San Luis Obispo County Agriculture News
January 15, 2021
Vaccine Supply Arriving Slowly, County Presses Ahead With Prioritized Distribution Plan to Seniors 75+
SLO County Farm Bureau Executive Director Brent Burchett was among 29 local community leaders to meet this week as part of the County's COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. To review minutes from the Jan. 13 meeting click here and presentation here. This morning, the County opened registration for people 75 years old and up. To register, click here.

Farm Bureau is asking all farmers, ranchers and agriculture businesses to help guide the County's distribution of the vaccine by completing a survey by Sunday, January 17 at midnight. Below are the most recents update from SLO County Public Health Department.

Starting Monday, the County will begin vaccinating SLO County residents age 75 or older, based on their high risk of serious outcomes due to COVID-19 and the County’s current vaccine supply.
  • This begins Phase 1b of the County’s COVID-19 vaccination distribution, at the recommendation of the local Vaccine Task Force. People age 65 to 74 will be vaccinated later in this phase. Anyone in Phase 1a can continue to make appointments.
  • Today, people age 75 or older can make appointments for next week by visiting or by calling the County’s Phone Assistance Center at (805) 543-2444, which is now available 7 days a week, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • We must allocate our limited vaccine supply based on who is most at risk for serious illness or death from COVID-19. People age 75 or older are more at risk of serious illness or death than other age groups. Three out of four people who have died from COVID-19 in SLO County were age 75 or older.By allowing them to get vaccinated now, we are all helping to prevent the most serious outcomes.
  • When a new group becomes eligible, they will be able to make an appointment online or over the phone. They will receive confirmation with details on where to go and what documentation to bring with them. Sites will accommodate people with limited mobility.

The public now has access to more information on ICU capacity. After consulting with hospitals, that capacity has dropped from 53 to 38 beds.
  • The County Public Health Department is now providing data showing local ICU bed capacity on Currently 58% of the ICU beds in SLO County are available for patients.
  • After consulting with local hospitals, the total ICU beds metric has been adjusted from 53 total licensed ICU beds to 38 licensed and staffed ICU beds. Previously, it included all licensed beds regardless of whether or not they could be staffed.
  • The data is based on information provided by local hospitals to the County Public Health Department and the information will be updated daily.

Thousands of health care workers are getting vaccinated in SLO County, and we expect to open vaccinations to more people soon.
  • Right now, we’re distributing vaccine to groups in Phase 1a, which includes local health care workers providing in-person care. Long-term care facility residents and staff continue to receive their vaccine directly through a federal pharmacy partnership. State facilities and hospitals are directly vaccinating their staff.
  • Currently, our limiting factor is vaccine supply. We are ready to provide up to 3,000 appointments per day beginning next week, but have only received enough vaccine to provide about 800 appointments first dose per day.
  • The local Vaccine Task Force recommended allowing anyone age 75 and older to be next in line for vaccinations in San Luis Obispo County, under Phase 1b.

Find the most up-to-date local information about vaccines at
  • We understand that there is a strong desire for vaccine information. While there is a lot we don’t know, we are working to provide as much information as we have.
  • We encourage all SLO County residents to learn more about the vaccine, stay informed, and get the vaccine when it’s your turn – to protect yourself and help end the pandemic.
  • Find the latest information, updated daily, at
This Week in SLO County Agriculture
Pictured At Top: Wine grape pruning continues across the county, including today at Pacific Coast Farming's vineyard in Edna Valley. While we'd gladly take the rain instead, dry weather has allowed some field work to start earlier than in previous years.

In This Issue:
  • Community News: County Ag Commissioner January Update
  • Relief Program Updates
  • COVID-19 News: SLO Tribune - SLO County opens COVID vaccines to people 75 and older. Here’s how to get yours
  • Business Member Spotlight: Justin Vineyards & Winery
  • Labor News: FELS - SSA "No-Match" Letters are Back
  • Environment News : Associated Press - Scientists Decry Death by 1,000 Cuts for World’s Insects
  • Produce News: Produce Blue Book - 2020: A Year Like No Other for the Produce Department
  • Vineyard & Winery News: PRWCA - 2020 Paso Robles Wine Industry Persons of the Year
  • Livestock News: Atascadero News - 'Dick' Nock, a Legacy, Mentor and Friend to All
  • Water News: AgNet West - Ag Order 4.0 Hearings Raise Concern Over Complexity of Compliance
  • Agriculture Trade News: 2018 Trade War, Mitigation Payments and California Agriculture
  •  Wisdom From the Farm & Ranch: Advice from a Wise Old Man
Community News: County Ag Commissioner January Update
Templeton Hills Community Farm is a place to gather,...

