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San Luis Obispo County Agriculture News

May 15, 2023


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Photo Courtesy of Holland America Flowers (follow on instagram @hollandamericaflowers)

Local Floral Producers and Retailers Celebrate a Successful Mother's Day Weekend

Local floral producers and retailers were prepared for the biggest Mother's Day yet as the National Retail Federation predicted that consumers would spend $35.7 billion nationally. This is $4 billion dollars more than last year making it another record year. Of that spending, 74% of consumers surveyed indicated they would be purchasing floral products.

In San Luis Obispo County, nursery products including cut flowers and greens, outdoor ornamentals, and other specialty plants, had a total gross value of $76,503,000 in 2021, according to the SLO County Crop Report. Cut flowers is ranked #10 in the top ten agricultural commodities for the county.

In California, some floral producers struggled with their flower inventory leading up to the holiday weekend due to the winter rains and flooding from earlier this year. Read more in the article to the right from Ag Alert.

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Gloomy spring hits Mother's Day flower inventory

April showers bring May flowers, the proverb goes, but California farmers with rain-soaked flower crops say there’s more to the equation.

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This Week In SLO County Agriculture

In This Week's Issue:

  • Community: Young Farmers and Ranchers BBQ Social on June 1st
  • Local Government: Board of Supervisors Meets Tuesday May 16th
  • State Government: Commentary: Protect Accountability-Keep the BOE
  • Federal Government: Local Officials Urge Congress to Provide More Aid for California Farms Damaged in Storms
  • USDA: New USDA Steps to Enhance Organic Markets, Support Producers
  • Business Member Spotlight: Buttonwillow Warehouse Company
  • Featured Member Benefit: O'Reilly Auto Parts
  • Produce: Mangoes and Agave in the Central Valley: California Farmers Try New Crops to Cope with Climate Change
  • Labor: In-Person Card Check Seminar on June 1 at SLO County Farm Bureau Office- RSVP by May 25th
  • Livestock: Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to California Pork Law Mandating More Space for Pigs
  • Vineyard & Wine: The Buzziest California Wine Region Isn't Napa or Sonoma
  • Water: Commentary: Farmers Seek Solutions for Flood-Control Failures

May 8 Most-Read

1. Cal Poly hosts California FFA State Finals Competition

2. Atascadero City Council to Appoint New City Manager

3. Agronometrics in Charts: Will the California avocado party continue into 2023?

4. World Avocado Map 2023: Global Growth Far From Over

5. High-ranking federal officials explain safety, next steps in Diablo Canyon relicensing

6. Buckley Road Area Trichloroethylene (TCE) Cleanup and Abatement

7. Tickets for the 14yh Annual SLO High School Aggie Backers Barn Bash

8. Studies tout precise pesticide applications, drones

9. Berries show mixed price trends

10. Farmers’ Wait on WOTUS Rule Continues

Executive Director Report

Here are a few things we worked on this week:

Calendar- Upcoming Events & Deadlines:

  • May 23- SLO County Farm Bureau Board of Directors meeting at 5pm (all members welcome)
  • May 25- Cooperative Extension Updates - Continuing Education class online: 1 Hour L/R or Other DPR & 1 Hour CCA (Register here)
  • May 26-28- Best of the West Tri-tip Sandwich Fundraiser- Email Catie Field at [email protected] if you want to volunteer
  • June 1- Card Check Seminar at SLO County Farm Bureau Office (4875 Morabito Place, SLO)- Register Here
  • June 1- Young Farmers and Ranchers BBQ Social at Farm Bureau Office
  • 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: Young Farmers and Ranchers BBQ Social on June 1st

Upper Salinas-Las Tables Offering Compost Rebate Program

Young Farmers and Ranchers BBQ Social on June 1st

Adelaida Farm Center Meeting- May 19

Celebrate nature's finest at Paso Robles' Lavender and Olive Festival

Third annual event returns to downtown Paso Robles May 20 - The Paso Robles Olive and Lavender Festival is set to take place on May [...]

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Jobs, volunteer opportunities available at Mid-State Fair

Online applications now available - Online applications are now being accepted for multiple employment and volunteer opportunities at the 2023 California Mid-State Fair. The fair [...]

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Local Government: Board of Supervisors Meets Tuesday May 16th

Board of Supervisors Meets Tuesday May 16th

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meets Tuesday May 16th 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.

