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October 12, 2020

From Headquarters

Governor Newsom Signs ’30 by 30′ Executive Order
Last Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order declaring it “the goal of the State to conserve at least 30 percent of California’s land and coastal waters by 2030.” In this regard, the Executive Order is similar to CCA-opposed AB 3030 (Kalra), which died in the Senate Appropriations Committee this year.

The Executive Order is broadly intended to protect and restore California’s native biodiversity and increase the state’s climate resilience (including wildfire resilience), among other priorities.

In the hours after the Executive Order was issued, CCA Executive Vice President Billy Gatlin issued the following statement:

“Cattle graze 38 million acres of working lands in our state. As the Governor reiterated today, California’s ranchers are leaders in innovation and conservation worldwide and livestock grazing and conservation are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, California cannot reach its conservation goals without working with ranchers to conserve rangelands and expand grazing in our state. We look forward to working with the Governor to expand livestock grazing in California to reach our collective biodiversity and conservation goals.”

The Executive Order suffers from much of the same ambiguity that caused CCA to oppose AB 3030. It is unclear, for instance, what it means to “conserve” 30% of California’s land, or what activities will count as “enduring conservation measures” under the Executive Order. Sources estimate that anywhere from 22-47% of the state is currently “conserved” or “protected,” depending upon which definition of those terms is applied. In a phone call with stakeholders after the Executive Order was announced, Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot noted that the state did not want to be “prescriptive with a final definition of ‘conserve’” in the Executive Order, and that “there will be opportunities” for stakeholders to engage in crafting that definition.

CCA will advocate that the State acknowledge a wide array of land conservation measures, such as enrollment in Williamson Act contracts, and recognize the vital role that livestock grazing plays in furthering the conservation goals set by the state. Well-managed cattle grazing is well-known to reduce the likelihood, severity and spread of wildfire, provide habitat for species of conservation concern and reduce the presence of invasive weeds, among other ecological benefits sought by the Executive Order.

CCA will seek to participate in the California Biodiversity Collaborative established pursuant to the Executive Order and will encourage the Natural Resources Agency to utilize livestock grazing among the strategies for climate resilience to be developed in response to the Governor’s directive. The Natural Resources Agency, in consultation with other state agencies and the Collaborative, is to issue a report by February 1, 2022 laying out how the state can achieve its conservation goals.

For more information on the Governor’s Executive Order, see the November edition of California Cattleman or contact Kirk Wilbur in the CCA office.

ACT NOW: Tell RMA Not to Disrupt Pasture, Rangeland and Forage Insurance 
“There are storm clouds on the horizon for livestock producers who utilize the Risk Management Agency’s (RMA) Pasture, Rangeland and Forage insurance program (PRF),” according to CCA’s partners at AgRisk Advisors. Without input from the ranching community, RMA commissioned a review of PRF from a third-party contractor with no experience in rangelands or livestock production. Subsequently, RMA issued a series of “Alternative Recommendations” proposing significant changes to the PRF program which, beginning in 2022, would cause PRF to cease functioning as intended as a valuable risk management tool for livestock producers and forage growers.

For producers who already utilize PRF, the Alternative Recommendations would alter those producers’ Coverage Level, Productivity Factor, and Interval selections. RMA suggests disallowing coverage during winter months along with utilizing four-month Intervals, changes which would eliminate PRF’s usefulness as a risk management tool.

Long-term, it is essential that RMA give cattlemen a seat at the table in developing its risk management tools. In the short term, however, these harmful adjustments to PRF are likely to be implemented unless RMA is flooded with comments from impacted producers.

AgRisk Advisors has created a Website for producers to easily review this proposal and provide comments to RMA. CCA encourages members to visit www.PRFadvisors.com/savePRF and follow the detailed instructions to provide input to RMA before the November 5 comment deadline.

For more information, contact Kirk Wilbur in the CCA office.

TOMORROW: CDFA, Wildlife Services Host Virtual Scoping Meeting for Wildlife Damage Management Program
In September, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and USDA APHIS Wildlife Services-California noticed their intent to prepare a joint Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze the environmental impacts of the agencies’ wildlife damage management activities in California. The notice kicked off a 60-day scoping period during which the agencies will accept public comment to help inform the production of the EIR/EIS.

CFDA and Wildlife Services have announced two virtual scoping meetings for members of the public to learn more about wildlife damage management activities and provide feedback as the agencies prepare to draft the joint EIR/EIS. The first of these meetings will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, October 13 from 5:30-8:30pm. The second virtual scoping meeting will be Tuesday, October 27 from 5:30-8:30pm. To register for the meetings, click here (registration is required).

