December 17, 2020
YOUR SOURCE FOR CAWG AND INDUSTRY NEWS. FOR CAWG MEMBERS ONLY.
COVID-19 NEWS
COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards
LITIGATION
Employers throughout California are beginning to feel the full force of the COVID-19 emergency temporary standards (ETS) issued by the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (board). In an effort to prevent further damage to businesses and economic disruptions, business groups are challenging the ETS in court. The National Retail Federation and National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) filed suit yesterday seeking a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction. Along with North Coast ag equipment company Mayfield Equipment and others, they are asking the court to declare various provisions of the COVID-19 ETS null and void and therefore unenforceable.   

CAWG has argued since the ETS was put out for public comment in November that the ETS is outside the authority of the board and was adopted in violation of due process and the public review process.   
 
MODIFIED ETS
The Newsom administration seems to be struggling to provide clear and consistent guidelines and regulations. Only two weeks after the ETS became law, Gov. Newsom updated the ETS through an executive order changing the prescribed quarantine period of 14 days to 10 days under certain circumstances.   
  
The ETS took effect on Nov. 30. Almost immediately thereafter, while California employers struggled to begin implementing the workplace exclusion requirements of the ETS, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) published an updated COVID-19 quarantine guidance that included exclusion requirements that conflicted with the ETS. 
 
Additional clarifying guidelines and FAQs are expected to be released by Cal/OSHA in the next few days. 
—Michael Miiller   

CAL/OSHA STAKEHOLDER MEETING
Friday, Dec. 18 / 12-5 p.m.
The purpose of this virtual meeting is to build an agenda for a future advisory committee meeting to consider changes to the COVID-19 ETS. The goal is to identify which sections of the ETS stakeholders wish to prioritize for further discussion and possible improvements.
FREE COVID-19 Testing for Ag Workers
The California Farmworker Foundation (CFF) is now providing FREE COVID-19 testing for ag employees in the Central Valley. CFF is the first farmworker nonprofit in California to conduct testing. 
 
CFF is working directly with CDFA and the California Department of Public Health to ensure ag employees have access to COVID-19 testing at their worksites and communities. In the upcoming weeks, CFF will continue to expand its capacity to test ag employees throughout the Central Valley. The COVID-19 testing performed by CFF is in the format of self-swab and will count with a two to three-day turnaround time for results.

If you are interested in testing your employees or need more information, contact CFF’s COVID-19 testing lead, Daity Tapiaat, daity.tapia@californiafarmworkers.org  or (661) 778-0015.   
CA Workgroup Recommends Vaccine, Newsom Unveils Vaccination Campaign
On Dec. 12, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup – which conducted a concurrent and thorough review of the federal process – recommended the Pfizer vaccine as safe for public use. The following day, Gov. Newsom announced the Vaccinate All 58 campaign “for a safe, fair and equitable vaccine for all 58 counties in the state.”

Initial vaccine supplies are limited, so the state is administering them in phases according to risk and level of exposure. Top priority groups getting the first doses are essential healthcare workers and residents of long-term care settings. A state advisory committee of medical experts is allocating the next round of about 8 million doses to three sectors: education and childcare providers, emergency services providers, and food and agriculture workers (AP News article).

The Vaccinate All 58 webpage has a Q&A and other helpful information regarding the safety and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
COVID-19 Resources and Articles
COVID-19 in CA: Tier map and dashboard
>DEC. 15 COUNTY DATA:
Widespread (purple) = 55 (99.9% of CA population)
Substantial (red) = 2
Moderate (orange) = 1
Minimal (yellow) = 0

>DEC. 17 REGIONAL ICU CAPACITY
NorCal: 25.8%
Greater Sacramento: 11.3%
Bay Area: 13.1%
SJV: 0.7%
SoCal: 0.0%
Stay home order in four out of five regions.


About CA's COVID-19 restrictions: Regional stay home order FAQs


California Department of Public Health: COVID-19 statistics and resources (updated daily)   
NEWS ITEMS
Government Relations Report
CALIFORNIA – A “HELLHOLE”? 
As if we didn’t already know 2020 was the year from Hades, California is once again listed among the top “Judicial Hellholes” in the United States. This year, the American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF) gave California a bronze medal as the third most hellish (behind Pennsylvania and New York City). 
 
The ATRF notes that California’s excessive tort costs lead to an estimated increase of $15.1 billion in the cost of doing business and the loss of 242,761 jobs. This amounts to each Californian paying a $594.74 “tort tax.” These costs are paid by every Californian. 
 
