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San Luis Obispo County Agriculture News

April 24, 2023


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‘Latest We’ve Ever Opened,’ Iconic Grover Beach Farm Stand Opens After Rain Delays Strawberry Harvest

A line of cars off Highland Way in Grover Beach signaled the opening of Okui Strawberry & Fruit Stand last Thursday. Farmer and longtime Farm Bureau member Charles Okui says they typically begin harvesting strawberries in January, but this year’s wet weather delayed picking until April.  

This crop of Albion variety strawberries was planted at the end of October and could continue bearing fruit until the fall. Okui says besides the loss of sales from delayed harvest, the increasing cost of labor (now around $18.50 an hour) will make 2023 especially challenging. “This year, we’re just hoping to break-even.” 

Okui's grandfather Charlie Sakamoto started growing berries on the 5-acre farm next to the stand in 1948. Charles and his sister Joan Okui are the third generation of Japanese-American farmers to manage the farm.  


SLO County Farm Bureau helped facilitate a visit of Okui Farms on Thursday for Grover Beach city leaders. Pictured above from left to right, Charles Okui, Grover Beach City Council Member Clint Weirick, City Manager Matt Bronson, and Deputy City Manager Kristin Eriksson.  

Okui Farms is the only commercial agricultural production remaining within the city limits of Grover Beach. “This farm is a fixture of our community,” City Manager Bronson says, “we’re proud it’s here.” 

Okui says strawberries they sell at the farm stand are sweeter than those you typically find at the grocery store because they don’t have to be shipped, allowing them to be left on the vine for a few extra days. Okui Strawberry & Fruit Stand is now open daily from 9:30am-5:30pm at 1234 Highland Drive in Grover Beach. 

This Week In SLO County Agriculture

In This Week's Issue:

  • Community: Coastal RCD Irrigation Efficiency Workshop- May 5
  • Local Government: SLO County Adopts Redistricting Map Similar to 2011 Map, Repeals Patten Map
  • State Government: Concerns for the Future of Pest Management in California
  • Federal Government: As California Contends With Compounding Crises, What's at Stake in Farm Bill Negotiations
  • USDA: USDA Announces Grassland Conservation Reserve Program Signup for 2023
  • Ag Economics and Trade: Three Emerging Risks for the U.S. Farm Supply Sector
  • Environmental: DPR Confirms Another Reduction in Pesticide Use in 2021
  • Business Member Spotlight: The Rice Partnership
  • Featured Member Benefit: Jiffy Lube
  • Produce: 5 Strawberry Varieties Resistant to Deadly Fusarium Wilt
  • Labor: Farm Labor Contractors Have Until June 15 to Sign A Compliance Agreement for Asian Citrus Psyllid Quarantine Program
  • Wildfire: Commentary: Farmers Continue the Fight for Access to Insurance
  • Livestock: Cutting Through the Wild West of Carbon Markets
  • Vineyard & Wine: California's Ban on Pesticides by 2050 Sees the State's Wineries Embracing 'Slow Wine' 
  • Water: State Lifts Restrictions on Nacimiento Water, Giving SLO County New Options

April 17 Most-Read

1. EPA allows California law phasing out diesel trucks

2. Carbajal bill would prevent development on more than 250,000 acres of Central Coast land

3. Paso Robles winery Daou is expanding to Italy with new 173-acre estate: ‘It’s so magical’

4. 2023 Sudden Oak Death Blitz Training May 5th-9th

5. DWR to use helicopters to map groundwater resources across Central Coast

6. City of Morro Bay seeking answers on nearby offshore wind project

7. 5 local riders win events at rodeo during Cal Poly’s Open House

8. Increasing temperatures increase California flood risk

9.  Commentary: How managing flood flows can help rescue aquifers

10. California vintners welcome higher last-resort fire insurance limits but await return of private market

Executive Director Report

Here are a few things we worked on this week:

