April 10, 2023

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President Biden Issues Major Disaster Declaration for Seven Counties
Last week’s Legislative Bulletin reported that Governor Gavin Newsom had requested “a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to bolster the emergency response and recovery” in several California counties suffering the impacts of a series of atmospheric rivers which have hit the state in recent months. On Monday, President Joe Biden responded to the request by declaring “that a major disaster exists in” Kern, Mariposa, Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz, Tulare and Tuolumne counties “and ordered Federal aid to supplement State, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe winter storms, straight-line winds, flooding, landslides, and mudslides beginning on February 21, 2023, and continuing.” Other counties may later be added to the declaration after damage assessments are completed.
The declaration makes available “grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.” It also provides state and local governments cost-share funding “for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities,” as well as cost-share funds “for hazard mitigation measures statewide.”
In addition to requesting a Presidential major disaster declaration, Governor Newsom in recent weeks has proclaimed a state of emergency to exist in 47 counties and has issued an executive order to support Tulare Lake Basin flood response. Additional details on both actions are available in last week’s Legislative Bulletin
Whaleback Wolf Pack Responsible for Three More Cattle Kills
On Thursday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) released five livestock loss determination reports covering investigations of suspected depredation events throughout March. While two investigations found that livestock deaths were not caused by predation, three other incidents of livestock loss were confirmed as wolf kills.
On March 5, ranch personnel found an injured yearling heifer which later had to be euthanized due to the severity of its injuries. Though the incident occurred “about 85 miles outside of the normal Whaleback pack area,” DNA analysis determined that the heifer had been attacked by one yearling and two 11-month-old pups of the Whaleback Pack (males designated WHA07M, WHA11M and WHA13M). 
On March 14 and 15, CDFW and Siskiyou County personnel investigated an attack on a 200-pound calf which was injured by wolves and died the next day. On March 16, the agencies investigated a 125-pound calf injured by wolves which also later died. Though neither report specifies which wolf or wolves were responsible for the depredation events, the reports both note that the attacks occurred in the “Whaleback wolf pack area.”
These three incidents are merely the latest in a long string of livestock depredations by the Whaleback Pack; over the past year, the pack has been responsible for more than two-dozen depredation events.
CDFW on Thursday also released the latest quarterly update to its “California’s Known Wolves – Past and Present” document. The update does not appear to include any new details from the first quarter of 2023, and does not reflect CDFW’s recent announcement that it has collared two members of the Whaleback Pack.
BLM Releases Proposed Rule on “Conservation and Landscape Health”
Last week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a Proposed Rule, titled “Conservation and Landscape Health,” which makes significant changes to the agency’s authority under the Federal Land Management and Policy Act (FLPMA). Of concern to CCA, the Proposed Rule would clarify that conservation of land is a “use” within the meaning of FLPMA’s multiple-use mandate and would ramp up identification and designation of Areas of Critical Environmental Concern – both of which could have impacts on permitted grazing. The Proposed Rule may also have a benefit for permittees, though, as it would apply land health standards currently only utilized to evaluate grazing permits to all uses of BLM lands. BLM is accepting comments through June 20; for additional details, see last week’s edition of Legislative Bulletin
The California Beef Cattle Improvement Association and the California Cattlemen’s Association Industry Tour is taking place May 16-18. Participants will visit the Central Valley and have the opportunity to tour an array of livestock operations, local agricultural businesses and hear from industry leaders. Limited space is available and spots are on a first come first serve basis. To view the agenda and register for the tour click here

SWRCB Rescinds Curtailment for Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Watershed, Russian River Watershed; All Other Curtailments Currently Suspended
Last week, Legislative Bulletin reported that the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) had “rescinded all curtailment orders…implementing the drought emergency regulation in the Russian River watershed.” 
Last Monday, the SWRCB announced that is has likewise rescinded “all orders imposing water right curtailment and reporting requirements…for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta” watershed. The SWRCB explained that it is terminating the long-standing curtailment orders, which were first implemented on August 20, 2021 in light of Governor Newsom’s recent executive order easing drought restrictions and “in consideration of reservoir storage conditions and continued precipitation throughout the Delta watershed.”
While curtailment orders elsewhere in the state have yet to be rescinded, they nevertheless remain suspended. For instance, curtailments within the Scott River watershed are currently suspended through Friday so long as minimum flows of 150 cubic feet per second (cfs) are maintained at the Fort Jones gageShasta River watershed curtailments are suspended through the end of this month so long as minimum flows of 70 cfs are maintained at the Yreka gage. The SWRCB has also suspended its prohibition against “inefficient livestock watering” within the Scott and Shasta River watersheds provided certain conditions are met. 
Likewise, curtailments on the Deer Creek and Mill Creek watersheds are currently set to remain in effect until June 30, but are suspended so long as minimum flows of 50 cfs are achieved at their respective confluences with the Sacramento River.

