Your source for CAWG and industry news
September 21, 2017

October 19
CAWG PAC fundraiser, Madera

November 9-10
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Lodi

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

February 22-23, 2018
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Temecula 

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USDA Report Examines Federal Crop Insurance
About 46 percent of crop insurance indemnities paid to farmers and ranchers in 2016 were due to losses from precipitation, floods and storms, according to a new  report  from the USDA Risk Management Agency. Drought was the cause of 23 percent of payouts, while hail was responsible for 11 percent. The report is an analysis of the federal crop insurance portfolio and market penetration of commodities.
GRAPES: Grapes were listed as No. 8 on the top 10 crops by liability. The report states that substantial changes in acreage occurred between 2011 and 2015 in fruit and nut crops. The most significant change was that acreage in grapes more than doubled across the U.S. (insured acres increased slightly). In 2015, market penetration for grapes encompassed 65 percent of their market potential.

Government Relations Capitol Report

Last week when the Legislature adjourned for the year, one of the last measures approved was a budget trailer bill that provided funding for "sustainable agriculture." This $300 million investment in agriculture includes $99 million for methane reduction, $60 million for energy efficiency improvements and $135 million for diesel engine replacements. $250 million of this money comes from Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (cap-and-trade). The Legislature also approved $250 million for local air districts to expand the Carl Moyer Program and $140 million for rebates for light-duty vehicles.
This funding will provide direct benefits to an agricultural community striving to meet the state's ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals and will provide huge steps forward in reducing short-lived climate pollutants.
The cap-and-trade program began in 2013 and requires industries to obtain permits for carbon released into the atmosphere. The permits are sold and traded at quarterly auctions. The summer auction yielded $640 million. In July, the Gov. Brown and the Legislature extended this climate change program from 2020 through 2030.
-- Michael Miiller / / 916-379-8995 
Be Aware: ALRB Requesting Field Visits
CAWG has learned that Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) staff has sent emails to growers requesting to visit and tour vineyard operations "on a friendly basis" and "to see workers in action." In the email, ALRB states that it is conducting "diverse outreach with growers and farmworkers" and that it aims to "promote our services to growers and farmworkers on their rights and responsibilities in the field." Please ensure that your employees are aware of their rights and duties to control access onto private property. Uninvited persons and state agency personnel should be respectfully directed to top management if they request permission to access fields.  Growers are under no obligation to provide access to ALRB representatives who wish to simply make a "friendly see workers in action."

Tulare County Crop Report; Grapes No. 4
The 2016 Tulare County crop report shows the total gross value of agricultural commodities was $6,370,121,600. Grapes (all) were the No. 4 crop, valued at $600,200,000. For winegrape varieties (crushed), harvested acres totaled 9,940. Production was 152,000 tons, $303 per ton, totaling $46,056,000. In 2015, production was 144,000 tons, $297 per ton, totaling $42,768,000.
Bragging rights: For the first time, Kern County ($7.2 billion) has officially surpassed Tulare County as the No. 1 agricultural county in California ( article ). Fresno and Monterey counties were No. 3 and No. 4.

Winegrapes No. 1 in Amador County
Winegrapes were the top crop in Amador County last year with a 23 percent increase over 2015. The county had 4,260 acres with a total value of $18,027,840. In 2015, there were 4,533 acres with a total value of $14,630,903.


Wines Vines Analytics: 9,249 Wineries in US
The number of U.S. wineries is now at 9,249, according to August 2017 data released by Wines Vines Analytics. This is a net increase of 403 (5 percent growth) over August 2016. Winery count was 8,474 in August 2015 and 8,049 in August 2014. State by state data as of July 2017 shows California with 4,240 wineries, or 46 percent of U.S. wineries. For the same month in 2016, the number was 4,077. Washington and Oregon take the next two spots, with 753 and 724 wineries, respectively. The wine industry data website features winery count by state, annual production (cases) and average bottle prices.

It's National Farm Safety and Health Week
With agriculture being one of the most hazardous industries in the U.S., National Farm Safety and Health Week is one way to stress the importance of preventing injuries and illnesses to everyone involved in farm-related work. The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety has a number of resource materials focusing on various safety topics. In addition, the U.S. Ag Safety and Health Centers' YouTube channel features dozens of farm safety videos. Be safe!

