June 19, 2023


Annual Dinner

From top to bottom: California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johannson, CAFB 2nd VP Shaun Crook, El Dorado Water Agency General Manager Rebecca Guo


Grow For It! Reading garden pesticide labels

Summer in the foothills sees an influx of visitors. Whether your garden is full of yummy vegetables or blooms with flowers some of these visitors will certainly have your garden on their must-see list.

Controlling unwanted pests has been a garden problem for centuries. Nurseries, hardware and big box stores are ready to assist in the quest to eradicate these pests. Store shelves are filled with bottles, boxes and bags of promised solutions for pesky pests. These products include pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and rodenticides. (continued)

Lake levels as of June 7-8

Stumpy Meadows Reservoir percent full 100%

Folsom Reservoir percent full unavailable

Union Valley percent full 91%

Loon Lake percent full 83%

Ice House percent full 92%

Lake Aloha percent full 36%

Echo Lake percent full 37%

Caples Lake percent full 76%

Silver Lake percent full 67%

Sly Park percent Full 100%

American River Flow 2106 cfs (down from 2412)

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



6-month update on California Farm Bureau’s work in Sacramento.

We support three bills that are moving along.

  • One bill would allow drones to be used on farms and ranches for pesticide application. This bill has received all YES votes so far in the Assembly and is now in the Senate. This will mean lower costs on fuel, no employee having to walk tough rough terrain and more precise application. All will be wins for farmers and ranchers.
  • Another bill would expand the FAIR Plan to commercial insurance policies so that residential and commercial policies covering property on the same parcel can both move out of the FAIR Plan and back to the competitive insurance market together. This bill is progressing and has also received all YES votes. This will mean more insurance options in this limited market, saving money on costly insurance, and better coverage.
  • A third bill would update and modernize the Endangered Species Act and the accidental taking of a protected animal. This bill has also received all YES votes so far. This bill would save headaches and red tape from the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

In addition, California Farm Bureau is laser focused on defeating several bills, including three bills that would upend the water rights system, as well as a bill that would overregulate native plants.

The legislative session is set to end September 14, and work remains to be done — but California Farm Bureau is working hard for you!

Your donation to FarmPAC helps elect legislators who share the priorities of California Farm Bureau members and who are committed to supporting agriculture in California.

CAFB Labor Survey & Grazing Goats

AFB Farm Labor Survey:   For the last decade or more, California agricultural employers have struggled to recruit sufficient numbers of farm. Meanwhile, costs continue to be boosted by regulatory and legal mandates like tightening overtime requirements, the increasing minimum wage, and new employment costs like paid sick leave.


California Farm Bureau and researchers at the University of California, Davis and Michigan State University have created a survey for California farm employers to try to get their insights into important questions related to these problems:


  • Are you able to find enough employees to perform the work needed to operate your farm business?
  • Are increasing costs to employ people driving changes in your business practices?
  • Are you making adjustments (like increasing wages offered and other employment benefits, turning to automation or assistive technology, turning to the H-2A temporary agricultural worker visa program, or doing something else) to allow you to operate your farm at a profit?
  • Are you anticipating the need for an upskilled workforce to make use of technology and automation as the industry begins the shift to precision agriculture?
  • What employee shortage and cost mitigation strategies are you using to address this problem?

The results of this survey will be used for statistical purposes to inform community leaders, opinion leaders and policy makers about the challenges faced by California agriculture, how these challenges are impacting our industry, and solutions that can assure the long-term viability of California agriculture. 

Responses will be anonymous and confidential and will be analyzed along with the responses of all respondents; respondents’ identity will never be revealed. It’s important that respondents feel comfortable being as honest and forthright as possible.


Our ability to answer the questions above depends on participation by Farm Bureau members in this important survey. We anticipate it will require anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes to complete the survey, though some of the responses that may prompt the survey application to route the respondent to other questions to gather additional information and detail.


Please share this survey with your members. You can find the survey hereor at this URL: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/farmlaborsurvey2023. If you have questions about or problems with the survey, please contact Bryan Little at California Farm Bureau (blittle@cfbf.com) or at 916-561-5622 or Carrie Alexander at UC Davis (csalexander@ucdavis.edu).


Goats for wildfire fuels control: You might recall that in 2022, a problem arose that threatened to stop growing use of goats in conjunction with sheep and other prescribed grazing to provide wildfire fuels control, particularly in locations where use heavy equipment or herbicides might be undesirable, like suburban greenbelts, urban and suburban public lands, college campuses, and various other locations.

For twenty years, the Labor Commissioner’s office interpreted a 2002 provision of the Labor Code allowing employers grazers to satisfy their minimum wage and overtime obligations by paying a minimum monthly salary to sheepherders and goatherders. The idea behind this was simple: since herders are effectively “on call” twenty-four hours a day, every day at remote locations, but often only waiting watchfully for hazards to their flock, it was impossible to track their hours and application of overtime rules made no sense.

For unknown reasons, the Labor Commissioner shifted its interpretation in 2022 and decided that goatherders were no longer to be considered equivalent to sheepherders, but are merely ordinary agricultural workers, subject to the same minimum wage requirements as ordinary agricultural workers. Grazers would be obliged to pay their herders straight time for the first eight hours of a workday, overtime for the next four hours, and double-time for the final six hours of the day. The result of this shifting interpretation was that goatherders’ employers would be obliged to pay them more than $14,000 a month. This uncertainty would hamper grazers ability to plan for the future, grow their herds, or plan for employing herders. Because of this shift, there was a real chance that goats would simply become unavailable for wildfire fuels control in areas where their use would be most appropriate, even in the wake of historically bad wildfire seasons.

Senator Bill Dodd of Napa stepped into the fray last summer and succeeding in including language in a budget trailer bill, Assembly Bill 156, to change the Labor Code and clarify that both sheepherders and goatherders could be paid in accordance with the minimum monthly salary provisions described above. Unfortunately, worker advocates stepped in late in the process and demanded a one-year sunset; because of this, the AB 156 clarification on goatherder overtime ends on January 1, 2024 – unless the Legislature acts again.

