September 5, 2019
YOUR SOURCE FOR CAWG AND INDUSTRY NEWS. FOR CAWG MEMBERS ONLY.
TOP NEWS ITEMS
Government Relations Report
IS FARMING STILL LEGAL?
SB 1 (Atkins, D-San Diego)  is intended to prevent “rollbacks” by the Trump administration in environmental, labor and public health laws and regulations. This bill, as currently written, has a devastating effect on growers. 
 
This is in part because SB 1 would reduce water supply in California by about 750,000 acre-feet annually. This is greater than the water capacity of Lake Tahoe. Additionally, SB 1 could be used by regional water boards to require a permit for basic farming activities.  
 
The most recent amendments to SB 1 would undo the  Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Fill Material to Waters of the State , which was approved by the State Water Resources Control Board on April 2, 2019. The procedures recognize routine farming activities and do not subject those activities to a permit.  
 
As the California Legislature is preparing to adjourn for the year next Friday, the most objectionable provisions in SB 1 were added to the bill for the first time this week, have never been heard in a legislative committee, and would reverse the procedures – which took 10 years to achieve. Consequently, CAWG is working with a broad coalition of industries and water suppliers, and we are seeking new amendments to SB 1 that address our concerns. 
 
Thanks to all of you who responded to CAWG’s alert earlier this week. Your emails to assemblymembers have made a difference. A group of moderate Democrat assemblymembers are asking Sen. Atkins to amend the bill to resolve our concerns.

Absent such amendments, we are getting to the point where farming is going to be virtually illegal.

-Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / 916-379-8995
Input Needed for Forthcoming H-2A Cost Estimator Tool
AgSafe and UnitedAg are collaborating on the development of an H-2A cost estimator tool for growers who are interested in employing H-2A workers, according to an AgNet West article. AgSafe President and CEO Amy Wolfe said that one of the most common questions they receive about H-2A is regarding cost. If you are a grower or farm labor contractor currently using H-2A and willing to share your information about annual program costs, please contact Amy at 209-526-4400 or  amy@agsafe.org . “The more data that is included in the cost estimator tool, the more accurate the results will be.”

The Push for Passing USMCA
USDA Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky – who recently toured wineries and farms in Paso Robles, including CAWG member J. Lohr Winery – wrote an  op-ed for the Fresno Bee about the benefits of USMCA. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Aug. 26 published “ Myths and Facts: USMCA ” on his website in an effort to generate momentum for the trade deal's passage upon the return of Congress in September. In addition, the White House last week published  quotes from several officials and business leaders in support of USMCA.  
Have a Wine-Related Question? Extension Specialists Will Answer
CAWG received the following information from Dr. Anita Oberholster (pictured), UC Cooperative Extension/UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology:

A wine chemistry Ph.D. student from the University of Missouri is launching a new project that allows anyone to anonymously submit a winemaking question via an  online Google form . Questions will be answered by various extension specialists or the Ph.D. student, depending on the question. The questions will be compiled bi-weekly during harvest and presented through a podcast and written brief. I am collaborating to answer any California-based questions where my input is needed.
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Free Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Workshops and Webinars
2020 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) prospective applicants are encouraged to participate in an  upcoming workshop or webinar hosted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). They will feature an overview of the program, a review of the concept proposal questions, a live demonstration of the online application system, and more. Space is limited, so attendees should register in advance. Workshop locations are Escondido, San Luis Obispo, Modesto and Sacramento.
USDA-ERS California Farm Statistics
On Aug. 30, USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) updated farm data for all states that includes the top five commodities in cash receipts, number of farms, acres of farmland, production expenses and more. ERS has  interactive charts and maps for each state (move cursor to California and click). Users can also see where California ranks compared to other states with these stats. In California, grapes were ranked No. 2 ($6.25 billion) in cash receipts, behind dairy products (milk). For production expenses in 2018, hired labor was No. 1 and contract labor was No. 4. 
CAWG Members Among Wine Enthusiast Award Nominees
Congratulations to all of the nominees for Wine Enthusiast’s 20th annual Wine Star Awards, especially the following CAWG members. The award ceremony will take place at a gala in San Francisco on Jan. 27, 2020.

  • Wine Executive of the Year: Cynthia Lohr, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wine; Bob Torkelson, Trinchero Family Estates.
  • American Winery of the Year: Bogle Vineyards.
  • Social Visionary of the Year: Joseph Brinkley, Fetzer Vineyards.
  • Winery Experience of the Year: Constellation Brands’ The Prisoner Wine Company.

Also, congratulations to Sonoma County on its nomination for Wine Region of the Year.

Wine Industry Represented in Newest Ag Leadership Class
Tyler Blackney, director of legislative and regulatory affairs at Wine Institute (and former CAWG director of government relations) was selected for Class 50 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program. Congratulations Tyler!


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WATER
Just the Facts: New Water-Climate Change Papers
> Climate Change and California’s Water : Managing water is at the forefront of climate change adaptation in California. Changes are needed to prepare the water system for a more volatile climate.

> California’s Water Grid : The statewide network of storage and conveyance facilities provides multiple services, which are sometimes in conflict. Climate change brings new challenges.

> Dams in California : Dams are central to California’s water system, providing storage, flood control, electricity and recreation. Climate change is complicating how they are managed.

> Groundwater Recharge : Groundwater recharge can replenish overdraft basins and help California adapt to greater climate extremes.
RESOURCES
Important Crop Insurance Policy Update
With a bountiful grape crop in most areas of California, and the potential that winery storage is at or near capacity, there have been concerns about the ability to market winegrapes. If you have a crop insurance policy: an important reminder is to please be aware that the inability to market grapes for any reason, other than actual physical damage from an insurable cause, is not covered under the policy.
 
If you suspect you will not be able to market your grapes, please contact your agent to discuss. Per the crop insurance policy provisions, if the crop will not be harvested, you must notify your agent or carrier within three days of the date harvest should have started. It is important to have your crop appraised in order to keep your policy production up to date. If the crop was damaged during the growing season and you previously gave notice to your agent, you must provide notice at least 15 days prior to the beginning of harvest. You must not destroy the damaged crop until after you have been given written consent to do so by your carrier. 

Please contact your agent with any questions or read more information from the  Common Crop Insurance Policy Basic Provisions or to further review your responsibilities in the event of a potential loss.
September is National Preparedness Month
Are you prepared for a possible disaster or emergency? The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Ad Council are kicking off National Preparedness Month to emphasize the importance of planning for these. This year’s campaign – titled “Prepared, Not Scared” – offers numerous resources for businesses, families and communities.


COUNTY CROP REPORTS
Stanislaus County Grapes: Total Value Up, Harvested Acres Down
The total value of Stanislaus County grapes (all) was $46.7 million in 2018, up from $42.7 million in 2017. Statistics for red varieties: 5,890 harvested acres; 60,300 tons; and $29.8 million value. Statistics for white varieties: 3,765 harvested acres; 37,300 tons; and $16.9 million value. A new report titled " Economic Contributions of Stanislaus County " was released on the same day as the crop report.


ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Winegrape Harvest
Tom Merwin interviewed.
KCRA-NBC Sacramento, Sept. 5

After near perfect weather conditions, the 2019 harvest heightens a typical trend in the region.
El Dorado Winery Association, Sept. 4

Updates from a dozen AVAs.
Napa Valley Register, Sept. 4

Video and article. CAWG member interviewed.
CBS Sacramento, Sept. 3

CAWG members mentioned.
The Press Democrat, Sept. 3

Some growers are in need of buyers.
Paso Robles Press, Aug. 30

CALENDAR
November 7
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Modesto