  • Discussed 2023 Farm Bill and storm disaster issues with California Farm Bureau federal policy team; 
  • Sent a letter to local farm labor contractors and agricultural employers about a United Way of SLO County assistance program for farmworkers (contact Farm Bureau if you employ farmworkers and want to learn more);
  • Held a SLO County Farm Bureau Executive Committee meeting; 
  • Assisted the SLO Food System Coalition with interviewing candidates for their Food System Coordinator position; 
  • Monitored the April 18 SLO County Board of Supervisors meeting;
  • Attended a Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance educational workshop on the Ag Order 4.0 (the Central Coast Regional Water Board’s Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program);
  • Participated in SLO County Immigrant Resource Hub Advisory committee meeting; 
  • Gave an update on water issues to the Paso Robles & Templeton Chamber of Commerce’s Governmental Affairs Committee;
  • Attended a SLO Chamber of Commerce event hosted by Farm Supply Company;
  • Sent a letter of support for Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District’s application for a Climate Smart Land Management Grant; 
  • Assisted a member with applying for federal disaster assistance from USDA Farm Service Agency;
  • Led a tour of Okui Farms for Grover Beach city leaders;
  • Gave our weekly update on 98.1 KJUG’s Tom & Becky Show (Thursdays around 9:10am); and
  • Continued discussions with members about work by the County to develop an “Accepted Customs & Standards” document for wind machines (frost fans) in response to noise complaints.

Calendar- Upcoming Events & Deadlines:

  • April 25 - SLO County Farm Bureau Board of Directors meeting at 5pm (all members welcome)
  • April 27 - Picking the Right Pesticide for the Job - Continuing Education class online: 1 Hour L/R or Other DPR & 1 Hour CCA (Register here)
  • September 18 - Deadline to apply for the USDA Farm Service Agency’s Emergency Loan Program
  • October 14 - NEW Deadline to apply for the USDA Farm Service Agency's Emergency Conservation Program for January 2023 storm damages in SLO County

Community: Coastal RCD Irrigation Efficiency Workshop- May 5

Coastal RCD Irrigation Efficiency Workshop- May 5

SLO Food System Coalition- Register For Our May 9 General Meeting

The San Luis Obispo Food System Coalition (FSC) is a community organization launched in 2011 to maximize the efforts of local agencies and non-profits working to enhance the sustainability and quality of our local food system. As a resource providing inspiration, collaboration and advocacy, we achieve impacts that create a more equitable, profitable, resilient, and health promoting food system.

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Cal Poly Soil Judging Team Wins Second Place at National Competition

PUBLISHED ON SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - A flight delay and missed day of practice didn't stop the Cal Poly Soil Judging Team from beating out 21 other teams to take second place at the National Collegiate Soils Contest at Oklahoma State University.

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Local Government: SLO County Adopts Redistricting Map Similar to 2011 Map, Repeals Patten Map

SLO County adopts redistricting map similar to 2011 map, repeals Patten map

San Luis Obispo County turned back the clock on April 18 and adopted a new redistricting map that mirrors what it'd used for the decade prior-before the county transitioned to the redrawn and controversial "Patten map" last year.

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Who will be on the ballot for SLO County supervisors race in 2024? Here's who plans to run

The March 2024 primary election is nearly a year away, but at least one candidate has already thrown her hat in the ring for the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors ' District 5 race. Atascadero mayor pro tem Susan Funk announced Friday that she will run for the seat.

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State Government: Concerns for the Future of Pest Management in California

California Farm Bureau's Farm Bureau at Work

April 21, 2023

AB-554 by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel will be heard on Monday in the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee. CA Farm Bureau has joined a coalition of stakeholders to oppose this bill. AB 554 would create a new right of action enabling Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCAs) and their humane officers to litigate alleged violations of “any law relating to or affecting animals” in the civil courts.

  • CA Farm Bureau has major concerns that this bill would expose our membership to unfounded charges and litigation. Under current law, SPCAs may be incorporated once 20 CA citizens have organized and filed. This mechanism of incorporation is ripe for abuse by extremist animal rights organizations which have long sought to disrupt, harass, and even shutter California businesses engaged in the production, stewardship, conservation, and care of animals. Once established as an SPCA, this bill would grant this entity the authority to “proffer a complaint” of alleged animal abuse in civil court. ...

