San Luis Obispo County Agriculture News
May 14, 2021
Photo courtesy of San Luis Obispo Police Department's Instagram
The San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau's thoughts and prayers are with the City of San Luis Obispo Police Department and the families of Detective Luca Benedetti and Detective Steve Orozco. We extend our deepest condolences to the Benedetti Family in this time of mourning.
The San Luis Obispo Police Department Police Officer Association and the San Luis Obispo Regional SWAT team set up a GoFundMe page for the sole purpose of providing financial assistance to the Benedetti family going forward in their time of need.

All generously donated funds will go directly to Detective Benedetti's family as they navigate this very difficult time. If you would like to contribute to the GoFundMe, click here.
Port Conditions Improving, But Still Work to be Done

The challenging conditions in the Los Angeles port are beginning to slowly improve, but there is still work to be done to bring efficiency back up to where it was before the pandemic. Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles and President of the California Association of Port Authorities, Gene Seroka provided information about port congestion to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture at its most recent meeting. Seroka explained that things are moving at a better pace in the L.A. port, however there are still challenges to overcome.

“The average time a ship sits in anchor now for the month of April is 6.7 days. While it’s down, it needs to be zero. The days after discharge, how long a container sits in a terminal before it moves is 3.9 days, down from a high of five. We’re getting some traction,” said Seroka. “Our importers on occasion have been using these marine terminals as warehousing space because all of our other proper facilities are full. Street dwell time for those containers waiting for space at our warehouses is now at 6.5 days, almost double what it was previously before the surge...”

To listen to the rest of the Ag Net West radio report, click here.

According to a USDA Report titled "Profiles of Top U.S. Agricultural Ports" the Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland ports are the 4th, 7th, and 9th largest U.S. Ports Moving Waterborne Agricultural Trade in 2017, respectively. As we have seen in these previous months, the ports have had issues with moving perishable agriculture commodities in a timely matter. According to the 2019 Annual Crop Report by the San Luis Obispo County Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measure, "In 2019, staff inspected, certified, and issued 3,289 certificates destined for 54 different countries." Therefore, it is crucial, not only for SLO County agriculture, but for the United States agriculture industry as a whole that the ports return to their normal level of efficiency as we continue to near the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To read more about the "ongoing cargo boom," click here.
This Week in SLO County Agriculture
In This Issue:
  • State Government News: California Ag Network - $5.1 Billion Package for Water Infrastructure & Drought Response as part of $100 Billion CA Comeback Plan;
  • USDA News: Local Agricultural Roundtable - NRCS Working Group;
  • Community News: KSBY - California Mid-State Fair to Return This Summer;
  • Business Member Spotlight: E.C. Loomis & Son Insurance Associates;
  • Labor News: FELS - Employers' Right to Refuse Property Access;
  • Livestock News: Food Safety News - California's Congressional Democrats do not want Prop 12 Reviewed by High Court;
  • Vineyard & Winery News: AgAlert - Wineries Deal with Challenges Includes Fires, Droughts;
  • Produce News: Your Central Valley - Drought Forces California Farmers to Destroy Crops;
  • Water News: The Tribune - Gavin Newsom Declares Drought Emergency for Most of California, Announces Relief Plan;
  • Environmental News: Morning Ag Clips - Farm Bureau: Details will Determine Impact of 30 x 30 Plan;
  • Wisdom From the Farm & Ranch.
Do you like this newsletter? How can we make it better for you? Please let us know!
SLO County Farm Bureau staff put a lot of time in this newsletter each week, and we always want to make it better! Any feedback - what you like and don't like - is much appreciated! Send an email to with your suggestions, questions or ideas. Also, we are always looking for contributing writers or content, so please send story requests, blog posts or photos our way!
State Government News: California Ag Network - $5.1 Billion Package for Water Infrastructure & Drought Response as Part of $100 Billion CA Comeback Plan
Gov. Newsom expands drought emergency to 41 counties

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday expanded the drought emergency to Klamath River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and Tulare Lake Watershed counties. The update expands the original declaration to 41 counties.

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Farmers Grapple with Implications of Water Cuts

In water-stressed farming areas of California, farmers removed productive trees and idled other land to divert what little water they have to other crops, as the reality of the 2021 drought became ever more apparent. "We're removing 15-year-old, prime-production almond trees," said Daniel Hartwig of Woolf Farming in Fresno County...
$5.1 Billion Package for Water Infrastructure & Drought...

Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom proposed a $5.1 billion package of immediate drought response and long-term water resilience investments to address immediate, emergency needs, build regional capacity to endure drought and safeguard water...

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom looks to lift most of...

Californians may not have to wear a mask in most circumstances beginning in mid-June, Gov. Gavin Newsom said in an interview Wednesday. In a response to whether there would be mask requirements...

