10-7 AM Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif.

The Interior Department reversed a 2003 decision on the Sacramento split-tail as part of a settlement earlier this year.

The department's Inspector General found Deputy Assistant Interior Secretary Julie MacDonald bullied government scientists to change their findings in dozens of endangered species decisions. MacDonald resigned in 2007.

Biologists said the Sacramento split-tail fish should remain on the threatened list, but were overruled by MacDonald. Protections for the fish could have required flooding the area where MacDonald owned property.

In its latest decision, the fish and wildlife service said scientific data failed to show a significant long-term decline of split-tail population.

Dozens of environmental and consumer groups want the state department of food and agriculture to take back a $180,000 dollar grant awarded to a group they say advocates against organic agriculture.

State agriculture authorities granted the money to "Alliance for Food and Farming" in Watsonville. The money was for a project to correct the misconception that some fresh produce items contain excessive amounts of pesticide residues.

The environmental working group co-organized a letter writing campaign urging the state to take back the grant money. Each year, the organization releases a shopper's guide ranking fruits and vegetables for pesticide residues.

It's about two weeks later than usual, but the farmers who grow "table olives" have begun their harvest.

Mild summer weather delayed the olive crop. Farmers say they are finding a higher proportion of small-sized fruit, which brings lower prices from canneries.

The olives remain quite green and if it rains, the fruit would quickly increase in size. California is the leading olive-producing state.

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