February 20, 2020
Government Relations Report
Almost a year ago, the State Water Resources Control Board (board) passed the  State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Fill Material to Waters of the State
The outcome was the result of several public hearings and discussions, where it was agreed that ag lands should be protected and not subject to new permitting requirements -- where state and federal law work in harmony, thereby creating clarity for those seeking certainty in what is needed to comply. 
As written, the procedures are workable and recognize the value of ag land and respect that operating ag lands are not wetlands. 
However, this week, the board staff released its  Draft Guidance  for how the procedures should be implemented. The biggest problem with the guidance is that it states it is “composed of, and was largely gleaned from, existing materials such as the Staff Report for the Procedures.” 
Subjective interpretation and enforcement of law is an ongoing problem with environmental regulations in general.
CAWG believes that the guidance should not be based on how staff interpret the procedures. Instead, CAWG is pushing for the guidance to be based on a strict legal reading of the procedures, which were created through a public hearing process. This best serves the public and all stakeholders.
Ultimately, how a regulation is interpreted and enforced by regulators means a great deal to growers who are trying to determine what is needed of them to comply.

This week, Gov. Newsom  filled two vacancies  at the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB). The  ALRB describes itself  as “providing orderly processes for protecting, implementing and enforcing the respective rights and responsibilities of employees, employers and labor organizations in their relations with each other.”
Victoria Hassid was appointed ALRB chair. An attorney, she has served as chief deputy director at the Department of Industrial Relations since 2018, where she served in several positions since 2012, including deputy director of legislation and policy and special counsel.

Cinthia Flores, a staff attorney at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights since 2017, was also appointed. She served in several positions at the UCLA Labor Center from 2015 to 2017, including Dream Resource Center director and Central America project manager.

Additionally, Isadore Hall was reappointed; he has served on the ALRB since 2017. Hall’s position on the ALRB would have expired this year. He was a state senator from 2014 to 2016 and an assemblymember from 2008 to 2014.
All three are Democrats whose appointments are subject to confirmation by the California Senate.

-Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / 916-379-8995
CFBF, CalChamber Oppose Split Roll Property Tax Initiative
The California Farm Bureau Federation and CalChamber have released statements strongly opposing a potential ballot measure that would increase property taxes, stating it would harm agricultural and business communities. The measure -- highlighted in a November 2019 issue of CAWG eNews -- is backed by labor unions and advocacy organizations.

CFBF President Jamie Johansson said: “Although its backers claim agricultural land would not be affected, the initiative would trigger annual tax reassessments at market value for agricultural improvements such as barns, dairies, wineries , processing plants, vineyards and orchards.”

Image: CA SOS
Unified Symposium Surveys, Presentations and Recordings
SESSION SURVEYS : Your input is extremely valuable to help plan sessions for next year’s event. Please take time to complete the online surveys.

SPEAKER PRESENTATIONS : View the selection of speaker presentations (most are PowerPoint).
AUDIO RECORDINGS : Download order form for audio recordings of sessions. 

The 2021 symposium will be Jan 12-14. It will be held at Cal Expo in Sacramento again due to the uncertainty of a completion date for the Sacramento Convention Center.
USDA Report on Specialty Crop Automation and Mechanization
USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) this month released a report to Congress that reviews six USDA programs that accelerate the development and use of automation or mechanization in the production or processing of specialty crops. Projects that involve grapes and vineyards are mentioned in the report. For example, the Precision Vineyard Management project, totaling $6.4 million, aims to deliver an “innovative, science-driven and approachable precision viticulture platform to measure and manage sources of vineyard variation.”

Reminder: Submit Form 300A by March 2
Monday, March 2 is the deadline for electronically reporting OSHA Form 300A injury and illness data for calendar year 2019. For instructions on how to submit the data, follow the guidance on federal OSHA's  Injury Tracking Application website . Cal/OSHA provides more details on its website
Be Engaged with CAWG's Advocacy Efforts!

WE NEED YOU FOR GRASSROOTS LOBBYING:  We want a strong turnout of CAWG members for Day in the Capitol – an important opportunity to meet with key legislators and other decision-makers to discuss current issues or bills that have an impact on your business. 

