Your source for CAWG and industry news
August 3, 2017
CALENDAR

October 19
CAWG PAC fundraiser, Madera

November 9-10
CAWG Board of Directors meeting

January 23-25, 2018
Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, Sacramento

February 15-16, 2018
CAWG Board of Directors meeting 

 
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THE FRONT PAGE 


Reminder: Farm Bill Listening Session Aug. 5
 
This Saturday, the House Agriculture Committee will hold a listening session - "The Next Farm Bill: Conversations in the Field" - at the Modesto Junior College ACE Ag Pavilion at 9 a.m. Committee members are seeking input from growers and other key stakeholders that could help in crafting the farm bill. Attendees who wish to speak will have two minutes and the committee will be electronically collecting any written testimony. AgNet West will be streaming the audio live on its website . Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) is a member of the committee.


Winegrapes No. 1 in Sonoma County; 24 Percent Increase from 2015
 
Winegrapes, Sonoma County's No. 1 crop, increased in tons crushed and price per ton, leading to an overall winegrape value increase of nearly $140 million, or 24 percent from 2015. The 2016 crop value was $586.5 million. The top red varieties by value were pinot noir (42,566 tons, $156.7 million), cabernet sauvignon (41,576 tons, $123.2 million) and zinfandel (15,288 tons $43.4 million). The top white varieties were chardonnay (74,954 tons, $162.1 million), sauvignon blanc (16,144 tons, $27.2 million) and pinot gris/pinto grigio (1,496 tons, $2.6 million). The crop report features a two-page section on growing winegrapes sustainably and Sonoma County's goal to become the nation's first 100 percent sustainable wine region by 2019.  
 


Government Relations Capitol Report
 
The power of labor unions in the Capitol cannot be overstated.   

In April, Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) voted for a $52 billion tax increase to fix California's roads. Almost immediately, activists began circulating recall petitions. Nearly 85,000 signatures have been submitted - 21,000 more than needed to force a recall vote. In response, the California Teachers Association (CTA) contributed $250,000 to oppose the recall and keep the Orange County Democrat in office.  
 
Newman is not the only legislator potentially facing a recall and CTA is not the only labor union flexing its muscle.
 
When Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) shelved single-payer healthcare legislation a few weeks ago, activists immediately called for him to be removed from office. Last week, the California Nurses Association (CNA), which sponsored the legislation, paid for two hit-piece mailers to voters in Rendon's district. The mailers stated Rendon is "holding healthcare hostage" and "protecting politicians, not people's healthcare." Last Friday, Rendon received official notification of intent to circulate a petition to recall him from office. A CNA spokesperson denied any union involvement in the recall.
 
Nonetheless, never underestimate the political influence of organized labor in Sacramento. More importantly, never underestimate the power and significance of our industry's respected advocacy in Sacramento. 

-- Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / 916-379-8995


RAISE Act: Merit-Based Immigration Plan Introduced, Tackles Green Cards
 
President Donald Trump on Wednesday endorsed a new immigration bill titled the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act ( bill text) that would cut legal immigration levels in half over the next 10 years. The revised bill, first introduced in February by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), "would spur economic growth and raise working Americans' wages by giving priority to the best-skilled immigrants from around the world and reducing overall immigration by half," stated a press release. The RAISE Act would replace the current permanent employment-visa framework with a skills-based points system, prioritize immediate family households, eliminate the diversity visa lottery, and limit refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000 per year.
 
 


CalChamber Provides Status Reports on Major Business Bills
 
With the California Legislature on recess, the California Chamber of Commerce has posted descriptions and status reports for dozens of top priority bills that could impact the business community. Categories include agriculture, air quality, environmental regulation, immigration, labor and employment, regulatory reform and water.
 


Farm Bureau Seeks Growers for Ag Labor Availability Survey
 
The California Farm Bureau Federation is asking growers to participate in a 5-minute agricultural labor availability survey to get a better understanding about the impact of the labor shortage. CFBF is seeking high participation for the survey, which will be online until Aug. 9. CFBF said the survey results will be beneficial when talking with legislators about labor concerns.
 