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California Farm Bureau's Friday Review -for May 14, 2021
This week's State Legislative and Governmental Affairs Update includes:

  • Budget: Governor Newsom's May Revision of 2021-2022 Proposed Budget;
  • Agricultural Employment: AB 616, AB 995, AB 1041, AB 1119, AB 1179, AB 1192, COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS);
  • Air Resources: CARB Workshop May 27, SB 210;
  • Biodiversity: California Natural Resources Agency Workshops;
  • Climate Change: Senate's proposed Cap and Trade spending plan for the 2021-2022 Budget, CDFA draft request for proposals for the Conservation Agriculture Planning Grant Program;
  • Food Safety: FDA lettuce samples in Salinas Valley;
  • Livestock: Bureau of Livestock Identification lowering fees;
  • Water: $5.1 Billion Package for Water Infrastructure and Drought Response.
USDA News: Local Agricultural Roundtable - NRCS Working Group
Local Agricultural Roundtable - NRCS Working Group 
Wednesday May 19th, 2021
4:00-6:00 PM

Join us for this virtual roundtable discussion! 
  • Share your input on natural resource concerns
  • Listen to soil health highlights from soil ecologist Charlotte Decock, Ph.D., and agronomist Karen Lowell, Ph.D. 
  • Learn about funding opportunities for conservation practice implementation
  • Connect with local stakeholders

We need your help determining what the most important natural resource concerns are for San Luis Obispo County and how best to address those needs through the funding of conservation programs. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District, and Upper Salinas-Las Tablas RCD are looking for input from agricultural producers, land managers, conservation organizations and natural resource agencies. Please join us and share your recommendations!

The goal of this meeting is to solicit recommendations on the delivery of Farm Bill conservation programs, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Conservation Stewardship Program, and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. We will discuss funding opportunities for conservation practice implementation. We will also have breakout rooms where you can provide your input and recommendations, and connect with other local stakeholders. 

To register, click here.
Community News: KSBY - California Mid-State Fair to Return This Summer
Farm Bureau Launches Farm State of Mind Resource...

In recognition of May as Mental Health Month, the American Farm Bureau Federation launched a comprehensive, easy-to-use online directory of resources for farmers, ranchers and their families who are experiencing stress and mental health challenges.

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California Mid-State Fair to return this summer

The California Mid-State Fair will be held in-person this year from July 21 to August 1. After it was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers say it'll be back this summer with the usual exhibits, live performances,...

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SLO police officer killed in shooting. 'This is a...

Officer killed in SLO: Police yelled 'He has a gun!' before witness heard volley of shots Update, 10:05 p.m.: A San Luis Obispo Police Department officer was killed in the shooting incident earlier Monday, the...

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Nine pieces of advice for ag high school and college...

It's been six years since Sarah Houin walked across the graduation stage at Purdue to receive her diploma for a degree in agronomic business and marketing. A farm kid from a cattle, hog and row crop family enterprise in southern...

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Farmers at the heart of nation's solutions

From building small communities to solving environmental issues, farmers stand at the center of solutions to national problems, says Cornelius Blanding, executive director...

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Business Member Spotlight:
E.C. Loomis & Son Insurance Associates
At E.C. Loomis we take insurance seriously because it's something we've been doing for over 100 years. By taking the time to understand your needs, we are able to deliver insurance solutions that are carefully tailored to the task at hand. Best of all, as an independent agency, we work on your behalf to secure the best rates from the best carriers.

In 1973 Gordon Bennett and Charles Cabassi purchased the E.C. Loomis & Son agency and formed a new partnership. As the needs of the local community grew, the agency focused on expanding commercial and personal coverages servicing clients that knew the company reputation from the old feed and farm supply business. This expansion continued into health, life and financial services when Karl Hartwig joined the agency in 1977.

Today, the business has developed into a full service agency and remains a family owned business with Michael Cabassi, the great grandson of E.C. Loomis, joining in 2001 and now managing partner alongside Karl Hartwig. Throughout its long history, the company has stayed true to its heritage by remaining focused on servicing the specific commercial and personal insurance needs of the residents of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County.
220 Traffic Way | Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
(805) 489 - 4183
Monday - Friday 9:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.
Thank You Farm Bureau Members
New Agriculture Member
Heather Billing

Renewing Business Support Member
Renewing Members
Steve Soderstrom, Mighty Nimble LLC, Edward Myers, Montalvo Family Farm LLC, Donald Clark, OSO Libre Ranch Inc, Thomas Foss, Glenn Britton
Labor News: FELS - Employers' Right to Refuse Property Access
Employers' Right to Refuse Property Access

