USDA Adds Rural Broadband Funding and West Coast Ports Negotiations
**Farmers along the Scott and Shasta River watersheds in Siskiyou County have faced curtailments of water supplies since 2021.
After storms dramatically increased snowpack and reservoir levels this year, a March 23 executive order by the governor temporarily suspended drought curtailment orders for some watersheds.
But, officials say farmers in the Shasta and Scott watersheds will remain under drought-emergency restrictions until at least April 30 and May 2, respectively.
**The USDA announced the availability of $20 million to deliver broadband technical assistance resources for rural communities and to support the development and expansion of broadband co-ops.
The new Broadband Technical Assistance Program supports technical assistance projects such as feasibility studies, completing network designs, and developing broadband financial assistance applications.
USDA is partnering with small towns, local utilities, cooperatives, and private companies to increase broadband access.
**Increasing attention is getting devoted to the West Coast port contract negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
The concern is the recent and continued slowdowns and temporary work stoppages at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The two parties have been negotiating a new five-year contract since July 1, 2022.
These negotiations don’t apply to the bulk of exports of soybeans and grain from Pacific Northwest ports.