct regulation by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, a state agency. It matters as well to Valley residents at large, if it protects them from nitrates and other pollutants in drinking water. <more> March 28, 2014 Modesto Bee

     

Stories of Interest


 
  • Dairy Leader Program accepting applications until April 4 - - April 4, 2014 is the deadline to apply for Western United Dairymen's highly successful California Dairy Leaders Program. Designed to train the next generation of California's dairy leaders, the leadership program consists of several sessions devoted to developing a better understanding of the economic, legislative, marketing, and environmental issues facing the industry. Eligible participants must be actively involved in milk production, be able to spend the necessary time in class, as well as studying resource materials, and be able to commit to visits to locations such as Sacramento and Washington DC. Industry members can download applications <here>. March 17, 2014 WUD news
  • Food Banks Have Crucial Need for More Milk - - That gallon of milk you consider a staple in your refrigerator is missing in many of America’s food banks. According to Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, milk is one of the items most requested by food bank clients, yet there is a nationwide shortage because it is rarely donated. That will soon change with today’s launch of The Great American Milk Drive, the first-ever national program to help deliver highly desired and nutrient-rich gallons of milk to hungry families who need it most. <more> April 3, 2014 Dairy Today
  • Business booms for women-owned firms - - California has some 1.1 million women-owned companies – more than any other state, according to the fourth annual American Express Open “State the of Women-Owned Businesses Report,” analyzing the 1997, 2002, and 2007 data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s quinquennial business census. These California businesses provide jobs for nearly a million (984,000) people, says Julie Weeks, president and CEO of Womenable. The California women-owned businesses also generated $199.2 billion in revenue. <more> April 2, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Cows like country music, too - - Music has played an important part in all of the university dairy barns I have had the privilege to enter. In fact, on any given morning, the soothing sounds of country music can be heard emanating from the milking parlor at Miner Institute. Some may say that the country music is for the cows as much as it is for the milker to enjoy, but can music, or the environment, in the milking parlor alter lactational performance? <more> April 2, 2014 Dairy Herd Management

     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Ag crime prevention seminar set in Tulare - - With farmers and ranchers reeling from a recent rash of agricultural crimes in the Central Valley, a daylong agricultural crime prevention seminar is planned for Saturday, April 5, at the International Agri-Center in Tulare. It’s sponsored by Western Executive Protection, with on-site registration starting at 7 a.m. Presentations on how to prevent ag crime, the various types of crimes facing farmers and ranchers and how to respond in the case of criminal activity are scheduled. <more> April 2, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Public Meetings Scheduled to Discuss CDFA’s Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program - - Emergency drought legislation (SB 103) signed earlier this month by Governor Brown allocates $10 million to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for on-farm water conservation practices throughout the state. The funding will be used to establish the CDFA Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, a grant program to increase water conservation through efficiencies and better management and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Two public stakeholder meetings have been scheduled in April 2014 to explain the new program and to receive comments and suggestions. <more> March 27, 2014 CDFA press  release
  • AgSTAR Partners with BioCycle for AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop - - AgSTAR is partnering with BioCycle for the 14th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (BioCycle REFOR14 West). A one-day workshop will be held in conjunction with BioCycle REFOR14 West on Monday, April 7, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The theme for the event is "Navigating the Biogas Maze: Learning from the Leaders". Attendees will hear experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. For more information visit the BioCycle REFOR14 West website. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. Feb. 20, 2014 AgSTAR news
  • UC Giannini Foundation Conference on Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources - - The University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics will hold a forum, "Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources," on Monday, May 19, 2014, at The California Museum in Sacramento. The one-day conference will bring together leading economists, analysts, scientists and policy makers from University of California, the state government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss the potential impacts of climate change and the associated challenges to California's agriculture and natural resources. The speakers and panelists will provide comprehensive, objective, and up-to-date information of the likely impacts of climate change on California’s rural economy. Please visit the conference website, which includes the program, directions to the venue, and a registration page. Registration is required and it is free-of-charge. The deadline for registration is May 12, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact Julie McNamara, Outreach Coordinator, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. March 19, 2014 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics
  • California Bioresources Alliance Symposium - - The ninth annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium will be held June 3-4 at UC Davis and will feature the latest research in the field being done at UC Davis on organic residuals issues. Sessions will include legislative and policy developments on organic residuals in California, impacts of mandatory recycling and landfill closures, waste-to-energy issues, biogas issues including clustering dairies and use for vehicle fuel, and local initiatives. The symposium brings together industry professionals, municipalities, regulators, legislators, state and federal agencies, students, researchers, financers and others involved in California organic residuals. The two-day event is co-hosted by UC Davis Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. For more information about the symposium, contact Lauren Fondahl, US EPA Region 9, at fondahl.lauren@epa.gov or (415) 972-3514. For more information about registration or to become a sponsor, contact Sara House at sdhouse@ucdavis.edu or (530) 757-8549. <more> March 18, 2014 UC Davis

 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Water News

  • Delta protections for fish to be temporarily eased - - State and federal officials said Tuesday they will temporarily relax protections for fish in the Delta in order to export more water to drought-ravaged farms and cities, the latest in a series of similar actions. Normally, in a critically dry year like this, a rule kicks in April 1 requiring the amount of water exported from the Delta to be no greater than the amount of water flowing into the Delta via the San Joaquin River. The rule aims to protect threatened steelhead from getting sucked into the export pumps, and also benefits other fragile species, such as Chinook salmon. <more> April 2, 2014 Stockton Record
  • Oakdale Irrigation District will consider expanding into eastern Stanislaus if farmers pay for it - - A possible way to reduce groundwater pumping in eastern Stanislaus County’s rapidly expanding agricultural region was proposed Tuesday: Start delivering surplus Oakdale Irrigation District water there. OID’s governing board voted to have its staff meet with farmers from Paulsell Valley – in northeast Waterford – to discuss options for supplying them irrigation water.  Here’s the catch: OID would require landowners to pay the entire cost of expanding into the area, and then it would want those farmers to pay market rate for any water they receive. <more> April 1, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • LOIS HENRY: Water crisis looks a lot like last one, only worse - - Groundwater has officially become the "new black" in California. As the drought drags on, it is this season's "must have." Wells are being dropped like mad, people are worried about subsidence and now the state is talking about ginning up legislation to finally gain some oversight of the wild west that is the world of groundwater. It's enough to make your head spin. But like almost every fashion craze, this one's just another retread. Oh, yeah -- we've been here before, almost exactly. <more> April 2, 2014 The Bakersfield Californian
  • Turlock district again postpones start of irrigation - - Thanks to the early spring storms, the Turlock Irrigation District has postponed the start of 2014 water deliveries until at least April 10. The delay, announced Tuesday, could help farmers stretch a Tuolumne River supply that is expected to be tight because of the drought. The Modesto Irrigation District, TID’s partner on the river, is scheduled to start deliveries Sunday, but that could be moved to a later date based on weather, spokeswoman Melissa Williams said Tuesday. <more> April 1, 2014 Modesto Bee
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • NMPF asks FDA to rewrite animal feed draft regulation - - The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to rewrite a draft livestock feed regulation, saying the agency went beyond the intent of Congress by seeking to impose requirements that will not make animal feed safer. In comments sent to the agency Monday, NMPF asked FDA to substantially revise the regulation and requested the agency establish a new round of comments from industry and the public. <more> April 1, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • The business of high-speed rail - - Despite legal challenges and opposition, California’s high-speed rail plan is going forward like, well, a moving train, with plans for major construction to begin later this year on the first section of track from Madera to Fresno. That line eventually will run south through Fresno and Kings counties, and pass thorough southwest Tulare County on its way to a planned Bakersfield high-speed rail station. <more> April 2, 2014 Visalia Times-Delta
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Corn Futures Jump Again - - Corn futures jumped to a fresh seven-month high as a U.S. government forecast for lower planting this spring continued to reverberate through the market. Corn prices also rose as chilly, wet weather in the Midwest prompted concerns that farmers will be delayed in completing spring field work that is already two weeks behind normal in some locations. <more> April 1, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
     

Environmental News

  • Brown preaches climate change to state regulators - - California Gov. Jerry Brown, who once studied to become a Jesuit priest, brought his missionary passion for making progress with climate changes to the spring meeting of the Environmental Council of the States, a national non-profit, non-partisan association of state and territorial environmental agency leaders, at the old Ft. Baker in Sausalito on Monday. The stated purpose of ECOS is “to improve the capability of state environmental agencies and their leaders to protect and improve human health and the environment.” <more> April 1, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Central Valley farmers offered money to help birds - - Farmers who have tricolored blackbirds nesting in their fields may be eligible for financial assistance from USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service to delay harvesting and allow the birds 35 days to fledge their young, the NRCS says. Interested producers have until May 2 to apply for funding. <more> April 2, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Sustainable Conservation welcomes Director of Business Partnerships - - Sustainable Conservation would like to extend a warm welcome to our new Director of Business Partnerships, Ryan Flaherty. Working out of our Modesto office, Ryan will lead the organization’s efforts to promote strategies for San Joaquin Valley dairies for managing animal waste in ways that benefit clean air and water. Ryan comes to us from Business for Social Responsibility, a non-profit that works with business to ensure a just and sustainable world, where he was a manager of advisory services working with the food, beverage and agricultural industries. Ryan has more than 10 years of experience in business strategy, supply chain management, sustainable agriculture, water stewardship and stakeholder engagement. April 1, 2014 Sustainable Conservation news
  • Central Valley farmers need to report practices - - Farmers are filling out a four-page survey that will help assess how well they are keeping pesticides and fertilizers out of waterways. The East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition has set a May 1 deadline for completion of the surveys, which involve most of the irrigated land east of the San Joaquin River in Stanislaus, Merced and Madera counties. For farmers, the coalition is a cheaper and simpler way of complying with water-quality rules than direct regulation by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, a state agency. It matters as well to Valley residents at large, if it protects them from nitrates and other pollutants in drinking water. <more> March 28, 2014 Modesto Bee

     

Stories of Interest


 
  • Agriculture Education Blooms in Urban, Rural High Schools - - No longer just about cows and plows, the modern agriculture industry encompasses subsectors such as urban forestry and agricultural biotechnology, which includes the genetic engineering of crops. As the industry has grown, so has the interest in teaching teens more about it. About 15 percent of the U.S. workforce is employed in agriculture-related careers, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, and more than 54,000 jobs for college graduates in the agricultural, food and renewable natural resources sectors are expected to be created annually from 2010-2015, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. <more> March 31, 2014 U.S. News & World Report
  • Growers vote to keep Modesto-based Almond Board - - Growers have voted resoundingly to keep the Almond Board of California going for five more years, the Modesto-based group announced Tuesday. The board, which dates to 1950, does marketing, research and other work on behalf of one of the state’s most successful crops. It undertook the vote according to U.S. Department of Agriculture rules for such groups. <more> April 1, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • Dairy Leader Program accepting applications until April 4 - - April 4, 2014 is the deadline to apply for Western United Dairymen's highly successful California Dairy Leaders Program. Designed to train the next generation of California's dairy leaders, the leadership program consists of several sessions devoted to developing a better understanding of the economic, legislative, marketing, and environmental issues facing the industry. Eligible participants must be actively involved in milk production, be able to spend the necessary time in class, as well as studying resource materials, and be able to commit to visits to locations such as Sacramento and Washington DC. Industry members can download applications <here>. March 17, 2014 WUD news

     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Ag crime prevention seminar set in Tulare - - With farmers and ranchers reeling from a recent rash of agricultural crimes in the Central Valley, a daylong agricultural crime prevention seminar is planned for Saturday, April 5, at the International Agri-Center in Tulare. It’s sponsored by Western Executive Protection, with on-site registration starting at 7 a.m. Presentations on how to prevent ag crime, the various types of crimes facing farmers and ranchers and how to respond in the case of criminal activity are scheduled. <more> April 2, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Public Meetings Scheduled to Discuss CDFA’s Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program - - Emergency drought legislation (SB 103) signed earlier this month by Governor Brown allocates $10 million to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for on-farm water conservation practices throughout the state. The funding will be used to establish the CDFA Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, a grant program to increase water conservation through efficiencies and better management and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Two public stakeholder meetings have been scheduled in April 2014 to explain the new program and to receive comments and suggestions. <more> March 27, 2014 CDFA press  release
  • 2014 Environmental Stewardship class offered in Fresno - - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering free classes on environmental stewardship. The classes cover environmental issues, regulatory requirements and management practices for dairy producers. The classes are only for dairies that want to certify, but have not completed the classes. These are not continuing education, if you have completed the classe you do not need to go again, however continuing education is in the future for CDQAP. Classes are voluntary, but your processor may want you to complete the program. The last class offered is as follows: Air Quality Class - Thursday, April 3, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Fresno County Farm Bureau - 1274 W. Hedges Avenue, Fresno, CA. You must attend both classes to complete the water quality education requirement, unless you have previously received credit for attending CDQAP water quality courses. Producers with additional questions can call CDQAP at (530) 574-0524. Feb. 27, 2014 CDQAP announcement
  • AgSTAR Partners with BioCycle for AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop - - AgSTAR is partnering with BioCycle for the 14th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (BioCycle REFOR14 West). A one-day workshop will be held in conjunction with BioCycle REFOR14 West on Monday, April 7, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The theme for the event is "Navigating the Biogas Maze: Learning from the Leaders". Attendees will hear experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. For more information visit the BioCycle REFOR14 West website. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. Feb. 20, 2014 AgSTAR news
  • UC Giannini Foundation Conference on Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources - - The University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics will hold a forum, "Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources," on Monday, May 19, 2014, at The California Museum in Sacramento. The one-day conference will bring together leading economists, analysts, scientists and policy makers from University of California, the state government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss the potential impacts of climate change and the associated challenges to California's agriculture and natural resources. The speakers and panelists will provide comprehensive, objective, and up-to-date information of the likely impacts of climate change on California’s rural economy. Please visit the conference website, which includes the program, directions to the venue, and a registration page. Registration is required and it is free-of-charge. The deadline for registration is May 12, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact Julie McNamara, Outreach Coordinator, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. March 19, 2014 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics
  • California Bioresources Alliance Symposium - - The ninth annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium will be held June 3-4 at UC Davis and will feature the latest research in the field being done at UC Davis on organic residuals issues. Sessions will include legislative and policy developments on organic residuals in California, impacts of mandatory recycling and landfill closures, waste-to-energy issues, biogas issues including clustering dairies and use for vehicle fuel, and local initiatives. The symposium brings together industry professionals, municipalities, regulators, legislators, state and federal agencies, students, researchers, financers and others involved in California organic residuals. The two-day event is co-hosted by UC Davis Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. For more information about the symposium, contact Lauren Fondahl, US EPA Region 9, at fondahl.lauren@epa.gov or (415) 972-3514. For more information about registration or to become a sponsor, contact Sara House at sdhouse@ucdavis.edu or (530) 757-8549. <more> March 18, 2014 UC Davis

 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Water News

  • Despite storms, snowpack still far below normal - just 32% of average - - Department of Water Resources snow surveyors today found the Sierra snowpack boosted by late-season storms, but still far below normal as the spring melt fast approaches. Coupled with this winter’s scant rainfall, the meager snowpack — containing only 32 percent of average water content for the date – promises a gloomy summer for California farms and many communities. “We’re already seeing farmland fallowed and cities scrambling for water supplies,” said DWR Director Mark Cowin. <more> April 1, 2014 Maven’s Notebook
  • Drought underscores decades-long progress of water efficiency by dairy farms, agriculture - - California farmers, workers and residents are unfortunate witnesses to history. The Golden State is in the throes of one of the driest years since record keeping began in the 1800s. Current reservoir conditions, Sierra snowpack levels and a gubernatorial state of emergency declaration are stark reminders of the seriousness of the situation. The state’s major reservoirs responsible for supplying fresh drinking and irrigation water sit considerably below historical averages. <more> March 2014 Dairy Cares
  • California's groundwater needs better protection - - Mother Nature's last-ditch effort to make a dent in the drought with last week's rain and snow won't make any real difference for California's water supply in 2014. The state will conduct its final measurement of snowpack in the Sierra Nevada today - an indicator of how much snow will melt and flow into our rivers, ultimately making its way to cities and farms throughout California. We don't need that measurement to know that the drought persists and water supplies remain scarce.  What's more, we need to recognize that this drought may not be over any time soon. <more> Mach 31, 2014 San Francisco Gate
  • Kings County jury awards $128.6 million damages to Hanford developers - - A Kings County Superior Court jury has awarded a $128.6 million verdict against McCarthy Family Farms for breach of contract and against Bay Area developer John Vidovich and Sandridge Partners for intentional interference of two contracts involving water for a planned community outside Hanford. The dispute was over water rights for Quay Valley, a proposed 150,000-resident, solar-powered city that would use clean and renewable energy generated from a proposed on-site 600-megawatt power plant. <more> March 31, 2014 Fresno Bee

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Williamson Act receives support in Legislature - - With California's economy healing after years of recession, state lawmakers are considering restoring funds to the Williamson Act, a $30 million to $40 million program that for decades has protected agricultural land and open space from development. Funding was cut to $1,000 in the 2009-10 state budget during the recession. <more> April 2, 2014 Ag Alert
  • Drought may cut key farm exports from California - - Water shortages are expected to reduce production of many of the state's top agricultural exports, and marketers, analysts and commodity groups say it remains to be seen how this will impact California's ability to supply key export markets—and hang on to them. For the short term at least, California dairy farms should be able to produce enough milk to meet export demand, said Michael Marsh, CEO of Western United Dairymen. U.S. dairy exports reached an all-time high in 2013, helping to buoy prices for farmers, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council. About 40 percent of the nation's total dairy exports come from the Golden State, according to the California Milk Advisory Board. Marsh said the drought has hit organic milk production particularly hard due to poor pasture conditions and lack of available organic feed, but the state's overall milk production is up. <more> April 2, 2014 Ag Alert
  • California agriculture has bright future, despite drought - - Most of the major California crops are facing a rosy future, thanks in large part to exports and despite drought that could cut production. That was the consensus as major players in the tree fruit, grape, citrus, nut and dairy industries gathered in Fresno to give presentations for the Outlook 2014 Agribusiness Conference sponsored by the California Chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. <more> March 31, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • California Bill Would Mandate Paid Rest Breaks for Farm Workers - - Paid rest breaks would become mandatory for farm workers and other outdoor workers under a bill now in the California legislature. The measure is an attempt to prevent heat related illnesses. From Sacramento, Max Pringle reports. People who work outdoors are susceptible to dizziness, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be fatal. Nicole Marquez with the advocacy group Worksafe says farm workers are commonly paid based on how much they pick. <more> March 31, 2014 Valley Public Radio
  • Agriculture groups to GOP: You’re blowing it on immigration reform - by Greg Sargent - - As I’ve been reporting, there’s a rising sense that if House Republicans don’t act by summer on immigration reform, the window for action could close for good. If nothing happens by August recess, the pressure on Obama to act unilaterally could become overwhelming, and any executive action will likely make legislative reform even less likely, perhaps postponing it until at least 2017. Now even Republican-aligned constituencies who want reform are concluding the same thing. <more> March 31, 2014 The Plum Line / Washington Post
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • China Milk Thirst Hands U.S. Dairies Record 2014 Profits - - In a year when most American farmers can expect lower earnings than in 2013, U.S. milk producers are having a windfall. Prices have never been higher, feed costs are down, and output is headed for an all-time high as exports surge to buyers from Mexico to China. While the average farm will see a 21 percent drop in net-cash income, led by declines for corn, wheat and soybeans, dairy farmers will earn 28 percent more at $334,100, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts. <more> April 1, 2014 Bloomberg
  • California 4b Price Up $7.14 from Year Ago/New Record High - - The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced its March Class 4b cheese milk price today at a record high $22.16 per hundredweight (cwt.), up $1.02 from February and dwarfs last year’s $15.02 by $7.14. That pulls the 2014 4b average up to $21.20/cwt., up from $15.42 at this time a year ago, $13.77 in 2012, and $15.37 in 2011. The March 4a butter-powder price is a record high $23.37/cwt., up 29 cents from February and $5.50 above a year ago. The 4a average now stands at $22.86/cwt., up from $17.65 a year ago, $15.67 in 2012, and $17.81 in 2011. Comparable Federal order prices are announced tomorrow by USDA. April 1, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • Closure of Brawley Plant Threatens Imperial Valley Cattle Industry - - There are just a few major beef processing plants in California. Each one sits at the center of an agricultural eco-system that depends on the plant as much as the plant depends on the ranches and dairy farms around it. The impending closure of a plant in Imperial County threatens to upset much of agricultural Southern California. <more> March 31, 2014 The California Report
  • CWT Accepts 47 Export Assistance Requests - - Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) accepted 47 requests for export assistance today to sell 7.037 million pounds of Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack cheeses, 13.928 million pounds of 82% butter and 485,017 pounds of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, Central America, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the South Pacific.  The product will be delivered through September 2014 and raises CWT’s 2014 cheese export sales to 36.337 million pounds plus 29.423 million pounds of butter and 3.366 million pounds of whole milk powder to 27 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 997.8 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. April 1, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • Ecuador resumes U.S. beef imports - - Ecuador is resuming imports of U.S. beef. According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation, muscle cuts and offal from cattle of all ages are eligible, unless the cattle have been imported from Canada, then the animal must be in the U.S. sixty days before slaughter. Ecuador banned U.S. beef imports more than a decade ago due to BSE. April 1, 2014 Brownfield Ag News
     

Environmental News

  • Farm Beat: Central Valley farmers need to report practices - - Farmers are filling out a four-page survey that will help assess how well they are keeping pesticides and fertilizers out of waterways. The East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition has set a May 1 deadline for completion of the surveys, which involve most of the irrigated land east of the San Joaquin River in Stanislaus, Merced and Madera counties. For farmers, the coalition is a cheaper and simpler way of complying with water-quality rules than direct regulation by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, a state agency. It matters as well to Valley residents at large, if it protects them from nitrates and other pollutants in drinking water. <more> March 28, 2014 Modesto Bee

     

Stories of Interest


 
  • Great American Milk Drive TOMORROW - - Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 2, the dairy checkoff (through the National Dairy Council) and milk companies (through the Milk Processor Education Program) are partnering with Feeding America to launch The Great American Milk Drive, which will help deliver much-desired milk to 12.5 million families who need it most across the country. This is the first-ever, multi-year, nationwide program that will deliver gallons of milk to the one in six Americans who are food insecure through the Feeding America network of more than 200 food banks that serve thousands of local community agencies and pantries. What You Can Do: Sign up for our "Thunderclap" page to help flood social networks tomorrow with campaign messages and the call to action to donate. Choose how to support via Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr (or all 3!) Include #MilkDrive in your social conversations. Join the conversation: Hungry families in our community need the essential nutrients that milk provides, but it's rarely donated to food banks. Look out for a solution to this problem on April 2! http://milklife.com/give #MilkDrive Did you know that #milk is the #1 nutritious product request by food bank clients, but is rarely donated? http://milklife.com/give #MilkDrive
  • Dairy Leader Program accepting applications until April 4 - - April 4, 2014 is the deadline to apply for Western United Dairymen's highly successful California Dairy Leaders Program. Designed to train the next generation of California's dairy leaders, the leadership program consists of several sessions devoted to developing a better understanding of the economic, legislative, marketing, and environmental issues facing the industry. Eligible participants must be actively involved in milk production, be able to spend the necessary time in class, as well as studying resource materials, and be able to commit to visits to locations such as Sacramento and Washington DC. Industry members can download applications <here>. March 17, 2014 WUD news

     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Public Meetings Scheduled to Discuss CDFA’s Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program - - Emergency drought legislation (SB 103) signed earlier this month by Governor Brown allocates $10 million to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for on-farm water conservation practices throughout the state. The funding will be used to establish the CDFA Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, a grant program to increase water conservation through efficiencies and better management and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Two public stakeholder meetings have been scheduled in April 2014 to explain the new program and to receive comments and suggestions. <more> March 27, 2014 CDFA press  release
  • 2014 Environmental Stewardship class offered in Fresno - - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering free classes on environmental stewardship. The classes cover environmental issues, regulatory requirements and management practices for dairy producers. The classes are only for dairies that want to certify, but have not completed the classes. These are not continuing education, if you have completed the classe you do not need to go again, however continuing education is in the future for CDQAP. Classes are voluntary, but your processor may want you to complete the program. The last class offered is as follows: Air Quality Class - Thursday, April 3, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Fresno County Farm Bureau - 1274 W. Hedges Avenue, Fresno, CA. You must attend both classes to complete the water quality education requirement, unless you have previously received credit for attending CDQAP water quality courses. Producers with additional questions can call CDQAP at (530) 574-0524. Feb. 27, 2014 CDQAP announcement
  • AgSTAR Partners with BioCycle for AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop - - AgSTAR is partnering with BioCycle for the 14th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (BioCycle REFOR14 West). A one-day workshop will be held in conjunction with BioCycle REFOR14 West on Monday, April 7, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The theme for the event is "Navigating the Biogas Maze: Learning from the Leaders". Attendees will hear experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. For more information visit the BioCycle REFOR14 West website. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. Feb. 20, 2014 AgSTAR news
  • UC Giannini Foundation Conference on Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources - - The University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics will hold a forum, "Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources," on Monday, May 19, 2014, at The California Museum in Sacramento. The one-day conference will bring together leading economists, analysts, scientists and policy makers from University of California, the state government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss the potential impacts of climate change and the associated challenges to California's agriculture and natural resources. The speakers and panelists will provide comprehensive, objective, and up-to-date information of the likely impacts of climate change on California’s rural economy. Please visit the conference website, which includes the program, directions to the venue, and a registration page. Registration is required and it is free-of-charge. The deadline for registration is May 12, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact Julie McNamara, Outreach Coordinator, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. March 19, 2014 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics
  • California Bioresources Alliance Symposium - - The ninth annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium will be held June 3-4 at UC Davis and will feature the latest research in the field being done at UC Davis on organic residuals issues. Sessions will include legislative and policy developments on organic residuals in California, impacts of mandatory recycling and landfill closures, waste-to-energy issues, biogas issues including clustering dairies and use for vehicle fuel, and local initiatives. The symposium brings together industry professionals, municipalities, regulators, legislators, state and federal agencies, students, researchers, financers and others involved in California organic residuals. The two-day event is co-hosted by UC Davis Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. For more information about the symposium, contact Lauren Fondahl, US EPA Region 9, at fondahl.lauren@epa.gov or (415) 972-3514. For more information about registration or to become a sponsor, contact Sara House at sdhouse@ucdavis.edu or (530) 757-8549. <more> March 18, 2014 UC Davis

 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Water News

  • Who should get water deliveries divides California lawmakers - - Seasonal storms have exposed once more some perennial political divisions over California water. Citing the latest rainfall, seven of the state’s lawmakers are urging the Obama administration to free up more irrigation deliveries for San Joaquin Valley farms. The muscular Capitol Hill lineup is noticeable both for who’s on it and who’s not. In a telling alliance, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein joined with House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield and four other House Republicans, as well as one House Democrat, in calling for increased deliveries.  <more> March 31, 2014 McClatchy Newspapers
  • California Drought: San Joaquin Valley sinking as farmers race to tap aquifer - - So wet was the San Joaquin Valley of Steve Arthur's childhood that a single 240-foot-deep well could quench the thirst of an arid farm. Now his massive rig, bucking and belching, must drill 1,200 feet deep in search of ever-more-elusive water to sustain this wheat farm north of Bakersfield. As he drills, his phone rings with three new appeals for help. "Everybody is starting to panic," said Arthur, whose Fresno-based well-drilling company just bought its ninth rig, off the Wyoming oil fields. "Without water, this valley can't survive." <more> March 29, 2014 San Jose Mercury News
  • After years of over pumping groundwater, state may be ready for reforms - - For nearly 50 years, California has passed sweeping environmental laws that limit private property for the common good -- from the nation's toughest automobile pollution standards to curbs on clear-cutting forests to rules requiring that developers keep beaches open to the public. However, when it comes to preserving one of the state's most critical and politically divisive resources -- billions of gallons of groundwater that are vital to farms and cities -- California lawmakers and voters have done almost nothing. Now, driven by the historic drought and new pressure from Gov. Jerry Brown, the chances of reform appear better than ever. <more> March 31, 2014 San Jose Mercury News
  • Panel finds problems in state's twin tunnels plan - - A critical portion of the governor's twin tunnels plan is hard to understand, overstates the benefits for fish and fails to make clear that much uncertainty remains over the outcome, an independent panel of experts has concluded. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan, as the tunnels plan is formally known, has been scrutinized in a number of similar reviews since planning began in 2006. Those reviews raised some of the same concerns. The latest study may carry more weight, however, because it is the first major outside review since the tunnels were formally proposed in December. <more> March 29, 2014 Stockton Record
  • 2014 could be new normal for the Valley - - Would redirecting more water from rivers and streams toward Valley agriculture prevent the permanent loss of hundreds of thousands of irrigated acres? Probably not, according to Cal Poly irrigation expert Charles Burt — and he’s asking you not to shoot the messenger. Burt has crunched the numbers, and what he’s come up with is this: There was approximately 2 million acre-feet of groundwater overdraft going on in California before the current drought started in 2012. <more> March 29, 2014 Hanford Sentinel
  • Bay Area cuts Tuolumne River water use by 18 percent - - Bay Area users of the Tuolumne River cut their water use by 18 percent between late January and early March, managers of the system said. The voluntary savings exceeded the 10 percent goal set by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the 26 wholesale agencies that it supplies in three other counties. Continued conservation could stave off mandatory rationing if the drought persists, a city news release said. <more> March 29, 2014 Modesto Bee

