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San Luis Obispo County Agriculture News

September 2, 2022


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 California Legislative Session Ends, Focus Turns to Newsom 

"No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session." - Gideon John Tucker, 1866

Farmers and ranchers can rest a little easier after this week – the 2022 California Legislative Session has ended. While the extension of Diablo Canyon dominated the news, dozens of bills of interest to SLO County farmers and ranchers made it across the finish line Wednesday night.


SLO County Farm Bureau would like to thank Senator John Laird and Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham for representing us in Sacramento and working with Farm Bureau staff on a number of bills this session. Also, a big "thank you" to our California Farm Bureau Government Affairs Division who will continue to engage with the Governor’s office in coming weeks to support or oppose vetoes. Governor Newsom has until the end of September to sign or veto bills passed by the legislature.


AB-364 (Freddie Rodriguez, D-Inland Empire) requires farm labor contractors who recruit H-2A workers in Mexico to also register with the Labor Commissioner as foreign labor recruiters, despite the overlapping requirements for doing so with requirements farm labor contractors must already meet to receive their state license. Proponents claim leaving farm labor contractors out of the foreign recruitment licensing requirement was an oversight when legislation creating the foreign labor recruiting program passed in 2014 (SB 477, Steinberg). This is untrue; Farm Bureau was involved in the drafting of that bill and that omission was discussed and agreed to at the time of SB 477’s consideration. Farm Bureau remains opposed to AB 364.

AB-558 (Adrin Nazarian, D-San Fernando) would authorize a school to offer a snack to a “non-school aged child” through a sibling at that school. Farm Bureau has moved to support the bill.

AB-719 (Agriculture Committee) would increase the number of beekeepers on the State Apiary Board from 5 to 7 and add an Agricultural Commissioner and member representing crops that need pollination services as subject matter experts. It would make many other changes to the Apiary Law including changing definitions, requiring bee brokers to comply with the law, seizure transport, and disposal of contaminated hives.

AB-778 (Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella) will require 60% of the state’s agricultural food products purchased by the state be grown or produced in California by December 31, 2025. Farm Bureau is in support of this bill.

AB-857 (Ash Kalra, D-San Jose) was recently amended to address opponents’ concerns that the notice it requires California H-2A employers to provide to employees mis-stated the law concerning compensability of travel time (it indicated all travel time on employer-provided transportation is compensable, when in fact time travel time on employer-provided transportation is compensable only if the employer requires employee its use) and employer-provided housing (it erroneously indicated that employees occupying employer-provided housing are considered tenants under California law; in fact, such employees occupy employer-provided housing under license from the employer, not as a tenant). Farm Bureau remains opposed because the mandatory notice required by AB 857 is redundant.

AB-1164 (Heath Flora, R-Ripon), passed out of the Assembly 76-1 this week on concurrence with Senate amendments and is now on its way to the Governor for his signature. As previously reported, AB 1164 would enable irrigation districts to construct and maintain regulating reservoirs to store and efficiently convey irrigation water in the same manner as private agricultural entities. The measure is sponsored by the Modesto Irrigation District and limits the height of any structure to 15 feet, and a storage capacity of no more than 1,500 acre-feet. Farm Bureau is in support.

AB-1279 (Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance) will establish a goal to achieve an 85% reduction of greenhouse gases below 1990 levels by 2045.

AB-1646, This bill, authored by Assemblyman Chen, would “authorize cannabis beverages to be packaged in containers of any material that are clear or any color.”

AB-1706, Assemblymember Bonta’s legislation is meant to enhance justice reform provisions of the state’s marijuana law by mandating the courts to process record sealing and other forms of relief for people with eligible cannabis convictions on their records in a specific timeframe. Courts would have until March 1, 2023 to seal records for qualifying cases that weren’t challenged by July 1, 2020

AB-1749 (Cristina Garcia D-Bell Gardens) would require the Air Resources Board to update its statewide strategy (also known as the Blueprint) which governs AB 617 communities to updates measures to reduce criteria air pollutants and toxic air contaminants. The bill would also give communities selected to come up with emission reduction plans through AB 617 to extend their timelines by a year, if agreed upon with the local air district. Finally, the bill would require local air districts issuing permits for stationary sources of criteria air pollutants to list those permits online.

AB-1757 (Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens) will require the Natural Resources Agency to develop 2030, 2038 and 2045 climate goals for natural and working lands.

AB-1870 (Mark Stone, D-Santa Cruz) would require the California Department of Public Health to create a process for resolving complaints of organic processing within 90 days and require the California Organic Products Advisory Committee to report how fees are collected to administer the program.

