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China’s agricultural tariffs remain but farm interests hope for progress

California agricultural interests are welcoming the U.S. trade representative’s recent call for a “new approach” to the U.S.-China relationship. Ambassador Katherine Tai called for engaging China on trade while defending “American economic interests from harmful policies.” China has pledged to buy $40 billion of U.S. food and agricultural products annually. But wide-ranging tariffs that affect California commodities remain in place. (on-air reading time :27) 

UC Merced gets $10 million for ‘climate resilient water future’ research

University of California, Merced researchers are working to generate detailed climate information to help farmers and water agencies make water-management decisions in the face of longer and more severe droughts. UC Merced received a $10 million research grant from the USDA for a four-year effort to enhance data-driven practices to protect groundwater supplies and make agriculture and ecosystems more water resilient. (reading time :26) 

Biden administration looks to reaffirm biological opinions in water supply decisions

The Biden administration is looking to elevate federal biological opinions in managing water supplies from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The effort seeks to reverse Trump administration rules that downgraded the role that opinions by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal agencies played in decisions related to California water projects. California officials sued, claiming the Trump-era rules lacked safeguards for protected species and habitat. (reading time :24)

Vineyard growers look to remove steel reinforcement without burning

California growers are looking for new ways to remove non-productive orchards and vineyards. Starting in January, new state rules will prevent the burning of many former vineyards as part of a gradual phaseout of agricultural burning by 2025. One of the challenges for growers is removing reinforcing steel from vines. That has been separated out through burning. Enmeshed steel can’t be run through chippers, requiring more expensive machinery. (reading time :24)

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