July 25, 2019
Government Relations Report
Last week, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board approved an  emergency regulation  to require specific protections for workers exposed to wildfire smoke. The regulation will take effect within the next few weeks and will be in effect for one year. In the next six months, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) will move to make those emergency regulations permanent. 
CAWG is hosting a  webinar on July 30 at 10 a.m. (see event notice in this issue) to share critical information with growers on the scope of the regulation and steps growers need to take to comply. Wine Institute will join CAWG in hosting the webinar. You may also contact  Natalie Collins  for more information.
The key for growers will be monitoring air quality, having a communication plan in place to notify workers, and taking steps to protect workers from smoke (such as providing N-95 masks). While the use of the masks is the choice of the worker and is entirely voluntary, employers are required to make the masks available and encourage workers to use them. No fit test or medical evaluation is required when used voluntarily during wildfire smoke situations.
New legislation  was recently signed into law creating a $21 billion fund to help PG&E and other investor-owned California power companies to cover liabilities from future wildfires caused by their equipment. PG&E sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January after severe wildfires in 2017 and 2018 resulted in more than $30 billion in liabilities.  
The goal of the new fund is to bring fiscal stability to California’s power suppliers in the face of these historic liabilities. However, a  lawsuit  was filed challenging the new law. In short, plaintiffs wanted a law that tightened up the maintenance requirements and wanted stockholders to bear the costs of maintenance and liabilities. 
In the meantime, insurance companies, which have paid billions in fire claims, are now proposing to  take over PG&E . They don’t believe PG&E will ever be able to reimburse insurers for those claims, and the insurers see a takeover of PG&E as a viable option to be made whole. 
The California Public Utilities Commission will  contemplate these issues  as it considers requests by utility companies to increase electric rates. Keep an eye on your electric bill over the next several months and few years to see how this all plays out.
-Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / 916-379-8995
Video: CAWG Grower of the Year Tribute
For those who were unable to attend the CAWG Summer Conference, please watch this 12-minute video of Randy Lange presenting the Grower of the Year Award to Andy Hoxsey. Thank you to California AgNet/American Vineyard Magazine for producing the video.

Produce Safety Rule Questionnaire Sent to Small Farms
Starting next week, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA)  will mail a letter and questionnaire regarding the Produce Safety Rule (PSR) to 8,000 “small” and “very small” produce farms. The current stage of inspections to verify PSR compliance has been taking place since April for “large” farms. Please refer to the  advisory we sent to our members on Feb. 27 about how winegrape growers can respond to the questionnaire. 
Ag Theft Bill Signed by Governor; Growers Encouraged to Report Theft
Gov. Gavin Newsom on July 12 signed  SB 224 into law, which seeks to protect farmers from rural ag theft and help law enforcement with their efforts to curtail ag crime. Sen. Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) partnered with Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux to introduce the bill. A  July 24 Ag Alert article on rural crime strategies mentions the bill. "We want farmers to understand that we need that information, so call us," Colusa County Sheriff's Sgt. Mike Bradwell said. "Don't be worried about whether you are bugging us or not, just get that information to us, because we build our cases off of information. Any little thing out of the ordinary is what we want to hear about."
US-Guatemala Collaboration on Farmworker Recruitment
The U.S. and Guatemala are working towards signing an agreement to boost H-2A farmworkers from that country,  according to the Department of Homeland Security . A registered Foreign Labor Recruiter program would prioritize H-2A visa applications ahead of other non-immigrant visa categories for Guatemalans. It would also develop an outreach campaign -- in partnership with Guatemala’s Ministry of Labor -- to promote the H-2A program and recruit qualified workers.
USMCA Update
The House Democrats’ trade working group on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will meet for the fourth time with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the House Ways and Means Committee’s Democratic leadership announced. This week’s meeting will focus on enforcement and the enforceability of provisions in the renegotiated NAFTA. With only one more week until the August recess, the trade deal will likely not be debated or up for vote until the fall. 
EPA Will Not Ban Chlorpyrifos
While California is moving to ban the use of chlorpyrifos, on the national level, U.S. EPA on July 18  announced it would not ban it . The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco had ordered the agency to decide by July 18 on the pesticide (marketed as Lorsban by Corteva). USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue tweeted his support of the decision. “For more than 50 crops, chlorpyrifos is the only line of defense and a cost-effective crop protection tool for farmers. We appreciate the EPA’s support of American farmers and producers in its commitment to fact-based regulatory oversight of crop protection tools.”

CSWA Seeks Accredited Auditors
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE) accredited auditor, CSWA is seeking proposals of interest and qualifications. The submission deadline is Oct. 31. To learn more,  read the request for qualifications letter issued by CSWA.

