May 22, 2023



May 30 Agucation crafting class - Farm Greeting Cards

June 10 EDCFB Annual Dinner

June 16-18 El Dorado County Fair

Meetings This Week

Mon 7:30am Taxpayers Assn Online

9:00am EID Board Schedule

Tue  9:00am  Board of Supervisors Schedule

5:00pm Placerville City Council Agenda

Wed 5:00pm LAFCO Agenda

Thu 8:30am Planning Commision Schedule


Apples to apple cider: Barsotti family honored with Farm Family of the Year Award

There’s a trick to making a great apple juice.

Gael Michael Barsotti used red delicious apples the first time he made some. He quickly discovered it didn’t work and moved on to a blend. A mixture of apples is needed for the best results.

Barsotti’s operation, what started as a family-run apple stand, is now a sprawling Apple Hill business. Apple and grape orchards surround the buildings used by the Barsotti Family Juice Co. An assembly line snakes through the buildings, as workers move the apples through the process that will turn them into bottles of apple cider.

“We couldn’t live in a better place,” Barsotti said. “We’ve been here a long time.”

Barsotti and his family were honored in April with the Farm Family of the Year Award by the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce.

“Like many of us, they were searching for a simpler life in a rural environment in which to raise their children,” wrote Christa Campbell, chairperson of the county’s Chamber of Commerce Ag Council, in an email.

“This year, because of the significant impact economically of Barsotti Juice Company locally, regionally and nationally — and because Gael Barsotti, along with second-generation son Michael and daughter Cathy, continue the tradition of sustainability of agriculture in El Dorado County — the Barsotti family received the award,” Campbell added.

Barsotti makes more than apple cider. There are carrot and orange juices, as well as lemonade and mango juices. They sit bottled and boxed in a large, cooled warehouse on the property.

A short walk away, up a hill overlooking the orchards, is Barsotti’s home. Walter Mathews, Barsotti’s marketing director, joked during the awards ceremony that when Gael and his wife Joan moved here almost 50 years ago, he dreamed of patching the walls of his log cabin. Joan’s dream was living in that log cabin, in an orchard and by a forest.

“I really give her all the credit,” Gael said of his late wife. 

He had a winding path to El Dorado County. He attended University of California, Berkeley and played football for Cal, noting he was on the team the last time it went to the Rose Bowl. 

“I was lucky enough to be an athlete and lucky enough to get to Cal,” Gael said.

In college, he was thinking about his career. He started with a travel company and lived in Kansas for a time before returning to California. 

Gael in 1972 transitioned from travel agent to owner of an RV parts business. He had five stores at one point, with the main one in Mountain View. 

In San Jose at the time, the Barsottis moved to Foster City. A few years later, in 1976, they bought the house on Apple Hill. With it came 37 acres of pears and apples. Over the years that was followed by the addition of several more acres. The Barsotti property now boasts 92 acres. 

Pears hadn’t done well in the area since a blight several years before. Apples weren’t selling as well, either. 

Then, in the 1980s, came the shift toward juice. Raley’s contacted the Barsotti farm to see if it could provide fresh cider for the grocery company’s produce sections – a new move for grocery stores. Barsotti’s apple-packing business began to change into a cider and juice business.

“Then we started expanding from there,” Gael said.

Son Michael, a chiropractor, joined the business in 2000. He serves as its president. Daughter Cathy, vice president of sales and marketing, joined in 2007. 

Gael’s company is a regular contributor to county causes. If a local organization needs juice, Barsotti said he’ll donate it. He’s known for helping the Boys & Girls Club, which named its gym the Joan Barsotti Gymnasium; the county food bank; and the Court Appointed Special Advocates program. The Joan Barsotti Scholarship Fund helps writers. Joan was the author of several children’s books. 

“It’s nice to be recognized,” Barsotti said.

By Special to the Mountain Democrat



JUNE 10 2023 4pm

Our Annual Meeting of Members will again be held, picnic style at the Farm Bureau office.

We will enjoy a menu ogrilled tri tip, barbeque chicken, green salad, red potato salad, corn on the cob, dinner rolls, apple pie and lemonade or tea.

Tickets available now: $25 PER PERSON for pre-sale orders


  • Donations for the Silent Auction are being accepted. Please call or email our office to schedule a dropoff.

  • Volunteer to help with preparation, setup and cleanup.

Greeting Card Workshop

May 30 6:30 pm

Join others as we create homemade cards with a country flare. Design a set of five greeting cards for various occasions to use in the upcoming summer months. Farm animals, gardens, sunflowers and more will take center stage for your creations. 

$10 per set Farm Bureau members only ($5off)

$15 per 5 card set

Tickets are available here

Get your OPTIMAL RATE today.

PG&E estimates that our AG customers could save $13M by simply switching to a different rate plan that aligns with your current operations. You have the opportunity to run a rate analysis simply by logging into your account and requesting a rate comparison. Cut your business costs today @ You can find detailed instructions on how to complete the rate comparison as well as submit your rate change at or, give us a call at 1-800-468-4743

Grow For It! The El Dorado County Fair

The El Dorado County Fair is going to light up Placerville June 15-18 and the countdown is on for four, fun-filled days of competitions, entertainment, activities and food. There are always great things to do at our county fair, like the historic Studebaker Wheelbarrow Races, 4-H exhibits, competitions, Mutton Bustin’ and the rodeo. 

Daily you can visit the floral exhibition coordinated by the Master Gardeners of El Dorado County. The El Dorado Savings Flower and Plants Building, near the county historical museum, will overflow with cut flowers, potted plants and flower arrangements. (continued)

Lake levels as of May 17-18

Stumpy Meadows Reservoir Percent full 100%

Folsom Reservoir Percent full 90%

Union Valley Reservoir Percent full 93%

Loon Lake Percent full 56%

Ice House Percent full 85%

Caples Lake Percent full 58%

Silver Lake Percent full 58%

Sly Park Percent Full 99.4%

American River Flow 3177 cfs (up from 1781)

xx% indicates - reduction xx% indicates - increase xx% unchanged



Governor Newsom presented the 2023 fiscal year May Revision on Friday and the budget deficit increased by $9.3 billion since the January budget rollout for a total of $32 Billion.

While the overall reflects cuts across the board, there is some good news regarding new flood investment proposals and agriculture grant monies as well.

The budget also includes legislative language that codifies provisions from recent executive orders that allow for safe diversion of flood flows for groundwater recharge purposes.

These provisions would make it easier to capture floodwater to recharge groundwater by setting clear conditions for diverting floodwaters without permits or affecting water rights.

Overall, there was not significant change in Climate, Resource or Food and Agriculture budget priorities.