I’m working with California Woolgrowers, goat grazers, California Climate & Agriculture Network, and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers to reach out to the Governor and legislative offices to make the clarification that goat and sheepherders can both be paid the minimum monthly salary permanent. The Secretary of Natural Resources and the Secretary of Labor are allies and need help to secure the Governor’s support. CAFB is on a letter with the organizations I mentioned above to Governor Newsom seeking his help. You can review the letter at this link. If you’d like to add your county Farm Bureau to the letter, please email me. I have no legislative action item (yet) and when we do, I’ll reach out again. And if you have members who are in the goat business and furnish goats for wildfire fuels control or might want to in the future, or if you know any local owners/managers of areas where goats are or could be used, please share this information with them.

Bill training for use of agricultural drones passes California Assembly

Legislation seeking to make it easier for farmers to use drones for targeted pesticide applications passed 72-0 in the California Assembly and moves to the Senate. Sponsored by the California Farm Bureau, Assembly Bill 1016 would expand the Department of Pesticide Regulation’s authority to create training programs for drone aerial applicator licensing. As a result of the bill’s progress, Orange Coast College recently announced the creation of an associate science degree in unmanned aerial systems, or drones, with an emphasis on aerial applications.

Storms improved outlook for California farming, agricultural summit is told

The outlook for California’s agricultural economy shows some signs of improvement after several years of supply-chain constraints, high input costs and a multiyear drought that forced farmers to fallow acres and remove orchards. Drenching storms that hit the state early this year turned the tide, contributing to a more positive outlook for agriculture this year, economic analyst David Magaña of Rabobank told attendees during a food and agriculture issues summit in Sacramento. The event featured discussions on topics including water, labor and farm policy.

California ranchers have ample pastures, but high costs for rebuilding herds

Short supplies of cattle nationwide have sent prices soaring at a time when California ranchers have less to sell after years of drought forced them to shrink their herds. With more rain and an explosion of feed on pastures this year, ranchers are eager to rebuild their numbers while the market is hot. But buying cattle at current prices may not be palatable for some. In its May forecast, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said it anticipates beef production in 2024 to decline 8%, resulting in the lowest per capita beef available domestically since records began in 1970.

Informational Hearings on Governor Newsom’s Infrastructure Package

This week several legislative committees held informational hearings focused on the Newsom Administration’s package of Budget Trailer Bills intended to smooth the pathway for infrastructure projects, and especially those related to water and High - Speed Rail. Among other things, the package would make it easier and quicker to compile Administrative Records for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); limit the litigation window challenging projects under CEQA to a maximum of 270 days; update the list of Fully Protected Species under the California Endangered Species Act, remove three species from the list, and eliminate conflicting definitions in the California Fish and Game Code; and improve review processes for habitat restoration, flood control, and infrastructure projects affecting the Delta.

Animal Health and Welfare

Many readers may recall last week’s update on Vesicular Stomatitis (VS). This week, CDFA released on update on further spread of the virus:

As of Wednesday, June 7, 2023 there have been a total of 62 VSV- affected premises (25 confirmed positive, 37 suspect) in four counties (Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties) in California. There has only been one (1) premises with clinically affected cattle (San Diego County) with sixty-one (61) premises with only equine species clinically affected in 4 counties (Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties). Additional information and maps of the affected area are contained in the attached situation report. The situation report is posted publicly on the APHIS website and accessible at the following link is HERE.

Please contact CDFA immediately if you have suspicion of a VS case. As a reminder, clinical signs of VS include excessive salivation, vesicles (blister - like lesions), erosions or ulcerations around the mouth, tongue, nostrils, teats, feet and coronary bands. As VS is highly contagious among susceptible species (primarily equids and cattle, but also camelids and small ruminants, and occasionally swine) as well as potentially zoonotic, we also want to ensure proper personal protective equipment and biosecurity measures are in place on your facilities. Please notify your CDFA district office immediately if you or your personnel identify animals with consistent lesions.

Vector mitigation (specifically black fly and sand fly control) is critical in containing a potential VS outbreak. Please ensure adequate fly protective measures are in place on your facilities; such as insecticide use on animals and around facilities, manure management and reduction of fly breeding areas. Any suspect lesioned animals should be immediately isolated upon detection. As VS can also be transmitted via contaminated surfaces; extra precautions should be in place on dairies to avoid transmission of VS to other animals or personnel during milking.


The Farm Bureau and a broad coalition of agricultural interests submitted comments by close of business on June 2, 2023 outlining our strong concerns related to the Department of Pesticide Regulations (DPR) proposal to raise the mill assessment from 21mil to 33mil in budget year 2024. This also in on the heels of our opposition to DPR’s Budget Change Proposal this year for new positions that should be tabled until next year because we will be talking about these same issues next year in our budget discussions. The letter clearly states our unified opposition to the 12mil increase which effectively raises the DPR’s budget over 50 million dollars and does not explain what that means for their proposal to fund Sustainable Pest Management, which Farm Bureau strongly opposes. We expect robust discussions on this issue in the coming weeks and months as we approach the budget for next year.

CESA and Wildlife

This week the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) released and implemented a new policy recognizing the ecological benefits of beavers while mitigating conflict over damage to land and property (depredation). CDFW’s new policy includes a process that enables beaver relocation as a restoration tool and a new non- lethal option. The policy also outlines a process to mitigate beaver depredation conflict, prioritizes the use of nonlethal deterrents whenever possible and ensures that lethal removal of depredation beavers is done in a humane manner. The new policy, signed by CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham on June 5, is available on CDFW’s Beaver web page. Here are a few key take- aways related to depredation permits:

• CDFW shall document all nonlethal measures taken by the landowner to prevent damage prior to requesting a depredation permit.

• CDFW shall require implementation of feasible nonlethal corrective actions by the landowner to prevent future beaver damage.

• CDFW shall determine whether a property is located within the range of listed species and add permit terms and conditions to protect native wildlife.

• CDFW shall continue to prioritize issuance of depredation permits if it determines that an imminent threat to public safety exists, such as flooding or catastrophic infrastructure damage.

CDFW staff will provide technical assistance to landowners to prevent future occurrence of beaver damage. In 2020, the CDFW Human-Wildlife Conflict Program created a comprehensive online Human-Wildlife Conflict Toolkit that includes accessible resources with logistically and economically feasible options to help property owners prevent damage due to beaver activity.

