Join CCA Feb. 2 for a Discussion About Proposition 19
Voters in the 2020 General Election approved Proposition 19, a Constitutional amendment that changes certain property tax rules. Of greatest interest to CCA members are the provisions of Proposition 19 which change how parent-child or grandparent-child property transfers operate. Intended to limit tax benefits for transferees who use inherited property as a vacation or rental home rather than as a primary residence, Proposition 19 also impacts ranchers transferring the “family home” or “family farm” to their children or grandchildren.
In the months since Proposition 19’s passage, CCA has received numerous questions from concerned members seeking to better understand Proposition 19. And there’s good reason for this confusion and concern, as Proposition 19 is ambiguously written in many respects and has even resulted in contradictory interpretations from the California State Board of Equalization. To clear up some of this confusion, CCA will be hosting a Proposition 19 discussion on Tuesday, February 2 at 7:00pm (in advance of the transfer provisions’ effective date of February 16).
During the discussion, CCA staff will seek to clarify what tax provisions Proposition 19 does and does not alter, resolve some of the rumors and confusion surrounding the Proposition and outline legislation and regulation needed to implement and clarify the Proposition (and how CCA is engaging in those efforts).
The discussion will be held over Zoom and is available only to current CCA members. To register for the FREE meeting, click here. For a step-by-step guide on how to join the meeting, click here. Additionally, if you have specific questions about Proposition 19 you’d like addressed on the call, please email them to CCA Vice President of Government Affairs Kirk Wilbur at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Newsom Asks Biden to Prioritize Wildfire & Forest Resilience, Water Infrastructure
In an open letter to President Biden last Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom laid out priorities he would like to see tackled by the new presidential administration. Not surprisingly, the letter highlights a variety of COVID-19-related priorities, such as accelerating vaccine distribution, safely reopening schools, providing economic assistance to individuals and small businesses and providing stimulus to state and local governments—the latter request a Democratic priority that has been a sticking point in prior legislative stimulus negotiations. The letter also highlights homelessness as a major policy issue for which California could utilize federal assistance.
But Newsom’s letter also highlights other priorities that are particularly important to California’s rural and ranching communities.
Newsom’s letter highlights the need for federal assistance in the area of “Wildfire & Forest Resilience,” noting in particular that California welcomes “partnership with your Administration to fully implement the Shared Stewardship Agreements and Good Neighbor Authority programs we have in place with the U.S. Forest Service.” In an August 2020 Memorandum of Understanding, the U.S. Forest Service and California agreed to each treat 500,000 acres of forests and wildlands annually by 2025—for a total of at least 1 million acres treated per year. While that MOU is promising, the Newsom letter highlights that both the state and federal government will need to take tangible steps to translate that aspiration into action in the coming years.
In a section detailing infrastructure goals, the Governor’s letter also highlights that California is eager to partner with the federal government “to develop 21st century water infrastructure.” CCA, along with 200-plus other agricultural and water organizations, sent a letter to then-President-elect Biden on January 11 highlighting Western water infrastructure development that should be prioritized by a Biden Administration.
CCA will keep you informed of any action the Biden Administration takes to improve California’s wildfire resilience, forest health and water infrastructure.
Biden Regulatory ‘Freeze’ Halts Some Trump Admin. Regulatory Reforms
In the hours after President Biden’s inauguration on January 20, his Chief of Staff Ron Klain issued a memo to the heads of all executive agencies titled “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review.”
For Trump Administration regulations which have not yet been submitted to the Federal Register, or which have been submitted to the Federal Register but not yet printed, the memo encourages agency leadership to hold or withdraw those rules until such time as a Biden appointee can review and approve the rules.
For Trump Administration regulations which have already been published in the Federal Register but which have not yet taken effect, the memo urges agency heads to delay implementation of those rules for 60 days, and suggests those agencies “consider opening a 30-day comment period to allow interested parties to provide comments about issues of fact, law, and policy raised by those rules, and consider pending petitions for reconsideration involving such rules.” If no substantial issues are raised, the rules should be allowed to take effect, the memo says. But if the agency determines after a 30-day comment period that further review is needed, they may refer the rules back to the White House Office of Management and Budget.