Attendees of CCA’s Property Rights and Environmental Management (PREM) Committee meetings during the 2019 Midyear Meeting and 2019 Convention may be acquainted with this effort, as Wildlife Services personnel and consultants from the environmental consulting firm Dudek spoke at those meetings regarding the need for the joint EIR/EIS.

The joint analysis should resolve California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) concerns that have spurred litigation in numerous California counties and resulted in some of those counties terminating their wildlife damage management program agreements with Wildlife Services. CCA is hopeful that the joint EIR/EIS will allow Wildlife Services to resume activities in counties which have terminated or suspended their contracts with the agency while allowing Wildlife Services to continue providing vital services in those counties currently under contract with the agency.

The Notice of Intent to prepare the joint EIR/EIS can be viewed in the Federal Register here, and additional scoping documents can be found at www.californiawdm.org. CCA staff will review these documents in the coming weeks, and file detailed scoping comments with the agencies.

Scoping comments are due no later than 8:59pm on November 10. You can submit comments via email to info@CaliforniaWDM.org; via mail to California WDM, 2121 Broadway, P.O. Box 188797, Sacramento, CA 95818; or online at the California WDM website here or at the regulations.gov website here.

WHIP+ Applications Due to FSA by October 30
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that Friday, October 30 is the deadline by which producers must submit applications for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program – Plus (WHIP+) for losses incurred in calendar years 2018 and 2019.

WHIP+ provides compensation for losses due to hurricanes, floods, snowstorms, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, drought, excessive moisture and wildfires. This week, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will launch a new tool on the agency’s WHIP+ webpage to help producers determine whether they had eligible losses in 2018 and 2019.

For more information or for application assistance, visit FSA’s WHIP+ webpage or contact your local FSA office. You can find your local FSA office’s contact information here.

SWRCB Releases List of Delinquent Filers for Annual Water Diversion and Use Reports
Last month, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) released its annual deficiency list of water right holders who have thus far failed to file their annual water diversion and use reports for calendar year 2019 as required by SB 88 (2015). The deficiency list is available here and contains more than 4,500 delinquent filers organized alphabetically by county.

Under SB 88, all water rights holders are required to annually report their diversion and use of water to the SWRCB. For appropriative water rights holders (e.g. stock pond certificates, stock pond registrations, licenses and applications), the deadline for such reports is April 1 of each year. For those diverting pursuant to a water rights statement (e.g. pre-1914 and riparian rights), the deadline for such reports is July 1 of each year.

Under California Water Code section 1846, the SWRCB may fine non-filers up to $500 per day for each day in which the violation occurs—that is, for each day between the filing deadline and the submittal of the annual report. CCA recommends that all members review the deficiency list and take corrective action as soon as possible if their name appears on the list. While the filing deadlines have passed, corrective action may avoid an enforcement action altogether and/or minimize any penalty assessed by the Water Board.

Reports must be made electronically using the SWRCB’s Water Right Form and Survey Submittal Portal. If you need assistance filing your report, contact the SWRCB’s Division of Water Rights directly at (916) 323-9393. For further information, contact Kirk Wilbur at the CCA office at (916) 444-0845.

Wildfire Relief Efforts
Amid the current catastrophic wildfire season, various wildlife relief efforts have been organized for those who would like to contribute to ranchers who are facing losses. Please see the information below for two current relief efforts being organized for ranchers and contact the CCA office at (916) 444-0845 with information about any other local efforts to help ranchers impacted by the California wildfires.

Butte County Cattlemen’s Fire Fund
As of this morning, the North Complex Fire (Bear Fire) was at 94% containment with 318,930 acres burned. The Butte County Cattlemen’s Association asks those who wish to contribute to ranchers who have been impacted by the fire’s destruction to please donate to the Butte County Cattlemen’s Fund.

To make a donation to the Butte County Cattlemen’s Fire Fund:

  • Make checks out to the California Cattlemen’s Foundation and note “Butte County Cattlemen’s Fire Fund” in the memo
  • Send checks to: California Cattlemen’s Foundation, 1221 H Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

Creek Fire Rancher Relief Fund
The Fresno-Kings County Cattlewomen (FKCCW) are raising funds to help ranchers impacted by the Creek Fire. The fire started on September 4 and has burned in Madera and Fresno Counties. The fire now unfortunately has made it on to the list of largest fires in the state’s history and is still burning.