The State Labor Commissioner’s Office has announced that, working in conjunction with Cal/OSHA and the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB), it intends to contact farmworkers this week by attempting to take access to growers’ properties, including agricultural fields and worker housing. According to Secretary of Labor Julie Su’s recent Twitter posting, a team of Labor Commissioner, Cal/OSHA, and ALRB representatives will be starting a 4-day mobile caravan to talk to farmworkers about their right to paid COVID sick leave and freedom from retaliation for exercising their rights. Ms. Su went on to add a comment thanking their partners in this effort: Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP), Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), California Rural Legal Assistance (CLRA), and Lideres Campesinas.
You need to know your rights in regard to this group’s ability to take access to your property, so that you can respond properly if you are targeted. Generally, employers may prohibit private non-governmental organizations (NGO) and private individuals from entering or being on their land. NGO’s include organizations like MICOP, CAUSE, CLRA and Lideres Campesinas. This means that if any of the “partners” referenced in Ms. Su’s Tweet show up at your worksite, you have every right to refuse to allow them to have access to your property.
Under State and Federal law, certain agencies have limited access to your property under specific circumstances. Under State labor laws, the Office of the Labor Commissioner (or “Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE)”); Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH or Cal/OSHA); Employment Development Department (EDD); Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH); and Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) all have limited rights to access your agricultural property. Under California law, these government agencies have authority to enter your property when (1) given employer consent; (2) subject to an administrative subpoena; or (3) subject to a search warrant. Employer consent will be pivotal to the Labor Commissioner’s “mobile caravan.” You do NOT have to give consent.

To read more click here.
Washington governor signs agriculture worker overtime bill

Agricultural workers in Washington state would become eligible for overtime pay under a bill signed Tuesday by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, drawing praise from President Joe Biden. Senate Bill 5172 creates a phased-in path...

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Livestock News: Food Safety News - California's Congressional Democrats do not want Prop 12 Reviewed by High Court
California's congressional Democrats do not want Prop 12 ...

Fear of a Supreme Court review of California's Proposition 12 has set the state's congressional Democrats on a different strategy...

Read more
Prop 12 Problems - California Agriculture News |...

Proposition 12 was passed by referendum back in 2018 and is scheduled to come into effect in 2022.

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Grazing 101 & Record Keeping online courses

Grazing 101 & Record Keeping Online Courses Learn Grazing and Record keeping Basics Grazing 101 New to grazing?...

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Organic livestock proposal from 2015 gets another...

The Organic Trade Association is both pleased and disappointed with USDA's decision to reopen the comment period on a long-delayed proposed rule regulating when livestock can be considered organic. "We welcome the movement on the part of...

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China still has a major ASF problem, and it's a threat...

China has been reporting some new outbreaks of African swine fever in recent months, but the problem is likely much worse than it appears. That's both an opportunity for U.S. pork producers and a threat to their herds, according to U.S. industry...

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Vineyard & Winery News: AgAlert - Wineries Deal with Challenges Including Fires, Droughts
May Seminar: Vineyard Insect Pests, Equipment Maintenance

VINEYARD INSECT PESTS Dr. Costello from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo will be teaching growers how to identify mites, mealy bugs, and leaf hoppers in your vineyard, how to control these key pests and understand thresholds for treatment. 1 Hour of...

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Wineries Deal with Challenges including Fires, Droughts

The three W's—in this case, weather, wildfire and wine —took center stage at a webinar on challenges facing California wineries. The event was presented by University of California Cooperative Extension specialists and featured Aaron Smith...
Unions, Labor Rights and the Future of Winery Workers |...

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) into law. It allowed employees to unionize and negotiate competitive wages and working conditions. Agricultural workers, however, were not included.

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Produce News: Your Central Valley - Drought Forces California Farmers to Destroy Crops
Western Growers Launches Global Harvest Automation...

Western Growers (WG) is spearheading a Global Harvest Automation Initiative (GHAI) to accelerate harvest automation across the fresh produce industry, with a goal of automating 50 percent of harvest within 10 years. "For well over a decade, our...

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Drought forces California farmers to destroy crops

With the uncertainty of water, some Central Valley farmers are destroying their crops ahead of the summer season in order to survive. It's impacting jobs and soon possibly the grocery shelves...

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California Strawberry Commission Connects Farmers and...

The California Strawberry Commission has launched a campaign to connect the heart of strawberries with the heart of people...

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FDA announces plans for testing lettuce samples in...

As part of ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of leafy greens, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will collect and test samples of lettuce grown in California's Salinas Valley from local commercial coolers from May through November 2021...

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Water News: The Tribune - Gavin Newsom Declares Drought Emergency for Most of California, Announces Relief Plan
Governor's actions point to need for long-term water...

Actions in a widened drought emergency order issued today by Gov. Gavin Newsom will provide some short-term benefit through voluntary water transfers and exchanges in parts of drought-stricken California, the California...

