March 11, 2021
Biden Signs $1.9T COVID Relief Bill
Today, the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 being declared a global pandemic, President Biden signed the nearly $2 trillion American Rescue Plan Act. The House passed the bill yesterday on a vote of 220-211, with one Democrat joining all Republicans in voting against it. The Senate approved the bill last Saturday on a party-line vote of 50-49. The legislation is one of the most expensive economic rescue plans in U.S. history.
March 10
Fisher Phillips, March 10
USDA, March 10
Flashback on COVID-19 One-Year Anniversary
COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020.
Flashback to one year ago: The following message was published in the March 12, 2020 issue of CAWG eNewsDue to ongoing concerns related to COVID-19, the 2020 CAWG Day in the Capitol and CAWG Foundation Gala have been cancelled. Several industry organizations are cancelling their upcoming Sacramento events as well. The COVID-19 situation is fluid and new developments, restrictions or closures continue to roll out. President Trump addressed the nation last night and urged a variety of measures, including social distancing. Gov. Newsom also urged organizations to cancel or postpone “non-essential” events. Some legislators are already refusing face-to-face meetings with the public and are doing only conference call meetings instead. Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times questioned how much longer the state Capitol will be open for business as usual.
COVID-19 Resources and Articles

Widespread/purple = 34 (March 2 = 40)
Substantial/red = 20 (March 2 = 16)
Moderate/orange = 3 (March 2 = 2)
Minimal/yellow = 1 (March 2 = 0)

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Ag Alert, March 10

CalChamber, March 9
NPR/Capital Public Radio
Newsom’s State of the State address: fact-checking and analysis articles
Ballparks, stadiums and theme parks can open outdoors beginning April 1 with capacity restrictions and other safety modifications.
CDPH, March 5 
With over 30 harvests, the G3 Ag Team has deep experience in winegrape hauling. Our operational expertise and agile planning combine to provide responsive service for wineries and grape growers large and small. Click on image or here to view video.
CA Grape Crush FINAL Report 2020
The 136-page final report, compiled by CDFA and USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service-Pacific Region, was published on March 10.

  • The 2020 crush (winegrapes) totaled 3,410,886 tons, down from the 2019 crush of 3,919,146 tons.
  • Red wine varieties crushed totaled 1,820,252 tons, down 15.6% from 2019.
  • White wine varieties crushed totaled 1,590,634 tons, down 9.7% from 2019.
  • Average prices for the 2020 crop: red winegrapes, $795.39, down 22% from 2019; white winegrapes, $558.30, down 5.3% from 2019.
  • Highest average prices: District 4 (Napa County) was No. 1 at $4,591.52 per ton, down 20.4% from 2019. District 3 (Sonoma and Marin counties) was No. 2 at $2,414.23 per ton, down 15.2% from 2019.

Legislators Reintroduce Bipartisan Farm Workforce Bill
The bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021 was reintroduced by Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) on March 8 (H.R. 1603). The bill would provide a compromise solution that makes meaningful reforms to the H-2A program and creates a first-of-its-kind, merit-based visa program specifically designed for the nation’s agricultural sector.

While the bill represents an important step towards addressing the ag workforce issues, CAWG is working to address concerns with specific provisions of the bill. A vote on the bill in the House of Representatives is expected next week.

Government Relations Report
More and more, growers and wineries in areas where there is a high risk of fires are finding challenges with continuing their commercial insurance policies. In many cases, premiums are spiking to levels that render the policies unaffordable. For other policies, deductibles are raised to a level where the policy no longer provides the risk protections needed. Programs intended to fill this gap in coverage are also unavailable.  
The Senate Insurance Committee today held an informational hearing on this issue and heard testimony from industry experts, regulators and affected industries. The hearing provided critical information about the need for insurance and the challenges in obtaining that coverage. Insurance is needed not only to protect against loss, but also to obtain essential funding for vineyard operations. In short: Many lenders will not provide funding where there is no insurance.   
To address this issue, the chair of the committee, Sen. Susan Rubio (D-San Gabriel Valley) is authoring SB 11, which would extend the FAIR Plan insurance program to include structures on ag land. The FAIR Plan provides insurance as a last resort when there is no ability to obtain coverage in the voluntary market. 
SB 11 represents a good start and CAWG is working with our industry partners to continue to find solutions to address this problem. 

Michael Miiller / / (916) 204-0485
Providing the very best California crop insurance services.
Agencies Partner on Sustainable Pest Management Work Group
DPR and CDFA this week announced the launch of the Sustainable Pest Management Work Group, which aims to expedite the adoption of safer and sustainable pest control practices. Farmers, community members, university researchers and representatives from commodity groups and the pesticide industry are part of the 25-member group. They will identify ways “to minimize the use of toxic pesticides and expand the use of IPM practices; better protect public and environmental health; and engage, educate and promote collaboration to achieve these goals.” The group will build upon the recommendations of the Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos Work Group.
Michael Regan Confirmed as EPA Administrator
Michael Regan today was sworn in as administrator of the U.S. EPA after the U.S. Senate yesterday voted 66-34 to confirm him. He returns to EPA after starting his career at the agency. Regan previously served as secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

Biden Appoints New Ag and Rural Policy Adviser
Kelliann Blazek has been named special assistant to the president for agriculture and rural policy. She will be one of 21 advisers on the Domestic Policy Council.
Senate Ag Committee Holds Hearing to Address Climate Change
The Senate Ag Committee today held a hearing titled “Farmers and Foresters: Opportunities to Lead in Tackling Climate Change” to discuss how these groups can be involved in climate crisis solutions. The committee heard testimony from farmers and foresters who represent five organizations that are members of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance
>AFBF ARTICLE: Food and Ag Climate Alliance provides unified climate voice to Congress
NRCS Seeks Applicants for Ag Conservation Easement Program
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), which provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve ag lands and wetlands and related benefits. Two components include agricultural land easements and wetland reserve easements. NRCS accepts applications year-round, but to be eligible for current year funding, applications must be submitted by April 1, 2021.
CDFA Releases Annual Report
CDFA’s 2019-2020 annual report – “An Era of Productivity and Perseverance” – highlights what the agency has done to help and protect farmers and consumers, and measures it took to fit the new realities that started in 2020. The 72-page publication includes summaries of programs, activities and divisions. Page 16 focuses on wine and wildfires and pages 66-67 feature Pierce’s disease updates.
Participate in 2021 Advocacy Day!
Join CAWG members and staff for 2021 Advocacy Day on April 21 (9-11:30 a.m.). CAWG’s lobbying team – led by CAWG Director of Government Relations Michael Miiller and Jack Gualco of The Gualco Group – is planning an exciting and informative morning with key legislators and top regulatory officials. You will hear about priority bills and issues facing the wine industry and find out how you can take action by engaging on issues. Complimentary registration for all CAWG members! Please consider sponsoring this important event.

Napa Valley Grapegrowers, March 10
Wine Business, March 10
Western Farm Press, March 10

Written by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Office for California Assembly committees.
March 10
Insects capable of spreading red blotch virus remain a worry in Oregon vineyards, but with improved water management strategies, some growers may learn to live with the pathogen.
Good Fruit Grower, March 9
Sonoma County Winegrowers, March 8
Q&A with Martin Ralph, director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes.
Public Policy Institute of California, March 8
ASEV, March 5

UCD Viticulture & Enology Events
On the Road in Contra Costa, Alameda Counties
March 16 / 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. (virtual)

21 / CAWG Advocacy Day - virtual

22 / CAWG PAC Wine Tasting Event - virtual