Agenda items of interest to agriculture:

  • 6 Request to receive and file a 60-day update on the March 2023 Winter Storms for the Board’s review of the continuing need for the March 16, 2023 proclamation of local emergency pursuant to Government Code section 8630. All Districts.

  • 15Request to approve the appointment of Dan Chesini 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. Districts 2, 3, 4, and 5.

  • 27 Request to 1) approve two new capital projects to update various Road Improvement Fee Programs as required by State Law; 2) authorize a budget adjustment, in the amount of $375,000, in Fund Center (FC) 248 – Public Works - Road Impact Fees for an operating transfer out to FC 245 - Public Works – Roads by cancelling reserves, by 4/5 vote; and 3) authorize a corresponding budget adjustment in FC 245 – Public Works - Roads to increase appropriations, in the amount of $375,000, using the operating transfer in, by 4/5 vote. Districts 1, 2, 4, and 5.
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State Government: Commentary: Protect Accountability-Keep the BOE

California Farm Bureau's Farm Bureau at Work- 

May 15, 2023

Agricultural Employment Policy

The Legislature on May 4 approved AB-113, a companion budget trailer bills that implements the September 2022 deal between the California Labor Federation, United Farm Workers, and Governor Newsom that lead the governor to reverse his prior opposition to AB-2183 (Stone) and sign that bill; it awaits Governor Newsom’s signature. AB 113 eliminates the “labor peace” provisions in the original version of AB 2183, leaving card-check as the path of least resistance for labor unions seeking to represent an agricultural employer’s employees. The Legislature approved AB 113 without any consideration by the legislature’s policy committees. Farm Bureau opposes because the bill does not restore farm employee’s former rights to an Ag Labor Relations Board-supervised secret ballot election, which serves to protect those employees from undue intimidation and coercion.


SB-505, authored by Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) and co-sponsored by California Farm Bureau and California Department of Insurance passed off the Senate Floor this week with a 36-0 vote. The bill moves next to the state Assembly. As previously discussed, SB 505 would expand the FAIR Plan so that commercial insurance policies would be eligible for an internal process called the “clearinghouse”, to more easily move back to the competitive admitted insurance market.

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State adopts landmark rule phasing out diesel trucks

After a lengthy rulemaking process, California is set to phase out nearly all diesel trucks in the state over the next two decades.

Regulators voted unanimously April 28 to approve a ban on medium- and heavy-duty diesel trucks, including the big rigs that transport fresh agricultural products throughout the state.

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Commentary: Protect Accountability-Keep the BOE

Federal Government: Local Officials Urge Congress to Provide More Aid for California Farms Damaged in Storms

California Farm Bureau's Federal Policy News -

May 11, 2023

  • President & Congressional Leaders Meet to Discuss the Debt Ceiling
  • USDA Announces Signup for New Rice Production Program
  • USDA Announces Additional Soil Conservationist Positions to Assist Producers
  • Title 42 Expiration to Put Border Security at the Forefront
  • Torres Small Receives Confirmation Hearing

FEMA gave SLO County residents more than $11 million for flood relief

Homeowners and renters in San Luis Obispo County received more than $11.3 million in flood damage assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during the major disaster declaration spanning from Dec. 27, 2022, to Jan. 31, 2023.

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Local Officials Urge Congress to Provide More Aid for California Farms Damaged in Storms

It's been a tough year for California farmers, with heavy storms causing flooding and crop damage. Local advocates and elected officials are asking Congress to pass a disaster relief package for affected farmers. According to the US Department of Agriculture, over 900 California farms have filed for federal aid this year, with more than half of them located in the Central Coast.

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How the Farm Bill could subsidize a revolution in high-tech farming

The ongoing Farm Bill negotiations may mean linking millions of Americans to the 21st century economy and taking a step toward the broader dream of high-tech agriculture. Since the last Farm Bill was passed in 2018, the federal government has spent billions to try to bring high-speed internet to the nearly 12 million rural households...

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USDA: New USDA Steps to Enhance Organic Markets, Support Producers

New USDA Steps to Enhance Organic Markets, Support Producers

PUBLISHED ON WASHINGTON - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking additional steps as part of its commitment to strengthen the market for domestically grown organic goods, and to support producers seeking organic certification. These funding opportunities are part of the U.S.

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NRCS Invites Applications for Proposals on Resiliency of California Agriculture

DAVIS, Calif. - The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California is seeking both cooperative and contribution agreement proposals through June 3, 2023, to help our agency carry out our conservation mission. This announcement invites applications from interested outreach and conservation organizations.