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Machines Poised to Replace Vineyard Workers
Dr. Kaan Kurtural, UCCE viticulture specialist, and Dr. George Zhuang, UCCE viticulture advisor in Fresno County, were interviewed on Jefferson Public Radio about vineyard mechanization and the no-touch vineyard concept.

> LISTEN (18-minute interview)
PD/GWSS Board Posts Short Video on Vaccine for Pierce's Disease
Summary: Among the solutions being researched for Pierce’s disease is an unconventional “vaccine” approach to protect grapevines from Xylella fastidiosa (Xf), the pathogen that causes the disease. UC Berkeley researchers have identified Paraburkholderia phytofirmans as a bacterium that can efficiently – and without causing any harm – infect a grapevine and trigger the equivalent of an immune response, building resistance to the spread of both P. phytofirmans and Xf.

CAWG Webinar: New Regulation for Workers Near Wildfire Smoke
July 30 / 10 to 10:30 a.m.
In California, wildfires have tragically become routine. Legislators and regulators are moving quickly to respond by protecting workers exposed to wildfire smoke in the workplace. Join CAWG on Tuesday, July 30 for a brief webinar to discuss upcoming new workplace standards for smoke exposure. CAWG Director of Government Relations Michael Miiller will discuss these new standards and explain the actions growers need to take to comply. Topics include: AQI levels from wildfires, N-95 masks, safety information and FIT tests, medical evaluations, waivers for voluntary use, and more.

Learn From Vineyard Team Podcasts
The Vineyard Team provides  educational podcasts on a number of industry issues to help growers. The following were posted this summer:

  • Evaluate and Maintain Your Irrigation: Jim Anshutz of AgH2O talks about irrigation system maintenance, technology and efficiency.
  • Treat Others the Way You Want to be Treated: Kacy Smith and Michael Parola of Smith Family Wines talk about the social equity component of sustainability at Smith Family Wines.
  • Old Vines, New Leaders: Dr. Stephanie Bolton, Lodi Winegrape Commission, talks about sustainable farming in the Lodi winegrowing region.

El Dorado County: Value of Winegrapes Up 25 Percent
The total value of grapes in El Dorado County was $11,168,707 for 2018, up 25 percent from the 2017 value of $8,914,415. Average price per ton increased 2.6 percent to $1,673 per ton. Total production in 2018 was up 16 percent to 6,849 tons. Bearing acreage was 2,674 (zinfandel totaled 437 acres and cabernet sauvignon totaled 416 acres).

Kings County: Winegrapes Up Slightly
The value of winegrapes in Kings County was $16,212,000 million in 2018, up slightly over the previous year. Production was 3,674 harvested acres, 55,330 tons and $293 per ton. Production in 2017 was 3,597 acres, 56,329 tons and $287 per ton.


Vineyard & Wine
While total wine sales were mostly flat, prices continue to rise. Allied Grape Growers President Jeff Bitter quoted.
Western Farm Press, July 24

Summary from a recent UC Davis vineyard water management seminar.
Growing Produce, July 20

Ag Net West, July 18
The California Weather Blog, July 19

CSWA: Sustainable Winegrowing Field Day in Santa Rosa
WHEN: July 26 / 7 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
WHERE: Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, 3245 Guernville Road, Santa Rosa

Mechanization & Precision Management
Dr. Luca Brillante, Fresno State University
Dr. Qun (Kristy) Sun, Fresno State University
Anita Oberholster, UC Davis

Regulatory Update
Michael Miiller, CAWG   
John Segale, Precision Public Relations.
Herman G. Hernandez, PG&E public affairs

Lodi Field Meeting: Maximizing the Efficiency of Airblast Spraying -- Full Canopy
For vineyard applicators, supervisors and PCAs. Just in time for the mite spray season.

WHEN: Aug. 2 / 7 to 10:30 a.m.
WHERE: Kautz Farms, 5920 Live Oak Road, Lodi
RSVP is requested!

2019 Oakville Station Seminar Series
WHEN: Aug. 2 / 1 to 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: Oakville Experimental Station, 1380 Oakville Grade Road, Oakville
COST: $50
TOPICS: Yield estimation, viticultural zoning using proximal sensing and C13 analysis, trellis design for mechanization, updates on virus diseases, crop load management, autonomous cultivation in vineyards and more. Ends with a social hour and BBQ.

Sonoma Grower Education Meeting
HOSTED BY: California Association of Winegrape Growers, Sonoma Count Winegrowers, and Sonoma County Farm Bureau
WHEN: Aug. 7 / 9 to 11 a.m.
WHERE: Sonoma County Farm Bureau, 3589 Westwind Blvd., Santa Rosa
TOPICS: Tax laws + state and federal issues update.

July 30
CAWG Webinar on New Regulation for Workers Near Wildfire Smoke

August 7
Sonoma Grower Education Meeting, Santa Rosa

November 7
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Modesto