JANUARY 24, 2019
New Plan: All USDA FSA Offices to Reopen for Longer Period
Beginning today, all Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices nationwide will open to provide additional administrative services and transactions during the government shutdown – now at 34 days. USDA has temporarily recalled all of the more than 9,700 FSA employees to keep offices open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. Farmers can contact their  FSA service center  to make an appointment. 

>Jan. 28 to Feb. 1: Offices open Monday through Friday.
>Feb. 4 to Feb. 8: Offices open Monday through Friday.
>Subsequent weeks: Offices open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, if needed.  

In addition, the deadline to apply for the Market Facilitation Program has been extended from Jan. 15 to Feb. 14. 

FINAL REMINDER! Sign Up for Crop Insurance by Thursday, Jan. 31
Many growers view crop insurance as their most important risk management tool. If you are planning to purchase winegrape crop insurance, you must sign up no later than Jan. 31  to have coverage for the 2019 crop year. For more information, visit the  CAWG website or contact Greg Merrill at Pan American at (559) 492-5384.
Labor Commissioner Guidance on Ag Overtime
Today the California Labor Commissioner’s Office posted  guidance for agricultural employers  and workers on an overtime pay schedule that went into effect Jan. 1. The Labor Commissioner’s Office has also posted answers to  frequently asked questions  regarding overtime for agricultural workers. This was announced today in a  news release  from California Labor Secretary Julie A. Su. 
Wine Country's Tubbs Fire Caused by Private Electrical System: Report
The Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County, the largest and most destructive of the October 2017 wildfires, was caused by a private electrical system adjacent to a residential structure, not PG&E equipment. Cal Fire announced the news today after an extensive investigation. According to a  press release , Cal Fire investigators did not identify any violations of state law related to the cause of the fire. 

Government Relations Report
At its meeting this week, the State Water Resources Control Board held a public workshop on its proposed  State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Fill Material to Waters of the State  (procedures). The Water Board heard from water providers, flood control districts, agriculture and others relative to how the procedures would increase costs and seriously impede routine and ongoing activities.  

The Water Board had scheduled to take the procedures up for a final vote at its  upcoming meeting on Feb. 5  in Sacramento. However, after hearing testimony, the board decided it needed to allow more time for deliberations and to address concerns expressed at the workshop. It now appears that there will be continued stakeholder meetings over the next few weeks and the board may consider further amendments and a vote early this spring. 
CAWG and several other ag organizations participated in the workshop and provided detailed feedback on our interpretation of the procedures and what it would require of growers. Water Board members and staff reiterated that it is not their intent to create new requirements for growers and that the procedures are not intended to create a permit for ongoing ag operations. 
It is our hope that in the weeks ahead we will be able to help the Water Board achieve that goal through amendments to the procedures that protect wetlands without submitting routine ag activities to additional regulatory review. We will keep you updated.

Many California parents currently have access to a combined four months of paid family leave at partial pay. As part of his state budget rollout, Gov. Newsom proposed six months of partially paid leave. This would be the most generous paid family leave policy in the nation.
As the California Legislature now takes up this issue, it is not clear how paid leave will be funded. What percentage will be paid for by employers? Will the state pick up part of the costs? Or will the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program cover some of the costs?  
The SDI program is funded by deductions from employee paychecks. Currently, the SDI program provides a percentage of pay up to $1,216 a week. Conversely, many lawmakers are pushing for  100 percent wage replacement  for all workers receiving paid family leave.  
This will be a legislative and administrative priority in the months ahead and a new paid family leave law, if approved, would likely take effect Jan. 1, 2020.
In November, San Diego voters by a narrow margin elected Brian Maienschein to represent them in the California Assembly. At the time Maienschein was a Republican.  Today he announced he was changing political parties and is now a Democrat . His party switch gives Democrats 61 of 80 seats in the Assembly.

-Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / 916-379-8995
Wine Shipments to Consumers Hit Record $3B in 2018
Wineries shipped $3 billion worth of wine directly to consumers last year, according to the 2019 Direct-to-Consumer (DtC) Wine Shipping Report. The annual report examines wine shipments from wineries to consumers in the United States (month-by-month, winery region, wine type, price category and destination). In addition, the volume of DtC wine shipments increased by 9 percent to 6.3 million cases, and the average price per bottle increased to $39.70. Sonoma County took the top spot as the California region with the most wine shipped by volume, with 1.8 million cases.

Purdue University Ag Econ Researchers Analyze USMCA
Purdue University’s Agricultural Economics Department has published a policy brief -- and a more comprehensive report -- on the ag export impacts of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The brief compares NAFTA with USMCA and predicts a $454 million increase in U.S. net ag exports to Canada and Mexico, mostly in the dairy and poultry sectors. Another analysis adds the steel and aluminum tariffs the U.S. imposed on Canada and Mexico and their retaliatory tariffs, showing a net loss in U.S. ag exports of $1.8 billion. The third case includes all other new U.S. tariffs and the retaliatory tariffs of other countries, finding the loss in U.S. ag exports to be about $7.9 billion. It also looks at what could happen if the USMCA is not approved by Congress and the Trump administration withdraws from NAFTA.

