August 15, 2019
As different regions begin harvest now and in the coming weeks, we wish all of our CAWG grower members a safe and successful harvest! 

Changes to Endangered Species Act Aim to Ease Regulatory Burdens
The Interior Department on Aug. 12 announced revisions to portions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The changes – overseen by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service – focus on listing and delisting species, designating critical habitat, and the consultation process with other federal agencies. “The revisions finalized with this rulemaking fit squarely within the president’s mandate of easing the regulatory burden on the American public, without sacrificing our species’ protection and recovery goals,”   said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Reactions were mixed among ag and environmental groups, as well as legislators and state officials.

  • American Farm Bureau Federation issued a statement welcoming all of the changes. 
  • California Farm Bureau Federation also supports the changes. “Farmers and ranchers want to make the ESA work better for species and for people who manage natural resources,” Dave Kranz said in the San Francisco Chronicle. “We believe the regulations will benefit protected species while easing the impact on farmers and ranchers.”
  • California Attorney General Xavier Becerra tweeted, “President Trump’s decision to roll back the #ESA would put a nail in the coffin of the wildlife and ecosystems already in critical danger because of #climatechange. We’re ready to defend the ESA.”
Government Relations Report
California has long feuded with the federal government. For example, in the 1990s Republican Gov. Pete Wilson fought the Clinton administration over new federal laws which Wilson viewed as “unfunded federal mandates.” But the newest and ongoing fights between California and the Trump administration make past disputes seem insignificant.
An example is the Trump administration’s new regulations intended to “effectively administer” the federal Endangered Species Act (see above story). California Attorney General Xavier Becerra immediately said he would sue and stated that the new rules would allow federal agencies to ignore "serious threats to endangered animals and plants." The California Legislature is also considering  SB 1 (Atkins, D-San Diego),  which would place into state law any environmental federal regulation that Trump “rolls back.” This would effectively prevent federal changes from applying to California.
Additionally, the Trump administration this week  announced new regulations  prescribing how the Department of Homeland Security “will determine whether an alien applying for admission or adjustment of status is inadmissible to the United States because he or she is likely at any time to become a public charge.” Two California counties immediately filed suit over Trump’s new green card rule. Assemblyman Tyler Diep (R-Orange County) also criticized Trump’s immigration policies tweeting, “What is wrong with you guys?”
The feud between Sacramento and Washington is heightening and will no doubt continue at least through the 2020 election. 

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has begun the formal process of  banning chlorpyrifos . DPR on Aug. 14 filed  13 formal notices  requesting a hearing to ban specific products containing chlorpyrifos. Product manufacturers have 15 days to appeal and a regulatory process is then initiated. The process and timelines are a bit unclear, as we have never seen a situation where a DPR-approved product was banned.  
In the immediate short term, there is no real change for growers until the product is physically pulled from the market. However, this is early in the process as DPR works to resolve several concerns and provide specific guidance on next steps.  
Additionally, membership of the  Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos Work Group  was announced, which includes Nick Frey (retired) of Sonoma County Winegrowers and will be facilitated by Joseph McIntyre of Ag Innovations in Sebastopol. 
Specific products identified in the notices: 
  • Cobalt / Cobalt Advanced 
  • Dursban 50W in Water Soluble Packets
  • Hatchet 
  • Lock-On Insecticide
  • Lorsban 75WG / Lorsban Advanced / Lorsban-4E 
  • Duraguard ME Microencapsulated Insecticide
  • CPF 4E
  • Drexel Chlorpyrifos 4E-AG / Drexel Lambdafos Insecticide
  • Bolton Insecticide
  • Stallion Brand Insecticide
  • Whirlwind
  • Eraser
  • Warhawk / Warhawk Clearform
  • Quali-Pro Chlorpyrifos 4E
  • Chlorpyrifos 4E AG
  • Vulcan
  • Govern 4E Insecticide
  • Yuma 4E

