CCA Launches Producer Podcast
Everyday, The California Cattlemen’s Association is sorting through the issues impacting California’s ranching families and producers. CCA leadership has developed Sorting Pen: The California Cattleman Podcast to communicate those issues, discuss solutions and keep ranchers current on hot topics.
Just launched last week, this new tool—in addition to other publications put out by the Association—aims to connect members with the work CCA is doing in Sacramento and beyond. New episodes will be released every other Monday, consisting of a discussion with CCA leadership and leading experts on issues specific to ranching and producing beef in California. Click here to listen to the first episode out today and to tune into the introductory episode with CCA President Tony Toso if you missed it last week.
Governor Newsom Declares Wildfire Emergency in El Dorado County Due to Caldor Fire
On Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation declaring a state of emergency in El Dorado County due to the Caldor Fire. The proclamation was issued while the fire was still only 6,500 acres in size, with a press release from the Governor’s office noting that the fire was “threatening homes and power lines and causing the evacuation of thousands of residents” at that time. Driven by strong winds, the Caldor fire spread rapidly in the days after the proclamation was issued, destroying more than 100 structures, including much of the town of Grizzly Flats.
As of this morning, the Caldor Fire has scorched 106,562 acres and is 5% contained. The emergency declaration provides El Dorado County with greater access to state resources to combat the blaze.
As reported in last week’s Legislative Bulletin, wildfire states of emergency have previously been proclaimed this year throughout many northern counties. Alpine, Butte, El Dorado, Lassen, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou Tehama and Trinity counties are all under such states of emergency.
CCA will continue to keep membership informed about state and federal responses to wildfires within the state. Additional information about these and other wildfire incidents can be found via Cal Fire and InciWeb.
UPDATED: SWRCB Approves Emergency Curtailment Regulation for Scott and Shasta River Watersheds
Last Tuesday, the SWRCB approved the proposed Emergency Regulation that will allow them to issue curtailment orders to water rightsholders in the Scott River and Shasta River watersheds.
Specifically, the emergency regulation will allow the SWRCB to issue curtailment orders to water rightsholders to ensure minimum flows to protect certain salmon species. Importantly, the regulation provides a pathway for rightsholders who receive a curtailment order to continue diverting minimum quantities of water necessary for livestock watering – approximately 15 gallons per day, or 30 gallons per day during an excessive heat warning issued by the National Weather Service.
Diverters within the Scott and Shasta River watersheds are encouraged to subscribe to the SWRCB’s “Scott-Shasta Drought” mailing list for updates (after filling out your “Signup Details” at the top of the page, click “Water Rights,” select “Scott-Shasta Drought” in the right-hand column and click the blue “Subscribe” button under “Signup Details”).
The regulation will first be sent into the Office of Administrative Law for approval, following that approval the SWRCB will begin sending out curtailment notices in order of priority of right. Rightsholders who receive a curtailment order will have seven days to submit a certification of compliance.
CCA will continue to keep members apprised of drought developments, including curtailment orders on the Scott/Shasta Rivers and elsewhere.
UPDATED: SWRCB Curtails Pre-1914 Rights in Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Watershed
On Friday, the SWRCB announced that in response to acute water shortages in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed, it has issued 4,500 curtailment orders to water rightsholders to protect drinking water supplies, prevent salinity intrusion and minimize impacts to fisheries and the environment.
This order came after the emergency curtailment regulation that the SWRCB adopted on August 3. Altogether, there are 6,600 rightsholders in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. According to the announcement, the number of rightsholders that have been ordered to stop diverting could be adjusted throughout the fall as water supplies in the Delta fluctuate and weather conditions change. The SWRCB predicts that about 1,500 fewer rightsholders will need to be curtailed in September due to increased water supply in the Sacramento River watershed from annual rice field drainage.
The SWRCB notes various compliance assistance events in Friday’s announcement, including a virtual webinar to be held next Tuesday to help impacted rightsholders satisfy reporting requirements and complete the online certification form. CCA will provide details of the SWRCB’s compliance webinar as they are made available.
As a reminder, while rightsholders will be mailed any curtailments issued under the emergency regulation, water rightsholders and claimants in the Delta watershed are highly encouraged to either subscribe to the Delta Drought email distribution list, or frequently check the SWRCB’s drought webpage to receive updated information regarding water diversion curtailment and reporting orders and water unavailability. A list of water rights for which water would be unavailable under the emergency regulation can be found here.
Senate Advances $1.2 Trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate approved the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on a bipartisan vote of 69-30. The bill will now move to the U.S. House of Representatives, which reconvenes today.
In addition to $110 billion for road and bridge repairs nationwide, some of the bill’s highlights for California’s cattle producers include the following:
- $5 billion to bury powerlines in an effort to prevent electricity infrastructure from sparking wildfires;
- $3.3 billion to reduce the risk of wildfires, including via hazardous fuel reduction projects and controlled burns;
- $696 million for US Forest Service wildfire management which will be used to shift approximately 1,000 federal firefighting positions from seasonal to permanent and provide pay increases for federal firefighters;
- $500 billion for dam safety, a portion of which is earmarked for seismic repairs to the B.F. Sisk Dam which impounds San Luis Reservoir;
- $1.15 billion for water storage projects, $1 billion for water recycling projects and $250 million for desalination projects intended to improve drought resiliency;
- Inclusion of a 150 air-mile exemption to Hours of Service regulations, intended to give farmers and ranchers additional time to safely navigate rural roads and seek to ensure animal welfare when livestock are being hauled; and
- $65 billion for broadband internet infrastructure.
The Senate on August 11 also passed a $3.5 trillion budget resolution containing numerous Democratic priorities. That resolution advanced on a party-line vote of 50-49. CCA will continue to keep members apprised of development in federal infrastructure policy as the House of Representatives next takes up the issue.
2021 CCA Scholarship Applications Now Available
Applications for the 2021 CCA Scholarships are being accepted now through October 1. In 2020, CCA awarded over $51,000 in scholarships to students studying agriculture, although scholarship amounts and quantities vary year to year.
Current CCA members (producer, feeder or YCC) that are currently enrolled (or accepted for fall 2021) at a university or college are eligible to apply. Past recipients of the CCA scholarship program may also apply again this year. For a complete list of awards and to download the application visit calcattlemen.org/scholarship. Contact Katie in the CCA office at email@example.com with any questions.
USDA Soliciting Public Input on Meat Processing Infrastructure
As previously detailed in Legislative Bulletin, President Joe Biden’s July 9 Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy and a subsequent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) press release announcing the agency’s intention “to make significant investments to expand processing capacity and increase competition in meat and poultry processing to make agricultural markets more accessible, fair, competitive, and resilient for American farmers and ranchers.” USDA’s announcement included a commitment of “$500 million in American Rescue Plan funds to expand meat and poultry processing capacity.”
Now, USDA is soliciting public feedback on how it should invest those $500 million in funds. On July 16, the agency filed a request for public comment in the Federal Register “seeking input from the public on how to invest an estimated $500 million of American Rescue Plan funds to improve infrastructure, increase capacity, and hasten diversification across the processing industry.”
The request for public feedback poses several specific questions within six broad categories: (1) general considerations, (2) fair treatment of farmers & workers and ownership considerations, (3) loans and other financing considerations, (4) grant considerations, (5) technical assistance considerations and (6) partnerships and combined funding considerations.
Comments are due to USDA no later than August 30, and can be submitted here by clicking “Comment” in the upper left hand section of the page.
Finally, USDA will be scheduling a series of stakeholder meetings on this topic; CCA will keep members apprised of those meeting times as information becomes available.