December 12, 2019
Please Take Five-Minute Survey: Farm Management Apprenticeship Program for Winegrape Growers
Winegrape growers are increasingly challenged to find qualified workers to do the many vital jobs at all levels of a vineyard operation, especially as the workforce ages and employees retire.

CAWG is collaborating with the Center for Land-Based Learning (CLBL) to provide growers with opportunities to 1) develop the skills of current employees who have interest in and the potential to be promoted into higher-skilled jobs and 2) find and train high-quality applicants to fill those positions. Based in Winters, Calif., CLBL is a nonprofit dedicated to creating the next generation of farmers and teaching California youth about agriculture and watershed conservation. In 2017, it launched a registered apprenticeship program to train farm and ranch managers.

CAWG developed a survey that will help us better understand growers’ labor needs and whether a farm and ranch management apprenticeship program would be useful in advancing training. Your participation in this survey – about five minutes – will help us in our work with CLBL. Thank you!

Government Relations Report
As 2019 draws to a close, it is time to take a close look at some of the most important new laws that have been passed which will affect California employers in 2020 and beyond. Below are a few key changes.
  • Minimum wage goes up from $12 to $13 per hour for employers with more than 25 employees and from $11 to $12 per hour for smaller employers.

  • For employers with more than 25 employees, overtime pay must be paid for ag work over nine hours per day or 50 hours per week.

  • As a result of AB 749 (Stone, D-Santa Cruz), California employers need to review their standard settlement agreements to remove any "no-rehire" provisions.

  • AB 51 (Gonzalez, D-San Diego) prohibits mandatory arbitration agreements in employment contracts. (NOTE: This law is being challenged in court and may be thrown out.)

Please check with your legal counsel and HR professionals on how these changes in law may affect you and your employees. 
On Tuesday, Jan. 7 CAWG and associate partner  Fisher & Phillips, LLP  will host a webinar to discuss new labor laws in more detail. > REGISTER

The California State Water Project (SWP) is a water storage and delivery system of reservoirs, aqueducts, power plants and pumping plants extending more than 700 miles. SWP captures and stores water that originates in the Sierra Nevada, irrigates about 750,000 acres of farmland (mainly in the San Joaquin Valley) and delivers water to 27 million Californians. 
This morning, the Department of Water Resources held a  public comment session  on the Newsom administration’s draft environmental impact report ( DEIR ) for the SWP revised Delta habitat management operations plan. DWR states the plan seeks “to optimize water supply and improve operational flexibility while protecting fish and wildlife.”
DWR Assistant Chief Deputy Michelle Banonis said a major objective is protection of longfin smelt, Delta smelt, winter-run and spring-run Chinook salmon, including  improving habitat for the Delta smelt . Noted UC Davis fish biologist Peter Moyle in 2015 called the Delta smelt “ functionally extinct .” 
The public comment period closes Jan. 6.  DWR anticipates completing a final document in early 2020, with a permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife expected to follow. DWR’s end goal is a revised  incidental take permit  under the California Endangered Species Act.

- Michael Miiller / / 916-379-8995
DPR Seeks Comments on Potential New Pest Management Tool
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is proposing the registration of Sequoia CA and Transform CA . Both contain the active ingredient sulfoxaflor. Information regarding the proposed decisions, including the public reports and proposed product labels are available on  DPR’s website

Public comments are due by Jan. 4, 2020.  

Corteva Agriscience states  Sequoia  “is an insect control product for many fruit and vegetable crops…It provides fast-acting and consistent control of sap-feeding pests, including aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs, leafhoppers, plant bugs and psyllids. No disruption of key beneficials or mite flaring results from application of Sequoia.”
USMCA: House, Trump Administration Reach Deal, But Now a Delay in Senate
The U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement is very close to the finish line, as a deal was reached between the Trump administration and House Democrats on Dec. 10. Ag groups praised the announcement and urged legislators to bring USMCA to a vote as soon as possible. However, that’s not likely to happen until early 2020. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said during a Dec. 10 press conference , "We will not be doing USMCA in the Senate between now and the end of next week. That will have to come up…right after the [impeachment] trial is finished in the Senate."

Meanwhile, the White House this week compiled quotes supporting USMCA from more than 100 legislators, officials, companies and organizations.

In USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue’s statement , the key provision of the wine and spirits was highlighted: The three countries agree to avoid technical barriers to trade through non-discrimination and transparency regarding sale, distribution, labeling, and certification of wine and distilled spirits.

ACTION: The American Farm Bureau Federation is encouraging farmers to use its online form to directly email your legislators to ratify USMCA.
House Passes Farm Workforce Modernization Act
The House of Representatives on Dec. 10 passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 5038) . The vote was 260-165, with support from Democrats and Republicans. The new bill now heads to the Senate. California Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) tweeted, “Our bipartisan bill will protect existing farmworkers and promote an enduring workforce for agriculture. I look forward to working with our colleagues in the Senate to get this bill passed into law.” While the bill had bipartisan support, it has drawn mixed reviews from ag groups and legislators. 
Resources on Spotted Lanternfly
UC Cooperative Extension IPM advisor Cindy Kron has developed resources to support identification and detection efforts for the spotted lanternfly. The website states, “Vigilance and efforts to identify early invaders are critical to a successful response, should this pest be introduced to California. Report sightings and bring suspicious specimens to your local ag commissioner's office for confirmation.”

Providing creative, integrated solutions for our beverage and agricultural industry partners with quality packaging products and supply chain services
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: 209-955-2600 or  email .
Providing the very best California crop insurance services.
CALL 916-379-8995.
Crop Insurance 101 and 102
Recordings from the Dec. 4 webinar on the federal crop insurance program and the Dec. 11 webinar on fires, floods and natural disasters are available online .

Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, Protect Against Market Losses
WHEN : Dec. 18 / 10 - 11 a.m.
PRESENTER : Kristine Fox, Pan American Insurance Services
ABOUT: Want to protect your crop against price and market losses? Learn more about whole farm revenue protection and if it’s right for you.

Employment Law Changes in 2020
WHEN : Jan. 7 / 10 - 11 a.m.
PRESENTER: Brandon K. Kahoush, attorney at law with Fisher & Phillips, LLP.
ABOUT: Learn more about employment law-related legislation that has recently taken effect or will take effect January 2020 and how it will affect your operation and how to prepare for compliance.

State No Longer Abnormally Dry
Current drought monitor map (released Dec. 12)

Last week, most of California was designated abnormally dry. But rainfall over the last three weeks helped make up for the slow start to the water year, and now only a small region near the California-Oregon border is considered abnormally dry. 
Video Series: California H2O - Flowing for the Future
ACWA and J Comm, Inc. produced a 10-part video series to educate Californians about critical water issues. All 10 videos are now available online. Industry experts and other professionals are interviewed in the videos.
Joint Effort to Tackle Farmer Stress
Stress can take a heavy toll on farmers’ mental well-being. That’s why Farm Credit, American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union are partnering on a program to train individuals who work with farmers and ranchers to recognize signs of stress and connect them with professional help. “Farm Credit loan officers are on farms working with producers every day, and they see firsthand how this difficult farm economy is causing emotional stress for farmers and their families. We hope this training initiative will help our lenders recognize the signs of severe stress and get farm families the support they need,” Farm Credit Council CEO Todd Van Hoose said.

Watch five-minute interview with Glenn Proctor.
California Ag Net, Dec. 10

AgNet West, Dec. 9
Rominger Brothers Farms of Winters earned the prestigious prize.
Sand County Foundation, Dec. 9

10 UC Extension educators are taking climate-smart agriculture to the next level.
Morning Ag Clips, Dec. 5

Register Today!
Jeff O'Neill, CEO and founder of O’Neill Vintners & Distillers. 
Daily/hourly program.
Don't miss out - several valuable opportunities at various levels are still available. Visit the Unified website or discuss with Jenny Devine at (916) 379-8995.
CAWG members must register by Jan. 28 to receive a $200 discount per employee. If you need your Unified code, contact CAWG at 916-379-8995.

Save the Date!
University of California Grape Day
WHEN: Jan. 21 (registration will open on Jan. 4)
WHERE: UC Davis Conference Center, 550 Alumni Lane, Davis
TOPICS: Rootstock and germplasm evaluation, methods to mitigate heat wave damages, crop load management, grapevine crop evapotranspiration calculation and irrigation scheduling, and updates on vineyard sensing and mechanization projects.