AB-1885, The bill from Assemblymember Kalra would prohibit regulators from penalizing licensed veterinarians who recommend medical cannabis for animals and revise state law to include definitions for marijuana products intended for animal consumption. The Veterinary Medical Board would also be required to create guidelines for veterinarian cannabis recommendations. Assemblymember Luz Rivas’s bill would add advertising and labeling requirements for cannabis vaporizer products, stipulating that they should be properly disposed and would constitute hazard waste if thrown away improperly.

AB-1954, From Assemblymember Quirk, the legislation would make it so doctors could not discriminate against patients by denying medication or treatment based on a positive THC test if the person is a registered medical cannabis patient in the state. It further stipulates that medical professionals couldn’t be penalized for administering treatment to a patient who uses medical marijuana in compliance with state law.

AB-1959 (Agriculture Committee) would remove the sunset extension the use of carbon monoxide rodent control measures. It would also authorize the Department of Pesticide Regulation to approve continuing education courses that expressly include integrated pest management teachings. The bill also strengthens the confidentiality requires for the Department of Food and Agriculture’s produce safety sampling program.

AB-2146 (Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, D-San Ramon) would prohibit the use of neonicotinoids in non-agricultural settings with certain exemptions. Under the exemptions, applications would need to be predated by a declaration of an environmental emergency by the Department of Pesticide Regulation and a determination that softer alternatives chemistries are not available. Another exemption would be in place for certified applicators conducting business in residential settings. Farm Bureau is opposed to this measure based on the precedent it would set in regulating agricultural and non-agricultural chemicals separately and not based on scientific findings.

AB-2183 (Mark Stone, D-Santa Cruz), United Farm Workers-supported card check legislation was substantially amended on August 22 to create a bifurcated system to determine union representation of farm employees, presenting employers a no-win choice: either forfeit their free-speech rights to discuss the pitfalls of unionization and forfeit private property rights upheld in the Cedar Point U.S. Supreme Court decision by allowing union access to their property to ensure their employees have an opportunity to vote (albeit through a flawed mail-in balloting process) on the question of representation; otherwise the question of unionization would be decided by a simple card-check scheme in which many employees would never be asked their preference on union representation. Governor Newsom indicated on August 25 that he could not support AB 2183 in amended form because it lacked sufficient protections for election integrity and assumed state agencies were incapable of enforcing existing law. The Senate passed the August 22- amended version of AB 2183 on August 29; the Assembly concurred in the Senate’s amendments later the same day, and the bill awaits action by Governor Newsom.

AB-2278 (Ash Kalra, D-San Jose) will require the California Natural Resources Agency to submit an annual report to the Legislature on the progress of the state’s 30x30 initiative.

AB-2188 (Bill Quirk, D-Fremont) will ban work-related blood testing for cannabis metabolites but allow saliva testing. This is problematic because of supply chain restrictions in the availability of saliva testing; major testing firms indicate saliva testing is not generally available. Late amendments to AB 2188 did not address concerns about AB 2188 hampering employers’ efforts to provide safe, drug-free workplaces and Farm Bureau remains opposed.

AB-2210, Another bill from Assemblymember Quirk would prohibit state marijuana regulators from “denying an application for a state temporary event license solely on the basis that there is a license issued pursuant to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act for the proposed premises of the event.”

AB-2303 (Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters) would prescribe labeling standards for agave spirits grown in California.

AB-2343 (Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella) was amended late in the legislative process to remove a requirement for Cal/OSHA to submit proposed revisions to the Heat Illness Prevention Standard for consideration of the Cal/OSHA Standards Board that would create new “ultra-high heat” procedures; another direction to propose require use of respirators when the Air Quality Index exceeds 300 but removes any requirement that poor air quality be associated with a wildfire was further narrowed to apply to farm workers only for unknown reasons, meaning that farm workers could be required to use respirators in situations where nearby non-farm workers would not be required to do so. Farm Bureau opposes because of the nonsensical farm worker respirator requirement and because the bill’s proposals to revise Cal/OSHA standards should be directed through the petition process administered by the Cal/OSHA Standards Board.

AB-2568, Authored by Assemblymember Cooley, the bill would “provide it is not a crime solely for individuals and firms to provide insurance and related services to persons licensed to engage in commercial cannabis activity.”

AB-2595, This bill from Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer would make it so that “when a social worker is investigating an alleged case of child abuse or neglect, a parent’s or guardian’s use or possession of cannabis is treated in the same manner as a parent’s or guardian’s use or possession of alcohol and legally prescribed medication.”

AB-2784 (Phil Ting, D-San Francisco) would require thermoforms offered for sale, distributed, or imported in the state to contain 10% in 2025 and 30% in 2030. This bill will apply to clamshells used for agricultural products. Farm Bureau is in opposition.

AB-2925, This measure from Assemblymember Cooper would mandate that the State Department of Health Care Services submit reports to the legislature, starting no later than July 10, 2023, that accounts for cannabis tax revenue that has been distributed to the Youth Education, Prevention, Early Intervention and Treatment Account, as required under the state’s marijuana law.

