June 20, 2022

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Legislature Approves 2022-23 State Budget, But Negotiations Continue
The State Senate and Assembly last Monday approved a $300 billion Fiscal Year 2022-23 Budget ahead of the June 15 Constitutional deadline for the Legislature to do so. The Governor has until June 30 to sign the bill ahead of the fiscal year beginning July 1.

But while legislators have met their Constitutional deadline – and can thus continue to draw a paycheck – the bill passed last week is far from the last word on the Budget. The Senate, Assembly and Governor’s Office continue to negotiate on several major priorities, including education spending, how to provide relief to Californians suffering from inflation and high gas prices and how specifically to fund climate and energy expenditures (including for drought and wildfire resilience).

As previously previewed in Legislative Bulletin, the Budget Bill does not detail spending for drought resilience, wildfire prevention and other issues related to climate and energy policy. Rather, as part of the Legislature’s broader $21 billion climate and energy package, outlined here, the Budget Bill appropriates funds “for climate and energy activities with details to be determined by future legislation.”

While many elements of the Budget are subject to further negotiations, the legislation passed last week does authorize funding for several specific programs of significance to ranchers.

For instance, the Budget Bill appropriates $75 million to the California Department of Food and Agriculture to be used “for small business drought relief grants,” authorizing Governor Newsom’s proposed California Small Agricultural Business Drought Relief Grant Program. The program would provide grants of $30,000 to $50,000 to agricultural businesses impacted by severe drought conditions, with first priority given “to businesses located in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley and then to additional areas experiencing drought impacts.”

The Budget Bill also appropriates $25 million to the Department of Conservation to fund subvention payments to counties participating in the Williamson Act Program, and appropriates $1.5 billion for the purpose of acquiring water rights from willing sellers.

Lawmakers will continue to negotiate the details of the budget, with agreements taking shape in the form of a “budget bill junior.” That bill is likely to come to the floor later this month, but negotiations could continue further into the legislative session, which will end on August 31. Additionally, several “budget trailer bills” are currently being negotiated, with policy language which will implement the Budget’s funding plan.

CCA continues to engage legislators in ongoing Budget discussions and will continue to keep readers apprised as the State’s spending plan takes shape – particularly relating to drought and wildfire resilience investments – in forthcoming budget trailer bills and the budget bill junior.

Free Workshop: CattleFax Outlook and Tools for Making Marketing Decisions
The California Cattlemen’s Foundation is starting a new workshop series on cattle markets that is open to all at no cost. The first session of the series is happening this coming Wednesday, June 22 from 1:30-3 p.m. In this workshop, CattleFax General Manager Duane Lenz will be giving a market outlook and update. He is also scheduled to discuss accessing and using federal reports and other available data to make informed marketing decisions.

You do not have to be a CCA member to attend and can either join us virtually or at the Murieta Inn and Spa. Registration is required to join the Zoom webinar. To participate in the meeting virtually, click here to register. Access information for the meeting will be emailed out after registering.

Logos for grant workshop

SWRCB Issues Updates on Water Rights Curtailments 
On Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) updated the curtailment status of certain water rights within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed. These curtailment updates went into effect Wednesday. Note that these curtailments replace Delta watershed curtailments previously reported in Legislative Bulletin. The SWRCB will next update its curtailments for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed tomorrow; water rightsholders within the region are encouraged to sign up for email updates here for the most timely curtailment information.

The Sacramento River tributary water rights curtailed include appropriative water rights for the Bear River subwatershed with a priority date of 1942 or later and for the Putah Creek subwatershed with a priority date of 1945 or later. San Joaquin River tributary curtailments include all appropriative water rights and riparian water rights in the Calaveras River and Chowchilla River subwatersheds, and all appropriative water rights on the Merced River subwatershed with a priority date of 1859 or later. Finally, all appropriative water rights within the San Joaquin River watershed with a priority date of 1913 or later have been curtailed.­­

Water rights within the Legal Delta are not impacted by the above curtailments. Curtailments are expected to continue through summer and the beginning of fall. Additional information is available on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed webpage.

