FEBRUARY 28, 2019
Flood as a Covered Loss for Winegrapes
With California receiving high amounts of rain this season, many winegrape growers around flood prone areas may wonder, “Is flooding covered under my crop insurance?” Flooding is covered under your multi-peril crop insurance policy. If you have experienced flooding in your vineyard, please inform your crop insurance agent immediately. Claims must be submitted within 72 hours after discovery of damage. As a reminder, crop insurance will only cover damage sustained to your grapes, not the vines. If you would like more information about how crop insurance can help you, please contact Pan American at 800-303-8272 or cawgmember@relationinsurance.com .

If you have a flooded vineyard, feel free to email your photo to CAWG and we'll share on  Facebook . Photo below was taken in the Russian River Valley.
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 via email . Paid sponsorship: CA license No. 0F89850.
Governor Declares State of Emergency Due to Heavy Storms
Gov. Gavin Newsom issued emergency proclamations on Feb. 21 ( 21 counties ) and today ( five counties ) to help communities respond to and recover from severe winter storms that have caused flooding, mudslides, erosion, power outages and damage to infrastructure. 

Visit the  Cal Office of Emergency Services website for resources and tips on how to be prepared and safe during storm conditions.
$13.6B Disaster Relief Package Aims to Benefit Farmers
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Feb. 26 introduced a disaster relief package ( S. 572 ) to help those recovering from recent wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters. Highlights of the funding package include:

  • Approximately $13.6 billion in overall relief efforts to those impacted. 
  • $3 billion for USDA to mitigate crop losses caused by wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters occurring in 2018. Winegrapes and vines are mentioned on the bottom of page 2 of the bill text. Development grants for small, rural communities impacted by natural disasters in 2018.
  • Restoration of highways, aviation facilities and other transit projects damaged by natural disasters.
US Senate Holds Hearing on Farm Bill Implementation
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue today testified before the U.S. Senate Ag Committee on farm bill implementation efforts, which were delayed due to the government shutdown. “The entire team is working aggressively on implementation, and has catalogued the provisions requiring action, assigned them to responsible agencies and staff, and is finalizing timelines,” Perdue said.

Government Relations Report
California growers are subject to the most stringent regulation of pest management products in the country. One such product, chlorpyrifos, is used on a wide variety of commodities on more than 800,000 California acres, accounting for $23 billion in production value. It is an important pest management tool for many growers.  
Since its first registration in 1965, chlorpyrifos has been continually reviewed by the  U.S. EPA  for tolerance reassessment and reregistration. In March 2017, U.S. EPA denied a petition to essentially ban the use of chlorpyrifos. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is also evaluating chlorpyrifos and is proposing to list it as a  toxic air contaminant , which may result in significant new restrictions. 
Last week, the California Legislature entered the public debate on chlorpyrifos with  SB 458  (Durazo, D-Los Angeles), which proposes to ban the pesticide entirely. Labeled the “Protect Children from Brain-Damaging Chlorpyrifos Act of 2019,” the legislation is very direct. It states, “It is unlawful for a person to use a pesticide that contains the active ingredient chlorpyrifos in California.”
The legislation is supported by the  Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment  and other environmental justice groups who have failed at efforts to ban chlorpyrifos through state or federal regulations. 

This week the  Assembly Labor and Employment Committee  held a  three-hour hearing  on the issue of whether some independent contractors are actually employees. The California Legislature is contemplating placing the  Dynamex  Supreme Court decision into statutory law. This would make Dynamex the law of the land and no longer just a court interpretation of law.
The hearing was filled with independent contractors from several industries who wish to remain independent. What’s at stake for growers is your contracts for trucking services and other contractors who may be considered employees under Dynamex.  
Dynamex creates what is known as the “ABC test” to determine the independent contractor status of a worker: A) the worker is free from the control and direction of the company; B) the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the company; and C) the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation or business. Fisher Phillips, an associate member of CAWG, has detailed information about the decision on its  webpage .   
It is very early in the legislative process and the Legislature will be grappling with this issue for several months.

-Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / 916-379-8995
Major Coalition Forms to Secure Congressional Approval of USMCA
More than 200 U.S. companies and agricultural organizations -- including the California Farm Bureau Federation and California Chamber of Commerce – on Tuesday launched the  USMCA Coalition , which will advocate for congressional approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Coalition members plan to work with members of Congress to push for passage, but also educate the public about the benefits of the new trade deal. 

Reminder: Submit Form 300A by March 2
Saturday, March 2 is the deadline for electronically reporting OSHA Form 300A injury and illness data for calendar year 2018. For instructions on how to submit the data, follow the guidance on federal OSHA's  Injury Tracking Application website . Cal/OSHA issued a  press release with more details. 
March 5 Application Deadline for Renewable Energy for Ag 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 ag 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 operation. Applications are due March 5.  


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Snowpack is Whopping 153 Percent of Average
Officials today measured California's snowpack for the third time this year. The manual survey at Phillips Station recorded 113 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent of 43.5 inches, more than double what was recorded last month. Statewide, the Sierra snowpack is 153 percent of average for this date.

Research Journal Addresses Global Threat of Xylella Fastidiosa
The February  Focus Issue  of Phytopathology – a research journal on plant diseases – looks at key challenges of Xylella fastidiosa , recent advances and steps for improved disease control. From the abstract, the issue “brings together the broad research themes needed to address the global threat of  X. fastidiosa , encompassing topics from host susceptibility and resistance, genome sequencing, detection methods, transmission by vectors, epidemiological drivers, chemical and biological control, to public databases and social sciences. Open communication and collaboration among scientists, stakeholders and the general public from different parts of the world will pave the path to novel ideas to understand and combat this pathogen.”
ARE Update Highlights Farm Bill and Brexit's Impact on Ag Trade
The January/February issue includes the following articles:

  • Introduction to the Issue: The 2018 Farm Bill and Brexit
  • California Commodities and the 2018 Farm Bill
  • What Does the 2018 Farm Bill Mean for California and the Environment? Spotlight on the Conservation Programs
  • Brexit and the Disruption of Ag Trade

Call for Nominations!
Nominations for CAWG Grower of the Year and CAWG Leader of the Year are due April 12. The Awards of Excellence program honors CAWG members who have distinguished themselves within the winegrape industry, have achieved excellence and have benefitted the broader community of winegrape growers through exemplary leadership and outstanding commitment to the well-being of the industry, California communities and environment.

The Crush - February Issue Online
The digital color version of The Crush - February issue is now available online . You will need to log in to access the publication.
Vineyards & Wine
SJVWA Grower Educational Field Day
WHEN: March 6 / 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., followed by lunch
WHERE: Mission Bell Winery, 12667 Road 24, Madera
TOPICS: Powdery mildew and rot prevention, reading/interpreting soil and petiole reports, grapevine virus, and calibrating spray equipment to reduce drift.

UCD Viticulture and Enology On the Road in Monterey County
WHEN: March 8 / 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: 1432 Abbott Street, Salinas
TOPICS: Professors and UCCE specialists will cover: managing vector spread/virus disease of grape, effects of red blotch virus on wine quality, understanding how grapevine roots respond and recover, current and future objectives of the UCD grapevine breeding program, and precision agriculture. 

April 10
CAWG Day in the Capitol, Sacramento

April 10
CAWG Foundation Wine Reception, Sacramento

April 11
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Sacramento

June 24
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Sonoma

June 25
CAWG Summer Conference, Sonoma

June 25
CAWG Awards of Excellence Program and Dinner, Sonoma

June 26
CAWG PAC Golf Tournament, Sonoma