Year 3, Month 10, Day 7: Straining Conditions.

The Merced Sun-Star (CA) reports on the problems farmers are facing:

Ten miles outside of Modesto, in the farming town of Hughson off Highway 99, the Duarte Nursery is at the front line of dramatic changes under way in California’s immense agriculture industry.

The family-run nursery, founded in 1976, is one of the largest in the United States, and there’s a good chance the berries, nuts and citrus fruits eaten across the West began their journey to market as seedlings in Duarte’s 30 acres of greenhouses, labs and breeding stations.

The nursery’s owners have built a thriving business using state-of-the-art techniques to develop varieties adapted to the particular conditions and pests that California farmers face.

These days, according to John Duarte, president of the nursery, that means breeding for elevated levels of heat and salt, which researchers say are symptoms of climate change, even if Duarte doesn’t necessarily see it that way.

“Whether it’s carbon built up in the atmosphere or just friggin’ bad luck,” he said, “the conditions are straining us.”

That friggin’ bad luck will get you every time. Sent September 30:

As growing seasons shift by weeks or months, as weather extremes endanger crops, as droughts yield vast acreages of dessicated stubble, far too many farmers are reluctant to recognize the reality of global warming. Why? When it comes to climate change and its effects on agriculture, there’s only one reason growers in America are still unpersuaded: our irresponsible news and opinion media.

When reporting on medicine, TV news doesn’t include an alternative viewpoint on the medieval theory of “humours.” When discussing the space program, talking heads correctly ignore conspiracy theorists who maintain the moon landing happened on a Hollywood soundstage. But when it’s time to discuss climate issues, our print and broadcast outlets bend over backward to ensure equal representation for the fossil fuel industry.

This is accomplished with “false equivalence,” where a genuine scientist (whose genuine data show a genuine problem) is “balanced” by a petroleum-funded spokesperson (whose spurious data don’t show a thing). By confusing the conversation, they redirect the political pressure for climate solutions, preserving the (highly profitable) status quo.

But any farmer knows Mother Nature can’t be fooled forever. By sowing misinformation and confusion, our media and their corporate sponsors ensure a harvest of disaster.

Warren Senders

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