FINAL REMINDER: Vote No on Prop 15
Election week is here and CCA urges you one last time to vote no on Proposition 15. The impacts of Prop 15 include:
#1 Ends Prop 13 Protections
The ballot measure has a staggering price tag of $11.5 billion per year in property tax increases, repealing Prop 13’s protections for commercial and industrial properties that have provided California ranchers with economic certainty and stability.
#2 Taxes Skyrocketing
Property taxes will increase on agricultural buildings and improvements, and nearly everything needed to move food from farm to fork. Structures like barns and feedlots will be heavily taxed; even fruit trees and vines will be subject to higher property taxes.
#3 Rangelands Vanishing
The very landscape of California is on the line. Prop 15 gives counties a tax incentive to zone land away from agriculture, and Prop 15’s increased tax liability will force some ranchers and farmers to sell their land to developers, eliminating open spaces and California’s breathtaking vistas.
Looking for last minute information to share about the measure? Visit DefeatProp15.com or any of the @calcattlemen social media platforms to get the details on the devastating impacts the measure could have not just on farmers and ranchers, but on all Californians if passed.
Department of Fish and Wildlife Releases Wolf Update; Another Depredation Confirmed
Last week, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) issued a livestock loss determination report confirming another wolf depredation of livestock. According to the report, on the morning of October 19, CDFW contacted a rancher in southern Lassen County to alert them that ‘clustered’ GPS data from a collared wolf indicated the presence of a cow carcass on the ranchers’ property. The radio-collar data indicated that LAS09F—a two-year-old female of the Lassen Pack—had been at the site on the morning of October 18 and again overnight.
Shortly after being contacted by CDFW, the rancher discovered the carcass of an adult cow. CDFW and USDA Wildlife Services investigated the carcass, discovering tooth scrapes and hemorrhaging indicative of wolf predation. Investigators also found wolf tracks nearby, in addition to the radio-collar data from LAS09F confirming her presence in the area. CDFW concluded that “Evidence confirmed the cow was killed by wolves.”
The confirmed depredation comes on the heels of another five confirmed depredations by wolves between August 17 and September 15. (Three days after the latest confirmed depredation, CDFW investigated another incident; while wolves had partially consumed a cow carcass in that instance, CDFW determined that the wolves had not killed the animal.)
Last week CDFW also released its Quarterly Wolf Update for the period from July 1 to September 30. The update notes that CDFW is aware of at least 15 wolves in the Lassen Pack: “3 adults, 3 yearlings, and 9 pups.” Additionally, the Update notes that “it is likely that a small number of uncollared dispersers exist in the north state at any moment in time.”
Also of note, the Update states that DNA analysis has confirmed that both the original female breeding wolf of the Lassen Pack, LAS01F, and LAS09F were bred by the pack’s new breeding male, an uncollared black wolf.
Finally, the Update notes that one member of the Lassen Pack—a radio-collared yearling male known as LAS13M—has dispersed into southern Oregon. LAS09F is the only member of the Lassen Pack with a currently functioning GPS collar.
Gray Wolves Delisted from Federal ESA; California Management Unchanged
Last Thursday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced its final decision to delist gray wolves throughout the contiguous 48 states from the list of threatened and endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act. The decision returns management of gray wolves to the states.
The announcement was made by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and USFWS Director Aurelia Skipwith at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota. Skipwith called the decision “a wildlife success story decades in the making.”
Secretary Berhhardt and Director Skipwith were joined at the ceremony by the Vice President of CCA-affiliate the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Don Schiefelbein (himself a Minnesota rancher), and the President of CCA-affiliate the Public Lands Council, Niels Hansen. “The recovery and delisting of the gray wolf is an outstanding victory under the Endangered Species Act and should be celebrated accordingly,” Schiefelbein said.
Unfortunately, while federal delisting of gray wolves is a sound scientific and management decision and will benefit many ranchers throughout the lower 48, it does nothing to ease the burdens on ranchers in gray wolf territory in California. The federal desilting decision means that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife now has sole management authority over gray wolves in California, where the species is fully protected as an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act.
CCA continues to advocate for state delisting and for improved state management of the gray wolves.
Virtual AB 589 Water Measurement and Reporting Course Scheduled for Nov. 18
The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) has announced that it will offer a virtual water measurement and reporting course as authorized by CCA-sponsored AB 589 (2017) on Wednesday, November 18 from 8:30-11:30am. Those interested in attending the virtual course can pre-register and pay for the course here. There will be a limited number of seats offered for this training in 2020, so early pre-registration is encouraged.
Senate Bill 88 (2015) required all water right holders who have previously diverted or who intend to divert more than 10 acre-feet of water per year (for riparian and pre-1914 claims), or who are authorized to divert more than 10 acre-feet of water per year under a permit, license or registration, to annually measure and report the water they divert. Detailed information on the regulatory requirements for measurement and reporting is available on the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Surface Water Measurement webpage. As originally written, the legislation required that, for diversions of 100-acre feet or more annually, installation and certification of measurement methods be approved by an engineer, contractor or other specified professional. Diverters across California were concerned about this requirement.
