Your source for CAWG and industry news
 April 12, 2018
CALENDAR

April 24
Sonoma Grower Education Meeting, Santa Rosa

May 31
CAWG PAC Reception, Napa

July 16
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Napa

July 17
CAWG Summer Conference, Napa

July 17
CAWG Awards of Excellence Program and Dinner, Napa

July 18
CAWG PAC Golf Tournament, Napa

 
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THE FRONT PAGE 
2018 Farm Bill Released
 
House Agriculture Committee Chair Michael Conaway today introduced the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2). Upon introducing the bill Conaway said, "The farm bill keeps faith with our nation's farmers and ranchers through the current agriculture recession by providing certainty and helping producers manage the enormous risks that are inherent in agriculture. " The bill's top 10 highlights are farm policy, nutrition, trade, conservation, crop insurance, regulatory reform, rural development, animal health, specialty and organic crops, and beginning farmers and ranchers. Conaway said he wants to quickly move the farm bill through the House and work with the Senate to deliver it to the president's desk soon.
 
>AGRICULTURE AND NUTRITION ACT (text, summary and highlights)


Legislative Wine Committees Convene in Healdsburg: 'We Have to Work Together'
 
Last week's joint hearing of the California State Senate Select Committee on California's Wine Industry and the California Assembly Select Committee on Wine focused on several topics: wildfire and industry recovery, wine country tourism following the fires and water supply issues. CAWG members were among the numerous panelists, including Sonoma County Winegrowers President Karissa Kruse, Napa Valley Grapegrowers President Garrett Buckland and Katie Jackson of Jackson Family Wines. The 2-hour hearing is posted on YouTube.
 
The April 6 hearing in Healdsburg was hosted by the committee chairs, Sens. Bill Dodd and Mike McGuire and Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry. Aguiar-Curry said they appreciate the input, their doors are open and they want to hear more information from the industry. Dodd said the committee's plan is to host these hearings in wine regions throughout the state and engage people in the wine industry.
 


Leadership Transition at Allied Grape Growers
 
Nat DiBuduo, president of Allied Grape Growers since 2000, is retiring from the 500-member organization in June and handing over the reins to Jeff Bitter, the current vice president of operations. DiBuduo is a CAWG at-large director and Bitter serves as CAWG board treasurer. The transition will take effect on July 1. "The decision to transition to the next phase for me was not an easy one, but passing the baton to Jeff and the next generation of this dedicated staff is exciting," DiBuduo said. 
 



Government Relations Capitol Report
 
FOREIGN LABOR CONTRACTORS AND AG WORKERS
In 2014, SB 477 (Steinberg, D-Sacramento) was signed into law. This created a new foreign labor contractor program for companies that recruit and solicit temporary foreign workers from outside of the U.S. SB 477 requires foreign labor contractors to register with the labor commissioner, pay a registration fee, and post a surety bond. The law also provides various worker protections enforced by the labor commissioner. 
 
SB 477 specifically did not include ag workers because the federal H-2A visa program already provides all worker protections in SB 477. However, this year, AB 1913 (Kalra, D-San Jose) is proposing to include ag workers. While proponents like California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation claim that worker protections are needed, the real story is that the program is underfunded.  
 
The program has been floundering since 2015 because of low participation. Proponents believe that by including ag workers, funding will increase. However, the proponents have no data on how many workers would be covered, how many employers would have to register or how much revenue this would raise.

-- Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / 916-379-8995


UCD Economists Offer Perspectives on Tariffs
 
How concerned should winemakers be with China's 15 percent tariff on wine? UC Davis economists aim to answer that question in an article in The Conversation. The economists conclude, " The real concern for American wine producers is that high tariffs applied today may make U.S. wine too expensive and cause them to miss out as hundreds of millions of Chinese middle-income consumers increase their wine consumption over the next decade. More broadly, if the trade spat escalates to a trade war, serious damage will be done to all of U.S. agriculture, including grape and wine producers. Even more troubling, if the loss of trade causes broader damage to the U.S. economy, it could even affect demand for California wine in its most important market: the U.S."
 


House Ag Committee Chair on Impact of Tariffs on Agriculture
 
Michael Conaway, chair of the House Agriculture Committee, is commenting on China's "unwarranted, illegal retaliation against U.S. farmers and ranchers." In a statement issued April 9, Conaway refers to China's actions as "the latest examples of the kind of predatory trade practices routinely employed by China against U.S. farmers and ranchers, which our committee has highlighted for years." He calls on the administration to make efforts to minimize the detrimental impact on agriculture. He also expresses hope that Congress will come together to pass a farm bill on time.
 