Disaster Impact

As part of the Tulare Basin flood response, May Revision includes an increase of $25 million one - time General Fund to expand the scope of the current California Small Agricultural Business Drought Relief Grant Program to provide direct assistance to eligible agriculture - related businesses that have been affected by the recent storms. By expanding the program’s reach and continuing to support the ability of agricultural businesses to remain open and add or restore jobs, this proposal also aims to advance support for workers of impacted businesses.

Disaster Response Emergency Operations Account Set Aside — May Revision also adds $25 million one-time General Fund in the current year in anticipation of potential additional disaster relief and response costs associated with recent storms and future flooding.

Energy and Utilities

The Governor’s January Budget maintained $7 billion (89 percent) of last year’s $7.9 billion investment in a clean energy agenda including investments in areas such as building decarbonization, transmission development, and long duration energy storage. May Revision makes no changes to the Energy sector budget.

Land Use

May Revision moves fund for the Multi - Benefit Land Repurposing — $20 million – to a proposed Climate Bond

Natural Resources

A shift of $4.8 million from UC's main appropriation to provide continued support for UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. This is roughly equivalent to 5 percent of the base increase provided at Governor's Budget less resources provided for enrollment growth.


The May Revision includes $1.9 million Department of Pesticide Regulation Fund and $1.4 million ongoing to improve and streamline the Department’s registration and reevaluation processes, identify alternatives to high - risk fumigants, and lead strategic collaborations with stakeholders and agency partners to develop plans and programs to support implementation of sustainable pest management in agricultural, urban, and wildland settings.


The May Revision continues to reflect the transportation infrastructure package included in the 2022 Budget Act and the Governor’s Budget, with proposed adjustments included to account for a reduction in forecasted General Fund revenue. The May Revision includes a reduction of $2.85 billion General Fund, partially offset by $650 million of new state transportation funds for a net reduction of $2.2 billion. This reflects an additional fund shift of $150 million as compared to the Governor’s Budget. These adjustments will maintain a total of $12.8 billion in continuing new transportation infrastructure investments, including:

• $5.65 billion for high- priority transit and rail infrastructure projects that will improve rail and transit connectivity between state and local/regional services that are designed to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas production.

• $4.2 billion for the High - Speed Rail Authority to continue building the 119 - mile Central Valley Segment from Madera to just north of Bakersfield.

• $1.4 billion for Active Transportation Program projects, the Highways to Boulevards Pilot, and bicycle and pedestrian safety projects.

• $1.2 billion for projects that improve goods movement on rail and roadways at port terminals, including railyard expansions, new bridges, and zero - emission modernization projects.

• $350 million for grade separation projects that support critical safety improvements and expedite the movement of traffic and rail by separating the vehicle roadway from the rail tracks.

Water Resources

When the Governor released his initial budget in January, California was in the third week of intense and prolonged precipitation that would extend, off and on, through March and April of this year. This followed a three - year period from 2020 to 2022 that was the driest on record going back to 1896.

For the first time in 18 years, many of California’s most junior water users, including the State Water Project contractors and the Central Valley Project south- of - Delta agricultural contractors, received their full contracted water supply. By mid- March, it became clear that managing high runoff would be a majorchallenge in 2023, both for maximizing beneficial floodwater use (such as for groundwater recharge) and for protecting the safety of the public. The southern San Joaquin Valley’s Tulare Lakebed, mostly dry since being drained in the 1910s for agricultural production, started to “refill,” and in the process flooded farms and small communities near Corcoran. Meanwhile, the large - scale availability of surface water for diversion prompted the Governor to release Executive Order N-6-23 in March 2023, which streamlined permitting requitements for both flood fighting efforts and for the previously arduous process to obtain a flood water diversion permit for recharge from the State Water Resources Control Board.

The May Revised budget and related trailer bills reflect both the climatic extremes and reduced revenue that California has experienced since January. It reduces $1.1 billion in General Fund spending across multiple climate and water - related programs, but commits to pursuing a future natural resources bond to make up the shortfall. Bond - eligible programs that received cuts included:

• Water Recycling ($270 million)

• Salton Sea Restoration ($169 million)

• Community Resilience Centers ($160 million)

• Transformative Climate Communities ($100 million)

Regional Resilience Program ($110 million)

• Urban Greening ($100 million)

• Statewide Parks Program ($86.6 million)

• Sustainable Groundwater Management Act Implementation ($60 million)

• Dam Safety and Flood Management ($50 million)

• Multi - benefit Land Repurposing ($20 million)

Nonetheless, the May Revision still maintains $8.7 billion (97 percent) of previously committed funding for water and climate programs and projects. Although the California Natural Resources Agency’s budget was reduced by 12.5% from the January proposal, the May Revision increases flood management funding by $290 million. Much of these funds were previously earmarked for drought response actions – including land conversion (“LandFlex”), drought relief programs, and Delta salinity barrier installation – considered lower priorities given 2023’s hydrology. In the revised budget, the State also committed to funding work to raise the Corcoran Levee in order to protect life and property in the Tulare Lake Basin this year.

Additionally, the May Revised budget includes a trailer bill codifying many of the directives and provisions in Executive Order N - 6 - 23, ensuring that in future flood periods California’s local and regional agencies will quickly be able to capitalize on high flows to help with groundwater recharge and climate resilience.

May Revision invests $290 million in new flood proposals:

• $125 million to support preparedness, response and recovery related to the 2023 storms – funding shifted from drought contingency to flood contingency to address the weather whiplash California is facing;

• $75 million to support local flood control projects

• $25 million to expand the current California Small Agricultural Business Drought Relief Grant Program toprovide direct assistance to eligible agriculture - related businesses that have been affected by the recent storms

• $25 million for potential additional disaster relief and response costs in this fiscal year to address immediate impacts

• $40 million for the San Joaquin Floodplain restoration

The $290 million is on top of the Governor’s January proposal of $202 million in flood investments to protect urban areas, improve levees in the Delta region and support projects in the Central Valley–bringing total flood investments to nearly $500 million.

Wildfire and Forestry

May Revision maintains $2.7 billion (98 percent) over four years to advance critical investments in restoring forest and wildland health to continue to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires in the face of extreme climate conditions. May Revision also includes the following:

• Climate Catalyst Fund — $25 million one - time General Fund, which partially restores the General Fund reduction proposed in the Governor’s Budget.

