May 23, 2019
* Discounted Room Rates Extended Until Thursday, May 30 *
JUNE 24 : CAWG board of directors meeting.

JUNE 25: CAWG Summer Conference . Click the link to see the list of outstanding speakers! CAWG’s annual business meeting will follow. 

JUNE 25: Eighth annual Awards of Excellence Program: includes reception, dinner and awards ceremony for CAWG Grower of the Year and Leader of the Year.

JUNE 26: Inaugural CAWG Foundation Golf Tournament at the Sonoma Golf Club (8:30 a.m. shotgun start), followed by an awards ceremony and reception.

REGISTRATION / SPONSORSHIPS: Registration and additional details are available on the CAWG website . Please contact the CAWG office at 916-379-8995 or if you are interested in sponsorship opportunities. 

HOTEL: CAWG has negotiated discounted room rates (per night) for four levels at $309 (regular room), $359 (deluxe room), $499 (junior suite) and $549 (mission suite). To receive these rates, contact the Fairmont at 707-938-9000 by Thursday, May 30 .

Breaking News: Senate Passes $19B Disaster Aid Package
After several months of negotiations, emergency supplemental appropriation legislation was released today ( press release ) by Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). Late this afternoon, the Senate voted 85-8 to pass the bill. It now heads to the House, which is expected to pass it soon and send it to the president.

The measure provides $19.1 billion in relief for states that suffered damage from wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters in 2018 and 2019, as well as ongoing relief for disasters in 2017. CAWG President John Aguirre called this “an important development that paves the way for disaster assistance – the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program – to benefit winegrape growers with smoke exposure related losses last year.”

Unannounced Inspections by Cal/OSHA
CAWG has been made aware of an increase in Cal/OSHA unannounced inspections of vineyards and wineries. This is occurring as some regional offices are increasing staff to handle more inspections. Cal/OSHA is reportedly conducting comprehensive inspections – looking over all equipment, checking safety records and programs, and more. Make sure that all of your records and programs are up to date! 

USDA Announces New Trade Mitigation Package to Help Farmers
USDA today unveiled a new $16 billion aid package for farmers, which “is in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions.” The amount is a $4 billion increase over a similar July 2018 aid package. According to a USDA press release, $14.5 billion will go toward direct payments to farmers through the Market Facilitation Program. In addition, $100 million will be issued through the Ag Trade Promotion Program to assist in developing new export markets.
US Deal with Canada, Mexico to Lift Retaliatory Tariffs is Positive News for Ag
The U.S. on May 17 announced an  agreement with Canada and Mexico to remove the Section 232 tariffs for steel and aluminum imports from those countries and for the removal of all retaliatory tariffs imposed on American goods by those countries. The U.S. Trade Representative said in a statement, “This agreement is great news for American farmers that have been subject to retaliatory tariffs from Canada and Mexico.” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue called it “a big win for American agriculture and the economy as a whole. Canada and Mexico are two of our top three trading partners, and it is my expectation that they will immediately pull back their retaliatory tariffs against our agricultural products. Congress should move swiftly to ratify the USMCA so American farmers can begin to benefit from the agreement.” Also issuing statements praising the move were  American Farm Bureau Federation and  Farmers for Free Trade
Trump Unveils Immigration Plan
Claiming that “illegal immigration hurts everyone,” the Trump administration last week announced a sweeping new immigration proposal that would boost border security and focus on a merit-based legal immigration system. The key proposals include: fully secure the border, restore integrity to America’s exploited asylum process, modernize the legal immigration process to protect American workers, promote national unity, and prioritize immediate families of U.S. citizens and new immigrants.
Government Relations Report
The worst laws are those written in response to a perceived critical problem where policy makers want to act quickly, but fail to consider the unintended consequences of their proposal.  CalOSHA’s proposed emergency regulation  to deal with workers exposed to wildfire smoke is quickly becoming a prime example.
The stated purpose of the emergency regulation is to provide guidance to employers for how to respond in case of wildfire smoke at the workplace. Grower concerns with this are two-fold:
  1. It must be clear when the regulation kicks in. Employers should be able to rely on a public alert to a wildfire smoke problem. 
  2. The regulatory requirements of employers must be clear and workable.
The  proposed emergency regulation was amended  this week, but addresses neither of these concerns. In some ways, the new draft makes things much worse.
The new amendments require employers to rely on information available by website, telephone, email, text or other effective method from six different public agencies or private sources for determining the air quality index at the workplace. That means that an employer will need to continually check each of these sources of information to avoid penalties and litigation.
The current draft also states voluntary use of N95 respirators “does not require fit testing or medical evaluations.” However, elsewhere in the regulation, it provides safety standards so strict that employers will must do a fit-test and have a medical evaluation to comply.
Two weeks ago in  an article in the Orange County Register , Robert Baird, regional director for fire and aviation management for the U.S. Forest Service stated, “It’s no longer a fire season, we’re now calling it a fire year.” This is an ongoing concern and worker safety is far too important to rush through a hasty, ill-conceived regulation that poorly serves workers and employers.

