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May 10, 2021

Governor Newsom Expands Drought Declaration to 39 Additional Counties
Late last month, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation declaring a state of emergency “in Mendocino and Sonoma counties due to drought conditions in the Russian River Watershed.” As previously reported in Legislative Bulletin, however, Newsom was hesitant at that time to issue a statewide drought declaration, stating that “We have to target our solutions regionally.”

While Newsom still has not issued a statewide drought emergency, this afternoon the Governor issued a proclamation finding a state of emergency “to exist in the Klamath River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and Tulare Lake Watershed Counties due to drought.” Those watersheds cover 39 counties, bringing the total number of counties with operative drought declarations to 41.

The order enables the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to modify reservoir releases “to conserve water upstream later in the year in order to protect cold water pools for salmon and steelhead” and to improve water quality.

According to a press release from the Governor’s office, “The state of emergency also enables flexibilities in regulatory requirements and procurement processes to mitigate drought impacts.” The proclamation further directs the SWRCB to “consider emergency regulations to curtail water diversions when water is not available at water right holders’ priority of right or to protect releases of stored water.” The SWRCB previously curtailed water diversions for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Russian River watersheds in 2014 and 2015 at the height of the previous drought.

CCA will continue to keep you apprised of any state and federal actions taken in response to California’s ongoing, extreme drought conditions.

Senate Subcommittee Proposes $1 Billion/Year in Wildfire Funding as Newsom Prepares “May Revise”
Governor Gavin Newsom declared last week “Wildfire Preparedness Week” in California. Fittingly, Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection and Energy kicked off the week with a proposal to fund wildfire resilience at $1 billion a year over the next five years.

Governor Newsom’s Proposed Budget, release Jan. 8, called for $1 billion in total wildfire resilience funding – $323 million in “early action” funding and $677 million through the regular Fiscal Year 2021-22 budgeting process. As previously reported in Legislative Bulletin, the State last month allocated $536 million in early action wildfire prevention funding immediately available for use in the current fiscal year. Now, Senate Subcommittee No. 2 is proposing to augment FY 2021-22 wildfire funding – and to pre-fund wildfire prevention efforts over the following four years through the creation of a Wildfire Prevention and Resilience Fund.

The Senate Subcommittee proposes significant increases in “Resilient Wildlands” appropriations, including forest resilience funding for Cal Fire and funding for stewardship of state-owned lands. Funding for “Forest Sector Economic Stimulus” would also be significantly augmented under the plan. On Monday, CCA testified in support of the Subcommittee’s plan, but urged greater investments for prescribed fire application under the proposal.

The Wildfire Prevention and Resilience Fund – if adopted into the budget and signed into law – would receive $200 million annually from the State’s cap-and-trade program as dictated by SB 901 (2018). The other $4 billion would come from this year’s General Fund, which currently sits $16.7 billion ahead of Department of Finance projections thanks to higher-than-expected tax revenues.

The Senate Budget Subcommittee on Resources, Environmental Protection and Energy also recently proposed $3.4 billion to combat the current drought. These proposals come as the Legislature prepares for the release of Governor Newsom’s “May Revise” of the FY 2021-22 Budget, which will be released later this week. CCA will continue to keep members apprised of budget developments as negotiations in Sacramento progress.

Biden Administration Releases Initial “America the Beautiful” (30×30) Report
A week after taking office, President Biden issued an “Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.” Among other things, the Order directed the secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture and Commerce Departments and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality to submit a report “recommending steps that the United States should take…to achieve the goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.”

On Thursday, the Administration released the report, which rebrands the “30 by ’30” initiative as “America the Beautiful.” According to CCA affiliate the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the report “includes many of the priorities that are most important to cattle and sheep producers, including the protection of private property rights, learning from successful working lands management, and leveraging the expertise of ag producers for the benefit of lands, wildlife, and all land users.”

The report specifically identifies “six recommended areas of early focus for the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to conserve and restore America the Beautiful.” One of those six priorities is to “incentivize and reward the voluntary conservation efforts of fishers, ranchers, farmers, and forest owners,” and the report identifies the 2023 Farm Bill as an opportunity for the Legislature to enhance federal programs that incentivize farmers’ and ranchers’ good stewardship.

