Inflation Reduction Act Includes Investments for Ag and Rural Communities
Yesterday, the Senate passed H.R. 5376, the Inflation Reduction Act by a vote of 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting a tie-breaking vote in favor of the legislation.
While much of the media attention around the Inflation Reduction Act has focused on provisions relating to healthcare, climate change and tax revenue, the $750 billion legislation also includes roughly $40 billion in agricultural investments, including $5 billion allocated to the U.S. Forest Service to undertake fuels reduction and carbon sequestration activities on USFS lands.
The legislation also appropriates $20 billion in additional funding for environmental stewardship programs administered by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, including $8.45 billion for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and $3.25 billion for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
The bill also sets aside $14 billion for rural development, including $500 million earmarked for the development of biofuels infrastructure.
Of additional interest to producers in drought-plagued California, the bill directs a total of roughly $4 billion to the Bureau of Reclamation for drought resilience and water supply projects – which Governor Gavin Newsom’s office has hailed as critical to stabilizing the Colorado River system and accelerating Salton Sea projects.
According to an analysis prepared by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Inflation Reduction Act does not include harmful tax provisions previously contemplated by President Biden’s “Build Back Better” initiative – such as changes in the stepped-up basis or like-kind exchanges – which had raised concerns within the cattle industry and were previously reported in Legislative Bulletin. Rather, the Act raises revenues through a corporate minimum tax, increased enforcement by the IRS and other provisions.
The Inflation Reduction Act will be taken up in the House of Representatives on Friday, where it is expected to pass on a party-line vote, after which President Biden is expected to sign the Act into law.
SWRCB Issues Updates on Water Rights Curtailments in Scott, Shasta, Russian River and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Watersheds
Since last week’s Legislative Bulletin, curtailments for Scott River, Shasta River and Sacramento San-Joaquin Delta Watersheds have been announced.
Scott and Shasta River Watershed
The drought emergency regulation for the Scott and Shasta River watersheds was reapproved with amendments on July 29. The full text is available here.
The State Water Resource Control Board (SWRCB) on Tuesday issued additional curtailments in the Shasta River watershed with a priority date of April 1, 1885 or later. Impacted water rights holders should coordinate with the Scott Valley and Shasta Valley Watermaster and the SWRCB to ensure minimum flow requirements are satisfied before diverting. Impacted water rights holders must certify their compliance with the curtailments via the Water Right Form and Survey Submittal Portal by Friday.
For additional information, visit the Scott River and Shasta River Watersheds Drought Response webpage.
Russian River Watershed
On July 27, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a variance that substantially reduces flows from the Potter Valley Project to the Russian River watershed. The SWRCB has posted a revised Curtailment Status List reflecting the reduced water availability. Access the Russian River Drought Response webpage to see if your water rights have been curtailed by this or a previous curtailment order.
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Watershed
As of Wednesday, several curtailments have been imposed within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed.
Appropriative water rights in the Sacramento River watershed outside of the Legal Delta with a priority date of 1917 or later have been curtailed. Additionally, rights on several Sacramento River tributaries have been curtailed, including appropriative water rights for the Upper American River subwatershed with a priority date of 1852 or later, the Yuba River subwatershed with a priority date of 1875 or later and the Bear River watershed with a priority date of 1853 or later.
All appropriative water rights in the San Joaquin River watershed outside of the Legal Delta have been curtailed. Additionally, water rights on several San Joaquin River tributaries have also been curtailed, including all riparian water rights in the Calaveras River and Chowchilla River subwatersheds.
The above curtailments are expected to continue through summer and the beginning of fall, depending on precipitation.
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.
CDFW Provides Update on State’s Gray Wolf Population
On Tuesday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) issued its Quarterly Wolf News Update on its Gray Wolf web page for April through June 2022. CDFW’s quarterly update includes new activity from the Lassen and Whaleback packs.
Both the Lassen and Whaleback packs currently have at least a dozen pack members. Since the last quarterly update, the Lassen Pack has produced a litter of five new pups – two males and three females – growing the pack to a total of 12. Only the breeding female, LAS01F, is fitted with a functioning GPS collar. In the Whaleback pack, there are at least six new pups, leading to a pack of 13. CDFW has yet to conduct genetic analysis on the new little of pups. The Whaleback Pack likewise has only one functioning GPS collar, attached to the breeding male.
A wolf designated OR103 dispersed from Scott Valley in May, before crossing Interstate 5 and traveling through Shasta and Butte Valleys. Later, this wolf traveled through the southern Cascades in June and into Oregon on July 2, where it remains. More information can be found about these and other wolves on the CDFW Gray Wolf webpage.
To report evidence of wolf presence including sightings or wolf signs, please fill out the survey on the CDFW Gray Wolf web page here.
ACT NOW: Encourage NRCS to fund cost-sharing for non-lethal predator management
CCA has joined the Western Landowners Alliance (WLA) in asking the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to assist livestock producers with implementation of non-lethal predator deterrents through the agency’s cost-sharing programs. Specifically, CCA and WLA are requesting that cost-sharing assistance through NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentive Program and other programs be made available for three practices: range riding, carcass management and fencing. CCA recommends that California producers sign on to the letter to encourage NRCS to defray the costs of non-lethal deterrent mechanisms for producers who voluntarily undertake those deterrents.
A formal letter with signatories will be sent to the agency with the request for funding.
To learn more about the Western Landowners Alliance’s efforts and sign the letter, click here.
Newsom Declares Wildfire Emergency in Siskiyou County Due to McKinney Fire
Governor Newsom late last month proclaimed a state of emergency in Siskiyou County due to the McKinney Fire, which as of this morning has burned 60,379 acres and is only 40% contained. Tragically, the blaze has taken five lives. Newsom has also declared a state of emergency for Mariposa County’s Oak Fire, which has now scorched 19,244 acres and is 94% contained.
The emergency declarations provide Siskiyou and Mariposa counties greater access to state resources to combat the fire and improve impacted residents’ access to emergency assistance.
Additional information about these and other wildfire incidents can be found via Cal Fire and InciWeb.
2022 CCA Scholarship Applications Now Available
Applications for the 2022 CCA Scholarships are being accepted now through October 1, 2022. CCA awarded $63,000 in scholarships to students studying agriculture, although scholarship amounts and quantities vary year to year. Current CCA members (producer, feeder or YCC) that are currently enrolled at a university or college are eligible to apply. Past recipients of her CCA scholarship program may also apply again this year. For a complete list of awards and to download the application visit calcattlemen.org/scholarships. Contact Maureen in the CCA office at email@example.com with any questions.