June 5, 2023

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Department of Fish & Wildlife Implements Pay for Presence Wolf Compensation Program
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife on Wednesday announced the availability of its “Pay for Presence” wolf compensation program. The Department has previously rolled out programs to compensate producers for direct losses of livestock to wolves and for implementation of non-lethal deterrent measures.

According to a CDFW press release, the Pay for Presence program is intended to compensate livestock producers for the “Livestock production losses associated with wolf-induced stress,” including “reduced calf weight gains and lower pregnancy rates.” Only producers operating within known wolf pack territories are eligible for Pay for Presence compensation. CDFW’s 2021-22 map of known wolf pack summer and winter ranges is available here, and the agency’s methodology for determining these geographic ranges can be found here.

Ranchers grazing cattle outside of known wolf pack territories, including within areas traveled by dispersing wolves, will typically not be eligible for the Pay for Presence program. However, the Department does allow that “Extenuating circumstances may exist whereby the Department will consider eligibility on a case-by-case basis.” CCA thus encourages ranchers who believe they’ve been impacted by wolf presence even outside of known wolf territories to contact the Department at wolfprogram@wildlife.ca.gov.

Eligible producers can apply for compensation retroactive to September 23, 2021. According to a document overviewing CDFW’s compensation pilot program, Pay for Presence compensation rates are as follows for animals that spend at least 3 months of a payment year in a known wolf territory and survive to the end of the payment year:

  • 3.5% of fair market value (FMV) for each calf within a “core area” of a wolf territory;
  • 3% FMV for each cow within a core area;
  • 2% FMV for each cow and calf outside of a “core area” but within a known wolf pack territory.

CCA actively lobbied the Department in the development of its Pay for Presence program. While the program does not reflect all CCA’s priorities and is by no means a perfect program, the availability of Pay for Presence compensation marks significant progress in compensating livestock producers who must bear the burden of ill-conceived state regulations fully protecting gray wolves. Additionally, as this is a pilot program, compensation formulations may be refined in the future.
For more information on Pay for Presence and other wolf compensation programs, visit the CDFW Wolf Livestock Compensation Grants webpage.
Supreme Court Limits Scope of “Wetlands” Considered Jurisdictional Waters of the U.S.
The U.S. Supreme Court late last month issued its highly-anticipated ruling in Sackett v. EPA, significantly limiting the extent to which wetlands may be considered “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) and thus under the regulatory jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers. A unanimous court rejected the established “significant nexus” test for determining when wetlands are sufficiently “adjacent” to other jurisdictional waters to themselves qualify as WOTUS, with a bare majority of justices determining that jurisdictional wetlands are limited to those which have “a continuous surface connection” with a traditional navigable water. The ruling is likely to necessitate revisions to the Biden Administration’s recent WOTUS Rule, which is partly rooted in the “significant nexus” test. For additional analysis, see last week’s edition of Legislative Bulletin.
AB 554 Shelved for the Year Following CCA Opposition
Following an outpouring of opposition from CCA and a broad coalition of animal agriculture groups and animal caretakers, legislation that would have allowed radical animal rights groups to weaponize civil courts against livestock producers in California has been shelved for the year. Sponsored by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, AB 554 (Gabriel) would give societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals (SPCAs) standing to file civil lawsuits alleging violation of “any law relating to or affecting animals.” Because California law allows any 20 citizens to incorporate as an SPCA, the bill would be easily weaponized by those who oppose animal agriculture (current law rightly entrusts the state’s criminal courts and district attorneys to enforce laws ensuring the health and safety of animals in the state). For more information on the dangers of AB 554, read the coalition’s opposition letter, here.

California Agriculture Vision 
The California Department of Food and Agriculture and California State Board of Food and Agriculture have announced their plan for Ag Vision for the Next Decade. Created using an inclusive process, the plan’s goal is to provide opportunity for California farmers, ranchers and communities and climate action.

The plan developed aims to focus on five key priority areas including:

  • Fostering climate-smart, resilient, and regernative food systems. 
  • Building healthy, local communities.
  • Driving next-generation talent and tools.
  • Enhancing understanding of agriculture.
  • Collaborating on smarter regulations.

To learn more about Ag Vision, click here. To view a video clip on Ag Vision, click here

UC to Unearth 7 Years of Wildfire Impacts. Help Fight for Better Ag Resources and Policies 
From the UCCE UC Davis
Has your ranch in California been impacted by wildfires? We hope you can take less than 20 minutes to share the impacts you experienced and response strategies you implemented. The results of this survey will elevate rancher perspectives to the forefront of local and regional wildfire preparedness & response efforts. All participants who finish the survey by June will receive a $20 thank-you gift and will be entered into a $200 drawing. This initiative is led by the University of California at Davis in collaboration with Cooperative Extension. Go to https://bit.ly/WildfiresAgStudyCCA to get started.

New Episode of Stories from California Cattle Country
Stories from California Cattle Country, “Moving Cattle with Tim Curran in Sierra County” 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.

Upcoming CCA Events

Midyear Meeting
June 21-22, Paso Robles, CA, Paso Robles Inn
Registration for Midyear Meeting is now open! To register, click hereThe last day to pre-register is Wed., June 14. All registration prices will be increased onsite. No registration refunds will be given after Wed., May 31.

The California Cattlemen’s Association Room block at the Paso Robles Inn is open. To make your reservations call (805) 238-2660 and mention “California Cattlemen’s Association.” Further registration details and the tentative schedule can be found here

CCA Cattle-PAC Auction + Dinner
Sept. 16, Paso Robles, CA

Upcoming Industry Events

RMAC Webinar: Developing a Grazing Management Plan 
Tuesday, June 6, 1:00-4:00pm
The Range Management Advisory Committee presents “Developing a Grazing Management Plan” with a focus on wildland fuels reduction and grazing on state lands with applications to other land types. Attendees will benefit from the expertise of representatives from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE/UCANR), Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and private consulting while learning about the process of developing plans for fuels management projects using grazing. To register, click here.

California-United Water 2023 Silicon Valley Tour 
June 21-23, 2023, Santa Clara, CA
The Mountain Counties Water Resources Association (MCWRA), Urban Water Institute, Inc., Mesa Water, and Bay Area Water Supply & Conservation Agency (BAWSCA) are hosting a tour in Santa Clara, CA. Tour stops include Google, Levi’s Stadium and much more. For more information and to register, click here.

2023 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting
July 24-26, 2023, Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego, CA
Registration for the 2023 Cattle Industry Supper Business Meeting is now open. To register, click here. To view the agenda, click here.

Industry News

Rare wolverine spotted in California, second confirmed specimen in a century The Los Angeles Times “A wild wolverine was spotted multiple times in California last month, only the second specimen to be verified by experts in the past century, according to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.” To continue reading, click here.

‘California is meant to burn’: Experts teach landowners art of prescribed burns Reuters “The prescribed burn begins on a California hill with a drip torch to light brush, needles and fallen branches, the flames spreading out on the forest floor far below the tree canopy. Students on this Saturday class learn how to keep the burn under control, while others stand by ready to assist with water pumps, hand tools and first aid.” To continue reading, click here.


A New episode of Sorting Pen: The California Cattleman Podcast is out now. At CCA’s Feeder Meeting, Katie sat down with CCA’s Feeder Council Chair Joe Dan Cameron. Tune in as they discuss current issues and concerns from cattle feeders in California. To listen to the episode click here

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