     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • California Farmers Short of Labor, and Patience - - California is home to an estimated 2.5 million illegal immigrants, more than in any other state. Perhaps nowhere else captures the contradictions and complications of immigration policy better than California’s Central Valley, where nearly all farmworkers are immigrants, roughly half of them living here illegally, according to estimates from agricultural economists at the University of California, Davis. That reality is shaping the views of agriculture business owners here, like Mr. Herrin, who cannot recall ever voting for a Democrat. In dozens of interviews, farmers and owners of related businesses said that even the current system of tacitly using illegal labor was failing to sustain them. A work force that arrived in the 1990s is aging out of heavy labor, Americans do not want the jobs, and tightened security at the border is discouraging new immigrants from arriving, they say, leaving them to struggle amid the paralysis on immigration policy. No other region may be as eager to keep immigration legislation alive. <more> March 29, 2014 The New York Times
  • Valadao, Renteria trade barbs over taxes, immigration - - The congressional campaigns of incumbent David Valadao and challenger Amanda Renteria -- and their supporters -- exchanged a flurry of snark this week over underpaid taxes and immigration reform. Valadao's allies dinged Renteria -- one of two Democrats in the race -- for a small property tax underpayment. Renteria's campaign attacked Valadao, R-Hanford, for failing to support an effort to force a House vote on immigration reform that even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said would never succeed. Welcome to the 21st Congressional District race. <more> March 28, 2014 Bakersfield Californian
  • Judge upholds country of origin label for meat - - Shoppers who want to buy American beef for dinner instead of meat from Canada or Mexico will still be able to find the country of origin on the label. A federal appeals court ruling Friday allows the government to go forward with rules that require labels on packaged steaks, ribs and other cuts of meat to say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered. The meat industry attempted to block the rules, which went into effect last year, saying they are costly and provide no health benefits to the consumer. <more> March 28, 2014 AP

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Would a Federal Order in California Be Worth It? - - If not carefully crafted, a Federal Order in California could create unintended consequences, such as a gradual and eventual loss of cheese processing capacity, points out new analysis released this week. John Newton, a dairy economist with the University of Illinois, posted the analysis March 27 on his farmdocdaily page. As in all things where Federal Milk Marketing Orders are concerned, it’s complicated. <more> March 29, 2014 Dairy Today
  • Corn Acres Slip to Five-Year Low but Beans at Record High - - Combined corn and soybean acreage climbed to 171.9 million acres, which was 1.3 million more than last year, lower than the 4 million to 5 million that some analysts had expected. Planting intentions for the 2014 corn crop were released at 91.7 million acres, down 4 percent from last year and more than 1 million fewer acres than expected. If realized, USDA says, it would represent the lowest planted acreage in the United States in five years, but it would still be the fifth largest U.S. corn acreage since 1944. Analysts had been expecting corn planting intentions of 92.748 million acres, with a range of estimates between 90.5 million and 94 million. Last year’s planted acreage for corn was 95.365 million acres. <more> March 31, 2014 Dairy Today
     

Environmental News

  • Dairy applauds strategy for methane emission reduction - - America’s dairy farmers, cooperatives, processors, manufacturers and other industry leaders applaud today’s announcement by the White House of a Biogas and Energy Roadmap to reduce methane emissions from agriculture. In its announcement, the White House formally cited the work of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy’s Sustainability Council, whose efforts in part include a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to proactively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including methane. The announcement states its strategy for agriculture includes a commitment of cost-effective, voluntary actions to reduce methane emissions. <more> March 28, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • Obama Administration Targets Livestock in Push to Cut Methane Emissions - - The Obama administration’s push to cut methane emissions puts a bull’s-eye on an issue that has long drawn criticism of the agriculture industry from environmentalists. But the White House’s proposals for curbing gas emitted by livestock are relatively tame, relying strictly on voluntary measures that are largely already under way and are focused primarily on the dairy sector. Agriculture accounts for 36% of the human-related methane produced in the U.S., the White House said. Livestock is by far the biggest source, with the nation’s herd of about 88 million cattle particularly big producers. <more> March 28, 2014 The Wall Street Journal

     

Stories of Interest


 
  • Russian dairy plant closed after workers bathe in the milk - - A Siberian dairy plant was temporarily closed Friday after its workers had been found bathing in milk, a Russian consumer oversight agency reported. Trade House Cheeses, a dairy producer in Omsk, about 1,600 miles east of Moscow, was closed for 90 days by regional authorities for an urgent inspection after complaints resulting from photographs and a video posted by one of its employees on a Russian social network. In the photographs and video clips posted on New Year's Eve by worker Artyom Romanov, a group of undressed employees relax in a container of milk as part of their celebration. While still partly undressed, they then demonstrate cheese making in a clownish manner. <more> March 28, 2014 Los Angeles Times
  • Feed Is Suspect in Spread of Deadly Pig Virus - - Scientists and regulators investigating the mysterious spread of a deadly virus plaguing the U.S. pork industry are stepping up their scrutiny of what the nation's hog herd eats. With a dearth of solid leads, investigators are exploring whether something in pig feed could be a conduit for porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, which has spread to 27 states and killed millions of young pigs since it was first identified in the U.S. last April. One focus of the inquiry: porcine plasma, a widely used feed ingredient made from the blood of slaughtered hogs and fed to piglets. <more> March 30, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • Aide brings Chavez family cred to Obama White House - - When prominent Latino activists meet with President Obama, there’s one White House staff member present whom many of them have known since she was a child. Julie Chavez Rodriguez grew up handing out leaflets and knocking on doors with her grandfather, Cesar Chavez, the activist whose campaign to organize farmworkers still inspires today’s Latino leaders. As deputy director of the Office of Public Engagement, Rodriguez runs Obama’s organizing efforts in support of immigration reform, and supervises Latino outreach. <more> March 31, 2014 LA Times
  • Dairy Leader Program accepting applications until April 4 - - April 4, 2014 is the deadline to apply for Western United Dairymen's highly successful California Dairy Leaders Program. Designed to train the next generation of California's dairy leaders, the leadership program consists of several sessions devoted to developing a better understanding of the economic, legislative, marketing, and environmental issues facing the industry. Eligible participants must be actively involved in milk production, be able to spend the necessary time in class, as well as studying resource materials, and be able to commit to visits to locations such as Sacramento and Washington DC. Industry members can download applications <here>. March 17, 2014 WUD news

     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Public Meetings Scheduled to Discuss CDFA’s Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program - - Emergency drought legislation (SB 103) signed earlier this month by Governor Brown allocates $10 million to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for on-farm water conservation practices throughout the state. The funding will be used to establish the CDFA Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, a grant program to increase water conservation through efficiencies and better management and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Two public stakeholder meetings have been scheduled in April 2014 to explain the new program and to receive comments and suggestions. <more> March 27, 2014 CDFA press  release
  • 2014 Environmental Stewardship class offered in Fresno - - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering free classes on environmental stewardship. The classes cover environmental issues, regulatory requirements and management practices for dairy producers. The classes are only for dairies that want to certify, but have not completed the classes. These are not continuing education, if you have completed the classe you do not need to go again, however continuing education is in the future for CDQAP. Classes are voluntary, but your processor may want you to complete the program. The last class offered is as follows: Air Quality Class - Thursday, April 3, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Fresno County Farm Bureau - 1274 W. Hedges Avenue, Fresno, CA. You must attend both classes to complete the water quality education requirement, unless you have previously received credit for attending CDQAP water quality courses. Producers with additional questions can call CDQAP at (530) 574-0524. Feb. 27, 2014 CDQAP announcement
  • AgSTAR Partners with BioCycle for AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop - - AgSTAR is partnering with BioCycle for the 14th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (BioCycle REFOR14 West). A one-day workshop will be held in conjunction with BioCycle REFOR14 West on Monday, April 7, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The theme for the event is "Navigating the Biogas Maze: Learning from the Leaders". Attendees will hear experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. For more information visit the BioCycle REFOR14 West website. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. Feb. 20, 2014 AgSTAR news
  • UC Giannini Foundation Conference on Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources - - The University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics will hold a forum, "Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources," on Monday, May 19, 2014, at The California Museum in Sacramento. The one-day conference will bring together leading economists, analysts, scientists and policy makers from University of California, the state government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss the potential impacts of climate change and the associated challenges to California's agriculture and natural resources. The speakers and panelists will provide comprehensive, objective, and up-to-date information of the likely impacts of climate change on California’s rural economy. Please visit the conference website, which includes the program, directions to the venue, and a registration page. Registration is required and it is free-of-charge. The deadline for registration is May 12, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact Julie McNamara, Outreach Coordinator, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. March 19, 2014 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics
  • California Bioresources Alliance Symposium - - The ninth annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium will be held June 3-4 at UC Davis and will feature the latest research in the field being done at UC Davis on organic residuals issues. Sessions will include legislative and policy developments on organic residuals in California, impacts of mandatory recycling and landfill closures, waste-to-energy issues, biogas issues including clustering dairies and use for vehicle fuel, and local initiatives. The symposium brings together industry professionals, municipalities, regulators, legislators, state and federal agencies, students, researchers, financers and others involved in California organic residuals. The two-day event is co-hosted by UC Davis Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. For more information about the symposium, contact Lauren Fondahl, US EPA Region 9, at fondahl.lauren@epa.gov or (415) 972-3514. For more information about registration or to become a sponsor, contact Sara House at sdhouse@ucdavis.edu or (530) 757-8549. <more> March 18, 2014 UC Davis

 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Water News

  • Drought pushing ag to the 'tipping point' - - San Joaquin Valley agriculture needs to link up with Silicon Valley - and will do so as the food-production industry accelerates into a higher-tech era to deal with water shortages, an environmentally-friendly regulatory environment and groundwater pumping issues. Welcome to the new normal. That was the underlying message of a West Hills Community College District forum Thursday at Harris Ranch that brought together growers, government officials, businesses, educators and analysts to envision what 21st-century agriculture is going to look like in California. <more> March 28, 2014 Hanford Sentinel
  • California drought spurs mini gold rush in Sierra - - There's gold in them dry hills! Or gold seekers anyway. And they see a historic opportunity in California's historic drought. Low water levels have led to a mini gold rush in the same Sierra Nevada foothills that drew legions of fortune seekers from around the world in the mid-1800s, as amateur prospectors dig for riverbed riches in spots that have been out of reach for decades.  <more> March 27, 2014 AP
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • 25 Drug Companies to Phase out Animal Antibiotics - - Twenty-five pharmaceutical companies are voluntarily phasing out the use of antibiotics for growth promotion in animals processed for meat, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday. Citing a potential threat to public health, the agency in December asked 26 companies to voluntarily stop labeling drugs important for treating human infection as acceptable for animal growth promotion. The FDA did not name the one company that has not agreed to withdraw or revise its drugs. The companies will either withdraw the drugs from animal use completely or revise them so they would only be able to be used with a veterinarian's prescription. Many cattle, hog and poultry producers give their animals antibiotics regularly to make the animals grow faster and ensure that they are healthy. <more> March 26, 2014 AP
  • Californians' support slips for Jerry Brown, rises for water bond - - Perhaps because of all the doom-and-gloom drought predictions, Californians today are more likely than they were a year ago to vote for an $11.1 billion bond for state water projects, the Public Policy Institute of California's latest poll finds. The poll also found Gov. Jerry Brown's approval rating has slipped from its record high in January, but he's still beating the tar out of his Republican challengers. Results of the survey, released Wednesday night, also gauged Californians' attitudes on a wide range of other issues, including high-speed rail, marijuana legalization and the federal health care law. <more> March 27, 2014 San Jose Mercury News
  • 2014 Farm Bill: Key Factors to Consider with a California Federal Milk Marketing Order - - Across the U.S, with California as a major exception, the USDA Federal Milk Marketing Order program (FMMO) ensures that participating dairy farmers receive a uniform price for their milk based on market prices for specific dairy products. This is accomplished through the use of end-product price formulas that convert wholesale dairy product prices into a farm-gate milk price, and formal discriminatory pricing (classified pricing) based on milk utilization. FMMOs also provide for revenue pooling, and other pricing functions such as plant auditing and milk testing. This classified pricing and revenue pooling system regulates prices paid by dairy processors and as a price discrimination scheme is designed to increase dairy farmer producer surplus. <more> March 28, 2014 Dept. Of Ag and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Bullet train won't meet target travel time, lawmakers told - - Regularly scheduled service on California's bullet train system will not meet anticipated trip times of two hours and 40 minutes between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and are likely to take nearly a half-hour longer, a state Senate committee was told Thursday. The faster trips were held out to voters in 2008 when they approved $9 billion in borrowing to help pay for the project. Since then, a series of political compromises and planning changes designed to keep the $68-billion line moving ahead have created slower track zones in urban areas. <more> March 27, 2014 LA Times
  • Perea wants truck weight fees to fix highways - - The Great Recession is over. The state is showing billions of dollars in revenue above the budget. So Central Valley Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, says it’s time the weight fees paid by truckers are put back where they were intended: into fixing the roads. “Redirecting truck weights fees back to their intended purpose will help California invest in our state highways and create about 18,000 good jobs,” says Mr. Perea. “These fees would provide funding for projects leading to a beneficial multiplier effect in the state economy, through the vital creation of new jobs and overdue investment in our transportation infrastructure.” His legislation, Assembly Bill 2728, would provide funding to rehabilitate California’s dilapidated roadways. <more> March 28, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • This is what it looks like when immigration reform dies - - You can’t say they didn’t try. Supporters of immigration reform did everything they could to pass a law. They threw their support behind bipartisan negotiations in the Senate that led to the passage of a promising bill. They organized religious leaders, CEOs, and law enforcement to lobby Republicans in their districts. They even managed to broker a peace deal between unions and corporations. None of it worked. Amid a growing consensus House Republicans are unlikely to pass a bill anytime soon, lawmakers, activists, and the White House are moving on to a post-reform phase focused on immediate relief for undocumented immigrants and wreaking electoral vengeance on the GOP. “I think we’re entering the last chapter of the push for legislation,” Frank Sharry, executive director of pro-reform advocacy group America’s Voice, told msnbc. <more> March 28, 2014 MSNBC
  • IDFA and NMPF Urge Congress to Reject New Legislation Allowing Interstate Sales of Unpasteurized Milk - - The nation’s dairy farmers and dairy companies today expressed their opposition to new legislation in Congress that would allow the interstate sales of raw milk, saying that any additional availability of the product will increase the number of sicknesses and deaths of people who consume it.The International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation said that “the risks inherent in raw dairy products are not worth any imagined benefits to either consumers or producers of unpasteurized milk products. Raw milk skips the pasteurization safety process, and this is playing Russian roulette with the health of too many Americans – including many of our children.” <more> March 27, 2014 NMPF press release
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Jim Dickrell: Sign Up Deadline Critical to Farm Bill Margin Insurance - - Jim Mulhern, National Milk Producer Federation president and CEO, participated in a farm bill panel that wrapped up the Associated Milk Producers Association annual meeting in Minneapolis this morning. If the deadline is too near the start of the insurance program, farmers will be able to easily project ahead what milk and feed prices will be and what levels of insurance to take. While that would allow farmers to take maximum advantage of the program, it could also be self-defeating in the end. With margins covered and no breaks on production, the indemnity payments could be on-going. That, in turn, could raise the cost of the program to taxpayers to untenable and unsustainable levels. <more> March 25, 2014 Dairy Today
  • USDA Announces the Extension of the Milk Income Loss Contract Program for 2014 - - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia today announced the extension of the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program. The extended MILC protects dairy farmers enrolled in the program against income loss through Sept. 1, 2014, or until a new Margin Protection Program for dairy producers (MPP), established by the 2014 Farm Bill, is operational. <more> March 28, 2014 Dairy Today
  • March Milk-Feed Price Ratio Slips from February - - Monthly average milk prices were up but so were feed prices, according to USDA’s latest Ag Prices report issued this afternoon. The preliminary March 2014 milk-feed price ratio slipped from February. At 2.58, the index is down from 2.60 in February and compares to 1.48 in March 2013. The index is based on the current milk price in relationship to feed prices for a ration of 51% corn, 8% soybeans and 41% alfalfa hay. The March 2014 U.S. average all-milk price was $25.40/cwt., with a 3.77% fat test, up from $24.90/cwt. in February, with a 3.81% test, and compares to $19.10/cwt. in March 2013, with a test of 3.79%.  March corn averaged $4.54/bushel, up 19¢ from February, but $2.59 less than March 2013. March soybeans, at $13.60/bushel, were up 40¢ from February, but down $1.00 from March 2013. Alfalfa hay averaged $191/ton, up $3 from February, but $28 less than March 2013. March 28, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • U.S. EPA head defends proposed cuts in biofuel target for 2014 - - U.S. energy markets cannot absorb the levels of biofuels required by law to be blended into the fuel supply in 2014, Environmental Protection Agency head Gina McCarthy said on Thursday, defending a controversial proposal to slash the target for this year. The EPA is working on final 2014 biofuel use targets after issuing a proposal in November that slashed federal requirements for ethanol in U.S. fuel supplies. Although it is under pressure from the biofuel industry to reverse the move changes, McCarthy's comments suggested the agency might stick to its guns, or come to some kind of middle ground on targets. <more> March 27, 2014 Reuters
  • Milk Marketing Order Panel questions posted on-line - - Written questions that were submitted at the March 6 milk marketing order panel discussion held at the WUD convention have been posted to the WUD website. The questions can be viewed by clicking here. The questions will be forwarded to the panel participants for their responses. The panel participants were attorney Chip English, USDA Deputy Administrator- dairy programs, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, and attorney John Vlahos. March 25, 2014 WUD News

Environmental News

  • Feds Won’t Force Methane Regs on Dairy Farms - - America’s dairy farmers, cooperatives, processors, manufacturers, and other industry leaders applaud today’s announcement by the White House of a Biogas and Energy Roadmap to reduce methane emissions from agriculture. In its announcement, the White House formally cited the work of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy’s Sustainability Council, whose efforts in part include a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to proactively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including methane. <more> March 28, 2014 Dairy Today
  • Spring Dairy Seminar to be held in Eureka - - Humboldt/Del Norte County UC Cooperative Extension along with Western United Dairymen, NRCS and FSA, will hold a Spring Dairy Seminar on Monday, March 31 at the Humboldt County Agriculture Center. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. and includes brief information regarding disaster assistance and FSA loan program updates. Before concluding at noon, guests will also be provided with Water Board updates from Melissa Lema of WUD, and others. The program is offered free of charge to dairy producers in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. For questions or comments, contact Melissa Lema, WUD field rep, at 707-779-2214 or email wud.mlema@yahoo.com.

     

Stories of Interest


 
  • Legacy of icon Chavez celebrated - - "Cesar Chavez," the movie, debuts Friday. Cesar Chavez Day, the California state holiday, is Monday. Sandwiched in between, Stockton has a weekend filled with activities, many featuring 83-year-old Dolores Huerta, co-founder with Chavez of the United Farm Workers. Huerta, who lives in the Bakersfield area, was raised and educated in Stockton. <more> March 28, 2014 Stockton Record
  • Why We Got Fatter During The Fat-Free Food Boom - - If you want to trace Americans' fear of fat, the place to start is the U.S. Senate, during the steamy days of July 1976. That's when Sen. George McGovern called a hearing to raise attention to the links between diet and disease. And what was the urgency? The economy was booming, and many Americans were living high on the hog. A 1954 Capitol Hill restaurant menu offers a glimpse of what lunch looked like then: steak with claret sauce, buttered succotash and pineapple cheesecake. But soon, that prosperity began to cast a dark shadow within the halls of Congress. <more> March 28, 2014 NPR
  • Dairy Leader Program accepting applications until April 4 - - April 4, 2014 is the deadline to apply for Western United Dairymen's highly successful California Dairy Leaders Program. Designed to train the next generation of California's dairy leaders, the leadership program consists of several sessions devoted to developing a better understanding of the economic, legislative, marketing, and environmental issues facing the industry. Eligible participants must be actively involved in milk production, be able to spend the necessary time in class, as well as studying resource materials, and be able to commit to visits to locations such as Sacramento and Washington DC. Industry members can download applications <here>. March 17, 2014 WUD news

     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Public Meetings Scheduled to Discuss CDFA’s Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program - - Emergency drought legislation (SB 103) signed earlier this month by Governor Brown allocates $10 million to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for on-farm water conservation practices throughout the state. The funding will be used to establish the CDFA Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, a grant program to increase water conservation through efficiencies and better management and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Two public stakeholder meetings have been scheduled in April 2014 to explain the new program and to receive comments and suggestions. <more> March 27, 2014 CDFA press  release
  • Spring Dairy Seminar to be held in Eureka - - Humboldt/Del Norte County UC Cooperative Extension along with Western United Dairymen, NRCS and FSA, will hold a Spring Dairy Seminar on Monday, March 31 at the Humboldt County Agriculture Center. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. and includes brief information regarding disaster assistance and FSA loan program updates. Before concluding at noon, guests will also be provided with Water Board updates from Melissa Lema of WUD, and others. The program is offered free of charge to dairy producers in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. For questions or comments, contact Melissa Lema, WUD field rep, at 707-779-2214 or email wud.mlema@yahoo.com.
  • 2014 Environmental Stewardship class offered in Fresno - - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering free classes on environmental stewardship. The classes cover environmental issues, regulatory requirements and management practices for dairy producers. The classes are only for dairies that want to certify, but have not completed the classes. These are not continuing education, if you have completed the classe you do not need to go again, however continuing education is in the future for CDQAP. Classes are voluntary, but your processor may want you to complete the program. The last class offered is as follows: Air Quality Class - Thursday, April 3, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Fresno County Farm Bureau - 1274 W. Hedges Avenue, Fresno, CA. You must attend both classes to complete the water quality education requirement, unless you have previously received credit for attending CDQAP water quality courses. Producers with additional questions can call CDQAP at (530) 574-0524. Feb. 27, 2014 CDQAP announcement
  • AgSTAR Partners with BioCycle for AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop - - AgSTAR is partnering with BioCycle for the 14th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (BioCycle REFOR14 West). A one-day workshop will be held in conjunction with BioCycle REFOR14 West on Monday, April 7, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The theme for the event is "Navigating the Biogas Maze: Learning from the Leaders". Attendees will hear experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. For more information visit the BioCycle REFOR14 West website. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. Feb. 20, 2014 AgSTAR news
  • UC Giannini Foundation Conference on Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources - - The University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics will hold a forum, "Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources," on Monday, May 19, 2014, at The California Museum in Sacramento. The one-day conference will bring together leading economists, analysts, scientists and policy makers from University of California, the state government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss the potential impacts of climate change and the associated challenges to California's agriculture and natural resources. The speakers and panelists will provide comprehensive, objective, and up-to-date information of the likely impacts of climate change on California’s rural economy. Please visit the conference website, which includes the program, directions to the venue, and a registration page. Registration is required and it is free-of-charge. The deadline for registration is May 12, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact Julie McNamara, Outreach Coordinator, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. March 19, 2014 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics
  • California Bioresources Alliance Symposium - - The ninth annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium will be held June 3-4 at UC Davis and will feature the latest research in the field being done at UC Davis on organic residuals issues. Sessions will include legislative and policy developments on organic residuals in California, impacts of mandatory recycling and landfill closures, waste-to-energy issues, biogas issues including clustering dairies and use for vehicle fuel, and local initiatives. The symposium brings together industry professionals, municipalities, regulators, legislators, state and federal agencies, students, researchers, financers and others involved in California organic residuals. The two-day event is co-hosted by UC Davis Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. For more information about the symposium, contact Lauren Fondahl, US EPA Region 9, at fondahl.lauren@epa.gov or (415) 972-3514. For more information about registration or to become a sponsor, contact Sara House at sdhouse@ucdavis.edu or (530) 757-8549. <more> March 18, 2014 UC Davis

 

