Food and Farm News

Tariff-assistance programs open

Applications opened Tuesday for federal programs aimed at easing the impact of retaliatory trade actions on American farmers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture developed the programs after other nations imposed tariffs on U.S. farm products as part of ongoing trade disputes. The USDA will make direct payments to certain affected farmers. For California, the main impact could come through government purchases of fruit and nut crops for food-aid programs.

Walnut marketers prepare for possible record crop

Tariffs affect the sales outlook for a potential record walnut crop, but the California Walnut Commission says it's "cautiously optimistic" negotiations will resolve the issues. Crop forecasters estimate California farmers will harvest 10 percent more walnuts this year than last. The commission says retaliatory tariffs affect three top international walnut markets: China, India and Turkey. Ads encouraging walnut consumption in the U.S. will begin this month.

Foresters seek streamlined harvest reviews

Foresters hope to salvage some of the timber scorched by California wildfires, and say a streamlined review process for timber harvests would help. Bills sent to the governor would increase the pace of forest management. Foresters and their representatives say it's important both to simplify the removal of burned trees and to manage forests to help prevent future fires--noting proper management would be less costly than constantly fighting wildfires.

Oversupply hits organic-milk markets

Faced with lower prices for organic milk, dairy farmers and processors are looking for ways to manage an oversupply. Organic-milk sales have cooled at the same time as higher supplies reach market. Some farmers have lost contracts to sell their organic milk and have left the business. Others say they plan to reduce their dairy herds and diversify into other crops or products.

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