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Business Member Spotlight:

Buttonwillow Warehouse Company

The Buttonwillow Warehouse Company is a family owned and operated business with more than 50 years of experience serving California growers. Getting our start as a grain elevator and warehouse, we’ve grown to eleven service locations covering more than fourteen counties in the heart of California agriculture as well as one service location in Central Mexico – BWC Agro de Mexico. With each generation, our company remains focused on developing and investing in our people, our communities and in agricultural innovation.

Meet Steve Easterby- SLO County BWC Crop Advisor

"I work with growers on the Central Coast to find solutions for crop health and pest management, and provide the necessary products that achieve those goals. From vineyard managers to spinach farmers, together we determine what course of action will have the most significant impact on crop yield and quality, and health of the soil. I scout for pests, perform research trials, and study lab analyses. Underlying each of these activities is the numbers game: discovering how to save farmers money while making them more money. Sourcing and delivering affordable crop health and pest control products requires considerable logistics efforts, especially in years like 2022. I have the privilege of being backed by BWC, one of the few remaining California-local ag retail companies. BWC is owned and operated by California farmers, and our primary goal is to promote agriculture and help farmers grow the safest and most sustainable food in the world."


PHONE: 1-805-226-2953

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Thank You Farm Bureau Members

Renewing Agricultural Members

Martinez Orchards, Mark Morrison, Robert Cummings, Les Simmons, Rick Sauerwein, LaVerne Watkins, and Donald Clark

Renewing Associate Business Support Member

Eagle Energy Inc.

New Associate Member

Michael Melendez

Renewing Associate Members

Mark Zohns

SLO County Farm Bureau Business Support Member List

Featured Member Benefit:

O'Reilly Auto Parts

Farm Bureau members in California can save anywhere from 5-20% on select parts they use every day such as brake pads and rotors, filters, batteries, belts, hoses and many more commonly replaced automotive and equipment parts. O'Reilly Auto Parts offers a great selection of not just general automotive, but fleet and heavy duty parts as well to cover every piece of equipment on your farm or ranch.

Enjoy free delivery within a 5 mile radius of your local O'Reilly Auto Parts store and free access to our professional customer website firstcallonline.com for parts look up and ordering, vehicle specs, TSB documents, etc. To take advantage of the discount visit your local O'Reilly Auto Parts and use the CA Farm Bureau account to purchase your product. Should you want to open your own account let the representative know and they will set you up with your private account using the same discount structure. O'Reilly Auto Parts offers cash on delivery, daily charge, weekly charge, and monthly charge accounts depending on your individual needs.

Members can obtain the account number by calling their local county Farm Bureau office or via the member help line at 800-698-3276. The discount may also be applied to online orders at O'Reilly's professional customer website, firstcallonline.com, by Farm Bureau members who have established an account at their local O'Reilly Auto Parts store.

Produce: Mangoes and Agave in the Central Valley: California Farmers Try New Crops to Cope with Climate Change

Mangoes and Agave in the Central Valley: California Farmers Try New Crops to Cope with Climate Change

Lea este artículo en español. In a world of worsening heatwaves, flooding, drought, glacial melting, megafires and other calamities of a changing climate, Gary Gragg is an optimist. As California warms, Gragg - a nurseryman, micro-scale farmer and tropical fruit enthusiast - looks forward to the day that he can grow and sell mangoes in Northern California.

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Market Minute: Stronger lettuce demand accelerating retail pricing

When consumers do their current grocery shopping, they may be taken aback when seeing the lettuce prices. After all they do not know anything about the markets and how prices are established based on crops.lettuce display

Consumers are mainly interested in two things: shopping for items they want and getting through the checkout fast. And during these inflationary days, prices are on top of their minds. So when they were used to purchasing lettuce at the near average price routinely, a much higher price could rattle them.

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Labor: In-Person Card Check Seminar on June 1 at SLO County Farm Bureau Office- RSVP by May 25th

In-Person Card Check Seminar on June 1 at SLO County Farm Bureau Office- RSVP by May 25th

How to Prepare for Card Check: California Farm Bureau, Farm Employers Labor Service, San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau and Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau invite you to join them for an important labor seminar on Thursday, June 1st from 10:00 to 12:00 PM regarding AB 2183, the agricultural employee unionization card check legislation that went into effect on January 1, 2023. Presented by Barsamian and Moody, Attorneys at Law, this seminar will walk through the statutory changes to the Agricultural Labor Relations Act, including what is card check, labor peace elections, the administrative penalties, and appeal bond requirements in the new law. The seminar is intended for owner-operators, managers, human resources personnel, and farm labor contractors (FLCs). FLC representatives are encouraged to attend.