 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Water News

  • This just in - Senator Feinstein and Valley Congressmembers call on Administration to take immediate action to capture water from latest storm - - Senator Feinstein, along with Congressmembers Ken Calvert, Jim Costa, Jeff Denham, Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes and David Valadao have written a letter to Secretary Sally Jewell and Secretary Penny Pritzker, backing the exchange contractors request and asking them to evaluate the operating criteria for the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project in order to capture the maximum amount of runoff possible from this week's storm that is passing through. The extremely low water allocations to agriculture will have severe imapcts, while so far, the numbers of take of listed species at the pumps are 0 or minimal, the letter states. “These numbers show that existing protections for endangered fish are more than adequate. On the other hand, our constituents' farms and communities are facing potential devastation. From our view, it is apparent that there is significant imbalance of regulatory burdens,” the letter says. <more> March 27, 2014 Maven’s Notebook
  • Tulare water rally protests 'zero allocation' this summer - - About 1,000 people -- from farmworkers to farm leaders -- turned out Wednesday for a water rally in support of east side agriculture at the International Agri-Center in Tulare. The rally, organized by the California Latino Water Coalition, protested the planned "zero allocation" of irrigation water this summer to east-side farmers by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Zero is not only unprecedented, it's unacceptable because people would lose farm jobs and trees could die from lack of water, said Mario Santoyo, the coalition's leader and a Friant Water Authority official. <more> March 26, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • Well specialist denies Stanislaus County groundwater levels falling dramatically - - Despite what academic researchers have been saying, Stanislaus County’s groundwater levels have not declined dramatically, a longtime well measurement specialist assured county officials Wednesday. “I am the guy who measures the water in the wells and I am not seeing the drastic fall everybody is talking about,” Bill Power, owner of Power Hydrodynamics Inc., told the county’s Water Advisory Committee. “I’m not a hydrologist. All I do is take actual measurements.” Power said he has tested 400 to 500 groundwater wells per year in Stanislaus since the early 1990s, and his extensive - but confidential - records show water levels have remained “generally flat.” <more> March 26, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • More voters likely to support state water bond - - Perhaps because of all the doom-and-gloom drought predictions, Californians today are more likely than they were a year ago to vote for an $11.1 billion bond for state water projects, the Public Policy Institute of California's latest poll finds. The poll also found Gov. Jerry Brown's approval rating has slipped from its record high in January, but he's still beating the tar out of his Republican challengers. Results of the survey, released Wednesday night, also gauged Californians' attitudes on a wide range of other issues, including high-speed rail, marijuana legalization and the federal health care law. <more> March 27, 2014 Contra Costa Times
  • Poll: Californians cutting water use amid drought - - With the state in the grip of a severe drought, most Californians are getting anxious over dwindling water supplies and making an effort not to waste a drop, a poll found Wednesday. A majority of adults in every region of the state considers water supplies a "big problem," including two of three residents in the Central Valley farming belt, according to the statewide survey conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California. <more> March 26, 2014 AP
  • Public Meetings Scheduled to Discuss CDFA’s Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program - - Emergency drought legislation (SB 103) signed earlier this month by Governor Brown allocates $10 million to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for on-farm water conservation practices throughout the state. The funding will be used to establish the CDFA Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, a grant program to increase water conservation through efficiencies and better management and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Two public stakeholder meetings have been scheduled in April 2014 to explain the new program and to receive comments and suggestions. <more> March 27, 2014 CDFA press  release
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Obama endorses House Dem immigration push - - President Barack Obama formally endorsed a long-shot legislative gambit from House Democrats aimed at forcing a vote on comprehensive immigration reform as he blamed House Republicans for stalling an overhaul. In a three-paragraph statement, Obama said he “applauds” the strategy from Democrats to use a discharge petition to get a vote on immigration reform legislation. A successful petition needs 218 signatures — a threshold all but certain to not be reached. <more> March 26, 2014 Politico
  • California minimum wage hike clears first Senate hurdle - - Legislation that would sharply increase California's minimum wage and index it to inflation cleared its first legislative hurdle Wednesday. It's doubtful, however, whether Gov. Jerry Brown would sign another minimum wage boost a year after he and the Legislature enacted an increase. The 2013 legislation raises the minimum wage, now $8 per hour, to $9 on July 1, then to $10 in 2016. Brown signed the increase after insisting that the Legislature remove an automatic inflation adjustment. The new legislation,Senate Bill 935, is being carried by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and is backed by labor unions and advocates for the poor. <more> March 26, 2014 Capitol Alert
  • New Curbs on Drug Use in Animals - - Almost all companies that make animal drugs have agreed to change their labels to curb the use of antibiotics in cattle, pigs and other farm animals, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday. The move by the animal-drug industry complies with a voluntary initiative issued in December by the FDA. The agency took its action to stem the rise of dangerous drug-resistant bacteria, which have proliferated because of the drugs' overuse in hospitals and on farms, doctors say. The agency said Wednesday that 25 of 26 animal-drug makers—representing more than 99% of the industry by sales—had agreed to remove the "growth promotion" indication from labels for the drugs. <more> March 26, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • Fresno, Tulare counties among California's unhealthiest places - - Fresno, Tulare and Kern counties again are among the unhealthiest places in California, according to the fifth annual County Health Rankings released Wednesday. Similar to last year, Fresno ranked 46th, Tulare 47th and Kern 54th among the 57 California counties analyzed. The rankings are part of national research by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Health Foundation. The report evaluates nearly every county in the nation on 29 factors that influence health among broad categories that include smoking, employment, physical inactivity and access to healthy foods. <more> March 26, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • Slim majority of adults favor high-speed rail - - Half of the likely voters in California would scuttle the state’s high-speed rail project were it to come to a vote today, according to a statewide survey released Wednesday night by the Public Policy Institute of California. But back in 2008, a majority of those who went to the polls supported the concept, approving a $10 billion state bond for its planning and construction. Today, when read a description of the system and its $68 billion price tag, 53 percent favor it and 42 percent oppose it. <more> March 26, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • County FFA leaders sets capitol visit - - Kings County representatives will add their voices to the statewide discussion on the fate of state Future Farmers of America funding next month. A group of educators and students led by Assemblyman Rudy Salas will attend a hearing from one of the state Assembly’s budget subcommittees on April 8. About eight people will be speaking about the importance of the state’s Agricultural Education Incentive Grant, which was cut from Gov. Brown’s preliminary budget for next year. The grant is a matching fund given to districts that meet quality standards for their FFA programs. It is the main source of funding for m ost programs. <more> March 26, 2014 Hanford Sentinel
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • January 2014 Commercial Disappearance Below Milk Marketings - - Commercial disappearance of milk in all dairy products fell below U.S. dairy farmer milk marketings by 296 million lbs. in January 2014, according to USDA’s latest Dairy Data report.  Commercial disappearance of milk in all dairy products for January was estimated at 16.9 billion lbs., up 3.8% from January 2013, while January farmer milk marketings totaled 17.2 billion lbs., up 1% from 2013. American cheese commercial disappearance was estimated at 371.2 million lbs., up 10% from January 2013. Other-than-American cheese, at 596.1 million lbs., was up 3.1%. Butter commercial disappearance totaled 157.8 million lbs., up 15.8%, and nonfat dry milk disappearance, at 124.3 million lbs., was down 2.6%. March 27, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • Saputo to close four North American plants - - Canadian dairy giant Saputo is going to close four plants. The affected cheese facilities are at New London, Wisconsin, Hancock, Maryland and Wetaskiwin and Glenwood, Alberta. The company says the shutdowns will begin in May with completion by December, 2015. The company says it would have cost $35 million to update the four plants and has decided to put that money into new assets at other facilities instead. The closures are expected to save the company $4.8 million a year, employees will be offered severance and other support with the possibility of transfer to other Saputo plants. <more> March 27, 2014 Brownfield Ag News
  • Milk Marketing Order Panel questions posted on-line - - Written questions that were submitted at the March 6 milk marketing order panel discussion held at the WUD convention have been posted to the WUD website. The questions can be viewed by clicking here. The questions will be forwarded to the panel participants for their responses. The panel participants were attorney Chip English, USDA Deputy Administrator- dairy programs, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, and attorney John Vlahos. March 25, 2014 WUD News

Environmental News

  • Spring Dairy Seminar to be held in Eureka - - Humboldt/Del Norte County UC Cooperative Extension along with Western United Dairymen, NRCS and FSA, will hold a Spring Dairy Seminar on Monday, March 31 at the Humboldt County Agriculture Center. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. and includes brief information regarding disaster assistance and FSA loan program updates. Before concluding at noon, guests will also be provided with Water Board updates from Melissa Lema of WUD, and others. The program is offered free of charge to dairy producers in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. For questions or comments, contact Melissa Lema, WUD field rep, at 707-779-2214 or email wud.mlema@yahoo.com.

     

Stories of Interest


 
  • American farmers are mostly upbeat, except - - Farmers and agribusiness interests are positive overall about the state of their industry, just as they were last year, according to the release this week of the latest DTN/The Progressive Farmer Agriculture Confidence Index. But that doesn't mean it's all good news. The bad news from the index is about producers' worries over falling prices and a possible slowdown in the sales of agribusiness products. "When it comes to overall expectations for the future, the index shows signs of some confidence," said Katie Micik, an editor at DTN/The Progressive Farmer and director of the confidence index. <more> March 26, 2014 CNBC
  • Dairy Heat Stress Road Show, April 4th - - A day of informational sessions will be held April 4th in Tulare at the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center, Consumer Education Pavilion, 18830 Rd. 112, Tulare, CA. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. with “Managing Heat Stress in California Dairies” by Drs. Alex Souza and Noelia Silva-del-Río, UC Cooperative Extension. Sessions also include “Nutritional Additives and Facility Modifications to Reduce Heat Stress” by Dr. Robert Collier, Professor - University of Arizona and “Tools and Technologies to Assess Heat Stress on Commercial Dairies” by Dr. Todd Bilby, Dairy Technical Services Manager - Merck Animal Health. Following lunch, afternoon sessions include “Should We Cool Dry Cows?” by Dr. Geoffrey Dahl, Professor and Head of Department, University of Florida and “Current and Future Opportunities to Reduce the Impact of Heat Stress” by Dr. Pete Hansen, Distinguished Professor - University of Florida. March 26, 2014 UC Davis news
  • Dairy Leader Program accepting applications until April 4 - - April 4, 2014 is the deadline to apply for Western United Dairymen's highly successful California Dairy Leaders Program. Designed to train the next generation of California's dairy leaders, the leadership program consists of several sessions devoted to developing a better understanding of the economic, legislative, marketing, and environmental issues facing the industry. Eligible participants must be actively involved in milk production, be able to spend the necessary time in class, as well as studying resource materials, and be able to commit to visits to locations such as Sacramento and Washington DC. Industry members can download applications <here>. March 17, 2014 WUD news

     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Spring Dairy Seminar to be held in Eureka - - Humboldt/Del Norte County UC Cooperative Extension along with Western United Dairymen, NRCS and FSA, will hold a Spring Dairy Seminar on Monday, March 31 at the Humboldt County Agriculture Center. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. and includes brief information regarding disaster assistance and FSA loan program updates. Before concluding at noon, guests will also be provided with Water Board updates from Melissa Lema of WUD, and others. The program is offered free of charge to dairy producers in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. For questions or comments, contact Melissa Lema, WUD field rep, at 707-779-2214 or email wud.mlema@yahoo.com.
  • 2014 Environmental Stewardship class offered in Fresno - - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering free classes on environmental stewardship. The classes cover environmental issues, regulatory requirements and management practices for dairy producers. The classes are only for dairies that want to certify, but have not completed the classes. These are not continuing education, if you have completed the classe you do not need to go again, however continuing education is in the future for CDQAP. Classes are voluntary, but your processor may want you to complete the program. The last class offered is as follows: Air Quality Class - Thursday, April 3, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Fresno County Farm Bureau - 1274 W. Hedges Avenue, Fresno, CA. You must attend both classes to complete the water quality education requirement, unless you have previously received credit for attending CDQAP water quality courses. Producers with additional questions can call CDQAP at (530) 574-0524. Feb. 27, 2014 CDQAP announcement
  • AgSTAR Partners with BioCycle for AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop - - AgSTAR is partnering with BioCycle for the 14th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (BioCycle REFOR14 West). A one-day workshop will be held in conjunction with BioCycle REFOR14 West on Monday, April 7, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The theme for the event is "Navigating the Biogas Maze: Learning from the Leaders". Attendees will hear experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. For more information visit the BioCycle REFOR14 West website. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. Feb. 20, 2014 AgSTAR news
  • UC Giannini Foundation Conference on Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources - - The University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics will hold a forum, "Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources," on Monday, May 19, 2014, at The California Museum in Sacramento. The one-day conference will bring together leading economists, analysts, scientists and policy makers from University of California, the state government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss the potential impacts of climate change and the associated challenges to California's agriculture and natural resources. The speakers and panelists will provide comprehensive, objective, and up-to-date information of the likely impacts of climate change on California’s rural economy. Please visit the conference website, which includes the program, directions to the venue, and a registration page. Registration is required and it is free-of-charge. The deadline for registration is May 12, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact Julie McNamara, Outreach Coordinator, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. March 19, 2014 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics
  • California Bioresources Alliance Symposium - - The ninth annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium will be held June 3-4 at UC Davis and will feature the latest research in the field being done at UC Davis on organic residuals issues. Sessions will include legislative and policy developments on organic residuals in California, impacts of mandatory recycling and landfill closures, waste-to-energy issues, biogas issues including clustering dairies and use for vehicle fuel, and local initiatives. The symposium brings together industry professionals, municipalities, regulators, legislators, state and federal agencies, students, researchers, financers and others involved in California organic residuals. The two-day event is co-hosted by UC Davis Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. For more information about the symposium, contact Lauren Fondahl, US EPA Region 9, at fondahl.lauren@epa.gov or (415) 972-3514. For more information about registration or to become a sponsor, contact Sara House at sdhouse@ucdavis.edu or (530) 757-8549. <more> March 18, 2014 UC Davis

 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Water News

  • Uncharted territory in California drought - - With the “official” wet season ending, this spring will be the second in a row with a severe drought for the areas from western Texas through central California, and the extreme dryness will take a toll on the planting season, says a new report from the private forecasting company AccuWeather Inc. of State College, Pa. "In late April to May, temperatures between 90 Fahrenheit and 100 Fahrenheit will be seen in the Sacramento Valley," says AccuWeather.com Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok. As April is an essential month for wine growers with their grape vines awakening from their dormant stage, growers have immense water needs during this time period. <more> March 26, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Water bond bill emerges from Senate panel - - Amid political maneuvering, an effort to rewrite and downsize the $11.14 billion water bond scheduled for the November ballot has been approved by a key Senate committee. The bill, AB 1331 by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, passed its first policy hurdle in the Senate on Tuesday. Rendon’s $8 billion proposal is one of half-dozen measures in the Capitol seeking to modify the November water bond, ranging from about $5.1 billion to $9.25 billion. <more> March 25, 2014 Capitol Weekly
  • Dan Walters: Crafting a 2014 water bond will be tough slog - - Anthony Rendon, a first-term Democrat from Southern California who chairs the Assembly’s water committee, is proud of a water bond issue that he wrote after eight public hearings around the state, calling it “an open and transparent process” in contrast to the backroom deals that had marked previous water bonds. On Monday, his office touted it as “the only current bond proposal that has made it out of its house of origin” and declared that Tuesday’s hearing in the Senate’s water committee was the “perhaps final” airing before it reached the Senate floor. Fat chance. <more> March 25, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • Tulare County judge orders landowner to stop pumping, exporting groundwater - - A Tulare County judge has ordered a landowner to stop pumping groundwater in the southern San Joaquin Valley and moving it off the property, to the relief of an irrigation district that wants to keep water available for landowners fighting the drought. The preliminary injunction will stay in effect until a trial determines whether the pumping and movement of water violates state water law, visiting Judge Harry N. Papadakis ruled last week. Last year, Lower Tule River Irrigation District based in Tipton sued Sandridge Partners, LP, alleging that the partnership pumped thousands of acre-feet of water from wells on an unfarmed parcel it owns and moved it 25 miles through pipes and canals to an almond farm on the west side of Kings County. <more> March 25, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • Modesto Irrigation District farmers promised more water - - Modesto-area farmers were buoyed Tuesday to learn that they should receive 24 inches of irrigation water per acre this summer, a welcome jump from the dismal prediction a few weeks ago of only 18 inches. That’s getting close to the amount needed by many to produce crops or keep trees alive, reckoned by some at 27 to 30 inches. “That’s going to help a lot of people,” said Modesto farmer Bruce Oosterkamp, reflecting the thanks of many to the Modesto Irrigation District board during a lengthy debate over ways to increase water deliveries even more. <more> March 25, 2014 Modesto Bee

     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Mandating Cage-free Housing for Chickens is Costly and Legally Dubious - by Will Coggin, senior research analyst at the Center for Consumer Freedom - - Six states - Missouri, Alabama, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Nebraska - sued California in federal court last month. If they are successful, the U.S. Constitution will be vindicated, and Californians may be spared having to pay through the nose for an omelet. The controversy is all about eggs. A California ballot initiative, Proposition 2, passed in 2008 and mandated that by 2015 all California egg producers must shift to larger cages or “cage-free” housing for its chickens. The Humane Society of the U.S. funded the initiative to the tune of $4.1 million. Anne Wojcicki, wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, shelled out $100,000 for the initiative. Hedgefund billionaire Tom Steyer gave $25,000. The costs would be deadly. <more> March 26, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • Teachers, Students Rally To 'Save FFA' Amid Proposed Funding Changes - - Go to a rural high school in Central California, and one of the most popular extra-curricular programs will be FFA – Future Farmers of America. But now the people who run those programs say their future is threatened in Governor Brown’s new budget. It’s all part of a big change to the way school districts get their money from Sacramento – the Local Control Funding Formula. In general it’s been good news for schools up and down the valley, as it redirects more money to districts with high populations of low-income families, English learners and foster youth. <more> March 25, 2014 Valley Public Radio

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Dairy margins projected healthy through 2023 - - High milk prices fueled by international demand for dairy products combined with declining feed costs should lead to strong profit margins for dairymen in 2014. Income over feed projections by the University of Missouri include the new margin insurance program and look healthy through 2023, but they do not include volatility. Strong international demand for dairy products and China’s growing appetite for milk powder will make 2014 a banner year for dairymen, according to analysts. The Food and Agricultural Policy Institute at the University of Missouri is projecting a U.S. all-milk price of $20.59 per hundredweight in 2014. <more> March 26, 2014 Capital Press
  • More record prices ahead for cattle, analysis predicts - - After reaching record highs in 2013, fed and feeder steer prices are expected to increase sharply again in 2014, with high prices carrying into 2015.Fed steers are projected to average $137.20 per hundredweight in 2014 and $137.74 in 2015. Cow-calf net returns per cow are projected at $232.28 in 2014 and $251.16 in 2015, according to economists with the Food and Agricultural Policy Institute at the University of Missouri. <more> March 26, 2014 Capital Press
  • China Milk Shortage to Last Until at Least 2015 - - So reports Agrimoney.com. The shortfall in Chinese milk output, which has sent imports soaring, will continue until at least 2015, the country's top dairy supplier said - unveiling a rise in profits which contrasted with a tumble in earnings at New Zealand giant Fonterra. Bai Ying, senior vice-president at China Mengniu Dairy, said that China's "raw milk shortage situation will continue this year", albeit with a declining influence on the group itself. "It may still have an impact on the company, but to a lesser extent," he said, highlighting China Mengniu's efforts to ramp up its own output, having four dairy operations in production, a further four set to open this year, and two on the drawing board. March 26, 2014 Dairy Business Update
     
  • Milk Marketing Order Panel questions posted on-line - - Written questions that were submitted at the March 6 milk marketing order panel discussion held at the WUD convention have been posted to the WUD website. The questions can be viewed by clicking here. The questions will be forwarded to the panel participants for their responses. The panel participants were attorney Chip English, USDA Deputy Administrator- dairy programs, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, and attorney John Vlahos. March 25, 2014 WUD News

Environmental News

  • Clean Water Act proposal would protect more water sources in West - - The Obama administration proposed a long-awaited rule on Tuesday to clarify that the Clean Water Act protects wetlands near rivers and waterways fed by seasonal thaws and rains — a decision that could particularly shield water sources in the West. Proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, the draft Waters of the U.S. rule is aimed at defining the scope of the Clean Water Act after two Supreme Court decisions in the last 15 years led to confusion about which waterways were under federal protection, said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. At issue is the status of waterways that do not flow year-round or are not permanent lakes, but streams that flow intermittently or after heavy rains, and riparian wetlands. <more> March 26, 2014 LA Times
  • Spring Dairy Seminar to be held in Eureka - - Humboldt/Del Norte County UC Cooperative Extension along with Western United Dairymen, NRCS and FSA, will hold a Spring Dairy Seminar on Monday, March 31 at the Humboldt County Agriculture Center. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. and includes brief information regarding disaster assistance and FSA loan program updates. Before concluding at noon, guests will also be provided with Water Board updates from Melissa Lema of WUD, and others. The program is offered free of charge to dairy producers in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. For questions or comments, contact Melissa Lema, WUD field rep, at 707-779-2214 or email wud.mlema@yahoo.com.

     

Stories of Interest


 
  • Food Giants Want 'Sustainable' Beef. But What Does That Mean? - - McDonald's made a big green splash a few months ago by that it will start buying "verified sustainable" beef in 2016. A chorus of voices responded, "What's 'verified sustainable' beef?" McDonald's, it turns out, is part of a group that's trying to come up with an answer. It's called the , and its include some of the biggest names in the beef industry as well as some environmental groups. Last week, the roundtable a draft of principles and criteria for what might constitute sustainable beef. The document lays out general goals for a sustainable production system, such as minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and damage to ecosystems. But it doesn't say exactly how much "minimizing" it actually takes to qualify as "sustainable." "Those metrics have to be developed nationally," says Alex Bjork, manager of agriculture supply chains at the World Wildlife Fund, a member of the Sustainable Beef Roundtable. Beef production raises different concerns in different countries. <more> March 25, 2014 NPR
  • Dairy Leader Program accepting applications until April 4 - - April 4, 2014 is the deadline to apply for Western United Dairymen's highly successful California Dairy Leaders Program. Designed to train the next generation of California's dairy leaders, the leadership program consists of several sessions devoted to developing a better understanding of the economic, legislative, marketing, and environmental issues facing the industry. Eligible participants must be actively involved in milk production, be able to spend the necessary time in class, as well as studying resource materials, and be able to commit to visits to locations such as Sacramento and Washington DC. Industry members can download applications <here>. March 17, 2014 WUD news

     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Spring Dairy Seminar to be held in Eureka - - Humboldt/Del Norte County UC Cooperative Extension along with Western United Dairymen, NRCS and FSA, will hold a Spring Dairy Seminar on Monday, March 31 at the Humboldt County Agriculture Center. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. and includes brief information regarding disaster assistance and FSA loan program updates. Before concluding at noon, guests will also be provided with Water Board updates from Melissa Lema of WUD, and others. The program is offered free of charge to dairy producers in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. For questions or comments, contact Melissa Lema, WUD field rep, at 707-779-2214 or email wud.mlema@yahoo.com.
  • 2014 Environmental Stewardship classes offered in Tulare, Fresno - - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering free classes on environmental stewardship. The two-part series of water quality classes (three hours each), known as the Environmental Stewardship Short Course, will be held in Tulare and taught by Dr. Deanne Meyer, a livestock waste management specialist from the University of California, Davis. A separate session on air quality will also be offered in Fresno. Producers can attend all or part of the Short Course to meet the education requirements. The classes cover environmental issues, regulatory requirements and management practices for dairy producers. The classes are only for dairies that want to certify, but have not completed the classes. These are not continuing education, if you have completed the classe you do not need to go again, however continuing education is in the future for CDQAP. Classes are voluntary, but your processor may want you to complete the program. The events would be useful to understand current state of regulations even if you do not need to complete the class and will provide a 50% discount on water board fees. The schedule is as follows: Water Quality Classes - Thursday, March 27 - Class 1: 9 a.m. to 12 noon - Class 2: 1 to 4 pm - Southern California Edison - Energy Education Center (formerly Edison AGTAC) 4175 South Laspina Street, Tulare, CA. Air Quality Class - Thursday, April 3 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Fresno County Farm Bureau - 1274 W. Hedges Avenue, Fresno, CA. You must attend both classes to complete the water quality education requirement, unless you have previously received credit for attending CDQAP water quality courses. Producers with additional questions can call CDQAP at (530) 574-0524. Feb. 27, 2014 CDQAP announcement
  • AgSTAR Partners with BioCycle for AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop - - AgSTAR is partnering with BioCycle for the 14th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (BioCycle REFOR14 West). A one-day workshop will be held in conjunction with BioCycle REFOR14 West on Monday, April 7, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The theme for the event is "Navigating the Biogas Maze: Learning from the Leaders". Attendees will hear experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. For more information visit the BioCycle REFOR14 West website. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. Feb. 20, 2014 AgSTAR news
  • UC Giannini Foundation Conference on Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources - - The University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics will hold a forum, "Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources," on Monday, May 19, 2014, at The California Museum in Sacramento. The one-day conference will bring together leading economists, analysts, scientists and policy makers from University of California, the state government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss the potential impacts of climate change and the associated challenges to California's agriculture and natural resources. The speakers and panelists will provide comprehensive, objective, and up-to-date information of the likely impacts of climate change on California’s rural economy. Please visit the conference website, which includes the program, directions to the venue, and a registration page. Registration is required and it is free-of-charge. The deadline for registration is May 12, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact Julie McNamara, Outreach Coordinator, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. March 19, 2014 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics
  • California Bioresources Alliance Symposium - - The ninth annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium will be held June 3-4 at UC Davis and will feature the latest research in the field being done at UC Davis on organic residuals issues. Sessions will include legislative and policy developments on organic residuals in California, impacts of mandatory recycling and landfill closures, waste-to-energy issues, biogas issues including clustering dairies and use for vehicle fuel, and local initiatives. The symposium brings together industry professionals, municipalities, regulators, legislators, state and federal agencies, students, researchers, financers and others involved in California organic residuals. The two-day event is co-hosted by UC Davis Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. For more information about the symposium, contact Lauren Fondahl, US EPA Region 9, at fondahl.lauren@epa.gov or (415) 972-3514. For more information about registration or to become a sponsor, contact Sara House at sdhouse@ucdavis.edu or (530) 757-8549. <more> March 18, 2014 UC Davis

 

 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Milk Marketing Order Panel questions posted on-line - - Written questions that were submitted at the March 6 milk marketing order panel discussion held at the WUD convention have been posted to the WUD website. The questions can be viewed by clicking here. The questions will be forwarded to the panel participants for their responses. The panel participants were attorney Chip English, USDA Deputy Administrator- dairy programs, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, and attorney John Vlahos. <more> March 25, 2014 WUD News
  • Meat Eaters Gulp Record Prices Before U.S. Grilling Peaks - - Competitive eater and restaurant owner Jamie McDonald had no problem downing almost a dozen 11.5-ounce hamburgers in 10 minutes, or 9 pounds, 7.4 ounces of pulled pork. It’s the cost of the meat that’s making him gag. McDonald, who used $70,000 of his eating-contest prizes since 2012 to open Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ last June in Windsor, Connecticut, plans to raise menu prices 10 percent to limit the profit squeeze on 5,000 pounds (2.27 metric tons) of weekly meat purchases. His bill reached $12,000 as beef costs jumped 30 percent in six months and pork surged 20 percent in March. <more> March 25, 2014 Bloomberg
  • CWT Removes Some More - - Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) accepted 15 requests for export assistance today from Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms USA, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Michigan Milk Producers Association and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 2.094 million pounds of Cheddar cheese, 1.185 million pounds of 82% butter and 308,647 pounds of whole milk powder to customers in Africa, Asia, Central America, the Middle East and North Africa. The product will be delivered through August and raised CWT’s 2014 exports to 29.299 million pounds of cheese, 15.495 million pounds of butter, and 2.881 million pounds of whole milk powder to 21 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 619.5 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis, according to CWT. March 25, 2014 Dairy Business Update

Water News

  • The Conversation: A farmer’s perspective on groundwater - - In this drought year, it’s my only hope. Yet I can’t see it, hear it or feel it. It lies hidden deep beneath my farm. Without it, my farm and my neighbors go thirsty. All my senses focus on groundwater. With a depleted snowpack in the Sierra and record low reservoirs, thousands of Central Valley farms will depend on water extracted from wells to keep their plants alive and to grow food. Hundreds of pumps in Valley cities and towns also supply water to tens of thousands of thirsty households. Farmers and city folks will pray our machines will continue to suck water from aquifers below our lands. <more> March 23, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • Overgrown Sierra forests gulping water that could flow to Valley - - Numerous billion-dollar proposals to create more water storage in California are competing for attention and funding during this third year of drought. But there may be a less-expensive way to increase water flows into the Central Valley: Start thinning out the overgrown Sierra Nevada forests. Cutting down trees may not sound environmentally friendly, but researchers from UC Merced and elsewhere think that may be just what’s needed to restore forest health and increase water runoff. <more> March 24, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • Silicon Valley cities and farms hit with new water cutbacks - - In the latest sign that California's historic drought is having a worsening impact on Silicon Valley, the region's largest water provider is putting in place unprecedented cutbacks this spring on cities, farmers and its own efforts to recharge groundwater supplies. Because of the lack of rain, the Santa Clara Valley Water District last week alerted seven cities and companies that provide water to about 1.5 million people that it will provide only 80 percent of the treated drinking water they have requested through the rest of the year. <more> March 25, 2014 San Jose Mercury News
  • Drought-ravaged California turns to tech for help - - There is a major drought in California. It's not the first state to face a water shortage recently, and it's definitely not the first time California has had to battle drought, but it could drag on for a decade and have a significant impact on all Americans who rely on California farms for food. Residents, the government and the agriculture industry are hoping for some high-tech solutions for a very old problem. Surprisingly, given its California location, Silicon Valley isn't a hotbed of drought and water research. Most local investors and venture capitalists aren't looking to invest in something that will take at least 10 years to pay off. They want software, cheap-to-make mobile apps that gather and monetize data about people, and consumer goods like phones, smart watches and futuristic thermostats. <more> March 22, 2014 CNN
  • Water Fight Pits California's Cattle Against China - - The Golden State's current drought could be one for the history books, as farmers in the Central Valley drill deeper wells and deal with a complete cutoff in contracted water from the state. But at the southeastern corner of California, farmers have plenty of water. "We are very blessed with the water we have," said Linsey Dale of the Imperial County Farm Bureau. She estimates the value of all the winter vegetables and alfalfa hay grown in this area north of the Mexican border are worth about $2 billion. Where's all the water coming from? A different source. Imperial County farmers get their water from the Colorado River, and they're close to the front of the line in receiving it. One crop in particular, alfalfa hay, could be useful to California's cattle industry, which is currently paying high prices for feed due to a lack of rangeland hay. <more> March 24, 2014 NBC news
  • Water rally planned for Tulare - - A rally will be held on Wednesday at the International Agri-Center in Tulare to urge lawmakers to change regulations on the distribution of water from the San Joaquin Delta. Local leaders and representatives from the Valley’s farming community will discuss how water being directed from farms to protect and enhance aquatic habitats along the Delta are hurting farms that need water along the eastern end of the south Valley. <more> March 23, 2014 Visalia Times-Delta
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Announces Increased Opportunity for Producers as part of New Farm Bill - - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced increased opportunity for producers as a result of the 2014 Farm Bill. A fact sheet outlining modifications to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Farm Loan Programs is available. "Our nation's farmers and ranchers are the engine of the rural economy. These improvements to our Farm Loan Programs will help a new generation begin farming and grow existing farm operations," said Secretary Vilsack. "Today's announcement represents just one part of a series of investments the new Farm Bill makes in the next generation of agriculture, which is critical to economic growth in communities across the country." <more> March 24, 2014 USDA press release
  • Harsh immigration realities set in for many 'dreamers' - - As prospects for comprehensive immigration reform this year fade, many young immigrants like Santos are confronting the limits of the president's program, saying it has not transformed their lives as much as they had hoped. The program offered a two-year deportation deferral and work permits to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who came to the country illegally before age 16. Santos and others, dubbed the "dreamers," were encouraged to come out of the shadows and build new lives. The program was hailed as an important first step in addressing the plight of more than 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. <more> March 24, 2014 LA Times
  • House Democrats press for immigration vote - - House Democrats plan to launch a discharge petition on Wednesday in a long-shot effort to force a floor vote on immigration reform – their latest move to pressure Republicans to advance an overhaul this year. Already this year, Democrats have tried the procedural gambit to compel votes on raising the federal minimum wage and extending unemployment insurance that have so far failed to attract GOP support. And the third time likely won’t be the charm for House Democrats – successful petitions are notoriously rare. A member of the majority party signing onto a discharge effort is considered a significant breach of party loyalty. <more> March 24, 2014 Politico
  • State launches heat illness prevention campaign - - As spring begins warming the air in the Central Valley, the state has started it annual effort to educate employers and workers about working in the heat - and the penalties for not following the law. The annual kickoff was held in Fresno Tuesday at a bilingual training sponsored by Cal/OSHA, the Nisei Farmers League and other agricultural employers. The goal of the program is to reduce the incidence of heat illness statewide and ensure compliance with California’s heat illness standard. <more> March 25, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
     

Environmental News

  • Spring Dairy Seminar to be held in Eureka - - Humboldt/Del Norte County UC Cooperative Extension along with Western United Dairymen, NRCS and FSA, will hold a Spring Dairy Seminar on Monday, March 31 at the Humboldt County Agriculture Center. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. and includes brief information regarding disaster assistance and FSA loan program updates. Before concluding at noon, guests will also be provided with Water Board updates from Melissa Lema of WUD, and others. The program is offered free of charge to dairy producers in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. For questions or comments, contact Melissa Lema, WUD field rep, at 707-779-2214 or email wud.mlema@yahoo.com.