The emergency regulation website was updated following the May 8 meeting. The pre-meeting and post-meeting comment letters can be accessed on that page.  CAWG’s letter is under post-meeting comments.

-Michael Miiller / / 916-379-8995
Green Medal Awards Ceremony Photos
Check out the wonderful  photo gallery from the awards ceremony earlier this month.

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CALL 916-379-8995.
Multi-Peril Crop Insurance Reminder
From Kristine Fox / Pan American:  California has experienced excessive precipitation in mid-May, which comes as a shock to grapevines after weeks of warm, dry weather have pushed them into bloom. Heavy precipitation at this time can have a significant impact on both the development of the berry now, and the potential for issues later. As a reminder, rain and excessive moisture are covered under the multi-peril crop insurance (MPCI) policy. If you have a crop insurance policy and you believe damage to your vines may have occurred in this recent storm, contact your agent to discuss the potential need to file a claim. Your agent will work with you to determine the next steps.
New Videos from California AgNet
Featuring UCCE entomologist Surendra Dara.

Featuring UCCE viticulture advisory George Zhuang

Featuring Vina Quest’s Dan Rodrigues. 

Program Committee Co-Chairs Selected
Nichola Hall and R. Keith Striegler have been named co-chairs for the 2020 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium Program Development Committee. Hall is a staff scientist at Scott Laboratories and Striegler is a grower outreach specialist at E. & J. Gallo Winery. They lead a group of nearly 30 wine and grape industry representatives on the committee, which held its first meeting on May 17. Next year’s Unified will be Feb. 4-6 at Cal Expo, a temporary host site due to renovations at the Sacramento Convention Center.

Vineyards & Wine
Napa Valley Register, May 22

UC expert offers tips for grape growers.
Western Farm Press, May 22

Family-friendly amenities among the activities.
Western Farm Press, May 22

Ongoing spring rain threatens 2019 grape yield.
KEYT Channel 3, May 21

CAWG members quoted.
The Press Democrat, May 20

May issue
It will transfer the food and agriculture loan portfolio from its California retail banking operation, Rabobank, N.A., to Rabo AgriFinance.
Press release

Video Series: California H2O - Flowing for the Future
The Association of California Water Agencies and J Comm, Inc. have produced a  10-part video series to educate Californians about critical water issues. Six videos – including “Saving for a Dry Day” and “Tractors and Tech” – are now available online. Industry experts and other professionals are interviewed in the videos.
Fact Sheets on California Water Use and Trading
New fact sheets from the Public Policy Institute of California Water Policy Center explore how water is currently used in California and how water markets can help address scarcity challenges.

2019 Annual Viticultural Research Roadshow
Presented by San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers Association, University of California Ag and Natural Resources and California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.

WHEN: June 5 / 1 to 5 p.m.
WHERE: FCEOC Nielsen Conference Center, Fresno
COST: $10/members, $25 non-members / $40 day of
RSVP: by June 4

2019 Invasive Species Lunchtime Talks
Lunchtime webinar via Zoom. 

TOPIC: Nutria in the Delta
WHEN: Wednesday, June 5 / 12:10-12:40 p.m.

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 Foundation Golf Tournament, Sonoma