SB-489 (John Laird, D-Santa Cruz) a measure authorizing the state to advance funds for the Pajaro River Flood Risk Management Project passed out of the Assembly and is on the Governor’s desk for his signature. Farm Bureau is in support.

The legislature voted in the early hours of Thursday morning to pass SB 846 (Bill Dodd, D-Napa) which would extend the operation of Diablo Canyon Nuclear power plant beyond the current expiration dates (of 2024 for Unit 1 and 2025 for Unit 2), to up to five additional years (no later than 2029 and 2030, respectively). The bill authorizes a $1.4 billion dollar loan to Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to facilitate the extension. Farm Bureau was supportive of keeping Diablo Canyon in operation given the 40% shortfall in renewables that were projected to come online by this summer and reliability concerns that are currently being highlighted by the heatwave this week; however, remains concerned about the cost implications to ratepayers and incentives provided to PG&E in the final version of the bill. The bill passed the Assembly 69- 3 and the Senate 31-1. Since the bill originated from Governor Newsom it is expected to be signed. Farm Bureau will remain engaged at the Public Utilities Commission, since there will be implementation steps to be taken there.

In a last-minute amendment, SB-490 (Anna Caballero, D-Salinas) was approved by the Legislature. This bill would enact the Buy American Food Act and require any state institutions buying agricultural products to provide a 25% purchase preference to domestic bids over foreign bids, in compliance with the federal Buy American Act. The bill exempts schools that receive less than a $1 million in federal reimbursement through the National School Lunch Program. Farm Bureau supports this bill and will be requesting a sign.

SB-988, the legislation from Senator Ben Hueso (D-Chula Vista), would amend an existing law that requires certain California medical facilities to accommodate medical cannabis use by registered patients. It would specify that it the responsibility of patients and caregivers to obtain, administer and adequately store cannabis products—and also remove them from the facility after a patient is discharged.

Three other energy related bills Farm Bureau engaged on SB 884 (Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburd) SB 529 (Bob Hertzberg, D-San Fernando) and SB 1020 (John Laird, D-Santa Cruz) all passed and are headed to the Governor’s desk for signature. Farm Bureau pushed for amendments in all three bills and were successful in improving some of the language in SB 884 the expedited undergrounding bill and SB 529 the exemption for extension, expansion, upgrade, or other modification of an existing transmission line or substations from the requirement of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity bill, but remain concerned with the cost and participation implications of SB 884 and the lack of specifics and potential impacts to agricultural landowners in SB 529. SB 1020 saw revisions that slightly improved the bill, but the potential ratepayer impacts from accelerating clean energy timelines are yet to be seen. Assuming all three bills receive the Governor’s signature, Farm Bureau will remain engaged to shape the implementation at the Public Utilities Commission.

SB-1046 (Susan Eggman, D-Stockton) would prohibit a store, by January 1, 2025, from providing a pre- checkout bag in the grocery store if t’s not compostable or recycled paper

Senator Melissa Hurtado’s (D-Sanger) bill, SB-1084 , would prohibit foreign governments from purchasing or holding interest in agricultural land in California after January 1, 2023. It would also require the Department of Food and Agriculture to annually report information about agricultural land ownership trends. Farm Bureau will be requesting approval of the bill by the Governor.

SB-1109 , authored by Senator Caballero and supported by Farm Bureau, is headed to the Governor’s desk. The bill extends the BioRAM market for another year, which regulates electrical corporations’ obligation to collectively procure their proportionate share of 125 megawatts of cumulative rated generating capacity from existing bioenergy projects commencing operation before June 1, 2013 (meaning the bill will not incentivize new bioenergy project development, but does support existing facilities).

SB-1137 (Lena Gonzalez, D-Signal Hill) will require 3,200-foot setbacks on new oil and gas wells from sensitive receptors sites like homes, hospitals and daycares and sets in place additional restrictions around pumping.

SB-1162 (Monique Limón, D-Ventura) requires employers of 100 or more employees to submit pay data reports with information about employees’ pay according to race, ethnicity and sex to the Department of Civil Rights (formerly the Department of Fair Employment and Housing) and removes the current law exemption allowing employers submitting EEO-1 reports to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to forgo the DCR report and imposes the reporting requirement of employers who contract with entities who employ 100 or more employees. A late-session amendment removed a provision requiring payroll information will be published on DCR’s website and made available to the public. A provision requiring employers to furnish a pay scale for available jobs in a position announcement and make this information available to existing employees remains. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement would be empowered to investigate possible violations and penalize employers for violations. Farm Bureau continues to oppose due to the bill’s new employer mandates.

SB-1186, the bill from Senator Wiener (D, San Francisco), would “prohibit a local jurisdiction from adopting or enforcing any regulation that prohibits the retail sale by delivery within the local jurisdiction of medicinal cannabis to medicinal cannabis patients or their primary caregivers by medicinal cannabis businesses.”

