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San Luis Obispo County Agriculture News

June 19, 2023


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California Home Insurance Premiums in the Middle of the Pack Nationally

California ranks 24th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia with a $1,241 average premium for homeowners in 2020. Nationwide, the average was $1,311.

Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners • Data: 2020 average premiums for dwelling fire and homeowners owner-occupied insurance policies for HO-3 policy forms | Credit: Erica Yee, CalMatters

Cal Matters: Four Things California Can Do as Home Insurers Retreat

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June 15, 2023 - By Grace Gedye - Cal Matters

After State Farm declared in late May that it wouldn’t sell any new home insurance policies in California, people shopping around for new insurance had one fewer option. When days later it was revealed that Allstate had quietly made the same decision last year, Californians are now left wondering: How bad is this? And how should the state respond?

The “crisis” in California’s insurance market was caused by “a laser focus only on affordability,” said Nancy Watkins, a principal at Milliman, an actuarial firm, at a legislative hearing on Wednesday. The companies are operating with “very crude tools” at the expense of availability and reliability, she said.

She said the current regulatory system is too rigid. “It’s like you’ve got your steering wheel locked straight ahead, you’ve got your speed set on cruise control, and now you find yourself on the Pacific Coast Highway,” she said. “What insurance company would agree to that?” ...

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This Week In SLO County Agriculture

In This Week's Issue:

  • Community: Is Your Dog the Next Farm Dog of the Year? Entries due by June 30
  • Local Government: Next SLO County Board of Supervisors Meeting is Tuesday, June 20th
  • State Government: California Budget 2023: Key Dates Toward a Deal
  • Federal Government: Reps. Panetta and Cammack Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Agriculture Disaster Assistance for Producers
  • Business Member Spotlight: Century 21 Real Estate, Byron Grant
  • USDA: Legislative Rider Directs USDA to Block Farmland Purchases by Four Nations
  • Avocado: Commission's Data-driven Retail Reports Demonstrate Advantages of California Avocado Season
  • Produce: Cal Poly Strawberry Center Field Day Registration Now Open for August 3rd Event
  • Featured Member Benefit: New American Workforce
  • Labor: Farmer/Congressman Supports Dignity Act for Immigrants
  • Wildfire: California Wildfires Incinerate Vast Amounts of Land. But Far More Could Burn in a Warmer World, Study Says
  • Livestock: Commentary: Ranchers Blindsided by 'Conservation Lease' Scheme
  • Vineyard & Wine: PRWCA Vit Tech Seminar: Living with Grapevine Viruses on Tuesday, June 20
  • Water: California Water Rights at Risk as Three Legislative Proposals Advance

June 12 Most-Read

1. SLO County allows water district a seat in Paso Robles basin governance

2. 5 fun facts we bet you didn’t know about delicious California strawberries

3. Recovery mode: Projects across SLO County aim to repair creeks, roads, and infrastructure after catastrophic winter storm damage

4. June 21 IGGPRA Seminar: Paso Robles Groundwater Basin Sustainability Plan Update

5. Cal Poly report highlights offshore wind's potential to spur green energy transition

6. Farmers make voice heard in Washington

7. Farmers need 'direct relief' for storms, lawmakers told

8. Funding Questionable for New Specialty Crop Farm Bill Programs

9. Taste of the Back Roads — a celebration of Paso’s eastside AVAs

10. ChatGPT Designs Its First Robot With Food Supply in Mind

Executive Director Report

Here are a few things we worked on this week:

  • Participated in a SLO Food System Coalition Steering Committee meeting 
  • Attended a SLO County Farmworker Outreach Task Force meeting 
  • Served as a panelist for SLO Chamber of Commerce’s Cracking the Government Code Series “Who Does What” webinar 
  • Monitored a California State Assembly Joint Hearing Insurance and Emergency Management Committee (watch here)
  • Monitored an Estrella-El Pomar-Creston Water District meeting  
  • Discussed agriculture issues with a California Natural Resources Agency staff working on Community Economic Resilience Fund regional planning process 
  • Gave an update at SLO County Cattlemen’s Association meeting 
  • Reviewed the June 20 agenda for SLO County Board of Supervisors 