> POLICY BRIEF :  Agricultural Export Impacts of USMCA vs. NAFTA, Plus Other Tariff Changes (Jan. 23)

Recent Storms Provide Big Boost to Snowpack, Reservoirs
Check out the latest data on the  snow water equivalent (up to 111 percent of normal) and  major reservoirs in areas throughout the state.
Farmers Can Apply for Renewable Energy for Ag Program Grants
The California Energy Commission is inviting farms of all sizes to apply for Renewable Energy for Agriculture Program (REAP) grants. The grants range from $25,000 to $350,000 and support renewable energy upgrades for agricultural operations such as: installation of solar photovoltaic systems, wind turbines and biomass-to-energy generation; replacement of diesel-powered irrigation pumps and equipment with electric pumps; and electric tractors and equipment charging infrastructure for use in the ag operation. Applications are due March 5. 

Participants Needed for Groundwater Pumping Survey
Lawrence Berkeley Lab, funded by the California Energy Commission, is seeking participants for a survey related to groundwater pumping. Participation is anonymous and individual responses will remain confidential.
FREE Event: Water and the Future of the San Joaquin Valley
Authors of a new Public Policy Institute of California study and a group of experts will discuss key issues and solutions to some of the valley’s looming challenges. The event is co-hosted by Fresno State’s California Water Institute and the PPIC Water Policy Center. 

WHEN: Feb. 22 / 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: Fresno State – Satellite Student Union
Includes light breakfast and lunch

> REGISTER (to attend or watch webcast) 
Call for Abstracts: Mitigation of Pesticides in Surface Water in CA Agriculture Symposium
For an upcoming symposium, DPR is asking people to share their knowledge and experience on strategies – including BMPs and IPM -- to mitigate transport of pesticides to surface water. To submit an abstract (due Jan. 31), click  here .  

The Crush - Digital Version
The full-color version of the January issue is now online.

CAWG's preferred partner for insurance products for more than 20 years. Group workers' comp, wine industry package, federal crop insurance, employee benefits...and more. For more information: 888-640-0592 or via email . Paid sponsorship: CA license No. 0F89850.
Save on labor with mechanical pruning compatibility. Ask about Eco Trellis today.
Providing the very best California crop insurance services.
Providing creative, integrated solutions for our beverage and agricultural industry partners with quality packaging products and supply chain services.
Proud member and supporter of CAWG since 1995. Winegrape crop insurance deadline is Jan. 31, 2018. For more information: 1-844-CROPINS (276-7467) or info@VintageCrop.com. CA license No. 0H05084. Vintage Crop Insurance Agency, Inc. ® is an equal opportunity provider.
Vineyards & Wine
Western Farm Press, Jan. 24
J oin Us at the WGA Leadership Luncheon Featuring Dr. Dan Sumner and Rich Smith Award Recipient
Dan Sumner, UC Agricultural Issues Center director, is the featured presenter at the Winegrape Growers of America Leadership Luncheon in Sacramento. He will discuss current trade policy and disputes and the impact on U.S. agriculture and wine markets. 

The event will also include a presentation honoring the Rich Smith Distinguished Service Award recipient. CAWG members and their guests are welcome to attend the luncheon.

WHEN: Jan. 30 / 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: Hyatt Regency, Capitol View Room
UCD and UC ANR Grapevine Production Short Course
Four full days of instruction with hands on demos in the vineyard.

WHEN: Feb. 12-15 
WHERE: Springhill Suites in Napa and Oakville Experiment Station
COST: $1,200

CSWA Webinars and Workshops
CSWA Sustainable Winegrowing & Certification Overview Webinar
Learn about the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program, how to complete a self-assessment using the online portal, the steps required to become Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing, plus other helpful tools and resources. Click on date for registration.

> FEB. 5 / 10-11:30 a.m.

> FEB. 20 / 10-11:30 a.m.

Napa and Sonoma CSWA Farm Plan Template / LandSmart Workshop
Workshops are designed to assist growers who have already begun completing the CSWA Farm Plan Template or LandSmart.

> NAPA / FEB. 25 / 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

> SONOMA / FEB. 26 / 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

January 29-31
Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, Sacramento

January 30
Winegrape Growers of America Leadership Luncheon, Sacramento

February 26
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Sacramento 

April 10
CAWG Winegrape Day in the Capitol, Sacramento

April 10
CAWG Foundation Wine Reception, Sacramento

April 11
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Sacramento