CCA heard from our membership and worked with Assemblyman Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals) on a bill that would provide a self-certification option. Assembly Bill 589 was passed and became law on January 1, 2018. This bill, until January 1, 2023, allows any diverter who has completed an instructional course on measurement devices and methods administered by UCCE, including passage of a proficiency test, to be considered a qualified individual when installing and maintaining devices or implementing methods of measurement. The bill requires the UCCE and the SWRCB to jointly develop the curriculum for the course and the proficiency test.
At the workshop you will:
- Clarify reporting requirements for ranches;
- Understand what meters are appropriate for different situations;
- Learn how to determine measurement equipment accuracy;
- Develop an understanding of measurement weirs; and
- Learn how to calculate and report volume from flow data.
Should you have any questions about this training, please contact Larry Forero at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sara Jaimes at email@example.com, or call the Shasta UCCE office at (530) 224-4900.
CCA will keep members apprised of any additional trainings scheduled for 2020.
CDFA, Wildlife Services Accepting Comments on 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.
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.
President Trump Signs ACE Act
On Friday, President Trump signed the America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act into law.
As previously reported in Legislative Bulletin, the ACE Act provides payments to ranchers who experience livestock depredations by federally protected endangered and threatened species and authorizes funding for producers to implement non-lethal deterrence measures. Additionally, the ACE Act provides funding to improve invasive species control, seeks to develop innovative ways to reduce human/predator conflict and establishes a task force to address Chronic Wasting Disease concerns.
Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the legislation’s sponsor, hailed President Trump’s signing of the law. “President Trump has signed the most significant wildlife conservation and sportsmen’s law in decades,” Barrasso said. “Conservationists, hunters, anglers, and farmers all agree that the ACE Act is a win for the people of Wyoming and America’s wildlife. It’s a great example of what can be accomplished when Republicans and Democrats work together to get something done.”
Read more about the ACE Act from CCA-affiliate the Public Lands Council here.
“Sustainable Management of California’s Fire-Prone Landscapes: Using Grazing to Help Keep Communities Safe” Workshops Set for This Month
The California Range Management Advisory Committee and the California Fire Science Consortium welcome your participation in the “Sustainable Management of California’s Fire-Prone Landscapes: Using Grazing to Help Keep Communities Safe” workshops starting this Thursday, November 5. The two groups will be co-hosting a trio of workshops the next three Thursdays “to discuss the use of prescribed livestock grazing as a sustainable fuel reduction and environmental management tool.”
All of the workshops will be held from 10:00AM-12:00PM and attendees will have the opportunity to participate in an hour of virtual networking following the conclusion of each workshop.
In this week’s first workshop “Wildland Fuels: A Primer for Concerned Citizens & Grazers,” attendees will hear from Rob Hazard, Santa Barbara County Fire and John Bailey and Alison Smith, UC ANR Hopland Research and Extension Center. The additional two workshops are:
- November 12, Using Grazing for Fuels Management 101: Practices & Strategies
- November 19, Organizing Community-Based Wildland Fuels Management Projects: Approaches and Examples
To register for any of the three workshops and learn more, click here. Contact Edith Hannigan at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about the workshops.
RMA Extends PRF Comment Deadline to December 21
Last week, the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced that it has extended the comment deadline for its evaluation of the Pasture, Rangeland and Forage (PRF) insurance program until December 21.
As previously reported in Legislative Bulletin, CCA’s partners at AgRisk Advisors have signaled that “There are storm clouds on the horizon for livestock producers who utilize” RMA’s PRF program. 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 December 21 comment deadline.
For more information, contact Kirk Wilbur in the CCA office.
Ranch Water Quality Planning Guide Released
The Ranch Water Quality Plan Instructor’s Guide is now available through the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Publications Catalogue and on the UC Rangelands Website, including the associated instructional and educational videos curated on YouTube. Click here to see an overview video of the Ranch Water Quality Planning Guide.
The online and PDF presentation of these materials is the next evolution of the Ranch Water Quality Planning program, based upon the more than 30 years of research and education conducted by UC Cooperative Extension and partners. The Guide provides the resources and tools to plan and implement Ranch Water Quality Planning workshops and field days for grazing livestock producers, agency staff, and other stakeholders interested in grazing management and water quality.
These new resources provide a wealth of contemporary information about water quality management on rangelands.
For questions and additional information please contact Morgan Doran- email@example.com, David Lewis- firstname.lastname@example.org, or Ken Tate- email@example.com.
Wildfire Relief Efforts
Amid the current catastrophic wildfire season, The Fresno-Kings County Cattlewomen (FKCCW) are raising funds to help ranchers impacted by the Creek Fire. The fire started on September 4 and as of the morning of November 2 has burned 380,663 acres with 70% containment.
“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 Cattlemen’s Foundation
- Mail checks to: FKCCW, PO Box 104, Sanger, CA 93657
Please contact the CCA office at (916) 444-0845 with information about any other local efforts to help ranchers affected by the California wildfires.