A number of late-term Trump Administration regulations could be impacted by the regulatory freeze. For instance, a final rule previously reported in Legislative Bulletin which clarifies that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act does not criminalize incidental take of migratory birds—scheduled to go into effect on February 8—could be halted under the memo. CCA affiliate the Public Lands Council also reports that “the BLM’s recently-finalized sage grouse supplemental Environmental Impact Statements, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s designation of critical habitat for the spotted owl, and both Endangered Species Act rules that were finalized at the end of last year (critical habitat exclusions and “habitat” definition),” among other rules, could be impacted by the regulatory freeze.
CCA and our national affiliates at the Public Lands Council and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association are preparing to re-engage with administrative agencies should they re-open 30-day comment periods for Trump Administration regulations impacting the ranching industry. CCA will continue to keep you informed about these regulatory developments.
CDFW Updates “Known Wolves” Document
On January 15, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) issued its quarterly update to its document “California’s Known Wolves – Past and Present.” The updates to the document concern a dispersing member of the Lassen Pack and a pair of wolves presently in Siskiyou County.
Regarding the Lassen Pack, the document states that “In late summer 2020, a satellite-collared yearling male wolf (LAS13M) dispersed from the pack. After traveling through northern Lassen and Modoc counties, LAS13M entered Oregon in early October and remained there through early January 2021. At the end of 2020, the pack was thought to consist of at least five wolves.”
Of the Siskiyou County wolves, the document notes that “OR-85, a male wolf from northeastern Oregon, entered Modoc County on November 3, 2020, and then entered eastern Siskiyou County on November 6. OR-85 remained in Siskiyou County through early January 2021. In December, trail cameras and tracks indicated that OR-85 was traveling with another wolf. As of early January, the gender and origin of that wolf was not known.”
CDFW also issues a “Quarterly Wolf News” document each quarter. As of press time, the October-December 2020 update to that document has not been posted on CDFW’s gray wolf webpage.
Paycheck Protection Program Reopens
Among the many provisions in the $2.3 trillion Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 signed into law late last year was $284 billion in funding for a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)—administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The legislation also simplifies the loan forgiveness process for borrowers of less than $150,000.
The $284 billion infusion will allow small businesses which did not previously seek a PPP loan—or which were rejected for a loan—to take advantage of the program. However, initial PPP loans are now capped at $2 million, as opposed to the $10 million maximum for the prior round of small business loans. Businesses with up to 500 employees may be eligible for PPP loans.
The new law also allows certain businesses which previously obtained a PPP loan to seek a ‘second draw’ loan. To qualify, the small business must employ 300 or fewer employees and must demonstrate that it has exhausted the full amount of its first PPP loans and saw at least a 25% drop in 2020 revenue compared to 2019 revenue.
Importantly, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 also clarified that PPP loans will not be treated as taxable income, reversing an IRS ruling which would have taxed the loans. This is a win for CCA which, along with more than 700 other organizations, lobbied against PPP loans being treated as taxable income.
PPP loans are currently available through all participating lenders through March 31. For additional details or to apply for a loan, contact your lending institution.
Thursday Deadline for FSA ECP Signups for 41 Counties Impacted by Wildfire
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is currently accepting Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) applications in 41 California counties affected by this year’s wildfires. Applications will be accepted until THIS Thursday, 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 is now 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.
Register Now for THIS Week’s Rangeland Summit
It’s not too late to register for the 2021 Rangeland Summit. The virtual event kicks off tomorrow and runs through Thursday! The event—hosted by the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition and University of California Cooperative Extension—consists of four afternoons (1p.m. to 3:30p.m. each day) with speakers and experts presenting around the theme of “Hi and Lo Tech on Rangelands Supporting Ecosystem Services.” To view the agenda and full list of speakers, click here.
Registration is required to participate and is open through Thursday. To attend all four days of the Summit, the registration cost is $75. One-day registrations can also be purchased for $25 each day. Additionally, the Summit is offering special student discounts at $15 per session or $40 per day.
Access information for the meeting will be sent out upon registering. To register, click here.
Catch a Recording of LMA’s Dealer Statutory Trust Webinar
As reported in last week’s Legislative Bulletin, last Thursday the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) hosted a webinar to discuss the Dealer Statutory Trust established under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, signed into law in December 2020. The federal livestock dealer trust will ensure that livestock producers are paid for their animals, securing a priority outlined in CCA policy.
