July 6, 2023




This week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • Lead Story: Speaker Robert Rivas
  • Report Violations by Labor Union
  • CAWG's 49th Annual Business Meeting
  • West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force's Smoke Summit Recap

Industry News:

  • Agri-Pulse Open Mic Interview with House Committee Chairman Glenn "GT" Thompson
  • In the News: Wet Winter Was a 'Blessing' for Winegrape Growers
  • CDFA Accepting Climate Smart Agriculture Technical Assistance Grant Applications
  • Journal of Wine Economics - New Issue Released
  • Association of Corporate Council SoCal Mid-Year Labor & Employment Update

Upcoming Events

  • Pre-Harvest Safety Workshop
  • Research on the Use of Precision Ag Technologies for Cropland Phosphorus Management Webinar
  • Lodi Grape Harvest Safety Seminar

Wildfire Preparedness Resources

With the wind and rising temperatures, wildfire season is upon us. Last month, wildfires started popping up throughout parts of California and the West Coast. It is important to be prepared.

CAWG and CSWA have resources on their websites available to growers and members covering all topics from wildfire preparedness to crop insurance and smoke exposure resources.


Lead Story: Speaker Robert Rivas

Last week, Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) was sworn in as Speaker of the Assembly. Rivas’ ascension into power is important for several reasons. First and foremost, he is one of only three Speakers in the last 70 years to come from a rural community. The last Assemblymember from the Salinas area to be elected as Speaker was James Stillman who was Speaker for 16 months in 1953-54.

Rivas replaces Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles) who served as Speaker for six years and pushed his Democrat colleagues to vote 100% in favor of legislation supported by labor unions. In an interview when leaving office, Rendon touted successes such as the ag overtime law he helped pass in 2016.

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Report Violations by Labor Union

The National Council of Agricultural Employers has alleged that union-related foundations are requiring signatures on union authorization cards for workers to receive relief under USDA’s Farm and Food Worker Relief Grant Program (FFWR). In 2023, the United Food and Commercial Workers and United Farm Workers (foundations) received almost $240 million. 

In response to the allegations, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is conducting additional oversight of grant recipients, such as program audits. Whenever AMS identifies potential waste, fraud, or abuse, the agency refers such concerns to the USDA Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

AMS is advising growers that they can report violations of FFWR laws or regulations at any time via the OIG hotline. Growers can also contact the AMS Transportation and Marketing Programs office at 202-690-1300.

The FFWR program was created to defray ag worker expenses incurred preparing for, preventing exposure to, and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is without regard to whether those ag employees are a member of a union. If, as alleged, union foundations require signatures on union authorization cards as a condition of receiving FFWR benefits, this is outside the parameters of the program and should be reported.  

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CAWG's 49th Annual Business Meeting

CAWG's Annual Business Meeting is just ONE WEEK AWAY! Have you registered?

CAWG is excited to have Dan Dunmoyer as this year's guest speaker. Dan is President and CEO of the California Building Association. He brings a wealth of experience in both the public and private sectors. During his presentation, Dan will talk about the current challenges surrounding commercial property insurance, how we got here, and the broad coalition pushing for reforms to the crisis.

Before working at CBIA, Dan served as senior vice president and head of government affairs for Zurich and Farmers Insurance companies. During his tenure, Dan has held many legislative caucus staff leadership and policy committee roles in the California State Assembly. He was president and CEO of the Personal Insurance Federation of California and served as deputy chief of staff and cabinet secretary for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, July 13 at 10 am and is open to all CAWG Members! Don't miss this opportunity to explore key issues of importance to California winegrape growers and receive updates on CAWG's activities throughout the past year.

A full agenda is posted online.

A special thank you to this year's Annual Meeting Sponsors!


West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force's Smoke Summit Recap

The Lodi Wine Growers shared a post on their blog this week featuring a recap of the West Coast Smoke Exposure's Smoke Summit that was held on June 7.

Nearly 500 attendees registered and tuned in to learn about everything from wildfire preparedness to cutting-edge smoke taint research and the latest updates on crop insurance—no topic was left unexplored.

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Industry News

Agri-Pulse Open Mic Interview with House Committee Chairman Glenn "GT" Thompson

House Committee Chairman Thompson discussed Farm Bill updates and progress on Agri-Pulse's Open Mic Interview earlier this week.

The Chairman has now held Farm Bill listening sessions in 40 states throughout the United States. Along with Farm Bill priorities, Congressman Thompson also discussed funding obstacles, conservation tools, food safety, and more.

Listen Here

In the News: Wet Winter Was a 'Blessing' for Winegrape Growers

California received a record amount of rainfall this year. What effect does that have on winegrapes? The grapevines are growing well throughout most parts of the state and the early rain has not negatively affected production.

Jeff Bitter, CAWG Vice Chair was quoted in the AgNetWest Article. “That’s been nothing but a blessing quite honestly. We are not facing any uncustomary amounts of disease pressure in the vineyard right now,” Bitter noted. “Most vineyards are growing very well after having heavy winter rainfall totals and leeching out some of the undesirables in the soils that you tend to accumulate after years of drought.”

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CDFA Accepting Climate Smart Agriculture Technical Assistance Grant Applications

CDFA’s Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation (OEFI) is now accepting applications for its Climate Smart Agriculture Technical Assistance grants. Assembly Bill 2377 (Irwin) formalized the grant program in 2018 to support OEFI’s climate-smart agriculture (CSA) incentive grant programs: the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP), Healthy Soils Program (HSP), and State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program.

The application period began on June 29 and will close on July 27, 2023, at 5 PM PT. Non-profits, Resource Conservation Districts, and the University of California Cooperative Extension are eligible organizations.

Read More

Journal of Wine Economics

The American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE) recently published the newest Journal of Wine Economics issue.

Articles include:

  • The economics of saignée in winemaking,
  • Making wine, selling grapes, or delivering to a cooperative? Determinants of grape allocation,
  • Efficient pricing of Bordeaux en primeur wines,
  • Book & film reviews and more.
Read More

Association of Corporate Council SoCal Mid-Year Labor & Employment Update

This year continues to bring change and challenges for California employers. Join Kristen Nesbit, Co-Chair of the California Litigation Practice Group on July 25, for a mid-year update on recent developments in employment litigation, state and federal regulations, and the new employment laws driving change for California employers. This webinar was shared by Fisher Phillips and hosted by the Association of Corporate Council's Southern California chapter.

Learn More

Upcoming Events and Trainings

Pre-Harvest Safety Workshop

Join Vineyard Team for this train-the-trainer workshop to head into harvest prepared. The workshop will cover machine operations, hand harvesting, tool safety, tractor safety, and personal protective equipment. 

When and Where:

  • July 14, Vineyard Industry Products, Paso Robles


Research on the Use of Precision Ag Technologies for Cropland Phosphorus Management Webinar

Dr. Douglas R. Smith from USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory will present research on the use of precision ag technologies to improve cropland phosphorus management.

When and Where:

  • July 20, Virtual


Lodi Grape Harvest Safety Seminar

The annual Lodi Grape Harvest Safety Seminar, hosted by the Lodi District Grape Growers Association and the Lodi Winegrape Commission, is offered FREE of charge to Crush District 11 grape growers and their employees. Topics will include Mechanical Harvest Safety, Night Work Safety & Cal OSHA Nighttime Outdoor Agricultural Operations Standards, Heat Illness Prevention, & more.

When and Where:

  • July 27, 8:00-11:00 am, Lodi Grape Festival Grounds




13 - CAWG Annual Meeting (Virtual)


8 - CAWG Board of Director Meeting & Outgoing Chair Dinner



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