Read the full state government affairs report here.

Concerns for the Future of Pest Management in California

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has a stated goal of eliminating the use of "priority pesticides" by 2050.

Part of that effort includes the implementation of the Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap for California that was released earlier in the year.

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Ag skeptical of barring foreign investors


Agri-Pulse Daybreak West – April 20, 2023

Sen. Melissa Hurtado—the other ag chair—has raised eyebrows among farm groups for her proposal to bar foreign governments from purchasing farmland.


Last year CDFA opposed the measure. This year several farm groups labeled her bill draconian and disruptive and called for more data to show this is an issue.


“California agriculture is a global economy,” said Louie Brown, an attorney representing several groups during a policy hearing. “We partner with companies all over the world and are proud of that.”


He said this would have a chilling effect on technology and partnerships and urged Hurtado to narrow it to countries “that are truly a threat.” CalChamber, along with seed and biotechnology companies, opposed the measure as well.


Raising concerns over xenophobia and China-bashing, Sen. David Min of Irvine voted against the measure. Hurtado’s Ag Committee will take it up next.

Federal Government: As California Contends With Compounding Crises, What's at Stake in Farm Bill Negotiations

California Farm Bureau's Federal Policy News -

April 20, 2023

  • House Votes a Second Time to Overturn WOTUS Rule
  • USDA Extends Deadline for ECP Applications for Producers in 52 Counties
  • Battle Over Economy & Debt Ceiling Taking Shape
  • Upcoming Expiration of Title 42 Could Cause Significant Immigration Surge at the Border
  • Reclamation Bolsters 2023 Central Valley Project Allocations
  • House Agriculture Committee Holds Hearing with EPA Head

As California contends with compounding crises, what's at stake in farm bill negotiations

“It is easy to see that the impacts of the legislation are not just limited to farmers and ranchers, but to entire communities that we live in,” Jamie Johansson, president of the California Farm Bureau, said at the hearing.

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AFBF: Wall Street Rules Should Not Extend to Family Farms

PUBLISHED ON WASHINGTON - Wall Street rules intended for publicly traded companies should not extend to family farms. That is the message the American Farm Bureau Federation and six other agricultural groups sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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USDA: USDA Announces Grassland Conservation Reserve Program Signup for 2023

USDA Announces Grassland Conservation Reserve Program Signup for 2023

PUBLISHED ON WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that agricultural producers and private landowners can begin signing up for the Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) through May 26, 2023. Among CRP enrollment opportunities, Grassland CRP is a unique working lands program, allowing producers and landowners to continue grazing and haying practices while conserving grasslands and promoting plant and animal biodiversity as well as healthier soil.

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Farm Bureau Members Discuss Farm Bill with Congressman * Atascadero News

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY- On April 11, SLO County Farm Bureau hosted a listening session with Congressman Salud Carbajal on the 2023 Farm Bill and storm disaster issues. Farm Bureau board member Tom Ikeda spoke about the need to modify the USDA Farm Service Agency's Emergency Conservation Program.

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Ag Economics and Trade: Three Emerging Risks for the U.S. Farm Supply Sector

USDA Launches Trade Mission to the Netherlands - California Ag Network

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis M. Taylor launched the first-ever regional agribusiness trade mission to the Netherlands in Amsterdam. Under Secretary Taylor and her delegation of representatives from 41 agribusiness and farm organizations and 10 state departments of agriculture look to expand economic partnerships between the ...

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Three Emerging Risks for the U.S. Farm Supply Sector - California Ag Network

The outlook for agricultural retailers is generally favorable for 2023 following a year of record profits in 2022. However, the sector faces an emerging set of risks that could depress profit margins and challenge traditional business models in the years ahead. Lower levels of industry working capital, higher property insurance costs, and changing grower needs ...