If you were unable to join the webinar last Thursday but would like to learn more about the Dealer Statutory Trust, LMA has made a recording of the webinar available here.
Beef Quality Assurance Training Online
UC Cooperative Extension in collaboration with the California Beef Council are excited to offer an online Beef Quality Assurance Training and Certification on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 5:30-7:00 pm. The online training will include presentations on antibiotic stewardship, vaccine administration and handling, record keeping, and carcass quality. There will also be a Question and Answer session with Dr. Gabriele Maier, DVM, Cooperative Extension Specialists in Veterinary Medicine.
This session will be live and will include lots of visuals. It is recommended you log in from a location with reliable internet and be a few minutes early! Attendees will be required to complete a short online quiz post training to receive your Beef Quality Assurance Training Certificate. The link to the test will be shared with attendees following the event.
The event is FREE to participate. Registration is required – please click here to register.
For questions or assistance please contact Tracy Schohr, livestock and natural resources advisor for Plumas, Sierra and Butte Counties at email@example.com or 916-716-2643.
Participate in the Water Board’s Strategic Plan
The California Water Board’s Central Valley Region 5 is working on a strategic plan “to guide the Board’s priorities for the next 5-7 years.” As part of the process, the Board is inviting all to take a survey and give their input on the plan. To take the survey by February 22, click here.
To see the boundaries the Region covers, spanning from parts of Modoc County down to sections of Kern County, click here.
USDA FSA’s Conservation Reserve Program Now Accepting Signups
On January 5, USDA Farm Service Agency’s California State Office announced signups for the Conservation Reserve Program (CPR) are being accepted now through February 12, 2021. Interested ranchers, farmers and private landowners are encouraged to apply.
“Through CRP, farmers and ranchers establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland,” the press release announcing the start of signups explains. “Farmers and ranchers who participate in CRP help provide numerous benefits to their local region and the nation’s environment and economy.”
“This signup for the Conservation Reserve Program gives producers and landowners an opportunity to enroll for the first time or continue their participation for another term,” FSA State Director Connie Conway said in the press release. “This program encourages conservation on sensitive lands or low-yielding acres, which provides tremendous benefits for stewardship of our natural resources and wildlife.”
To learn more about the program, eligibility and get additional information on this enrollment period, click here to read FSA’s factsheet tailored to this round of signups.
CRP celebrated 35 years of operation in December 2020 and is one of the largest private-land conservation programs in the country. For more information on signing up for the program contact your local County FSA office. You can find contact information for your County FSA office here.
US Forest Service to Update Rangeland Management Directives
Last month, the US Forest Service released the text of proposed revisions to the agency’s Rangeland Management Directives governing grazing permits and allotment administration. The proposal includes amendments to the Service’s Rangeland Management Manual, the Grazing Permit Administration Handbook and the Allotment Management Handbook.
The revisions to the Rangeland Management Directives would be the first in 30 years and are intended to make the Directives “more usable, modern and conform to recent legislation,” as well as to provide greater clarity and management flexibility. The revisions are intended to address major themes such as facilitating succession planning and conservation flexibility.
The US Forest Service is accepting public comment on the proposed revisions through Tuesday, February 16, 2021.
CCA staff will review the proposed revisions in collaboration with our national affiliates at the Public Lands Council and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and will draft written comments on the proposals by the February 16 deadline.
Invitation to Attend the Society for Rangeland Management’s Annual Meeting
The Society for Rangeland Management (SRM) invites you to join their Rangelands New Frontiers Virtual Annual Meeting happening February 15-18. The four-day event includes workshops, poster presentations, networking and more, all centered around topics related to rangelands.
Additionally, there will be three Plenary Sessions focused on highlighting the challenges and opportunities present on rangelands. Plenary Session topics are: February 15, Valuing Ranching and Conservation; February 16, Adapt (or Succumb) To Climate Change on Rangelands; and February 17, Wicked Problems in Wildland Fire.
Registration costs for the event are $100 for SRM members and $50 for SRM students and young professional members. While an additional $25 is added to registrations for non-members, SRM is offering CCA members the chance to register at the SRM rate, regardless of membership with SRM. Contact Katie in the CCA office for more information on how to register at the $100 rate.
To learn more about the 2021 SRM Virtual Annual Meeting, click here.