     

Stories of Interest


 
  • Ag students rally to try to preserve education grants - - Concerns about future funding for high school agricultural classes and leadership programs are being voiced throughout California - and nowhere louder than at the state Capitol, where thousands of students and members of Future Farmers of America rallied last week to try to prevent elimination of the state's $4.1 million Agricultural Education Incentive Grant program. "It was gratifying to see the number of legislators who came out to support the students at the Capitol rally," said Jim Aschwanden, executive director of the California Agricultural Teachers' Association, who estimated participation at more than 2,000 students. <more> March 26, 2014 Ag Alert
  • Dairy Leader Program accepting applications until April 4 - - April 4, 2014 is the deadline to apply for Western United Dairymen's highly successful California Dairy Leaders Program. Designed to train the next generation of California's dairy leaders, the leadership program consists of several sessions devoted to developing a better understanding of the economic, legislative, marketing, and environmental issues facing the industry. Eligible participants must be actively involved in milk production, be able to spend the necessary time in class, as well as studying resource materials, and be able to commit to visits to locations such as Sacramento and Washington DC. Industry members can download applications <here>. March 17, 2014 WUD news

     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Spring Dairy Seminar to be held in Eureka - - Humboldt/Del Norte County UC Cooperative Extension along with Western United Dairymen, NRCS and FSA, will hold a Spring Dairy Seminar on Monday, March 31 at the Humboldt County Agriculture Center. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. and includes brief information regarding disaster assistance and FSA loan program updates. Before concluding at noon, guests will also be provided with Water Board updates from Melissa Lema of WUD, and others. The program is offered free of charge to dairy producers in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. For questions or comments, contact Melissa Lema, WUD field rep, at 707-779-2214 or email wud.mlema@yahoo.com.
  • 2014 Environmental Stewardship classes offered in Tulare, Fresno - - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering free classes on environmental stewardship. The two-part series of water quality classes (three hours each), known as the Environmental Stewardship Short Course, will be held in Tulare and taught by Dr. Deanne Meyer, a livestock waste management specialist from the University of California, Davis. A separate session on air quality will also be offered in Fresno. Producers can attend all or part of the Short Course to meet the education requirements. The classes cover environmental issues, regulatory requirements and management practices for dairy producers. The classes are only for dairies that want to certify, but have not completed the classes. These are not continuing education, if you have completed the classe you do not need to go again, however continuing education is in the future for CDQAP. Classes are voluntary, but your processor may want you to complete the program. The events would be useful to understand current state of regulations even if you do not need to complete the class and will provide a 50% discount on water board fees. The schedule is as follows: Water Quality Classes - Thursday, March 27 - Class 1: 9 a.m. to 12 noon - Class 2: 1 to 4 pm - Southern California Edison - Energy Education Center (formerly Edison AGTAC) 4175 South Laspina Street, Tulare, CA. Air Quality Class - Thursday, April 3 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Fresno County Farm Bureau - 1274 W. Hedges Avenue, Fresno, CA. You must attend both classes to complete the water quality education requirement, unless you have previously received credit for attending CDQAP water quality courses. Producers with additional questions can call CDQAP at (530) 574-0524. Feb. 27, 2014 CDQAP announcement
  • AgSTAR Partners with BioCycle for AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop - - AgSTAR is partnering with BioCycle for the 14th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (BioCycle REFOR14 West). A one-day workshop will be held in conjunction with BioCycle REFOR14 West on Monday, April 7, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The theme for the event is "Navigating the Biogas Maze: Learning from the Leaders". Attendees will hear experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. For more information visit the BioCycle REFOR14 West website. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. Feb. 20, 2014 AgSTAR news
  • UC Giannini Foundation Conference on Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources - - The University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics will hold a forum, "Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources," on Monday, May 19, 2014, at The California Museum in Sacramento. The one-day conference will bring together leading economists, analysts, scientists and policy makers from University of California, the state government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss the potential impacts of climate change and the associated challenges to California's agriculture and natural resources. The speakers and panelists will provide comprehensive, objective, and up-to-date information of the likely impacts of climate change on California’s rural economy. Please visit the conference website, which includes the program, directions to the venue, and a registration page. Registration is required and it is free-of-charge. The deadline for registration is May 12, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact Julie McNamara, Outreach Coordinator, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. March 19, 2014 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics
  • California Bioresources Alliance Symposium - - The ninth annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium will be held June 3-4 at UC Davis and will feature the latest research in the field being done at UC Davis on organic residuals issues. Sessions will include legislative and policy developments on organic residuals in California, impacts of mandatory recycling and landfill closures, waste-to-energy issues, biogas issues including clustering dairies and use for vehicle fuel, and local initiatives. The symposium brings together industry professionals, municipalities, regulators, legislators, state and federal agencies, students, researchers, financers and others involved in California organic residuals. The two-day event is co-hosted by UC Davis Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. For more information about the symposium, contact Lauren Fondahl, US EPA Region 9, at fondahl.lauren@epa.gov or (415) 972-3514. For more information about registration or to become a sponsor, contact Sara House at sdhouse@ucdavis.edu or (530) 757-8549. <more> March 18, 2014 UC Davis

 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Water News

  • California drought: Central Valley farmland on its last legs - - Even before the drought, the southern San Joaquin Valley was in big trouble. Decades of irrigation have leached salts and toxic minerals from the soil that have nowhere to go, threatening crops and wildlife. Aquifers are being drained at an alarming pace. More than 95 percent of the area's native habitat has been destroyed by cultivation or urban expansion, leaving more endangered bird, mammal and other species in the southern San Joaquin than anywhere in the continental U.S. Federal studies long ago concluded that the only sensible solution is to retire hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland. Some farming interests have reached the same conclusion, even as they publicly blamed an endangered minnow to the north, known as the delta smelt, for the water restrictions that have forced them to fallow their fields. <more> March 24, 2014 San Francisco Chronicle
  • California drought puts spotlight on water theft - - It’s amazingly easy to steal water from a California stream. Even in this epic drought, the state has no way of monitoring exactly who is tapping into its freshwater supplies and how much they take. And those who do get caught taking water they have no right to often are allowed to keep taking it for years just by promising to obtain a permit. Nearly 30,000 entities in the state hold valid water diversion permits, including individual property owners, farmers and water utilities. Some have meters or gauges to measure their diversions, but the state has no ability of its own to monitor those gauges in real-time. People and entities with water rights are required to regularly report their water use to the state, but many don’t, and the state has no way of knowing if their accounts – self-reported – are truthful. <more> March 24, 2014 Sacramento Bee
  • Drying up the delta: 19th century policies underlie today's crises - - A shallow inland sea spreads across more than 160 square miles, speckled with egrets poking for crayfish among jewel-green rice shoots. The flooded fields could be mistaken for the rice paddies of Vietnam or southern China, but this is Northern California at the onset of severe drought. The scene is a testament to the inequities of California's system of water rights, a hierarchy of haves as old as the state. <more> March 22, 2014 LA Times
  • State lawmakers want a water bond to fight drought, but which one? - - As California’s drought drags on, more farmers are being forced to fallow fields and a growing number of small towns are running out of water. So Republicans and Democrats here finally agree on something: They need to spend billions of dollars to fix California’s broken water system. But that doesn’t mean getting a water bond on November’s ballot that voters will approve is a sure thing. Gov. Jerry Brown hasn’t even decided whether he supports the idea, while the Legislature has come up with seven different schemes aimed at making the next drought a lot less painful. <more> March 22, 2014 LA Dairy New
  • Trucking of Sacramento River salmon starts Monday - - More than 12 million juvenile hatchery salmon will get a truck trip downstream starting Monday to help them circumvent the harmful effects of drought on the Sacramento River. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the plan Friday, as a way of bolstering survival rates for the fish. The Sacramento River, compromised by California’s persistent drought, is too low to provide adequate food and protection from predators, potentially jeopardizing a crop of fish that supports the state’s commercial and recreational salmon fishing industries. <more> March 21, 2014 Sacramento Bee
  • The Expanding Impact of California's Drought - - Spring officially arrived this week, and with it a reminder that the rainy season -- such as it was -- is quickly coming to an end. The lack of rain was the focus of a very heated Congressional hearing in Fresno this week, and of policy changes from California's superintendent of schools. Host Scott Shafer talks about the drought and its expanding impact with KQED Science Editor Craig Miller. <more> March 21, 2014 The California Report
  • Water rally planned for Tulare - - A rally will be held on Wednesday at the International Agri-Center in Tulare to urge lawmakers to change regulations on the distribution of water from the San Joaquin Delta. Local leaders and representatives from the Valley’s farming community will discuss how water being directed from farms to protect and enhance aquatic habitats along the Delta are hurting farms that need water along the eastern end of the south Valley. <more> March 23, 2014 Visalia Times-Delta
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Water, water everywhere in race for Congress - - California's water crisis will be a key issue in California's 10th Congressional District as June's primary election approaches, according to the three candidates for the seat in the United States House of Representatives. The district includes Stanislaus County and much of southern San Joaquin County, including Manteca and Tracy. Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, has been in Congress since 2010 and is being opposed by Michael Barkley, D-Manteca, and Michael Eggman, D-Kingsburg. <more> March 24, 2014 Stockton Record
  • Congress focuses on dams amid California’s drought - - California’s drought has sparked a new push by federal lawmakers to create or expand a handful of reservoirs around the state, ramping up a political battle that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger once referred to as a “holy war in some ways.” Government agencies have been studying five major water storage projects for nearly two decades, with nothing to show for the effort so far. Meanwhile, the state’s water problems have only grown worse. California has had its third relatively dry winter in a row and court rulings have mandated that more water be released from reservoirs to sustain fish species in Northern California’s delta. At the same time, the nation’s most populous state, now at 38 million residents, continues to grow beyond the capacity of a water storage and delivery system that was mostly completed in the late 1960s. <more> March 23, 2014 AP
  • California jobless rate falls to 8% after adding 58,800 net new positions  - - California's economy perked up in February, adding 58,800 net new jobs and gaining some momentum after a lackluster showing the month before. The job gains helped push the unemployment rate down to 8% from 8.1% in January, the state's Employment Development Department reported Friday. "California employment is coming back very nicely after a bump in the month of January," said Sung Won Sohn, an economics professor at Cal State Channel Islands. "We are seeing more and more cylinders in the economic engine firing." <more> March 21, 2014 LA Times
  • China, Netherlands sign trade pacts - - China and the Netherlands signed a trade pact Sunday pledging Dutch dairy expertise to help Chinese producers boost the quality and quantity of their milk. The deal signed at a ceremony at Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s official residence in The Hague is another step by China to rehabilitate the reputation of its dairy industry in the aftermath of tainted milk product scandals. <more> March 23, 2014 AP
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Gavilon calls on U.S. farm sector to deal with unapproved GMO crops - - The U.S. agriculture industry must devise a system to handle genetically modified crops barred by major importers because unapproved varieties will comprise an increasing portion of production in coming years, top executives at grain merchant Gavilon Group LLC said. Omaha-based Gavilon, owned by Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp, broke from the world's top grain traders last month by agreeing to accept a new type of GMO corn not approved by China or the European Union. Both countries are major grain buyers. <more> March 24, 2014 Reuters
  • September Fluid Sales Down 1.2% - - January 2014 packaged fluid milk sales totaled 4.54 billion lbs., down 0.5% from January 2013. (Sales were not adjusted for calendar considerations). January sales of conventional products, at 4.34 billion lbs., were down 1.1%; organic products, at 197 million lbs., were up 13.5%. Organic represented about 4.3% of total sales for the month. March 24, 2014 Dairy Business Update
     

Environmental News

  • Spring Dairy Seminar to be held in Eureka - - Humboldt/Del Norte County UC Cooperative Extension along with Western United Dairymen, NRCS and FSA, will hold a Spring Dairy Seminar on Monday, March 31 at the Humboldt County Agriculture Center. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. and includes brief information regarding disaster assistance and FSA loan program updates. Before concluding at noon, guests will also be provided with Water Board updates from Melissa Lema of WUD, and others. The program is offered free of charge to dairy producers in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. For questions or comments, contact Melissa Lema, WUD field rep, at 707-779-2214 or email wud.mlema@yahoo.com.
  • Farmers prepare for groundwater testing rules - - In the coming months, farmers in Tulare County and other parts of the Valley will begin monitoring their groundwater for fertilizers, pesticides and other contaminants. On top of that, some may also have to come up with better ways to irrigate and apply their farming chemicals, which could add additional costs beyond those to test their groundwater. <more> March 24, 2014 Visalia Times-Delta

     

Stories of Interest


 
  • Farming in America: 'There's a growing discontent' - - A sign near an almond farm on February 25, 2014 in Turlock, California. It's not easy being a farmer in the U.S. these days and it's bound to get harder, say those who should know.  "There's a growing discontent among the farming community," said John Kempf, a fruit and vegetable farmer in northeast Ohio. "We have a farming model now that is antagonistic to the enjoyment of watching seeds grow and seeing a new born animal," said the 26-year-old Kempf, who is chief executive of Advancing Eco Agriculture, a farming and crop nutrition consulting company. Kempf cited issues like genetically modified organisms (GMOs), over-use of pesticides, a lack of water and soil conservation, the right way to manage livestock and climate change as key problems. <more> March 23, 2014 CNBC
  • Growing use of drones poised to transform agriculture - - Drones are quickly moving from the battlefield to the farmer's field — on the verge of helping growers oversee millions of acres throughout rural America and saving them big money in the process. While much of the attention regarding drones has focused recently on Amazon and UPS seeking to use them to deliver packages, much of the future for drones is expected to come on the farm. That's because agriculture operations span large distances and are mostly free of privacy and safety concerns that have dogged the use of these aerial high-fliers in more heavily populated areas. <more> March 23, 2014 USA Toda
  • What Fuels March Madness - - Michigan's basketball team came into the NCAA tournament with a No. 2 seed as the improbable Big Ten champion. The Wolverines managed to win the regular-season conference title despite losing preseason All-American Mitch McGary to injury. So what's the secret to their success? It isn't some genius strategy or overlooked superstar. In fact, since the school flaunts it through advertisements, it isn't even a secret. Michigan's players drink chocolate milk. <more> March 21, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
     
  • Dairy Leader Program accepting applications until April 4 - - April 4, 2014 is the deadline to apply for Western United Dairymen's highly successful California Dairy Leaders Program. Designed to train the next generation of California's dairy leaders, the leadership program consists of several sessions devoted to developing a better understanding of the economic, legislative, marketing, and environmental issues facing the industry. Eligible participants must be actively involved in milk production, be able to spend the necessary time in class, as well as studying resource materials, and be able to commit to visits to locations such as Sacramento and Washington DC. Industry members can download applications <here>. March 17, 2014 WUD news

     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Spring Dairy Seminar to be held in Eureka - - Humboldt/Del Norte County UC Cooperative Extension along with Western United Dairymen, NRCS and FSA, will hold a Spring Dairy Seminar on Monday, March 31 at the Humboldt County Agriculture Center. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. and includes brief information regarding disaster assistance and FSA loan program updates. Before concluding at noon, guests will also be provided with Water Board updates from Melissa Lema of WUD, and others. The program is offered free of charge to dairy producers in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. For questions or comments, contact Melissa Lema, WUD field rep, at 707-779-2214 or email wud.mlema@yahoo.com.
  • 2014 Environmental Stewardship classes offered in Tulare, Fresno - - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering free classes on environmental stewardship. The two-part series of water quality classes (three hours each), known as the Environmental Stewardship Short Course, will be held in Tulare and taught by Dr. Deanne Meyer, a livestock waste management specialist from the University of California, Davis. A separate session on air quality will also be offered in Fresno. Producers can attend all or part of the Short Course to meet the education requirements. The classes cover environmental issues, regulatory requirements and management practices for dairy producers. The classes are only for dairies that want to certify, but have not completed the classes. These are not continuing education, if you have completed the classe you do not need to go again, however continuing education is in the future for CDQAP. Classes are voluntary, but your processor may want you to complete the program. The events would be useful to understand current state of regulations even if you do not need to complete the class and will provide a 50% discount on water board fees. The schedule is as follows: Water Quality Classes - Thursday, March 27 - Class 1: 9 a.m. to 12 noon - Class 2: 1 to 4 pm - Southern California Edison - Energy Education Center (formerly Edison AGTAC) 4175 South Laspina Street, Tulare, CA. Air Quality Class - Thursday, April 3 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Fresno County Farm Bureau - 1274 W. Hedges Avenue, Fresno, CA. You must attend both classes to complete the water quality education requirement, unless you have previously received credit for attending CDQAP water quality courses. Producers with additional questions can call CDQAP at (530) 574-0524. Feb. 27, 2014 CDQAP announcement
  • AgSTAR Partners with BioCycle for AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop - - AgSTAR is partnering with BioCycle for the 14th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (BioCycle REFOR14 West). A one-day workshop will be held in conjunction with BioCycle REFOR14 West on Monday, April 7, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The theme for the event is "Navigating the Biogas Maze: Learning from the Leaders". Attendees will hear experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. For more information visit the BioCycle REFOR14 West website. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. Feb. 20, 2014 AgSTAR news
  • UC Giannini Foundation Conference on Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources - - The University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics will hold a forum, "Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources," on Monday, May 19, 2014, at The California Museum in Sacramento. The one-day conference will bring together leading economists, analysts, scientists and policy makers from University of California, the state government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss the potential impacts of climate change and the associated challenges to California's agriculture and natural resources. The speakers and panelists will provide comprehensive, objective, and up-to-date information of the likely impacts of climate change on California’s rural economy. Please visit the conference website, which includes the program, directions to the venue, and a registration page. Registration is required and it is free-of-charge. The deadline for registration is May 12, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact Julie McNamara, Outreach Coordinator, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. March 19, 2014 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics
  • Save the Date: California Bioresources Alliance Symposium - - The ninth annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium will be held June 3-4 at UC Davis and will feature the latest research in the field being done at UC Davis on organic residuals issues. Sessions will include legislative and policy developments on organic residuals in California, impacts of mandatory recycling and landfill closures, waste-to-energy issues, biogas issues including clustering dairies and use for vehicle fuel, and local initiatives. The symposium brings together industry professionals, municipalities, regulators, legislators, state and federal agencies, students, researchers, financers and others involved in California organic residuals. The two-day event is co-hosted by UC Davis Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. For more information about the symposium, contact Lauren Fondahl, US EPA Region 9, at fondahl.lauren@epa.gov or (415) 972-3514. For more information about registration or to become a sponsor, contact Sara House at sdhouse@ucdavis.edu or (530) 757-8549. <more> March 18, 2014 UC Davis

 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Water News

  • Rally for Water in Tulare next week - - A "Rally for Water" will take place on Wednesday, March 26 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the International Agri-Center in the Dairy Pavilion, 4450 S Laspina St, Tulare, CA 93274. The event will focus on what current drought developments and lack of water allocation mean to East Side farmers. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and State Officials will join East Side water leaders in a brief informational discussion regarding the ZERO allocation for users along the Friant-Kern and Madera canals. Dinner will be provided at 5:00, followed by the update at 6:00 and rally at 6:30 p.m. The event is hosted by the California Latino Water Coalition, Friant Water Authority, CA Citrus Mutual, Nisei Farmers League, CA Farm Water Coalition, Olive Growers Council and the Kings, Tulare and Fresno County Farm Bureaus. March 21, 2014 Friant Water Authority news
  • Valley congressmen heard what they wanted at ‘field hearing’ - - Echo chambers are great if you like the sound of what you’re saying. But they’re not much use if your goal is to find solutions everyone can agree to. Most congressional field hearings, like the one in Fresno on Wednesday, are essentially echo chambers. Those invited to speak generally hold the same views as those who invited them. In this case, that’s Republican representatives Jeff Denham of Turlock and David Valadao of Hanford. The representatives empathized as south Valley farmers described almond trees drying up; they nodded as environmentalists were excoriated, and restrictions on pumping from the delta were decried. <more> March 20, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • Could California drought be 'Katrina' moment? - - When it comes to water in California, 2014 may go down not as North v. South, but the haves and the have-nots. The irony is who has it and who doesn’t. While panels made up largely of water agency officials were discussing the one commodity California is in woeful short supply of, two blocks away California’s reactionary political class was feverishly working to introduce legal mechanisms to address that problem while one end of the state rose as a shining example of how determination succeeds. At a conference on water hosted by Capitol Weekly and the University of California Center in downtown Sacramento, panelists seemed to agree that the circumstances facing California relative to its water supply is due in large part to poor planning and political expediency. <more> March 20, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Salas and Perea introduce water bond proposal - - The pressure is mounting for new water storage in California, and it’s not just the Republicans beating the drum. Case in point: Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield; Assemblyman Henry T. Perea, D-Fresno; and Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, announced a water bond bill today that provides the funding agricultural groups consider necessary to kick-start new dam projects. AB 2686 includes a guarantee of $3 billion for additional water storage — the minimum amount the California Latino Water Coalition says is needed to provide enough seed money to attract full funding for Temperance Flat, Sites Reservoir or both. <more> March 20, 2014 Hanford Sentinel
  • California drought: Ray of hope in fish-vs.-farms dispute - - Tens of thousands of squiggling salmon fattening up on bugs and other nutrients on flooded cropland in the Sacramento Valley could soon provide a solution to the long-running dispute over who should get the bulk of California's diminishing supply of water: farms or fish. There appears to be a way to satisfy both. Researchers from UC Davis flooded rice paddies on a 1,700-acre farm in nearby Woodland (Yolo County) and converted the fields into wetland fish habitat, much like the vast marshlands that once covered the state's inland valleys during the winter. The idea is to give young chinook salmon a spot where they can rest and feed as they migrate through the Yolo Bypass and into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. It is a strategy that Asian countries have long used between planting seasons. <more> March 21, 2014 San Francisco Chronicle
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • ACLU, Others Sue Idaho over Farm Anti-spying Law - - A coalition of animal activists, civil rights groups and media organizations sued Idaho on Monday over a new law that makes it illegal to secretly film animal abuse at agricultural facilities. The groups filed the lawsuit in Boise's U.S. District Court, asking a federal judge to strike down what they call an "ag gag" law. The coalition contends that the law curtails freedom of speech and makes gathering proof of animal abuse harsher than the penalty for animal cruelty itself. Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed the law last month after Idaho's $2.5 billion dairy industry complained that videos showing cows being abused at a southern Idaho dairy unfairly hurt business. The Los Angeles-based animal rights group Mercy For Animals released the videos, which showed workers at Bettencourt Dairy beating, stomping and otherwise abusing cows in 2012. <more> March 17, 2014 AP
  • HSUS Has Quietly Sent $26 Million to the Caribbean - - A sharp-eyed reader pointed us to something buried in HSUS’s latest tax return, covering the year 2012. On page 32, HSUS states that it made an “investment” total $25.7 million in the “Central American and the Caribbean” region. We went back to HSUS’s 2009, 2010, and 2011 tax returns. There were no reported investments of any kind abroad. Strange? We think so. Where exactly is this $26 million “invested”? It turns out HSUS funneled mega-bucks to several funds located in the Cayman Islands. You know, the secretive place where secretive people stuff their secretive money. Bond villain-type stuff. <more> March 19, 2014 HumaneWatch.org
  • California, Ethanol and Eggs - - Todd Neeley wrote a small piece Thursday about ethanol groups taking a lawsuit against California to the U.S. Supreme Court. I felt like I had just read this article and it turns out I had, but with a different lawsuit and another industry. The ethanol groups suing for market access to California for corn-based ethanol argue the state's low-carbon fuel standard violates the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. "California, through adoption of the LCFS, has violated the most basic, structural features of interstate federalism," the ethanol groups said in a statement released Thursday. <more> March 20, 2014 DTN
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Dairy keeps pushing higher - - Cash cheese barrels, butter and nonfat dry milk each gained a penny on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Friday. Class III futures jumped; April added 49 cents, May increased 52 cents and June was 30 cents higher. For the week: cash cheese barrels up 4.75 cents, blocks increased 6.5 cents, butter added 4 cents, nonfat dry milk up a penny. Class III futures for March added a nickel, April jumped $1.11, May increased $1.02, June is 59 cents higher and the September contract is 42 cents above last week. Even though cheese production continues to build and cheese prices are at an all-time-high, they just can’t keep up with demand. <more> March 21, 2014 Brownfield Ag News
  • Why inflation is a hard swallow for food companies - - There's little question that food prices are heading higher. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices rose 0.4 percent in February, the most since September 2011. The higher costs cover the gamut of foods from meats and dairy products to fruits and vegetables. It's a safe bet that consumers won't like feeling the economic pinch at the checkout stand. But does food inflation mean boon times for the stocks of food-producing companies like Archer Daniels Midland, and Hormel? How about retailers like McDonald's and Albertson's. Not likely say experts. <more> March 20, 2014 CNBC
  • USDA Issues Final Rule Extending Dairy’s Forward Pricing Program - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a final rule extending the Dairy Forward Pricing Program to allow producers and cooperative associations to enter into forward price contracts through Sept. 30, 2018. This final rule also extends all other requirements of the program until Sept. 30, 2021. The Dairy Forward Pricing Program allows producers and producer cooperative associations to voluntarily enter into forward price contracts with handlers for milk under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. The program has not accepted new contracts since Sept. 30, 2013. The 2014 Farm Bill allows new contracts to be entered into until Sept. 30, 2018. Contracts may not extend beyond Sept. 30, 2021. March 21, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • California milk marketing order panel discussion video online - - Video of the California milk marketing order panel discussion held at the WUD Convention on March 6 has been posted online, courtesy of Joel Hastings of DairyBusiness. The two videos include USDA's Dana Hamilton Coale explaining items to consider if California is to adopt a Federal Milk Order. She is Deputy Administrator - Dairy Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service / USDA; and Attorney Chip English of Washington DC who spoke about the legal issues and arrangements to consider if California moves into a Federal Milk Order. English has over 30 years’ experience litigating these issues. Watch the videos <here>. March 18, 2014 WUD

Environmental News

  • Spring Dairy Seminar to be held in Eureka - - Humboldt/Del Norte County UC Cooperative Extension along with Western United Dairymen, NRCS and FSA, will hold a Spring Dairy Seminar on Monday, March 31 at the Humboldt County Agriculture Center. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. and includes brief information regarding disaster assistance and FSA loan program updates. Before concluding at noon, guests will also be provided with Water Board updates from Melissa Lema of WUD, and others. The program is offered free of charge to dairy producers in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. For questions or comments, contact Melissa Lema, WUD field rep, at 707-779-2214 or email wud.mlema@yahoo.com.
  • Obama administration partners with private sector for climate data release - - The Obama administration yesterday launched its Climate Data Initiative, another weapon in the government's larger effort to combat and understand climate change. The initiative is an attempt to use the government's climate-relevant data resources, including information from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to “stimulate innovation and private-sector entrepreneurship in support of national climate-change preparedness,” the White House said yesterday. While the data, which includes information on costal flooding and sea level rise, will be available to all Americans on climate.data.gov, the administration made clear that it expects private industry to make the most use of the release. <more> March 20, 2014 Agri-Pulse