CCA will continue to work with NCBA to shape the Administration’s “America the Beautiful” proposal, ensuring it recognizes and reflects the vital role that cattlemen play in stewarding the nation’s land, water and wildlife resources. CCA will continue to keep you informed about developments on both the federal “America the Beautiful” proposal and California’s own “30 by ’30” initiative.

Wolf OR-103 Enters Siskiyou County
Last week, CCA was notified by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) that a radio-collared wolf designated OR-103 had entered California through northeastern Siskiyou County on May 4. CDFW subsequently issued an update to its “California’s Known Wolves – Past and Present” document reflecting the presence of a new wolf within the state. A pair of wolves nicknamed the “Whaleback Pair” are also currently within Eastern Siskiyou County.

OR-103 is a male wolf born in 2019 or 2020, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife – which collared the animal – is not currently certain of its pack of origin.

Brand Inspection Fees to Decrease Starting July 1
Today the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Bureau of Livestock Identification (BLI) announced that starting July 1 the price of inspection fees will be lowered by 10 cents per head of cattle. In a press release announcing the change CDFA explained, “The Bureau’s advisory board and CDFA Secretary Karen Ross made the determination due to a budget surplus in the program that developed after the BLI moved to mobile applications that lessened the amount of time spent on paper work.”

“We are pleased to be able to lower fees and as a result leave our livestock producers with a little more money for their operations,” Secretary Ross said in the release. “We commit to regular reviews of fee structures in all of our programs and will make adjustments when necessary and/or warranted. I want to thank our Bureau of Livestock ID for an outstanding job in keeping expenses to a minimum.”

Former CCA President Dave Daley Testifies Before Congress on Wildfire Resilience
Late last month, former CCA President Dave Daley testified before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. Daley was one of four witnesses appearing at a hearing on “Wildfire in a Warming World: Opportunities to Improve Community Collaboration, Climate Resilience, and Workforce Capacity.”

After a brief introduction from his Congressman, Representative Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-01), Daley briefly recounted his experience of the 2020 Bear Fire (part of the North Complex fire). “It was dramatic,” Daley said. “Two-hundred thousand acres in very few hours. Not only was my cowherd destroyed, but the legacy of my family and my home. The entire ecosystem of the Plumas National Forest was devastated. We could spend a lot of time arguing what caused it, but I really prefer we think about some solutions instead of simply what the causes may be.”

Throughout the hearing, Daley stressed the need to control the threat of wildfire through active management such as prescribed fire – including cultural burns practiced by Native American tribes – and livestock grazing.

“I don’t have simple solutions,” Daley told Congressional representatives. “I would suggest that we could look to prescribed fire. I want to thank the Newsom Administration in California. They’ve been very proactive with us in the Cattlemen’s Association to at least begin to investigate solutions of prescribed fire and solutions of grazing as alternatives. So I ask you to think about actually doing something and talk to those of us who are actually affected.”

Daley also spoke to the value of livestock grazing on lands within the Subcommittee’s jurisdiction, noting that “As a rancher, and an expert in animal science, I can tell you that the nimblest tool to address dense grasses in the most protective way is to graze these landscapes.”

The entire Subcommittee hearing can be viewed here (Dave is introduced to give his testimony at about minute 42), and the full text of Daley’s written testimony submitted for the Congressional record can be read here.

Gov. Newsom Signs Law Providing Tax Break to PPP, EIDL Recipients
On March 1, CCA reported that Governor Gavin Newsom had signed into law a $7.6 billion legislative package intended to expedite economic assistance to small businesses and others impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We noted at that time that the Legislature and Newsom had not yet acted on legislation, AB 80, “which would conform California tax law to new federal tax treatment for COVID-19 relief loans provided through the Small Business Administration [SBA], such as Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans or Economic Injury Disaster Loans [EIDL].”
After receiving assurances from the Biden Administration that the legislation does not run afoul of federal stimulus legislation, Governor Newsom on April 29 signed AB 80 into law.
Under the bill, California small businesses whose PPP or EIDL loans are forgiven by the SBA will not be required to pay taxes on that money and can deduct qualifying expenses, but only if the small business can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in profits for at least one quarter due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cattlemen’s Beef Board Now Accepting Producer Nominations
Interested in helping shape the beef checkoff? Now is your chance to get involved! The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service is seeking nominees for the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board now through June 6, with three seat openings for the Southwest Unit (California and Nevada).