As for CAL FIRE specifically, May Revision includes $1.1 billion ($236 million General Fund and $857.8 million Public Buildings Construction Fund) over the next five years for the continuation and addition of critical infrastructure projects statewide, including but not limited to, the replacement of aging fire stations, unit headquarters and communication facilities, the creation of a new training center, and the replacement of helitack bases and improvements to air attack bases to accommodate CAL FIRE’s new helicopter fleet and C - 130 aircraft deployment plans.

For the 2023- 24 fiscal year, the Administration proposes $36.9 million ($30.4 million General Fund and $6.5 million Public Buildings Construction Fund) for the continuation and addition of critical major capital projects, including the replacement of various fire stations, unit headquarters, conservation camps, and helitack bases, as well as for air attack base infrastructure improvements. These projects are in various stages of completion from acquisition to design and construction. The Administration also proposes initial funding for the Additional CAL FIRE Training Center which will address CAL FIRE’s long-term training facility needs.

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.

The Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees this week moved several measures to their respective suspense files, and both committees will re-hear the bills on May 18 to consider removing them from suspense and sending them on the floors of their respective houses for floor consideration prior to the June 2 house-of-origin deadline.

SB-365 Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) will forbid a district court judge from staying a civil proceeding if either party appeals the finding as to whether the dispute is subject to arbitration. Staying the underlying litigation while the arbitration applicability decision is pending has been common practice, eliminating the need to litigate a dispute that will likely be found subject to arbitration. Several recent court decisions have upheld federal preemption under the Federal Arbitration Act of attempts by the Legislature to restrict arbitration. Farm Bureau opposes SB 365 since arbitration is a useful tool to manage employment litigation liability in California’s litigious environment.

SB-399 Senator Aisha Wahab (D-Hayward) prohibits employers from conducting employee meetings in the context of a unionization campaign to explain the employer’s opposition to unionization. Farm Bureau opposes because SB 399 is a clear-cut violation of an employer’s First Amendment right to free speech, and will curb employer’s right to fully inform employees about unionization activities.

SB-497 Senator Lola Smallwood - Cuevas (D-Los Angeles), which creates a rebuttable presumption that any adverse personnel action is retaliatory if occurs with 90 days of the occurrence of activities protected from retaliation under the Labor Code, including reporting a violation of the Labor Code and cooperating with investigations related to violations of the Labor Code. As courts already consider proximity in time between protected activities and adverse personnel actions, SB 497 is redundant and further stacks the deck against employers’ defense against accusations of retaliation. Farm Bureau opposes.

SB-553 Senator Dave Cortese (D - San Jose ) writes into the Labor Code and imposes on all California employers the expansive and detailed requirements of Cal/OSHA’s healthcare workplace violence regulation, promulgated by the agency in 2017 in response to incidents of violence by patients against healthcare providers in mental institutions. SB 553 will disrupt an ongoing regulatory process in which the agency is seeking to craft a workplace violence regulation more suited to general industry, where employers’ physical sites and workforce are much different from healthcare environments. Farm Bureau opposes.

SB-616 Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) will increase the paid sick leave mandate first established by AB 1522 (L. Gonzalez) in 2013 from three days or 24 hours to 7 days 56 hours. No provision is made in SB 616 to allow employer to manage misuse of paid sick leave.  The bill was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Farm Bureau opposes SB 616.

SB-809 Senator Lola Smallwood - Cuevas (D-Los Angeles) will hamstring employers’ efforts to protect their employees and customers by avoiding hiring violent felons.

AB-524 Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) adding “family caregiver status” to the list of protected classes covered by the Fair Employment and Housing Act. “Family member” is not limited to actual family members, but includes any person the employee considers to be like family, vastly broadening the circumstances under which an employee can invoke family leave rights under FEHA. This will expand the circumstances under which employers will experience FEHA - related litigation, which is already extensive. Farm Bureau opposes.

AB-594 Assemblymember Brian Maienschein (D- San Diego) allowing local prosecutors like district attorneys and city attorneys to enforce the Labor Code, leading to inconsistent enforcement. AB 594 does not protect employers from double recovery under the Labor Code and the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).  Farm Bureau opposes.

Air Quality

Farm Bureau has joined other agricultural stakeholders in opposing AB-985 by Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula (D– Fresno). This bill was heard in the Assembly Appropriations committee this week, and was placed on the suspense file. This bill would eliminate the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s emission reduction credit (ERC) allowance. This will severely inhibit the capacity for the District to achieve state and federal air quality standards and effectively prohibit the permitting of any critical business operation within the District’s jurisdiction. AB-985 would dismantle this ERC program and require all existing and future emission reduction credits in all banks to expire as of January 1, 2024. CARB has reviewed the District’s ERC program and determined that further changes are unnecessary. AB-985 is also a substantial overreach, eroding local control offered to jurisdictions, including the District, to take meaningful, locally approved steps to improve air quality. Due to administrative costs, the bill was placed on the Committee’s suspense file and cannot pass out of the committee at this time.


The annual Forest Practice Enforcement training class for Cal FIRE Forest Practice Inspectors and Law Enforcement Officers is occurring this week in the City of Fort Bragg with field days at Jackson Demonstration State Forest.  The annual Basic Forest Practice training class for Cal FIRE and Review Team agency staff is scheduled for June 5 - 9, 2023 in Anderson, CA with field days at Latour Demonstration State Forest. To learn more, visit the Board of Forestry here.


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.


SCA-4, authored by Senator Kelly Seyarto (R- Murrieta) failed to pass the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on a 3 - 4 vote, with one abstain. The bill was granted reconsideration. As previously reported, SCA-4 would have repealed portions of Proposition 19 that impact intergenerational property transfers.  The bill faced strong coalition of opposition from the California Association of Realtors, the California Professional Firefighters, the California Teachers Association, and AFSCME.

Rural Broadband

AB-286, authored by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D- Santa Rosa) passed from the Assembly Committee on Appropriations with all Democrats voting Aye, and all Republicans abstaining from the vote. This is the same voting pattern that occurred at Assembly Committee on Communications and Conveyance. The bill would require that the CPUC maintained statewide broadband services provider map identify, for each address in the state, each provider of broadband services that offers service at the address and the maximum speed of broadband services offered by each provider of broadband services at the address.  The bill moves onto the Assembly Floor. The only opposition to the bill comes from the broadband service providers’ association.


The opposition coalition (including Farm Bureau) for the problematic water rights enforcement and groundwater bills met with Assembly Appropriations Committee staff on Monday, May 8th to discuss our cost - related concerns about the bill. The committee staff told us that two of the water rights bills, AB-460 by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer - Kahan (D- Orinda) and AB-1337 by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D- Oakland), will be heard in committee on Wednesday, May 17th but both are candidates for the suspense file.


