California Legislature Reconvenes Today
The California Legislature reconvened today for the second year of its 2019-2020 legislative session.
Over the coming months, CCA staff will monitor thousands of bills introduced in the legislature. In January, CCA staff will be particularly attentive to ‘two-year bills’ introduced last year which must pass their house of origin by January 31. With the end of the two-year session imminent, an increased priority will be put on passing these bills, as 2020 will be the last chance to advance this and the rest of the new legislation introduced this year.
Before the first day of session even began, legislators were already teeing up legislation hostile to the California ranching community: at noon today, Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) announced the “California Green New Deal Act” to address “impacts of climate change and issues of equity throughout the state.” A similar bill introduced by Bonta last year sought to eliminate emissions of greenhouse gases from agricultural and other industries.
This week will also mark the release of Governor Newsom’s preliminary budget, which will set the tone for much of the fiscal debate before the legislature this session.
In the coming months, stay tuned to CCA’s Legislative Bulletin for the most up-to-date legislative information impacting California’s cattle industry.
State Agencies Release Water Resilience Portfolio
Last Friday, the California Natural Resources Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency and California Department of Food and Agriculture released their draft 2020 Water Resilience Portfolio as ordered by Governor Newsom’s April 29, 2019 executive order.
The portfolio (available here) contains more than 100 goals and priorities, such as Governor Newsom’s plan for building a single tunnel underneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Many of the goals in the Water Resilience Portfolio could be advantageous to California’s ranching community. For instance, the Portfolio proposes advancing the Sites Reservoir, a water-storage project long-sought by the agricultural community. The Portfolio also includes goals for increased surface storage and groundwater recharge, which could provide opportunities to promote improved regulation regarding livestock stock ponds in the state. Numerous goals and priorities relate to providing incentives for farm and rangeland improvements.
The Portfolio also includes several potential threats for the ranching community, however. For instance, multiple goals point to increased water reporting requirements for agricultural users, and one goal proposes requiring water users who divert 500 or more acre-feet of water per year to measure their diversions using telemetry equipment.
The agencies are accepting public comment on the draft portfolio through February 7. For more information on how to provide comment on the draft click here.
NEXT WEEK: The 2020 Rangeland Summit
The 2020 Rangeland Summit, focusing on Rangeland Health—Sustaining Ranchers, Communities and Ecosystems, is set to be held January 14, 2020 in Stockton, California. The event will provide the opportunity to network with ranchers, academics, non-government and agency rangeland decision and policy makers from across California.
Dr. Frank Mitloehner, UC Davis
Dr. Sasha Gennet, The Nature Conservancy
Keali’l Bright, Department of Conservation
Dr. Marc Horney, Rangeland Management Advisory Council
Heather Hadwick, Modoc County Office of Emergency Services and Modoc Sheriff
Register for this event hosted by the University of California Ag and Natural Resources and the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition, by January 8th here.
USDA Now Accepting Applications for Value-Added Producer Grants
The United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is accepting applications for the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program now through the beginning of March.
According to the USDA Rural Development website, “the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and marketing of new products. The goals of this program are to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities and increase producer income.”
Applications are due March 5, 2020 for electronic applications and March 10, 2020 for paper applications. Approximately $37 million is available in funding.
For more information on the program and eligibility click here.
PLC Now Accepting Applications for the 2020 Nick Theos Scholarship
Applications for the 2020 Nick Theos Scholarship are being accepted by the Public Lands Council now through February 1, 2020. The scholarships provides students with a passion for the western livestock industry an opportunity to attend the 2020 PLC Spring Legislative Conference, held March 30-31, 2020 in Washington, D.C.
The PLC Legislative Conference brings together top industry leaders, elected officials, and other stakeholders to discuss public policy issues impacting public lands ranchers. Selected participants will engage in an unforgettable hands-on learning experience exploring legislative priorities and navigating the regulatory environment of public lands ranching.
Two Nick Theos scholarships are available for 2020. The scholarships provide a $250 stipend, complimentary hotel accommodations on Capitol Hill, and complimentary conference registration. While PLC is unable to pay for travel in full, additional sponsorships to help cover travel costs are encouraged and may be available through individual state public lands council associations.
Nick Theos, a founding member of PLC and lifetime supporter of the livestock industry, passed away on April 11th, 2013, at the age of 92. The scholarship was created by the Theos family to encourage the next generation to engage in the policy issues facing public lands ranching.
For more details on applying for this opportunity click here.
California Cattle Council Strategic Plan — Producer Participation Request
The California Cattle Council (Council) is calling on all interested and willing cattle producers to participate in an online survey to assist the Council in developing a strategic plan. The strategic plan will provide a framework for the Council to fully realize its mission to support California beef and dairy producers and target the most critical issues facing the industry today. In addition, the plan will guide the allocation of funds over the coming years to ensure projects, research, campaigns and advocacy efforts are effective and can be properly measured to determine success. Grassroots input is critical to ensure the Council can accomplish this objective. This is your dollar and the Council takes its obligation to effectively and responsibly serve the California cattle industry very seriously. Survey results are anonymous, and the Council encourages your candid participation.
To capture your input effectively and efficiently, please review the following points below regarding what the Council can do and cannot do by law prior to taking the survey.
What the Council CAN do:
- Conduct research on ALL issues related to California cattle production (not limited to just beef and dairy products)
- Representing the interests of producers as it relates to the development of new regulations and assist producers with regulatory compliance
- Initiate marketing and promotional campaigns to promote and support California cattle production
- Educate policy makers, consumers and other stakeholders on issues impacting California cattle producers, highlighting the industry’s economic and environmental benefits
What the Council CANNOT do:
- Employ a registered lobbyist and take a formal position on legislation
- Directly fund a ballot proposition or contribute to an opposition campaign
- Contribute to Political Action Committees or financially support a candidate seeking office
- Initiate offensive litigation
- Deviate from the refund process that is currently in place now. In other words, the Council cannot implement an “opt out” provision. Doing so would be against the law.
The Council looks forward to hearing your feedback. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Justin Oldfield at firstname.lastname@example.org. To take the survey, click here.