Natural Resources & Environment

As users of many of California’s watersheds, CCA members have an inherent interest in the management, storage, use and quality maintenance of one of the state’s most valuable resources .The wise development and use of water resources is essential for the future life and development of the state. Any water plan should contemplate the eventual development and use under the multiple use concepts (such as power, irrigation or recreation) of all available water resources which are deemed economically feasible.

California water laws relating to the acquisition, control, use and distribution of water should apply alike to all, including agencies of government, whether local, state or federal. Projects for the development and distribution of water resources should be owned and operated locally insofar as practical, the control being exercised wherever possible by the users of the facilities. First rights for water should be reserved for the ultimate reasonable needs of the areas of origin where it can be beneficially and most economically used.

The riparian, groundwater, appropriative and adjudicated rights and entitlements to beneficial use of water are essential and precious rights that the cattlemen of California cannot afford to lose through excessive regulation or outright taking, for the public good or otherwise.

CCA supports the state and federal attempts to ensure clean air for the people of California, however, we believe that many of the measures taken by regulatory agencies have not been well planned and have failed to take into consideration the benefits that ranching has on carbon sequestration and air quality improvement. In an effort to contribute to ideas in which some agricultural practices might be improved, CCA supports sound science and research to develop emissions inventories for agricultural sources and sinks, and remains vigilant in working with local, state and federal government to ensure any future climate change policy impacts the industry to the least extent possible.

In supporting science-based solutions, CCA also supports market mechanisms, where appropriate, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to provide financial incentives for those who reduce greenhouse gas emissions in regulatory and voluntary markets. CCA members are in favor of efforts to develop protocols that would allow ranchers and property owners to participate in a market-based system through carbon sequestration of rangelands, woody landscapes, riparian habitat or other means, but adamantly oppose state or national climate change regulations that involuntarily regulate greenhouse gases from biogenic sources. CCW is also strongly against the listing of species or habitat under the federal Endangered Species Act or California Endangered Species Act based primarily on climate change.

Renewable Energy
CCA supports the efforts to increase reliability on renewable energy, but resists the efforts of many to encourage the installation of solar panels on rangeland for the sole reason of its perceived decreased production value. As CCA is a staunch supporter of private property rights, should an owner wish to discontinue grazing and install solar panels for an economic gain, that choice is left to the land owner.

What CCA opposes is governmental interference in incentivizing the installation on rangeland. Should an independent vendor approach a landowner about the installation of solar, that is an agreement reached between two private parties, and should receive no encouragement or interference by any governmental agency.

Public Lands
Many CCA members, as leeses of public lands, rely heavily on state and federal government coordination on policies related to grazing on public lands. CCA strongly believes in grazing as an important management tool and a compatible use on public lands, and encourages all affected agencies to support coordinated resource planning and participation in the encouragement of livestock grazing as an economically and environmentally sustainable practice.

Wild Life
CCA membership, as stewards of California’s public and private lands, works diligently to ensure that their grazing practices are beneficial to the land and the myriad of species that live on it. While providing habitat for many of California’s native species, ranchers and their livestock also face the threat of various predators, including mountain lions, coyotes and feral pigs. While these animals are often removed should they pose a threat to the welfare of the livestock, CCA members work with various agencies and groups to support the development of non lethal deterrent methods.

Endangered Species Act
While CCA supports the protection of endangered species and reasonable measures intended to restore their habitat and populations, we are opposed to the aggressive measures taken at both the state and federal level that prevent the continuation of grazing on what is deemed “critical habitat”.

Numerous studies have shown that properly managed grazing benefits habitat for many of California’s endangered species and we firmly believe that these management practices ought to be allowed in areas containing these species. While the state and federal government wish to protect these species, they often overlook the damage done to the lives and business of ranchers who are frequently precluded from continued use on their land should endangered species be discovered.

CCA firmly believes that all listings of endangered species should include an economic impact analysis and that the decision to list should be based on both economics and the needs of the species.

Land Use
CCA supports the concept of "no net loss of privately owned lands or water rights" coupled with the concept that the acquisition of any land or water rights by state and federal government shall be offset by lands or water rights of equal dollar value sold back to the private sector by the government with "no net loss of revenue" to the government to be created by the transactions.

Williamson Act
CCA’s members rely on the state and counties to retain and renew Williamson Act contracts. Retaining open space and the ability of thousands of Californian’s to farm and ranch is imperative to maintaining the state’s agricultural economy and an important way of life that results in food for millions of people around the globe. In order to stay working on their land, landowners need the county to assess their property based on the agricultural production value, not on potential development value. Should these properties be assed similarly to the ways in which other land is assessed, many would not be able to afford the property tax and be forced to sell. CCA strongly supports the state and counties in continuing to fund the Williamson Act and renewing contracts. To see a complete CCA factsheet on Williamson Act, click here.