California's Arroyo Seco AVA Seeks to Expand
 
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is proposing to expand the 18,240-acre Arroyo Seco AVA in Monterey County by approximately 90 acres . The existing Arroyo Seco AVA and the expansion area are both located within the existing Monterey AVA and the multi-county Central Coast AVA. TTB's action is in response to a petition filed on behalf of local wine industry members. Comments on the proposed rulemaking must be submitted by June 5, 2018 (scroll to page 14791 of the Federal Register PDF ).


California Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees
 
Applications are now being accepted for the prestigious California Leopold Conservation Award, which honors California farmers, ranchers and other agricultural landowners who demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources. Award recipients receive a prize of $10,000. Nomination applications focus on the categories of conservation ethic, ecological community, innovation and adaptability, leadership and communication, and resilience. Nominations are due by July 14, 2018.
 


INDUSTRY ARTICLES

VINEYARDS & WINE

The lack of water and workers means winemakers could rely on machines, such as UCD's Robot-Assisted Precision Irrigation Delivery (RAPID).
Engadget, April 8

CAWG members quoted.
Lodi News-Sentinel, April 6

A writer highlights CAWG Day in the Capitol and bills that CAWG supports.
Wine Business, April 5 
 
After confirmed cases of the virus were located recently in El Dorado and Amador County vineyards, UCCE farm adviser Lynn Wunderlich saw what she thought were symptoms of the virus in Calaveras and recommended farmers test for red blotch. The results came back positive.
Calaveras Enterprise, March 29

WILDFIRES

GOVERNMENT

Eight weeks out, the June 5 primary election's biggest uncertainty is whether Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will have an unobstructed pathway to becoming California's next governor or will have to fight for it.
CALmatters, April 9 


WATER & WEATHER
Delta Tunnels to Receive Nearly $11B from MWD; Brown Issues Statement
 
The board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) voted this week to provide the additional financing necessary to construct the full California WaterFix project. The board authorized $10.8 billion for the project to modernize the water delivery system, making MWD the primary investor. Prior to the vote, Gov. Jerry Brown issued a letter to MWD board members urging them to support the project in full. According to MWD, about 30 percent of the water coming from Southern California taps comes from Northern California via the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
 



Articles and Resources 

Farmers are anxiously waiting for word from federal and state agencies about whether water allocations will increase this year.
Ag Alert, April 11
 



CAWG EVENTS & PROGRAMS
LAST CALL! Recognize Your Colleagues Who Have Made a Difference
 
NOMINATION FORMS DUE APRIL 20
Please take the time to submit a nomination for an exceptional industry colleague. Award nominations of CAWG members may be made by any individual or organization. Additional details and nomination forms are available here . Please return the completed forms by  April 20  to natalie@cawg.org or fax to 916-379-8999.


Sonoma Grower Education Meeting
 
CAWG logo no words
Hosted by CAWG, Sonoma County Winegrowers and Sonoma County Farm Bureau. The meeting is free to members of these organizations.
 
WHEN:  Tuesday, April 24 / 8:30-10:30 a.m. (includes coffee and pastries)

WHERE: Sonoma County Farm Bureau, 3589 Westwine Blvd., Santa Rosa
 
ON THE AGENDA:
-What do the New Tax Laws Mean for Growers?
Presenting: Robert Murphy and Ryan Vas Dias, Frank Rimerman + Co LLP
 
-The State of the State
Presenting: Michael Miiller, CAWG Director of Government Relations
 
-Federal Review for Growers
Presenting: John Aguirre, CAWG President 


RESOURCES
New Videos from California AgNet/American Vineyard Magazine
 
Viticulture advisor Rhonda Smith is interviewed.
 

CAWG board member and Temecula grower JD Harkey is interviewed about how vineyards fared in his area.


UPCOMING EVENTS
2018 National WInegrape Policy Conference
 
The 2018 National Winegrape Policy Conference is slated for June 18-21 at the Renaissance Washington, D.C. The conference will begin on June 18 with the an evening reception. June 19 will feature speaker sessions and visits with legislators and staff on Capitol Hill. Additional legislative visits will be held on June 20 (and June 21 if needed). Winegrape Growers of America has negotiated a room rate of $259 per night.