The Fish and Game Commission has a scheduled meeting taking place in Sacramento next week. Amongst the many agenda items the Commission will hear, the Sage Grouse petition and the candidacy of the species will be heard. The Commission received the petition at its February 8 - 9 meeting for evaluation. Because sage-grouse depend on high-quality habitats that historically were relatively extensive in nature, they are often used as an indicator of the health of a broader ecosystem of sagebrush dependent species. CAFB has historically worked with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), CDFW, and US Fish and Wildlife Services when concerns regarding the species have developed. Farm Bureau’s ranching members continue to work proactively within these habitats to reduce conflict between livestock and the Sage Grouse. Farm Bureau staff has submitted formal comments with the California Cattlemen’s Association and will be participating in the hearing and providing comments.





The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) today announced the award of $4.1 million in

grant funding to three research projects as part of


California Livestock Methane Measurement, Mitigation, and Thriving Environments Research Grant Program (CLIM³ATE- RP), funded by Budget Act of 2021 (SB - 170, Chapter 240).

The research projects’ goals are threefold:

1. Verify the greenhouse gas and environmental co- benefits of climate- smart practices on California dairies

2. Evaluate alternative methane mitigation strategies, including those that address enteric methane

3. Advance manure recycling and innovative products development.

“This funding will help ensure that California continues to see emissions benefits from ongoing projects and achieve additional reductions from new practices that address enteric methane and turn manure into useful products,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “We are excited about these proposals from our grantees and look forward to seeing their innovative work.”

To verify the greenhouse gas and environmental co- benefits of climate - smart practices on California dairies, CDFA awarded $1.6 Million dollars to Bubbleology Research International for the project titled, “Evaluating the New, Smart, Climate - Friendly California Dairy: Measuring the Climate and Environmental Air Emissions Footprints of Improved Manure Management Practices.” This project aims to improve CDFA’s ability to assess the benefits and co- benefits of the Department’s greenhouse gas reduction incentive programs through more comprehensive greenhouse gas and air quality data from the dairy industry. The project will assemble this new data using a unique mobile air quality lab, airborne remote sensing, and data mining.

To evaluate enteric methane mitigation strategies, CDFA awarded $500,000 dollars to Mooteric LLC for a project titled, “Feeding Seaweed to Accelerate Enteric Methane Emissions Reductions in Central Valley Dairies.” This project aims to conduct on - farm feeding trials to verify the methane - mitigating benefits of seaweed - based feed additives within the regular feed rations of Central Valley dairy cows.

To advance manure recycling and innovative products development, CDFA awarded $2 Million dollars to FYTO for a project titled, “Aquatic Crop Production as a Nutrient - to -Feed Solution for California Dairies”. This project will demonstrate the installation of a commercial -scale, automated aquatic crop farm in Modesto, CA. When complete, the demonstration project will efficiently recycle manure effluents into valuable agricultural inputs. FYTO, academic, and dairy industry partners will jointly validate the environmental impact, economic feasibility, and product efficacy of aquatic crops grown on different effluent types as a high- protein dairy feed ingredient. A list of awarded projects and additional information about this program can be found HERE



The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Office of Pesticide Consultation and Analysis (OPCA) is now accepting grant applications for its Biologically Integrated Farming Systems Grant Program (BIFS). The goal of the BIFS grant program is to fund the on-farm demonstration and evaluation of innovative, biologically based farming systems that employ sustainable pest management (SPM) strategies. This program aligns with the State’s new pest management strategic planning document, "Accelerating Sustainable Pest Management: A Roadmap for California, ” which seeks to guide a transition toward the adoption of safer, sustainable pest control practices.

“The BIFS program is distinct in that it facilitates the creation of grower-to-grower learning networks in which grower skills and experiences can be shared,” said Dr. Hanna Kahl, a past BIFS grant recipient, and the Ecological Pest Management Specialist with the Community Alliance with Family Farmers. “We have heard from walnut growers we work with in San Joaquin, Sutter, Yuba, and Butte counties that this approach makes it easier for them to visualize and practically apply alternative pest management strategies like mating disruption to their farms.”

OPCA received a one - time appropriation for this program as part of the AB-179 Budget Act of 2022, and $1 million of this appropriation will be available during this funding cycle. Applications for the BIFS program are due by 5 PM PST, July 31, 2023. Public or private colleges and universities, local, State, and federal government entities including tribal governments, non - profit organizations, and commodity groups are eligible to apply. The project lead(s) and their institutions must be based in California. Detailed information on the BIFS program, including the application process and requirements, is available HERE.

A public information workshop is scheduled to provide details on the BIFS grant program. This workshop will be held as a webinar on the date provided below:

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

11 AM to 12 PM (Pacific Time)

Topic: CDFA OPCA BIFS Public Information Workshop

Register in advance for this webinar at the following link:



The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is pleased to announce that the application is now available online for an external technical review committee for the BIPOC Producer Advisory Committee and the Small-Scale Producer Advisory committees. Interested members of the public may apply online now through June 23, 2023.

The review committee will consist of four members of the public with expertise and/or lived experience related to socially disadvantaged producers and small- scale producers in California. Reviewers are required to recuse themselves from the review of any applicant with whom the reviewer has a substantial interest.

The external review committee will meet to identify and select the top candidates for each committee after the application period ends June 30. These are volunteer positions; committee members receive no compensation.

Members will review and score applications between July 1 and July 12 and will have one meeting as a group to select recommended candidates. The estimated time commitment is between 5 and 10 hours of time, between July 1 and July 12. Committee members will review applicants based on review criteria and will meet virtually to compile a final list of recommendations for the CDFA Secretary by July 17.

The link to apply as an external technical reviewer can be found HERE


Agricultural Employment Policy

Several Farm Bureau - opposed measures were moved prior to the 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. SB-365 passed the Senate on a 30 - 9 vote, with one absence or abstention. Farm Bureau opposes SB - 365 since arbitration is a useful tool to manage employment litigation liability in California’s litigious environment.

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. SB-497 passed the Senate on a 29 - 10 vote with one absence or abstention. Farm Bureau opposes.

