LAST CALL: 2020 CCA Scholarship Applications Due Thursday
Applications for the 2020 CCA Scholarships are due this Thursday, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Three More Livestock Depredations Attributed to Lassen Pack
Last week, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) issued three Livestock Loss Determination reports confirming cattle depredations by the Lassen Wolf Pack between August 28 and September 15. The latest reports come on the heels of two other confirmed depredations on August 17 and August 23, meaning the Lassen Pack is confirmed to have killed at least five head of cattle in just the past month.
The first of the newly reported depredations occurred on August 28 on private property in northern Plumas County. According to the Livestock Loss Determination, CDFW contacted the landowner when a collared wolf’s GPS data showed the animal lingering on the rancher’s property. Upon investigating, the rancher discovered the carcass of a 600-pound calf. Ample evidence confirmed that wolves had killed the calf.
On September 5, a similar scenario played out, again on private property in northern Plumas County: A rancher, tipped-off by CDFW regarding wolf presence on the ranch, discovered the carcass of a 600-pound calf. An investigation conducted by CDFW and USDA APHIS Wildlife Services revealed wounds consistent with a wolf attack, and GPS data showed a collared wolf not far from the calf on the night of September 5.
While neither the August 28 or September 5 reports mention the Lassen Pack explicitly, CDFW’s most recent wolf update confirms that only Lassen Pack wolves are affixed with GPS collars, confirming that the Lassen Pack was likely responsible for both depredations.
Finally, on September 15, CDFW and Wildlife Services confirmed a wolf depredation of a calf after “employees of a cattle company were contacted by a member of the public who reported seeing wolves at a cow carcass” on private property in southern Lassen County. CDFW’s report confirms that the Lassen Pack was responsible for the depredation.
The five confirmed depredations in a one-month span are distressing, especially given that actual depredations typically outpace discovered and confirmed depredations. The reports paint a picture of a wolf pack that has habituated to the presence of livestock, relying on cattle as a primary food source. While CCA continues to lobby CDFW for improved wolf management, there is unfortunately little that ranchers can do to protect against depredation so long as gray wolves remain listed as an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act.
USFS, BLM Update Closure Orders and Other Restrictions
After closing all national forests throughout the state in mid-September, last week the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region (Region 5) announced the partial reopening of half of the National Forests in California.
On Thursday, Region 5 issued two new regional orders extending prohibitions and closures already in place. Regional Order No. 20-16 prohibits the use of ignition sources on all National Forest lands within California. Regional Order No. 20-17 extends the full closures of the Angeles, Cleveland, Inyo, Klamath, Los Padres, San Bernardino, Sequoia, Sierra and Six River National Forests. The orders are effective through Wednesday, September 30, though CCA expects the orders will again be extended at that time (and the Region 5 office has stated that it will re-evaluate the closure order daily based on current conditions).
CCA staff has been in regular contact with US Forest Service leadership at the regional headquarters in Vallejo and has been assured by the Region 5 office that the closure of these nine National Forests does not apply to livestock grazing permittees. As with the prior closure orders, Regional Order No. 20-17 exempts “Persons with a Forest Service non-special-use written authorization to conduct non-recreational activities, such as…grazing livestock.” According to John Exline, the Region 5 Director for Ecosystem Management, any permittees “that may be directly affected by on-going fires… should be working with their respective range administrators and local line officers” regarding access on the closed forests.
According to Exline, the nine forests that no longer fall under Regional Order No. 20-17 “will be issuing any specific geographic closures for their individual forests if warranted by the Forest Supervisor.” Permittees should not assume that all or a portion of a national forest is open merely because that forest does not appear on the regional closure order. Indeed, most national forests not covered by Regional Order No. 20-17 have issued partial closure orders for areas impacted by wildfire or at continued risk of wildfire. CCA urges permittees to carefully review applicable forest closure orders by visiting the forest’s website, contacting your range administrator or contacting the CCA office.
The Bureau of Land Management’s California State Office has also issued a statewide order prohibiting campfires and all open flames on BLM-managed lands within the state. All statewide, district and field area closures and restrictions can be viewed here.
If you are a permittee with questions or concerns about USFS or BLM closures, or if you have any other wildfire concerns with which CCA staff can assist you, please contact the CCA office at (916) 444-0845.
USDA FSA Offers Wildfire Recovery Assistance
Amid the current catastrophic wildfire season USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is seeking to highlight its wildfire recovery programs for California’s ranchers and other agricultural producers.
On August 21, FSA released a press release overviewing available wildfire recovery assistance programs offered by the agency, such as the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP). The press release also details how producers should document wildfire losses. CCA recommends all members suffering wildfire impacts read the press release in its entirety.
In recent weeks, CCA has received several inquiries regarding the less-well-known FSA Emergency Conservation Program (ECP). ECP provides emergency funding and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers to help repair land and structures damaged by natural disasters such as wildfire. In particular, ECP funds can be utilized for a variety of fencing projects, including “livestock cross fences, boundary fences, cattle gates, or wildlife exclusion fence on agricultural land.”
FSA recommends that anyone seeking to rebuild fencing or other structures first apply with (or at the very least, notify) their county FSA office before undertaking repair or rebuilding. You can find contact information for your County FSA office here. ECP designations are made by an FSA County Committee, but ranchers can begin the process of applying for ECP assistance even before a county ECP designation is made.
ECP funding can cover up to 75% of total repair/rebuilding costs, not to exceed $500,000, and producers may have the option of receiving an advance of up to 25% of the expected repair costs prior to beginning work.