Reports from 16 Napa Valley AVAs.
Napa Valley Register, Sept. 20
Even with the heat and rain, 2017 has been better than previous years for SoCal wine region.
Wines & Vines, Sept. 19
According to new federal data, undocumented immigrants are shunning California in favor of Texas, with the state's undocumented population growing nearly five times as fast as California's.
Sacramento Bee, Sept. 20
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) plans to introduce the Agricultural Guestworker Act next week, which would replace the H-2A program that many growers use for labor.
The Packer, Sept. 19
Imagine a Lodi without old vine zinfandel. It's not an impossibility. The issue always comes up when yields are down, as they were in 2017. CAWG members quoted., Sept. 15
Two growers with ties to CDFA say regulatory challenges in the state are becoming too difficult to overcome.
Western Farm Press, Sept. 13

State Water Board Proposes Revised Definition of Wetland
In the latest issue of The Crush, CAWG Director of Government Relations Michael Miiller wrote about how the State Water Resources Control Board is proposing to revise the state definition of wetland. The new definition would be much broader than the federal definition under the Clean Water Act and would create regulatory burdens for growers. The water board held a hearing of the proposed rule on Sept. 6 (CAWG participated) and accepted public comments until Sept. 18. An article in the Sept. 13 issue of Ag Alert covered the hearing and proposed rule and included quotes from Miiller and CAWG board member Brad Goehring.

Articles and Resources
These water agencies would end up paying for a small share of the Delta tunnels under a last-minute alternative funding plan pitched by one of the state's largest farming groups.
Sacramento Bee, Sept. 19
Elevated nitrate concentrations in groundwater can be a problem for private well owners, community service districts and municipalities that rely on groundwater wells. 
UCD Center for Watershed Sciences, Sept. 17

Upcoming Elections for CAWG Board
CAWG logo no words
The CAWG board of directors works to establish the priorities and goals that keep CAWG focused on issues most important to winegrape growers. You can add to that effort by serving on the board or by supporting the nomination of a peer. Directors serve three consecutive three-year terms.
The CAWG nominating committee has nominated candidates for vacant director positions, but any CAWG grower member may secure a nomination by having a petition signed (link below) by at least 10 members in good standing from the district in which he/she is seeking election. It is possible for two or more candidates to vie for the same director position, in which a director will be chosen by election.

If you want your name to appear on the ballot or wish to nominate a candidate, a properly signed petition must be received in the CAWG office by Oct. 13. Official election ballots will be mailed around Oct. 20.

Nominations for vacant director seats are:
District 1 - Seat F nominee to be announced
District 3 - Bob Lauchland, Robert Lauchland Vineyards  
District 5 - Paul Wulf, Wulf Vineyards
District 6 - Mike Vandborg, Walter Castle Farms, LLC/Vandborg Farms

If you have any questions on current members in your area, please contact Natalie Collins at 916-379-8995.

Support Ag Education and Leadership with a CalAgPlate
CDFA announced this week that an estimated $260,000 in grant funding will be available to promote agricultural education and leadership activities for students at the K-12, post-secondary and adult education levels. Proceeds are generated through the sale of the "CalAgPlate," an agriculture-themed special interest license plate available through the DMV. The program has funded nearly $735,000 in ag education activities since its inception.


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Tree & Vine Expo
WHEN: Nov. 7 / 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
WHERE: Stanislaus County Fairgrounds
FEATURES: Grower seminars, grower/PCA breakfast, industry lunch, 4 hours of PCA credits.

Sonoma Grape Expo
WHEN: Nov. 10 / 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
WHERE: Cloverdale Citrus Fairgrounds
FEATURES: Grower seminars, grower/PCA breakfast, industry lunch, 4 hours of PCA credits.

Grape, Nut & Tree Expo
WHEN: Nov. 14 / 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
WHERE: Big Fresno Fairgrounds
FEATURES: Grower seminars, grower/PCA breakfast, industry lunch, 5 hours of CEUs.

7th Annual Ag Labor Issues Forum
WHEN: Nov. 15-16
WHERE: Tachi Palace, Lemoore

2017 Sustainable Ag Expo
WHEN: Nov. 13-15
WHERE: Madonna Inn Expo Center, San Luis Obispo