     

Stories of Interest


 
  • City vs. Country: How Where We Live Deepens the Nation's Political Divide - - The owner of the nicest restaurant in town doesn't serve alcohol, worried that his pastor would be disappointed if he did. Public schools try to avoid scheduling events on Wednesday evenings, when churches hold Bible study. And Democrats here are a rare and lonely breed. Older, nearly 100% white and overwhelmingly Republican, El Dorado Springs is typical of what is now small-town America. Coffee costs 90 cents at the diner, with free refills. Two hours north and a world away in Kansas City, Starbucks charges twice that, and voters routinely elect Democrats. There have always been differences between rural and urban America, but they have grown vast and deep, and now are an underappreciated factor in dividing the U.S. political system, say politicians and academicians. <more> March 21, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • Dairy Leader Program accepting applications until April 4 - - April 4, 2014 is the deadline to apply for Western United Dairymen's highly successful California Dairy Leaders Program. Designed to train the next generation of California's dairy leaders, the leadership program consists of several sessions devoted to developing a better understanding of the economic, legislative, marketing, and environmental issues facing the industry. Eligible participants must be actively involved in milk production, be able to spend the necessary time in class, as well as studying resource materials, and be able to commit to visits to locations such as Sacramento and Washington DC. Industry members can download applications <here>. March 17, 2014 WUD news

     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Spring Dairy Seminar to be held in Eureka - - Humboldt/Del Norte County UC Cooperative Extension along with Western United Dairymen, NRCS and FSA, will hold a Spring Dairy Seminar on Monday, March 31 at the Humboldt County Agriculture Center. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. and includes brief information regarding disaster assistance and FSA loan program updates. Before concluding at noon, guests will also be provided with Water Board updates from Melissa Lema of WUD, and others. The program is offered free of charge to dairy producers in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. For questions or comments, contact Melissa Lema, WUD field rep, at 707-779-2214 or email wud.mlema@yahoo.com.
  • 2014 Environmental Stewardship classes offered in Tulare, Fresno - - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering free classes on environmental stewardship. The two-part series of water quality classes (three hours each), known as the Environmental Stewardship Short Course, will be held in Tulare and taught by Dr. Deanne Meyer, a livestock waste management specialist from the University of California, Davis. A separate session on air quality will also be offered in Fresno. Producers can attend all or part of the Short Course to meet the education requirements. The classes cover environmental issues, regulatory requirements and management practices for dairy producers. The classes are only for dairies that want to certify, but have not completed the classes. These are not continuing education, if you have completed the classe you do not need to go again, however continuing education is in the future for CDQAP. Classes are voluntary, but your processor may want you to complete the program. The events would be useful to understand current state of regulations even if you do not need to complete the class and will provide a 50% discount on water board fees. The schedule is as follows: Water Quality Classes - Thursday, March 27 - Class 1: 9 a.m. to 12 noon - Class 2: 1 to 4 pm - Southern California Edison - Energy Education Center (formerly Edison AGTAC) 4175 South Laspina Street, Tulare, CA. Air Quality Class - Thursday, April 3 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Fresno County Farm Bureau - 1274 W. Hedges Avenue, Fresno, CA. You must attend both classes to complete the water quality education requirement, unless you have previously received credit for attending CDQAP water quality courses. Producers with additional questions can call CDQAP at (530) 574-0524. Feb. 27, 2014 CDQAP announcement
  • AgSTAR Partners with BioCycle for AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop - - AgSTAR is partnering with BioCycle for the 14th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (BioCycle REFOR14 West). A one-day workshop will be held in conjunction with BioCycle REFOR14 West on Monday, April 7, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The theme for the event is "Navigating the Biogas Maze: Learning from the Leaders". Attendees will hear experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. For more information visit the BioCycle REFOR14 West website. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. Feb. 20, 2014 AgSTAR news
  • UC Giannini Foundation Conference on Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources - - The University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics will hold a forum, "Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources," on Monday, May 19, 2014, at The California Museum in Sacramento. The one-day conference will bring together leading economists, analysts, scientists and policy makers from University of California, the state government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss the potential impacts of climate change and the associated challenges to California's agriculture and natural resources. The speakers and panelists will provide comprehensive, objective, and up-to-date information of the likely impacts of climate change on California’s rural economy. Please visit the conference website, which includes the program, directions to the venue, and a registration page. Registration is required and it is free-of-charge. The deadline for registration is May 12, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact Julie McNamara, Outreach Coordinator, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. March 19, 2014 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics
  • Save the Date: California Bioresources Alliance Symposium - - The ninth annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium will be held June 3-4 at UC Davis and will feature the latest research in the field being done at UC Davis on organic residuals issues. Sessions will include legislative and policy developments on organic residuals in California, impacts of mandatory recycling and landfill closures, waste-to-energy issues, biogas issues including clustering dairies and use for vehicle fuel, and local initiatives. The symposium brings together industry professionals, municipalities, regulators, legislators, state and federal agencies, students, researchers, financers and others involved in California organic residuals. The two-day event is co-hosted by UC Davis Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. For more information about the symposium, contact Lauren Fondahl, US EPA Region 9, at fondahl.lauren@epa.gov or (415) 972-3514. For more information about registration or to become a sponsor, contact Sara House at sdhouse@ucdavis.edu or (530) 757-8549. <more> March 18, 2014 UC Davis

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Water News

  • Representatives call for more Valley water, storage - - A congressional committee met at a full Fresno City Hall on Wednesday, taking up California’s drought crisis and calling for freeing up more water and the construction of large reservoirs and dams. The House Natural Resources Committee heard testimony from Central Valley farmers, community leaders and state water officials. Many speakers at the hearing titled “California Water Crisis and its Impacts: The Need for Immediate and Long-Term Solutions,” took sharp aim at the environmental community for becoming extreme and one-sided in its approach to water. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Fresno, charged that radicals in San Francisco and Los Angeles are dictating environmental policy for the delta region and the water systems it feeds. <more> March 19, 2014 The Business Journal
  • Few farmers immune to impact of epic California drought - - When spring arrives, the Central Valley farm fields owned by Harris Ranch normally come to life with tomatoes, lettuce and watermelons. This year, much of the land has been left dry and bare. California’s epic drought is being felt all over rural California, from small family farms to agribusiness giants such as Harris. Growers are fallowing land, tapping expensive groundwater and rationing supplies to keep their orchards and vineyards alive. This downshift will cost the state billions of dollars in lost economic activity and translate into higher food prices for consumers. <more> March 20, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • LaMalfa, Garamedi introduces Sites Reservoir bill - - In a rare moment of unity for two ideological antagonists, Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove and Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, on Wednesday unveiled legislation to build a new large-scale reservoir in Northern California. That Garamendi and LaMalfa found common ground illustrated how the drought desiccating California has led both Republicans and Democrats to clamor for more water storage. If the state is to endure droughts, storage proponents say, it must build more capacity to trap precipitation in wetter years. "There's a world of hurt in the fields and orchards around us because we failed in the past to prepare for the inevitable drought," Garamendi said, gesturing to fields bordered by the languidly flowing Glen Colusa canal. <more> March 19, 2014 Capitol Alert
  • Fallowed farmland acreage estimate jumps to 800,000 - - The California Farm Water Coalition has upgraded its estimate of acres farmers will leave idle this year to 800,000, up from 500,000, because of a lack of water. “Farmers are still waiting to the last minute to determine their planting schedules this year in hopes that the water situation will improve,” said Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition. <more> March 20, 2014 Western Farm Press
  • Water battle: Judge halts local water exports - - Tulare County Superior Court Judge H.N. Papadakis this week granted an injunction sought by Lower Tule River Irrigation District against Sandridge Partners to halt any appropriation of Lower Tule groundwater to property not in the district. Sandridge acquired farm property in the district west of Porterville in 2012 but grew no crops on it in 2013. But Lower Tule general manager Dan Vink says the water district is in “overdraft” and as such it is illegal to appropriate water for use on lands outside the district. Vink says the exact amount of water that Sandridge uses outside the district is not yet known but could amount to about 10,000 acre-foot a year. <more> March 20, 2014 Visalia Times-Delta
  • How California's drought is changing organic milk and honey - - The milk that you think is organic, isn't. Not really. Blame the California drought, which has dried up the grass that gives farmers the right to slap the label “organic” on their meat and milk. It's not hard to win that label from the US department of agriculture: farmers just have to make sure that their cows graze on local grass, at least four months out of the year. Since the drought, there's no grass, so the old definition of “organic” no longer applies. Grass can't stay alive, leaving cows little to munch on. In fact, the secretary of agriculture declared 53 out of 58 California counties natural disaster areas. <more> March 20, 2014 San Jose Mercury News

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Why more skilled immigration would be good for American workers, too - - In a certain, dreary light, right now seems like a terrible time to rewrite immigration law to invite tens of thousands of new skilled immigrants to move to the United States. Unemployment is still high. The recovery feels painfully slow. At last count, 10.5 million people who already live here and who've been looking for work haven't been able to find it. "I think people are scared," says Beth Ann Bovino, the U.S. Chief economist for Standard & Poor's. "There are a lot of misconceptions about what it means when we have immigrant talent come to the U.S. I completely understand the worries about 'are we going to bring all of these people over? Are they going to take our jobs?'” <more> March 19, 2014 The Washington Post

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Rising milk prices: Soaring demand is good news for farmers; shoppers weighing their choices - - Consumers across the country are probably splashing a little less milk on their cereal as prices climb through record levels, thanks to global demand for dairy products. While prices are climbing toward the $5-a-gallon mark in a few stores across the Omaha metro area, some shoppers are finding ways to use less milk, even if it means changing retail preferences or modifying eating habits at home. <more> March 20, 2014 Omaha World Herald
  • Starbucks faces higher milk, coffee costs - - Starbucks Corp is wrestling with higher costs for milk and coffee, the two ingredients in its popular lattes, but that does not mean its customers are going to pay more. "I want to resist raising prices in this environment," Howard Schultz, Starbucks' chairman and chief executive, said, referring to still cautious spending by many consumers. "I am concerned about dairy, both domestically and around the world, and we are working feverishly with our suppliers, (and to) identify new suppliers," Schultz told reporters after the company's annual meeting in Seattle on Wednesday. <more> March 19, 2014 Reuters
  • Dairy Cow Slaughter Down from January & a Year Ago - - The Agriculture Department’s latest Livestock Slaughter Report shows 237,000 culled dairy cows were slaughtered under federal inspection in February, down 33,000 head from January and 22,000 head less than February 2013. Thus far in 2014, 507,000 dairy cows were “retired” from the dairy business, down 49,000 from this time a year ago. March 20, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • China buys U.S. corn - - USDA reported net sales of 69,476 tonnes of corn to China in the week ended March 13. That would be China’s first purchase of U.S. corn in seven weeks. The buy came as a surprise given the dispute over Syngenta’s MIR 162 has not been resolved. The Chinese have rejected 887 thousand metric tonnes of U.S. corn since November because it contained the unapproved genetically-modified variety. Reuter’s reports China’s biosafety committee is scheduled to meet later this month, if no decision is made on Syngenta’s application for approval the next opportunity would not occur until June. Syngenta first applied for Chinese approval of the variety in March of 2010. March 20, 2014 Brownfield Ag News
  • Fresno firm recalls ice cream - - Helados La Tapatia Inc., a Fresno maker of ice cream, frozen fruit bars and similar products, says it is voluntarily recalling all ice cream products, popsicles, fruit bars/cups and bolis due to a possible health risk from Listeria monocytogenes. The products were distributed in Arizona, California, Nevada, Washington, Guam and Canada in retail stores. The products are sold under the brand names of Helados La Tapatia and Icesations. <more> March 20, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • California milk marketing order panel discussion video online - - Video of the California milk marketing order panel discussion held at the WUD Convention on March 6 has been posted online, courtesy of Joel Hastings of DairyBusiness. The two videos include USDA's Dana Hamilton Coale explaining items to consider if California is to adopt a Federal Milk Order. She is Deputy Administrator - Dairy Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service / USDA; and Attorney Chip English of Washington DC who spoke about the legal issues and arrangements to consider if California moves into a Federal Milk Order. English has over 30 years’ experience litigating these issues. Watch the videos <here>. March 18, 2014 WUD

Environmental News

  • Ethanol groups ask Supreme Court to rule on California clean-fuel regulations - - The ethanol industry, represented by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFS) and Growth Energy, asked the Supreme Court today to rule on the constitutionality of California's clean-fuel regulations, known as the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). The regulations, among the most stringent in the country, were adopted in 2007 as part of climate change legislation backed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The standard requires the oil industry to gradually reduce the “carbon intensity” of transportation fuels like diesel and gasoline by at least 10 percent by 2020. Transportation accounts for about 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. <more> March 20, 2014 Agri-Pulse

Stories of Interest


 
  • Agri-tourism gets boost from state - - If you pick up an issue of Food & Wine magazine and wonder why there’s so much about California, there’s a million dollar answer. The state agency that promotes tourism, Visit California, is partnering with California Grown to launch a new marketing campaign, “California, Always in Season,” to take advantage of what they see as a growing interest among travelers for culinary experiences and the so-called farm-to-fork movement. The cornerstone of this campaign is a $1 million media buy with Food & Wine magazine, which claims it will deliver more than 58 million impressions through print spreads, videos, custom media rich content, targeted digital media and a co-branded landing page on Food & Wine’s website. <more> March 20, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Cheerios get no lift from GMO switch - - Plain old Cheerios are no longer made with genetically modified ingredients, but the switch hasn’t yet translated to a boost in sales. General Mills, the company that makes the cereal, in January announced it would start making its plain Cheerios without GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. The move came after a campaign by the group Green America, which prompted fans to express their support on the Cheerios’ Facebook page. On Wednesday, CEO Ken Powell said in a phone interview that the Minneapolis company has gotten supportive letters and online comments for its decision. But he said the company was “not really seeing anything there that we can detect” in terms of a sales lift. <more> March 19, 2014 AP
  • Dairy Leader Program accepting applications until April 4 - - April 4, 2014 is the deadline to apply for Western United Dairymen's highly successful California Dairy Leaders Program. Designed to train the next generation of California's dairy leaders, the leadership program consists of several sessions devoted to developing a better understanding of the economic, legislative, marketing, and environmental issues facing the industry. Eligible participants must be actively involved in milk production, be able to spend the necessary time in class, as well as studying resource materials, and be able to commit to visits to locations such as Sacramento and Washington DC. Industry members can download applications <here>. March 17, 2014 WUD news
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Spring Dairy Seminar to be held in Eureka MONDAY - - Humbolt/Del Norte County UC Cooperative Extension along with Western United Dairymen, NRCS and FSA, will hold a Spring Dairy Seminar on Monday, March 31 at the Humbolt County Agriculture Center. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. and includes brief information regarding disaster assistance and FSA loan program updates. Before concluding at noon, guests will also be provided with Water Board updates from Melissa Lema of WUD, and others. The program is offered free of charge to dairy producers in Humbolt and Del Norte Counties. For questions or comments, contact Melissa Lema, WUD field rep, at 707-779-2214 or email wud.mlema@yahoo.com.
  • Save the Date: California Bioresources Alliance Symposium - - The ninth annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium will be held June 3-4 at UC Davis and will feature the latest research in the field being done at UC Davis on organic residuals issues. Sessions will include legislative and policy developments on organic residuals in California, impacts of mandatory recycling and landfill closures, waste-to-energy issues, biogas issues including clustering dairies and use for vehicle fuel, and local initiatives. The symposium brings together industry professionals, municipalities, regulators, legislators, state and federal agencies, students, researchers, financers and others involved in California organic residuals. The two-day event is co-hosted by UC Davis Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. For more information about the symposium, contact Lauren Fondahl, US EPA Region 9, at fondahl.lauren@epa.gov or (415) 972-3514. For more information about registration or to become a sponsor, contact Sara House at sdhouse@ucdavis.edu or (530) 757-8549. <more> March 18, 2014 UC Davis
  •  2014 Environmental Stewardship classes offered in Tulare, Fresno - - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering free classes on environmental stewardship. The two-part series of water quality classes (three hours each), known as the Environmental Stewardship Short Course, will be held in Tulare and taught by Dr. Deanne Meyer, a livestock waste management specialist from the University of California, Davis. A separate session on air quality will also be offered in Fresno. Producers can attend all or part of the Short Course to meet the education requirements. The classes cover environmental issues, regulatory requirements and management practices for dairy producers. The classes are only for dairies that want to certify, but have not completed the classes. These are not continuing education, if you have completed the classe you do not need to go again, however continuing education is in the future for CDQAP. Classes are voluntary, but your processor may want you to complete the program. The events would be useful to understand current state of regulations even if you do not need to complete the class and will provide a 50% discount on water board fees. The schedule is as follows: Water Quality Classes - Thursday, March 27 - Class 1: 9 a.m. to 12 noon - Class 2: 1 to 4 pm - Southern California Edison - Energy Education Center (formerly Edison AGTAC) 4175 South Laspina Street, Tulare, CA. Air Quality Class - Thursday, April 3 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Fresno County Farm Bureau - 1274 W. Hedges Avenue, Fresno, CA. You must attend both classes to complete the water quality education requirement, unless you have previously received credit for attending CDQAP water quality courses. Producers with additional questions can call CDQAP at (530) 574-0524. Feb. 27, 2014 CDQAP announcement
  • AgSTAR Partners with BioCycle for AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop - - AgSTAR is partnering with BioCycle for the 14th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (BioCycle REFOR14 West). A one-day workshop will be held in conjunction with BioCycle REFOR14 West on Monday, April 7, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The theme for the event is "Navigating the Biogas Maze: Learning from the Leaders". Attendees will hear experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. For more information visit the BioCycle REFOR14 West website. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. Feb. 20, 2014 AgSTAR news
  • UC Giannini Foundation Conference on Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources - - The University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics will hold a forum, "Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources," on Monday, May 19, 2014, at The California Museum in Sacramento. The one-day conference will bring together leading economists, analysts, scientists and policy makers from University of California, the state government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss the potential impacts of climate change and the associated challenges to California's agriculture and natural resources. The speakers and panelists will provide comprehensive, objective, and up-to-date information of the likely impacts of climate change on California’s rural economy. Please visit the conference website, which includes the program, directions to the venue, and a registration page. Registration is required and it is free-of-charge. The deadline for registration is May 12, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact Julie McNamara, Outreach Coordinator, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. March 19, 2014 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Water News

  • California Hosts Congressional Drought Hearing - - Farmers holding signs protesting dramatic cuts to their irrigation supplies packed Fresno City Hall for a congressional hearing Wednesday, delving into the politics of California’s drought crisis striking the state’s agricultural heartland. Visalia farmer Michael Malmgren’s sign had the words “Water is the heart of the matter,” surrounding a big, pink heart. The House Natural Resources Committee’s hearing on California’s drought and the need for fixes began with statements from eight members of Congress followed by testimony from Central Valley farmers, community leaders and state officials. <more> March 19, 2014 AP
  • California farms to get some drought relief - - California and federal water officials say there is enough runoff in the Delta from recent storms to begin delivering some water to farms, potentially offering at least temporary drought relief. On Feb. 1, the State Water Resources Control Board approved a temporary order exempting the California Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from some water quality standards in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to help retain water stored in upstream reservoirs. The exemption was approved on the condition that the agencies jointly divert no more than 1,500 cubic feet per second, and only for public health and safety purposes, which generally means urban uses. <more> March 18, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • House panel meeting in Fresno hears emotional impact of drought - - Larry Starrh's voice choked with emotion Wednesday as he told members of Congress about his family's decision to let 1,000 acres of almonds dry up and die this summer due to water shortages. "Shortages that were created and controlled by regulations that have been imposed and brandished like weapons," the Kern County farmer said. "Sadly, in the real world, water is about power, water is a weapon, water is a hostage." Starrh was one of nine witnesses before the House Natural Resources Committee field hearing on California's water crisis, held in the Fresno City Council Chambers. Before the meeting, several hundred people rallied outside City Hall for changes in federal environmental laws and construction of new reservoirs. <more> March 19, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • Merced farmers to receive smallest water allocation in decades - - Most drought-plagued Merced Irrigation District farmers will receive just 6 inches of water per acre during this year’s truncated irrigation season. “People are used to having 3-plus acre-feet per acre over a seven-month season, so this is quite a cutback,” MID General Manager John Sweigard said Tuesday. Irrigation water is measured per acre-foot, which is the amount of water required to cover an acre of land 1 foot deep, or about 325,900 gallons. Farmers with the Class II designation in the consolidated El Nido district will receive 3 inches of water per acre, Sweigard said. The MID board of directors Tuesday voted to begin delivering water to farmers April 21. The district will begin accepting orders April 14. <more> March 18, 2014 Merced Sun-Star
  • Visalia water restrictions approved - - It took three votes tonight, but the Visalia City Council approved Stage 4 water restrictions in the city that will not allow any watering of most lawns and gardens in January and February. Besides settling on no watering days in January and February, they voted to allow two watering days a week in May and October; three days a week in June, July, August and September — usually the hottest months of the year when watering of gardens and lawns usually goes up — and one day a week in March, April, November and December. The new water rules go into effect 30 days from today. <more> March 18, 2014 Visalia Times Delta
  • Congress may consider north of Delta reservoir - - Legislation that would authorize a feasibility study and construction of the long-discussed Sites Reservoir in Colusa County is being introduced in congress by Reps. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, and Doug LaMalfa, R-Oroville. The bill sets a deadline for the completion of the feasibility study and, if deemed feasible, authorizes construction of the storage reservoir. The bill also creates a process by which a non-federal sponsor could develop the project. <more> March 19, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Ag education backers fight for grant program - - A Merced County educator told lawmakers Tuesday about the value of a well-trained welder. Alan Peterson, principal at Atwater High School, urged the Senate Agriculture Committee to reject Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to end a grant program for ag education. He said the investment of about $4.1 million a year pays off in young people prepared for careers. “We have students who make $20 an hour the week after they graduate,” Peterson said. “Why? Because our shop teacher is known as an outstanding welding instructor.” He and other supporters of the grant program said most ag students do not live on farms, but they still benefit from training in public speaking, engine repair and other skills. And a few students said the classes, along with closely related FFA activities, have kept them out of trouble. <more> March 18, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • A year after 'autopsy,' GOP still struggles on immigration reform - - A year after Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus commissioned a report that suggested sweeping changes in how the party operates, he touted progress on many fronts -- but distanced himself from a key recommendation to increase its appeal to the Latino community: support for comprehensive immigration reform. In a breakfast with reporters Tuesday tied to the anniversary of the release of the "Growth and Opportunity Project," Priebus detailed structural changes he said have "fundamentally reshaped the way we do business at the RNC." They include a major investment to eliminate a technology gap Democrats have enjoyed, largely because of the sophisticated data operation of President Obama's reelection campaign, as well as the deployment of a "permanent, coast-to-coast, year-round ground game" intended to spread the Republican message in communities Priebus said the party had long ignored. <more> March 18, 2014 LA Times
  • Rising food prices bite into household budgets - - Prices are rising for a range of food staples, from meat and pork to fruits and vegetables, squeezing consumers still struggling with modest wage gains. Food prices rose 0.4% in February, the most since September 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday. Beef and veal shoppers were socked with some of the biggest increases, as prices jumped 4% from January. Overall inflation remained tame, as falling gasoline and other energy costs offset the food price increases. The consumer price index ticked up just 0.1% from January and 1.1% in the past year. <more> March 19, 2014 USA Today
  • GOP Hits Food-Stamp Move - - A new food-stamp fight is brewing in Congress, as more states move to prevent cuts signed into law a little more than a month ago. Federal law uses heating assistance to help calculate food-stamp benefits, since utility costs can lower a family's food budget. House Republicans say some states are trying to game the system by raising heating aid to boost food-stamp payouts. Democrats in both chambers have applauded the governors' moves to maximize the food benefits. <more> March 18, 2014 Wall Street Journal
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • California milk marketing order panel discussion video online - - Video of the California milk marketing order panel discussion held at the WUD Convention on March 6 has been posted online, courtesy of Joel Hastings of DairyBusiness. The two videos include USDA's Dana Hamilton Coale explaining items to consider if California is to adopt a Federal Milk Order. She is Deputy Administrator - Dairy Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service / USDA; and Attorney Chip English of Washington DC who spoke about the legal issues and arrangements to consider if California moves into a Federal Milk Order. English has over 30 years’ experience litigating these issues. Watch the videos <here>. March 18, 2014 WUD
  • J.D. Heiskell buys out Northeast feed mills - - Tulare-based feed company J.D. Heiskell & Co. announced it has finalized an agreement to become the full owner of three feed mills in New York and Maine. Previously, the mills in Adams Center, N.Y., Sangerfield, N.Y. and Augusta, Maine had been operated under a joint venture between J.D. Heiskell and Iowa-based Kent Nutrition Group, Inc. After completing its purchase of KNG's ownership in the venture, J.D. Heiskell is now sole owner and operator of Gold Star Feed and Grain, LLC. The amount of the purchase was not released. <more> March 18, 2014 The Business Journal
  • U.S. Milk Production Up 1.1% in February - - The United States Department of Agriculture reported this afternoon that U.S. milk production climbed 1.1% over year earlier levels in February. That extra milk came from more milk per cow because estimated cows numbers actually decline 12,000 head from a year ago (though they remain unchanged from January at 9.211 million). California reported a 5.3% jump in milk output with cow numbers up just one thousand head. Colorado, up 6%, had the largest increase in milk output of the top 23 major dairy states. Colorado cow numbers were up 5,000 head. <more> March 19, 2014 Dairy Today
     

Environmental News

  • UC Giannini Foundation Conference on Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources - - The University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics will hold a forum, "Climate Change: Challenges to California's Agriculture and Natural Resources," on Monday, May 19, 2014, at The California Museum in Sacramento. The one-day conference will bring together leading economists, analysts, scientists and policy makers from University of California, the state government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss the potential impacts of climate change and the associated challenges to California's agriculture and natural resources. The speakers and panelists will provide comprehensive, objective, and up-to-date information of the likely impacts of climate change on California’s rural economy. Please visit the conference website, which includes the program, directions to the venue, and a registration page. Registration is required and it is free-of-charge. The deadline for registration is May 12, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact Julie McNamara, Outreach Coordinator, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. March 19, 2014 Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics
     