Livestock Disaster Program Flexibilities; Responds to Needs of Producers Hard-Hit by Natural Disasters

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has provided additional flexibilities and further enhanced disaster recovery assistance provided by the Emergency Assistance for Livestock Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP)Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) in response to needs expressed by livestock producers across the U.S. who have experienced significant feed, forage and animal losses from natural disasters. These livestock disaster program policy enhancements include an extended June 2, 2023, deadline to submit notices of loss and applications for payment for 2022 losses. The deadline extension and program flexibilities are available to eligible producers nationwide who incurred losses from a qualifying natural disaster event.  For More Information

Emergency Relief Assistance for Ag Producers Who Incurred Losses Due to 2022 Natural Disaster Events

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced plans to roll out $3.7 billion in Emergency Relief Program (ERP) and Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP) assistance to crop and livestock producers who sustained losses due to a qualifying natural disaster event in calendar year 2022. USDA is sharing early information to allow producers time to gather documents in advance of program delivery. Through distribution of remaining funds, USDA is also concluding the 2021 ELRP program by sending payments in the amount of 20% of the initial ELRP payment to all existing recipients.

For More Information

USDA Seeks Members for Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production

USDA is seeking nominations for four positions on the Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production.


Nominations will be open to public from May 15, 2023, to July 15, 2023.


The 12-member Committee, which was assembled in March 2022, is part of USDA’s efforts to increase support for urban agriculture and innovative production. Members of the committee provide input on policy development and to help identify barriers to urban agriculture as USDA works to promote urban farming and the economic opportunities it provides in cities across the country. Learn More

Interested applicants can apply through the links below: 

BIPOC Producer Advisory Committee Application:   English    Español

Small-Scale Producer Committee Application:        English          Español


Committees will meet on a quarterly basis, four times per calendar year. Meetings will be held in January, April, August and October. Appointments are for four-year terms, initial appointments will be staggered. Committee members receive no compensation but are entitled to reimbursement for actual expenses incurred while attending committee meetings. 

More information on the committees can be found:

CDFA - BIPOC Producer Advisory Committee

CDFA - Small-Scale Producer Advisory Committee

Questions concerning the BIPOC and Small-Scale Producer Advisory Committees, can be directed to:

Job Opening? For Sale? Place your free add here.

The California Farm Service Agency (FSA) is hiring four (4) full time County Executive Director Positions. Applications must be completed through USAJOBs no later than close of business March 28th, 2023.

Siskiyou County: USAJOBS - Job Announcement

Fresno/Tulare/Glenn County: USAJOBS - Job Announcement

El Dorado County

Placerville City

El Dorado Ag In The Classroom has opportunities on several committees: Program, Finance, Development, and Marketing. If you have interest in serving as a volunteer on one of these please send an email here.
Let us highlight your business in a future edition of Farm Bureau This Week. Business Spotlight Interview
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Wet winter leads to more disease in California orchards, UC Davis research shows [KCRA-3 Sacramento]

Following a wet and cool winter, fruit and nut growers throughout Northern California are seeing an increase in disease in their orchards. Researchers with UC Davis’ Plant Pathology Department say that there is a direct connection between the recent wetter-than-average season and more prevalent problems with fungi and viruses. “With each rain event, you’re always at risk for introducing pathogens into these crops,” Alejandro Hernandez Rosas, with the department, said. If those pathogens land on a susceptible crop, infection is possible. Hernandez Rosas said that he and his colleagues at the department have been receiving more calls than usual from farmers asking for help identifying problems with their orchards. Some are noticing a slimy substance on their almond trees. Hernandez Rosas said that is indicative of a fungus that hasn’t been observed for quite some time.


Growing pistachios is a tough business. Here’s one couple’s story. [Marketplace]

In the state’s Central Valley, some farmers are pulling out almond and walnut trees and replacing them with pistachios, which require less water. Between 2020 and 2022, farmers increased the state’s pistachio acreage by more than 20% to a total of 446,000 acres of trees. But pistachios — and growers — are grappling with a changing climate. Stephen and Klytia Burcham’s ranch house looks out onto the couple’s pistachio orchard in Firebaugh, California, west of Fresno. Klytia’s dad, Larry Gage, planted the trees around 25 years ago. Pistachio trees can live more than a century, which Klytia said was part of the thinking when her father started the orchard as an investment for his grandchildren. Last year was not a good one for the Burchams.. The Burchams ended up bringing in just half of their usual production and revenue, estimating they lost $400,000 on last year’s crop. They even took out a crop loan for the first time. They suspect last year’s fluctuating temperatures had something to do with it.


Opinion: California Floods Show the Limits of Man-Made Solutions [Bloomberg]

Adam Minter: Nobody should have been surprised when California’s Pajaro River burst through a levee this spring, flooding homes and dislocating thousands of people. Warnings that the levee system was inadequate date back decades. California’s recent drought, the worst in 1,200 years, dried out and weakened levees, heightening those concerns. But plans to act on them were still years from being executed when atmospheric rivers packed with rain surged water into the earthen works and cement channels designed to protect lives and property. It was a human-made disaster, intensified by climate change. Across the country, hard infrastructure — from levees to jetties — is proving inadequate to the challenges posed by increasingly extreme weather. Instead, what often works best to control the onslaught is what engineers and architects long sought to replace: natural features and processes such as flood plains and wetlands. Nature-based infrastructure, as the concept is known, remains a relative niche compared with concrete, steel and earthen works. It needs to be a priority.


Weed war: Raids on licensed farms and dog shooting spark outrage [Los Angeles Times]

Video of a police raid on a Northern California cannabis farm earlier this month has set off outrage, in part because the 36-second clip shows an officer fatally shooting a grower’s dog. That the target of the armed strike held a state cannabis license was equally upsetting for many growers in the region. Three other cannabis farms for which a Trinity County magistrate in late April approved sheriff’s raids also were licensed by the state. What the targeted farms allegedly lacked were Trinity County permits. “That is insane,” said Matthew Hawkins, upon learning from The Times that his state-licensed McAlexander Ranch had been on the raid list but for unexplained reasons was not served. “It seems like they’re going after people with state licenses,” he said. “It’s like a bomb going off over my head.”


Got goat milk? Artisan soap, lotion maker opens Waterford boutique using milk from own herd [Modesto Bee]

Hughson resident Bethany Riner never thought the couple of goats she bought as pets when she first moved out of her parents’ home would eventually turn into her livelihood. But those goats turned into more goats. And then she started milking her goats. And then there was all this milk. Riner, who grew up in Ceres and graduated from Ceres High, began by using her milk to make food: cheese, yogurt and ice cream. Then she decided to try her hand at soap making. Her first batch came out dry as a brick, and it crumbled when cut. But she kept at it, using the goat milk from her small herd. About five years ago, Riner began making soaps in earnest. She started an Etsy shop in 2018, selling just her goat milk bar soap, called Mazzeltov Farms. The moniker is based on her maiden name, Mazza, and the nickname her high school friends gave her, “Mazzeltov.”