SB-1326, Senator Caballero’s measure would set the stage to allow for interstate marijuana commerce from California to and from other legal states, contingent on an official assurance that the activity would not put the state at risk of federal enforcement action.

SB-1496, came out of the Committee on Governance and Finance would make a series of changes to the state’s cannabis tax policy, including by authorizing regulators to extend the deadline for tax payments by cannabis businesses located in areas affected by an emergency proclamation by the governor.


SB-880 (John Laird, D-Santa Cruz) was signed into law by the Governor this week. As previously reported the measure extends indefinitely the January 1, 2023 sunset of existing law authorizing those who divert 100 acre feet of water or more per year to be considered qualified to install and maintain their water diversion measurement devices if they take a course taught by the University of California Cooperative Extension, and pass a proficiency test. The measure is sponsored by the California Cattlemen’s Association and supported by the California Farm Bureau.

AB-1644 (Heath Flora, R-Ripon) has been signed by Governor Newsom. This bill will exempt forestry, fire prevention and fuels reduction projects and programs funded by the State from prevailing wage, workforce development and high roads jobs requirements imposed on other state funded climate projects.

AB-1825 , an Assembly Agriculture Committee bill, will expand the current pack and shipping requirements for bulk melons and vegetables to out of state packers and processors to include all bordering states. The current exemption in law only applies to out of state packers and processors that are within 25 miles of the state border. This bill passed both houses unanimously.

SB-982 (John Laird, D-Monterey) has been signed by Governor Newsom. The bill, supported by Farm Bureau, would authorize the creation of the organic apple certification program, upon approval of the organic apple industry. The certification program would allow apple producers to make recommendations to the Department of Food and Agriculture to ensure domestic and non-domestic “organic” apples comply with state standards.


In the final three days of session, the Legislature debated how to spend the remainder of the state’s unprecedented budget surplus. Friday Review readers may remember that in the original budget process occurring in July, the Legislature settled to determine how to spend the final billions on climate, energy, drought, and transportation, until the end of August. For a short synopsis of funding of interest to agriculture, click here.

Thank you to the 239 San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau members who responded to FarmTeam Action Alerts this legislative session! Your letters and phone calls made a difference in the outcome of several key pieces of legislation. 

This Week In SLO County Agriculture

In This Week's Issue:

  • Community: Fifth Annual Templeton FFA Tractor Pull- October 15
  • Local Government: Three Candidates Run for Two Atascadero City Council Seats, Mayor Unchallenged
  • State Government: California Lawmakers Extend the Life of the State's Last Nuclear Power Plant
  • Federal Government: Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance Issues Statement of Principles
  • Business Member Spotlight: Sinton Helicopters
  • USDA & UC Extension: California Farm Service Agency August Newsletter
  • Ag Economics: USDA Predicts Higher Farm Profits for 2022
  • Featured Member Benefit: Case IH
  • Environmental: Gov. Newsom Announces Executive Order Amid High Temps, Statewide Flex Alert
  • Produce: New Data Shows Sales Of Fruit In California Is On The Rise
  • Labor: Outdoor Workers Push Through Triple-Digit Temperatures
  • Wildfire: 'Very Dangerous' Heat May Reignite Fire Season in Western U.S.
  • Livestock: Droughts are Hitting Cattle Ranchers Hard - and That Could Make Beef More Expensive
  • Water: Sonoma County Supervisors Call for More Study of Proposed Revisions to Well Water Regulations

August 26 Most-Read

1.   SLO County's proposed Paso basin ordinance draws backlash from agriculture

2. Follow CA avocado’s journey: Farm to distribution truck to your taste buds

3. California Approves Ban of New Gas-Powered Car Sales by 2035

4. CA Senate bill would ban foreign governments from buying agricultural land

5. 2 SLO County water projects get more than $23 million total from Biden administration 

6. California pig welfare rule delays frustrate small farmers

7.  California Oak Symposium set for Oct. 31–Nov. 3 in San Luis Obispo

8.  What’s in the Inflation Reduction Act for Agriculture? 

9.  Mojave Inland Port aims to speed up seaport freight flows

10.  Record strawberry, wine grape crops push SLO County ag value past $1 billion again

Executive Director Report

Here are a few things we worked on this week:

  • Met with a grower in Edna Valley to discuss lavender production;
  • Gave an update on agriculture issues on KPRL 99.3FM “Sound-Off” with Jaime Umphenour (listen here);
  • Attended a meeting led by Preservation Inc to discuss Ag Order 4.0 issues;
  • Wrote an article on local agriculture for Edible SLO magazine;
  • Gave our weekly agriculture update on the Tom & Becky Show on KJUG 98.1 (Thursdays around 9:05am);
  • Met with Santa Barbara agriculture leaders to discuss produce industry issues; and
  • Spoke to the South County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class on agriculture.