Calendar- Upcoming Events & Deadlines:

  • June 21 - at 1pm by Zoom IGGPRA Seminar: Paso Robles Groundwater Update (Register)
  • June 27 - SLO County Farm Bureau Board of Directors Meeting at 5pm
  • June 29 - 9:30am - California Farm Bureau Continuing Education (CE) Series online "Mating Disruptions" 1 Hour L/R or Other DPR, 1 hour CCA (Free for Farm Bureau members)
  • July 14-16 - SLO County Farm Trail's Open Farm Days (Get tickets here)
  • July 20 - Cattlemen and Farmers' Day at Mid-State Fair
  • July 29 - Mid-State Fair Junior Livestock Sale
  • September 18 - Deadline to apply for the USDA Farm Service Agency’s Emergency Loan Program
  • October 13 - Deadline to apply for the USDA Farm Service Agency's Emergency Conservation Program for January, February and March 2023 storm damages in SLO County

Community: Is Your Dog the Next Farm Dog of the Year? Entries due by June 30

CWA SLO Newsletter: Summer Updates

Cow Plop is back! Please join us in buying a square and raffle tickets below! Tailgating and fun on June 28th 6pm at the Twisselman Ranch in SLO below, thank you Tim and Karen Twisselman for hosting us! $6150 in 2023 Scholarship checks awarded to 12 lucky kids, and lots of fun to be had!

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Calling all farm dogs!

Does your dog have what it takes to win this year’s Farm Dog of the Year contest? Enter by June 30 for a chance to WIN!

  • Grand Prize - $1000
  • 1st Runner-Up - $500
  • 2nd Runner-Up - $250
  • 3rd Runner-Up - $100


For details and the entry form, click here: cfbf.com/farmdog

Updates from around the food system

The FSC is fiscally sponsored by Check out their website to learn more about this awesome local organization! What does this mean? To promote a sustainable food system that is equitable, profitable, resilient, and health promoting in the County of San Luis Obispo.

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Local Government: Next SLO County Board of Supervisors Meeting is Tuesday, June 20th

June 20, 2023 Board of Supervisors Meeting

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors will meet on Tuesday June, 21 at 9:00am. The agenda for the meeting can be found here and additional item documents here. The meeting can be viewed live at this link.

Items of Interest to Agriculture:

15 Request to approve the appointment of Dominic P. Roques to the Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District Board of Directors to fill a vacancy with a term that will expire on November 29, 2024.

26 Request to 1) accept the tenth update regarding, and conclude emergency contracting for, the emergency actions to repair San Luis Obispo County and San Luis Obispo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District Facilities, in accordance with Public Contract Code Section 20134 and 22050, by 4/5 vote; and 2) approve the Phase 1 – Arroyo Grande Creek Channel Emergency Capacity Restoration project, direct staff to proceed with associated project development activities, authorize advertisement for construction bids and find the project exempt from Section 21000 et seq. of the California Public Resources Code (CEQA).

38 Request to consider the annual Cannabis Business Tax Rate for Fiscal Year 2023-24 and, if necessary, adopt the proposed resolution to maintain the Cannabis Business Tax Rate at 8% of gross receipts for the next fiscal year.

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State Government: California Farm Bureau's Farm Bureau at Work - State Government Affairs Weekly Update-June 9, 2023 

California Farm Bureau's Farm Bureau at Work - State Government Affairs Weekly Update

June 16, 2023

Rural Crime

On Tuesday, June 13, animal activists broke into Petaluma Poultry in Sonoma County and stole 18 birds. The extremist group livestreamed the incident and shared a video of protestors dressing as Perdue employees and removing chickens from the property. The group, Direct Action Everywhere (DXE), gathered in the area for a protest as their Animal Liberation Conference was being held in Berkely this week. This event highlighted programs on “open rescue” aimed to teach attendees how to steal animals from agriculture facilities. This is not the first time members of this group have stolen animals under this premise. Criminal charges are pending against four DXE members arrested in connection with 2018 and 2019 actions at two Petaluma poultry farms and three face trial on felony charges of second-degree burglary, theft, conspiracy, trespassing and unlawful assembly.