The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) this week released its  proposed permanent regulations  to address safety issues for workers exposed to unhealthy levels of wildfire smoke. Emergency regulations took effect last month and the proposed permanent regulations would replace them. 
There are significant changes in the proposed permanent regulations. For example, the emergency regulations apply to workers exposed to AQI of between 150 and 500, but the permanent regulations lower this to between 100 and 300. In short, this means that workers exposed to AQI that is “unhealthy for sensitive groups” or “unhealthy" or "very unhealthy” would be provided N-95 masks for voluntary use. However, “hazardous” AQI exposure would require a medical evaluation and fit test before using an N-95 mask.
In practical terms, we can look at last year’s tragic Camp Fire for how this regulation would work. Smoke from the Camp Fire affected the AQI in areas more than 100 miles away. In Livermore, Suisun Valley, Clarksburg, Lodi, Amador, Sierra Foothills and other AVAs, the AQI from the fire was over 100 for several days at the end of harvest and over 300 for a few days for some of those AVAs. This means that if the employers did not have a medical evaluation and a fit test (which means no facial hair for a tight seal) for those 300+ AQI days, those workers could not have been allowed to work.
The first  advisory meeting on the permanent regulation  is Aug. 27 in Oakland. CAWG will participate in this regulatory process and seek amendments to this proposal that would make it more workable.

-Michael Miiller / / 916-379-8995
Senate Task Force Says Expiring Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act Should be Permanent
The U.S. Senate Finance Committee this week released three reports from bipartisan task forces that examined more than 40 expired or expiring tax provisions. One of the task forces highlighted the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act ( S. 362 ), which is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2019. In its report, the task force stated it would like the act “enacted on a permanent basis.” 

> REPORT (scroll to page 4)

CDFA to Host Healthy Soils Program Public Meeting, Webinar
Farmers, ag associations and other stakeholders are invited to participate in next week’s meeting/webinar on the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s  Healthy Soils Program . CDFA is seeking input about the program – part of its Climate Smart Agriculture portfolio – in an effort to make continued improvements. 

WHEN: Aug. 23 / 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
WHERE: CDFA, 1220 N Street, Sacramento

Reminder: Visit Members of Congress During Their August Recess
In 1970, Congress mandated a summer break as part of the Legislative Reorganization Act. This was in part because of concern that the longer members of Congress are in Washington, the more out of touch they may become from those who elected them to office. 

Federal lawmakers are in their home districts for only a couple more weeks. You can take action on important industry issues by meeting directly with representatives when they are in their local offices and communities. CAWG encourages you to take advantage of this opportunity by scheduling a meeting and making your voice heard! 

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Form I-9 Expires on Aug. 31
​The federal government's  Form I-9 – used to verify workers' employment eligibility – will expire at the end of the month (“Expires 08/31/2019” is on the top right of the form). The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is expected to have an updated version posted soon, but employers can continue using the current form until then.

Marin County: Winegrapes Increase in Tons, Value
Winegrapes increased 37 percent in value, from $894,000 in 2017 to $1,223,000 in 2018. Acreage was the same both years with 195, but total tons increased from 291 in 2017 to 382 in 2018. 

San Mateo County: Red Grapes Up, White Grapes Down

The value of red varietals in 2018 was $1,181,000, up from $915,000 in 2017. Acreage increased from 120 to 126. For white varietals, the value was $226,000 in 2018, down from $267,000 in 2017. Acreage decreased from 44 to 41.

Vineyard & Wine
Ciatti Company

Article includes comments from CAWG’s Michael Miiller.
Agri-Pulse, Aug. 14

Press Democrat, Aug. 13

CAWG members are on the list.
Wine Business, Aug. 12

Press release from Napa Valley Grapegrowers.
July 24
Op-ed by Fresno County farmer Allen Sano.
New York Times, Aug. 12
Night Harvest Vineyard Tour & Dinner
CAWG growers and staff will meet with lawmakers and staff from the Newsom administration to share information about the industry, the upcoming harvest and challenges facing growers.

WHEN: Aug. 28 / 6 p.m. (social, dinner and tour)
WHERE: Heringer Estates Family Vineyards & Winery, Clarksburg

Introduction to Viticulture: Winegrowing for Mendocino and Lake Counties
Sustainable winegrowing topics include crop and canopy management, harvesting, winegrape economics and history, vine physiology, vine nutrition, cover crop and floor management, habitat conservation and enhancement, vine balance metrics and key practices affecting winegrape quality. Includes field trips to vineyards and wineries.

WHEN: Wednesdays / Aug. 21 to Dec. 13 / 6-8:50 p.m.
WHERE: Mendocino College

November 7
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Modesto