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. AB-524 passed the Assembly on a 47- 15 vote with 18 absences or abstentions. 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. Potential violations of Cal/OSHA standards and Workers Comp requirements are exempted. AB-594 does not protect employers from double recovery under the Labor Code and the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). AB-594 passed the Assembly on a vote of 52 - 17 with eleven absences or abstentions. Farm Bureau opposes.


Corrections to Emergency Relief Program Policy to More Accurately Reflect 2020 and 2021 Natural Disaster Impacts on Crops Intended for On-Farm Use

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is updating the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Phase Two to provide a method for valuing losses and accessing program benefits to eligible producers of certain crops, including grapes grown and used by the same producer for wine production or forage that is grown, stored and fed to livestock, that do not generate revenue directly from the sale of the crop. These updates ensure that ERP benefits are more reflective of these producers’ actual crop losses resulting from 2020 and 2021 natural disaster events. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin accepting ERP Phase Two applications from eligible wine grape and forage producers once this technical correction to ERP is published in the Federal Register and becomes effective, which it anticipates will be on Friday, June 16, 2023. The deadline to submit applications for ERP Phase Two is July 14. 


For More Information

Biden-Harris Administration Partners with Agricultural Producers to Strengthen Markets and Create Jobs for Producers in 19 States

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA is making investments that will create new and better markets for agricultural producers and food businesses in 19 states across rural America.

“The Biden-Harris Administration and USDA are standing up for America’s farmers and ranchers by expanding processing capacity, creating fairer markets, more revenue streams and market opportunities which help bring down food costs for families at the grocery store,” Secretary Vilsack said. “We are partnering with entrepreneurs in rural areas to build brighter futures, connect business owners to new markets and create good jobs for generations to come. These investments reflect the goals of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to rebuild our economy from the bottom up and middle out and make our communities more resilient.” 

USDA is making investments worth $320 million to strengthen food supply chains and create more opportunities for producers and entrepreneurs in 19 states: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Idaho, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

To learn more, read the full news release.

Officials hail farm grant program to safeguard food protection

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is partnering with states to offer a grant program to build resilience across the food-supply system, responding to lessons learned from supply-chain disruptions and food shortages that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. The USDA Resilient Food System Infrastructure Program is meant to create new revenue streams for producers and to strengthen local and regional food systems. The program was discussed during a recent California State Board of Food and Agriculture session on safeguards to protect America’s food supply.

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California water tunnel hangs over budget talks as legislators challenge Gov. Newsom’s plan [Associated Press]

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is pushing the state Legislature to tackle what has long been one of the biggest gripes about government: Taking far too long to build things like roads and bridges. But Newsom’s plan to cut through red tape has slowed in the state Legislature, where some lawmakers fear his true motive is to favor a single project — the long-delayed and long-disputed plan to build a giant tunnel to re-route how the state moves water from north to south. The tunnel reflects the tension between arid Southern California, where most of the people live, and Northern California, the source of most of the state’s water. Supporters say the project, commonly known as the Delta tunnel, is a much-needed update of that water delivery system, which they say is not equipped to handle periods of prolonged drought followed by intense storms, like what happened earlier this year when the state was hit by roughly a dozen atmospheric rivers. But the Delta tunnel has strong opposition among the five counties that comprise the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta region. They fear construction of the 45-mile (72 kilometer) underground tunnel directly connecting the Sacramento River to the California Aqueduct will destroy valuable farmland and deny threatened species of fish like the Delta smelt and winter-run Chinook salmon the river water they need to survive.



A California Democrat proposes raising the minimum age for child farmworkers. Can it pass? [Sacramento Bee]

A son of California farmworkers introduced legislation this week to ensure that children working in agriculture have the same the same rights and protections as those working in mining and manufacturing. The Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety Act of 2023, introduced by Rep. Raul Ruiz, would raise from 12 to 14 the minimum age at which children can be farmworkers. In the agricultural sector, children as young as 12 can work in the fields during non-school hours with few restrictions, according to federal and California labor laws. In other industries, the minimum age is 14. In the Central Valley, California’s farming hub that provides a third of the nation’s produce, it’s relatively common for the children of farmers and farmworkers to work in the fields. Most California farmworkers are Latino, many of them immigrants. Some farmers, lobbyists and Republicans fear amending agriculture labor laws would hurt family farming. Ruiz, an emergency physician raised by Coachella Valley farmworkers, said in introducing the bill Monday that farm labor has “one of the highest occupational injury rates in our nation.”



Robert Mondavi Changed Wine. His Grandson Aims to Change Farming. [New York Times]

Robert Mondavi paved the way for Napa Valley to take a place among the leading wine regions of the world and raised the bar for all American producers. Now, Carlo Mondavi, a grandson of Robert, is taking on a similar role, pushing the California wine industry in a new direction born not of 20th-century aspirations but of the existential threat of the 21st-century: climate change. Mr. Mondavi, 43, envisions something of an agricultural revolution that would rein in farming’s carbon footprint, estimated at roughly a quarter of the greenhouse emissions each year. It requires a combination of regenerative agriculture, increased biodiversity and what he calls renewable farming, which is no longer dependent on the fossil fuel industry, but instead relies on renewable sources of energy. Mondavi has taken a concrete step toward helping more farmers achieve these goals by spearheading the development of the Monarch tractor. This smart electric vehicle can work autonomously while serving as a sort of farm research hub that will provide growers with data about crop health that they need to better understand their operations and make them more efficient.



Tribes seek greater involvement in talks on Colorado River water crisis [Los Angeles Times]

As the federal government starts negotiations on long-term plans for the overtapped Colorado River, leaders of tribes are pushing for more involvement in the talks, saying they want to be at the table in high-level discussions among the seven states that rely on the river. The 30 tribes in the Colorado River Basin have rights to use roughly one-fourth of the river’s average supply. But over the past century, leaders of tribal nations were largely excluded from regional talks about river management, and only in recent years have they begun to play a larger role. Leaders of several tribes say they continue to be left out of key talks between state and federal officials, and they are demanding inclusion as the Biden administration begins the process of developing new rules for dealing with shortages after 2026, when the current rules are set to expire. “They’ve met, they’ve discussed, they’ve made decisions that we only find out afterwards,” said Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis, leader of the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona. The Interior Department on Thursday initiated the process of developing new long-term rules for operating reservoirs and apportioning water cuts during shortages. The federal government’s action sets the stage for difficult negotiations over how cities, farming regions and tribes across seven states can address chronic overuse and adapt as global warming continues to diminish the river’s flows.



