February 19, 2021
Newsletter For February 19, 2021
This Issue:
  • Assembly Bill Works To Get Registrations From Lobbyists While They Are Locked Out Of Legislative Building
  • Nevada Department of Agriculture’s Bill To Revamp The Board of Agriculture On Hearing Agenda For Tuesday, February 23
  • Nevada Farm Bureau Recognizes Congressman Amodei As Friend Of Farm Bureau
  • H-2A Worker Rates For 2021 Announced
  • Time To Give Attention To Proposed State Engineer Order For Humboldt River Conjunctive Management
  • Registration is Now Open For the Virtual Fusion Conference
Assembly Bill Works To Get Registrations From Lobbyists While They Are Locked Out Of Legislative Building
Granted that the questions aren’t in Farm Bureau’s policy book in regard to the Nevada Legislature operating in their own virtual world and preventing anyone but Legislators, staff and selected media to be in the Legislative Building…but, working to engage in the Legislative process is a very limited opportunity for everyone.  Even legislators aren’t allowed to meet in person, beyond floor sessions, participating in committee meetings from their offices (or wherever they might be logging in from) by Zoom connections.

Being part of the process has continued to be the 2-minute opportunity that has become a hallmark of what the majority party has allowed for.  Most frequently that is through a phone call and possible chance to express those 2-minutes of thoughts when you are called on in favor, opposition or in neutral during bill hearings.  A frequently occurring instance is also that when properly registered (24-hours in advance of a scheduled hearing) you might not be given the actual correct phone call to call in on to wait in the que for your time to speak…(several advocates – even those we don’t agree with – have registered complaints about having the wrong phone number sent to them for calling in).

Never-the-less, AB 110 came before the Assembly Committee on Legislative Operations, Tuesday afternoon, February 16th.  The proposed legislation addresses the issue of getting lobbyists to register, pay their fees for the registration and fall under the requirements of filing their required monthly reports.  Under the current law, the definition for someone who is considered a “lobbyist” includes being in the Legislative Building.  Since the majority party has decided to exclude people from being in the Legislative Building, they haven’t been able to have anyone “register” to be a lobbyist.

Looking down the road, given the likelihood that this will be enacted into law, the doors to the Nevada Legislature could continue to be conveniently closed (for “safety” we might want to believe), plus everyone who might be in touch with legislators in the future, whether they are in the building or not could be required to register for making those contacts… Welcome again to our “New World!” 
Nevada Department of Agriculture’s Bill To Revamp The Board of Agriculture On Hearing Agenda For Tuesday, February 23
SB 54 has been scheduled to be heard by the Senate Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday, February 23.  The committee is scheduled to meet at 3:30 p.m. that day.  SB 54 is being proposed by the Nevada Department of Agriculture to change the makeup of the Board of Agriculture, deleting two of the current seats for cattle and sheep producers and replacing those representatives with one seat for a representative “working in the field supplemental nutrition distribution” and a representative “actively engaged in food manufacturing or animal processing.”

During their special meeting in January, the Nevada Board of Agriculture adopted a motion to seek amendment to the bill that the Department of Agriculture brought forward.  The amendment that the Board of Ag will be promoting seeks to keep the current Board positions in place, with the existing qualifications that are in place in law now.  Their intended amendment also calls for two additional seats to be added to the Board, following the proposal that the Department believed necessary by initiating SB 54.

Nevada Farm Bureau is in contact with members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee and is working for changes that the Nevada Farm Bureau Board has clarified as needing to be addressed.
Nevada Farm Bureau Recognizes Congressman Amodei As Friend Of Farm Bureau
With all of the activities of the election, lame-duck session of Congress, etc.  Nevada Farm Bureau has had some challenges in catching up with the members of Congress who earned “Friend of Farm Bureau” awards in the 115 Session of Congress.  That changed this past week when Nevada Farm Bureau was able to connect with Congressman Mark Amodei in his Reno office.  The award is based on the voting records for each member of Congress and the counted votes that the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) tracks for specific priority issues.  Congressman Amodei’s voting record matched in 12 of the 13 identified positions that AFBF used in their scorecard for the session.  Congressman Amodei has earned the award in each of his several terms in office.  The award also includes Nevada Farm Bureau input on the basis of openness for interaction with the Congressman and his staff members.

Two other members of the Nevada delegation earned the award (Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and Senator Jacky Rosen), but the opportunities to make the presentations have not been able to be coordinated at this point.
H-2A Worker Rates For 2021 Announced
The nation-wide details are now available for the Adverse Effect Wage Rates that H-2A workers will be paid in 2021.  Veronica Nigh of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) has put together this Market Intel report that provides background information and interesting graphics that put into perspective the changes and rates on different states around the country.  Nevada, Utah and Colorado are linked together in the calculations that are used to establish the annual rates.  These three states are identified as experiencing a 3.9 percent increase from last year and are now set for $14.82 per hour.
Time To Give Attention To Proposed State Engineer Order For Humboldt River Conjunctive Management
In the vernacular of a certain Press Secretary of the regime in the White House, we’re going to “circle back” on a topic that we covered earlier, but will be taken up in more depth early April.  Acting State Engineer, Adam Sullivan has issued a proposed Interim Order for the Humboldt River Region.  He has also included the Notice for the Hearing on the Proposed Interim Order, indicating the plans to hold a public hearing on Friday, April 2, 2021.

As we have been reviewing and studying the Proposed Interim Order we have also been reaching out to those who might be interested in exchanging thoughts on the subject.

At the heart of the issue is the conjunctive management (combined treatment of surface and groundwater) in the 34 hydrographic basins for the Humboldt River Region.  The most senior Humboldt surface rights date back to 1861 and the most junior of these surface rights go back to 1921, according to the background in the Proposed Interim Order.  The most senior groundwater right in the region is 1912, but most other groundwater rights are junior to the surface water rights.

The draft order states – “The potential for hydraulic connectivity and capture by itself does not demonstrate that conflict is occurring or will occur in the future…”  The key to determining conflict is to find where service water deliveries of surface water can’t be met and where those unmet deliveries are caused by groundwater pumping.

Nevada Farm Bureau policy on conjunctive management is spelled out here.

The Desert Research Institute (DRI) and the US Geological Survey (USGS) is working to complete the study process that they have been doing for groundwater capture and modeling.  The science that will come from the completion of this project is being considered as the basis for the State Engineer to make decisions and “manage” the system.

It seems that the central theme for actions will concentrate on avoiding increased capture caused by new appropriations or changes to existing groundwater permits.  How this will translate into specific outcomes and consequences need to be better understood in order for making effective input for the State Engineer’s public hearing.  We strongly encourage Farm Bureau members who have reviewed or are in the process of reviewing of the Draft Interim Order to connect with us to discuss this important matter.  Email doug@nvfb.org or call (775) 870-3349.
Registration is Now Open For the Virtual Fusion Conference
Registration for the 2021 American Farm Bureau FUSION Reimagined Conference is now open! The conference is an opportunity to bring together members of the Young Farmers & Ranchers, Women’s Leadership and Promotion & Education member engagement programs for an opportunity to connect, learn and develop as leaders in Farm Bureau. The virtual event will be held March 11 through the 13th . For full conference schedule and to register please click here.
Have a great weekend!