Your source for CAWG and industry news
 July 12, 2018

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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Ag Groups Criticize Tariffs; House Committee to Hold Hearing
Americans for Farmers & Families (AFF) is one of many agricultural groups slamming the escalating trade dispute with China and the effects of retaliatory tariffs. In a  July 11 statement, AFF spokesman Casey Guernsey said, "Rather than move toward a responsible resolution, it looks as though both the U.S. and China are doubling down on tariffs that will rip apart rural communities across the country. I urge the administration to reverse course before China imposes the most damaging wave of tariffs yet and seek to find middle ground that does not punish rural families."
HEARING ON TARIFFS: The House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee scheduled a hearing that will address the effects on American agriculture and rural communities of U.S. tariffs imposed under sections 232 and 301, as well as retaliation imposed by other countries against U.S. exports. The hearing is scheduled for July 18 at 2 p.m. ET.

Government Relations Report
The California Legislature last week formed a conference committee of assembly members and senators to consider legislation related to fire preparedness and prevention, and utility company financial liability for fires. In the next several weeks, the conference committee will work to address the following: 

--Strengthening fire prevention activities such as vegetation removal, infrastructure maintenance, utility company inspections, and temporary shut off of power during extreme weather.

--Ensure the fair allocation of wildfire prevention and response costs in a manner that protects utility ratepayers and requires utility companies to annually submit more expansive and detailed wildfire and emergency preparedness plans to the state.

--Implement these changes in the future and not address potential liability for last year's historic and massively destructive wildfires in northern California.
PG&E is also sponsoring AB 33 (Quirk, D-Hayward), which came into print for the first time last week just as the Legislature went on break for the summer. AB 33 would allow PG&E to use state-issued bonds to pay for property damage, personal injury and firefighting costs resulting from multiple blazes last October. PG&E customers would pay off the bonds in the form of a surcharge on their utility bills.

-- Michael Miiller / / 916-379-8995  

USDA Issues Guidelines on Farm Labor Housing
USDA recently released guidance on how to implement changes to farm labor housing (FLH) eligibility. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 amended a section of the Housing Act of 1949 to extend the FLH tenant eligibility to ag workers legally admitted to the United States and authorized to work in agriculture. Due to this rule change, domestic farm laborers legally admitted into the country under an H-2A work visa are now eligible for this state-inspected housing. "Finding suitable housing for temporary agriculture workers has always been a challenge faced by our farmers and producers," USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said. "I am pleased that USDA programs can now better assist farmers needing to provide housing while they're here."

SLO County Crops: Winegrapes Take Top Spot 
According to newly-released 2017 crop statistics, high quality and strong prices increased winegrape values by 10 percent over 2016, breaking records for a second consecutive year with $267,662,000 in total value. There was a 5 percent increase in grape production. The top varieties by  value were: Cabernet sauvignon ( 17,784 harvested acres; 74,853 tons; $124.7 million total value) , chardonnay ( 3,269 harvested acres; 15,390 tons; $22.8 million total value),  and merlot ( 4,597 harvested acres; 17,165 tons; $19.8 million total value) .

Video: Success of Monterey County's Farmworker Advisory Committee 
In 2016, the Monterey County Ag Commissioner and Center for Community Advocacy established the Farmworker Advisory Committee to focus on worker health and safety. The committee  wanted to implement changes through social and regulatory initiatives and public outreach.  Since its launch, it has empowered farmworkers to work with the ag commissioner's office on critical issues. Learn more by watching a  three-minute video  (posted on July 11).

ETS has pledged to donate $100,000 worth of lab services over a five-year period to Fresno State's Department of Viticulture and Enology.
Wine Business, July 11
Read more about an experiment with mealybug destroyer beetles.
Stockton Record, July 10
Cabernet sauvignon leads Lodi and likely will for some time. CAWG member Rodney Schatz interviewed.
Stockton Record, July 8


D'Arrigo Bros. in the Salinas Valley and the UFW just inked a three-year contract amid fanfare and pledges of a new era of cooperation.
Los Angeles Times, July 6

State Regulator Proposes Less Water for Farming and Humans
Last Friday afternoon the State Water Resources Control Board issued its long-awaited  staff recommendation to dedicate 30-50 percent of water held behind dams on tributaries to the San Joaquin River to fishery flows. In other words, the proposal would double "unimpeded flows" of water into the lower Delta for "environmental purposes. This is water lost for ag.  
CAWG is coordinating with other ag groups to develop a coordinated strategy and response. There had been hope that settlement discussions would have yielded far less draconian results. The Sacramento Bee referred to the proposal as "sweeping changes in the allocation of California's water."
As Jerry Brown is wrapping up his 16th year as governor, the State Water Board is hoping to get this done in the next few months. It is accepting written comments until noon on Friday, July 27, 2018 and will begin consideration of the final draft plan in August. 

--Michael Miiller

MWD Votes - Again - to Fund Delta Tunnels
The Metropolitan Water District (MWD) voted in April to authorize $10.8 billion for the California WaterFix project to build the Delta tunnels. Following that vote, two organizations alleged violations of the Brown Act related to that meeting. To ensure there were no questions about the validity of the vote, MWD decided to take  another vote this week, again authorizing $10.8 billion. The vote makes MWD the primary investor in the project. 

Cal Poly Announces Center Name: Justin and J. Lohr Center for Wine and Viticulture
Justin Vineyards & Winery and J. Lohr Vineyards now have their names attached to Cal Poly's Center for Wine and Viticulture, in recognition of their financial support of its construction. Each company donated $2.5 million.  "I am elated to celebrate the start of construction of the Center for Wine and Viticulture -- a vision that I have supported since the beginning," said CAWG member Jerry Lohr. "With the partnership of Justin Vineyards & Winery, years of planning will now emerge as the preeminent program for wine and viticulture students in the nation."

Worker Safety in Wildfire Regions
Employers with operations exposed to wildfire smoke must take precautions to protect workers from hazards from the smoke.  Proper protective equipment and training is required for worker safety in wildfire regions. FAQ documents and other guidance documents are posted on the  Cal/OSHA website.

FREE Farm Labor Contractor Licensing Workshops
The Department of Labor and the Labor Commissioner's Office are offering workshops to assist current or prospective FLCs. Consultants will be available for one-on-one review of first-time licensing or renewal applications. Reservations are required. Call 559-248-1894 or email to reserve time on a kiosk to complete the online application.
Each Friday /  9-11 a.m.
Labor Commissioner's Office
770 E. Shaw Ave., Suite 222

2018 Fresno State Grape Day

An informal workshop and field day at Fresno State for grape growers, managers, winemakers and winery personnel. Includes lab and winery tour, plus Fresno State wine tasting. Pre-register by July 30.
WHEN: Aug. 7 / 7 a.m. - 1 p.m.
COST: $20

Independent Grape Growers - Paso Robles Area (IGGPRA) July Seminar

WHEN: July 18 / 1-4 p.m.
WHERE: J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Paso Robles
TOPICS:  Bird control, ground pest control, veraison best practices and fire prevention. Earn up to two CEUs.

CSWA: Sustainable Winegrowing Workshop for Ag Professionals

WHEN: July 24 / 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
WHERE: UC Davis Robert Mondavi Institute Sensory Theatre, Davis
Risk Mitigation in the Vineyard & Winery 
>Fire Recovery and Erosion Control BMPs 

Water and Emerging Regulatory Issues 
>New Vineyard Water Quality Permit 

Update on the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program 
>Exploring the Link Between Sustainable Winegrowing Practices and Wine Quality 

A Round-up of Recent Viticulture and Enology Research