What Is Hepatitis A and Can You Catch It From Eating Strawberries? All You Need to Know [Bloomberg]

A widening recall of frozen strawberries linked to a hepatitis A outbreak in the US has shone a light on the risk of contaminated food spreading potentially deadly diseases. The US Food and Drug Administration this week asked more firms to recall products, with items pulled from the shelves of grocery stores, including from Walmart Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp. Here’s everything you need to know about the hepatitis A outbreak and which products to avoid. Hepatitis A is usually a short-term viral infection leading to inflammation of the liver, which does not normally lead to chronic illness or long-lasting organ damage, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hepatitis A is not to be confused with the similarly named hepatitis B and C viruses, which can remain in the body long-term and are far more dangerous. In the most recent outbreak, the FDA has linked the virus to frozen organic strawberries imported from Baja California, Mexico. Fresh strawberries from the northern state led to a separate hepatitis A outbreak in the US last year, which infected at least 18 people.



Opinion: Composting organic waste helps combat climate change [San Jose Mercury News]

Al Courchesne, founder of Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood: Organic waste makes up nearly a third of what we put in our landfills, and our habit of burying garbage is a huge contributor to global warming. As food waste decomposes underground, it gives off methane gas, which is 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a short-term cause of climate change. That’s why the Legislature passed Senate Bill 1383 in 2016, setting a goal for California to recycle 75% of our organic waste by 2025. Composting will play a big role in getting us there. Compost is more than just a convenient byproduct of recycling organic waste. It’s a key component of farming in a way that is healthy for our planet and for ourselves. It’s crucial to what farmers call “regenerative agriculture,” a method that rebuilds the soil’s organic matter and restores its degraded biodiversity. At our farm we love compost so much that we have set aside six acres to produce thousands of tons of it every year. We compost our tree prunings, unsold fruit, and materials from other nearby farms and companies.


Food Producers Band Together in Face of Cyber Threats [Wall Street Journal]

Food and agriculture companies in the U.S. face mounting cybersecurity threats, executives in the sector say, spurring them to formalize how they share information with each other. Last month, the Information Technology-Information Sharing and Analysis Center, which tracks threats across multiple industries, announced that the food and agriculture sector would finally be getting its own, dedicated platform. Similar groups already exist to enable companies in the financial services, retail, automobile and other sectors to exchange details about threats their peers should watch out for. Food production, from planting and harvesting crops, and rearing livestock, through to packaging and logistics, has become a technologically sophisticated process in recent years. Farmers now make use of distributed networks, remote sensors and edge computing to increase automation and efficiency on their farms, to monitor the health of crops and tell when their equipment needs maintenance. These internet-enabled devices are often poorly secured and provide opportunities for hackers to gain entry to networks that might otherwise be tough to crack.



West Coast dockworkers, employers reach tentative contract agreement [Los Angeles Times]

West Coast dockworkers have reached a tentative deal with employers, the two sides announced Wednesday, potentially ending months of port labor strife that could have threatened the nation’s economic outlook. In a joint statement, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Assn., which represents shipping lines and terminal operators, said the new six-year deal covers workers at all 29 West Coast ports but did not release further details. The agreement is pending ratification by the union and employers. The previous contract covering 22,000 workers expired on June 30. Union members have been working without a contract since then. Negotiations snagged over wages and benefits after reaching an agreement over automation. As the high-stakes talks continued, ports at Los Angeles, Long Beach and other West Coast harbors experienced delays and intermittent disruptions because of worker shortages that the employers said were intentional labor actions by the union.


The massive dam removal on the Klamath may save salmon but can’t solve the West’s water crisis [Seattle Times]

Sheldon SmilingCoyote locked his eyes on the push and pull of the waves in front of him, suddenly slashing the tip of his handheld hook through the water, pulling out a slimy prehistoric fish. These nutrient-rich fish, a wintertime staple for the Yurok people, lost 400 miles of their historical spawning habitat to four dams that transformed the churning upper reaches of the Klamath River into slack water, threatening the lamprey and other native species. But that’s set to change. The Seattle Times traveled from the Klamath’s mouth, among the towering redwood forests of Northern California, through the ancestral lands of the Yurok, Karuk and Hupa, to the concrete dams set to come down and to the farmland and ranches the basin supports. The stories told along the way not only paint a picture of a decades long fight to restore a river’s flow and a way of life but also the distinct challenges of finding enough water to go around amid a changing climate. The dam’s removal won’t resolve a growing water crisis. Yet what happens on the Klamath has implications for dammed rivers across the American West.



Agribusiness giant Cargill not doing enough to fight deforestation, protect human rights, group says [Associated Press]

An activist group and researchers tried to increase pressure on agribusiness giant Cargill on Wednesday to do more to fight deforestation and human rights abuse, releasing a report that accuses the company of not following through on commitments to help end such practices. The report argues that the family-owned company has been misled by its managers and now should take the lead in ensuring it carries out its promises to fight forced child labor in the cocoa industry and protect forests and other natural resources. As one of the world’s largest privately held companies and by far the largest grain distributor, Cargill is in a unique position to force positive changes, especially in ending deforestation, the groups said in the report. “The destruction of the natural world is driven by agribusiness and agribusiness is driven by Cargill,” said Todd Paglia, executive director of the environmental group Stand.Earth, at a news conference in Wayzata, Minnesota, a Minneapolis suburb where Cargill is based. Cargill released a statement saying the group “grossly mischaracterized” the company’s efforts. “At Cargill, we have an unwavering commitment to protect the human rights of those who work in our operations, supply chains and communities, and work tirelessly to eliminate deforestation and conversion in South America,” the statement said.