Deere Lifts Profit Outlook as Supply Chain Improves [Wall Street Journal]

Deere raised its profit outlook for the full year as supply-chain challenges eased and a strong farm economy helped bolster demand for farm equipment even at higher prices. The Moline, Ill.-based company, the largest supplier of farm equipment in the U.S., saw improvements in the supply chain, though there are still constraints in some areas, Chief Executive John May said Friday. For the fiscal second quarter, which ended on April 30, Deere’s sales jumped 30% to $17.39 billion, topping the $14.89 billion expected by Wall Street analysts. Sales rose across each of the company’s three segments, powered by higher prices and volume. Deere and its peers have been benefiting as elevated crop prices lift farmers’ incomes and keep them interested in new machinery even as their own production costs stay elevated.

Even after a wet winter, California is preparing for the next drought [Stateline]

Mountains are capped with record snowpack, rolling hills are covered in a rainbow of wildflowers, reservoirs are filled to the brim, and rivers are rushing with snowmelt. A vast majority of California is finally out of drought this month, after a punishing multiyear period of severe aridity that forced statewide water cuts and fueled existential fear over the future of the water supply. Although a series of massive storms during the winter months brought desperately needed precipitation throughout the Golden State, water experts and state officials remain focused on preparing for the inevitable next drought. Based on lessons learned in recent years, they’re refilling the state’s over-drafted groundwater aquifers and encouraging water efficiency among residents learning to live with climate change. By recharging groundwater basins and keeping in place some conservation policies, state and local water officials can help alleviate the pain of future droughts — but those efforts require flexibility and more investment, said Andrew Ayres, a research fellow with the Public Policy Institute of California, a nonpartisan think tank. “There’s still a lot of work to do to make sure that we can provide reliability in the next drought,” he said. “Whenever that rolls around, things are always uncertain. It could be next year, and we might be right back into it.”


The Orchard Amid Concrete [Capital & Main]

Recognizing the need to address food insecurity and food apartheid in California’s urban centers, California lawmakers crafted Assembly Bill 551, which created Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones, essentially a tax break for owners of vacant land who agreed to convert their property into small farms in cities with more than 250,000 residents. 2023 marks the 10-year anniversary of AB 551’s passage. About one-fifth of California residents are food insecure — lacking reliable access to the amount of wholesome food necessary for a healthy life. The vision of AB 551 was that the communities that needed food the most should have the opportunity to grow it in their own neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the vision hasn’t materialized yet. Very few farmers and landowners are aware of the law, let alone applied for the tax break. AB 551 has not changed the landscape for urban farms. The state does not track applications for the incentive, nor those approved and their impact in local communities. Food insecurity has not lessened since 2013. Nonetheless, urban farming advocates believe there remains a path forward. “Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones as a policy is a failure,” said Janet Valenzuela, business counselor and program associate with the Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC). “It’s what happens when a policy concept doesn’t match local needs.”


Newsom touts $60-million plan for ‘fishway’ along Yuba River; critics say it falls short [Los Angeles Times]

Citing the need to boost survival rates for imperiled salmon and sturgeon along the heavily dammed Yuba River, state, local and federal officials have announced a $60-million plan to build a channel that will allow fish to swim easily around a dam that has impeded their passage for more than a century. Joined by Gov. Gavin Newsom, officials announced that the fishway would bypass the DaGuerre Point Dam, in Marysville, and allow spring-run chinook salmon, green sturgeon, steelhead, and lamprey to access 10 to 12 miles of spawning habitat upstream. The announcement comes as California struggles to adapt to worsening periods of drought punctuated by intense intervals of precipitation — a type of weather whiplash fueled by climate change — as well as amid a growing national movement calling for the demolition of dams, due to their impacts on the environment. Already, some environmentalists and fishing advocates have blasted the Yuba River plan, saying it was the result of closed-door haggling between government agencies and doesn’t do enough to protect threatened species. Some say that a better solution would be removal of the dam.


California’s two-decade battle over PAGA labor law still rages [CalMatters]

Dan Walters column: On Oct. 7, 2003, California voters decided to recall their governor, Gray Davis, less than a year after giving him a second term, and replace him with action movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger. Five days later, in one of his last acts as governor, Davis signed Senate Bill 796, the Private Attorneys General Act, or PAGA, a unique-to-California law empowering workers to file class-action lawsuits against their employers, alleging violations of state laws governing working conditions. It was also Davis’ way of thanking unions and trial attorneys for standing by him during his two campaigns for governor and the recall election. Business groups, of course, were and remain steadfastly opposed to PAGA, contending that it gives rapacious lawyers a hunting license to hector employers with suits or the threat of suits that are expensive to defend and even more costly to lose. Meanwhile, however, a coalition of California business and employer groups, calling itself Californians for Fair Play and Accountability, has submitted enough signatures to place a measure on the 2024 ballot that would repeal PAGA entirely and bolster state labor law enforcement.


US Makes Rare Wheat Imports From Europe After Drought Ravages Crops [Bloomberg]

The US is resorting to purchases of European wheat after a drought upended crop markets, pushing local prices higher. At least two cargoes of Polish grain have arrived in Florida this year, with more expected over the next few months, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the deals are private. The rare imports are a blow for the US, which has been losing its relevance in the global wheat market to top shipper Russia. Last year’s drought has hampered shipping through the Mississippi River, making it more expensive to haul crops by rail. The dismal weather also means American farmers are poised to abandon wheat crops at the highest rate in more than a century, making the deals profitable. “It’s an unusual trade route, but it makes sense because US wheat is expensive,” said Miroslaw Marciniak, a market analyst at InfoGrain in Warsaw. American hard red winter wheat — the variety used in all-purpose bread — has been trading at a wide premium to crops from other major global suppliers. Meanwhile, some eastern European nations are saddled with surpluses.