“The Fresno Kings County Cattlewomen are asking the community to come together and join us in our efforts to surround our local families with love and support,” the FKCCW posted on the GoFundMe page for the relief fund. “We are reaching out to you in order to help us achieve our goal of $20,000, which will go directly to the ranchers and their families to alleviate the financial loss they have and will continue to experience.”

The post additionally says, “The Fresno Kings County Cattlewomen Board will require an application and approval process to determine how funds raised will be distributed. Everything submitted will be kept confidential and shared between only FKCCW board members.”

To make a donation online via GoFundMe, click here.

To make a tax-deductible donation to the group’s 501(c)(3) via check:

  • Make checks out to: California CattleWomen’s Heritage Foundation
  • Mail checks to: FKCCW, PO Box 104, Sanger, CA 93657, Tax ID Number: 68-0464603

Less than One Month to Election Day, Vote No on Prop 15! 
As ballots begin to hit mailboxes, CCA continues to urge you to vote no on Proposition 15, and reminds you to keep sharing with your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc., about the devastating impacts the measure could have not just on farmers and ranchers, but on all Californians if passed!

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 and find ways to engage in the efforts to defeat Prop 15. As you engage on social media, don’t forget to tag your posts with #NoOnProp15 so your message can be amplified by others opposing the measure.

Fire Safe Council Meeting for Ranchers in the Sierra Foothills
In the middle of a catastrophic fire season, Dan Macon, University of California Cooperative Extension Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor for Placer, Nevada, Sutter and Yuba Counties is asking, “what if a fire safe council was created specifically for ranchers?”

“What if we formalized our efforts to inventory the equipment and expertise that could help protect ranch lands and the surrounding community? What if we formalized our relationships with CalFire, law enforcement, and other emergency services? What if we could train ourselves (and our neighbors) on things like safe evacuation and fire behavior? What if we formally became a resource for protecting our ranches and our communities?”

The idea and the questions above were posted on the Ranching in the Sierra Foothill’s website, followed by an invitation to attend a meeting to further explore the idea of a Fire Safe Council specific to ranchers in the Sierra Foothills. The Zoom meeting is schedule for Wednesday, October 28 from 6-7:30pm and the tentative agenda is as follows:

  1. What is a Fire Safe Council?
  2. Are there other ways to address the fire prevention, response, and recover needs of the ranching community?
  3. What could a Rancher’s Fire Safe Council do? What are our top priorities?
  4. Who should be involved in this effort?
  5. Next steps

To register and obtain more details about access information for the meeting please RSVP by clicking here.

Learn more about the idea for a Rancher’s Fire Safe Council and this meeting, by clicking here.

Legislation Introduced to Improve Marketing Environment for Cattle Producers
On October 1, Congressman Dusty Johnson (R-SD) introduced the Price Reform in Cattle Economics (PRICE) Act in the House of Representatives. The PRICE Act contains numerous provisions intended to improve the marketing environment for cattle producers, including policy that CCA and CCA affiliate the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) supported in a June 30 letter to Congress urging further action in response to the market impacts of COVID-19. Among other provisions, the PRICE Act would:

  • Provide small and very small meat processors financial relief from overtime and holiday fees paid to federal meat inspectors, increasing overall processing capacity;
  • Allow the interstate sale of state-inspected meat when purchased online;
  • Authorize federally-guaranteed loans and federal grants for the construction of new meat processing facilities or the expansion of existing meat processing facilities;
  • Require USDA’s Chief Economist to study the feasibility of cash market mandates such as the “30/14” and “50/14” proposals; and
  • Authorize emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program acreage during pandemics, including COVID-19.

A section-by-section breakdown of the PRICE Act can be found at Congressman Johnson’s website, here, and a more detailed breakdown of the legislation will be included in the October 15 edition of CCA’s Hot Irons newsletter. NCBA continues to work closely with Congressman Johnson’s office regarding the PRICE Act, and CCA will keep you informed of any developments as the bill makes its way through the legislative process.

Legislation Introduced to Provide Additional Hours of Service Flexibility
Late last month, Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) introduced S. 4720, the Haulers of Agriculture and Livestock Safety (HAULS) Act. The legislation would provide livestock haulers additional relief from existing Hours of Service regulations.

Specifically, the HAULS Act seeks to add a 150 air-mile exemption to Hours of Service regulations on the back end of hauls for transporters of livestock and agricultural commodities. The 150 air-mile backend exemption would be in addition to the current 150 air-mile exclusion that applies to the front end of hauls. Both the existing front-end exemption and the proposed back-end exemption are intended to give farmers and ranchers additional time to safely navigate rural roads and seek to ensure animal welfare when livestock are being hauled.