Spanish language interpretation and devices will be available for attendees. If you will need Spanish language translation, please register, and indicate the Spanish language option to ensure enough listening headsets can be provided. Los asistentes que requieran traducción al español deben comunicarse con Martha Peña al 800-753-9073. (Please note that the content of the seminar will not constitute legal advice or counsel.) 

The seminar is at no cost to attend but RSVPs are required.

  • Date: Thursday, June 1, 2023 (Deadline to register is Thursday, May 25)
  • Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM 
  • Location: San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau, 4875 Morabito Place, San Luis Obispo

To register for the seminar in San Luis Obispo on June 1, please click here. For more information please contact Bryan Little at FELS at [email protected], 800-753-9073; Catie Field at San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau at: [email protected], (805) 543-3654; and Teri Bontrager Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau; [email protected]; 805-688-7479.

Uncertainty clouds US transition at Mexico border as new rules take effect

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico/EL PASO, Texas, May 12 (Reuters) - The Biden administration began implementing a sweeping policy shift at the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday as a COVID-era order that had allowed the swift expulsion of many migrants expired and new asylum restrictions took effect amid confusion and uncertainty.

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UFW-backed bill to ease farm union organizing approved by Calif. legislature

The bill strips the ability to conduct union elections by mail and replaces it with a simple sign-up process that opponents claim is rife for abuse.

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Livestock: Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to California Pork Law Mandating More Space for Pigs

Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to California Pork Law Mandating More Space for Pigs

The Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to a California animal cruelty law that affects the pork industry. The justices ruled that the case was properly dismissed by lower courts. Pork producers had said that the law could force industry-wide changes and raise the cost of bacon and other pork products nationwide.

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Good News About Breakfast: Egg Prices Are Dropping

Prices rose 4.9% in April from a year earlier, a slight cooldown from the 5% increase in March Live Coverage Feed Plunging prices for eggs are helping ease grocery bills. Wholesale prices for the breakfast staples have fallen more than 80% since the start of the year, after soaring last year.

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Vineyard & Wine: The Buzziest California Wine Region Isn't Napa or Sonoma

The buzziest California wine region isn't Napa or Sonoma

If you're on an all-out quest to make great cabernet, you might aim for Napa or Bordeaux. Not Daniel Daou. After a decade-long global search for the right plot of land to start growing the grape, he found the ideal combo of soil and climate for his dream in Paso Robles, a land of oak-studded hills and winding back roads, a three-hour drive south of San Francisco.

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Paso Wine Fest 2023 | Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance

The Saturday, May 20 Paso Wine Fest Grand Tasting will feature 115+ wineries, live entertainment, makers market, artisans, winemakers, distilled spirits, mocktail lounge, VIP access, and elevated brand experiences! A four-day celebration of Paso Robles Wine - May 18 - 21, 2023. Kick off the weekend with a Winemaker Dinner or at Sparkling Paso.

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Canopy Management: Trellising, Sunburn, & Mechanization

This event was RESCHEDULED (original date was 3/10, postponed due to weather). Wine grape quality is directly linked to berry composition, which can be significantly determined by canopy microclimate. In California, extreme heat waves along with excessive solar radiation have jeopardized berry composition, causing yield loss and berry quality degradation.

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Water:  Commentary: Farmers Seek Solutions for Flood-Control Failures

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Commentary: Farmers seek solutions for flood-control failures

The destruction to agricultural properties and crops from January and March flooding in Monterey County is considerable. There is frustration about a failure to address known dangers that caused or worsened the flood toll in this critical farming region.

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Should Foreign Governments Own CA Farmland and Water Rights?

A Valley legislator has reworked a bill to stop foreign powers from owning ag land and having rights to water and food production. But concessions made to the bill could have little impact on what lawmakers hope to solve. Senate Bill 224 from state Sen.

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The Science Behind Atmospheric Rivers | Earth.Org

Atmospheric rivers are essential for the transportation of precipitation occurring in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. The rapidly changing climate is causing shifts in these long, flowing regions of the atmosphere, resulting in an increasing number of extreme weather events that bring about destruction across the world.

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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 [email protected] or call our office at 805-543-3654.

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