June 24, 2024

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CCA Secures Funding for Wolf Compensation in Revised Budget
Last week, California Cattleman Weekly reported that the Legislature had passed a Budget Act on June 13, meeting the body’s Constitutional deadline to do so. But as we noted at that time, the initial Budget Act was merely a framework representing the Legislature’s priorities and was certain to be revised after further legislative negotiations with Governor Gavin Newsom ahead of the 2024-25 Fiscal Year, which begins next Monday.

On Saturday, Governor Newsom announced that an agreement had been reached regarding the 2024-25 State Budget; a “Budget Bill Junior” amending the Budget Act of 2024 appeared in print that same day.

Tucked away in the revised Budget is CCA’s top Budget priority of the year: renewed funding for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Wolf-Livestock Compensation Program. Specifically, section 102 of the Act earmarks $600,000 from CDFW’s Biodiversity Conservation Program for wolf compensation.

The Wolf-Livestock Compensation Program was initially authorized in the Budget Act of 2021 and funded in the amount of $3 million. Between September 23, 2021 and March 8, 2024, all original funding for the program was exhausted through payments for direct loss compensation for cattle confirmed to have been killed by wolves, reimbursement for adoption of non-lethal wolf deterrent techniques and “pay-for-presence.” CCA has aggressively sought renewed funding for the program since December of 2023, partnering with Defenders of Wildlife and California Farm Bureau to champion the program in the Legislature.

While $600,000 is less than CCA had sought for the Program, any renewed funding for the Program is a significant victory for the Association in this challenging fiscal climate, and the funding will enable the Department to prioritize the most crucial elements of the compensation program, such as direct loss compensation.

In addition to funding for the Program in the revised budget, the public resources budget trailer bill also includes new statutory language authorizing CDFW to “allocate federal funds and any moneys received as donations for purposes of the Wolf-Livestock Compensation Pilot Program.”

Legislators will vote on the revised budget and budget trailer bills later this week. For additional information on the budget agreement, see the Governor’s summary, here. A full analysis of this year’s Budget from a cattlemen’s perspective will be provided in the August edition of the California Cattleman magazine.

New Episode of Sorting Pen: The California Cattleman Podcast
A new episode of Sorting Pen: The California Cattleman Podcast is out now! In this week’s episode, Jake Parnell makes his debut on Sorting Pen to discuss Western Video Market’s recent restructuring, give an outlook on the July WVM sale and discuss the importance of auction yards. To listen, click here.

CCA to Host Session on Gray Wolf Management Thursday During Midyear Meeting
A meeting of CCA members at the 2023 Annual Convention was responsible for CCA’s strong advocacy this year in favor of additional funding for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Wolf-Livestock Compensation Program – an effort which is nearing the finish line with the proposed inclusion of $600,000 for the Program in revised Budget language released Saturday.

To discuss the next steps in CCA’s gray wolf advocacy, the Association will be hosting a Wolf Meeting in conjunction with CCA’s Midyear Meeting, held from June 26-27 at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nev. The Wolf Meeting, facilitated by Dr. Ken Tate, is open to all CCA members and Midyear Meeting registrants and will be held during General Session #2 on Thursday, June 27 in rooms Cascade 1 and 2 between 8:00-10:00am. For additional information, see last week’s edition of California Cattleman Weekly.

SWRCB Issues Curtailment Order for Shasta River Watershed
The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) on Friday issued a curtailment order for the Shasta River Watershed requiring all diversion under water rights with a priority date of January 1, 1958 or later to cease immediately. The curtailments are authorized under Order WR 2024-0006-DWR.

Water rights within the Shasta River Watershed with priority dates between November 25, 1912 and December 31, 1957 remain conditionally curtailed, meaning that diverters must coordinate with the Scott Valley and Shasta Valley Watermaster District or the SWRCB to ensure that diversion timing and rates are sufficient to sustain the minimum emergency flow requirement of 50 cubic feet per second as measured at the U.S. Geological Survey Yreka gage. If minimum flows are not sustained via coordination, diversions must cease in order of water right priority.

The SWRCB’s notice provides that an exception from the curtailment order may be available for “minimum livestock needs.” To apply for this exception, water rightsholders should file the appropriate form via the SWRCB’s Water Right Form and Survey Submittal Portal using the “login and password information for completion of the forms…provided in Attachment A of your Curtailment Order.”