The group ardently opposes any type of livestock/production agriculture, and claims they are rescuing the animals from these facilities. Petaluma Poultry was the latest target in which the group attacked on social media. Mike Levengood, chief animal care officer for Perdue Farms, said in a statement to The Press Democrat that trespassers had put “associates, animals and themselves (protesters) in harm’s way. As an industry leader in animal care, Perdue maintains an open dialogue with credible animal welfare organizations, and we continue to learn from each other in a constructive way for the continuous improvement of animal care,” Levengood said in his statement.

At this time, it is unclear to CAFB staff whether any arrests have been made in regards to the incident at Petaluma Poultry. If you would like to learn more about securing your facility, or how to deal with trespassing activists, please contact Katie Little. Staff: Katie Little; klittle@cfbf.com

California budget 2023: Key dates toward a deal

The California budget comes out of a complex and lengthy process. Here's a timeline with key dates toward a final plan.

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California begins groundbreaking effort to define regenerative agriculture

State officials are about to kick off months of listening to industry stakeholders in a move that could affect the movement's future nationwide.

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Federal Government: Reps. Panetta and Cammack Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Agriculture Disaster Assistance for Producers

California Farm Bureau's - Weekly Federal Policy News

June 15, 2023

  • AFBF Pushes for Farm Bill During Advocacy Fly-In
  • House Resumes Normal Schedule—For Now
  • Expanded ReConnect Projects Announced, Including California
  • House Subcommittee Holds Farm Bill Hearing on Research and Extension Programs

Reps. Panetta and Cammack Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Agriculture Disaster Assistance for Producers

Monterey, CA - United States Representatives Jimmy Panetta (CA-19) and Kat Cammack (FL-03) introduced the bipartisan Fair Access to Agriculture Disaster Programs Act to reduce barriers that producers face in accessing agriculture disaster assistance.

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Iowa senators introduce bill to overturn California livestock welfare bill

Iowa’s Republican U.S. senators are continuing their campaign against a California farm animal welfare law, introducing a bill that would prohibit states from regulating agricultural products that come from outside the state.

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Business Member Spotlight:

Century 21 Real Estate- Byron Grant

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CENTURY 21 Hometown Realty supports the needs of homebuyers and home sellers throughout California. Company real estate offices and agents cover California’s Central Coast region surrounding San Luis Obispo from Paso Robles to Ventura CA.

About Byron Grant

Born a Canadian, Byron is a long time resident of the Central Coast and is very knowledgeable with residential, commercial and land sales. In 1988 Byron obtained his Real Estate Broker's license and opened South Cost Realty. Byron has been a multi-million dollar producer ever year and has been involved with many real estate developments in the area. In 2011 Byron merged offices with Century 21 Hometown Realty to provide a wider and more varied service to his current and future clients. Attending as many educational courses to keep up with the latest ideas and laws about Real Estate, Byron will provide you with the best service and help you achieve your dreams for living and building on the Central Coast.


PHONE: 1-805-441-2560

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USDA: Legislative Rider Directs USDA to Block Farmland Purchases by Four Nations

Legislative rider directs USDA to block farmland purchases by four nations

To foil foreign adversaries, the Agriculture Department should "take such steps as may be necessary" to prevent them from buying U.S. farmland, said the House Appropriations Committee.

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Over One Million Acres Approved for General CRP Signup

"This year's General CRP signup demonstrates the value and continued strength of this voluntary conservation program," said Zach Ducheneaux..

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California Farm Service Agency June Newsletter

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now accepting nominations for county committee members for elections that will occur later this year. Additionally, USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) is unveiling a new GIS tool to make it easier for producers to participate in the nomination and election processes for county committee members, who make important decisions on how federal farm programs are administered locally.

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USDA asks, is it really antibiotic-free, raised humanely?

