THIS WEEK: CCA’s Virtual Convention Happening Dec. 3-4
This Thursday and Friday, CCA is hosting policy meetings, the CCA Board & Membership meeting, a CattleFax Market Update, outlook on the weather and more all via Zoom! CCA leadership encourages all members to get registered and participate virtually.
Registration is free for all CCA members, but required. Access information for joining the meeting will be emailed to you after registering. You will automatically be registered for Thursday and Friday. Additionally, the same access information will be used for both days. To register, click here. For full instructions on how to join the Zoom webinar visit calcattlemen.org/events/virtualconvention.
Schedule for Thursday, Dec. 3:
3:00pm CCA Finance and Membership Meeting
4:00pm NCBA Price Discovery 75% Plan Update (Shelby Horn, Texas Southwest Cattle Raisers Association)
5:00pm CCA Fire Subcommittee Update (1st Vice President Tony Toso; CCA VP of Government Affairs Kirk Wilbur)
5:30pm Tax & Credit (CCA President Mark Lacey; Chair/Vice Chair as available), Cattle Marketing & International Trade (CCA President Mark Lacey), Federal Lands (Eric Hafenfeld, Vice Chair)
6:00pm Cattle Health & Well Being (Tom Talbot, Chair)
6:15pm Ag & Food Policy (Ramsey Wood, Chair)
6:45pm Property Rights & Environmental Management (Seth Scribner, Vice Chair)
Schedule for Friday, Dec. 4:
8:00am CattleFax Market Update (Duane Lenz, General Manager of CattleFax)
9:00am PRF Update (Aaron Tattersall, AgRisk Advisors) followed by Weather Outlook (Brian Bledsoe, Meteorologist)
10:00am Board & Membership Meeting
Minutes from the previous policy and membership meetings are posted on the CCA website at calcattlemen.org/events/virtualconvention, and CCA leadership advises members to review those documents in advance.
Purchase Tickets Now for the LMRF Raffle
‘Tis the season: CCA’s Livestock Memorial Research Fund (LMRF) is now selling tickets for its annual trailer raffle with all proceeds going to the LMRF scholarship fund. This year’s grand prize trailer is a 2021 18’ Swift Built Steel Gooseneck Livestock Trailer and the reserve prize is a utility/ATV trailer. The prizes for this year’s raffle have once again been generously donated by American Ag Credit, CoBank and Farm Credit West.
Raffle tickets are $100 per ticket or $250 for three tickets and can be purchased by calling the CCA office at (916) 444-0845. A virtual drawing to select the winners will take place on Dec. 29. Tickets must be received at the CCA office by Dec. 22 to be eligible to be entered. Best of luck to all who purchase tickets and thank you for supporting the upcoming leaders of California’s cattle industry.
Producers Encouraged to Participate in KSU Grazing Management Survey
The U.S. beef industry protects natural resources and biodiversity while simultaneously feeding the world. But as you know, the world does not always recognize all the great work producers do, with activists and others working to create a negative impression of the beef industry. Your assistance is needed to correct that impression. You are invited to complete a short, anonymous survey designed to gain new information on the current adoption and use of grazing management plans in the U.S. beef industry.
All responses will be kept in strict confidence, with the data analysis being released in summary form only with no identifying information included.
The survey should take approximately 20 minutes to complete and includes questions related to your cattle operation and grazing management practices. The study is being conducted by Kansas State University faculty and graduate student researchers.
To take the survey, click here.
With your help, the U.S. beef industry will be better positioned to communicate our efforts to produce beef in a sustainable and efficient manner.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact Ashley McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cassie Aherin at Kansas State University at email@example.com.
CFAP 2 Applications Due by December 11
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 Addresses State Assembly on Wildfire Priorities
In mid-November, CCA Immediate Past President Dave Daley appeared before the Assembly Agriculture Committee for a hearing on “Wildfire Impacts on California Agriculture.”
Daley briefly reflected on his experience with this year’s Bear Fire—now part of the North Complex Fire—in which nearly 400 of his cows and their calves were killed. But rather than dwell on the impacts of this year’s fires, Daley devoted most of his remarks to outlining sensible policies that California legislators and regulators can adopt to prevent devastating wildfires in future years.
“I would really like to emphasize this is not a left and right issue at all. This is a California issue, and we need to work on it from that perspective,” Daley said. “And I think too often we get into camps. ‘Is this climate change?’ ‘Is this management?’ I don’t care. Do something.”
Daley advocated for increased utilization of prescribed fire, urging legislators to take action to provide liability protections for burn bosses and to ensure that local air districts do not unnecessarily impede prescribed burns.
Daley also urged recognition of grazing’s role in wildfire prevention. “Grazing can play a role in…fine fuel reduction. There’s been some recent research from Devii Rao with UC Cooperative Extension which shows the amount of fine fuels that are removed by grazing.” Daley suggested that Californians would be best served by policies that seek to “use grazing on state, federal, and municipal lands.” Daley’s comments were echoed by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) advisor Dan Macon, who addressed the Assembly panel regarding the value of targeted grazing.
Daley and other speakers also addressed the need for insurance policies to cover farm and ranch properties, the need for ranchers to be able to access their animals during a wildfire event and numerous other policy priorities.