The curtailments announced Friday apply only to the Shasta River Watershed; there are currently no curtailments in effect for the Scott River Watershed. For additional information, see the SWRCB’s “Scott River and Shasta River Watersheds Emergency Regulation” webpage.

Wildfire Assistance Programs for Ranchers 
As fire season begins, ranchers across the state have already begun experiencing losses from wildfire. Various federal government programs exist to provide disaster assistance for ranchers who have been impacted by wildfires. These include programs to address the loss of livestock, feed, fencing and other infrastructure. It’s important to note that several of the disaster assistance programs have initial notification deadlines that must be met in order to be eligible for funding, so producers are encouraged to act in a timely fashion.

An overview of the USDA programs providing wildfire assistance is available in a factsheet from the Rancher Technical Assistance Program (RTAP). Click here to download the factsheet. For help contacting your FSA office or understanding what questions to ask, contact the RTAP team at rtap@wrstrat.com or (916) 409-6902. RTAP provides free regulatory and technical assistance for all California cattle producers, provided by the California Cattlemen’s Foundation and funded by the California Cattle Council. Learn more about the program a https://www.calcattlemenfoundation.org/rtap.

Upcoming CCA Events

Midyear Meeting Starts on Wednesday
June 26-27, 2024, Nugget Casino Resort, Sparks, Nev. 
Midyear Meeting starts on Wednesday! To view a tentative schedule, click hereRegistration prices will be increased onsite.

Upcoming Industry Events

Conservation Easement Workshop
June 27, 2024, 5:30 pm, Fall River Mills Veterans Hall, Fall River Mills, CA
The Shasta Land Trust is hosting a conservation easement workshop for the Fall River Valley area on Thursday, June 27. This is a free educational workshop for landowners interested in learning more about how conservation easements might benefit them and their property. To learn more and register, click here.

Registration Open for 2024 NCBA Summer Business Meeting
July 8-10, Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel, San Diego, CA
Registration for the NCBA Summer Business Meeting happening July 8-10, 2024 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel in San Diego. To register, click here. To view the agenda click here.

Public Lands Council Annual Meeting
Sept. 17-19, DoubleTree by Hilton, Grand Junction, Colo.
Registration is now open for the Public Lands Council’s 56th Annual Meeting, to be held in Grand Junction, Colorado from September 17-19. Registration for the three-day in-person event is $375, with discounted rates available for family members, students and media. The entire event will be hosted in the DoubleTree Hilton. For additional details and to register, click here.

CCA in the News

Protecting What Matters Podcast 1230 am 99.3 fm KPRL “Kevin Kester & Steve Arnold, California Cattlemen’s Association. State and Federal legislative updates impacting SLO County Cattlemen. Importance of cattle grazing in preventing wildfires and carbon sequestration. Challenges and issues faced by our local and state cattlemen.” To listen, click here.

Industry News

Bipartisan Coalition Introduces Historic Forestry Legislation House Committee on Natural Resources “Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) introduced the Fix Our Forests Act, a comprehensive, bipartisan bill that will restore forest health, increase resiliency to catastrophic wildfires and protect communities.” To continue reading, click here.

Rainbow Family Gathering, ‘legacy of the original hippies,’ is returning to California. Not everyone is feeling the love Los Angeles Times “For attendees, the upcoming Rainbow Family Gathering in Plumas National Forest is a chance to celebrate community, peace, love and healing. But authorities in this sparsely populated corner of California have other words for the affair: non-permitted, disruptive and potentially destructive.” To continue reading, click here.

Watch Duty and California State Parks Partner to Enhance Prescribed Fire Awareness KTLA5 “Watch Duty, the leading wildfire information app, is pleased to announce a strategic collaboration with California State Parks aimed at improving wildfire safety and communication across the state. As part of this partnership, California State Parks will now be posting directly on the Watch Duty platform, providing valuable updates about prescribed fires throughout the parks system.” To continue reading, click here.

A new episode of Sorting Pen: The California Cattleman Podcast is out now! In this week’s episode, Jake Parnell makes his debut on Sorting Pen to discuss Western Video Market’s recent restructuring, give an outlook on the July WVM sale and discuss the importance of auction yards. To listen, click here.

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