Red wigglers squirm between brown leaves and green vegetable parts as Matt Giese lifts the lid of a wooden box on stilts. The worm composting bin's surface is alive with beings turning discarded organic material into nutrient-rich food for the...

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Relief Program Updates
Our friend Jeff Wade and Slow Money San Luis Obispo is available to assist small businesses that wish to apply for new rounds of government grants. Some of the grants available in 2021 are: 
Round 1 of this grant has just closed. If you applied, you should hear soon if you were awarded the funds, rejected, or if your application will rollover to Round 2, which will start in February.
This new round of funds for PPP loans operates very similar to the previous program and is available through the end of March. You may apply even if you received a loan last time. A few things have changed including loan funds can be used for additional expenses such as worker protection costs and supplier costs. Apply through your bank or other SBA approved institution or Fintech provider such as Kabbage or QuickBooks.
EIDL Program - This continues to be available through the end of the year, low interest rate loans over 30 years, for those who did not apply last time. 

If you have any questions about any of the grant possibilities, please contact Jeff Wade at You can find their Facebook pages at Slow Money SLO and Farm to School Central Coast, and Instagram at slowmoneyslo and farmtoschoolcc
Farmers gain improved access to small business support

Farmers who run their operations as sole proprietors, independent contractors, or otherwise self-employed individuals will have newly expanded access as soon as...

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Coronavirus Relief Options

We're here to help you overcome the challenges created by this health crisis. We offer multiple funding options for those seeking relief.

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U.S. Department of the Treasury

The Paycheck Protection Program established by the CARES Act, is implemented by the Small Business Administration with support from the Department of the Treasury. This program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll...

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COVID-19 News: SLO Tribune - SLO County opens COVID vaccines to people 75 and older. Here’s how to get yours
SLO County opens COVID vaccines to people 75 and older....

San Luis Obispo County residents ages 75 and older can begin receiving the coronavirus vaccine on Monday, according to county Public Health Department officials. Elderly residents are in the next phase of the county's schedule "based on current...

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SLO mortuary sees dramatic increase in demand due to...

As co-owner of San Luis Obispo's Reis Family Mortuary & Crematory, Kirk Reis has gotten to know multiple generations of families who have lost loved ones. Reis, a licensed funeral director and crematory manager, said he values the personal...

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California sets Vaccine Plan for Agricultural Workers

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California is rolling out its COVID-19 vaccine plan, which includes details about when agricultural workers can expect to receive vaccinations. Health care workers and residents in long-term care settings are first in line...

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Business Member Spotlight:
Justin Vineyards & Winery
At JUSTIN, we combine traditional Old World methods - like hand-harvesting and small-barrel aging in French Oak - with New World Technology. For example: the "Air Knife," an ingenious process invented by our winemakers, boosts grape quality and efficiency.

Once the grapes are harvested, our winemakers - some of the best in the business - gather to sort, select, age, taste, blend and decide what goes in every bottle.

We planted our first vineyard back in 1981 with a mission to make world-class Bordeaux-style blends. Since then, we've expanded both our knowledge of viticulture in this unique region as well as our acreage.
11680 Chimney Rock Road | Paso Robles, CA  93446
(805) 237-4152. Monday - Sunday 10:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.
Thank You Farm Bureau Members
New Young Agriculturalist
Tar Creek Ranch LLC