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Environmental: DPR Confirms Another Reduction in Pesticide Use in 2021

DPR Confirms Another Reduction in Pesticide Use in 2021

Data shows that pesticide use in California has once again declined. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) confirmed the findings in a recent report. DPR's annual Pesticide Use Report (PUR) for 2021 shows that the use of pesticides declined by more than 10 percent.

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Driven by solar, California's net demand hit zero on Sunday

The CAISO region's spring solar record setting season is upon as, with solar peaking at greater than 95% of the state's demand.

Combined, solar was meeting greater than 90% of California’s electricity needs at the moment.

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Business Member Spotlight:

The Rice Partnership

Bonnie Rice and her team have been trusted wealth advisors for individuals and families, foundations, and endowments for over 30 years. Serving clients throughout Hawaii and California.

Why you should work with us 

  • Independent, agile, very personal
  • Local roots, global expertise
  • Customized, integrated approach
  • Client-directed. We work for you and only you.


PHONE: 1-805-517-4122

Thank You Farm Bureau Members

Renewing Agricultural Platinum Member

Gallo Vineyards

Renewing Agricultural Business Support Members

 Vine Shepherd Vineyard Management, Pismo Oceano Vegetable Exchange, Buttonwillow Warehouse Company, and Whiteford Ag

Renewing Agricultural Member

Carl Holloway, William Weitkamp, Patrick Molnar, Arciero Farms Inc, Steven Lock, Bella Terra Farms, Jerry Ulrich , Manetta Bennett, and Kent Allen

Renewing Associate Business Support Member

DiBuduo & DeFendis Insurance Brokers LLC

Renewing Associate Members

Kenneth Romero, Robert Newlon, Bruce Beaudoin, Carol Brown, and Rob McKee

SLO County Farm Bureau Business Support Member List

Featured Member Benefit:

Jiffy Lube

Jiffy Lube service centers offer services beyond the oil change with locations across California. Through a partnership with Jiffy Lube Fleet Care, Farm Bureau members can get their vehicles serviced for less! Take your vehicle to any one of the convenient locations and receive a 10 percent discount off all products and services except tires and batteries.

  • No Appointment Necessary
  • Convenient hours and open on weekends
  • Available services include: Oil change, lights, tire rotation and more
  • Jiffy Lube Signature Service Oil Change usually takes less than 25 minutes from start to finish
  • FREE fluid top offs between oil changes after your first oil change visit

Visit www.jiffylube.com for the nearest service center location. No appointment is necessary.

Produce: 5 Strawberry Varieties Resistant to Deadly Fusarium Wilt

5 Strawberry Varieties Resistant to Deadly Fusarium Wilt

PUBLISHED ON DAVIS, Calif. - The University of California, Davis, is releasing five new strawberry varieties that are resistant to the soilborne disease Fusarium wilt, have high yields and improved fruit quality. UC Eclipse, UC Golden Gate, UC Keystone, UC Monarch and UC Surfline are available for sale to California nurseries from Foundation Plant Services.

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The Role Of High Payload Drones In Agriculture As Flying Robots

Drones are being used for an ever widening range of agricultural applications enabled by new technology and diminishing regulatory constraints. Most current drone options are small, battery powered units and when equipped with cameras or other sensors they are very well suited to scouting and monitoring tasks (see this earlier article).

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Labor: Farm Labor Contractors Have Until June 15 to Sign A Compliance Agreement for Asian Citrus Psyllid Quarantine Program

Asian Citrus Psyllid Update


The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Asian citrus psyllid quarantine program now requires farm labor contractors (FLCs) to have a valid compliance agreement to harvest citrus groves. FLCs will have until June 15, 2023, to obtain and sign a compliance agreement.

Any FLC operating in citrus without a compliance agreement by the June 15th deadline will be in violation of quarantine requirements. Completed compliance agreements may be returned to CDFA via local regulatory staff (contact list) or the ACPCompliance@cdfa.ca.gov email address. Please reach out to your local CDFA staff for a compliance agreement and with any questions or concerns.

Visit the ACP/HLB Website!

