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August 24, 2020

From Headquarters

USDA FSA Offers Wildfire Recovery Assistance
After a week that saw at least 585 wildfires throughout California—including 30 large wildfires, among them the second- and third-largest conflagrations in state history—the USDA Farm Service Agency Friday issued a press release highlighting wildfire recovery assistance available through the agency. According to the press release:

“Producers who suffered excessive livestock death losses and grazing or feed losses due to recent wildfires may be eligible for disaster assistance programs through the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). 

“The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) offers payments to eligible producers for livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides emergency relief for losses due to feed or water shortages, disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, which are not adequately addressed by other disaster programs.

“To participate in LIP, producers will be required to provide verifiable documentation of death losses resulting from an eligible adverse weather event and must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is apparent. To participate in ELAP, producers must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss is apparent and should maintain documentation and receipts.

“Producers should record all pertinent information regarding livestock losses due to the eligible adverse weather or loss condition, including:

  • Documentation of the number, kind, type, and weight range of livestock that have died, supplemented if possible by photographs or video records of ownership and losses; 
  • Rendering truck receipts by kind, type and weight – important to document prior to disposal; 
  • Beginning inventory supported by birth recordings or purchase receipts; 
  • Documentation from Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, Department of Natural Resources, or other sources to substantiate eligible death losses due to an eligible loss condition; 
  • Documentation that livestock were removed from grazing pastures due to an eligible adverse weather or loss condition; 
  • Costs of transporting livestock feed to eligible livestock, such as receipts for equipment rental fees for hay lifts and snow removal; 
  • Feed purchase receipts if feed supplies or grazing pastures are destroyed; 
  • Number of gallons of water transported to livestock due to water shortages. 

“For more information on these programs and documentation requirements, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/disaster or contact your local FSA office.

More information about the LIP program and other various federal government programs that exist to provide disaster assistance for those who have been impacted by wildfires is available at calcattlemen.org/fireresources.

2020 CCA & CCW Convention/California Cattle Industry Tradeshow Canceled 
Due to state of Nevada restrictions on conventions and tradeshows to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, CCA has had to cancel the 104th Annual CCA & CCW Convention & Tradeshow.

CCA leadership is developing a plan for moving forward with policy committee meetings and the Annual CCA Board of Directors meeting. More details on these plans will be available on the CCA website and in CCA publications in the weeks to come.

We look forward to the opportunity to connect with each of you either in person or virtually.

USFWS Proposes New Definition of “Habitat” Under ESA
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has published a proposed rule to define the term “habitat” under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the first time.

The USFWS proposes to define “habitat” as “The physical places that individuals of a species depend upon to carry out one or more life processes. Habitat includes areas with existing attributes that have the capacity to support individuals of the species.”

While the proposal has been met with predictable alarm from environmental organizations, it is necessitated by the United States Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Weyerhaeuser v. USFWSWeyerhaeuser concerned critical habitat designation for the dusky gopher frog. In its designation, the USFWS included 1,544 acres of private land in Louisiana that the agency acknowledged could never be inhabited by the species without significant changes to the land, such as prescribed burning and tree repopulation. In Weyerhaeuser, the Supreme Court clarified that land must logically be habitable by a species in order to be designated critical habitat and overturned the USFWS’ designation of critical habitat.

In response to Weyerhaeuser, the USFWS is now proposing to define “habitat” as “areas with existing attributes” sufficient to support a species.

CCA, which filed a “friend of the court” brief in the Weyerhaeuser case, supports USFWS’ efforts to provide clarity over what constitutes “habitat” under the ESA, and will submit comments in support of the proposal prior to the September 4 deadline.

USDA Extends CFAP Deadline to September 11
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it is extending the deadline for producers to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The new deadline for submitting a CFAP application is September 11 (applications were initially scheduled to close on August 28).

According to CCA affiliate the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), there has also been a significant change regarding how USDA is disbursing producers’ CFAP payments. To ensure that available program funds were not depleted before all producers could receive payment, USDA initially remitted only 80% of producers’ calculated CFAP payment, with the other 20% to be paid at a later date. According to NCBA, USDA will now be automatically issuing the remaining 20% of the calculated payment to existing applicants, and new applicants will receive 100% of their total payment upon application approval.

Additional information on applying for CFAP is available from USDA at www.farmers.gov/cfap and from CCA here.

