October 1, 2020
YOUR SOURCE FOR CAWG AND INDUSTRY NEWS. FOR CAWG MEMBERS ONLY.
WILDFIRES & SMOKE EXPOSURE
New Guidance for Maximizing the Supply of N95 Respirators for Wildfire Smoke
Cal/OSHA this week released Temporary Guidance — Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of N95 Respirators for Wildfire Smoke Events During Respirator Shortages to help maximize the supply of N95s during future shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance is in response to the limited availability of N95s, which must be provided by employers to outdoor workers under the Cal/OSHA wildfire smoke regulation
House Ag Subcommittee Holds Hearing on 2020 Wildfires
The House Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee on Sept. 24 held a hearing – “The 2020 Wildfire Year: Response and Recovery Efforts” – to address what can be done to meet the needs and handle the severe challenges presented by this year’s unprecedented wildfire season. The sole witness was John Phipps, deputy chief for state and private forestry at USDA. His testimony outlined the U.S. Forest Service response to the wildfires, partnerships and collaborative efforts, COVID-19 and fire suppression, and improved forest management. “The scale of our action must match the scale of the problem and, in California, that means treating two to three times more acres per year than our current efforts,” Phipps said. California Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) serves on the subcommittee.


Resources and Articles
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NEWS ITEMS
California Wine and Winegrape Projects Receive Specialty Crop Grants
California received $23.8 million in federal grant funding for the 2020 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which will support 58 projects. Just over $1.7 million will support projects that focus on wine or winegrapes. 

Project Title / Organization / Grant Amount:
  • Extension of the CropManage Decision-Support System to Viticultural Management / California State University, Monterey Bay ($385,538)
  • Updating Perceptions: Connecting California Wine to a Well-Balanced Lifestyle / Wine Institute ($448,000)
  • Consumer Direct to Dry Creek Valley: Increasing Demand for California’s Signature Grape, Zinfandel / Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley ($427,059)
  • Building and Retaining Current and Next Generation Workforce for Napa Winegrape Industry / Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation ($447,141)



Government Relations Report
H-2A LEGISLATION VETOED 
United Farm Workers (UFW) and other organizations have been engaged in an effort to eliminate the use of guest ag employees. However, as the H-2A program is governed under federal law, the program requirements cannot be changed by amending California law. Nonetheless, opponents of the H-2A program have been pushing for additional requirements for California H-2A employers, thereby making it more difficult to participate in the federal program. 
 
This year’s effort was SB 1102 (Monning, D-Carmel), which would have required an employer of H-2A employees to provide a prescriptive notice about an H-2A employee's rights pursuant to federal and state law. However, the rights stipulated in the bill misrepresent rights (thereby creating new rights) relative to housing and potential compensation for travel time. CAWG and other ag organizations were opposed to SB 1102 because this proposed new notice to employees would have essentially changed the terms of employment.    
 
Gov. Newsom this week vetoed SB 1102. In so doing, he also directed the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to develop and maintain a template for a notice contemplated in SB 1102 and to make that template available to H-2A employers. In the weeks and months ahead, CAWG will work with the Newsom administration and other ag organizations in helping to craft a template that reflects the law and can be easily provided to H-2A employees.  


ELECTION UPDATE – SENATE DISTRICT 21 
In the California State Senate, 20 of the 40 seats are up for election or re-election in November. In blue California, only five Republican senators are up for re-election and only one of them is in a safe Republican seat. One of the most contentious races is in North Los Angeles County, including Santa Clarita and Antelope Valley. 
 
Holding this seat is a high priority for Senate Republicans, as this one-time safe Republican seat now has a voter registration that favors Democrats – Democrat: 39.3 percent, Republican: 31.3 percent and no party preference: 22.4 percent. Democrats are on the ground and continue to register suburban Democrats.   
 
Incumbent Scott Wilk (R) is second in charge for the Senate Republican Caucus. He is a pragmatic Republican with a reputation for collegiality and working with all sides while being true to his conservative values. He is popular in the district and has been campaigning hard over the last year. 
 
Challenger Kipp Mueller (D) is a worker rights attorney predominately representing employees in labor unions. He is a political newcomer who has the endorsement of dozens of labor unions. Upon receiving the endorsement of UFW, he stated, Dolores Huerta “inspired me to become the workers' rights attorney and pro bono asylum attorney that I am today.”         
 
If this seat flips from Republican to Democrat, it would be significant.


-Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / (916) 204-0485
NGRA Updates US Grape Research List
The National Grape Research Alliance (NGRA) recently updated its spreadsheet that tracks all of the U.S.-funded grape research from state and federal grant programs. The extensive list includes the project title, funding agency, research organization, project start and end date, and funding amount.



In addition, the latest PD/GWSS Board Bulletin summarizes a dozen research and outreach projects – totaling $2.4 million – for fiscal year 2020-21.
Penn Vet Study: Scent Detection Dogs Could Help in Spotted Lanternfly Fight
From the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet):
A new pilot training program from Penn Vet points offers a promising solution in the state’s efforts to thwart the spotted lanternfly (SLF). By utilizing scent detection dogs to identify SLF egg masses, Penn Vet researchers hope to proactively neutralize the destructive insects before they become a fully realized threat as a mature adult. The pioneering study – backed by USDA funding – harnesses dogs’ powerful scent detection capabilities to seek out the masses so they can be destroyed.

Continuing Resolution Prevents Government Shutdown, Reimburses CCC
President Trump yesterday signed a continuing resolution (CR) (H.R. 8337) to extend funding through Dec. 11 to federal agencies to avert a federal government shutdown. The CR passed the Senate 84-10 yesterday and the House 359-57-1 last week. Senate Ag Committee Chair Pat Roberts and the American Farm Bureau Federation issued press releases highlighting that the CR includes full replenishment of Commodity Credit Corporation, which aids ag producers via critical farm programs.

New TTB Ruling on Nutrition Labeling and Advertising
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) on Sept. 28 issued a ruling that expands the tolerances for voluntary calorie statements on labels and in ads for wine, distilled spirits and malt beverages. The ruling does not require any changes to approved labels, but instead allows greater flexibility for industry members who choose to use voluntary nutrient content statements on labels or in ads. 

CAWG PAC
Virtual Town Hall with Assemblymember Jim Patterson
WHEN: Oct. 8 / 3 to 4 p.m.

CAWG actively engages with legislators and candidates who consider the realities of our industry and how legislation affects winegrape growers and our workforce. Please join us for our upcoming event with Assemblymember Jim Patterson (R-Fresno).


COVID-19 NEWS
Resources and Articles

California’s tier assignments: View map. As of Oct. 1, three counties are in yellow (minimal), 14 in orange (moderate), 23 in red (substantial) and 18 in purple (widespread).    

California Department of Public Health: COVID-19 statistics and resources (updated daily)

Housing for the Harvest: Program expands to Sacramento and SLO counties. Ten counties are now participating. Program website


A $3.7 million National Institutes of Health grant will help reach populations disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
UCD Health press release, Oct. 1

Article on CFAP 2 includes CAWG's Sept. 18 press release, plus quotes from Tom Slater (CAWG vice chair).
Wine Business, Oct. 1

WATER AND AIR
Water Year Ends with Reservoir Storage at 95 Percent of Average
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) released a water year 2020 summary that highlights temperature and precipitation, water storage, water year outcomes and water year 2021 predictions.

Water year 2020 (Oct. 1, 2019 to Sept. 30, 2020) ended with statewide reservoir storage in the 154 larger reservoirs that DWR tracks at 95 percent of average. In comparison, water year 2019 ended with storage at 125 percent of average thanks to a wet winter with numerous atmospheric rivers.

$6.9M to SJV Air Pollution Control District to Replace Diesel Tractors, Trucks
U.S. EPA announced Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant funding to partner groups in California, including the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD). The DERA program is administered by the EPA’s West Coast Collaborative. The SJVAPCD received: 

  • $3.25 million to replace 85 diesel-powered ag tractors operating on farms in the San Joaquin Valley with new ag equipment having tier 4 or cleaner engines. >DETAILS
  • $3.62 million to replace 23 older diesel trucks with 23 zero-emission, electric trucks that will operate 100 percent of the time within the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin.

EDUCATION
Free Online Course on Air Blast Sprayer Calibration
Developed by UCCE farm advisors, the course provides information on calculations needed for calibration; components of a sprayer; how droplet size, nozzle type and weather conditions influence drift and spray coverage; and pesticide applications near schools. The course has been approved by DPR for 2.5 CEUs (0.5 hour of pesticide laws and regulations and 2.0 hours of other).



CALENDAR
OCTOBER
8 / CAWG PAC Virtual Town Hall Event with Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno)

16 / CAWG board of directors election ballots due

NOVEMBER
12 / CAWG board of directors meeting (virtual)