The Board is authorized by the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 and is made up of 101 members representing 34 separate states, four units of geographically grouped states and one importer unit.

Any beef producer who owns cattle may be nominated. Producers must be nominated by a USDA certified producer organization (including CCA) and submit a completed application. USDA will select appointees from the nominated producers.

Interested California producers should express their interest in serving to Lisa in the CCA office at lisa@calcattlemen.org by June 1. To learn more about the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and being nominated, click here.

CCA Upcoming Events

CCA Virtual Workshop: Reducing Wildfire Risk & Preparing for the Threat of Wildfire
May 26, 7-9AM
Join us on Wednesday, May 26 for a virtual workshop from 7-9AM to learn about reducing wildfire risk & preparing for the threat of wildfire. This event is free and open to all, but registration is required. Click here to register through the Zoom website. Learn more at https://calcattlemen.org/event/wildfirerisk/.

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Upcoming Events

San Diego Region Nature-Based Solutions and 30 by 30 Virtual Regional Workshop
May 11, 4-6PM
Your participation and input in these regional, virtual workshops is needed as The California Natural Resources Agency will use them to “provide input on meeting the State’s commitment to conserve 30 percent of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030 and accelerate nature-based solutions to address climate change.” The final region meeting is the San Diego Region taking place tomorrow. Learn more here and register here.

Preparing for the Next Wildfire Season
May 19, 11AM-12:15PM
The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) is hosting a free virtual event that will be “a conversation with insurance commissioner Ricardo Lara and other state leaders about the steps California is taking to prepare for wildfire season—this year and beyond,” PPIC states on their website. To learn more and register in advance click here.

What’s “Bugging” Your Beef Webinar
May 19, 6-7:15PM
Join University of California Cooperative Extension for a webinar on beef cattle external parasites and treatment options. Learn more by clicking here and click here to register.

Virtual AB 589 Water Measurement and Reporting Course Scheduled for May 20
May 20, 1-4PM
The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) will offer a virtual water measurement and reporting course as authorized by CCA-sponsored Assembly Bill 589. 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 2021, so early pre-registration is encouraged. Click here for more details.

CCA in the News

Active management needed to prevent catastrophic wildfires, ranching expert says Capital Press “Fifth-generation California rancher Dave Daley testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands last week on controlling the risk of wildfire through active management practices such as prescribed burns. Daley is also the farm administration at the California State University-Chico and former president of the California Cattlemen’s Association.” To continue reading, click here.

Industry News

California State Senator Bill Dodd Says Controlled Burn Expansion Bill Clears Committee Sierra Sun Times “Legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that would help protect California from devastating wildfires through the expanded use of prescribed burning cleared the Senate Judiciary committee on Tuesday.” To continue reading, click here.

Red flag warning in May? Fire season arrives early in Northern California The Mercury News “Last year’s devastating wildfire season was barely in the rear-view mirror when the red flag warning hit Sunday for a large swath of Northern California. In another example of the Golden State’s new normal, the National Weather Service issued a surprisingly early-in-the-year fire alert for the area from Shasta Dam to just north of Los Banos, touching on the eastern fringes of the Bay Area.” To continue reading, click here.

Ranchers and Farmers’ Input Adopted In 30×30 Guidelines Drovers “The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and Public Lands Council (PLC) recognized the inclusion of agricultural producers’ recommendations in the Biden administration’s conservation goals report.” To continue reading, click here.

March Beef, Pork Exports Hit Record Highs Farm Journal “March beef and pork exports both surpassed previous monthly record high values. Pork exports and shipments of beef muscle cuts also set new volume records in March.” To continue reading, click here.

BLM-California Sets Public Hearing for Vehicle, Aircraft Use in Wild Horse, Burro Management Sierra Sun Times “The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), California will host a statewide virtual public hearing, Thursday, May 13, from 4 to 6 p.m., to discuss the use of motorized vehicles and aircraft in the monitoring and management of wild horses and burros on public lands managed by the BLM in California and northwest Nevada. Registration is required.” To continue reading, click here.

May Magazine Cover

California Cattleman

May has arrived and this month’s magazine has something for everyone. CCA President Tony Toso shares a column on “A Closer Eye On A Possibility to Address Beef Market Manipulation.”

A few CCA members share about their direct-to-consumer beef sales, two members of California’s cattle ranching community are remembered and the 2021 Auction Market Directory is available all in this issue.

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