California weighs farmwork in wildfire areas – April 22, 2022

California weighs farmwork in wildfire areas

As California braces for another brutal fire season, farming communities across the state are weighing what it will take to save their harvests — and who, exactly, should bear the brunt of the risks. In places like Sonoma County, those risks are increasingly shouldered by low-wage immigrant farmworkers who pick grapes and milk cows inside the county’s evacuated areas during wildfires. Their work is facilitated by Sonoma’s “ag pass” program, which allows farmers to bring workers into areas that other residents have been told to flee.

Maine pulls plug on controversial salmon farm project

The Maine Department of Marine Resources on Thursday killed a proposal by a Norwegian-backed company to build two massive salmon farms in the middle of pristine Frenchman Bay, next to Acadia National Park. The decision ended a long-running saga that had generated considerable opposition in the community over fears that the farms would foul the water and ruin the local fishing and shellfish industries.

Today’s Quick Hits

Farms and biodiversity: A new study, published in the journal Nature, found that “climate-stressed farmland possesses only half the number of insects, on average, and 25 percent fewer insect species than areas of natural habitat.” (The Conversation)

U.S. egg production: Despite the ravages of bird flu, 9.39 billion eggs were produced in March 2022, down just 1 percent from the same month last year. (NASS)

Rural water projects: The USDA will invest $420 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to rehabilitate dams, prevent floods, and restore watersheds in 31 states. (Reuters)

Ransomware attacks: The FBI warned the U.S. agricultural sector that future ransomware attacks may be timed to disrupt critical planting and harvest seasons, causing financial loss and affecting the food supply chain. (FBI)

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