Upcoming CCA Events

CCA Steak and Eggs Legislative and Regulatory Breakfast + Lobby Day 
May 16, 2023, Sacramento, CA, The Sutter Club
Join the California Cattlemen’s Association and other CCA members at the 42nd Steak and Eggs Legislative and Regulatory Breakfast + Lobby Day. Plan to be in Sacramento on Tuesday, May 16. Breakfast starts at 8am! Over breakfast, enjoy sharing about your ranch while meeting representatives from regulatory and legislative offices in Sacramento. Following the breakfast, attendees will head across the street to the state Capitol to continue conversations about ranching in California.

There is no cost to attend but RSVPS are required. To RSVP click here.

Feeder Meeting 
May 24 – 26, San Diego, CA, Marriott Marquis
Registration for the California Cattlemen’s Association Feeder Council and Arizona Cattle Feeders Association Meeting is now open. To Register click here.

The California Cattlemen’s Association room block at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina is now open! To make your reservation, click here or call (877) 622-3056 and mention “CCA Annual Feeder Meeting 2023.”

Midyear Meeting
June 21-22, Paso Robles, CA, Paso Robles Inn
Save the date for the 2023 Midyear Meeting, headed back to the Paso Robles Inn. Look back for further information in the coming weeks.

Upcoming Industry Events

California Disaster Assistance Webinar
Tuesday, April 11, 9:00am – Virtual
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) are hosting a webinar to help California ranchers impacted by current disasters understand programs and resources that may be available to them. If your farming operation in California was impacted by a natural disaster or if you live in an agricultural community impacted and are looking for resources to recover and rebuild, please join USDA and CDFA for this webinar. Additional details are available here. Click here to join the webinar via Microsoft Teams.

Financial Resiliency for the Family Ranch Workshop 
April 18, Stockton, CA and April 19, Bakersfield, CA, 10:00am – 3:00pm
The Western Extension Risk Management Education, The Art of Range Podcast, USDA and Washington State University Extension are hosting Financial Resiliency for the Family Ranch Workshop taking place in Stockton and Bakersfield, CA. The workshop will cover financial risks in ranching, the importance of managerial accounting and much more. Attendance is limited. To view the flyer and for registration instructions, click here.

Public Lands Council Legislative Conference
April 24-25, 2023, Washington, D.C.
The Public Lands Council 2023 Legislative Conference will be help in person after two years online. Hear from Congressional members, policy experts, scientists, and other industry professionals. For additional information and to register click here.

May 16-18, 2023, Turlock, CA
The California Beef Cattle Improvement Association and the California Cattlemen’s Association Industry Tour is taking place May 16-18. Participants will visit the Central Valley and have the opportunity to tour an array of livestock operations, local agricultural businesses and hear from industry leaders. Limited space is available and spots are on a first come first serve basis. To view the agenda and register for the tour click here.

Industry News

Unprecedented wolf attacks in California lead to dramatic helicopter capture SFGate “Trying and failing to get collars on wolves has been the bane of Laudon’s existence for the past two years. Wolves are incredibly wily; Laudon once spent 60 straight days setting and monitoring wolf traps. He watched as wolves walked around his traps, and even rolled on top of one. But none of the wolves actually got stuck inside. That left the state with the difficult decision to hire helicopter trappers — a much more costly and difficult operation than trapping wolves on the ground.” To continue reading, click here.

NCBA Statement Correcting Internet Falsehoods About mRNA Vaccines in Cattle National Cattlemen’s Beef Association “Today, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) released a statement in regard to false information circulating on social media about the use of mRNA vaccines in cattle: ‘There are no current mRNA vaccines licensed for use in beef cattle in the United States. Cattle farmers and ranchers do vaccinate cattle to treat and prevent many diseases, but presently none of these vaccines include mRNA technology.’” View the press release, here.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Nearly $585 Million from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to Repair Aging Water Infrastructure, Advance Drought Resilience 
U.S. Department of Interior “Today during a visit to the Imperial Dam, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau, Senior Advisor to the President and White House Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator Mitch Landrieu, and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton announced a nearly $585 million investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for infrastructure repairs on water delivery systems throughout the West. Funding will go to 83 projects in 11 states to improve water conveyance and storage, increase safety, improve hydro power generation and provide water treatment.” To continue reading, click here.


A New episode of Sorting Pen: The California Cattleman Podcast is out now. Tune into this episode to hear an industry update from the California Cattle Council, the work they are funding and key priorities of the Council moving through the rest of the year. To listen to the episode, click here.

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