Your source for CAWG and industry news
May 4, 2017

May 17-18
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Sacramento

July 11
CAWG PAC fundraiser, Goehring Vineyards, Inc., Lodi

July 17
CAWG PAC Golf Tournament, Napa

July 17
CAWG Awards of Excellence Program and Dinner, Napa

July 18
CAWG Summer Conference, Napa

July 19
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Napa

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CORRECTION to typo in Wine Institute article headline: California Wine Sales Hit New Record Valued at $34.1  B illion in 2016

Feinstein, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Protect Farmworkers from Deportation

Five Senate Democrats, including California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, introduced a bill this week that would shield undocumented farmworkers from deportation and put them on a path to earned legal status and eventual citizenship. Feinstein, Harris, Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) introduced the legislation titled the  Agricultural Worker Program Act of 2017. Under the act, farmworkers who have worked in agriculture for at least 100 days in each of the past two years may earn lawful "blue card" status. Farmworkers who maintain blue card status for the next three or five years, depending on the total hours worked in agriculture, would be eligible to adjust to a green card or legal permanent residency. 

"Everywhere I travel in California, I hear from farmers, growers and producers from all industries - wine, citrus, fruit and tree nuts, dairy - that there aren't enough workers," Feinstein  said. "By protecting farmworkers from deportation, our bill achieves two goals: ensuring that hardworking immigrants don't live in fear and California's agriculture industry has the workforce it needs to thrive ."

Perdue Tells Growers to Not Worry About Immigrant Farmworker Issues

According to an article in Southwest Farm Press, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue told hundreds of growers last Friday that he believes agricultural producers shouldn't worry about immigrant farmworker problems under the Trump administration's aggressive immigration policy. Perdue spoke at a meeting sponsored by the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City. He told attendees that the president will not focus his immigration efforts on deporting farmworkers even if they are illegally in the U.S. and that Trump is open to helping agricultural producers protect their immigrant work force.

Government Relations Capitol Report

This week California industries can breathe a sigh of relief as Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) decided not to pursue her AB 5 this year. AB 5 would require employers to offer additional hours of work to its current employees before hiring any new workers. The bill, while intended to help part-time workers get more hours of work, would unnecessarily and substantially delay the hiring process and subject employers to costly litigation. Nonetheless, AB 5 sailed through the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee and was to be heard next in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which is chaired by the bill's author. In opposition to AB 5, CAWG and a coalition of more than 70 industry groups have been meeting with assemblymembers over the last few months. Those meetings were very productive, and Gonzalez Fletcher announced this week she will not pursue this bill this year. AB 5 will no doubt be back in January. Nonetheless, we can enjoy a sigh of relief - at least for the moment.

-- Michael Miiller / / 916-379-8995

California Wine Sales Hit New Record Valued at $34.1 Billion in 2016

California wine shipments to the U.S. reached an estimated retail value of $34.1 billion in 2016, up 4.6 percent, according to the Wine Institute. The state shipped an all-time high of 238 million cases to the U.S. in 2016, up 2 percent from the previous years. California wine sales to all markets, including shipments to the U.S. and exports, also set a record of 285 million cases in 2016.
U.S. wine exports, 90 percent from California, reached a record $1.62 billion in winery revenues in 2016. Volume shipments were 51.2 million cases (461 million liters). The top markets for U.S. wine exports were European Union's 28-member countries ($685 million), Canada ($431 million), Hong Kong ($99 million), Japan ($87 million), China ($82 million), Mexico ($24 million), South Korea ($23 million), Switzerland ($19 million), Singapore ($14 million) and Philippines ($13 million).

California Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees

Applications are now being accepted for the prestigious California Leopold Conservation Award, which honors California farmers, ranchers and other agricultural landowners who demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources. Award recipients receive a prize of $10,000. Nomination applications focus on the categories of conservation ethic, ecological community, innovation and adaptability, leadership and communication, and resilience. Nominations are due by July 8, 2017.


Chinese regulators have conditionally approved the proposed merger between DuPont and the Dow Chemical Co. The $130 billion merger was approved by the European Union and is still awaiting approval from the U.S., Canada, Brazil and Australia.
Delaware Online, May 2

With neighborly and environmentally friendly farming practices long a family goal, twin brothers Randall and Bradford Lange took them to a new level.
Capital Press, May 1

If John Duarte ultimately loses in court, his fall will affect the property rights of landowners and farmers across the U.S.
AG WEB, May 1

Anything that President Donald Trump says about NAFTA draws extra scrutiny in Latin America, whose countries account for half of the United States' free trade agreements.
Los Angeles Times, April 30
Some San Joaquin Valley citrus growers have turned to a labor contractor who brings in farmworkers from Mexico under a temporary agricultural worker program.
Fresno Bee, April 30

Statewide Snowpack is 196 Percent of May 1 Average

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced May 1 electronic readings from dozens of stations scattered throughout the Sierra Nevada. The readings show an average statewide snow water equivalent (SWE) of 42.5 inches, or 196 percent of the May 1 historical average. DWR also conducted its final manual snow survey off Highway 50 near Sierra-at-Tahoe and found a SWE of 27.8 inches, or 190 percent of the May 1 long-term average at that station (14.6 inches). Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program, said the snowpack is encouraging in terms of surface water supplies. "The thing we're looking out for is primarily the southern Sierra, where we have full reservoirs and in some cases a huge snowpack," he said. "We want to make sure that we prudently manage that so we don't cause any downstream issues." 