Unfortunately, California is no longer a boom state. Ag companies have been fleeing the Golden State for several years, and now high tech companies are also moving out. Oracle, HP and Tesla have also recently announced their plans to leave California. When California’s iconic agriculture and tech industries leave the state, those in Sacramento need to pay close attention.   
 
The bigger question that the ATRF report raises is how policymakers will receive this information. The lack of tort reform, the most stringent COVID-19 workplace restrictions in the nation and most complicated regulations in the world, are forcing businesses to leave – taking jobs with them. If California regulators and lawmakers do not take action soon to change California’s unworkable state policies, we should expect further exodus.  

-Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / (916) 204-0485
Office Hours with Dave & Anita: Fire Damage in the Vineyard
Episode 14 (Dec. 15) features Dr. Andy Walker and Dr. Kaan Kurtural, who discuss and answer questions about fire damage in the vineyard (assessment, recuperation and fruiting in subsequent seasons).

>VIDEO (59 minutes)
Research on Heat Waves and Grapes, Red Blotch
With summer heat a concern with growers, Washington State University’s (WSU) Dr. Markus Keller and his team of researchers took several approaches to studying how heat and water stress affect grapes. The team is continuing research on a canopy-cooling system that uses misters.
>ARTICLE (Growing Produce, Dec. 15)

WSU and Oregon State University researchers are studying how and why the grapevine red blotch virus, which causes the disease, spreads. They are looking to develop more strategies to control the spread of the red blotch virus.
>ARTICLE (WSU, Dec. 14)
Bill Ensures Farmers Can Serve on FAA Drone Committee
The Senate on Dec. 11 passed a bipartisan bill (S. 2730) that will allow representatives from the agriculture, forestry and rangeland sectors to serve on the Federal Aviation Administration Drone Advisory Committee. “Drones are another tool in the toolkit for agricultural producers to run a more sophisticated and efficient operation,” said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chair of the Senate Ag Committee. “I’m proud this bipartisan legislation gives farmers a seat at the table when decisions are being made about drone policies.”

Katherine Tai Nominated as Top Trade Official
President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Katherine Tai as his nominee for U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). Tai comes with deep trade policy experience. She most recently served as chief trade counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee, where she played a key role in the bipartisan U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement process. She previously worked in the Office of the USTR during the Obama administration, serving as chief counsel for China trade enforcement. The American Farm Bureau Federation was pleased with the selection. Another ag organization stated it looks forward to working with Tai on numerous trade-related issues, including “expanding access in heavily protected markets such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, India, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Ecuador, the EU and Jamaica.”

OTHER NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED DEC. 17


Podcast: Selling Wines in Non-Traditional Channels
The Vineyard Team’s Dec. 17 podcast features Paul Kalemkiarian of Wine of the Month Club, who reflects on shipping challenges (from reporting to taxes), misconceptions about the quality of wine coming from the bulk market, and the slow road to pivot from on-premise sales to online sales post-COVID.

>PODCAST (37 minutes)

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UNIFIED WINE & GRAPE SYMPOSIUM
Sponsorship and advertising will increase your brand visibility in our virtual platform and on the UW&GS website! 
 
SPONSORSHIPS
  • Breakout session sponsorship: $2,500 (three per session)
  • Regional wine associations: $2,000 (multiple available)
  • General sponsorships: Diamond ($10,000), platinum ($7,500), gold ($5,000), silver ($2,500), bronze ($1,500) and benefactor ($750).
 
ADVERTISEMENTS
  • NEW! Ad redirecting: Four packages available
  • Platform lobby banner: $5,000 (one available)
  • The theater (video): Four available per day
  • Commercial breaks: $2,500 

For more information about these or other opportunities, contact Jenny Devine at jenny@cawg.org or (916) 379-8995.


RECENT WEBINARS
COVID-19 Emergency Workplace Standards


California Winegrowers Cultivate Healthy Soils


Whole Farm Revenue Protection – Revenue Losses


Grapes – Federal Multi-Peril Crop Insurance


2021 Changes in Employment Law
>RECORDING

COUNTY CROP REPORT
San Benito County

The total value of winegrapes in 2019 was $33.4 million, a decrease from $33.9 million in 2018. Production stats: 4,740 acres (4,740 in 2018), 4.63 tons per acre (4.77 in 2018), 21,946 tons (22,610 in 2018) and $1,523 per ton ($1,500 in 2018). Winegrapes ranked No. 4 on the county’s top 10 list of commodities.

ARTICLES OF INTEREST
CALENDAR
JANUARY

26-29 / Unified Wine & Grape Symposium - virtual