Upcoming Events:

  • September 5- Labor Day, Office Closed
  • September 10- San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau's 100th Anniversary and Centennial Celebration of SLO County Agriculture at Alex Madonna Inn Expo Center(Last chance to get tickets is September 4)
  • September 16- Adelaida Farm Center Meeting 
  • October 8- Pioneer Day Parade
  • October 11- Great AGventure in Paso Robles
  • October 20- SLO County Ag Awareness Dinner at Giuseppe's in Pismo Beach

Community: Fifth Annual Templeton FFA Tractor Pull- October 15

Fifth Annual Templeton FFA Tractor Pull- October 15

Who's Ready for a Templeton Tradition? Ticket Link and Event Info Coming Soon!

Interested in being a 2022 Tractor Pull Sponsor? See the following link for the NEW Online Sponsorship Sign-Up!

California Farm Bureau Photo Contest Deadline September 30

Enter to have a chance at the $1,000 grand prize in the 2022 photo contest. Show off your farm or ranch and enter here.  Photos are due by September 30th.

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Adelaida Farm Center Meeting- September 16

Local Government: Three Candidates Run for Two Atascadero City Council Seats, Mayor Unchallenged

Three Candidates Run for Two Atascadero City Council Seats, Mayor Unchallenged

Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno is ready to win another election, and she's a shoo-in because nobody's running against her. "I feel that our city team of community volunteers, our staff, our council, have all worked hard to meet the needs of our residents," Moreno said. "An unopposed mayor means that we've listened to our community."

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Grover Beach's mayoral race is a face-off between Karen Bright and Stacy Korsgaden

No matter what, this year, Grover Beach residents will elect a female mayor for the first time since 2014. Stacy Korsgaden-a two-time candidate for San Luis Obispo County supervisor and insurance company owner-and long-running Grover Beach City Councilmember Karen Bright are fighting for the top city spot this November, as current Mayor Jeff Lee terms out of office.

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Grover Beach to vote in first by-district City Council races

Grover Beach's City Council races may feature two different kinds of doctors and a former wine and spirits distributor, but all candidates have local government experience. The beach city's voters will participate in the first by-district elections on Nov. 8.

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State Government: California Lawmakers Extend the Life of the State's Last Nuclear Power Plant

Hail Mary: Gov. Gavin Newsom pushes legislation to save Diablo Canyon from closure with help from $1.4 billion loan

The future of Diablo Canyon Power Plant-and nuclear power in California-hung in the balance this week as state lawmakers debated a last-minute legislative deal that aims to extend the plant's life to 2030, scrapping a prior decommissioning plan, amid fears of looming power shortages. The legislation, which came at the request of Gov.

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State lawmakers reject bill to curb farms' water pumping

California lawmakers punted on a proposal to rein in agricultural groundwater pumping as drought continues to grip California and more than a thousand domestic wells have run dry. A bill by Assemblymember Steve Bennett, a Democrat from Santa Barbara, would have added hurdles to obtain a permit to drill an agricultural well.

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Newsom faces two tough labor decisions

Headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk are two highly controversial labor-backed bills that could test the limits of the governor's commitment to progressive policy as he seeks to elevate his national profile and appeal to voters in other states. Among the pile of bills that state lawmakers greenlighted in marathon Monday floor sessions as they race to conclude the year’s legislative...

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Federal Government: Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance Issues Statement of Principles

Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance Issues Statement of Principles

WASHINGTON - The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA), a national coalition of more than 200 specialty crop organizations representing growers of fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, nursery plants and other products, has released its statement of principles for consideration of the 2023 Farm Bill.

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Biden administration awards $1 billion for economic projects

WASHINGTON (AP) - Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo is announcing Friday $1 billion worth of federal grants for manufacturing, clean energy, farming, biotech and other sectors that will go to 21 regional partnerships. The winners were chosen from 529 initial applicants vying for grants that were part of last year's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

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Agri-Pulse Daybreak West for September 1, 2022

Thompson Blasts Proposed Ag Cuts


The top Republican on the House Ag Committee is making clear he wants nothing to do with some proposals by fellow conservatives to slash farm bill programs.


“I don’t appreciate it, I think it’s bad messaging,” Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson said Wednesday at the Farm Program Show in Boone, Iowa. “If any of those policies would be implemented by any administration in either party, it would crush rural America.”


A proposed budget released by members of the Republican Study Committee calls for eliminating the farm bill’s “duplicative” Price Loss Coverage and Agriculture Risk Coverage programs to save $42.7 billion over 10 years. The plan also proposes cutting crop insurance premiums in half and eliminating the federal reimbursement to crop insurance companies for administrative expenses. 