Saving the farm: Heartland clergy train to prevent agriculture workers' suicides [Associated Press]

With traces of winter’s unusually heavy snow still lingering but a warm sun finally shining, farmers were out dawn to dusk in early May on their tractors, planting corn and soybeans across southwestern Minnesota fields many have owned for generations. The threat of losing these beloved family farms has become a constant worry, affecting many farmers’ mental health and raising concerns of another uptick in suicides like during the 1980s farm crisis. Much of the stress stems from being dependent on factors largely outside their control – from the increasingly unpredictable weather to growing costs of equipment to global market swings that can wipe out profits. “You’d be surprised how many people are suffering with depression. Farmers have been a group of people who keep problems to themselves, proud and private,” said Bob Worth, a third-generation crop farmer who with his son works 2,100 acres of rich, black soil near the hamlet of Lake Benton. Increasingly aware of agricultural workers’ struggles with mental health, states such as Minnesota and South Dakota, a few miles west of Worth’s farm, are offering suicide prevention training to clergy – who are a crucial, trusted presence in rural America.

States near historic deal to protect Colorado River [Washington Post]

California, Arizona and Nevada — the three key states in the Colorado River’s current crisis — have coalesced around a plan to voluntarily conserve a major portion of their river water in exchange for more than $1 billion in federal funds, according to people familiar with the negotiations. The consensus emerging among these states and the Biden administration aims to conserve about 13 percent of their allocation of river water over the next three years and protect the nation’s largest reservoirs, which provide drinking water and hydropower for tens of millions of people. But thorny issues remain that could complicate a deal. The parties are trying to work through them before a key deadline at the end of the month, according to several current and former state and federal officials familiar with the situation. Participants are discussing cutting back about 3 million acre-feet of water over the next three years, the majority of it paid for with federal money approved in the Inflation Reduction Act. But the parties are still negotiating how much of those water savings will go uncompensated.


Chevron scrambles to batten down oil fields amid threat of Kern River flooding [Los Angeles Times]

Preparing for the threat of massive flooding during California’s “Big Melt,” federal engineers have been releasing more Kern River water from Lake Isabella than is flowing into the reservoir from the snowbound peaks of the southern Sierra Nevada. The action is needed, officials say, to prevent water from spilling over the reservoir dam and sending floodwaters rolling into low-lying areas that include the city of Bakersfield, farm towns, Highway 99, and portions of Kern County’s famed oil patch — an intrusion that would risk significant ecological harm. Now, with temperatures rising and river flows approaching an all-time record of 7,000 cubic feet per second, Chevron Corporation is taking steps to avoid an oil spill at its Kern River Oil Field in the event of catastrophic flooding. In areas where pumpjacks bob along the shoulders of the Kern River, Chevron has been shutting down wells, draining pipelines, turning off electrical power, erecting dikes and bolstering river banks with riprap. Crews on the ground and in spotter planes are fanning out each day to search for emerging hazards along the river’s edge.


California announces $60 million project to move threatened salmon to cooler waters [San Francisco Chronicle]

A run of endangered salmon will return to its native habitat in the Sierra Foothills for the first time in 100 years, following a $60 million state- and locally funded project, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday. The project will build a fishway around a dam in the North Yuba River (Yuba County) to help spring-run Chinook salmon reach the cold-water habitat they need to spawn. Paid for with $30 million from the state along with funding from the Yuba Water Agency and due to be completed in 2025, the fishway will also benefit sturgeon, steelhead and lamprey. Newsom announced the investment during what would usually be the first weeks of California’s commercial salmon season, which was canceled this year because of historically low numbers of salmon on the coast. Named for the time of year they migrate into the river from the ocean, spring-run Chinook salmon once outnumbered all other types of salmon in the Central Valley and are now listed as threatened. After dams cut them off from their native cool mountain habitat, they spawn in the Sacramento River, where water temperatures are often too high for eggs and babies to survive, especially during drought years.


Feds kick in $1 million for Stanislaus 2030 effort at bioindustry jobs. What will it do? [Modesto Bee]

Advocates for bioindustrial jobs in and near Stanislaus County have received a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The money will help refine the Stanislaus 2030 Investment Blueprint, which already has $18 million earmarked by county supervisors earlier this year. They seek to create up to 40,000 well-paying jobs by decade’s end in making materials and fuels from biological sources. This is the largest part of a $75.8 million plan that also urges general support for small business, job training and child care. The grant, announced May 11, will bolster Stanislaus 2030’s work with a federal lab in the East Bay that does small-batch testing for bioindustry startups. The county aims to build a much larger complex that would scale up production from sources such as orchard wood, corn stalks and dairy manure. The Northern San Joaquin Valley’s “renewable agricultural residues can serve as feedstocks for biomanufacturing technologies, and its complementary manufacturing capabilities can enable commercial-scale production,” lab Director Deepti Tanjore said.


Napa County's crop report shows rise in grape values [Napa Valley Register]

Napa County's total agricultural production value, centered almost entirely on wine grapes, rose 19.9% in 2022 to reach its third-highest mark ever. Total production value in the annual crop report the county released Tuesday was $894 million, compared to $746 million for 2021, Agricultural Commissioner Tracy Cleveland told the county Board of Supervisors. “Certainly a year of growth," board chair Belia Ramos said. That amount fell short of the all-time record for county farm production of $1 billion in 2018 and the runner-up of $943 million for 2019. But it continued the rebound from a drop to $465 million in 2020, when two wildfires struck the North Bay amid the grape harvest. Napa County in 2022 had 36,809 acres of red wine grapes and 9,319 acres of white wine grapes. Red grapes accounted for $800 million in value and white grapes $90.8 million.


Vaccine authorized for emergency use in California condors amid bird flu outbreak [Associated Press]

California condors will receive a vaccine for a deadly strain of avian influenza that threatens to wipe out the already critically endangered vulture species, federal officials said Tuesday. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service granted emergency approval for use of the vaccine after more than a dozen condors recently died from the bird flu, known as H5N1. There are fewer than 350 California condors in the wild, in flocks that span from the Pacific Northwest to Baja California, Mexico. A pilot safety study will begin this month in North American vultures, a similar species, allowing investigators to check for any adverse effects before they give vaccines to the endangered condors, according to an agriculture department statement.

Newsom seals unusual deal allowing farmworkers new way to unionize [Los Angeles Times]

California farmworkers can now unionize more easily after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation Monday in the final step of an unusual compromise struck last year between the Democratic leader and union advocates. Under intense political pressure, Newsom agreed to sign a high-profile bill last year expanding unionization rights for agricultural workers, but only on the condition that the United Farm Workers and the California Labor Federation supported follow-up legislation in 2023 rescinding some of its provisions. The rare agreement allows farmworkers to unionize by signing cards under a process known as “card-check” instead of being required to vote in-person at a polling place, but removed their ability to unionize through mail-in ballots as the original bill would have allowed. “Card-check” essentially gives workers an opportunity to organize without the employer knowing. Newsom referred to farmworkers as “our state’s backbone,” in a statement. “We’ve removed barriers for farmworkers in union elections, in order to advocate for themselves and fight for a better workplace,” he said.


