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November 9, 2020

From Headquarters

Many California Races Too Close to Call Nearly One Week After Election

As California continues to tally the votes from last week’s general election, numerous races remain too close to call. As of press time, approximately 85% of ballots statewide have been counted.

Of particular note for CCA members is Proposition 15, which seeks to roll back Proposition 13 protections by taxing commercial properties at current market value. While proponents noted that agricultural land is exempt, Proposition 15 would increase taxes on structures and improvements upon ag lands, leading CCA to strongly oppose the Proposition. As of 11:00am Monday, Proposition 15 remained too close to call. According to the Secretary of State website, voters are currently rejecting Proposition 15 by a margin of 515,847 votes, or 3.6% of total votes tabulated thus far.

The “no” votes for Proposition 15 have steadily increased their margin over the “yes” campaign since Election Day, and CCA remains cautiously optimistic that the margin will hold when all votes are counted, and that Californians will reject the greatest property tax increase since voters approved Proposition 13 in 1978.

Proposition 19 was likewise still too close to call as of press time. Proposition 19 would allow Californians who are over 55, disabled or who are the victims of wildfires or other natural disasters to transfer the tax base of their primary residence to a replacement residence, and would require tax reassessments for an inherited residence not used as the inheritor’s primary residence. CCA took no position on Proposition 19, but urged members to carefully consider its purported “Expan[sion of] tax benefits for transfers of family farms.” The “yes” votes on Proposition 19 are currently leading by a margin of 51.3% to 48.7%—or 351,340 votes.

In the California State Assembly, Republicans appear poised to hold on to their existing seats as Democrats continue to enjoy a supermajority in the lower chamber.

Democrats are currently poised to gain at least two seats in the state’s upper chamber, with Democratic challengers currently holding strong leads over Republican incumbent Senators John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) and Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar). Races in Senate Districts 21 and 23 remain quite close as of press time, with the Republican candidate in each holding a slim lead.

In Washington, D.C., Democrats will continue to hold a majority in the House of Representatives, though that majority has slimmed with Republicans picking up at least five House seats as of press time. In California, Republican challengers are currently ahead in three too-close-to-call races, with David Valadao seeking to reclaim his former seat from incumbent TJ Cox in California’s 21stDistrict, former Assemblymember Young Kim narrowly outperforming incumbent Democrat Gil Cisneros in District 39 and Michelle Steel currently edging out Rep. Harley Rouda in District 48. Also of note, former Congressman Darrel Issa has won the House seat vacated by Duncan Hunter, keeping the 50thDistrict in Republican control.

Control of the Senate remains unclear, with both Senate races in Georgia set for a January 5, 2021 runoff election after incumbent Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler both failed to secure at least 50% of the vote. If one or both incumbents win, Republicans will retain control of the Senate. If Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock both win their elections, the Senate will be split 50-50 with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris casting any tie-breaking votes.

CCA will continue to provide updates as outstanding votes are tallied and election results become more certain.

CCA to Host Post-Fire Relief & Recovery Workshop This Friday
This year’s ongoing, historic wildfire season has had devastating impacts on cattle ranchers up and down the state. Whether you have been impacted by this season’s fires or want to be armed with information in the event of a future wildfire, CCA will be hosting an educational workshop on post-fire relief and recovery programs this Friday, November 13 from 7:00-9:00am. The workshop—the first in a series of CCA wildfire-risk workshops made possible through a grant awarded by the Western Extension Risk Management Education Center and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture—is free and open to all ranchers regardless of CCA membership.
The Nov. 13 workshop will feature Navdeep Dhillon, Farm Program Chief at the California State Office of the Farm Service Agency (FSA), and Drew Loganbill, District Conservationist for the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Petaluma Field Office. 
Dhillon will educate ranchers on the suite of post-fire relief programs offered by FSA, including the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP), Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), Livestock Forage Program (LFP), Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP) and FSA Farm Loans. Loganbill will primarily address NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Catastrophic Wildfire Recovery Program.
Additionally, participants will learn about relief and recovery programs available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA), in addition to other post-fire recovery resources.
Registration is required for the workshop, and you can pre-register through Zoom here. For more information, contact Kirk Wilbur or Katie Roberti in the CCA office at (916) 444-0845.