A majority of House Republicans are members of the RSC. Sixteen of them signed the budget proposal, including Ron Estes of Kansas, Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, Ronny Jackson of Texas, and House Ag member Trent Kelly of Mississippi. Take note: While Thompson isn’t one, the RSC has many Ag Committee members, including Austin Scott and Rick Allen from Georgia, Randy Feenstra of Iowa, Vicky Hartzler of Missouri and Dusty Johnson of South Dakota.


While we’re at it: Thompson, who will likely become chairman of House Ag if Republicans win control of the chamber in November, said he plans to begin hearings on a new farm bill early in the new year. He didn’t give a timeline for acting on the bill, but he said he wants funding allocations from the House Budget Committee by June or July.

USDA Sweetens Insurance Products


USDA is offering improvements to two smaller insurance products that are aimed at specialty crop operations and smaller-scale farms. Among other things, USDA is doubling the maximum insurable revenue under the Whole Farm Revenue Protection plan and reducing paperwork requirements. Farms can now insure up to $17 million in revenue with WFRP policies.WFRP has seen a decline in enrollment since peaking in 2017.


USDA also is more than tripling the size of farm operations eligible for Micro Farm policies. Farmers with revenue of up to $350,000 will now be eligible for that product. Risk Management Agency Administrator Marcia Bunger says the upgrades will help “more local food, direct market, specialty crop and organic producers protect their operations.”

Business Member Spotlight:

Sinton Helicopters

Over 30 years in business here on the Central Coast, Sinton Helicopters is proud to announce Paso Air Tours. We’ve been flying these hills since 1980, and now we would like to share the experience with you. Let us take you on an unforgettable journey.

Charter Services:

  • Custom Wine Tours, Executive Airport Transport, Special Events, Real Estate Preview, and Aerial Photography


PHONE: 1-805-238-4037

USDA & UC Extension: California Farm Service Agency August Newsletter

California agriculture leads the nation in funding for specialty crops

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced funding for the 2022 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). California received $21.3 million out of approximately $72.9 million awarded nationwide. The SCBGP provides grants to state departments of agriculture to fund projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts ...

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USDA announces details for the upcoming Census of Agriculture

PUBLISHED ON WASHINGTON - America's farmers and ranchers will soon have the opportunity to be represented in the nation's only comprehensive and impartial agriculture data for every state, county and territory. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will mail the 2022 Census of Agriculture to millions of agriculture producers across the 50 states and Puerto Rico this fall.

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Sept 6, 2022 Organic Agriculture Webinar on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

Join USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service and Oregon Tilth on a webinar to learn more about strategies organic producers can use to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Details about the webinar, Organic Agriculture as a Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Strategy, include: Date: Tuesday, September 6, 2022 Time: 3:00 p.m.

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California Farm Service Agency August Newsletter

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) recently announced appointees who will serve on the California USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) state committee.

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Summer Newsletter from UC SAREP

Ag Economics: USDA Predicts Higher Farm Profits for 2022

USDA Predicts Higher Farm Profits for 2022

The Department of Agriculture Thursday updated net farm income projections for 2022. Micheal Clements shares the details. Clements: USDA's Economic Research Service released its September 2022 Farm Income Forecast Thursday. American Farm Bureau Federation Economist Bernt Nelson says USDA revised farm income to be higher.

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USDA Releases First 2023 Trade Projection

A report from the Department of Agriculture Tuesday offers the first projection for ag exports in 2023. Micheal Clements shares more on the data. Clements: USDA released the quarterly Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade Tuesday. American Farm Bureau Federation Senior Economist Veronica Nigh says the outlook offers projections for the remainder of the 2022 fiscal year and the first projections for 2023.

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Thank You Farm Bureau Members

Renewing Members

Mark Switzer, Premier Ag Products & Services Inc., Kaweah Pump Inc., James Cushman, Ag Box Company, Sunrise Olive Ranch LLC, Suzette Lees, and Poor Richard's Press

SLO County Farm Bureau Business Support Member List

Featured Member Benefit:

Case IH

Case IH: Out with the old, in with the savings! 

If hindsight is 20/20, the end of a season is an excellent time to reevaluate the costs of an aging tractor. How much time could you have saved with more horsepower? How much fertilizer could you have saved with precision planting? Case IH tractors run the gamut from heavy-duty to high-tech, with discounts to boot! Present the California Farm Bureau account number at time of purchase to receive as much as $500 off tractor purchases.

Always ask your Case IH dealer about combining California Farm Bureau’s incentive with other discounts, promotions, rebates, or offers.

Environmental: Gov. Newsom Announces Executive Order Amid High Temps, Statewide Flex Alert

California may add wine, liquor bottles to recycling program

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California would add wine and distilled spirits containers to its struggling recycling program, while giving beverage dealers another option to collect empty bottles and cans, under a measure lawmakers approved Wednesday. But critics say the bill would also give hundreds of millions of dollars to corporations they say don't need the incentives.