Lodi Wine Trolley set for inaugural run on June 24 [Lodi News-Sentinel]

For the last decade, wine enthusiasts in the Livermore Valley area have been able to enjoy safe and fun tours of the appellation courtesy of the Livermore Wine Trolley. The company’s green and red buses have become a staple of weekend wine excursions in the East Bay city, and now, founder and CEO Brian Luke has announced an expansion into San Joaquin County. The Lodi Wine Trolley will celebrate its inaugural runs June 24 and 25 with an all-inclusive “Taste of Lodi Wine Tour” trip to three wineries. Luke said the main reason he is bringing the wine trolley to Lodi is because people have been asking for it for years. “Many of our customers visit the Livermore Wine Trolley from this part of the Central Valley and now we are excited to bring the Lodi Wine Trolley to them,” he said. “We know Lodi is a world-class wine destination and we can’t wait to be part of its tourism and hospitality success for years to come.” Following the opening weekend, the trolley will operate every Saturday and Sunday throughout the year, regardless of weather.



Zero-zero natural wine arrives in Napa, surprising everyone [San Francisco Chronicle]

Napa Valley is not known for natural wines, and especially not for zero-zero wines — the most radical form of the category, in which nothing is removed or added during the winemaking process. There are many reasons why the region has resisted these practices, including the fact that doing business in Napa is too expensive to risk off-kilter experiments, and the fact that Napa’s Cab-loving clientele isn’t exactly clamoring for skin-fermented Malvasia. But now, one provocative Napa producer has produced what it believes are the valley’s first zero-zero cuvees. The project began as a kind of intellectual exercise. “We’re doing it in the spirit of progress,” said Kashy Khaledi, owner of Ashes & Diamonds Winery in Napa’s Oak Knoll area. Khaledi has just released two zero-zero bottlings to his wine club, made by winemaker Steve Matthiasson: a Chardonnay and a wine called Rosa, a translucent red blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah.



US beefs up campaign to ensure accurate animal welfare claims on meat, poultry packaging [Associated Press]

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday it hopes to weed out false or misleading animal-welfare claims on meat and poultry packaging with new guidance and testing. The claims, such as “pasture-raised,” “humanely raised,” and “raised without antibiotics,” are increasingly popular with consumers and allow producers to charge a premium. Perdue “free range” chicken breasts with no antibiotics sell for $5.78 per pound at Walmart, for example; store brand chicken breasts without those claims sell for $2.79 per pound. Both meat producers and animal welfare advocates say the USDA isn’t adequately substantiating the claims or ensuring they meet consumer expectations. The USDA lets producers define some terms, including “humane,” which can lead to widely varying conditions for animals. Other claims like “free range” are clearly defined by the USDA, but some producers are skirting requirements. US beefs up campaign to ensure accurate animal welfare claims on meat, poultry packaging. The USDA must approve all animal welfare claims on meat and poultry labels before products can be sold. But unlike “organic” claims, which are verified in person by government regulators, animal welfare claims are substantiated with paperwork submitted to the USDA.



Bay Area activist group back at Petaluma Poultry facility, removes 18 chickens it says reflect cruel conditions [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]

Three teams of activists came by dark to the Petaluma Poultry processing plant. They dressed in garb similar to that of employees to go undetected. They intercepted an incoming flatbed truck and made off with live chickens being transported to the Lakeville Highway slaughterhouse, Sonoma County’s largest such facility. This wasn’t the first time they had struck — four are currently facing criminal charges for alleged burglaries of Sonoma County poultry farms. Seven were from another truck that was intercepted at a nearby intersection en route to the 50-plus-year-old company, owned by meat giant Perdue Farms Inc. The truck’s driver became enraged and reportedly sped off, running a red light to get free of the activists. Mike Levengood, chief animal care officer for Perdue Farms, said in a statement to The Press Democrat that trespassers had put “associates, animals and themselves (protesters) in harm’s way.” “As an industry leader in animal care, Perdue maintains an open dialogue with credible animal welfare organizations, and we continue to learn from each other in a constructive way for the continuous improvement of animal care,” Levengood said in his statement.



Lake Oroville is 100% full as California reservoirs are revived by historic rain and snowmelt [Los Angeles Times]

California’s second-largest reservoir is now completely full after a historic rainy season recharged reservoirs across the state following years of drought. Lake Oroville, fed by the Feather River about 80 miles north of Sacramento, is at 100% of its capacity, according to the California Department of Water Resources. Since Dec. 1, the lake’s water level has increased more than 240 feet thanks to more than 2.5 million additional acre-feet of water brought on by a series of powerful winter storms and the melting of a historically deep snowpack. That puts the reservoir at 127% of its historical average for the date, state data show. Scattered showers arrived Tuesday afternoon in the Sierra Nevada and areas east of Oroville, according to the National Weather Service, but dam operators at the reservoir do not expect a deluge of water or a risk of flooding downstream. The Department of Water Resources has increased the outflow of water from the main spillway at Oroville Dam and an outlet farther south to ensure the full reservoir can hold snowmelt without overflowing. Officials noted that scattered waves could crest over the dam’s emergency spillway, which was repaired after nearly collapsing in a 2017 storm.



Commentary: Newsom can honor idol Bobby Kennedy’s legacy by helping California’s farmworkers [CalMatters]

Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga, Ayudando Latinos A Soñar, Half Moon Bay: Already, Newsom’s latest announcement that California will provide $95 million to undocumented flood victims is a bold and necessary move to alleviate the pain that many farmworkers faced due to lost wages and displacement. It is also welcome news that California will invest $16 million in farmworker homeownership in places like Half Moon Bay, a moral action that Newsom is taking after visiting our community in the wake of a mass shooting in January. Roughly three-quarters of farmworkers are undocumented, and most are excluded from many of California’s social safety net programs, including its food assistance program. It is part of why 1 in 3 farmworkers also live in poverty. Our farmworkers are already dealing with enormous stressors in their day-to-day lives, including the impacts of climate change, poverty wages, poor housing conditions and language and cultural barriers that altogether challenge their mental health. Removing exclusions to the state’s food assistance program would be a major step in the right direction. Expanding unemployment insurance to them would be another.