Register Today for the Public Lands Council Virtual Annual Meeting
Earlier this month, CCA-affiliate the Public Lands Council (PLC) announced that, due to the unprecedented disruptions caused by COVID-19, it will be holding its 2020 Annual Meeting virtually. The meeting will be held Wednesday, September 23 and Thursday, September 24.

“While we are disappointed we will not gather in-person this year, this decision was made to prioritize the health of our members and continue PLC’s long-held commitment to robust policy development processes,” said PLC Executive Director Kaitlynn Glover.

Because this year’s meeting will be held virtually, PLC is able to offer the meeting at no cost. This is a particularly good opportunity for ranchers who have not previously attended the PLC Annual Meeting to get a sense of what the meeting is like, and CCA encourages public lands permittees to register for the event.

You can register for the 2020 PLC Annual Meeting—including General Sessions and Committee Meetings—here.

Apply for a W.D. Farr Scholarship by Sept. 11
Time is running out for graduate students to apply for a W.D. Farr Scholarship from the National Cattlemen’s Foundation. See the following press release from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association for application and deadline requirements.

“The National Cattlemen’s Foundation is now accepting applications for the W.D. Farr Scholarships for the 2020-21 school year. Two $15,000 grants will be awarded to outstanding graduate students who demonstrate superior achievement in academics and leadership and are committed to beef industry advancement. The awards will allow the students to further their study in fields that benefit the industry.

‘Deadline for application submission is midnight CT Friday, Sept. 11, 2020.

‘The scholarship was established by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation to honor the successful career of the late W.D. Farr. Farr, a third-generation Coloradan, pioneer rancher, statesman and banker was known for his extraordinary vision. His dedication to improving agriculture, livestock and water development has resulted in significant changes in farming methods that have influenced the practices of ranchers and farmers throughout the nation.

‘To apply for the scholarship, graduate students planning to pursue a career in the beef industry should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, description of applicant’s goals and experience, and statement of belief in the industry, as well as a review of the applicant’s graduate research and three letters of recommendation. All applications must be submitted online.

‘The scholarships will be presented at the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 3-5, 2021. For more information and to apply, visit www.nationalcattlemensfoundation.org.”

2020 CCA Scholarship Applications Due Oct. 1
Applications for the 2020 CCA Scholarships are being accepted now through October 1. In 2019, CCA awarded almost $50,000 in scholarships to students studying agriculture, although scholarship amounts and quantities vary year to year.

Current CCA members (producer, feeder or YCC) that are currently enrolled (or accepted for fall 2020) at a university or college are eligible to apply. Past recipients of the CCA scholarship program may also apply again this year. For a complete list of awards and to download the application visit calcattlemen.org/scholarship. Contact Katie in the CCA office at katier@calcattlemen.org with any questions.

Industry News

Where are California wildfires burning? 1 million acres burn in week; Trump OKs federal aid The Sacramento Bee “One million acres up and down the state have been burned in a week, destroying dozens of structures and pumping out unhealthy smoke and ash across Northern and Central California, including the capital region. At about 1,560 square miles, that’s roughly the area of California’s 10 most-populous cities — Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, Oakland, Bakersfield and Anaheim — combined.” To continue reading, click here.

Northern California wildfire now 2nd-largest ever as total blazes scorch nearly 1M acres NBC News “A massive wildfire in Northern California has grown to become the second-largest in state history as it and hundreds of other blazes have now scorched nearly one million acres.” To continue reading, click here.

Trump blames California for wildfires, tells state ‘you gotta clean your floors’ Politico “President Donald Trump on Thursday blamed California for its raging wildfires and threatened to withhold federal money, reprising his attacks from previous rounds of catastrophic blazes.” To continue reading, click here.

Environmental groups sue U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over refusal to grant endangered species protection to California Spotted Owl AgriPulse “Three environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday challenging the agency’s decision to deny endangered species protection to California Spotted Owls.” To continue reading, click here.

Upcoming Events

2020 Annual CCA & CCW Convention/California Cattle Industry Tradeshow Canceled 
See the story above for more details.

Please stay tuned to updates on social media and in CCA publications for the status of upcoming events and livestock sales as situations continue to change due to the impacts of COVID-19.

July/August Magazine Cover

California Cattleman

Click here to read the latest issue!

Throughout this issue you will see advertisements from reputable purebred beef producers who can provide genetics that will propel your cowherd into the future. As you consider adding to your bull battery this fall, outstanding breeders from across the state can supply you with the traits you are seeking.

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