July 16, 2020
Thank you to all of the members who joined us today for our successful virtual annual meeting! The meeting was offered free to CAWG members due to the generous support of our sponsors below.

In addition to the CAWG business portion of the meeting, participants heard from Greg Merrill, Pan American Insurance Services; Jon Moramarco, bw166; Jeff Bitter, Allied Grape Growers; Yvonne Sams, G3; and Louie Perry, Cornerstone Government Affairs. We greatly appreciated all of the excellent presentations.
“This was just a great presentation and exactly what our members wanted and should hear,” CAWG vice chair Tom Slater said. “Every year there is more reason to be a member. Great job by the entire organization.”

> PROGRAM (15 pages)

COVID-19 Testing and Enforcement
A lack of testing and delays in getting test results have hit rural communities especially hard. This has also substantially hampered tracking and tracing efforts in those communities. 
This week the Newsom administration  announced a strategy overhaul  aimed at reducing costs and expanding testing to more vulnerable Californians. This includes an effort to increase the availability of free testing by shifting more COVID-19 testing costs onto health insurance companies.
Newsom had previously encouraged all Californians to get free testing at state-funded sites in their communities. However, high test costs and the increase in new COVID-19 cases has forced the administration to rethink its strategy.
Moving forward, the administration will encourage people to seek free  coronavirus testing  at doctor’s offices and clinics in an effort to free up state-funded testing sites for Californians who are harder to reach through the traditional medical system. This should especially benefit rural communities. 
As reported in the July 2 issue of eNews, California formed enforcement strike teams after some local officials in the state resisted enforcing shutdown orders and mandatory mask requirements. The strike teams are focused on ensuring businesses adhere to state health orders and guidance. They consist of officials from several state agencies, including CDFA, Cal/OSHA, Alcoholic Beverage Control, Labor Commissioner and others.
These strike teams are very active and  may already be in your county . Strike teams provide no advance notice of an inspection. If a strike team shows up at your place of business, they will likely ask for documentation and other evidence of compliance with applicable federal, state and local COVID-19 related guidance and orders.
Please  notify CAWG  if you are visited by a strike team. We would like to track and analyze the activities of state strike teams, as little information is publicly available about their activities.

-Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / (916) 204-0485
USDA Provides CFAP Data Dashboard
As of July 13, USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) has approved $5.9 billion in payments to nearly 410,000 producers nationwide (data is updated every Monday).  California  has received $300.7 million of that amount (breakdown below). CAWG is working to have winegrapes added to the CFAP specialty crops list.

California payments (approved and enrolled applications)
  • Specialty: $69.7 million (2,336)
  • Non-specialty: $4.2 million (541)
  • Livestock: $55.8 million (2,588)
  • Dairy: $180 million (859)

Resources and Articles
CAWG: COVID-19 resources webpage (updated frequently)

Counties added to monitoring list: A total of 32 counties are now on the state’s  watchlist . Together they are home to 89 percent of the state population.

California Department of Public Health: COVID-19 stats and resources (updated daily)

KSBW, July 14

CDFA, July 13

CalChamber, July 13

Unified Goes Virtual in 2021
Due to concerns about COVID-19, the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, LLC Managing Committee this week announced the event will be presented online as a virtual conference on Jan. 26-28, 2021. In addition, Unified will host a virtual trade show throughout those three days, with an additional half day on Jan. 29 from 8 to 11 a.m. The Unified was scheduled to occur on Jan. 12-14 at the Cal Expo grounds.