Grant logos

University of Wyoming Seeks Participants in Non-Fee Grazing Costs Study
CCA is working closely with researchers at the University of Wyoming (UW) to analyze the non-fee costs of grazing livestock on public lands (the research is funded by CCA-affiliate the Public Lands Council). A random sample of permittees was selected to participate in California and a research packet for the study should have been received earlier this fall. If you were one of those permittees who received the UW survey, CCA encourages you to participate in this study.

Non-fee grazing costs research first began in the 1960s and extended into the 1990s but has not been updated in 20 years. The current project will provide an update on differences in total cost of grazing livestock on private and public land over time (or note if no real change has occurred). The information gained from this research could be used to develop a trend in total costs that can be used for future research and policy.

In order to fully compare federal vs. privately-leased land, this study is also looking for individuals who lease private land for livestock grazing. If you lease privately-owned rangeland to graze cattle, please contact Kasey Dollerschell (whose information is listed below).

One benefit of this study is that it provides CCA and PLC hard data to combat radical environmentalists’ slander that public lands ranchers are ‘welfare ranchers’ based on their willful disregard of the time, money and other resources that ranchers put into improving our public lands. That data is useful in engaging Congress, federal land management agencies and the public on the extra costs involved with grazing livestock on federal land.

If you received the research packet or graze on privately-leased land and are willing to assist CCA by participating in this research, please contact Kasey Dollerschell, the UW graduate student spearheading the study, via email at kdoller1@uwyo.edu or via phone at (970) 589-9339. Kasey has a quick survey that can be filled out over the phone or sent out and returned via mail or email.

BQA Refresher Webinar Happening Nov. 19
For beef producers who have previously been Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certified, it’s important to dust off your notes from time to time and ensure your practices are still in-line with current BQA standards. On November 19 from 6:00-7:00PM, the California Beef Council (CBC) is hosting a virtual webinar to serve as a BQA refresher course.

During this webinar, Dr. Gaby Maier, Beef Cattle Herd Health & Production Specialist at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and Dr. James Oltjen, Animal Management Systems Specialist at UC Davis, will provide a deeper dive into some emerging issues, including current carcass quality issues, record keeping guidelines, and a review of available record keeping software and tools that today’s beef producer may find useful. Moderated by the CBC’s Jill Scofield, this one-hour webinar will be the first in a series of BQA-focused virtual events for California producers.

To register for the free event, click here.

Gray Wolves Delisted from Federal ESA; California Management Unchanged
Late last month, 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 hereThere 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 lcforero@ucanr.edu or Sara Jaimes at sbjaimes@ucanr.edu, or call the Shasta UCCE office at (530) 224-4900.

CCA will keep members apprised of any additional trainings scheduled for 2020.

DUE TOMORROW: 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 has reviewed these documents, and will file scoping comments with the agencies before tomorrow’s deadline.
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.

“Sustainable Management of California’s Fire-Prone Landscapes: Using Grazing to Help Keep Communities Safe” Workshops Continue This Week
The California Range Management Advisory Committee and the California Fire Science Consortium welcome your participation in the next two “Sustainable Management of California’s Fire-Prone Landscapes” workshops “to discuss the use of prescribed livestock grazing as a sustainable fuel reduction and environmental management tool.”

Last Thursday the series kicked off with the “Wildland Fuels: A Primer for Concerned Citizens & Grazers” workshop. “Using Grazing for Fuels Management 101: Practices & Strategies” is the next workshop in the series and will be held this Thursday, Nov. 12 from 10:00AM-12:00PM. Speakers for this Thursday’s meeting include, Glenn Nader, UC Cooperative Extension; Tony Toso, Mariposa County Rancher and CCA First Vice President; Andree Soares, Star Creek Land Stewards; and Marie Hoff, Full Circle Wool.