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Gov. Newsom Announces Executive Order Amid High Temps, Statewide Flex Alert

As temperatures inch higher and are expected to rise through at least Monday, officials have issued a statewide Flex Alert for California residents.

The alert is in effect Wednesday and urges people to voluntarily save energy, especially between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., the California Independent System Operator says.

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Produce: New Data Shows Sales Of Fruit In California Is On The Rise

UC study breaks down costs of growing organic strawberries

PUBLISHED ON DAVIS, Calif. - Thinking about commercially growing organic strawberries on the Central Coast? To help prospective and current growers evaluate financial feasibility, the University of California has estimated costs to produce and harvest organic strawberries for fresh market in Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties.

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Study shows a single cover crop can outperform mixtures

PUBLISHED ON WESTMINSTER, Colo. - Cover crops can be a valuable tool for weed suppression-successfully competing with weeds for light, water, nutrients and space. As a result, new cover crop seed mixes are growing in popularity as a sustainable option for weed management.

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New Data Shows Sales Of Fruit In California Is On The Rise

According to data provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, retail sales of fruit in California have followed a rhythmic pattern since 2019, with notable increases each year. Retail fruit sales that averaged $75 million in 2019 are now averaging $104 million in 2022, a 37% increase over three years.

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Drought, high costs bring U.S. berry giants to Canada's maple syrup land

A swath of Canada better known for maple syrup is being tested to mass produce berries normally grown in warmer locales, making it the unexpected beneficiary of extreme weather, local demand and rising costs in traditional growing areas like California.

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Labor: Outdoor Workers Push Through Triple-Digit Temperatures

Outdoor Workers Push Through Triple-Digit Temperatures

Despite the heat, the job needs to get done. Adrian Jimenez owns Jimenez General Maintenance, trimming trees and working on landscapes anywhere from San Miguel to Atascadero. Jimenez says that with everything being so expensive, he can't work fewer hours. He needs to work his full day to provide for his family.

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Farmworkers bill passes legislature, heads to Gov. Newsom's desk

The farmworkers bill aimed to give farm workers more flexibility when it comes to voting in union elections passed the state legislature Monday. "I applaud my colleague Assemblymember Mark Stone for working diligently to ensure our essential farmworkers have the ability to vote in union elections without ...

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Farm workers and their employers are preparing for the heat advisory in effect over the next few days

The Monterey Agriculture Commissioner is encouraging agriculture employers to be prepared to protect farm workers from the heat advisory in the upcoming days. Farmworkers like Rosa, a strawberry farmer in Salinas, said the extreme heat makes an already difficult job harder. "The air is suffocating.

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Health and Safety on the Farm and Ranch:

Trainings Presented by Nationwide

Fall Protection (45 minutes)- 9/6/22:

English: 9-9:45AM; Spanish: 10-10:45AM

Targeted audience: Owners, Managers, and Employees

Course Content: A Fall Protection program is designed to enable employers and employees to recognize the fall hazards on the job and to establish the written procedures that are to be followed to help prevent falls and serious injuries.

BIT: Basic Inspection of Terminals- 9/​20/​22

English: 9-11AM

Targeted audience: Fleet Managers

Course content: Learn how keeping the scores low on CSA will reduce the number of inspections by the California Highway Patrol, understanding the changes to BIT that started in 01/01/16 and the best practices to help pass a BIT inspection. 

Heat Warning!

Weather Forecasts Calling for Temperatures in Excess of 100 F˚ Throughout California through the holiday weekend

 Cal/OSHA Warns Outdoor Employers to be Prepared

Agricultural employers should be prepared to protect outdoor workers and to be in full compliance with the Heat Illness Prevention standard. Some basic points to remember:

  • Be sure shade is available on demand when the temperature is below 80 F˚; shade must be provided at all times when the temperature exceeds 80 F˚, as close as practicable to where employees are working; 
  • Shade must be provided to all employees on a rest or meal break, except those who choose to take a meal break elsewhere; 
  • Fresh, pure, and suitably cool water must be made available in sufficient quantities (replenishment is permissible) to allow each employee to drink one quart per hour; 
  • Water must be provided as close as practicable to location of work; 
  • Employees must be trained about heat illness and the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention (HIP) Standard before they work in conditions where they might be exposed to heat; 
  • Supervisors must be additionally trained in HIP compliance procedures, emergency responses, and ensuring effective communication to facilitate emergency response.
  • A written copy of your HIP program in English and the language understood by the majority of the employees and be available to employees and Cal/OSHA inspectors on request -- this is the most frequently-cited part of the HIP standard -- and probably the most easily-avoided HIP citation!
  • Remember: When temperatures exceed 95 F˚, employers must implement "high heat" procedures, including a mandatory 10 minute break every two hours (meal and rest periods can serve as these breaks, but if employees work beyond eight hours or waive meal or rest periods, you must still ensure the mandatory rest break occurs). 