Biden administration announces nearly $11 billion for renewable energy in rural communities [Associated Press]

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a nearly $11 billion investment on Tuesday to help bring affordable clean energy to rural communities throughout the country. Rural electric cooperatives, renewable energy companies and electric utilities will be able to apply for funding through two programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said during a media briefing on Monday. Vilsack said it was the largest single federal investment in rural electrification since President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Rural Electrification Act in 1936 as part of the New Deal. “This is an exciting opportunity for the Rural Utility Service to work collaboratively with our great partners, the Rural Electric cooperatives, in order to advance a clean energy future for rural America,” Vilsack said. The Empowering Rural America program will make $9.7 billion available for rural electric cooperatives to create renewable energy, zero-emission and carbon capture systems. The Powering Affordable Clean Energy program will make $1 billion available in partially-forgivable loans for renewable energy companies and electric utilities to help finance renewable energy projects such as large-scale solar, wind and geothermal projects.


Fossil fuel companies are to blame for significant share of California wildfires, scientists say [Sacramento Bee]

Worsening wildfires in the Western U.S. have been definitively linked to climate change for years, and now scientists are drawing a measurable connection between acres burned and carbon emissions released by the world’s largest fossil fuel companies. A new study released Tuesday by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a national science advocacy organization, linked emissions from the world’s major fossil fuel producers to 37% of acres burned by wildfire in the North American west between 1986 and 2021. Those emissions, researchers say, are also responsible for nearly half the atmospheric conditions drying out California forests. They hope these findings translate into corporate accountability for damages wrought by past and future disasters. “This is the first study that we know of in the world that attributes wildfire impacts from climate change to specific fossil fuel producers and cement manufacturers,” said Kristina Dahl, Union of Concerned Scientists researcher and the study’s leading author. To conduct the study titled “The Fossil Fuels behind Forest Fires,” scientists used a measure of air’s thirstiness for plant and soil moisture, called vapor pressure deficit, to connect fossil fuel emissions to increasing wildfire intensity.


California’s Green-Fuel Program Gets Too Popular for Its Own Good [Wall Street Journal]

A boom in the production of green trucking fuel is punishing renewable-energy producers across the country, thanks to the shifting market for California’s low-carbon fuel credits. U.S. production of so-called renewable diesel, which is made from feedstocks such as beef tallow and soybean oil, has tripled over the past three years. Truckers and fuel producers say the gains are driven by federal incentives and the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard program, which issues resellable credits to firms that sell low-carbon fuels such as ethanol in California. Those credits can make biofuels far more lucrative for producers than their petroleum-based relatives. And because producers earn California’s credits only for renewable diesel sold into the state, the vast majority of the country’s production ends up there. Now, in a twist few in the industry anticipated, the green-diesel boom has tanked the market for California’s credits, which are now trading for about $84 per metric ton, down from over $200 at the beginning of 2021. The renewable-diesel boom has lifted biofuels to nearly 50% of the diesel used in California, while helping the state reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by about 13% since the program was instituted in 2011. The credit-price collapse threatens the economics of some renewable-energy projects and highlights how unanticipated market dynamics can compromise government objectives.


Famed Cabernet winemaker just sold his second Napa winery — but this time it’s different [San Francisco Chronicle]

Mark Herold made headlines when he sold his Napa Valley garage winery Merus, coveted for its big and bold Cabernets, to billionaire Bill Foley and his rapidly expanding empire Foley Family Wines in 2007. But when it came time to sell his namesake winery, he took a different route — joining a small countermovement of vintners attempting to disrupt Napa Valley’s corporatization trend. This month, Herold sold the Cabernet Sauvignon-focused Mark Herold Wines to a client of 13 years, Brion Wise. Wise owns two eponymous wine brands, B. Wise Vineyards in Sonoma and Brion, a premium, single-vineyard Cabernet label in Napa; Herold, a sought-after winemaking consultant in the Bay Area, works with both. A prolific investor across several industries, Wise also has an ownership stake in 400 acres of premium Napa Valley vineyard land in top subregions like Oakville and Coombsville. The acquisitions of big-name wineries — like Joseph Phelps and Shafer — by conglomerates for hundreds of millions of dollars have become the controversial new normal in Napa Valley. Many in the local wine industry are concerned that the region will lose its roots as a multi-generational farming community, and that sustainable farming and wine quality will falter as a result of hands-off ownership by absentee parties. But recently, more winery and vineyard owners, like Herold, are selling to a familiar face or a small, family operation instead of a corporation.


California Revenue Could Drop by $11 Billion More Than Newsom’s Forecast [Bloomberg]

California’s tax revenue could drop by $11 billion more than Governor Gavin Newsom projected in the event of an economic downturn, exacerbating deficit woes, the state’s nonpartisan budget adviser said. The new forecast by the Legislative Analyst’s Office comes after Newsom on Friday forecast a $32 billion budget hole — $9.3 billion more than a January forecast — due to sharp drops in income for the state’s wealthiest residents who pay the bulk of income taxes. Newsom proposed a $224.1 billion general-fund budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. The LAO report, released over the weekend, said Newsom’s revenue outlook carries “considerable downside risk” and doesn’t fully account for the effect of a potential recession on California’s three main revenue sources: personal income, corporate and sales taxes.

Monterey County agriculture: survey finds $600 million in total damages, future losses from winter storms [Monterey Herald]

Between January and March, the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office is estimating that torrential weather generated $600 million in damages, losses and future impacts to the local agricultural industry. After repeatedly heavy rain again doused local farmland with floodwaters in March – some just starting to recover from storms two months prior – the Ag Commissioner’s Office conducted a survey to gauge the extent of second-round impacts. Survey results, released on Friday, show damages, current losses estimated and projected future losses totaling $264 million from flooding in March. According to the Ag Commissioner’s Office, approximately 8,736 acres of crops were destroyed or unable to be planted due to the flooding, half of which were newly impacted from storms at the outset of the year. Strawberries were especially affected, primarily in the Pajaro Valley, where a breached levee along the Pajaro River forced thousands to evacuate and drowned nearby ag fields in floodwater. Per the county’s survey results released this week, an estimated 1,919 acres of strawberry fields were damaged, totaling $160 million in losses. Other losses include: $54.4 million to lettuces; $24.2 million to vegetable crops, such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower; $11.4 million to raspberries and blackberries; and $1.35 million to wine grapes.


