January 30, 2023

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Whaleback Wolf Pack Responsible for Six More Depredation Events
Last week’s Legislative Bulletin reported on four confirmed or probable wolf attacks on cattle which occurred between December 14 and January 2 in the territory of the Whaleback Pack in Siskiyou County. On Friday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) released eight more livestock loss determination reports detailing suspected wolf attacks which were investigated from January 3-6.

The reports confirm that the Whaleback Pack attacked six cattle across five incidents. One more investigation found an attack on a calf to be a “probable” wolf attack, and two other incidents were listed as “non-wolf depredation” perpetrated by coyotes.

A 90-pound calf found injured on January 3 was deemed “probable” because the calf could not be closely examined but its wounds appeared consistent with a previously-confirmed wolf depredation on the same ranch. On January 4, a 550-pound calf carcass was found “eleven miles outside of the Whaleback Pack territory,” but wolf tracks and DNA consistent with the Whaleback Pack confirmed the kill as a wolf depredation. CDFW found another calf carcass the following day on the same ranch and confirmed it as a wolf kill.

On January 6, CDFW confirmed one calf was killed and another injured by wolves, again finding wolf tracks and DNA consistent with the Whaleback Pack. That day CDFW also confirmed that an 80-pound calf and a 90-pound calf had each been injured by wolves.

In the past year, the Whaleback Pack has been identified as the cause of 20 livestock depredation events, with many more suspected kills reported to CDFW.

USDA APHIS Proposes New Animal Disease Traceability Rule
Earlier this month, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published a Proposed Rule regarding the “Use of Electronic Identification Eartags as Official Identification in Cattle and Bison.” The Proposed Rule would require that eartags “be both visually and electronically readable in order to be recognized for use as official eartags for interstate movement of cattle and bison.” The Rule would apply to all sexually intact cattle 18 months of age or older, all dairy cattle (as defined) and all cattle of any age used in rodeo or other recreational events. For more information, see last week’s edition of Legislative Bulletin.

NCBA, PLC Sue Biden Administration Over New WOTUS Rule
CCA’s national partners at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the Public Lands Council have filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers challenging the Biden Administration’s recent revision of regulations defining “Waters of the United States.” The lawsuit alleges (among other claims) that “The Rule should be held unlawful under the Administrative Procedure Act…because the Rule adopts an unworkable definition of WOTUS that conflicts with the [Clean Water Act], the Constitution, and Supreme Court precedent.” For additional details, see last week’s edition of Legislative Bulletin.

Curtailment Suspensions Still in Effect as SWRCB Again Prohibits “Inefficient Livestock Watering” in Scott & Shasta River Watersheds
Last Monday the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) announced that it has reimposed a prohibition on “inefficient livestock watering” in the Scott River and Shasta River watersheds. For range cattle, “inefficient livestock watering” is defined as diversion in excess of 150 gallons per head per day as measured from the point of diversion.

As previously reported in Legislative Bulletin, the SWRCB earlier this month had temporarily suspended the prohibition in light of “high flow events” resulting from a series of atmospheric rivers. However, with minimum flows now falling below 500 cubic feet per second (cfs) at the Scott River’s Fort Jones gage and below 220 cfs at the Shasta River’s Yreka gage, the SWRCB has now reimposed regulation against “inefficient livestock watering.”

On Thursday, the SWRCB announced that curtailments in the Scott River watershed remain suspended through midnight this Thursday, February 2, so long as flows of 200 cfs are maintained at the Fort Jones gage (if flows dip below 200 cfs, diversion under all water rights listed here must immediately cease).

Curtailments within the Sacramento-San Joaquin DeltaRussian RiverMill Creek and Deer Creek watersheds remain suspended – while conditional curtailments within the Shasta River watershed remain in effect – as previously reported in Legislative Bulletin.

New Episode of Stories from California Cattle Country 
Stories from California Cattle Country, “Cheryl LaFranchi at Oak Ridge Angus in Calistoga” is out now. To listen to the episode, 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.

Bonus Episode of Sorting Pen: The California Cattleman Podcast 
On this episode of Sorting Pen: The California Cattleman Podcast, Noah Lopez from the Rancher Technical Assistance Program is back on the podcast to give producers a quick reminder about the SWRCB’s Annual Water Diversion and Use Reporting deadline coming up on Feb. 1. He also shares about a truck regulation from the California Air Resources Board that went into effect on Jan. 1. To listen, click here.

Upcoming Industry Events

2023 Society for Range Management Annual Meeting
Feb. 12 – Feb. 16, Boise, ID, In Person and Virtual
The Society for Range Management’s Annual Meeting will be held Feb. 12-16 in Boise, ID. The conference will consist of technical tours, sessions and meetings. The meeting will be offered both in-person and virtually. For further information and to register for the meeting click here.

2023 California Rangeland Conservation Coalition Summit 
Feb. 24, 2023, Stockton, CA, In Person 
The University of California Ag and Natural Resources, the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition and the Range Management Advisory Board have collaborated to host the 2023 California Rangeland Conservation Coalition Summit on Feb. 24 in Stockton, CA. This years joint conference titled,Rangeland and Fire” will provide an array of presentations from ranchers, researchers, CalFire and rangeland agencies. For further information and to register for the event click here

Ag Legacy Symposium 
Feb. 25, 2023, Chico, CA, In Person 
The University of California Cooperative Extension Plumas-Sierra is hosting an Ag Legacy Symposium on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023 at the Chico State University Farm. The event will prepare your farm or ranch or agri-business, big or small, for the transition to the next generation. The sessions will cover legal aspects, financial topics, political factors, family dynamics, and provide real life scenarios for you to consider incorporating into your succession plan. Early bird registration is $30 and includes morning refreshments, lunch and workshop materials. To register, click here.

If your business is interested in joining as a sponsor or trade show vendor, please contact Dr. Kasey DeAtley at kdeatley@csuchico.edu or 530-828-4318.  For general event questions please contact Tracy Schohr at tkschohr@ucdavis.edu or 916-716-2643.

Industry News

Cattle rancher: California storms have helped with drought NEWSNATION “Severe weather has swept through California, with weeks of rain from storms that washed away certain crops, affected livestock and caused dangerous flooding. Josh Davy, a cattle rancher in Tehama County, California, says though the storms have done a lot of damage in the southern part of the state, they’ve also been a “blessing straight from God” in the north after two years of rains stopping early in the season.” To continue reading, click here.

USDA Offers Disaster Assistance to Farmers and Livestock Producers in California Impacted by Floods CDFA “California agricultural operations have been significantly impacted by the recent floods throughout the state. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has technical and financial assistance available to help farmers and livestock producers recover.” To continue reading, click here.

CA wildfire victims to receive more money from PG&E settlement at end of month ABC7 “California wildfire victims will start to receive more PG&E settlement money at the end of this month, but some are still waiting for their initial payments. There’s also lingering confusion about what if any taxes they have to pay on the settlement money.” To continue reading, click here.

Katie and Fiona talking on the podcast

California State Treasurer Fiona Ma is on the newest episode of Sorting Pen: The California Cattleman Podcast. Tune in on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts or by clicking here to listen to a conversation with her directly intended for California’s beef producers and ranching community. Hear about her role as treasurer for the 5th largest economy in the world, how the State Treasurer’s office can help ranchers, how Fiona’s curiosity has led her to learn about California agriculture and more.

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