SUPPORT SCHOLARSHIPS :  In the evening, join CAWG members, legislators and special guests for a reception at 1121 L Street (lobby). Enjoy excellent food from Brasserie Capitale and fabulous California wine, while supporting the children of winegrape grower employees. The event will include food and wine pairing stations, music, silent auction and raffle, and a brief program.

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.
Trump, Farmers Address Crowd on Central Valley Water Issues
“We’re going to get you your water,” President Trump said yesterday in Bakersfield just before signing a memorandum directing the delivery of more water to Central Valley farmers. Trump was joined on stage by California Republican Reps. Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes and Tom McClintock, as well as area farm leaders. The Sacramento Bee reported yesterday that Gov. Gavin Newsom is planning to sue the Trump administration to block the plan.


> MEMORANDUM : Developing and Delivering More Water Supplies in California

Research & Development Tax Credit for Agriculture
WHEN : Feb. 26 / 10 - 11 a.m.
PRESENTER:  Reed Showalter, technical director at alliantgroup
ABOUT:   Learn about the research and development tax credit and why it applies to you, the latest changes to the tax code from the IRS, and how you can qualify for these exciting credits and incentives.

  • The basics of R&D tax credit
  • What qualifies for the R&D credit
  • How much you could be saving by claiming the R&D tax credit
  • How to claim the R&D credit

Podcast: Biological Control for Grapevine Trunk Diseases
The Vineyard Team’s Feb. 20 podcast features Akif Eskalen, a UCCE specialist and UC Davis plant pathologist who is researching naturally occurring microorganisms to use as biocontrol against these fungal pathogens.

> PODCAST (28 minutes)
UCD Launches Grape Genomics Website
From the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology: The Cantu lab has released a web portal with genomic data and analysis tools for wild and cultivated grapevines. It provides user friendly access to the grape genomes the lab has generated – such as cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and merlot – and access to other publicly available genomic resources. More genomes will be released in the months ahead using this portal.

UC Economists Analyze Effects of Tariffs on CA Crops, Plus Migration/H-2A
January/February ARE Update features the following:

> Impact of the U.S.-China Trade War on California Agriculture : Researchers review the impact of China’s retaliatory tariffs on several California commodities, including wine.

> President Trump and Migration After Three Years : Ag guest worker programs have not changed significantly, but rising labor costs are pushing farmers to invest in mechanization and housing for guest workers.


February issue

February issue

Industry rep relieved after U.S. trade rep appears to back away from threat.
Western Farm Press, Feb. 19

Wine Business, Feb. 19

CAWG member Brad Goehring interviewed.
FOX40, Feb. 18

At Unified, experts discuss hard seltzer, wellness trends, e-commerce and millennials.
Seven Fifty Daily, Feb. 14


A Q&A with Dan Sumner, director of the UC Davis Ag Issues Center.
Feb. 18


68th Annual Lodi Grape Day
Hosted by UCCE and Lodi Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Committee.

WHEN: Feb. 25 / 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: Hutchins Street Square, 125 S. Hutchins Street, Lodi

Advanced Grapevine Irrigation Scheduling and Management Workshop
WHEN: March 4 / 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WHEN: UC Davis Activities and Rec Center ballroom

Central Coast Winegrape Seminar
UC Cooperative Extension experts will discuss pests, diseases and research projects.
WHEN: March 6 / 1 to 5 p.m.
WHERE: Monterey County Ag Center, 1432 Abbott Street, Salinas

UCCE Spray Application Workshop
I nformation on the safe and efficient use of spray applications for all crops.

WHEN: March 11 / 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
WHERE: Veterans Memorial Building, 801 Grand Ave., San Luis Obispo


18 / CAWG Day in the Capitol , Sacramento
18 / CAWG Foundation Gala , Sacramento
19 / CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Sacramento 

12 / CAWG Annual Meeting Roadshow #1, Buellton
13 / CAWG Annual Meeting Roadshow #2, Paso Robles
13 / CAWG Regional & Board of Directors dinner, Paso Robles
14 / CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Paso Robles

17 / CAWG Annual Meeting Roadshow #3, Napa
18 / CAWG Annual Meeting Roadshow #4, Santa Rosa
23 / CAWG Foundation Golf Tournament , Woodbridge Golf & Country Club
24 / CAWG Annual Meeting Roadshow #5, Lodi

20 / CAWG Regional & Board of Directors dinner, Santa Rosa
21 / CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Santa Rosa