The hearing came less than two weeks after a similar hearing in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. At that hearing, Lenya Quinn-Davidson, UCANR advisor and member of CCA’s Fire Subcommittee, stressed the need for legal reforms to facilitate increased use of prescribed fire. Specifically, Quinn-Davidson suggested California adopt a gross negligence standard for burn bosses conducting controlled burns and reform how the California Environmental Quality Act is applied to such burns.
CCA staff also provided comments at both Assembly hearings reiterating CCA’s fire management policy priorities. CCA will continue to advance these priorities in the Legislature, which formally reconvenes on January 4.
Are You Able to Assist CCA Members Hard-Hit by Fires?
CCA was recently approached by a member hard-hit by the SCU Lightning Complex Fires that tore through the Bay Area in August and September. The fires burnt through the entire ranch—roughly 3,500 acres. “We have lost every bit of winter feed,” the member writes. “We are in desperate need of winter pasture for approx. 100 spring-calving cows.”
If any CCA members should have pasture availability for 100 cows, please contact Kirk Wilbur in the CCA office.
Additionally, CCA understands that many other members may be struggling to find available forage given this year’s devastating fires. Should you have pasture/forage availability or if you’re seeking pasture for your cattle, feel free to contact CCA. While we cannot guarantee forage solutions for CCA members, we are committed to doing everything in our power to accommodate the needs of California ranchers during this unprecedented fire year.
FSA Announces ECP Signups for 41 Counties Impacted by Wildfire
Beginning today, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will accept Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) applications in 41 California counties affected by this year’s wildfires. Applications will be accepted until January 28, 2021
ECP provides emergency funding and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers to help repair land and structures damaged by natural disasters such as wildfire. For example, 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 will soon begin accepting ECP applications in Alameda, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Kern, Lake, Lassen, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Plumas, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Yolo and Yuba counties.
FSA recommends that anyone seeking to utilize the ECP first apply with a county FSA office before undertaking repair or rebuilding, as “FSA’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and environmental compliance review process must be completed before any actions are taken.” You can find contact information for your County FSA office here.
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.
According to an FSA press release, “FSA County Committees will evaluate applications based on information provided and if applicable, an on-site inspection of the damaged land, taking into consideration the type and extent of the damage. Submission of an application does not guarantee that cost-share funding will be provided.”
More information about FSA disaster recovery programs, including ECP, is available at www.fsa.usda.gov/disaster.
U.S. Forest Service Issues Revised NEPA Regulations
Earlier this month, the U.S. Forest Service issued a final rule regarding the agency’s regulations for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Of greatest significance to cattlemen, the final rule creates six new types of categorical exclusions and creates a “determination of NEPA adequacy.”
The six new categorical exclusions cover activities related to recreational special uses, administrative sites, recreation sites, restoration and resilience projects and certain road management projects. Categorical exclusions for road management projects will likely have the greatest benefit to grazing permittees. The streamlined ability to build new roads (and maintain existing roads) may improve emergency response during wildfires. Additionally, such roads would have incidental benefits for grazing permittees, who would have additional access points as a result of new road construction—particularly useful for emergency response or evacuation purposes during a wildfire incident.
Additionally, the “Determination of NEPA Adequacy” process will allow the Forest Service to utilize existing NEPA analyses to cover changes in use if the scope of the original NEPA analysis already considered the effects of the newly proposed use. This could significantly streamline NEPA analyses for certain proposed actions.
Kaitlynn Glover, Executive Director of CCA-affiliate the Public Lands Council, hailed the final rule. “Today’s announcement represents decades of work by livestock producers who have told the Forest Service and other federal agencies for years that NEPA regulations need serious improvement,” Glover said. “This rule formalizes changes that will allow USFS to be better partners to ranchers and stakeholders who depend on healthy forests and grasslands. These are common-sense changes that add clarity by streamlining NEPA processes and ensuring that agencies are not spending time on unnecessary duplicative NEPA reviews. Thank you to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and USFS for following through with this process.”
The final rule is narrower in scope than the proposed rule, released in June 2019, had been. In July of this year, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued regulations guiding government-wide implementation of NEPA. Because certain elements of the Forest Service’s initial proposed rule conflicted with CEQ’s guidance, the Forest Service’s final rule issued last week is limited to non-conflicting NEPA regulations. The agency plans to issue a second final rule that addresses the remaining provisions from the 2019 proposal (and which complies with the new CEQ regulations) at a later date.
The U.S. Forest Service will be hosting an “information sharing” webinar about the final rule this Wednesday, December 2 from 9:00-10:00am Pacific. Interested persons can join the webinar by clicking here at that time.
Free Webinar: Cattle, Carbon & Compost
The Yolo County RCD is sponsoring a free CDFA Healthy Soils Program webinar tomorrow, Dec. 1 from 9-11AM about research efforts seeking to improve forage and increase rangeland soil carbon storage.
The workshop will highlight current research results from two years of compost application treatments on Yolo Land & Cattle Co in Esparto, Calif. and include a Q&A on rangeland compost. Speakers for the event include: Corey Shake (Point Blue Conservation Science), Chris Potter (CASA Systems 2100), Jeffrey Creque (Carbon Cycle Institute) and Stephanie Larson (UCANR).
To register for the free Zoom event, click here. For more information on the webinar contact Joanne Heraty at firstname.lastname@example.org.