Proposed agriculture bill to create a pathway to citizenship - KION546

SALINAS, Calif. (KION-TV)- Many farmworkers in California are undocumented -- but that could change if state lawmakers pass Senate Bill 831 -- which would create a pathway to citizenship for people who work in the agriculture industry, which includes farm workers.

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Will California Extend Unemployment Insurance to Undocumented Workers? | KQED

An estimated 1.1 million undocumented immigrants work in California, with large numbers laboring in low-wage jobs like agriculture, construction, and food service. But none of those workers are eligible for unemployment insurance, even though their wages contribute to the system.

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Wildfire: Commentary: Farmers Continue the Fight for Access to Insurance

Commentary: Farmers continue the fight for access to insurance

By Peter Nissen and Ryan Klobas In 2021, the Napa County Farm Bureau was gratified to see the passage of Senate Bill 11-Farm Bureau-sponsored legislation that began to seriously address the issue of the lack of wildfire insurance availability for agriculture in Napa County and in fire-prone regions across California.

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Controlled burn at Hearst San Simeon, Morro Bay, and Montaña de Oro State Parks to start Apr. 20 | News Channel 3-12

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.- Controlled burns to reduce wildfire threats at Hearst San Simeon, Morro Bay, and Montaña de Oro State Parks are set to begin Apr. 20 through May 19, according to California State Parks.

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UC Seeks Feedback on Wildfire Impacts

Pollution lawsuit could curb use of aerial fire retardant

A legal dispute in Montana could drastically curb the government's use of aerial fire retardant to combat wildfires after environmentalists raised concerns about waterways that are being polluted with the potentially toxic red slurry that's dropped from aircraft.

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Livestock: Cutting Through the Wild West of Carbon Markets

Cutting Through the Wild West of Carbon Markets -- NCBA's Next Webinar

April 27th, 2023 @ 7:00 p.m. Central Join this webinar to learn more about the Wild West of Carbon Markets. Join this webinar to learn more about the Wild West of Carbon Markets. Hear multiple perspectives and takeaways for ranchers on the current status of the carbon landscape, and what opportunities are available. Speakers Chad Ellis, CEO of Texas Ag Land and Trust, Kevin Kester, past president of NCBA and California cattle producer, and Nicole Buckley Biggs, PhD, Director of Sustainability with AgriWebb will have a discussion and answer producer questions on potential pitfalls that ranchers should look out for, and with much to be done, what can producers do to prepare.

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9-year-old California girl wanted to save her goat from slaughter. Then came the search warrant

The 15-page search warrant and affidavit were very specific about the target Shasta County sheriff's officials were after. "The location is a single family residence in a rural residential area," the warrant, signed at 6:33 p.m. on July 8 by Shasta County Superior Court Judge Monique McKee, read.

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Farm tour offers intricate look into cattle ranching

OROVILLE - Much like the world around it, American cattle ranching has changed tremendously since its early days with the exception of one thing: it's still grueling.

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Vineyard & Wine: California's Ban on Pesticides by 2050 Sees the State's Wineries Embracing 'Slow Wine' 

Paso Wine Fest Weekend returns May 18 - 21

The 40th anniversary of Paso Wine Fest weekend is set to take place beginning Thursday, May 18 to Sunday, May 21 in Paso Robles Wine Country. Since 1983, this festival has been the iconic celebration of the Paso Robles wine region. This year’s festival will feature four days of events at more than 150 individual wineries as well as multiple winemaker dinners and the marquee event – the grand tasting.

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California's Ban on Pesticides by 2050 Sees the State's Wineries Embracing 'Slow Wine'

Corriedale sheep snack on weeds among rows of vines; along the way, they fertilise the soil, adding nitrogen, phosphorus, and calcium. Owls and bats swoop from vineyard boxes from dusk 'til dawn, eliminating vine-root-eating gophers and grapevine moths. Native flowering plants create sanctuaries for beneficial insects.