The HAULS Act would also apply the agricultural exemption to the Hours of Service regulations year-round and nationwide. Currently, each state is responsible for determining when the agricultural exemption is applicable based on state-defined planting and harvesting periods. While California has adopted a year-round planting and harvesting period, there is significant variation among planting and harvesting periods nationwide.

(The above provisions are substantially similar to those included in H.R. 4919, The Responsible and Efficient Agriculture Destination (TREAD) Act, introduced last November and co-sponsored by California Congressmen John Garamendi and Doug LaMalfa. The TREAD Act has not progressed in the House.)

Finally, the HAULS Act expands the definition of an “agricultural commodity” eligible for the agricultural exemption to the hours-of-service rules. While livestock falls under the existing definition, the HAULS Act would expand the definition of “agricultural commodity” to include animal feed and the ingredients used in animal feed, among other products.

In other Hours of Service news, on Wednesday President Trump signed H.R. 8337, a Continuing Resolution to fund the government through December 11. The Continuing Resolution contains a provision maintaining the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) delay for livestock haulers through December 11.

UCANR to Host a FREE Webinar on Cattle Health This Thursday
Last week, the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources kicked off their Autumn 2020 Beef Production Webinar Series by hosting the first of six webinars focused on cattle production and targeted grazing in the series happening throughout October.

The webinar series continues this Thursday at 6pm with a free workshop sponsored by the Tahoe Cattlemen’s Association focusing on “Cattle Health — From Parasite Management to Vaccination Programs.” The speakers for this week’s event are Dr. Gaby Maier (UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Beef Extension Specialist) and Dr. Becky Childers (large animal veterinarian).

Attendees of Thursday’s workshop will “learn about controlling external and internal parasites, developing a vaccination program for your herd, and the importance of establishing a working relationship with your veterinarian,” according to the announcement on the Ranching in the Sierra Foothill’s website. To register for the event, click here.

To learn more about the rest of the upcoming webinars—including dates, topics and speakers—and to register for any of the events, click 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.

CCA in the News

California Rancher Blames Politics For Wildfires Drovers “California rancher Dave Daley survived the Bear fire. Many of his 400 cows did not. He fears for his family legacy.” To continue reading, click here.

New permit rules protect mountain lions, but tie hands of western Sierra ranchers Calaveras Enterprise “Kirk Wilbur, vice president of government affairs with the California Cattlemen’s Association said it’s been frustrating to see the move to a two-step permit, citing decades of understanding between ranchers and the department over the lethal take permit process.”  To continue reading, click here.

Industry News

Record-setting California fires surpass 4 million acres burned in a single year The Washington Post “California’s wildfires have now burned more than 4 million acres, a record for the most acres burned in a single year. The figure, which equals an area larger than Connecticut, is more than twice the acreage burned in the state’s previous record-worst fire season, in 2018.” To continue reading, click here.

New study to investigate influence of cattle grazing on particulate matter and greenhouse gas emissions from wildfires BenitoLink “UC Cooperative recently wrapped up a grant that explored the benefits of livestock for fire fuels reduction and fire safety. The next phase of this study has just been initiated. The research team will build on their prior work to calculate the particulate matter (PM) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that result from herbaceous vegetation (fine fuels) consumed by livestock, compared to those produced if the same forage/fuels were instead burned in a wildfire. They will also consider the potential PM and GHG emissions from the same quantity of decaying vegetation.” To continue reading, click here.

Suit seeks to force listing of bistate grouse on NV-CA line Associated Press “Citing the government’s repeated reversals and refusals to protect a cousin of the greater sage grouse the last two decades, conservationists are suing again to try to force the federal listing of the bi-state sage grouse along the California-Nevada line.” To continue reading, click here.

NCBA Calls On USDA To Take Action On Namibian FMD Outbreak National Cattlemen’s Beef Association “Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a grave and persistent threat to the U.S cattle industry and warrants every available caution and protection to ensure that the problems plaguing cattle production in other parts of the world do not reach our shores. NCBA has serious concerns regarding the latest report of another FMD outbreak in Namibia, a country with an unfortunate history of FMD. While Namibia has taken steps to mitigate risk of FMD through the establishment of a cordon fence and buffer zone, the occurrence of this most recent outbreak in the buffer zone and indications of delayed reporting of the outbreak to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) raises serious concerns about Namibia’s newly granted access to the United States.” To continue reading, click here.

Upcoming Events

2020 Annual 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.

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California Cattleman

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