Renewing Young Agriculturalist
Maureen LaGrande

Renewing Members
Hugh Dohi, Mark Fugate, Janell Dusi, Russell Hall, Tom & Alice Lyles
Featured Member Benefit: AVIS
California Farm Bureau members always receive up to 30% off Avis base rates*. In addition, enjoy additional offers** like dollars off, a complimentary upgrade, or a free weekend day. Visit or call 1-800-331-1212 to make a reservation. Avis Car Rental operates one of the world's best-known car rental brands with approximately 5,450 locations in more than 165 countries.
**Discount rates may vary between 10 and 30%, depending on time of year, availability, and other factors. **Farm Bureau discounts may NOT be stacked with AWD corporate or membership Discounts
Government Affairs Updates: AgriPulse - Farm Bureau 'Excluded' From Newsom's Ag Policies
Farm Bureau 'excluded' from Newsom's ag policies

California Farm Bureau Administrator Jim Houston is frustrated that agriculture was not consulted ahead of Gov. Gavin Newsom's proposal Friday to raise pesticide fees on farmers. Newsom had described the policy as transitioning the industry to...

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Labor News: FELS - SSA "No-Match" Letters are Back
Calendar of Events – California Farm Labor Contractors Association 

19 -- APMA Employment Law Update and Virtual Roundtable Here 
20/21 -- 9-Hour Seminar (English) Here 
21 -- UC Davis Reduce the Risk of COVID-19 in your Workplace (Spanish) Here 
21 -- UC Davis Reduce the Risk of COVID-19 in your Workplace (English) Here 
26 -- 4-Hour Instructor Training: Harassment Prevention (English) Here 
26 -- 4-Hour Instructor Training: Harassment Prevention (Spanish) Aquí 
DFEH Wage Reporting Guidance: 

The California Legislature passed SB 973 (Jackson) in 2020, becoming effective on January 1, 2021. The bill imposes new pay reporting on some larger agricultural employers in the name of improving workplace gender pay equity and requires private employers of 100 or more employees who are required by federal law to file a Form EEO-1 with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to ...

Read more from FELS here.
SSA "No-Match" Letters are Back: 

FELS has learned that the federal Social Security Administration (SSA) began sending "Employer Correction Request"(ECR) or "no-match" letters in December.  Similar to ECRs sent by SSA in the recent past this letter informs an employer that Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Forms W-2 submitted to SSA by the employer contain name and Social Security number (SSN) combinations for employees that do not match SSA's records. 

Read more from FELS here.
Cal/OSHA Form 300A

Employers must post the summary Cal/OSHA Form 300A between February 1 through April 30 if the employer had at least 11 employees at any time in the prior year. An agricultural employer must furnish this data to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration Injury Tracking Application (ITA) if it employed 20 or more employees at any time in the prior year. Covered employers must electronically submit...

Learn more here.
Environment News : Associated Press - Scientists Decry Death by 1,000 Cuts for World’s Insects
Scientists decry death by 1,000 cuts for world's insects

The world's vital insect kingdom is undergoing "death by a thousand cuts," the world's top bug experts said. Climate change, insecticides, herbicides, light pollution, invasive species and changes in agriculture and land use are causing Earth to...

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Study: Wildfires produced up to half of pollution in US West

Wildfire smoke accounted for up to half of all health-damaging small particle air pollution in the western U.S. in recent years as warming temperatures fueled more destructive blazes, according to a study released Monday.

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State might reject effort to protect bumblebees

A proposal to make bumblebees the first insects to acquire endangered species protections in California could be thrown out on Tuesday. The reason why - odd as it might seem at first glance - was a judge's ruling last month that determined bees...

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Produce News: Produce Blue Book - 2020: A Year Like No Other for the Produce Department
Apeel CEO Wants to Extend the Shelf Life of Your Avocados...

Apeel CEO James Rogers Wants to Extend the Shelf Life of Your Avocados and Oranges His firm applies an edible, plant-based coating to fruits and vegetables that lets them last longer without refrigeration....

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2020: A Year Like No Other for the Produce Department

November and December sales were dominated by the holidays along with the consumers' response to rapidly rising new COVID-19 cases across many states. Some states and cities enacted renewed shelter-in-place mandates which impacted grocery...

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New Report: USMCA Seasonal Perishable Products Weekly...

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced a new data report, the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement Seasonal Perishable Products Weekly Update, prepared in close partnership with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) ...

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Vineyard & Winery News: PRWCA - 2020 Paso Robles Wine Industry Persons of the Year
Wineries struggle during closures of tasting rooms

On-again, off-again closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic have kept California winery operators scrambling to adapt. One Santa Barbara County vintner said he has taken it as a chance to try new things. "2020 was a challenging year in many...