Point Reyes tule elk fence may come down, feds say [Marin Independent Journal]

Signaling a potential shift in the management of wild tule elk in the Point Reyes National Seashore, the National Park Service is considering removing a fence that has separated its largest elk herd from private cattle ranches that lease parkland for more than four decades. The park service is proposing to remove the 3-mile-long, 8-foot-tall fence at its 2,600-acre Tomales Point tule elk preserve located at the tip of the Tomales Bay peninsula. The change would allow the herd of nearly 300 elk to roam in other areas of the park. Tule elk were reintroduced to the seashore in 1978 through the creation of the Tomales Point preserve. The preserve was lauded as an environmental success story because tule elk were once thought to have gone extinct decades earlier. In response to concerns from neighboring ranchers about elk disrupting their operations, the park erected a fence to sequester the herd. In recent years, the preserve’s fence has become a point of controversy in the larger debate over whether the park service should continue to rent parkland to private cattle and dairy ranches as it has done since the national seashore was founded in 1962.



To fight berry-busting fruit flies, researchers focus on sterilizing the bugs [Associated Press]

Paul Nelson is used to doing battle with an invasive fruit fly called the spotted wing drosophila, a pest that one year ruined more than half the berries on the Minnesota farm he and his team run. In recent years, they’ve cut their losses closer to 5%, but it’s been labor-intensive and expensive. “It’s a pest that if you’re not willing to stick the time into it, it’s going to take over your farm,” said Nelson, the head grower at Untiedt’s, a vegetable and fruit operation about an hour west of Minneapolis. Nelson and other growers may someday get a new tool as a result of research at North Carolina State University into the insects, which ruin the berries by laying their eggs in them and have been estimated to cost growers hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The researchers, using a concept called “gene drive,” manipulated the insects’ DNA so that the female offspring would be sterile, and the method they used to achieve it significantly reduced the chance that a population could rebound.



California Wildfires Are Five Times Bigger Than They Used to Be [Bloomberg]

The extent of area burned in California’s summer wildfires increased about fivefold from 1971 to 2021, and climate change was a major reason why, according to a new analysis. Scientists estimate the area burned in an average summer may jump as much as 50% by 2050. The peer-reviewed research, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that wildfires in California’s northern and central forests scorch the most area when temperatures are high and less area when it’s cooler. Marco Turco, a climate researcher at the University of Murcia in Spain, and colleagues designed the study to try to identify how much of the increase in the burned area of California fires was due to climate change, and how much to natural variability. They conducted a statistical analysis of temperature and forest-fire data for California summers in the period 1971 to 2021. The result: Burned area grew 172% more than it would have without climate change. Manmade effects began to overwhelm what would be expected without greenhouse gas pollution after 2001, the researchers concluded.



Californians were asked to cut water use 15% during the drought. How close did they get? [Los Angeles Times]

The results are in: As California endured its three driest years on record, urban water users made a significant effort to conserve water, but fell far short of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s request to reduce their use by 15%. Between July 2021, when Newsom first called on water users to voluntarily cut back, and March of this year, when he rescinded that request amid a very wet winter, statewide savings were 7%, or about half of what was requested. That amounts to about 9 fewer gallons per person per day, a Los Angeles Times analysis has found. The findings varied considerably by region and by water district, with the North Coast and San Francisco Bay areas saving the most water — 14% and 12%, respectively — against the baseline year of 2020. The inland Tulare Lake and Colorado River regions saved the least, 4% and 2%, respectively. (The analysis did not include agricultural water use.)



Commentary: California leaders made promises after Planada flooded. They need to keep them [CalMatters]

Anastacio Rosales: I’ve worked many different jobs, particularly in agriculture – as do many of the hard-working folks who make up my Planada community. That is why it was heartbreaking for us when the homes we labored so much for were damaged or completely destroyed in the January floods. The extent of support needed by many community members is much higher than others, which is exactly why we need more assistance than what’s been provided so far. California legislators and Gov. Gavin Newsom have already pledged statewide disaster assistance, but it barely scratches the surface. The UC Merced Community and Labor Center determined we need $20.3 million from the state budget to recover. Planada needs our state leaders to listen to us and advocate for this vital funding.



Will this stab at solving immigration be any different from many before? | Opinion [Fresno Bee]

Garth Stapley: The announcement of yet another immigration bill in Congress a couple of weeks ago put the tiniest of blips on my radar. Though immigration policy is hugely important to our Central Valley in California, trying to fix it has proven as easy as solving homelessness. My curiosity was piqued a few days ago, however, when one of our congressmen, Modesto’s John Duarte, signed onto the Dignity Act, touted as the most serious stab at immigration reform in 20 years. The Dignity Act, or H.R. 3599, has a lot of moving parts. Its most salient points are spending real money to tighten border security, which Republicans like, while providing legal status and a path to citizenship for immigrants, which appeals to Democrats. “It’s comprehensive, fair and humane,” said Duarte. And it should play well with voters in his 13th District, which includes Stanislaus County west of Highway 99, plus Ceres, and runs through four other counties including Merced and Fresno. It’s a Latino-heavy district with lots of farmers, many who use migrant labor.



California’s water supply is controlled by this covert room. Can it adjust to climate extremes? [Sacramento Bee]

From an unmarked Sacramento office building next to a Costco, a handful of dispatchers in front of computer screens move enough water to quench the thirst of 27 million Californians without leaving their chairs. A few clicks open the gates for nearly two dozen dams and ship entire cities worth of water through 700 miles of canals. With a mark on a spreadsheet, they heave it up 1,926 feet and consume more energy than anything else in the state. Just months ago, three of the driest years on record sapped the world’s largest water utility into a state of anemia. Now a historic snowpack is gushing off the Sierra and the Operations Control Center of the California State Water Project is moving a deluge. In fact, it’s moving too much. “This year there’s more water than places we can put it in,” said Behzad Soltanzadeh, division of operations manager for the project. That’s even after the Department of Water Resources gifted more supplies to larger agencies and diverted record-high flows on the Kern River to slow flooding in Tulare Lake, which resurfaced this spring after it was drained nearly a century ago for agriculture.