Two USDA agencies will begin a sampling project to see if there are antibiotic residues in beef marketed as "raised without antibiotics," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

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Avocado: Commission's Data-driven Retail Reports Demonstrate Advantages of California Avocado Season

Al Roker Visits California Avocado Grove for California Avocado Month - Perishable News

California avocado season generally runs from spring through summer, making June a perfect time to celebrate California Avocado Month. The California Avocado Commission is using an integrated support plan including public relations outreach, retail promotions, foodservice chain programs, social media and more to market this year's celebration. ...

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Commission's Data-driven Retail Reports Demonstrate Advantages of California Avocado Season

As part of the California Avocado Commission's Tiered Account program, CAC develops retail sales reports and ad hoc research studies to help the industry better understand retail sales trends and shopper purchase behaviors in the avocado category.

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Produce: Cal Poly Strawberry Center Field Day Registration Now Open for August 3rd Event

CDFA inspector discusses Produce Safety Rule on podcast

CDFA environmental scientist Sarah Standiford–of the agency’s Produce Safety Program–recently appeared on a podcast for MyAgLife about Produce Safety Rule inspections and what farmers can expect. Topics included why CDFA conducts food safety inspections, the steps of an inspection, how a grower can prepare, and how CDFA inspectors take an educate-then-regulate approach.

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Thank You Farm Bureau Members

Renewing Business Support Members

C&N Tractors

Renewing Agricultural Members

Keith Smith, Byron Foster, Bill Schwoerer, and Elliott Paulson

Renewing Associate Members

Loren Milburn, Morris & Garritano Insurance, and Kirk Consulting

SLO County Farm Bureau Business Support Member List

Featured Member Benefit:

New American Workforce

Employees of California Farm Bureau members seeking U.S. citizenship are invited to take advantage of a new member benefit. In partnership with the National Immigration Forum’s New American Workforce, employees nowhave exclusive access to citizenship services including:

  • Online application portal with detailed information and tips
  • Free legal assistance completing the N-400 citizenship application
  • Consultation to explore fee waiver eligibility and other options
  • Help desk access for navigating technology and services

Encourage your employees to learn more about the process and begin their citizenship application today!

Get started here: bit.ly/CAFBCitizenship

See All Farm Bureau Member Benefits & Discounts Here!

Labor: Farmer/Congressman Supports Dignity Act for Immigrants

Farmer/Congressman Supports Dignity Act for Immigrants -

The Dignity Act was written in consultation with business leaders, farming industries, immigration reform groups, and border security...

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Will this stab at solving immigration be any different from many before? | Opinion

U.S. Rep. John Duarte of Modesto agrees to co-sponsor bipartisan Dignity Act, aimed at securing borders and eventual citizenship for migrants.

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Children as young as 12 work legally on farms, despite years of efforts to change law

As some states look to roll back child labor laws, Democrats in Congress introduce a bill to increase protections for children working in agriculture that would raise the minimum age to 14.

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Free Lock Out/Tag Out Safety Training on June 20 for Farm Bureau Members

California Farm Bureau is pleased to offer this year-long program of Zoom-based training sessions presented by Nationwide. Select topics will be presented in both English and Spanish. Access to these trainings is FREE to Farm Bureau members. The next class: Lockout/Tag Out Safety is on June 20th. Register here: cfbf.com/FarmBureauExtension 

Wildfire: California Wildfires Incinerate Vast Amounts of Land. But Far More Could Burn in a Warmer World, Study Says

California wildfires incinerate vast amounts of land. But far more could burn in a warmer world, study says

The impact of climate change on California forest fires "is very, very significant, more than what we thought," one researcher says.

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How sensors could help catch wildfires before they spread

Reliably detecting wildfires early will probably require a combination of different technologies working together, experts say.

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State Farm's California freeze: Looming insurance apocalypse or political ploy?

California's biggest seller of homeowners insurance says regulations and wildfires make new policies a financial loser. But there are reasons to question that explanation.