CDFA Water and Agriculture Policy Forum: California and Israel

The California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development are co-hosting a forum on water and agriculture on May 25 in Sacramento. Israeli and California government officials and researchers will address water/agriculture related issues and explore opportunities for future innovation and sustainable management of water resources. Session topics include agriculture in Israsel, California agriculture and water, water policy, sustainable groundwater management, irrigation and water quality and efficient irrigation management. Last year, a CDFA-led delegation visited Israel to learn more about the successful implementation of climate start strategies related to specialty crops in addressing drought and salinity issues.

California Coalition Asks Political Leaders to Make Water Infrastructure a Top Priority

The Clean Water & Jobs for California Coalition - consisting of agricultural, water, business and labor interests - is calling on national and state political leaders to make water infrastructure investment a top priority this year. In recent letters to President Donald Trump, California's congressional delegation and Gov. Jery Brown, coalition members emphasized the critical role water infrastructure plays in supporting the state's economy, public health and safety. The coalition claims that role is jeopardized by a widening gap between available funding and needs to address aging water and wastewater infrastructure.

Water Articles and Resources

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy approved approximately $4.4 million for four projects that restore and enhance ecosystems, improve water quality and support water-related agricultural sustainability in the Delta.
May 3
The San Joaquin Valley farm sector will have to play a crucial role in tackling the valley's various water challenges.
Public Policy Institute of California, May 4


USCIS Issues New Highly-Secure Green Cards

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has redesigned the permanent resident card (also known as a "green card") and the employment authorization document (EAD). USCIS began issuing the new cards on May 1. The redesigns use enhanced graphics and fraud-resistant security features to create cards that are highly secure and more tamper-resistant than current ones in use. The new card designs are part of the agency's proactive approach against the threat of document tampering and fraud. They are also part of an ongoing effort between USCIS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enhance document security and deter counterfeiting and fraud.

2017 CAWG Summer Conference in Napa

  • 6th annual CAWG PAC Golf Tournament
  • 6th annual Awards of Excellence Program
  • CAWG Summer Conference (speaker program and annual business meeting)
  • CAWG board of directors meeting

Event information is posted on the CAWG website. Please contact the CAWG office at 916-379-8995 if you are interested in sponsorship opportunities.  CAWG has negotiated a discounted room rate of $229 at the Silverado Resort and Spa. The deadline to book a room at this rate is Friday, June 16. To make a reservation under the CAWG room block, contact the hotel at 707-257-5440. 

CAWG PAC: Your Support Makes a Difference!

Mark your calendar and join us at upcoming fundraisers benefitting the CAWG PAC. Additional information is posted  here .

JULY 11  / Goehring Vineyards, Inc. / Lodi

JULY 17 /  6th annual CAWG PAC Golf Tournament at the Silverado Resort Golf Course / Napa

OCT. 19  / San Joaquin Wine Company / Madera 

Heat Illness Prevention Train-the-Trainer

Free OSHA compliant train-the-trainer classes for FLCs, growers, crew leaders, safety offices and others. The training will be in Spanish. Classes will be held May 12 in Modesto, May 23 in Woodland and June 1 in Salinas.

Understanding U.S. Department of Labor - MSPA Requirements and H-2A Seminar

WHEN: May 12
WHERE: Napa Hampton Inn & Suites, Napa

Ag employers, FLCs and supervisors can learn from Department of Labor administrators what to expect in a compliance inspection. Sessions in English and Spanish. Space is limited. Free registration.

Independent Grape Growers-Paso Robles 
Area / May Educational Seminar

WHEN: May 17 / 1-4 p.m.
WHERE: La Quinta Inn, Paso Robles
Growers are invited to attend this seminar, which will focus on labor contractor liability, bloom time tissue analysis for vineyard fertility management, and issues and options for vertebrate pest control. There will also be a speaker from the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program.

UCCE Foothill Grape Day 2017: Improving 
Your Vineyard "Culture"

WHEN: May 18 / 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
WHERE: Amador County Fairgrounds, Plymouth
Meeting topics include foothill research update, successful vineyard plantings, vector of grapevine red blotch virus, Virginia creeper leafhopper, effect of high temperatures on fruit composition and tannin development in vineyards. Register by May 12. Cost is $40.

2017 American Society for Enology and Viticulture National Conference

WHEN: June 26-29
WHERE: Hyatt Regency Bellevue / Bellevue, WA 

The conference will have industry seminars, plus several enology and viticulture-related sessions. The keynote speaker is Dr. Mark Krstic of the Australian Research Institute, who will present "Seeing through the Haze - Insights into Smoke Taint Impacts in Wine." On June 27 is the day-long New Understandings in Wine Oxidation Chemistry Symposium, featuring several expert speakers.