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2020 Paso Robles Wine Industry Persons of the Year

We are thrilled to announce the 2020 Paso Robles Wine Industry Persons of the Year awardees, founders and owners of Peachy Canyon Winery, the Beckett Family! This award, bestowed by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance (PRWCA), annually...

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Livestock News: Atascadero News - 'Dick' Nock, a Legacy, Mentor and Friend to All
From the Cattle Ranch to Life Coach, Twisselman is an...

One bit, don't quit! Those are the words that have become Kiah Twisselman's catchphrase after losing over 125 pounds and becoming a full-time life and weight loss coach. Born and raised on her family's cattle ranch in Carrisa Plains, Twisselman...

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'Dick' Nock, a Legacy, Mentor and Friend to All *...

On a chilly morning in Cayucos, California, some long time friends sat around a fire on their friend's ranch. With polenta being stirred and stew warming in a pot, they laughed and shared memories of a man who will never be forgotten.

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Rangeland Summit Program for Wednesday, January 27 - Data

Using the Rangeland Analysis Platform for Management and Conservation. Jeremy Maestes, NRCS and Matt Jones, Univ of Montana. Maestas is an ecologist with the USDA-NRCS West National Technology Support Center based in Portland...

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Crop Trader ADM Pours Money Into Firm Making Meat Out of Air

One of the world's largest agricultural commodity traders is pouring money into a startup making meat from elements of air.

Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., Barclays Plc and Google's venture capital unit are leading a $32 million series a funding for Air Protein. The California-based firm combines carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen with water and minerals in a probiotic production process that converts the elements into nutrients. Read more here.
Water News: AgNet West - Ag Order 4.0 Hearings Raise Concern Over Complexity of Compliance
Ag Order 4.0 Hearings Raise Concern Over Complexity of...

The recent Ag Order 4.0 hearings have raised a level of concern as the timeline for adoption quickly approaches. The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board went over proposals for the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program known as Ag...

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SGMA IN ACTION: Challenges and opportunities,...

Critically overdrafted groundwater basins submitted their Groundwater Sustainability Plans ( GSPs) in January 2020, and high and medium priority subbasins will be submitting their GSPs in 2022. At the Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite, a...

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Los Osos BMC Meeting - January 20, 2021

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Los Osos Groundwater Basin, Basin Management Committee Board of Directors will hold a Regular Board Meeting at 1:30 P.M. on Wednesday, January 20, 2021.

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Joint Release: National Coalition Pushes for Investment in Aging Water Infrastructure

A national coalition of more than 200 agricultural organizations and urban and rural water districts urged President-elect Joe Biden and congressional leadership today to address aging Western water infrastructure in any potential infrastructure or economic recovery package.

The coalition includes organizations from 15 states that collectively represent $120 billion in agricultural production, nearly one-third of all agricultural production in the country, and tens of millions of urban and rural water users.

Read more here.
Agriculture Trade News: 2018 Trade War, Mitigation Payments and California Agriculture
Advertise with SLO County Farm Bureau
Get Your Message in Front of Over 1000 San Luis Obispo Countians!
Our weekly E-News is sent out every Friday to our membership. If you're interested in an effective, low-cost advertising campaign ($150 a month) please give us a call or send an email to SLO County Farm Bureau Executive Director Brent Burchett.
Wisdom From the Farm & Ranch
Advice from a Wise Old Man
Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong. 
Keep skunks and bankers at a distance. 
Life is simpler when you plow around the stump. 
A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor. 
Words that soak into your ears are whispered… not yelled. 
Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight. 
Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads. 
Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you. 
It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge. 
You cannot unsay a cruel word. 
Every path has a few puddles. 
When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty. 
The best sermons are lived, not preached. 
Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway. 
Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer. 
Live a good, honorable life… Then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time. 
Don‘t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t bothering you none. 
Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance. 
If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’. 
Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got. 
The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin’. 
Always drink upstream from the herd. 
Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment. 
Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in. 
If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around. 
Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you. 
Most times, it comes down to common sense. 
Farm Bureau Membership Matters
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 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 some assistance with membership, 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.
Thank You San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau
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