CNRA Releases Draft Strategy for 30×30 Initiative
On Wednesday, the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) released a draft strategy that they plan to use to achieve the state’s goal to conserve 30 percent of the state’s land and coastal waters by 2030. The draft, Pathways to 30×30: Accelerating Conservation of California’s Nature, will be available for public comment through January 28, 2022.
CNRA stated that the goal of the draft was to directly respond to Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-82-20, which attempts to create a framework for conservation efforts that includes federal and local governments, Native American Tribes and private landowners. This Executive Order was enacted as part of a global initiative to conserve 30 percent of lands by 2030 in order to combat the effects of climate change.
CNRA estimates that around 24 percent of state land and 16 percent of state coastal waters are already conserved through various prior state and regulatory actions. The draft aims to provide primary objectives and commitments, the purpose for the initiative and the strategies to achieve the goal of 30×30. It also introduces CA Nature which provides publicly available online tools to help identify conservation opportunities.
Additionally, CNRA announced the formation of a 30×30 Advisory Committee that will provide stakeholder input on implementation strategies.
Instructions for submitting public comment on the draft and information about registration for the advisory committee can be found here. CCA will continue to update members on conservation efforts that impact California lands.
USDA, DOI and FEMA Announce New Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission
On Friday the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that they are jointly establishing a Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission. This is an important step that can potentially lead to the federal government working towards addressing the nationwide wildfire crisis that has been especially devastating in the state of California.
According to the USDA, the role of the Commission will be to recommend federal policies and strategies to prevent, mitigate, suppress and manage wildland fires and to rehabilitate the land after a wildfire has occurred. The Commission will include a variety of stakeholders, including state government and private industry. A year from the first meeting, the Commission will provide a report with policy recommendations and a cost strategy to Congress.
SWRCB Announces Curtailment Suspensions
On Monday the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) announced temporary curtailment suspensions in the Russian River Watershed through January 10. More information is available on the Russian River Drought Response webpage.
On Friday the SWRCB announced temporary curtailment suspensions in the Shasta River Watershed for those whose water rights have a priority date of July 30, 1923 or earlier. These suspensions are contingent on a flow rate of at least 135 cubic feet per second being sustained at the Yreka gage through December. The temporary suspensions will last through January 31. As a reminder, the SWRCB prohibits inefficient livestock watering through the use of unlined ditches from September through January whether or not there are curtailments in place. More information is available on the Scott River and Shasta River Drought Response webpage.
Also on Friday, the SWRCB announced that all curtailments in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Watershed (Delta) remain temporarily suspended at least through January 3. You can check the status of your water rights on the Delta Watershed Curtailment Status List. More information can be found on the Delta Drought webpage.
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.
New Episode of Stories from California Cattle Country
Today’s episode is our first dairy story. New Hope dairy is located in Galt about a mile off of Highway 99. We recorded this episode in a walk n talk style with owner Arlin and his son Kale. We were introduced to the ranch by Arlin’s teenage son, Kale who spoke on what he likes about working on a dairy and then talk to Arlin about nutrition, the dairy’s history, and his feelings on succession or how to approach being a dairy farmer with the next generation – his children. Listen and see photos from the dairy at https://calcattlecouncil.org/newhope.
The episode is also available on a variety of platforms for streaming podcasts. Stories from California Cattle Country is produced by the California Cattlemen’s Foundation with support from the California Cattle Council.
Healthy Soils Program Incentives Program Application Period Open
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is accepting applications for the Healthy Soils Program Incentives Program until funds run out or by February 25. This program as described on CDFA’s website “provides financial incentives to California growers and ranchers to implement conservation management practices that sequester carbon, reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs), and improve soil health.”
CDFA is hosting one final workshop for information about the program on January 20 from 9-11am PST. To register for the virtual workshop click here and to learn more about applying click here.
U.S. House of Representatives Passes Two Important Bills on Market Transparency
Earlier this month, the United States House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to pass two important bills on market transparency that are strongly supported by ranchers nationwide. The widespread bipartisan support that H.R. 5290 and the Cattle Contract Library Act of 2021 have received in Congress demonstrates the urgent need for more data to be available to ranchers to avoid the negative impacts of market risk.
CCA has been zealously advocating for greater market transparency, along with our partners at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, to shed light on the price and volume of cattle purchases which is essential for effective price negotiation.
Chairman David Scott of the House Agriculture Committee introduced H.R. 5290 in September and it was quickly unanimously passed out of the Agriculture Committee to the House floor. This bill would extend the authorization for livestock mandatory reporting (LMR) through September 30, 2022. Many ranchers consider LMR one of the most important tools for market transparency to aid in making informed decisions in the highly complex cattle market. The current LMR provision is set to expire with the allocated federal funding on February 18, 2022.
Another win in the market transparency space, the Cattle Contract Library Act of 2021 also passed through the House with an overwhelming vote of 411-13 in favor of passage. The measure is being led by Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and has seen strong bipartisan support thus far in the legislature. The creation of a Cattle Contract Library would provide ranchers with the market data they need to make the best-informed decisions in the cattle market.
It is currently unclear when the United States Senate will act on these measures, but CCA will continue to inform members of any progress.
CARB Approves Amendments to SORE Program
On December 9, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved a variety of amendments to the CARB Small Off-Road Engines (SORE) Program. These amendments will be implemented in a two-phase plan with the first phase being implemented 2024-2027 and the second phase being implemented 2028 and beyond.
The amendments include setting new engine emission standards to zero in two phases, expanding existing emission reduction credit programs, adding a new tiered emission reduction credit program for zero-emission generators and making updates to test procedures and regulations.
The timeline for amendments applicable to portable generators differs from the rest of the equipment regulated under SORE. For portable generators the amendments include stricter emission standards but not zero in phase one, emission standards at zero in phase two and manufacturers can earn credits through 2027 and these credits can be used through 2032.
Other amendments include extending some of the emissions durability periods, reducing the number of engines for compliance testing, adding new tests to reduce fuel spills or leaks and removing the variance provision.
According to CARB staff, the SORE Program is predominantly intended to affect manufacturers due to the effects of the regulations being limited to new equipment. Additionally, there are certain pieces of equipment that are exempted from the regulations due to language in the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) that prohibits states from regulating them. The CAA preempts new engines used in construction or farm equipment under 175 horsepower. Such equipment includes things like large chainsaws, some brush cutters, stationary equipment such as stationary generators and equipment that uses diesel such as tractors and high-powered lawnmowers. More information about equipment exempted under the CAA can be found here.
The amendments have been approved by CARB and will soon be released for a 15-day comment period. The California Cattlemen’s Foundation will be submitting written comments on these amendments. CCA will continue to update members on SORE regulations.