Scientists take flight to map California’s vast snowpack and measure flooding threats [Los Angeles Times]

Flying thousands of feet above the Sierra Nevada in a plane equipped with specialized imaging devices, Elizabeth Carey has been scanning the mountains with lasers to precisely map the snow. By mapping the snowpack with laser pulses and spectrometers, Carey and her colleagues are able to provide a detailed picture of one of the biggest snow accumulations ever recorded in the state. The flights are also collecting data to estimate when and how fast the snow will melt, helping California officials prepare for the runoff, manage water releases from dams, and assess which areas are most at risk of flooding. Their measurements, along with estimates by other researchers, show that when the snowpack reached its peak in April, it held approximately 40 million acre-feet of water, nearly as much as the total capacity of all the state’s reservoirs combined. Although some of that snow has started to thaw at lower elevations, much of it remains in the mountains — setting the stage for melting on a vast scale, as well as enormous river flows that could inundate some low-lying communities. To help prepare for the onslaught of snowmelt, state water managers and emergency officials are relying on the extensive aerial surveys provided by Carey’s employer, Airborne Snow Observatories Inc.


Opinion: The Supreme Court’s Pork Chops [Wall Street Journal]

Who says the Supreme Court marches in ideological lockstep? On Thursday a mixed majority upheld a California regulation that imposes enormous burdens on out-of-state pig farmers and carves up interstate commerce. The result will not be more constitutional clarity. There’s no practical way for slaughterhouses to separate pigs raised for consumers in California. Pork producers argued that the law thus violated the Court’s so-called dormant Commerce Clause doctrine, which bars states from imposing excessive burdens on interstate commerce. A heterodox 5-4 majority of Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, Amy Coney Barrett, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor ruled for California but split in their reasoning. Justice Gorsuch’s majority opinion holds that California’s law is kosher because it doesn’t intentionally discriminate economically against out-of-state businesses, unlike other state laws that the Court has struck down. Justice Gorsuch is right that the dormant Commerce Clause is a judge-made doctrine and state laws shouldn’t be struck down merely because they impose incidental costs on out-of-state business, as many do. But California’s rules impose a substantial burden on interstate commerce by any measure, which was a key concern of the Constitution’s Framers.


How Newsom solves California budget that went from a $97.5 billion surplus to $31.5 billion deficit [San Jose Mercury News]

Gov. Gavin Newsom, who just a year ago was extolling an unprecedented $97.5 billion budget surplus, on Friday laid out his plan for closing a newly projected $31.5 billion deficit, with trims to climate programs, no bailouts for beleaguered mass transit systems and no new taxes.California’s governor insisted that most of the shortfall — which has grown $9 billion since his first-draft plan in January and now amounts to about 10 percent of the $306.5 billion 2023-24 state budget — can be absorbed through accounting maneuvers that won’t require significant program or service cuts beyond those he previously proposed. The California Chamber of Commerce praised the governor for flatly refusing a state Senate proposal to cover the shortfall instead by raising taxes on large corporations. Despite the deficit, the budget included increases in some areas, including flood control. After damaging storms this winter ended California’s drought, filled reservoirs, and caused catastrophic flooding in southern Santa Cruz County and elsewhere, flood risk remains high in areas like the southern San Joaquin Valley and Tulare Basin between Fresno and Bakersfield as the massive Sierra Nevada snowpack melts. The California Farm Bureau thanked Newsom on Friday for “important investments in flood-protection measures and in agricultural business grants.”


Column: For Santiago Nieto, all roads in California lead to farmworkers [Los Angeles Times]

Alejandro Maciel: When I think of Santiago Nieto and his walks, I imagine him as the knight from Quixote de la Mancha, who in his crazy wanderings around the world mistakes windmills for menacing giants. But Nieto isn’t crazy, actually, he’s painfully sane and has decided to put his time and effort into helping California farmworkers. His way of calling attention to the impoverished conditions in which hundreds of thousands of California farmworkers live, the vast majority of them migrants from Mexico and Central America, is through his campaign “Por ti campesino, yo camino” (“For you farmworker, I walk”), which leads him through mountains, rivers and deserts. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, one-third of the vegetables and two-thirds of the fruits and nuts produced in the United States are grown in the Golden State. And to get an idea of the profits that this sector generated in 2021, it is enough to say that counting only the top 10 agricultural products, among them dairy, grapes, almonds, strawberries, pistachios, lettuce, tomatoes, nuts and rice, California farmers took in more than $32 billion. In total, the state’s farms and ranches generated $51.1 billion in 2021. But this economic prosperity does not reach the more than 420,000 workers who make this gigantic agricultural production possible. Farmworkers in California earn an average of $26,000 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Biden proposal would let conservationists lease public land much as drillers and ranchers do [Associated Press]

The Biden administration wants to put conserving vast government-owned lands on equal footing with oil drilling, livestock grazing and other interests, according to a top administration official who defended the idea against criticism that it would interfere with industry. The proposal would allow conservationists and others to lease federally owned land to restore it, much the same way oil companies buy leases to drill and ranchers pay to graze cattle. Companies could also buy conservation leases, such as oil drillers who want to offset damage to public land by restoring acreage elsewhere. Tracy Stone-Manning, director of the Bureau of Land Management, said in an interview with The Associated Press that the proposed changes would address rising pressure from climate change and development. While the bureau previously issued leases for conservation in limited cases, it has never had a dedicated program for it, she said. “It makes conservation an equal among the multiple uses that we manage for,” Stone-Manning said. The pending rule also would promote establishing more areas of “critical environmental concern” due to their historic or cultural significance, or their importance for wildlife conservation. More than 1,000 such sites covering about 33,000 square miles (85,000 square kilometers) have been designated previously.

By comparison, about 242,00 square miles of bureau land are open to grazing livestock.



2022/2023 Board of Directors

President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mike Ranalli

Secretary . . . . . . . . . . . . . Maryann Argyres

Treasurer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gordon Helm

Jim Davies

Chuck Bacchi

Bill Prosser

Carolyn Mansfield

Norm Krizl

Shamarie Tong


Managing Director . . Barb Kildow 530-622-7773 530-620-8292 (cell)

El Dorado County Farm Bureau News is a weekly publication for its members. Dues for membership are $185 for agricultural members, $150 for Business Ag Support, $72 for Associate members and $25 for Collegiate. Non-profit postage paid at Placerville, CA. Postmaster: Send changes to 2460 Headington Road, Placerville, CA 95667 El Dorado County Farm Bureau does not assume responsibility for statements by advertisers or for products advertised in El Dorado County newsletter, nor does Farm Bureau assume responsibility for statements or expressions of opinion other than in editorials or in articles showing authorship by an officer, director or employee of El Dorado County Farm Bureau or its affiliates.
A private nonprofit organization serving El Dorado County agriculture since 1917.

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