More information about FSA disaster recovery programs, including ECP, is available at www.fsa.usda.gov/disaster or at the CCA website at calcattlemen.org/fireresources. Additionally, USDA has released a factsheet titled “Disaster at a Glance,” designed to explain what is covered under each USDA disaster program. The factsheet is available here.
Round 2 of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Available
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) intended to provide as much as $14 billion in additional financial assistance to farmers and ranchers hard-hit by the market impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. USDA will accept applications until December 11, 2020. Applications can be submitted online at www.farmers.gov/cfap/apply or via your county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office (click here to find contact information for your county FSA office in California).
“CFAP 2” is a separate program from the first round of CFAP. The original round of CFAP payments was intended to provide producers relief from market disruptions that occurred by April 15; CFAP 2 is intended to provide relief from ongoing market disruptions since April 15. The original round of CFAP payments has no bearing on CFAP 2, and as such ranchers may apply for CFAP 2 even if they received relief payments under the original round of CFAP. Additionally, ranchers who missed the deadline to apply for the first round of CFAP are nevertheless eligible to apply for CFAP 2.
Under CFAP 2, beef producers are eligible to receive $55 per head of cattle based on the highest inventory of eligible cattle owned between April 16 and August 31, 2020 (breeding stock and culled cows are ineligible for payment under CFAP 2). Because CFAP 2 is a distinct program from CFAP 1, an animal for which a producer received a CFAP 1 payment remains eligible for a CFAP 2 payment if that animal was retained during the April 16-August 31 period.
(To find rates for agricultural commodities other than beef cattle, view the “Commodity Eligibility for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2” section at www.farmers.gov/cfap.)
With limited exceptions, an individual or legal entity is limited to $250,000 in total payments for all eligible commodities under CFAP 2. Again, this payment limitation is separate from the payment limitation under CFAP 1. (Producers will also have to certify that they meet the Adjusted Gross Income limitation of $900,000 unless at least 75 percent of their income is derived from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities.)
More information on CFAP 2 can be found here, and information focused on the livestock sector can be found here. USDA has also provided an FAQ for the program here, and CCA-affiliate the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has an FAQ for beef producers here.
CCA and its national affiliates remain committed to seeking full relief for beef producers impacted by the market impacts of COVID-19. For any additional questions about CFAP 2, please contact the CCA office at (916) 444-0845.
Tomorrow: California Beef Council to Host Producer Webinar
The following is an invitation to all beef producers from Jesse Larios, California Beef Council Chairman.
I’d like to invite you to join me and other members of the California Beef Council (CBC) for a producer webinar taking place Tuesday, September 29, from 3 to 4 p.m. This is part of a series of webinars hosted by the CBC to share with California ranchers and beef producers more about how their Beef Checkoff dollars are put to work both nationally and within the state. This is an opportunity for you to get information first-hand about Beef Checkoff initiatives and efforts taking place on your behalf.
For this webinar, the CBC and national team members will provide insight into consumer perceptions and behavior as they relate to beef during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Checkoff-funded Consumer Beef Tracker allows the industry to track consumer perceptions on an ongoing basis, providing comparative data year over year. Consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic showed some positive results for the industry – from January to June 2020, the percentage of consumers claiming to eat beef at least weekly increased from 67% to 72% compared to 2019. What’s more, the number of people with a positive perception of beef increased during this time, resulting in positive overall perceptions that reached 70% for the first time. Specifically, positive production perceptions regarding how cattle are raised have grown 18% compared with 2019. These statistics are just a small piece of the interesting insights that will be shared with us in this webinar presentation created specifically for those of us that make our living raising beef in California.
Join us on September 29 to learn more about these trends and get a snapshot of consumer perceptions specific to California. To register, click here. This webinar will be recorded for later viewing if you are unable to join us live. To view the CBC’s last webinar, which covered information about how the checkoff works nationally and here in California, visit our website.
Help Defeat Prop 15, Visit DEFEATPROP15.COM
CCA is doing a full-court press to try to defeat Proposition 15 on this November’s ballot. If passed, Prop 15 could have devastating impacts not just on farmers and ranchers, but on all Californians (you can read about those impacts and CCA’s efforts to defeat Prop 15, here).
To engage you in this grassroots effort, DefeatProp15.com has been set up to be a resource for you to use now until election day. The website has information specific to the impact this proposition will have on agriculture if passed, as well as links to the No On Prop 15 coalition’s website for explanations of other flaws the measure has.
Visit the site today to get more information so you can share with family and friends why to vote no and to find ways you can engage in opposing Prop 15.
ANCW Collegiate Beef Advocacy Program Accepting Applications
The Collegiate Beef Advocacy Program (CBAP) hosted by the American National Cattlemen (ANCW) is now accepting applications for the 2021 team.
The CBAP connects students to the beef community where they can have access to cattlemen, cattlewomen and industry professionals. Advocates will grow as individuals, strengthen leadership and communication skills and use their creativity to develop advocacy efforts aimed at connecting with consumers. This program is designed to find the very best collegiate spokespersons and assist them in taking their beef advocacy efforts to a national level. Completion of the entire application will provide all applicants with beef advocacy training, and as a result, each applicant will be recognized with a certificate at ANCW’s Annual Meeting as a Collegiate Beef Advocate. From this pool of accomplished applicants, three young people will be selected to serve on the National Collegiate Beef Advocacy Team, traveling the nation for one year to share the positive message about beef.
Students interested in this opportunity should apply by December 1, 2020. To download an application, click here.