105th CCA/CCW Convention and Tradeshow in the Rear-view Mirror
Last week, hundreds of cattlemen and women gathered in Reno for the 2021 CCA/CCW Convention and California Cattle Industry Tradeshow. The few days provided the opportunity to reunite, discuss policy and hear updates on the latest news and issues relevant to ranching in California.
At the event, CCA Second Vice President John Hammon (Tulare County), stepped off of CCA’s officer team as his two year term expired. Sheila Bowen (Kern County) will now fill the role of this position for the next two years. CCA leadership thanks Hammon for his dedication to serving California’s cattle industry over the past two years as a CCA officer and welcomes Bowen to the team.
Bowen will serve alongside of two other CCA Second Vice Presidents: Trevor Freitas (Tulare County) and Rick Roberti (Plumas County). President Tony Toso (Mariposa County) and Vice President Steve Arnold (San Luis Obispo County) both have one year remaining in their positions. Bev Bigger (Ventura County) will continue as CCA Treasurer in 2022.
Details on policy changes from the event will be published in the December edition of CCA’s Hot Irons newsletter. To see a few of the highlights from this year’s event, watch our recap video here. Also, look for new podcast episodes from the event to be released in the coming days.
SWRCB Announces Reimposition of Curtailments in Delta, Scott River Watersheds
On Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) announced that curtailments in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Watershed (Delta) have been reimposed as of last Wednesday. Curtailment information for specific water rights in the Delta can be found here. For more information about curtailments and drought response in the Delta, visit the Delta Drought webpage. SWRCB staff can be reached to answer specific questions about curtailments in the Delta at Delta@waterboards.ca.gov or at (916) 319-0960.
Additionally, on Tuesday the SWRCB announced that all curtailments in the Scott River have been reimposed as of December 1. As a reminder, there is a minimum livestock watering exception to the curtailments in the Scott River Watershed subject to the requirement that no unlined ditches or ineffective watering methods are used. More information is available about curtailments and exceptions in the Scott River Watershed here. SWRCB staff can be reached to answer specific questions about curtailments in the Scott River at ScottShastaDrought@waterboards.ca.gov or at (916) 327-3113.
For any questions about curtailment notices or how to comply, please contact the Ranchers Technical Assistance Program at (916) 409-6902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FDA Releases Agricultural Water Rule for Produce Operations
This morning, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) formally published a proposed rule outlining how the agency will address water quality concerns for non-sprout produce operations. Under the proposed rule, produce farms would be required to conduct annual water quality assessments to consider possible sources of contamination for pre-harvest agricultural water used to grow produce and to identify how potential contamination risks may be mitigated.
The new rule comes years after a 2015 Produce Safety Rule was paused in 2017 due to overwhelming industry outcry that the rule was too complex to implement.
The proposed rule on several occasions identifies livestock operations as potential contaminant sources for agricultural water. However, in a memo to its state affiliates, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) wrote that NCBA has already been assured by FDA “that – as proposed – this rule places responsibility for mitigating water quality and possible contamination issues solely on produce operations, not on any adjacent livestock operations.”
The FDA is accepting public comment on the proposed rule through April 5, 2022; cattle ranching industry groups like NCBA and CCA will be providing comments underscoring the necessity that the rule not burden adjacent land users such as cattle producers. FDA also intends to conduct two virtual stakeholder meetings on the proposed rule, to be announced at a later date.
Hours of Service Exemptions for Livestock Haulers Extended Through February 28
On March 18, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an Expanded Emergency Declaration exempting livestock haulers from compliance with the federal Hours of Service rules that limit drive time. Under the Emergency Declaration, Hours of Service rest requirements remain in effect, meaning that once a driver returns to his or her “normal reporting location,” that individual must still receive a minimum of 10 hours of off-duty rest.
The Emergency Declaration has been extended on six prior occasions, most recently through November 30. Last Monday, FMCSA again issued an extension of the modified Emergency Declaration, which continues the hours of service exemption through February 28.
The current Emergency Declaration applies to a limited class of freight, including livestock and finished livestock feed. Those operating under the exemption must report their reliance on the exemption shortly after the end of each month, a requirement first imposed under the previous August 31 extension (more information regarding this reporting requirement can be found in Legislative Bulletin’s prior report on the exemption).
In response to FMCSA’s initial March 2020 action, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order also exempting haulers engaged in intrastate or interstate transportation from California’s Hours of Service regulations. California’s exemption remains in effect as long as FMCSA’s Declaration remains in effect.
CDFW Confirms New Lassen Pack Livestock Depredation
On Tuesday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) issued three new wolf depredation investigation reports. Of those, only one incident that occurred in Plumas County resulted in a confirmed wolf depredation with one adult cow and one calf dead.
According to the report from Plumas County, CDFW notified a producer that the collar attached to a female Lassen Pack wolf – designated LAS09F – had pinged at several GPS points in the area on November 7. The producer investigated and found the two carcasses approximately 75 yards apart on November 11. USDA Wildlife Services investigated the site that day and the incident was confirmed as a wolf depredation due to the evidence of LAS09F’s presence in the area at the time and physical evidence of a wolf depredation.
The other two new investigation reports came out of Siskiyou County, though both were determined to be non-depredation deaths with an adult cow and a calf likely dying due to natural causes and then their carcasses later being fed upon by various predators.
Additional information about gray wolves is available on CDFW’s “California Known Wolves—Past and Present” document.