The final workshop “Organizing Community-Based Wildland Fuels Management Projects: Approaches and Examples” is set for Nov. 19 from 10:00AM-12:00PM. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in an hour of virtual networking following the conclusion of both of the remaining workshops.

To register for the workshops and learn more, click here. Contact Edith Hannigan at edith.hannigan@bof.ca.gov with any questions about the workshops.

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- mpdoran@ucanr.edu, David Lewis- djllewis@ucanr.edu, or Ken Tate- kwtate@ucdavis.edu.

CCA in the News

New vaccine for cattle protects against fetal calf loss from EBA – anatomy of a vaccine development Nevada Today “‘The licensing and availability of this vaccine is monumental for the beef cattle industry,’ Mark Lacey, president of the California Cattlemen’s Association, said. ‘For generations producers have had to manage incredible losses from foothill abortion.’” To continue reading, click here.

After the fires: Farm animals face long-term feed shortages Capital Press “‘I could hardly even begin to guess the scope of damage. About 5 million acres burned in (California). How much of that was grazing land? At least a million acres?’ said Mark Lacey, president of the California Cattlemen’s Association.” To continue reading, click here.

California brainstorms wildfire solutions Western Livestock Journal “Mark Lacey, president of the California Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), told Ag Alert moving forward, what ranchers need is for ‘state and federal governments to stop just blaming climate change for everything and start coming together with land resource managers and livestock people to figure out how we’re going to change the dynamic of letting the state burn up every year.’” To continue reading, click here.

Cattleman calls for more grazing on public lands to prevent fires Agri Pulse “Beef cattle grazing plays an important role in reducing fuel loads to prevent wildfires, argued ag appraiser Tony Toso at an ASFMRA meeting.” To continue reading, click here.

Tracy Schohr and the ranchers: ‘They saved our animals’ Capital Press “‘I’m sure Tracy (Schohr) gives the credit to the farmers — as she should — but she’s a hero, too, for organizing the rescues,’ said Katie Roberti, spokeswoman for the California Cattlemen’s Association.” To continue reading, click here.

Legal Ledger Brief: PRF comments deadline extended Western Livestock Journal “‘Long term, it is essential that RMA give cattlemen a seat at the table in developing its risk management tools,’ the California Cattlemen’s Association said in a released statement. ‘In the short term, however, these harmful adjustments to PRF are likely to be implemented unless RMA is flooded with comments from impacted producers.’” To continue reading, click here.

Election: California Prop 15; Colorado Prop 114 Drovers “‘Thanks to what is expected to be near-historic turnout, we anticipated that we would not know the outcome of Prop 15 on Election Night. No on Prop 15 has held a slight lead all night and we continue to be optimistic that growing opposition to Prop 15 seen in recent polls will ultimately drive us to victory when all of the votes are counted.’ The California Cattlemen’s Association opposes Proposition 15.” To continue reading, click here.

Industry News

NCBA on the election’s impact on the beef sector RFD TV  “While speculation looms around the outcome of the election, the beef sector is standing by to gauge the potential impact on the livestock industry.” To watch, click here.

Rep. Jim Costa in competition for chairmanship of House Ag committee; current chairman voted out yourcentralvalley.com “Fresno-area Congressman Jim Costa announced Thursday that he will seek the chairmanship role of the House Committee on Agriculture after the current chairman was voted out in Tuesday’s election.” To continue reading, click here.

California protects homeowners from having fire insurance dropped — again CalMatters “As this year’s historic wildfire season winds down, Californians living in fire-prone territory got temporary relief from another threat: they can’t lose their homeowners’ insurance policies for another year.” To continue reading, click here.

Upcoming Events

Virtual Workshop: Post-Fire Relief & Recovery Programs for Ranchers
November 13, 7:00-9:00AM
Click here or read the above story to learn more.

Nov Magazine Cover

California Cattleman

Happy November! Get caught up on all that’s happening in this issue of the California Cattleman. To read it click here.

This issue’s top stories:

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