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Gavin Newsom declares drought emergency for most of...

Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded his drought emergency declaration to 39 more counties Monday, underscoring the rapid deterioration of California's water supply in recent weeks. The governor broadened his earlier drought order, which was limited to two ...

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No water, no crops: farmers destroy fields due to...

Farmers across the Central Valley are facing a difficult decision over the next couple of weeks and months-- to keep or destroy their crops, as the drought situation appears to worsen by the day. "This drought is different than any of the other...

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Reclamation says no water through A Canal this year

The Bureau of Reclamation announced Wednesday that Klamath Project's A Canal will remain closed for the 2021 irrigation season, meaning that irrigators' initial allocation of 33,000 acre-feet of water has been reduced to zero...

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Do your job, Gov. Newsom - end water wars for state and...

Don't be fooled. Governor Gavin Newsom's decision Monday to declare drought in most of California, including here, is no reason for most farmers in Stanislaus County to break out the party hats. They know full well that words on a declaration...

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Public Comment Period Now Open for Chapter 8: Sustainable Management Criteria
Comment period ends June 6, 2021— Chapter 8: Sustainable Management Criteria defines the conditions specified at each of the Representative Monitoring Sites (RMSs) that constitute Sustainable Management Criteria (SMCs), discusses the process by which the GSAs in the Basin will characterize undesirable results, and establishes minimum thresholds and measurable objectives for each Sustainability Indicator. The chapter defines sustainability in the Basin for the purposes of managing groundwater in compliance with SGMA, and it addresses the regulatory requirements involved. The Measurable Objectives (MOs), Minimum Thresholds (MTs), and undesirable results presented in this chapter define the future sustainable conditions in the Basin and guide the GSAs in development of policies, implementation of projects, and promulgation of management actions that will achieve these future conditions.

If you have questions or need to request accommodations including translations related to the SLO Basin GSP, contact Dick Tzou at 805-781-4473 or
The Next Virtual Groundwater Sustainability Commission Public Meeting is May 20

The public is invited to join the next virtual Groundwater Sustainability Commission (GSC) meeting on May 20, 2021 from 3:30pm-5:30pm via Zoom. GSC meetings are a great opportunity for interested parties to receive updates on the development of the SLO Basin Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP), to ask questions, and/or to share public comment. This meeting is a continuation of the last GSC meeting held on May 5, 2021.

Learn more about this public meeting or register at:
Join the Zoom meeting from your computer:
Passcode: 907813
Join the Zoom meeting from your phone:
Dial +1 669 900 6833
Webinar ID: 967 6250 4082
Passcode: 907813
Environmental News: Morning Ag Clips - Farm Bureau: Details will Determine Impact of 30 x 30 Plan
Non-ag pesticide makers are tired of paying for ag programs

The agriculture industry is not alone in heavily opposing the Newsom administration's plan to overhaul the state mill assessment, which levies fees on pesticide sales to fund the Department of Pesticide Regulation...

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Kern supervisors declare local emergency due to water...

Supervisors declared a local emergency Tuesday due to a severe water shortage. The resolution, approved 4-0 Tuesday, came after Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded a statewide drought emergency Monday to include 41 of the...

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Farm Bureau: Details will determine impact of 30x30 plan

Noting that climate goals outlined today by the Biden administration will have real, on-the-ground implications for farmers and ranchers, the California Farm Bureau urged the administration to listen to farmers' and ranchers' voices...

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Farm Bureau president urges additional flexibility in...

Land that produces food and farm products also provides crucial conservation and climate benefits-and federal conservation programs must focus on keeping working lands working, according to California Farm Bureau ...

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This Central Coast city is switching to cleaner energy....

Clean energy is coming to Santa Barbara. The Santa Barbara City Council voted 7-0 on Tuesday to approve a rate structure for Community Choice Energy. Three tiers of service will be offered to residential and commercial customers, but all...

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Wisdom From the Farm & Ranch
The Fence Row - James Hearst

A ripple of ground still shows the line where
a fence once divided this field in two -
the habit of being divided fades slowly
and may not be smoothed our in one growing season.

Here where two fields shared a common boundary
that kept corn from oats and the meadow from rye
the limit set to please some farmer's business
has now been plowed over and planted to crops.

There were stones here once the woodchuck burrows,
these things belong to the edge of a field,
and probably wild grapevine had looped protection
around the nest where the hen pheasant sat,

and rested its vines on the barbed wire fence
that stood for authority once in this place
till the wire went slack and the barbs grew rusty
and posts rotted off and soon nothing was left

in the wave of the ground but a few wild rose roots,
though lately I found a freshly dug den
where a fox of the old school loyal to his party
had refused to admit that the fence row was gone.
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 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.
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