Additionally, the SWRCB on Tuesday announced that there will be no curtailments within the Russian River watershed through June 30. Additional information is available on the Russian River Drought Webpage.

On Friday, the SWRCB updated curtailment suspension for the Scott River watershed. Curtailments are suspended through 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 24 so long as minimum flows at the USGS Fort Jones gage are maintained at 125 cubic feet per second (cfs) through June 23, and 90 cfs from June 24 through June 30.

Additionally, the SWRCB tomorrow will consider amending and readopting emergency regulations for the Scott River and Shasta River watersheds, renewing the curtailment authority first authorized under last year’s emergency regulations. Water rightsholders within the region are encouraged to sign up for email updates; email sign-up and additional information is available at the Scott-Shasta Drought Webpage.

For questions about curtailment and suspension notices or how to comply, please contact the Rancher Technical Assistance Program at (916) 409-6902 or rtap@wrstrat.com.

Many Resources Available for Pollinator-Friendly Projects
It’s National Pollinator Week! Did you know there are many resources and opportunities available for ranchers to protect pollinators and beneficial insects? These projects not only benefit pollinators, but can also help improve soil health, reduce pest pressure and increase yields in some crops. Below are a few of the programs and resources available:

  • Seeds for Bees provides growers and orchardists in California free or subsidized cover crop seeds designed by Project Apis m., along with technical support. This incentive gives growers an opportunity to try out cover crops for themselves at a reduced cost so that they can experience the benefits first hand.
  • Monarch Watch and its partner nurseries have distributed over 650,000 free milkweeds for monarch butterfly habitat restoration since the program began in 2015. In California, Monarch Watch offers milkweed seed ecotypes for the Central Valley and Southern California, and applications can be as small as for a one-acre plot in California.
  • California Working Lands Free Seed Program, through the Monarch Joint Venture, offers free technical assistance, milkweed plugs, and a regionally specialized ‘More than Monarchs seed mix’ for pollinator plantings on private working lands in central California. Eligible projects are limited to private working lands in the Central Valley of California or adjacent foothills.
  • Bee Friendly Farming is a certification by Pollinator Partnership – in exchange for providing bee habitat (including temporary cover crops) on at least 3 percent of acreage and meeting other criteria, farmers gain recognition as “Bee Friendly.” Benefits include being allowed to use the Bee Friendly Farming logo on products, technical support, access to customers and grants, and more.
  • NRCS offers websites packed with information from popular articles to plant selection guides, along with financial and technical assistance programs.
  • CDFA Healthy Soils offers financial assistance grants for farmers and ranchers to install projects that not only improve soil health but increase pollinator habitat.
  • Learn more about practical ways to prevent exposure of pollinators to pesticides by visiting the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resource’s “Best management practices to protect bees from pesticides.”

In addition to learning more from the resources above, take this survey, from the Pollinator Partnership and USDA’s Farm Service Agency to share your thoughts on what is needed for ranches to incorporate more pollinator friendly practices.

CCA Joins NCBA in Fighting Onerous SEC Climate Rule
On Friday, CCA joined the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in submitting comments on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) greenhouse gas disclosure rule. The rule would require publicly traded companies to disclose greenhouse gas emissions from their entire supply chain. For large companies like retailers, packers, and restaurants, this rule could force cattle producers to calculate their farm or ranch-level emissions, while exposing them to legal liability. The comments call for the SEC to limit this vastly overreaching rule and stick to regulating Wall Street, not main street. For additional details, see the May 23 edition of Legislative Bulletin.

New Episode of Stories from California Cattle Country
Episode 19 of Stories from California Cattle Country “Feedlots Explained with Marissa Fisher of UC Davis” is available now. To listen, click hereStories from California Cattle Country is produced by the California Cattlemen’s Foundation with support from the California Cattle Council. If you want a glimpse into our travels, follow the podcast’s Instagram account @calcattlecountry.