> SURVEY


Emergency Regulations Clarify Restroom Signage for Agriculture
 
The Fair Employment Housing Council (FEHC) of the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH) has proposed emergency regulations regarding gender-neutral facility signage. Regulations went into effect on July 1 requiri ng that e mployers with single-occupancy facilities must use gender-neutral signage such as restroom, unisex, gender neutral or all gender restroom. The proposed text states, " This subsection does not apply to nonwater carriage disposal facilities in those workplaces covered by California Code of Regulations, title 8, sections 1526 (construction), 3364 (general industry), 3457 (agricultural operations), and 5192 (hazardous waste operations and emergency response). However, all other subsections of this section apply to such employers." According to Western Growers Association, the proposed emergency regulation is designed to eliminate the conflict between DFEH rules (requiring gender-neutral signage on single-occupancy restrooms) and Cal/OSHA's sanitation standard mandating that employers in certain industries, including agriculture, must provide employees with sanitary and available toilets facilities for each sex.
 


INDUSTRY ARTICLES

After President Trump threatened to leave NAFTA, the pact's junior partners are working more closely than ever to save it.
Bloomberg via Western Farm Press, Aug. 2

Christopher Ranch, the nation's largest producer of fresh garlic, increased entry-level wages from $11 to $13 an hour. Applications flooded in, costs stabilized and business grew.
San Jose Mercury News, July 31
 
Federal program provides remedy to Wine Country's severe shortage of seasonal help.
San Francisco Chronicle, July 30
 
While vineyard managers see the effects of the labor shortage firsthand, the reverberations are being felt elsewhere across the industry as well.
Press Democrat, July 29
 
During veraison, smoke can drastically change a grape's flavor - an outcome known as smoke taint. For Berryessa Gap, this is the fourth consecutive year its 60-acre vineyard has been at risk.
Daily Democrat, July 22


WATER NEWS
EPA Formally Proposes to Rescind WOTUS
 
The U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published in the Federal Register on July 27 a proposed rule to initiate the first step in a two-step process to review and revise the WOTUS definition. The first step seeks to repeal the WOTUS definition and recodify the regulatory definition that existed prior to the 2015 Clean Water Rule. In a second step, the agencies will pursue notice-and-comment rulemaking in which the agencies will conduct a substantive re-evaluation of the definition of "waters of the United States." The proposal comes five months after President Donald Trump signed an executive order regarding the elimination of WOTUS. The public can submit comments through Aug. 28.
 
 


Water Articles and Resources
 
California's water management is a complex stew with many cooks. At the local level, hundreds of irrigation districts and urban water agencies and a few thousand small drinking water suppliers are responsible for a variety of water-related issues. As of June 30, more than 250 newly formed groundwater sustainability agencies were added to the mix .
Public Policy Institute of California, Aug. 1


 

RESOURCES
Lodi Seminar Provides Tips for Harvesting Safely at Night
 
From Ted Rieger / Wines & Vines: The winegrape harvest will soon be underway, and one of the most important considerations for harvest preparation is worker safety. As more vineyards conduct harvest at night, nighttime working conditions create additional safety concerns related to poorer visibility and potential worker fatigue due to sleep deprivation. The Lodi District Grape Growers Association and the Lodi Winegrape Commission held a grape harvest safety seminar July 25 for vineyard workers and supervisors to help prepare work crews, vineyards and equipment for a safe harvest.  
 
UNIVERSITIES
Biological Control of Pierce's Disease Using a Benign Strain of Xylella Fastidiosa
 
Don Hopkins, a plant pathologist with the University of Florida, was interviewed about how his discovery of a benign strain of Xylella fastidiosa protects grapevines from Pierce's disease. Research is being conducted at University of California, Irvine vineyards. "After five years, we have not lost a single vine to death from Pierce's disease in this test of the treated vines," Hopkins said.
 
> VIDEO


UPCOMING EVENT
2017 Kearney Grape Day
 
WHEN: Aug. 8 / 7:30 to 2 p.m.
WHERE: Kearney Ag Research and Extension Center, Parlier
 
The event will feature field tours and classroom presentations. Topics include nematode problems of grapes, grapevine mineral nutrition and mealybug pest control. For more information, contact Matthew Fidelibus at 559-646-6510 or mwfidelibus@ucanr.edu.