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Livestock: Commentary: Ranchers Blindsided by 'Conservation Lease' Scheme

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Ranchers look to raise more cattle amid hot market

Short supplies of cattle nationwide have sent prices soaring at a time when California ranchers have less to sell after years of drought forced them to shrink their herds.

With more rain and an explosion of feed on pastures this year, ranchers are eager to rebuild their numbers while the market is hot. But buying cattle at current prices may not be palatable for some.

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Commentary: Ranchers Blindsided by 'Conservation Lease' Scheme

I love visiting the great American West. Every time, I leave in awe of all I have seen. I am not a stranger to diverse landscapes coming from my home state of Georgia, with its mountains, forests and coastline. But the West is truly unique, not only in the landscape but in how ranchers serve as caretakers of our shared public lands.

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Vineyard & Wine: PRWCA Vit Tech Seminar: Living with Grapevine Viruses on Tuesday, June 20

🍇 Reminder: Groundwater Seminar for Grape Growers


June Seminar: Paso Robles Groundwater Basin Sustainability Plan Update

June 21st, 2023 1:00 PM on Zoom

  • Get the latest regarding the status of the Paso Groundwater Sustainability Plan!
  • Learn how the Plan will affect farmers and their water rights;
  • Hear the implementation schedule and what compliance will look like; and
  • Hear how proposals in the plan may benefit farmers.

Bring your questions. A robust Q&A period will follow each presentation.

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Free Online Courses Offered by Vineyard Team

We know you want to learn about the latest science-based practices but your calendar fills up fast. By completing these online courses you can learn from experts and growers about the most pressing issues in the field and stay up-to-date with viticultural science and regulatory updates as they unfold. Plus, you can earn DPR and CCA continuing education hours on-demand, from anywhere.  

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PRWCA Vit Tech Seminar: Living with Grapevine Viruses on Tuesday, June 20

Oxford Suites – 800 4th Street, Paso Robles

9:00 – 10:30 a.m. 


Non-members who are interested in attending can please contact Carol Yeaman-Sanchez at cyeasan@pasowine.com.


Join us for a lively discussion that brings together both growers and winemakers to talk about how to live with today’s levels of virus infections, along with cooperative strategies to reduce their negative effects on our industry and clean up our vineyards moving forward. Dr. Stephanie Bolton, Grower Research & Education/LODI RULES Sustainable Winegrowing Director for the Lodi Winegrape Commission and author of What Every Winegrower Should Know: Viruses, will give an overview of the main grapevine viruses in Paso Robles and tools for managing them based on her experiences leading a Virus Research Focus Group in the Lodi AVA. She’ll also talk about a new grant project they received to study canine detection of mealybugs and leafroll virus. Then, she’ll moderate a panel discussion that will cover topics such as:

  • Grape growing practices and disease management strategies
  • Winemaking adaptations for diseased fruit
  • When to pull out vines versus work with diseased fruit
  • California-specific challenges to overcome
  • The power of regional cooperation


The panel will include:

  • Caine Thompson, Managing Director, Robert Hall Winery & Sustainability Lead, O’Neill Vintners & Distillers
  • David Gates, Senior Vice President of Vineyard Operations, Ridge Vineyards
  • Dr. Taylor Jones, Director of Viticulture, Star Lane & Dierberg Vineyards
  • Tegan Passalacqua, Winemaker/Vineyard Manager, Turley Wine Cellars


Feel free to send questions for the speakers ahead of time to Membership Manager, Carol Yeaman-Sanchez at cyeasan@pasowine.com.

Water: California Water Rights at Risk as Three Legislative Proposals Advance

California water rights at risk as three legislative proposals advance

The conflict over water rights has been brewing in California for decades. Now the Legislature is weighing three bills to curb those rights.

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Paso Robles welcomes representatives from World Bank, Turkey

Officials visit J. Lohr Winery to discuss water management - Paso Robles recently welcomed a delegation from the American Water Works Association that included engineers [...]

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El Niño typically means wet California winters. These charts show what might be in store

El Niño typically brings stormy weather to California, but some individual years buck the trend. These charts show how unpredictable conditions can become.

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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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