Upcoming CCA Events

CCA Midyear Meeting
June 22-23, Rancho Murieta
It’s not too late to join us this Wednesday ad Thursday in Rancho Murieta for the CCA & CCW Midyear Meeting featuring a great set of updates. Onsite registrations will be available for purchase at an increased price.

California’s wildfire crisis is likely to be a dominant topic of discussion at the event. Len Nielson, Cal Fire Staff Chief for Prescribed Fire and Environmental Protection will be providing a Cal Fire update. CCA Fire Subcommittee Chair Anthony Stornetta will also share what the CCA Fire Subcommittee has worked on over the last few months and provide an outlook on the expectations for this year’s fire season in California. Other speakers at this year’s Midyear Meeting will include Duane Lenz, CattleFax; Allison Rivera, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; Kaitlynn Glover, Public Lands Council; and Dr. Marissa Silva, California Dept. of Food & Ag. To see the event schedule click here.

Free Workshop: CattleFax Outlook and Tools for Making Marketing Decisions
June 22, 1:30pm, Virtually or in Rancho Murieta
Click see the story above for details. Click here to register to participate virtually.

Logos for grant workshop

Upcoming Industry Events

Working Rangelands Wednesdays Webinars
June 29 – Sept. 7, Virtually
Join UC Cooperative Extension advisors, specialists, researchers and ranchers for a biweekly summer webinar series highlighting applied, land manager-oriented solutions for rangeland drought challenges. Webinars will air biweekly from 6pm to 6:45pm. Click here to register and receive a link to the following scheduled webinars.

June 29: FSA drought programs
July 13: Planning for drought
July 27: Early weaning
August 10: Culling vs. Feeding
August 24: Irrigating with limited water
September 7:  Fall/Winter Forecast and Remote Sensing

CCA in the News

California Pollinator Coalition reports increasing cooperation among ag, conservation groups Morning Ag Clips “One example of those partnerships is the diverse group of Coalition members – including Pollinator Partnership, the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, the Wine Institute, the Almond Board of California, Blue Diamond, California Dairy, Inc., the California Cattleman’s Assoc., California Farm Bureau Federation, and Project Apis m. – that worked together to apply for a partnership agreement through the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for regional farmer-to-farmer collaboration in 10 California counties on habitat installation and adoption of integrated pest management.” To continue reading, click here.

Industry News

Trial by fire: The trauma of fighting California’s wildfires CalMatters “CalMatters interviewed several dozen California firefighters — including many high-ranking battalion chiefs and captains — as well as mental health experts and family members, revealing an expansive and unaddressed problem that suggests a broken and depleted fire service is operating in a state that seems in perpetual combustion.” To continue reading, click here.

NCBA Disappointed in House Passage of Special Investigator Bill National Cattlemen’s Beef Association “Today, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) expressed strong disappointment in the House passage of the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act, which incorporates the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act.” To continue reading, click here.

USDA Joint Chiefs’ Funding Asks for Project Proposals to Improve Forest Health in California and Hawaii USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service “The USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California are seeking proposals for the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership to improve forest health on public and private lands.” To continue reading, click here.

Wildlife commissioners deadlock on granting threatened species status to Joshua trees Los Angeles Times “After eight hours of tense debate, the California Fish and Game Commission on Thursday deadlocked 2 to 2 on whether to declare the western Joshua tree a threatened species, forcing continuation of discussions of the volatile issue until November.” To continue reading, click here.

Jess Pryles, meat specialist and advocate, live fire cook, author and founder of Hardcore Carnivore joins us on the podcast. Hear how Jess, a city girl from Melbourne, got into learning all she could about meat and why she’s passionate about busting false myths about beef and other proteins. Click here to listen.

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