Stories of Interest


 
Secretary Ross encourages children at Ag Day to try their hand at milking a cow.
  • Highlights from Ag Day at the State Capitol - - California’s agricultural community gathered on the west steps of our State Capitol today to show, see and sample the wonderful crops and products that come from our farms and ranches. Despite challenges such as the current drought, the Golden State’s farmers and ranchers have always come through for us. This day was an opportunity for Legislators, staff and the public, especially our youth, to meet a farmer, try on a cowboy hat, and learn how California’s abundant natural resources are combined with creativity, technology, ingenuity and determination to produce more than 400 crops and commodities. <more> March 19, 2014 CDFA Planting Seeds blog
  • Study Questions Fat and Heart Disease Link - - Many of us have long been told that saturated fat, the type found in meat, butter and cheese, causes heart disease. But a large and exhaustive new analysis by a team of international scientists found no evidence that eating saturated fat increased heart attacks and other cardiac events. The new findings are part of a growing body of research that has challenged the accepted wisdom that saturated fat is inherently bad for you and will continue the debate about what foods are best to eat. For decades, health officials have urged the public to avoid saturated fat as much as possible, saying it should be replaced with the unsaturated fats in foods like nuts, fish, seeds and vegetable oils. <more> March 17, 2014 New York Times
  • Registration deadline extended for the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association conference - - The registration deadline has been extended for the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association annual conference, to be held April 1-3, 2014 at the Hyatt on Main in Green Bay, Wis. “Only a few weeks away, dairy producers, calf and heifer raisers won’t want to miss this event,” says Vickie Franken, owner of City View Farms, near Sioux Center, Iowa and 2014 conference chair committee. “The response from dairy producers, calf and heifer raisers and industry for this upcoming conference has been overwhelming.” <more> March 19, 2014 DCHA news
  • Central Valley farmers see huge demand for farm fresh eggs - - The sight of a hefty quarter-pound goose egg turned more than a few heads recently at the Kaiser Permanente farmers market in Fresno. The extra large eggs — roughly the size of your palm — aren't just a novelty. They are part of a growing demand for farm fresh eggs. These days, chicken, duck, turkey, goose and even quail eggs can be found at local farmers markets, farm stands and specialty food stores. Egg producers say the demand is so strong, especially for chicken eggs, that several farmers are expanding their flocks  and growing specialty eggs. <more> March 17, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • Dairy Leader Program accepting applications until April 4 - - April 4, 2014 is the deadline to apply for Western United Dairymen's highly successful California Dairy Leaders Program. Designed to train the next generation of California's dairy leaders, the leadership program consists of several sessions devoted to developing a better understanding of the economic, legislative, marketing, and environmental issues facing the industry. Eligible participants must be actively involved in milk production, be able to spend the necessary time in class, as well as studying resource materials, and be able to commit to visits to locations such as Sacramento and Washington DC. Industry members can download applications <here>. March 17, 2014 WUD news
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Spring Dairy Seminar to be held in Eureka - - Humbolt/Del Norte County UC Cooperative Extension along with Western United Dairymen, NRCS and FSA, will hold a Spring Dairy Seminar on Monday, March 31 at the Humbolt County Agriculture Center. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. and includes brief information regarding disaster assistance and FSA loan program updates. Before concluding at noon, guests will also be provided with Water Board updates from Melissa Lema of WUD, and others. The program is offered free of charge to dairy producers in Humbolt and Del Norte Counties. For questions or comments, contact Melissa Lema, WUD field rep, at 707-779-2214 or email wud.mlema@yahoo.com.
  • Regional Meeting on Groundwater - - The California Farm Water Coalition is hosting a regional meeting on groundwater. Presentations include: Future of Groundwater Management in the Sacramento Valley - What changes are ahead for groundwater use in California? David Guy, Executive Director, Northern California Water Association; What to Expect from Coming Groundwater Regulations, Bob Reeb, Reeb Governmental Affairs. When: Thursday March 20, 2014 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM PDT. Where: Fresno Irrigation District, 2907 S. Maple Avenue, Fresno, CA 93725. Register to attend by clicking <here>. March 10, 2014 CFWC news
  • Save the Date: California Bioresources Alliance Symposium - - The ninth annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium will be held June 3-4 at UC Davis and will feature the latest research in the field being done at UC Davis on organic residuals issues. Sessions will include legislative and policy developments on organic residuals in California, impacts of mandatory recycling and landfill closures, waste-to-energy issues, biogas issues including clustering dairies and use for vehicle fuel, and local initiatives. The symposium brings together industry professionals, municipalities, regulators, legislators, state and federal agencies, students, researchers, financers and others involved in California organic residuals. The two-day event is co-hosted by UC Davis Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. For more information about the symposium, contact Lauren Fondahl, US EPA Region 9, at fondahl.lauren@epa.gov or (415) 972-3514. For more information about registration or to become a sponsor, contact Sara House at sdhouse@ucdavis.edu or (530) 757-8549. <more> March 18, 2014 UC Davis
  •  2014 Environmental Stewardship classes offered in Tulare, Fresno - - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering free classes on environmental stewardship. The two-part series of water quality classes (three hours each), known as the Environmental Stewardship Short Course, will be held in Tulare and taught by Dr. Deanne Meyer, a livestock waste management specialist from the University of California, Davis. A separate session on air quality will also be offered in Fresno. Producers can attend all or part of the Short Course to meet the education requirements. The classes cover environmental issues, regulatory requirements and management practices for dairy producers. The classes are only for dairies that want to certify, but have not completed the classes. These are not continuing education, if you have completed the classe you do not need to go again, however continuing education is in the future for CDQAP. Classes are voluntary, but your processor may want you to complete the program. The events would be useful to understand current state of regulations even if you do not need to complete the class and will provide a 50% discount on water board fees. The schedule is as follows: Water Quality Classes - Thursday, March 27 - Class 1: 9 a.m. to 12 noon - Class 2: 1 to 4 pm - Southern California Edison - Energy Education Center (formerly Edison AGTAC) 4175 South Laspina Street, Tulare, CA. Air Quality Class - Thursday, April 3 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Fresno County Farm Bureau - 1274 W. Hedges Avenue, Fresno, CA. You must attend both classes to complete the water quality education requirement, unless you have previously received credit for attending CDQAP water quality courses. Producers with additional questions can call CDQAP at (530) 574-0524. Feb. 27, 2014 CDQAP announcement
  • AgSTAR Partners with BioCycle for AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop - - AgSTAR is partnering with BioCycle for the 14th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (BioCycle REFOR14 West). A one-day workshop will be held in conjunction with BioCycle REFOR14 West on Monday, April 7, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The theme for the event is "Navigating the Biogas Maze: Learning from the Leaders". Attendees will hear experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. For more information visit the BioCycle REFOR14 West website. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. Feb. 20, 2014 AgSTAR news

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pricing/Commodity News

Water News

State/Federal News and Politics

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Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Water News

  • Landowners celebrate ruling on Delta tunnels, but delays not likely, state says - - Property owners in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are celebrating a legal victory involving a controversial proposal to build two giant water diversion tunnels, though state officials say the ruling is unlikely to delay the project significantly. A California appellate court in Sacramento ruled Thursday that the California Constitution bars the state from entering private land to do environmental studies unless it first condemns the affected land through its powers of eminent domain, and pays landowners accordingly. The court also upheld an earlier ruling in the same case that requires eminent domain before engaging in soil testing studies. <more> March 14, 2014 The Sacramento Bee
  • California drought: Strife over groundwater boils over - - Zinfandel will flow like the water once did in Paso Robles this weekend. Bottles will pop open during a wine festival as rigs drill deep across the city to find a resource whose scarcity threatens Paso Robles to its core: water. How scant has the crucial underground water supply become around the San Luis Obispo County city? Sue Luft can tell you anecdotally. The water levels in wells that feed homes and wineries around her 10-acre property just south of Paso Robles have dropped 80 feet in some areas, leaving many with no choice but to take out loans to drill farther down. Luft calls it a "race to the bottom." Casting blame for depleting underground supplies is at the center of a bitter debate about who, if anyone, should be monitoring withdrawals. <more> March 15, 2014 San Francisco Chronicle
  • California drought: 2 reservoirs near Hetch Hetchy tapped - - The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is in a much better position than most other California water agencies as the state stares down its first full year of drought: Its Hetch Hetchy Reservoir remains 51 percent full, and its customers use far less water than most others. But if the bone-dry conditions persist, it won't be. So the agency, which serves 2.4 million Bay Area water customers, is making contingency plans to increase its drinking supply by using two existing reservoirs just northwest of its Yosemite crown jewel that the city hasn't tapped for drinking water since 1988. <more> March 16, 2014 San Francisco Gate
  • Continuing to pump, San Joaquin Valley irrigation districts selling surplus - - Irrigation districts provide water that’s key to agricultural prosperity in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, but some of those districts also have been cashing in on the region’s water resources. They’ve sold nearly $140 million worth of water to out-of-district agencies during the past decade. At the same time, they’ve pumped nearly 1.5 million acre-feet of groundwater - that’s 487 billion gallons - from the region’s aquifers. Concerns about falling groundwater levels persuaded Stanislaus County supervisors to outlaw groundwater mining last fall, but their ordinance exempted irrigation districts from the ban. <more> March 15, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • Exchange Contractors rally at emergency meeting in Los Banos - - Exchange contractor officials are rallying residents to protest against potential reduction or outright cessation of water deliveries to thousands of land owners on the West Side. According to information provided by officials before an emergency community meeting Wednesday, the State Water Project and Central Valley Project filed a Temporary Urgency Change Petition with the California State Water Resource Control Board. The state water board’s job is to ensure the highest reasonable quality for waters of the State Water Resource Control Board, according to its website. <more> March 14, 2014 Merced Sun-Star
     

State/Federal News and Politics

  • State agencies OK water permits, land condemnation for high-speed rail - - A pair of state agencies announced actions Friday to advance the California High-Speed Rail Authority's efforts to begin construction of its bullet-train line in the central San Joaquin Valley. The state Water Resources Control Board approved one of several environmental permits needed by the rail authority before dirt can fly between Madera and Fresno -- the first 24-mile stretch of the proposed statewide rail system. Also in Sacramento on Friday, the state Public Works Board adopted resolutions declaring a public need to condemn nine pieces of property in downtown Fresno that the rail authority needs for right of way for its controversial rail project. <more> March 14, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • First Lady Has Food Industry in a Frenzy - - By many accounts, the Obama administration is leading the most aggressive campaign to improve the nation's eating habits in many decades. If the President and first lady have their way, the American people will cut down on sugar and sodium and eat more whole grains, lean meat, low-fat dairy products, and fruits and vegetables by the time he leaves office and in the years to come. Many of those changes could result in multibillion-dollar shifts in how the government and consumers spend their money on food. Perhaps just as important, the efforts to reduce sodium, sugar, and fat will force companies to make changes in how they prepare, store, and ship food. But many of those initiatives are under pressure from food companies and from members of Congress. <more> March 16, 2014 National Journal

     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Fewer U.S. consumers drinking milk - - Got almond milk? More and more consumers do. They’ve also got soy milk, coconut milk, flax milk and all sorts of trendy juices and bottled waters. But good old milk - the moo kind - keeps fading from grocery lists. Milk’s rate of decline in 2011 and 2012 was the highest in more than a decade, though per capita consumption has been falling for years and dropped 25 percent from 1975 through 2012, according to federal data. Milk drinking by both kids and adults has particularly declined during prime-time: meals. The tall, cool glass of milk with a sandwich at lunch or a burger at dinner is increasingly an anachronism. <more> March 16, 2014 Star Tribune
  • Record dairy prices - - Record cheese and Class III futures prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Monday. Cash cheese barrels closed at $2.305 per pound and blocks closed at $2.40. The April, May and June Class III futures contracts were each up the 75-cent daily limit. April closed at $23.12, May at $21.51 and June at $20.97 per hundredweight. The latest numbers from the U.S. Dairy Export Council driving the markets up: USDEC reports total U.S. dairy exports hit 162,999 tons in January up 19 percent from a year ago. Total value of those exports was up 35 percent to $583.7 million. Cheese exports topped 32,000 tons for the first time, the third consecutive record month. 14.5 percent of total U.S. dairy production in January was exported. <more> March 17, 2014 Brownfield Ag News
  • Dairy markets: How long will bulls run? - - Class III futures ended last week’s trade on a strong note. The 2Q 2014 futures pack average jumped 49¢ on Friday to settle at $21.13/cwt., while adding a total of 63¢ week over week. With the spring flush already underway in the Western U.S., and the Midwest about to set in, the question becomes how long can this bullish trend continue in the near term? For the week ending March 1, dairy cow slaughter under federal inspection increased by 2,800 head (4.8%) week over week, to 61,200 head. The year-to-date slaughter now totals 531,200 head, 8.5% lower than during the same period last year. <more> March 17, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • China's thirst for milk gives U.S. dairy farms a boost - - The dairy plant with its tangle of stainless steel pipes rises out of the parched landscape here like a beckoning oasis. Perched on the outskirts of this desert town dotted with small churches and roadside casinos, the factory represents a potential lifeline for nearly two dozen nearby dairy farmers. In a few weeks, every drop of milk collected from the surrounding farms will be brought to the plant and converted into fine powder inside a towering heating chamber specially made for the $85-million facility. But instead of being delivered to U.S. stores, the milk powder will be trucked nearly five hours away to the Port of Oakland and then loaded onto ships to China in bags emblazoned with the American flag. <more> March 15, 2014 LA Times
     

Environmental News

  • Dry spring imperils dwindling tricolored blackbirds in Valley - - A single colony of 80,000 tricolor blackbirds filled a Tulare County farmer's field with nests and eggs a few years ago shortly before harvesting blades were scheduled to level the crop. It would have been an ugly killing field if not for a delay negotiated between the farmer and Audubon California. The financial settlement saved one-third of Earth's dwindling population of tricolored blackbirds. But California's epic drought may prevent such heroic ag-conservation alliances this year. And the tricolored blackbird finally may be pushed to long-dreaded protection under the Endangered Species Act. <more> March 15, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • Beet ethanol plants considered in N.D., California - - Facilities proposed in North Dakota and California would test the feasibility of raising sugar beets specifically for making ethanol. David Ripplinger, a North Dakota State University agricultural economist, researched the economics of a sugar beet ethanol plant that would yield 20 million gallons of biofuel per year. It would be supplied by 30,000 dryland sugar beet acres in central North Dakota, where beets aren’t currently grown but could provide a rotation option to break up soil compaction. The developers also chose to raise beets in a new production area to avoid potential concerns about fuel crops competing with food crops. <more> March 17, 2014 Capital Press
  • CDQAP offering a workshop for North Coast dairy producers THIS WEEK - - CDQAP, in partnership with other organizations, is offering a workshop on March 18 for dairy producers in the North Coast region to provide help in accessing drought assistance grant money through the Farm Services Agency. Applications for the Emergency Conservation Practices (ECP) funding are due March 27, 2014. The ECP will fund practices that provide water for livestock during severe drought. A meeting will be held in Two Rock at the hall from 10 am to 1 pm on March 18 to provide assistance. FSA Director Lisa Velasquez will be available along with Melissa Lema from Western United Dairymen, and Trish Price from CDQAP to assist producers interested in applying for the ECP funds. March 11, 2014 CDQAP news

Stories of Interest

  • Dairy Leader Program accepting applications until April 4 - - April 4, 2014 is the deadline to apply for Western United Dairymen's highly successful California Dairy Leaders Program. Designed to train the next generation of California's dairy leaders, the leadership program consists of several sessions devoted to developing a better understanding of the economic, legislative, marketing, and environmental issues facing the industry. Eligible participants must be actively involved in milk production, be able to spend the necessary time in class, as well as studying resource materials, and be able to commit to visits to locations such as Sacramento and Washington DC. Industry members can download applications <here>. March 17, 2014 WUD news
  • Farm Beat: Kids shine in ag story-writing contest - - I have written countless stories about farming, but none of them involved a cornfield turning to popcorn. Or a pair of raindrops falling in love high above the fields. Those were among the images created by Stanislaus County children who won statewide awards in an annual writing contest on farm topics. They received three of the six grand prizes in the latest version, and a Merced student won a fourth. The “Imagine This” contest is sponsored by the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. Students in third through eighth grades can enter factual or fictional writings that celebrate farming or ranching. <more> March 14, 2014 The Modesto Bee
     

Friday, March 14, 2014

Water News

State/Federal News and Politics

Pricing/Commodity News

Environmental News

Stories of Interest

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

 

California Dairy Industry Headline News

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Water News

State/Federal News and Politics

Pricing/Commodity News

Environmental News

Stories of Interest

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

Pricing/Commodity News

Environmental News

Water News

Stories of Interest

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

  • U.S. Senate Warns Europeans to Stop Food Fight Over Dairy Names - -  A bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate weighed in this week on the importance of rejecting European Union efforts to restrict the use of common food names, including a variety of popular, well-known cheeses, used by U.S. dairy producers and companies. In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman and U.S. Agriculture Secretary (USDA) Tom Vilsack, over 50 U.S. senators urged the U.S. government to fight back against EU efforts to restrict how U.S. companies market cheese and other foods. Under the guise of protecting European geographical indications (GIs), EU has been using free trade agreements to prevent cheese makers in the United States and around the world from using common food names such as parmesan, feta, havarti, muenster and others. <more> March 11, 2014 US Dairy Export Council news release
  • Fracking exposes rift between Jerry Brown, Democrats - - Fracking has opened vast oil and natural gas deposits across the country, creating legions of fans and foes alike. Now the technology has exposed a rift between Gov. Jerry Brown and a very vocal part of his Democratic base. Brown has come under increasing fire from the state's powerful environmental lobby for his support of hydraulic fracturing, the drilling technique that has revolutionized America's oil and gas industry. The split erupted into public view when fracking opponents heckled Brown throughout his speech at the recent California Democratic Party convention. While some delegates shouted "Ban fracking!" others held aloft signs proclaiming "Another Democrat Against Fracking." The state party's platform now calls for a fracking moratorium - an idea Brown rejects. <more> March 11, 2014 San Francisco Gate
  • Vilsack Outlines more resources to boost small, mid-sized farmers, ranchers - - In an effort to help more small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers build their businesses, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a series of initiatives that include more local and regional market information, new learning guides, improved access to capital, more cost-effective risk management and other tools. While some of the initiatives are new, others represent a continuation of several existing programs or expansions authorized by the 2014 farm bill.  Vilsack noted during the National Farmers Union annual meeting here today that the recent Ag Census noted “tremendous growth potential” for small and mid-sized farms but emphasized that his agency is looking to provide resources that work for all sizes of producers. <more> March 10, 2014 Agri-Pulse
  • Jim Dickrell: Is Idaho’s ‘Ag Gag’ Law a Template for Other States? - - Idaho dairy and livestock farmers are probably sleeping a little more soundly after their governor, Chuck Otter, signed into a law a comprehensive law that offers stiff penalties for anyone who surreptitiously gains access and films farm operations. Known as the Dairy Security Act, the bill covers wrongful entry and criminal trespass onto farms, theft of records, obtaining employment by wrongful means, taking recordings of workplace activities without the owner’s consent and intentionally interfering with the farming operations. It’s clearly targeted toward animal rights groups. <more> March 10, 2014 Dairy Today
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • CWT Ships Out Some More - - Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) accepted 12 requests for export assistance today from Dairy Farmers of America, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Tillamook County Creamery Association and United Dairymen of Arizona to sell 912,714 pounds of Cheddar and Gouda cheese, 1.355 million pounds of 82% butter and 606,271 pounds of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, Central America, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the South Pacific. The product will be delivered through August and raised CWT’s 2014 export sales to 26.985 million pounds of cheese, 11.774 million pounds of butter and 1.305 million pounds of whole milk powder to 19 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 514.3 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis, according to CWT. March 11, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • U.S. dairy exports start strong in 2014 - - U.S. exports picked up in 2014 where they left off in 2013, according to monthly summaries from the U.S. Dairy Export Council. U.S. suppliers shipped 162,999 tons of milk powder, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose in January, up 19% from last year, and about the same volume as the last four months of 2013. Total value of all exports was $583.7 million, up 35% from a year ago. <more> March 11, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
     

Environmental News

  • In severe drought plan, California salmon may be moved by truck - - Starting next month, millions of young California salmon could be migrating to the ocean in tanker trucks instead of swimming downstream in the Sacramento River. On Monday, state and federal wildlife officials announced a plan to move hatchery-raised salmon by truck in the event the state’s ongoing drought makes the Sacramento River and its tributaries inhospitable for the fish. They fear the rivers could become too shallow and warm to sustain salmon trying to migrate to sea on their own.  Shrunken habitat could deplete food supply for the young fish, and make them easier prey for predators. It also would make the water warmer, which can be lethal to salmon. <more> March 10, 2014 The Sacramento Bee

Water News

  • Gov. Brown asked to reconsider zero-water allocations - - A California state senator wants Gov. Jerry Brown to consider alternatives to a zero-water allocation for agriculture, which he said would be devastating to farmers and the state’s economy.Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, told the governor the state’s 80,500 farms and ranches earned a record $44.7 billion for their output in 2011 and that their productivity would be affected by a denial of water from the State Water Project.“Given your family’s roots in the North State, you know the importance of farming and its significance to the region and the state economy,” Nielsen, a rancher, told Brown, whose family owns ranchland in Colusa County. <more> March 11, 2014 Capital Press
  • Drought prompts officials to release fresh water in Delta - - We've had some rain recently, but not enough and now the Contra Costa Water District says the salinity in the Delta is much higher than it should be and that has plenty of planners releasing much more water right now than they would like to. The Antioch Marina is normally the location where the salt water from the ocean meets the fresh water from the Sierra, but this year that line is pushed much farther east and the Contra Costa Water District says that has far reaching implications. Recent testing by the Contra Costa Water District at its four intake sites in the Delta reveals the salinity levels are much higher than they would normally be for this time of year. <more> March 10, 2014 KGO-TV
  • Rains push back irrigation season for Valley districts - - While not curing a three-year drought, recent rains are allowing irrigation districts to delay the start of irrigation season in hopes of having a bit more water in the fall. The Modesto Irrigation District board this morning will review a plan to begin delivering water March 30, three weeks later than initially thought. The Oakdale Irrigation District likely will postpone its season’s start to Monday, and the South San Joaquin Irrigation District board today will consider doing the same. The Turlock Irrigation District remains on track to begin deliveries March 27 but might opt next week to push that back a week, water resources analyst Herb Smart said Monday. <more> March 10, 2014 Modesto Bee
     

Stories of Interest

  • Study Shows Once and for All That Raw Milk Doesn’t Help Lactose Intolerance - - Only a small population of people drink unpasteurized milk, also known as “raw” milk, but its increasing popularity has some medical groups concerned. Some raw milk advocates argue that it’s healthier for us since raw milk contains no antibiotics or hormones, while others say it’s better for people with lactose allergies. For its part, the FDA advises against drinking raw milk, which can contain bacteria from fecal matter and sometimes be fatal, and has long stated that it doesn’t help with lactose intolerance. But a new study published in the Annals of Family Medicine is definitively poking holes in the allergy theory, by reporting that lactose-intolerant people have the same symptoms from raw and pasteurized milk. <more> March 10, 2014 TIME
  • Valley ag education backers will fight for grant program - - Busloads of FFA boosters plan to descend on the state Capitol next week in support of a grant program for agricultural education. The campaign, discussed Monday at the Turlock Chamber of Commerce’s Ag Scholarship Luncheon, is aimed at Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to divert the $4.1 million for the annual program into general school funding. Louie Brown, chairman of the California FFA Foundation board, said the program is vital to providing technical and leadership skills to high school students planning careers in farming and other fields. <more> March 10, 2014 Modesto Bee

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Regional Meeting on Groundwater - - The California Farm Water Coalition is hosting a regional meeting on groundwater. Presentations include: Future of Groundwater Management in the Sacramento Valley - What changes are ahead for groundwater use in California? David Guy, Executive Director, Northern California Water Association; What to Expect from Coming Groundwater Regulations, Bob Reeb, Reeb Governmental Affairs. When: Thursday March 20, 2014 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM PDT. Where: Fresno Irrigation District, 2907 S. Maple Avenue, Fresno, CA 93725. Register to attend by clicking <here>. March 10, 2014 CFWC news
  •  2014 Environmental Stewardship classes offered in Tulare, Fresno - - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering free classes on environmental stewardship. The two-part series of water quality classes (three hours each), known as the Environmental Stewardship Short Course, will be held in Tulare and taught by Dr. Deanne Meyer, a livestock waste management specialist from the University of California, Davis. A separate session on air quality will also be offered in Fresno. Producers can attend all or part of the Short Course to meet the education requirements. The classes cover environmental issues, regulatory requirements and management practices for dairy producers. The classes are only for dairies that want to certify, but have not completed the classes. These are not continuing education, if you have completed the classe you do not need to go again, however continuing education is in the future for CDQAP. Classes are voluntary, but your processor may want you to complete the program. The events would be useful to understand current state of regulations even if you do not need to complete the class and will provide a 50% discount on water board fees. The schedule is as follows: Water Quality Classes - Thursday, March 27 - Class 1: 9 a.m. to 12 noon - Class 2: 1 to 4 pm - Southern California Edison - Energy Education Center (formerly Edison AGTAC) 4175 South Laspina Street, Tulare, CA. Air Quality Class - Thursday, April 3 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Fresno County Farm Bureau - 1274 W. Hedges Avenue, Fresno, CA. You must attend both classes to complete the water quality education requirement, unless you have previously received credit for attending CDQAP water quality courses. Producers with additional questions can call CDQAP at (530) 574-0524. Feb. 27, 2014 CDQAP announcement
  • AgSTAR Partners with BioCycle for AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop - - AgSTAR is partnering with BioCycle for the 14th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (BioCycle REFOR14 West). A one-day workshop will be held in conjunction with BioCycle REFOR14 West on Monday, April 7, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The theme for the event is "Navigating the Biogas Maze: Learning from the Leaders". Attendees will hear experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. For more information visit the BioCycle REFOR14 West website. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. Feb. 20, 2014 AgSTAR news
     


     

 

 

Monday, March 10, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

Pricing/Commodity News

Water News

Stories of Interest

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

Friday, March 7, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Obama calls himself the 'champion in chief' of immigration reform - - President Obama insisted Thursday that he's not the "deporter in chief," as critics have labeled him, but the "champion in chief" of a fairer immigration policy. But until Congress passes a new law, Obama said, he is constrained by current statutes in how he treats immigrants who entered the country illegally. "I cannot ignore those laws any more than I can ignore any of the other laws that are on the books," Obama said. "That's why it's important to get comprehensive immigration reform done this year." <more> March 6, 2014 LA Times
  • Maldonado calls for immigration reform and help for midsize farms - - Since turning his focus away from the California governor's race, former state Sen. Abel Maldonado has been busy helping his daughter start a wine business and working on his family's ranch, from pulling weeds to cleaning barns. "It's hard, manual work, and I feel like a million dollars," Maldonado said Thursday following one of his first public speaking appearances since dropping his bid for governor in January. Maldonado, California's former lieutenant governor and a Santa Maria native, was the keynote speaker at the Western United Dairymen's annual convention, which continues today in San Luis Obispo. <more> March 6, 2014 The Tribune
  • Polls show 4 of 5 in U. S. want workable immigration law fix, says Charlie Garrison at the WUD Convention in San Luis Obispo.  