Just Released:
Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos Report
The Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos Work Group , formed in 2019 by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, today issued Towards Safer and More Sustainable Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos: An Action Plan for California . The report provides recommendations that can further support agriculture and the health of communities, farmworkers and the environment.
Government Relations Report
Below are the propositions that will be on the November 2020 ballot.
Proposition 14 – Stem Cell/Medical Research Bonds
Proposition 15 – Split Roll Property Tax (repeals Prop. 13, property tax protections for businesses)
Proposition 16 – Allows Reinstatement of Affirmative Action (repeals Prop. 209)
Proposition 17 – Allows Parolees to Vote
Proposition 18 – Allows Certain 17-Year-Olds to Vote in Primary Elections
Proposition 19 – Allows Base Property Base Year Value Transfers
Proposition 20 – Public Safety
Proposition 21 – Rent Control
Proposition 22 – Repeals AB 5 (Gonzalez, D-San Diego) and Sets New Rules for Independent Contractors
Proposition 23 – Kidney Dialysis Clinic Rules
Proposition 24 – Consumer Privacy Rules
Proposition 25 – Reinstates Cash Bail System
Click here  to read each initiative.
Trump Administration Aims to Streamline Infrastructure Approvals
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has been overhauled for the first time in 40 years as part of the Trump administration’s efforts to remove burdensome regulations. The Council on Environmental Quality this week announced its final rule modernizing its NEPA regulations to streamline the development of infrastructure projects ( press release and fact sheet ).

Signed into law in 1970, NEPA was the first major environmental law in the U.S. It requires all federal agencies – including USDA and its agencies – to consider the environmental impacts of their projects and programs. NEPA encompasses projects involving the construction of roads, bridges, highways and airports; conventional and renewable energy production and distribution; electricity transmission; farmland protection; water infrastructure and more.

Below are some of the groups issuing statements on the announcement:

US Trade Agreement with Kenya May be Good News for Wine Industry
The United States on July 8 formally launched trade agreement negotiations with the Republic of Kenya. According to the U.S. Trade Representative, the two countries intend to work together to identify and prioritize trade and investment opportunities in agriculture and numerous other sectors. USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) in 2019 reported that Kenya’s wine imports totaled around $18 million in 2018. Low-cost South African wines made up 59 percent of imports, followed by France at 11 percent, Chile at 6 percent, Italy at 6 percent, other countries at less than 5 percent each, and the U.S. at just 1 percent. The U.S. wine industry has identified Kenya as a top prospective market, according to FAS.

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House Committee Approves Water Resources Development Act
The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) ( H.R. 7575 ) heads to the House floor for a vote after the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the legislation by voice vote on July 15. WRDA provides for improvements to the nation’s ports, inland waterways, harbors, dams, flood protection, ecosystem restoration and other water resources infrastructure. Congress has successfully enacted three consecutive bipartisan WRDAs in 2014, 2016 and 2018. 

Committee members include 10 from California – eight Democrats and two Republicans. Rep. John Garamendi issued a press release about key provisions he was able to secure.

> WRDA WEBSITE (news, fact sheets, hearings, etc.)
CDFA Climate Change Specialty Crops Report and Webinar
CDFA recently released the 60-page report Climate Change Impacts for Specialty Crops: Southern California Region , which documents strategies proposed by ag representatives to improve adaptation to climate change. It includes an overview of regionally-specific climate projections for Southern California; impacts and opportunities for the region’s specialty crop producers; and the strategies, priorities and research needs identified by participants to advance resilience to climate change. The summary on winegrapes appears on page 14.

Two webinars will be held to share results, receive feedback and discuss strategies.

Session 1 : July 27 / 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Session 2 : July 30 / 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Pesticide Testing and MRL in Wine (Free)
WHEN: July 20 / 10-11 a.m.
ABOUT: Presenters will explore the fundamentals of maximum residue limits (MRLs) -- what they are, how they are set up and where to find information on country specific limits. They will also explain the top 100 pesticides by use and the different tests to detect them.
PRESENTERS: Molly Scott of Justin Wines and Dr. Wiley Hall of Safe Food Alliance


July issue

July issue

Sacramento Bee, July 16

California AgNet, July 13

California AgNet, July 13

California AgNet, July 13

Numerous issues were discussed on a recent American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers-CA chapter virtual conference. Karl Lehman (of CAWG member Allied Grape Growers) is quoted.
Ag Alert, July 8

20 / CAWG Regional & Board of Directors dinner, Santa Rosa - CANCELED
21 / CAWG Board of Directors meeting - ONLINE