CCA-Sponsored Legislation Survives House-of-Origin Deadline
Last Friday was the House of Origin deadline in the State Legislature, the date by which legislation introduced in the Assembly or Senate must pass out of the chamber in which it was introduced to remain viable for the year.
CCA-sponsored AB 2415 (Lackey), which would extend by three years the current agricultural vehicle exemption from the California Highway Patrol’s Basic Inspection of Terminals program, passed out of the Assembly well ahead of the House of Origin deadline, passing by a vote of 72-0 on May 19. CCA-sponsored SB 880 (Laird), which would permanently extend the availability of University of California Cooperative Extension water measurement courses that qualify farmers and rancher to install their own water measurement devices, passed out of the Senate on Wednesday on a 39-0 vote.
CCA’s other legislative priorities also fared well at the House of Origin deadline. CCA-supported SB 926 (Dodd), which would implement a Prescribed Fire Claims Fund, unanimously passed the Senate, as did SB 977 (Laird), a bill that would create a California Conservation Ranching Incentive Program. CCA secured favorable amendments to SB 856 (Dodd) ahead of its passage in the Senate, ensuring that ranchers will retain the right to immediately kill property damaging wild pigs at any time, including nighttime; CCA will continue working to improve the bill in the Assembly.
CCA will continue lobbying these bills and other priority legislation as they are considered in their second houses. For a more comprehensive update on CCA’s 2022 legislative priorities, see the July/August edition of California Cattlemen.
USDA Announces Initiatives to Strengthen Beef Supply Chain and Markets
The United States Department of Agriculture last week issued a press release to highlight upcoming support and additional resources to improve processing capacity and promote competitive agricultural markets. The agency has announced the formation of a Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program, a $25 million investment in workforce training programs for meat and poultry processors and the release of a report on promoting agricultural competition.
Under the new Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program (MPILP), $200 million is available to provide grants to lenders looking to finance any stage of operating a slaughter or processing facility. MPILP is intended to empower and financially stabilize meat processors to promote food chain stability. More information on the MPILP can be found here.
USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will be investing $25 million in workforce training programs relating to meat and poultry to help establish highly skilled jobs in the meatpacking industry. Click here for more information on this $25 million dollar investment.
To further support the agricultural economy, USDA has also released a report detailing its strategy for promoting market growth, including two new pro-competition initiatives. The report details plans to complete a top-to-bottom review of USDA’s programs and to update guidance to strengthen the verification requirements for the most widely used “animal-raising claims” (such as “Product of the USA” labels) to ensure transparency. Click here to view the full report.
CDFW Releases Confirms Two New Wolf Depredations
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently released two confirmed wolf depredation reports, one report finding coyote depredation and one “unknown” animal depredation report.
On May 1, a 375-pound calf carcass was discovered on private land in Eastern Siskiyou County. After a thorough investigation, a Siskiyou County Wildlife Specialist and the county’s Wolf Liaison determined that the evidence of chase, struggle, tooth scrapes and punctures were undoubtedly a result of a wolf attack. In further confirmation, there were three wolves spotted on the scene and GPS collar data confirmed wolf OR-85, a member of the Whaleback Pack, at this location at 10:00 p.m. on April 30. To access the full report, click here.
Another confirmed wolf attack occurred on May 2. A black wolf was observed on private timberland in the general area of a 750-pound yearling steer carcass in Southern Lassen County, featuring fatal punctures consistent with a wolf attack. An examination of the carcass suggested the yearling died the night of May 1 or the morning of May 2; the GPS collar worn by LAS09F – a two-year old female in the Lassen Pack – was recorded at the scene during that timeframe. To access the full report, click here.
A sheep depredation reported in Eastern Siskiyou County on May 2 was determined to have resulted from a coyote attack, with no wolf presence document. To access the full report, click here. A 350-pound cow carcass found on May 4 in Eastern Siskiyou County was approximately seven days old at time of investigation, and thus there was insufficient evidence to determine wolf predation (though GPS data indicated wolves had used the area in the prior week). To access that report, click here.
To report evidence of wolf presence, including sightings, fill out the form on the CDFW Gray Wolf web page here.
Hours of Service Exemptions for Livestock Haulers Extended Through August 31
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 eight prior occasions, most recently through today. On Friday, FMCSA again issued an extension of the modified Emergency Declaration, which continues the hours of service exemption through August 31.
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 (more information regarding this reporting requirement can be found in a prior Legislative Bulletin 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.
SWRCB Extends Curtailment Suspensions in the Russian River and Scott River Watersheds
The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) on Friday announced that it has again extended curtailments suspensions on the Russian River and Scott River watersheds.
The temporary suspension of curtailments for the Russian River watershed will remain in place through June 15. You can find more information on the Russian River Drought Webpage.
The SWRCB also announced on Friday that a “locally driven voluntary water sharing agreement in the Upper Russian River is now available for review and early enrollment.” Submit an electronic enrollment form by June 20 to participate in a local voluntary water sharing agreement that grants participants eligibility for curtailment exemptions. You can find the online form on the Voluntary Water Sharing Program webpage.
The SWRCB has also renewed its temporary suspension of Scott River watershed curtailments through 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 3. The temporary suspension will remain in place only so long as minimum flow requirements are sustained at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Fort Jones gage (the minimum flow requirement is currently 150 cubic feet per second (cfs), but drops to 125 cfs effective June 1). If flows dip below the minimum flow requirements, diversions under the water rights included in the SWRCB’s “List A1” must cease immediately.
You can find more information on drought in the Scott River watershed on the Scott River and Shasta River Drought webpage.
For any questions about curtailment and suspension notices or how to comply, please contact the Rancher Technical Assistance Program at (916) 409-6902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Governor Newsom Releases May Revise of 2022-23 State Budget
On May 13, Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled the “May Revise” of the Administration’s proposed 2022-23 State Budget. The $300.6 billion budget includes more than $2 billion total for drought response and resilience – including a Small Agricultural Business Relief Grant Program – and $2.7 billion over two years for wildfire prevention and forest resilience. For additional details of the May Revise, see last week’s edition of Legislative Bulletin.
TAKE ACTION: Sign Grassroots Letter Against Mandatory Reporting of GHG Emissions
In April, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a rule requiring publicly traded companies to disclose their direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions. While cattle producers will not be subject to direct reporting requirements, the proposed rule could indirectly impact several segments of the cattle and beef supply chain. In response, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has launched a grassroots campaign for cattle ranchers to urge the SEC not to require companies to report their ‘supply-chain’ emissions. Click here to tell the SEC to stick to regulating Wall Street, not Main Street. The grassroots letter will be available for sign-on through June 17. For additional details, see last week’s edition of Legislative Bulletin, listen to NCBA’s podcast episode on it or watch this video.
CDFW Offers Grants for Non-Lethal Wolf Deterrence
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently announced a Non-Lethal Wolf Deterrence grant program as part of its Wolf Livestock Loss Compensation Grant Program. To apply for compensation for implementing non-lethal deterrents, see CDFW’s compensation form, here. To seek compensation for livestock lost to wolf depredation on or after September 23, 2021, click here. For additional details, see last week’s edition of Legislative Bulletin.