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Integrating Mechanization- Vineyard Team Seminar May 12

So you want to be mechanized; Now what? Mechanization affects many farming practices from trellising to pest management, from machine maintenance to labor. Learn from experienced farmers and precision agriculture specialists about how technology drives mechanization and how you can implement these practices on your vineyard.

Read More

Water: State Lifts Restrictions on Nacimiento Water, Giving SLO County New Options

In Case You Missed It: VIDEO – March 23, 2023 Webinar from DWR: ‘Executive Order N-4-23: Flood Water & Groundwater Recharge’


The webinar on the Executive Order N-4-23, related to flood water capture and groundwater recharge, was jointly hosted by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), and California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The webinar included opening remarks, a presentation detailing the requirements of the Executive Order, and a question-and-answer period with participants. Below are links shared during the webinar, which may be of interest to you:

  • Executive Order N-4-23 Language: Link
  • SWRCB EO N-4-23 Webpage: Link
  • Frequently Asked Questions & Reporting Form
  • DWR N-4-23 Public Inquiry Form for Technical Assistance/Questions: Link
  • DWR N-4-23 Open Data Portal Page: Link
  • A video recording of the webinar 
  • Presentation slides given during the webinar 
  • SGMA Data Viewer
  • Tutorial video on mapping resources

Contact information:

· SWRCB: FloodDiversion@waterboards.ca.gov

· DWR: sgmps@water.ca.gov

State Lifts Restrictions on Nacimiento Water, Giving SLO County New Options

After almost 70 years, San Luis Obispo County's use of water from Lake Nacimiento will no longer be restricted—a shift in policy that could be key to helping cities across the county meet new state sustainability standards.

The April 7 change to the Monterey County-based permit affects Nacimiento Water Project participants, including the city of Paso Robles, Templeton Community Services District, Atascadero Mutual Water Company, Santa Margarita Water Company, the city of San Luis Obispo and some parts of Cayucos, according to SLO County Engineer Wes Thompson.

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Monterey County farmers ask for emergency permit to start Salinas River maintenance

The Monterey County Farm Bureau is calling for a change on regulations of river maintenance along the Salinas River by hosting a meeting with agencies that oversee the river to ask for an emergency permit. The Monterey County Farm Bureau represents farmers like fifth-generation farmer, Jynel Gularte.

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Bipartisan bill aims to incentivize water conservation in drought-prone farmlands of US West

With hopes of incentivizing water conservation in the country's drought-prone regions, two lawmakers on Thursday will introduce bipartisan legislation seeking to expand the flexibility of voluntary cutback programs.

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California invests $5M in new desalination projects

California will be investing $5 million in three new desalination projects - in a bid to protect water resources from the effects of climate-driven weather extremes, state agencies announced on Wednesday. "California is taking action to adapt to the extremes in weather we're seeing across the state...

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'Interesting to See' How Wet Season Impacts Groundwater Basins

California's wet water year could have some sizable implications when it comes to groundwater levels. Executive Director of the California Farm Water Coalition, Mike Wade said it will take some time to determine the full impact. ...

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Farm Bureau Membership Matters

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We cannot support your freedom to farm and ranch without your membership.

Join SLO County Farm Bureau now or renew your membership online. Go to slofarmbureau.org to join, or download the membership form PDF.

Have your renewal notice available to speed up the process; you will need to enter your membership number, name and ZIP code. Renewal dues may be paid online or over the phone by credit card.

We're here to help! Call us if you need us to lookup your member number or we can process your membership for you, at 805-543-3654.

All California county Farm Bureau memberships are processed through the California Farm Bureau Federation, but please reach out to our SLO County office if you need your membership number or have questions.

Join or Renew Your San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau Membership

Thank You Platinum Members

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SLO County Agriculture News is distributed by SLO County Farm Bureau for information purposes only. Stories written by SLO County Farm Bureau may be reprinted with attribution. Some outside story links may require site registration. Opinions expressed in stories, commentaries or editorials included in this newsletter do not necessarily represent the views of SLO County Farm Bureau. For information on advertising opportunities, please email info@slofarmbureau.org or call our office at 805-543-3654.

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