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Outlook bright for dairy producers - - Record-high milk prices, strong dairy export demand and lower corn prices are improving the outlook for U.S. dairymen in 2014. Drought in the West, particularly California, however, will bring higher alfalfa prices to dairymen in the region. Optimism on dairy farms is running extremely high right now, and things are looking really good for the first time in four year, said Katelyn McCullock, dairy economist with Livestock Marketing Information Center.Producers are enjoying the highest milk-feed ratio in five years, and U.S. dairy exports broke the record in 2013, up 39 percent on a value basis and up $1.4 billion from 2012, she said during the 2014 Idaho Hay and Forage Association conference. <more> March 7, 2014 Capital Press
  • Rabobank: Grain prices moderating - - Moderating feed prices, combined with strong demand, has U.S. beef and dairy producers on target for an exceptional year, according to Rabobank analysts.In the big picture, grain markets are rebuilding and prices have moderated over the last six months and could go lower, said Bill Cordingley, managing director and chief of Rabobank agribusiness research and advisory group. <more> March 6, 2014 Capital Press
  • Lee Mielke - Federal Class III milk price sets record - - The Agriculture Department announced the February federal order Class III milk price this week at $23.35 per hundredweight, up $2.20 from January, $6.10 above February 2013, $2.21 above the California 4b cheese milk price, and equates to $2.01 per gallon. It tops the previous high of $21.67 in August 2011. The two month 2014 Class III average stands at $22.25, up from $17.70 at this time a year ago and compares to $16.56 in 2012 and $15.24 in 2011. <more> March 7, 2014 Capital Press
  • U.S. Corn and Wheat Stocks to Increase - - "What I'm watching for in this report is overall demand for corn and soybeans and production out of South America," says Chad Hart, agricultural economist with Iowa State University. "I'll be watching to see whether feed use on old-crop corn holds." Hart thinks USDA's old-crop feed-use numbers for corn are overstated but that the new-crop feed-use estimates look realistic. The average trade estimate for the 2013-14 U.S. corn carryout is 1.488 billion bushels, up slightly from USDA's February estimate of 1.481 billion bushels. The range of estimates is wide, though, from 1.431 billion to 1.656 billion bushels. <more> March 7, 2014 Ag Web

Environmental News

  • Legislation would block EPA from releasing producer information - - U.S. Reps. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), Lee Terry (R-Neb.), Mike McIntyre (D-NC) and Jim Costa (D-Cal.) introduced legislation to prohibit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from disclosing the private and confidential information of livestock and poultry producers to the public. The Farmer Identity Protection Act (H.R. 4157) comes in response to the EPA's release of livestock and poultry producers' names and other personal information to three environmental advocacy groups through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request last year. The release divulged names, addresses, geographic coordinates and in some cases telephone numbers and email addresses of over 80,000 livestock producers in 29 states. "There is no justification for the blatant disregard of our privacy," said NCBA President Bob McCan. "To turn this type of information over to anyone who has a computer is not just reckless, but it poses serious agro-terrorism threats." <more> March 6, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • Senators set to pull all-nighter on climate change action - - About 30 Democratic senators will hold the Senate floor overnight between Monday and Tuesday to urge action on climate change, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., announced today. The senators, mostly from the Senate Climate Action Task Force, will make speeches from around 8 p.m. Monday through to about 9 a.m. Tuesday.  "Climate change is real, it is caused by humans, and it is solvable," said Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii. "Congress must act. On Monday night, we're going to show the growing number of senators who are committed to working together to confront climate change." Boxer said, "So many senators coming together for an all-night session shows our commitment to wake up Congress to the dangers of climate change. All you have to do is look at China to see what happens to your country when you throw the environment under the bus."  March 7, 2014 Agri-Pulse
  • Harvesting the Sun's Power - - With little more than hope for a better future, Manuel Rodriguez Monteiro immigrated to the United States in 1916 at the age of 15. By 1930, he had saved enough of his wages from milking cows to buy 25 of his own cows. If he could only see his grandsons' dairy today. "I know he'd be proud," says Mike Monteiro, who with his brother Manuel, operates Lakeside Dairy south of Hanford, Calif. "He probably wouldn't believe his eyes either." That's because the Monteiro brothers have expanded the farm beyond the traditional raising of animals and growing of corn, wheat and alfalfa to include the harvesting of a new crop - energy. <more> March 3, 2014 Dairy Today

Water News

  • Water woes bug growers - - The ongoing threat California's citrus industry faces from Asian citrus psyllids may have been the main focus of Thursday's 2014 Citrus Showcase seminars, but most of the talk among growers here was about water. "You'd better get on your knees and pray for rain," recommended David Henderson, a citrus grower and pesticide specialist from Exeter who also teaches agricultural classes at the College of the Sequoias. He was one of the many growers and others with ties to the citrus industry who attended the annual trade showcase at the Visalia Convention Center. <more> March 7, 2014 Visalia Times-Delta
  • Water bond still in a state of flux - - The process is better, Delta advocates said Thursday. But the final product? That's yet to be seen. State legislators met here to discuss how to revamp an $11 billion water bond that's scheduled to go before voters in November. No fewer than seven proposals have been introduced in Sacramento. All of them would scale back the size of the bond, which many consider to be bloated and unlikely to win voter approval. Concerns remain in the Delta, however, that a water bond might facilitate Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed twin tunnels project. <more> March 7, 2014 Visalia Times-Delta

Stories of Interest

  • States Join Suit to Block California Egg Law - - Five major farm states have joined a lawsuit seeking to block a California law that would impose stricter animal-welfare standards on egg-producing farms. Attorneys general from Nebraska, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Alabama - along with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad - on Wednesday signed onto a lawsuit filed in February by Missouri�s attorney general arguing that California's law overreaches and would cost out-of-state farmers hundreds of millions of dollars to comply. <more> March 6, 2014 Wall Street Journal
  • The end of the traditional supermarket - - Say goodbye to the traditional supermarket. Safeway announced Thursday that it was being acquired by the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management in a deal worth about $9 billion, part of an industry-wide shake-up that is transforming how consumers shop for their food. Effectively a merger between Safeway and supermarket chain Albertsons, already owned by Cerberus, the deal is an attempt to compete in the increasingly tough grocery business, which is now crowded by a gamut of retailers, from drugstores and Wal-Mart to local neighborhood farmers markets. <more> March 6, 2014 Washington Post
  • Ag crime prevention seminar set in Tulare - - In the wake of a costly rash of agricultural crimes in the Central Valley, Western Executive Protection is offering a daylong ag crime prevention seminar on Saturday, April 5, at the International Agri-Center in Tulare. There will be presentations on how to prevent ag crime, the various types of ag crimes and how to respond in the case of criminal activity. The day begins at Heritage Complex with registration, continental breakfast and networking from 7 to 8:15 a.m. A barbecue lunch will be provided, and attendees will be able to visit displays set up by Tulare, Kings and Kern law enforcement, businesses focused on preventing ag crime, the Ag Crimes Unit of the Tulare County District Attorney's Office, Homeland Security and more. <more> March 7, 2014 Central Valley Business Times

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • 2014 Environmental Stewardship classes offered in Tulare, Fresno - - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering free classes on environmental stewardship. The two-part series of water quality classes (three hours each), known as the Environmental Stewardship Short Course, will be held in Tulare and taught by Dr. Deanne Meyer, a livestock waste management specialist from the University of California, Davis. A separate session on air quality will also be offered in Fresno. Producers can attend all or part of the Short Course to meet the education requirements. The classes cover environmental issues, regulatory requirements and management practices for dairy producers. The classes are only for dairies that want to certify, but have not completed the classes. These are not continuing education, if you have completed the classe you do not need to go again, however continuing education is in the future for CDQAP. Classes are voluntary, but your processor may want you to complete the program. The events would be useful to understand current state of regulations even if you do not need to complete the class and will provide a 50% discount on water board fees. The schedule is as follows: Water Quality Classes - Thursday, March 27 - Class 1: 9 a.m. to 12 noon - Class 2: 1 to 4 pm - Southern California Edison - Energy Education Center (formerly Edison AGTAC) 4175 South Laspina Street, Tulare, CA. Air Quality Class - Thursday, April 3 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Fresno County Farm Bureau - 1274 W. Hedges Avenue, Fresno, CA. You must attend both classes to complete the water quality education requirement, unless you have previously received credit for attending CDQAP water quality courses. Producers with additional questions can call CDQAP at (530) 574-0524. Feb. 27, 2014 CDQAP announcement
  • AgSTAR Partners with BioCycle for AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop - - AgSTAR is partnering with BioCycle for the 14th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (BioCycle REFOR14 West). A one-day workshop will be held in conjunction with BioCycle REFOR14 West on Monday, April 7, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The theme for the event is "Navigating the Biogas Maze: Learning from the Leaders". Attendees will hear experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. For more information visit the BioCycle REFOR14 West website. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. Feb. 20, 2014 AgSTAR news

 
 

 

 

 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

  • House Panel Bars Funds for Immigrant Advocate - - The first immigration bill in the House this year would prohibit any money for the public advocate for immigrants in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. After hours of contentious debate, Republicans pushed through a bill in the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday night that would bar the homeland security secretary from using taxpayer dollars for the ICE position. The 17-14 vote along party lines came after the panel rejected a series of Democratic amendments. Republicans insisted the bill was necessary to counter the Obama administration's disregard for Congress' previous move to eliminate the position in Immigration and Customs Enforcement. A provision was tucked into a massive spending bill last year that President Barack Obama signed into law. <more> March 6, 2014 AP
  • Delay urged in Water Board decision on stopping all Delta water deliveries - - California's U.S. Senators along with two congressmen from the Central Valley are urging the State Water Resources Control Board to delay until at least March 21 a decision to stop all pumping of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The idea would be to allow upstream reservoirs to fill more with whatever water is available to offset another year of statewide drought in 2015. "We believe that additional time is needed to allow all affected parties ample opportunity to fully understand your proposal, and to work with your staff to develop alternatives that account for the recent rainfall, maintain fully defined public health and safety goals, and avoid catastrophic reductions of water deliveries to California agriculture," the say Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and Reps. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, and Jim Costa, D-Fresno, in a letter to Tom Howard, the board's executive director. <more> March 5, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin to run for state controller - - Mayor Ashley Swearengin has filed papers in Sacramento as part of a bid for the state controller's office. Tim Clark, Swearengin's campaign consultant, said odds-and-ends paperwork will be filed later today to make the run official before the Friday deadline. A formal campaign announcement is expected next week. Clark said job creation has been the guiding principal of Swearengin's career, even before being sworn in as Fresno's mayor in 2009. In her bid to become the state's chief fiscal officer, Swearengin would focus on reforming California's regulatory and tax structure to help businesses create jobs, Clark added. <more> March 5, 2014 The Business Journal 

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Drought, exports drive hay markets - - Drought and strong exports are expected to keep hay prices strong in the West, particularly for alfalfa, according to Katelyn McCullock, dairy economist with the Livestock Marketing Information Center.With the exception of Texas, most of the country has recovered from a moving drought that hit largely in the Southern Plains to affect the 2011/12 marketing year and centered in the Midwest to affect the 2012/13 marketing year, she said.A return to normal weather in most of those areas in 2013 is expected to hold in 2014, and LMIC is forecasting decreased hay prices for an annual national average of $135 a ton for all hay, $150 a ton for alfalfa hay and $100 a ton for other hay in 2014. <more> March 5, 2014 Capital Press

     

Water News

  • Why did over 1,200 California farmers sign a letter to Congress? - - California farmers recognize the dire situation this year's drought brings. So much so that more than more than 1,200 of them signed a letter to the state's Washington, D.C. delegation insisting that they set aside political differences and work together to address the water supply crisis. With State and federal water projects announcing an initial allocation of zero for the first time in history and statewide, on average, farm water users expecting only a third of their normal supplies, it is understandable that thousands have stepped forward to make their voices heard. <more> March 5, 2014 Farm Water News
  • California Democrats in D.C. lobby state water board to delay Delta pumping cutback - - California's two Democratic senators, joined by two House Democrats, urged the State Water Resources Control Board on Wedneseday to think twice, or maybe thrice, before issuing a proposed order that could cut Delta water pumping. In a three-page letter, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer along with Reps. Jim Costa of Fresno and John Garamendi of Walnut Grove asked the water board to put off until at least March 21 the proposed "prioritizing" of statewide water deliveries. <more> March 5, 2014 Fresno Bee
  • Livestock Producers Affected by Severe Drought Urged to Keep Good Records - - USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) administrator Juan Garcia repeated his appeal to livestock producers affected by natural disasters - such as the drought in the West and winter storms in the Upper Midwest - to keep thorough records. This includes livestock and feed losses, and any additional expenses that are a result of losses to purchased forage or feed stuff. "The 2014 Farm Bill provides a strong farm safety net to help ranchers during these difficult times," said Garcia. "We'll provide producers with information on new program requirements, updates and signups as the information becomes available. In the meantime, I urge producers to keep thorough records. We know these disasters have caused serious economic hardships for our livestock producers. We'll do all we can to assist in their recovery." <more> March 6, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • State failed to analyze effects of water bank, judge rules - - A court ruling issued Wednesday could throw up obstacles to operation of a Kern County groundwater bank that has helped billionaire Stewart Resnick build a nut empire in the southern San Joaquin Valley. In the latest development in a two-decade legal fight, a Sacramento County Superior Court judge found that the state Department of Water Resources didn't properly analyze the environmental impacts of the Kern Water Bank, which is partly controlled by Resnick's Paramount Farms enterprise. Judge Timothy Frawley will hold a hearing to determine the next step in the case. Environmental groups intend to argue that the water bank should be shut down while the state prepares a new environmental report. <more> March 5, 2014 LA Times
  • Water shortage has Tulare Co farmers worried about land values - - As farmers in the Central Valley battle zero water allocation from the Friant Dam, some are now worried the value of their land will go down. Farmers in the driest areas of the county are now worried. With no certainty of water coming in, will their precious farmland be worth less than what they paid for it? For the last few months citrus growers in Terra Bella have seen their share of hurdles. First, a potentially deadly citrus bug was found in the area, then orange groves here were wiped out from the December freeze, and now, no water. <more> March 5, 2014 KFSN TV

     

Stories of Interest

  • Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado talks about the strength of family farms at the WUD conference in San Luis Obispo.
  • Panelists, including Chip English, discuss the difference between federal and CA milk marketing orders at the WUD conference in San Luis Obispo.
  • Safeway, Albertsons agree to merge - - Safeway and Albertsons said Thursday that they have agreed to a merger in which AB Acquistion, the parent of Albertsons, will acquire Safeway for a total value to Safeway shareholders of $40 per share, or $9 billion. "This transaction offers us the opportunity to better serve customers by adapting more quickly to evolving shopping preferences in diverse regions across the country. It also brings together two great organizations with talented management teams," said Bob Miller, CEO, Albertsons. "Working together will enable us to create cost savings that translate into price reductions for our customers. Together, we will be able to respond to local needs more quickly and deliver outstanding products at the lowest possible price, more efficiently than ever before." <more> March 6, 2014 Supermarket News
  • Paris - Your Imported Beef Is Served - - It's easy to spend a lot of money here on a mediocre steak. Just about every Paris bistro offers bavette with shallots, faux filet with frites, rumsteck with Roquefort sauce. Menus often identify the noble bovines that are the sources; most notably, the off-white Charolaise, the brown Limousine and the wheat-hued Blonde d'Aquitaine. The problem is that much of made-in-France meat isn't marvelous. So in recent years, a quiet revolution has been underway. Foreign beef - from the United States, South America or other European countries - is invading. "We raise big, powerful, muscular races of cows in France that were bred for work," said Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec, a butcher for 30 years. "Alas, they produce beef with very little taste." <more> March 3, 2014 The New York Times
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Western United Dairymen convention March 5-7, 2014 - -WUD's annual convention will be held March 5-7, 2014 at the Embassy Suites in San Luis Obispo. For the latest convention updates, visit www.WUDconvention.com. You can also access the website link at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com  on both the main page and the "About Us" page.  "We developed the site to be an online clearinghouse for convention information," stated Heidi Savage, convention manager. "If you have a question about the convention, the answer should be on the site. So, whether you need to make a hotel reservation, see what kind of workshops are offered or sign up for an exhibit booth, you�ll find the most updated information there." The WUD staff wants the site to be as complete and easy to navigate as possible. If you see something on the site that can be improved, please contact Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com. 
  • 2014 Environmental Stewardship classes offered in Tulare, Fresno - - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering free classes on environmental stewardship. The two-part series of water quality classes (three hours each), known as the Environmental Stewardship Short Course, will be held in Tulare and taught by Dr. Deanne Meyer, a livestock waste management specialist from the University of California, Davis. A separate session on air quality will also be offered in Fresno. Producers can attend all or part of the Short Course to meet the education requirements. The classes cover environmental issues, regulatory requirements and management practices for dairy producers. The classes are only for dairies that want to certify, but have not completed the classes. These are not continuing education, if you have completed the classe you do not need to go again, however continuing education is in the future for CDQAP. Classes are voluntary, but your processor may want you to complete the program. The events would be useful to understand current state of regulations even if you do not need to complete the class and will provide a 50% discount on water board fees. The schedule is as follows: Water Quality Classes - Thursday, March 27 - Class 1: 9 a.m. to 12 noon - Class 2: 1 to 4 pm - Southern California Edison - Energy Education Center (formerly Edison AGTAC) 4175 South Laspina Street, Tulare, CA. Air Quality Class - Thursday, April 3 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Fresno County Farm Bureau - 1274 W. Hedges Avenue, Fresno, CA. You must attend both classes to complete the water quality education requirement, unless you have previously received credit for attending CDQAP water quality courses. Producers with additional questions can call CDQAP at (530) 574-0524. Feb. 27, 2014 CDQAP announcement
  • AgSTAR Partners with BioCycle for AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop - - AgSTAR is partnering with BioCycle for the 14th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (BioCycle REFOR14 West). A one-day workshop will be held in conjunction with BioCycle REFOR14 West on Monday, April 7, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The theme for the event is "Navigating the Biogas Maze: Learning from the Leaders". Attendees will hear experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. For more information visit the BioCycle REFOR14 West website. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. Feb. 20, 2014 AgSTAR news

 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Proposed immigrant processing center roils Central Coast farmworkers - - As a nearby tractor purred to life, Miguel Villagomez picked up his knife and stepped into a furrow of dirt amid thousands of plump heads of cauliflower ready for cutting. "This," the 19-year-old from Michoacan, Mexico, said with a touch of pride, "is my place." For decades, the lush soil in this corner of California has been tilled largely by immigrants from Latin America, many returning year after year. But that long-standing relationship has encountered unexpected turbulence in recent weeks. <more> March 4, 2014 LA Times
  • Nancy Pelosi: Discharge decision coming soon - - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that House Democrats will make a decision "in the next few days" about whether to launch a procedural tactic to pressure Republicans to move on immigration reform this year. Several sources who have been involved in discussions with House Democrats said the California Democrat will most likely set in motion a discharge petition on a comprehensive immigration reform bill, although they cautioned that no final decisions have been made. Successful discharge petitions force floor votes on legislation regardless of whether House leaders want to consider the bill. <more> March 4, 2014 Politico
  • Judge OKs second phase of high-speed rail lawsuit - - A Sacramento County Superior Court judge says a trial in the second phase of a lawsuit against California's high-speed rail project can go ahead. Judge Michael Kenny ruled Tuesday that he will hear arguments from attorneys representing a group of Central Valley farmers and landowners who argue that the state's $68 billion high-speed rail plan no longer complies with promises made to voters. During the first phase of the lawsuit last year, Kenny ordered the state to rewrite its financing plan for the bullet train plan and prevented the state from selling bonds to pay for it. The state appealed those decisions, and attorneys for the rail authority argued that Kenny should not hold additional hearings. No date has been set for the new trial. March 4, 2014 AP
  • President unveils 2015 budget proposal - - President Obama unveiled Tuesday morning his budget proposal for the federal government for fiscal year 2015. While the reality is that this budget blueprint will never be enacted as both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate will offer counter-proposals and ultimately pass appropriations legislation, it does help clarify what President Obama's priorities will be during this congressional midterm election year. Overall, President Obama's proposed budget would spend $3.9 trillion and result in a $564 billion budget deficit, down from a $649 billion deficit in fiscal year 2014. It would increase spending for transportation infrastructure, invest in "cutting edge research" on topics ranging from human health, climate change, agriculture and more, expand early childhood education, increase tax credits for the working poor, invest in job training and more. <more> March 4, 2014 Dairy Herd Management

  • Tony Raimondo attorney discusses labor issues at a standing room only workshop as the WUDconvention opened in San Luis Obispo.

  • Rick Adams of Winton - Ireland insurance discusses Affordable Care act at WUD convention workshop.
  • Convention entertainer sure to bring laughs - - Comedienne and professional speaker, Jan McInnis, will provide the banquet entertainment at this year's WUD convention. Inspired by fifteen years as a marketing director in the 9 to 5 world, Jan has spent the past sixteen-plus years on the full-time speaking circuit. She was featured in the Wall Street Journal as one of the top convention comedians whose material is clean and in the Washington Post for her clean comedy writing. Jan is also a professional comedy writer who has sold comedy material to just about everyone from the Tonight Show monologue, to greeting cards, hundreds of radio stations and even guests on the "Jerry Springer Show" (yes, some of it is staged), and a syndicated cartoon strip. She is also the author of "Finding the Funny Fast: How to Create Quick Humor to Connect with Clients, Coworkers and Crowds." The WUD convention theme is "Taking Action, Embracing Change." McInnis will share with the audience how we can all go about "Finding Funny in Change." Feb. 21, 2104 WUD Friday Update

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Beef: It's What's No Longer Affordable for Dinner - - To paraphrase a Paula Cole song, where have all the cows gone? At the start of 2014, U.S. ranchers had 87.99 million head of cattle, the lowest total since 1951. Long periods of drought in California and Texas are largely being blamed for the declining herd figures, so it's not like the numbers should come as much of a surprise. Neither should rising beef prices hitting consumers and restaurants (and restaurant customers, of course). Analysts have forecast that beef prices will increase this year and for years to come. <more> March 4, 2014 TIME Magazine
     

Environmental News

  • Officials detect high levels of nitrate in county's groundwater - - The State Water Resources Control Board has detected high levels of nitrate in groundwater throughout California, and Kern County happens to be one of those areas affected. State officials tested several areas five times, and found that Tulare and Los Angeles counties have high concentrations of nitrate contaminating their groundwater - many agricultural communities even have them in their wells. Now the Environmental Protections Agency says most the nitrate contamination in drinking water comes from the runoff left from fertilizer use and the sporadic leaking from septic tanks. <more> March 4, 2014 KERO Bakersfield
     

Water News

  • State officials hear Valley drought pleas - - Farmers and their allies pleaded with state officials Tuesday for quick action on the drought emergency and long-term solutions to keep it from happening again. More than 200 people packed a University of California at Merced conference room for a meeting of Gov. Jerry Brown�s Drought Task Force and the State Board of Food and Agriculture. "Your decisions will have a long and lasting effect on the local, regional and state economy," said Aldo Sansoni, who grows almonds, tomatoes and other crops in Merced County. <more> March 4, 2014 Modesto Bee

     

Stories of Interest

  • Campaign asks Starbucks to serve only organic, non-GMO milk - - A national campaign is under way to get Starbucks to provide organic dairy milk at its stores and to do away with milk that might be affected by GMOs. GMO Inside has launched the multi-media campaign that calls on people to call Starbucks, post on its Facebook page and bring printable tickets to Starbucks store managers asking them to make the change. The non-profit recently got Cheerios to give up its GMOs and said they know this new program won't happen overnight. <more> March 4, 2014 King 5 News
  • Too much animal-based protein could lead to early death, study says - - Could too much protein put you on the path toward an early grave? For middle-aged people who consume lots of meat, milk and cheese, the answer could be yes, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Cell Metabolism. U.S. and Italian researchers tracked thousands of adults during nearly two decades and found that those who ate a diet high in animal proteins during middle age were four times more likely to die of cancer than contemporaries with low-protein diets - a risk factor, if accurate, comparable to smoking. They also were several times more likely to die of diabetes, researchers said. <more> March 4, 2014 The Washington Post
  • Nebraska joins lawsuit against California - - The state of Nebraska is joining Missouri's lawsuit challenging California's egg production standards. Those standards, which require larger cages for egg laying hens, were established by the passage of Proposition 2 in 2008. In 2010 California�s legislature passed a law requiring that all eggs coming into California from other states meet the same cage size standards. Missouri's attorney general filed the complaint last month in U.S. District Court in Fresno, California. The complaint seeks to stop implementation of regulations associated with the size of cages for egg laying hens. <more> March 5, 2014 Brownfield Ag News
     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Hoof health management workshops in Merced - - A hoof health management workshop will be held March 6 in Merced. The workshop is hosted by UCCE and sponsored by Micronutrients. The program will be presented by Alfonso Lago, DVM, PhD, Dairy Experts. Participants will have the opportunity to work with Dr. Lago and others to develop their skills trimming, blocking and wrapping real, postmortem hooves. Proper care and sharpening of hoof trimming tools will also be practiced. Bovine lower leg anatomy, biomechanics, lesion identification and classification, functional and therapeutic hoof trimming practices, blocking and wrapping will be covered during classroom instruction. The session will be held: March 6 at the UC Cooperative Extension, 2145 Wardrobe Ave, Merced. Contact: Alejandro Castillo (209) 385-7403 arcastillo@ucanr.edu Participants can pay at the door, phone (559) 684-3300 or email souza@ucanr.edu.
  • 2014 Environmental Stewardship classes offered in Tulare, Fresno - - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering free classes on environmental stewardship. The two-part series of water quality classes (three hours each), known as the Environmental Stewardship Short Course, will be held in Tulare and taught by Dr. Deanne Meyer, a livestock waste management specialist from the University of California, Davis. A separate session on air quality will also be offered in Fresno. Producers can attend all or part of the Short Course to meet the education requirements. The classes cover environmental issues, regulatory requirements and management practices for dairy producers. The classes are only for dairies that want to certify, but have not completed the classes. These are not continuing education, if you have completed the classe you do not need to go again, however continuing education is in the future for CDQAP. Classes are voluntary, but your processor may want you to complete the program. The events would be useful to understand current state of regulations even if you do not need to complete the class and will provide a 50% discount on water board fees. The schedule is as follows: Water Quality Classes - Thursday, March 27 - Class 1: 9 a.m. to 12 noon - Class 2: 1 to 4 pm - Southern California Edison - Energy Education Center (formerly Edison AGTAC) 4175 South Laspina Street, Tulare, CA. Air Quality Class - Thursday, April 3 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Fresno County Farm Bureau - 1274 W. Hedges Avenue, Fresno, CA. You must attend both classes to complete the water quality education requirement, unless you have previously received credit for attending CDQAP water quality courses. Producers with additional questions can call CDQAP at (530) 574-0524. Feb. 27, 2014 CDQAP announcement
  • AgSTAR Partners with BioCycle for AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop - - AgSTAR is partnering with BioCycle for the 14th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (BioCycle REFOR14 West). A one-day workshop will be held in conjunction with BioCycle REFOR14 West on Monday, April 7, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The theme for the event is "Navigating the Biogas Maze: Learning from the Leaders". Attendees will hear experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. For more information visit the BioCycle REFOR14 West website. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. Feb. 20, 2014 AgSTAR news

 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
 

State/Federal News and Politics
 

  • San Luis Obispo welcomes WUD Convention March 5-7 - - San Luis Obispo, touted by the Travel Channel as one of the “friendliest towns in America” will welcome members of Western United Dairymen March 5-7 for WUD’s annual convention. The WUD convention theme is “Taking Action, Embracing Change.” The convention will be held at the Embassy Suites. Rooms there are sold out but accommodations are also available at two other hotels also located on Madonna Road. The Best Western Royal Oak has rates starting at $109.99. Call toll free 1-888-256-8028 or visit www.royaloakhotel.com. The Madonna Inn has room rates beginning at $189. Their toll-free reservation line is 1-800-543-9666 or visit www.madonnainn.com. “We expect a great turnout thanks to the popularity of San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly,” said convention coordinator Heidi Savage. “The forecast is for nice weather and along with a great lineup of dynamic speakers and interesting workshops, we expect a full house for all three days.” <more> Feb. 29, 2014 WUD Friday Update
  • ‘Got Milk?’ slogan to carry on in California - - The state’s still got a “Got Milk?” campaign, even though a national dairy group has moved on from the slogan. The California Milk Processor Board, which launched the memorable campaign in 1993, said Monday that media reports might have led people to believe that the slogan was entirely gone. “To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the end of ‘Got Milk?’ are greatly exaggerated,” said Steve James, the board’s executive director, in a news release. The group, based in San Clemente, promotes fluid milk produced in California, much of it from the Northern San Joaquin Valley. <more> March 3, 2014 The Modesto Bee
  • Food stamp program may reduce food insecurity for children - - A program that provides nutrition assistance to millions of low-income families may be linked to improved well-being among children, according to a new study. Researchers found that children in households who participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for six months had substantial improvements in their consistent access to food - or "food security." Food insecurity has been linked to a number of health and developmental problems among children, the authors write. <more> March 3, 2014 Reuters
  • U.S. Supreme Court declines immigration cases - - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected attempts by towns in Texas and Pennsylvania to revive local laws that cracked down on illegal immigration. The court decided against hearing appeals filed by the towns of Farmers Branch, Texas, and Hazleton, Pennsylvania, which were seeking to overturn appeals court rulings that said the ordinances were trumped by federal immigration law. In doing so, the court left intact the appeals court rulings and avoided wading into the divisive issue of immigration at a time in which reform efforts have stalled in the U.S. Congress. <more> March 3, 2014 Reuters
  • Chipotle's farm satire upsets agriculture industry - - Chipotle Mexican Grill, the rapidly growing taco and burrito chain, has tried to stand out from its competitors in the crowded restaurant industry by selling fast food with a socially responsible twist. But a recent four-episode comedy show on the streaming-TV service Hulu, promoted as an "original Chipotle series," has drawn the ire of farmers and agricultural groups. They say the show's use of exploding cows and its criticism of industrial farming are misleading — making the program the latest public relations ordeal for the agriculture industry. It comes on top of ongoing concerns over how animals are raised, the safety of genetically modified crops and the public outcry over "pink slime" — the name given to lean finely textured beef. <more> March 3, 2014 USA Today
  • Beef Recall Raises Inspection Questions - - A major recall of beef from a California slaughterhouse is prompting concern about gaps in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's meat-inspection system and vexing ranchers who have lost, at least temporarily, the Bay Area's last processing plant. Authorities are investigating Rancho Feeding Corp., a Petaluma, Calif.-based meat processor that closed in February after recalling 8.7 million pounds of beef. The USDA, which announced the recall on Feb. 8, said Rancho had processed "diseased and unsound animals" and that the resulting meat is "unfit for human food." The agency said the Rancho meat was processed from Jan. 1, 2013, through Jan. 7, 2014, "without the benefit of a full federal inspection." <more> Feb. 28, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • Obama's budget would shift tax benefits from wealthy to poor - - President Obama will propose a series of changes to the tax code in a budget plan Tuesday that would shift benefits from top earners to middle- and lower-income Americans, the White House said. In his 2015 budget plan, Obama will propose expanding or making permanent tax credits aimed at the working poor, families with young children, and college students. Obama’s budget would also expand access to retirement savings for people who do not have an employer-sponsored retirement plan. The new tax breaks would be offset by eliminating tax rules that have benefited top earners. <more> March 3, 2014 LA Times

