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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 here. Stories 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.