FELS HIP Standard and Heat Illness resources can be found at this link.


Questions? Comments? Please call us at 800-753-9073 or email us at info@fels.net.  

Wildfire: 'Very Dangerous' Heat May Reignite Fire Season in Western U.S.

'Very Dangerous' Heat May Reignite Fire Season in Western U.S.

A quiet late summer for western wildfires may be about to come to an abrupt end. Weather models are indicating that a potentially extreme and prolonged heat wave will build over western states this week and into the Labor Day weekend.

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Crews face heat wave along with California wildfires

California firefighters worked in extreme conditions Thursday as they battled wildfires in rural areas north of Los Angeles and east of San Diego amid a blistering heat wave that is predicted to last through Labor Day.

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How to track wildfires in California, Oregon, and across the U.S. with Esri's new mapping tool

Using data from 22 agencies, the new Wildfire Aware app comes as wildfires along the West Coast have become more severe with climate change.

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Livestock: Droughts are Hitting Cattle Ranchers Hard - and That Could Make Beef More Expensive

Droughts are Hitting Cattle Ranchers Hard - and That Could Make Beef More Expensive

Supermarket shoppers are seeing something unusual these days: discounts in the meat department. Steak prices have fallen in each of the last three months even as the cost of chicken, pork and most other groceries has gone up. But bargains in the butcher case are likely to be temporary.

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Shasta County mom files lawsuit over sheriff's seizure of Cedar, the livestock auction goat

Two Shasta County Sheriff's Office deputies have been accused of driving to Sonoma County to seize a young girl's pet goat, Cedar, after the child couldn't bear the thought of him being slaughtered following the Shasta Youth Livestock Auction. Shasta County engineer Jessica Long filed the lawsuit against sheriff's office officials, Lt.

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Record Turkey Prices Are Coming for Thanksgiving

Inflation is coming for Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey supplies have become stretched this year after an avian-influenza outbreak devastated flocks in the springtime and threatens to re-emerge in the fall, meat industry executives said. Reduced flocks have lifted turkey prices to record levels, analysts said, and price tags for the holiday staple are likely to remain high through Thanksgiving.

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Vineyard & Wine: 

The Rhone Rangers hosting International Grenache Day celebration

The Rhone Rangers will host an International Grenache Day Celebration on Friday, Sept. 16, in Paso Robles. The evening event is planned to coincide with the annual day of celebration, recognizing Grenache - one of the most widely planted grape varieties in the world.

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Wine Harvest 2022 Begins in Paso Robles and SLO Coast - Wine Industry Advisor

Despite the hottest growing season in recent memory, 2022 is shaping up to be a delicious year for wine in the Central Coast. Here are the key takeaways on harvest from the leading winemakers in the Paso Robles and SLO Coast wine regions. Aug. 26, 2022 (Paso Robles, Calif.)

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Water: Sonoma County Supervisors Call for More Study of Proposed Revisions to Well Water Regulations

Supervisors call for more study of proposed revisions to well water regulations

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors put off adopting changes to the county's well regulations on Tuesday, citing the need for additional analysis and more public outreach. County planning staff presented supervisors with revisions aimed at bringing the county's well ordinance in line ...

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Newsom's water strategy needs to go a step further

Two weeks ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom released his water supply strategy, which is designed to address California's warming climate and increasing drought intensity.

Central to this strategy is expanding storage to capture water during wet periods and to help urban and agricultural users make it through dry times. But why stop there?

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Another View on AB 2201 August 30, 2022 - Water Wrights

By Louise Lampara Assemblymember Steve Bennett's proposed bill, AB2201, would create a new permanent permitting process for groundwater wells that negatively impacts local water districts, municipalities, and California's agricultural community. Even with recent amendments ...

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Leave groundwater management to local water experts

Assemblymember Steve Bennett's proposed Assembly Bill 2201, which would create a new permanent permitting process for groundwater wells, negatively affects local water districts, municipalities and California's agricultural community. Despite recent amendments to the bill language, AB 2201 would force a strict new mandate on how groundwater sustainability agencies must operate.

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Will Kings County be the first region sent to state's groundwater "cop"? - SJV Water

The prospect of being sent to California's "groundwater cop" strikes dread in the hearts of most water managers. But for John Vidovich, having the Tulare Lake subbasin come under the glare of the State Water Resources Control Board may be the only way to end an irrigation practice by the J.G.

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Is SGMA Compatible with Farmland Preservation?

The implementation of SGMA will prompt land use transitions throughout the San Joaquin Valley, raising questions about how the state's chief agricultural preservation policy - the Williamson Act - will come into play. Many alternate uses are likely to be compatible with the program, while others - namely solar - are more complex.

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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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