Pricing/Commodity News

  • CA, Federal milk marketing orders topic of WUD convention talk - - The challenges and opportunities of Federal and California Milk Marketing Orders will be the topic of a panel discussion set for Thursday, March 6, at Western United Dairymen’s annual convention in San Luis Obispo. Those in attendance can expect an in-depth discussion as attorneys Chip English, a partner at Davis, Wright, Tremaine LLP and John J. Vlahos, Partner, Hanson Bridgett LLP, and WUD’s long-time legal advocate, are joined by Dana Hamilton Coale, Deputy Administrator, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Dairy Programs. The panel will be moderated by Michael Marsh, CEO, Western United Dairymen. Increasing attention is being paid to Federal Milk Marketing Orders as California dairy families face an ongoing economic crisis. The session will wrap up with a question and answer session allowing for audience participation. The panel begins at 9:30 a.m. on the second day of the convention Thursday, March 6.
  • California February 4a/4b prices new record highs - - California’s February 2014 Class 4a/4b milk prices were announced Monday, Mar. 3. The Class 4a butter-powder price rose for the eleventh consecutive month, to $23.08/cwt. The February price is up 95¢ from January, $5.07 more than February 2013, and a new record high. The Class 4b price is up for a seventh consecutive month, to $21.24/cwt. The February price is up 83¢ from January and $5.83 more than February 2013. It surpasses the previous Class 4b record high of $21.18/cwt., set in June 2007. Federal order January 2014 Class II, III & IV prices will be announced Wednesday, Mar. 5. March 3, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • Wheat, Corn Prices Surge on Ukraine Crisis - - U.S. wheat futures surged 4.6%, the biggest one-day percentage gain in more than 17 months, as traders fretted that Ukraine's escalating crisis will slow grain exports from the eastern European country. Wheat prices jumped after Russia's military appeared to tighten its control of Ukraine's Black Sea region of Crimea. The tensions led traders to speculate that buyers of wheat and corn will shift purchases from Ukraine—one of the world's biggest grain exporters—to shippers such as the U.S. <more> March 3, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • Cattle Feeding Profits Top $280 Per Head - - Record-high cash fed cattle prices helped boost cattle feeding margins over $280 per head last week. Top prices in the Midwest reached $152.50 last week, leaving the USDA five-area average at $151.07 per cwt. Average cattle feeding margins reached $284.85, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. A year ago cattle feeders were losing $52 on every animal shipped. Beef packers saw average losses of $80.64 last week, according to the report, compiled by John Nalivka, Sterling Marketing, Inc., Vale, Ore. Nalivka tracks prices and feeding costs for both cattle and hogs in a weekly summary called the Sterling Profit Tracker. <more> March 4, 2014 Beef Today
  • CWT Assists with 3.9 Million Pounds of Dairy Exports - - Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 11 requests for export assistance from Foremost Farms USA, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 782,641 pounds (355 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese and 3.142 million pounds (1,425 metric tons) of 82% butter to customers in Asia, Central America, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The product will be delivered in March through June 2014. <more> March 4, 2014 Dairy Today 

Water News

  • Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts postpone start of water deliveries - - Late-winter rain has prompted the Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts to postpone the start of their 2014 deliveries to next week. Both had planned to begin filling canals Monday, which was somewhat early because of the mostly dry conditions this year, but the recent storms brought a change. OID now plans to start next Monday, and SSJID will follow March 12. “We pushed it back a week due to the rain we received as of last Friday,” OID General Manager Steve Knell said. More rain and snow are possible this week, according to the National Weather Service. <more> March 3, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • Commentary: State’s politicians talk about water but have done little - Dan Walters - - It's not that California politicians haven't talked about the state's uncertain water supply. They have constantly, for decades. It's that they haven't done much but talk. California is beset by the worst drought in its recorded history, and its politicians, from its governor and U.S. senators down, are publicly wringing their hands about its effects and doing what they can, which is precious little, to mitigate them. "Governors can't make it rain," Gov. Jerry Brown said recently. And that's true. But California's politicians could have learned from past droughts, including a very severe one during Brown's first governorship, and acted decisively. <more> March 5, 2014 Ag Alert
  • Americans use twice as much water as they think they do, study says - - Americans use twice the amount of water they think they do, and appear to be particularly oblivious about how much H2O they flush down the toilet on a daily basis, according to new research. In a paper published online Monday in the journal PNAS, a researcher concluded that Americans underestimated their water use by a factor of 2, and were only slightly aware of how much water goes into growing the food they eat. "In general, people tend to underestimate water by a very large magnitude," said study author Shahzeen Attari, an assistant professor in the Department of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. <more> March 3, 2014 Los Angeles Times
     

Stories of Interest

  •  3,800-year-old cheese found on Chinese mummies - - Talk about vintage! Archeologists in China have discovered the remains of ancient cheese tucked into mummies dating back around 3,800 years. According to CBS News, the yellow chunks of cheese were discovered tucked around the necks and chests of mummies buried in China’s Taklamakan Desert. Archeologists presume the simply dairy treats were buried as a tasty snack for the buried to enjoy in the afterlife. <more> March 3, 2014 Dairy Herd Management
  • Wishing They All Could Be California Hens - - Hens in California are living the good life. Many can now lay their eggs in oversize enclosures roomy enough to stand up, lie down — even extend their wings fully without touching another bird. Hens in most other states don’t have it so good. Their conditions, as the head of California’s egg trade group explained, are “like you sitting in an airplane seat in the economy section all your life.” So if you’re a hen, you want to live in California. <more> March 3, 2014 The New York Times

     

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Western United Dairymen convention March 5-7, 2014 - -WUD's annual convention will be held March 5-7, 2014 at the Embassy Suites in San Luis Obispo. For the latest convention updates, visit www.WUDconvention.com. You can also access the website link at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com  on both the main page and the “About Us” page.  "We developed the site to be an online clearinghouse for convention information,” stated Heidi Savage, convention manager. “If you have a question about the convention, the answer should be on the site. So, whether you need to make a hotel reservation, see what kind of workshops are offered or sign up for an exhibit booth, you’ll find the most updated information there.” The WUD staff wants the site to be as complete and easy to navigate as possible. If you see something on the site that can be improved, please contact Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com.  Sept. 6, 2013 WUD Friday Update
  • Convention entertainer sure to bring laughs - - Comedienne and professional speaker, Jan McInnis, will provide the banquet entertainment at this year's WUD convention. Inspired by fifteen years as a marketing director in the 9 to 5 world, Jan has spent the past sixteen-plus years on the full-time speaking circuit. She was featured in the Wall Street Journal as one of the top convention comedians whose material is clean and in the Washington Post for her clean comedy writing. Jan is also a professional comedy writer who has sold comedy material to just about everyone from the Tonight Show monologue, to greeting cards, hundreds of radio stations and even guests on the "Jerry Springer Show" (yes, some of it is staged), and a syndicated cartoon strip. She is also the author of "Finding the Funny Fast: How to Create Quick Humor to Connect with Clients, Coworkers and Crowds." The WUD convention theme is "Taking Action, Embracing Change." McInnis will share with the audience how we can all go about "Finding Funny in Change." Feb. 21, 2104 WUD Friday Update
  • Hoof health management workshops in Tulare, Merced - - A hoof health management workshop will be held March 6 in Merced. The workshop is hosted by UCCE and sponsored by Micronutrients. The program will be presented by Alfonso Lago, DVM, PhD, Dairy Experts. Participants will have the opportunity to work with Dr. Lago and others to develop their skills trimming, blocking and wrapping real, postmortem hooves. Proper care and sharpening of hoof trimming tools will also be practiced. Bovine lower leg anatomy, biomechanics, lesion identification and classification, functional and therapeutic hoof trimming practices, blocking and wrapping will be covered during classroom instruction. The session will be held: March 6 at the UC Cooperative Extension, 2145 Wardrobe Ave, Merced. Contact: Alejandro Castillo (209) 385-7403 arcastillo@ucanr.edu Participants can pay at the door, phone (559) 684-3300 or email souza@ucanr.edu.
  • 2014 Environmental Stewardship classes offered in Tulare, Fresno- - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering free classes on environmental stewardship. The two-part series of water quality classes (three hours each), known as the Environmental Stewardship Short Course, will be held in Tulare and taught by Dr. Deanne Meyer, a livestock waste management specialist from the University of California, Davis. A separate session on air quality will also be offered in Fresno. Producers can attend all or part of the Short Course to meet the education requirements. The classes cover environmental issues, regulatory requirements and management practices for dairy producers. The classes are only for dairies that want to certify, but have not completed the classes. These are not continuing education, if you have completed the classe you do not need to go again, however continuing education is in the future for CDQAP. Classes are voluntary, but your processor may want you to complete the program. The events would be useful to understand current state of regulations even if you do not need to complete the class and will provide a 50% discount on water board fees. The schedule is as follows: Water Quality Classes - Thursday, March 27 - Class 1: 9 a.m. to 12 noon - Class 2: 1 to 4 pm - Southern California Edison - Energy Education Center (formerly Edison AGTAC) 4175 South Laspina Street, Tulare, CA. Air Quality Class - Thursday, April 3 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Fresno County Farm Bureau - 1274 W. Hedges Avenue, Fresno, CA. You must attend both classes to complete the water quality education requirement, unless you have previously received credit for attending CDQAP water quality courses. Producers with additional questions can call CDQAP at (530) 574-0524. Feb. 27, 2014 CDQAP announcement
  • AgSTAR Partners with BioCycle for AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop - - AgSTAR is partnering with BioCycle for the 14th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (BioCycle REFOR14 West). A one-day workshop will be held in conjunction with BioCycle REFOR14 West on Monday, April 7, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The theme for the event is "Navigating the Biogas Maze: Learning from the Leaders". Attendees will hear experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. For more information visit the BioCycle REFOR14 West website. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. Feb. 20, 2014 AgSTAR news

     

 

Monday, March 3, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

  • Why The 'Non-GMO' Label Is Organic's Frenemy - - It's easy to think of "organic" and "non-GMO" as the best buddies of food. They sit comfortably beside each other in the same grocery stores � most prominently, in Whole Foods Market. Culturally, they also seem to occupy the same space. Both reject aspects of mainstream industrial agriculture. In fact, the increasingly successful movement to eliminate genetically modified crops � GMOs � from food is turning out to be organic's false friend. The non-GMO label has become a cheaper alternative to organic. "More and more, there's concern [among organic food companies] that they created a monster," says Mark Kastel, a pro-organic activist who''s co-founder of the Cornucopia Institute. <more> Feb. 28, 2014 NPR
  • WUD urges Speaker to act on immigration reform - - Western United Dairymen joined with 636 business organizations this week to encourage House Speaker John Boehner to "seize this opportunity to fix our dysfunctional immigration system by enacting meaningful immigration reforms this year." WUD signed onto a letter sent to Speaker Boehner in which the national businesses and organizations said they were "encouraged by the House Republican Conference's review of 'Standards for Immigration Reform.' We support Congress and the Administration moving forward on immigration reform using these Standards as the guideposts for action this year." <more> Feb. 28, 2014 WUD Friday Update
  • USDA adds yogurt to WIC program - - USDA announced final changes to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) that are designed to improve the nutrition and health of the nation's low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants and young children. The changes include increased access to low-fat dairy and allowing yogurt as a partial milk substitute, according to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). <more> March 3, 2014 Dairy Herd Network
  • Analysts: Food prices to rise 2 to 4 percent this year - - Grocery bills are expected to increase this year anywhere from 2 percent to 4 percent, almost doubling the increase in food prices for 2013. Studies and data from U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Labor forecast a 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent overall increase in retail food prices nationwide. Food prices rose 1.4 percent last year, 2.6 percent in 2012 and 3.7 percent in 2011. Predicting increases in food prices accurately is a difficult task, said Max Runge, an economist at Auburn University�s School of Agriculture. The weather and fuel prices are the biggest variables, he said, adding that yields and market conditions also significantly impact prices. <more> March 1, 2014 Montgomery Advertiser
  • Food industry to make its own labeling splash - - The food industry appears poised to one-up the Obama administration with the launch of a national media blitz to promote its own nutrition labels on the front of food packages. The Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute, which represent the biggest food companies and retailers, will roll out a coordinated marketing campaign, spending as much as $50 million, on Monday to promote their "Facts Up Front," the industry�s own voluntary program for providing nutrition information on the front of food and beverage packages, POLITICO has learned. The groups briefed other food industry associations about the marketing campaign last Tuesday. <more> March 1, 2014 Politico
  • San Luis Obispo welcomes WUD Convention March 5-7 - - San Luis Obispo, touted by the Travel Channel as one of the "friendliest towns in America" will welcome members of Western United Dairymen March 5-7 for WUD's annual convention. The WUD convention theme is "Taking Action, Embracing Change." The convention will be held at the Embassy Suites. Rooms there are sold out but accommodations are also available at two other hotels also located on Madonna Road. The Best Western Royal Oak has rates starting at $109.99. Call toll free 1-888-256-8028 or visit www.royaloakhotel.com. The Madonna Inn has room rates beginning at $189. Their toll-free reservation line is 1-800-543-9666 or visit www.madonnainn.com. <more> Feb. 28, 2014 WUD Friday Update
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Make New Friends with U.S. Dairy Exports, But Keep the Old - - Nine times out of ten when a news outlet reports on dairy export success and rising emerging market consumption, the journalist will focus on booming Asian demand, usually from China. It is certainly appropriate to cite China's global impact on U.S. dairy exports, as long as the flood of press doesn't create tunnel vision. While it is critical for U.S. dairy suppliers to address the emerging needs of Asia, it is equally important not to lose sight of the fact that our biggest current customer is not across the ocean but right here in our own neighborhood. <more> March 3, 2014 Dairy Today
  • Dairy plant expands in Visalia - - California Dairies Inc. says it will increase its processing capacity with the addition of a third evaporator at its Visalia plant. The company says the project will "align CDI�s assets and capabilities" to produce value-added milk powders. "Management continues to look for new ways to add value to its member-owners' milk through the expansion and improvement of its assets and product offerings," says Andrei Mikhalevsky, CEO. "The addition of a new evaporator combines increased capacity and improved capabilities to offer CDI the flexibility to adjust product portfolios as market demands shift, which will grow market share and maximize member-owner profits." <more> March 2, 2014 Central Valley Business Times
  • WTO Panel Seen Ruling on Canada-U.S. Meat Label Dispute in June - - Canada should find out in June if it's been successful in a long-running dispute over a contentious U.S. meat-labeling rule. A World Trade Organization panel is expected to issue a confidential interim report to the governments on June 20, according to a person familiar with the matter. The final report is expected a month later, on July 22, according to this person, who has seen the timelines for the decision. The panel heard oral submissions from the governments last week in the dispute over country-of-origin labeling, known as COOL. A win for Canada--which is joined by Mexico in the fight--would push the three NAFTA countries closer to a trade war. Ottawa has threatened retaliation by imposing punitive tariffs of over $1 billion on a range of imports from the U.S., including chocolate, corn flakes, fruit and potatoes. <more> Feb. 28, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
  • California 4b Milk Price Up $5.73 from 2013 - - The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced the state's February 4b cheese milk price today at $21.14 per hundredweight, up 83 cents from January and $5.73 above February 2013. That put the two-month average at $20.73, up from $15.63 in 2013, $13.83 in 2012, and $14.71 in 2011. The Class 4a butter-powder milk price is $23.08 per cwt., up 95 cents from January and 5.07 above a year ago. The 4a two-month average now stands at $22.61, up from $17.55 a year ago, $15.85 in 2012, and $17.19 in 2011. Comparable Federal order Class milk prices will be announced by USDA on Wednesday. March 3, 2014 Dairy Business Update
  • CA, Federal milk marketing orders topic of WUD convention talk - - The challenges and opportunities of Federal and California Milk Marketing Orders will be the topic of a panel discussion set for Thursday, March 6, at Western United Dairymen�s annual convention in San Luis Obispo. Those in attendance can expect an in-depth discussion as attorneys Chip English, a partner at Davis, Wright, Tremaine LLP and John J. Vlahos, Partner, Hanson Bridgett LLP, and WUD�s long-time legal advocate, are joined by Dana Hamilton Coale, Deputy Administrator, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Dairy Programs. The panel will be moderated by Michael Marsh, CEO, Western United Dairymen. Increasing attention is being paid to Federal Milk Marketing Orders as California dairy families face an ongoing economic crisis. The session will wrap up with a question and answer session allowing for audience participation. The panel begins at 9:30 a.m. on the second day of the convention Thursday, March 6. 

Water News

  •  Drought Could Dry Up Nevada Dairy Farmers' Expansion Plans - - When Pete Olsen talks about drought on his fifth-generation dairy farm in Fallon, Nev., he's really talking about the snowpack 60 miles to the west in the Sierra Nevada. The Sierras, Olsen says, are their lifeblood. That is, the snowmelt from them feeds the Truckee and Carson rivers and a tangle of reservoirs and canals that make this desert bloom. Some of the highest-grade alfalfa in the world is grown here. And it makes perfect feed for dairy cows, because it's rich in nutrients. But like much of the far West, northern Nevada is in the grips of a historic drought. The federal government has declared much of the region a disaster area. Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is at historically low levels. That means feed will be in short supply, which is a big deal, because the alfalfa that's grown here doesn't just stay local. There's demand for it in California, Asia and beyond. <more> Feb. 28, 2014 NPR
  • California farmers hire dowssers to find water - - With California in the grips of drought, farmers throughout the state are using a mysterious and some say foolhardy tool for locating underground water: dowsers, or water witches.Practitioners of dowsing use rudimentary tools � usually copper sticks or wooden "divining rods" that resemble large wishbones � and what they describe as a natural energy to find water or minerals hidden deep underground.While both state and federal water scientists disapprove of dowsing, California "witchers" are busy as farmers seek to drill more groundwater wells due to the state's record drought that persists despite recent rain. <more> March 3, 2014 AP
  • Storms barely a drop in California�s bucket - - California still needs a "March miracle" of heavy rains to break the back of a three-year drought, but recent rains that began at the end of February have had some measurable results where it counts � in the reservoirs. According to readings Monday morning, State Water Project and Central Valley Project reservoirs have seen some improvement, but generally remain well below historical averages for this date. <more> March 3, 2014 Central Valley Business Times

Stories of Interest

  • Branching Out Into Walnuts - - About 15 miles north of Melvin Simoes' farm, Tipton dairy producer John Mendonca is two years into an expansion into walnut production. His dairy milks 600 cows and is home to 500 head of support stock. Over the past few years, Mendonca's ground for growing corn, alfalfa and winter wheat shrank from 900 to 500 acres as he watched his rental ground get sold. Most of the acreage was purchased by investors seeking land for almonds, walnuts or pistachios. The decreased acreage forced Mendonca from being a self-sufficient feed grower into having to buy almost half of his alfalfa hay needs. <more> Jan. 24, 2014 Dairy Today 

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

  • Western United Dairymen convention March 5-7, 2014 - -WUD's annual convention will be held March 5-7, 2014 at the Embassy Suites in San Luis Obispo. For the latest convention updates, visit www.WUDconvention.com. You can also access the website link at www.WesternUnitedDairymen.com  on both the main page and the "About Us" page.  "We developed the site to be an online clearinghouse for convention information,"stated Heidi Savage, convention manager. �"If you have a question about the convention, the answer should be on the site. So, whether you need to make a hotel reservation, see what kind of workshops are offered or sign up for an exhibit booth, you�ll find the most updated information there." The WUD staff wants the site to be as complete and easy to navigate as possible. If you see something on the site that can be improved, please contact Heidi Savage at hsavage@westernuniteddairymen.com. Sept. 6, 2013 WUD Friday Update
  • Convention entertainer sure to bring laughs - - Comedienne and professional speaker, Jan McInnis, will provide the banquet entertainment at this year's WUD convention. Inspired by fifteen years as a marketing director in the 9 to 5 world, Jan has spent the past sixteen-plus years on the full-time speaking circuit. She was featured in the Wall Street Journal as one of the top convention comedians whose material is clean and in the Washington Post for her clean comedy writing. Jan is also a professional comedy writer who has sold comedy material to just about everyone from the Tonight Show monologue, to greeting cards, hundreds of radio stations and even guests on the "Jerry Springer Show" (yes, some of it is staged), and a syndicated cartoon strip. She is also the author of "Finding the Funny Fast: How to Create Quick Humor to Connect with Clients, Coworkers and Crowds." The WUD convention theme is "Taking Action, Embracing Change." McInnis will share with the audience how we can all go about "Finding Funny in Change." Feb. 21, 2104 WUD Friday Update
  • Hoof health management workshops in Tulare, Merced - - A hoof health management workshop will be held March 4 in Tulare and March 6 in Merced. The workshop is hosted by UCCE and sponsored by Micronutrients. The same program will be offered in two locations. The program will be presented by Alfonso Lago, DVM, PhD, Dairy Experts. Participants will have the opportunity to work with Dr. Lago and others to develop their skills trimming, blocking and wrapping real, postmortem hooves. Proper care and sharpening of hoof trimming tools will also be practiced. Bovine lower leg anatomy, biomechanics, lesion identification and classification, functional and therapeutic hoof trimming practices, blocking and wrapping will be covered during classroom instruction. The sessions will be held: March 4 at the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center, 18830 Rd. 112 Tulare. Contact: Alex Souza (559) 805-2639 souza@ucanr.edu March 6 at the UC Cooperative Extension, 2145 Wardrobe Ave, Merced. Contact: Alejandro Castillo (209) 385-7403 arcastillo@ucanr.edu Pre-registration of the $10 fee by Feb. 26 is recommended. Participants can pay at the door, phone (559) 684-3300 or email souza@ucanr.edu.
  • 2014 Environmental Stewardship classes offered in Tulare, Fresno- - The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is offering free classes on environmental stewardship. The two-part series of water quality classes (three hours each), known as the Environmental Stewardship Short Course, will be held in Tulare and taught by Dr. Deanne Meyer, a livestock waste management specialist from the University of California, Davis. A separate session on air quality will also be offered in Fresno. Producers can attend all or part of the Short Course to meet the education requirements. The classes cover environmental issues, regulatory requirements and management practices for dairy producers. The classes are only for dairies that want to certify, but have not completed the classes. These are not continuing education, if you have completed the classe you do not need to go again, however continuing education is in the future for CDQAP. Classes are voluntary, but your processor may want you to complete the program. The events would be useful to understand current state of regulations even if you do not need to complete the class and will provide a 50% discount on water board fees. The schedule is as follows: Water Quality Classes - Thursday, March 27 - Class 1: 9 a.m. to 12 noon - Class 2: 1 to 4 pm - Southern California Edison - Energy Education Center (formerly Edison AGTAC) 4175 South Laspina Street, Tulare, CA. Air Quality Class - Thursday, April 3 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Fresno County Farm Bureau - 1274 W. Hedges Avenue, Fresno, CA. You must attend both classes to complete the water quality education requirement, unless you have previously received credit for attending CDQAP water quality courses. Producers with additional questions can call CDQAP at (530) 574-0524. Feb. 27, 2014 CDQAP announcement
  • AgSTAR Partners with BioCycle for AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop - - AgSTAR is partnering with BioCycle for the 14th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (BioCycle REFOR14 West). A one-day workshop will be held in conjunction with BioCycle REFOR14 West on Monday, April 7, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The theme for the event is "Navigating the Biogas Maze: Learning from the Leaders. Attendees will hear experiences and insights shared by members of the biogas and livestock industries, policy makers, and others. For more information visit the BioCycle REFOR14 West website. Registration for the AgSTAR 2014 National Workshop is free. Attendees have the option of having lunch on their own or participating in an optional luncheon for $25. Feb. 20, 2014 AgSTAR news

 

Friday, Feb. 28, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

Pricing/Commodity News

Environmental News

Water News

Stories of Interest

Meetings of Interest to CA Dairy Industry

 

Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014

State/Federal News and Politics

  • "Got Milk" is dead, because it wasn't selling milk - - On Feb. 24, the iconic "Got Milk?" tagline was laid to rest. Since 1993, the US Milk Processor Education Program, a marketing board made up of milk processors and monitored by the US Department of Agriculture, has used the slogan to promote drinking cow’s milk. In the past decade, the print version of the ads have featured an eclectic cast of celebrities—Taylor Swift, Steven Tyler, and even Dr. Phil. Now, it's switching from the nostalgic phrase to a jazzier "Milk Life" campaign that focuses on the dairy product as a source of protein—and by extension, energy and strength.  In 2006, the group ran a spin-off campaign called “Body By Milk” that highlighted its nutritional benefits. The New York Times reported that the $20 million worth of ads it purchased represented one-third of the total advertising budget of the year. But critics said it came across as too dry and educational. The latest attempt is many things, but dry isn't one of them. <more> Feb. 25, 2014 Quartz
  • National Milk Producers Federation : U.S. Dairy Organizations Say Trans-Pacific Trade Deal Must Further Open Japan, Canada to Exports - - The ongoing - and so far, inconclusive negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), must result in the free trade of dairy products between the United States, Canada and Japan, according to organizations representing America's dairy farmers, processors and exporters. The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) also say progress on market access into those two markets has been frustratingly slow, and U.S. negotiators shouldn't allow the process to drag on indefinitely. The statement by the U.S. dairy groups follows ministerial-level meetings in Singapore this week on several contentious, yet-to-be resolved issues, including resistance by Canada and Japan to allow further market access for "sensitive" sectors, including dairy imports. The TPP involves a significant number of markets bordering the Pacific Ocean, including the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. <more> Feb. 27, 2014 NMPF press release
  • Dairy families taking key steps to earn and build trust with consumers - - It's no secret public interest in today's food system is growing. From consumers and regulators to "foodies" and doctors, questions - and scrutiny - are on the rise about how food is grown, transported, processed and prepared. Not surprisingly, many consumers and stakeholders have questions about the hows and whys of farm life. Less than 2 percent of the U.S. population is directly involved in the day-to-day production of our nation's abundant food supply. And with the use of cutting edge science and technology, farming looks profoundly different today than it did 50 or 100 years ago. This results in a public seeking assurance that their food remains safely and responsibly produced according to their values. <more> Feb. 27, 2014 Dairy Cares news
  • Proposed food labels stress calories, sugar, portions - - The nutrition labels on the backs of 700,000 packaged foods are getting a proposed makeover that will make calorie counts more noticeable, serving sizes more realistic and added sugars more obvious. The changes, proposed by the Food and Drug Administration, were unveiled at the White House Thursday by first lady Michelle Obama. The announcement was tied to the fourth anniversary of her Let's Move Campaign. Like that campaign, the labeling proposal reflects concerns about obesity and the quality of the American diet that were not as prominent when the labels last had a major update in the early 1990s. <more> Feb. 27, 2014 USA Today
  • Food industry under siege - - First lady Michelle Obama's move to limit junk food marketing in schools and revamp nutrition labels is just the latest salvo in an intensifying battle royale with the food industry. The Obama administration - arguably the most active on food policy in the past century - has issued a slew of new rules over the past few years to reform everything from the steps companies take to guarantee the safety of imported food to the banning of trans fat to completely overhauling what children eat in public schools. <more> Feb. 27, 2014 Politico
     

Pricing/Commodity News

  • Cost of ending dairy quotas much smaller than expected: study - - Compensating dairy farmers for scrapping the supply management regime would cost a fraction of the oft-cited estimate of $20-billion-plus, according to a soon-to-be-released Conference Board of Canada study. Government could buy out the owners of Canada's 12,500 dairy farms for as little as $3.6-billion to $4.7-billion, the board estimates in a report on supply management to be released next week. <more> Feb. 26, 2014 The Globe and Mail - Canada
  • Ethanol firm to resume production at Valley plant - - Five years after mothballing its production plants and placing them in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the pioneering ethanol company announced record earnings Wednesday and said it will restart its Madera plant this spring. The company brewed its first batch of ethanol at the facility in 2006, which has been idle for five years. It's the last of the four Pacific Ethanol plants to go back into service after horrendous market conditions forced the company into hibernation when the market went into a tailspin. <more> Feb. 26, 2014 Modesto Bee
  • American Ag Firms: China Is Getting Tougher - - U.S. agricultural companies are finding it more difficult to do business in China, according to a report by the American Chamber of Commerce in China published on Thursday. While the government has raised hopes of reducing bureaucracy and allowing more competition in cloistered sectors of the economy, some of the chamber’s members are worried that things are going the other way. New rules in 2011 imposed restrictions on foreign involvement in areas like seed production, grain storage, corn processing, and biotech research. U.S. beef exporters are frustrated that they have been banned from the Chinese market since an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad-cow disease, in the U.S. a decade ago. U.S. poultry is also subject to "prohibitively high" tariffs, AmCham said. <