Bunge to Buy Viterra in $8.2 Billion Bet on North American Crops [Wall Street Journal]

U.S. grain trader and oilseed processor Bunge BG agreed to acquire Glencore-backed Viterra in an $8.2 billion deal that aims to expand the company’s reach in North American crops. Bunge plans to combine its strength in soybean processing and South American crops with Viterra’s network of North American grain-buying and shipping facilities. Executives said the deal, expected to close in mid-2024, will create a bigger player better equipped to weather supply-chain disruptions and agriculture’s boom-and-bust cycles. Bunge and Viterra are important partners to farmers around the world, buying crops and selling them to food companies, governments and other buyers around the world. The companies own a range of processing plants that turn oilseeds and grain into vegetable oil, fuel, livestock feed and other products. The planned combination of the two grain shippers comes as agriculture traders, including Bunge, have reaped larger profits during the past year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which sent grain prices soaring.


California’s most influential sommelier-turned-winemaker wants to radically change grape farming [San Francisco Chronicle]

Three miles from the ocean, Raj Parr, a sommelier-turned-winemaker who has become one of the wine industry’s biggest celebrities, is farming what could be California’s most radical vineyard. To prevent mildew, Parr sprays the vines with milk, not traditional fungicides. To add potassium to the soil and aid photosynthesis, he applies fermented nettles, rather than the typical fertilizer. His approach at the fledgling Central Coast vineyard, Phelan Farm, eschews interventions that even the crunchiest organic adherents would find inoffensive. Parr believes his techniques are not only better for the Earth — building healthy soils may help mitigate the farm’s contributions to climate change — but will yield better-tasting, more interesting wines. Phelan Farm represents a new chapter in the story of California natural wine, which has until now largely focused on questions of winemaking — whether the wine is filtered, whether sulfur was added — and less on the details of farming. Parr is challenging many of the movement’s widely held tenets, suggesting that there ought to be a different standard for what qualifies as “natural wine.”



The Big Bet on Meat Alternatives Fails [Newsweek]

Shares of meat alternatives soared when Beyond Meat, the California-based producer that's come to epitomize the sector, went public four years ago. But a fall in stock prices suggests that venture capital's appetite for such investments may have gotten ahead of market realities. Concerns about the meat industry's environmental impact and carbon footprint have helped popularized plant-based substitutes in recent years. Market shares show that investors rushed toward the new food trend, but new data suggests that their eyes may have been bigger than consumers' stomachs. While Beyond Meat was worth more than $14 billion in 2019, it was valued at $827.24 million as of Friday. Its shares have fallen about 95 percent over the past four years. Daniel Sumner, an agricultural economics professor at the University of California, Davis, told Newsweek that this often happens with innovative alternatives to conventional products. "Sometimes the market expands enough to justify early investment. Often the early investments do not pan out either because that market segment never takes off and sometimes because early entrants are overtaken," Sumner said.



California water rights at risk as three legislative proposals advance [CalMatters]

Dan Walters column: When California imposed its first-ever regulation on the extraction of water from underground aquifers in 2014, it gave environmental groups a landmark victory in their decades-long effort to overhaul water use laws. It was also a political setback for farmers, who are California’s major water users and have depended on wells to irrigate their crops as increasingly frequent droughts reduce surface water in rivers and reservoirs. However, while groundwater regulation ended one front in California’s never-ending political and legal battles over allocation of water, it merely set the stage for an even bigger conflict over surface water rights, particularly those pre-dating 1914, when the state first began controlling diversions. Now three bills have been introduced in the Legislature (are) pitting water rights reformers against agricultural and municipal water agencies. Although advocates contend that the bills would merely give the water board much-needed managerial tools, a coalition of water districts and agricultural groups see them as a prelude to the wholesale abrogation of their water rights.



In burned-out groves of giant sequoias, crews plant seeds of hope. Will they survive? [Los Angeles Times]

The worker stabbed the loamy soil with a hoedad, dropped in a delicate sequoia seedling and tamped the dirt tight around it. As he moved on to the next spot, and then the next, the hillside of the Alder Creek Grove slowly filled with small clumps of green needles. Without this planting, naturalists worry giant sequoias will never grow on this charred hillside again. The wildfire that scorched this southern Sierra Nevada forest three years ago burned large swaths of land so intensely that it left thousands of ancient giants dead and smoldering. Some of the 30,000 sequoias planted in this grove could grow to be among the world’s largest trees and live for thousands of years — if they first survive the next couple of decades. Scientists are hoping this project will help them learn how to ensure that happens. The Forest Service is also planting about 10,000 giant sequoia seedlings across 1,380 acres of high-severity burn areas in the Sequoia National Forest. The National Park Service is drafting an environmental assessment evaluating the effects of planting seedlings in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.



Is California facing a home insurance crisis like hurricane-ravaged Florida? [Monterey Herald]

Farmers Insurance had covered Don Baker’s light-gray house with powder-blue trim since he and his family moved to Boulder Creek 13 years ago. A few weeks ago, he received notice his policy won’t be renewed after it expires in August. Baker looked around and got an offer from State Farm to cover his home nestled among redwood trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains. But the agent withdrew it the next day, just before the nation’s largest insurer issued its stunning May 26 announcement that it won’t write new home policies anywhere in California. Industry experts say California faces a long-overdue reckoning with the true cost of insuring homes in a state increasingly ravaged by catastrophic wildfires and winter storms. As state regulators keep a lid on premium hikes, fewer companies are willing to write policies, driving up rates for those still in the game. Insurers say California’s unusual regulatory structure, with an elected insurance commissioner and a 1988 ballot measure — Proposition 103 — that rolled back rates and requires insurers to get state approval for increases, has kept prices too low, spawning a growing crisis after recent wildfires. Prop 103’s author, Harvey Rosenfield of Consumer Watchdog, says insurers are creating a crisis to force state officials into blessing massive rate hikes.



Sugar Valley moves forward: Crop commitments secured for Sugar Valley Energy ethanol bio-refinery in Imperial Valley [Imperial Valley Press]

Sugar Valley Energy (SVE), an advanced low-carbon sugarcane-to-ethanol and power facility, has secured letters of intent with local Imperial Valley farmers to grow 12,000 acres of sugarcane to support its initial feedstock production schedule, California Ethanol + Power (CE+P) President/CEO Dave Rubenstein announced in a news release. “Local farmers who were interested in a profitable and stable long-term crop represented the driving force behind the Sugar Valley Energy project,” Rubenstein said. The sugarcane plantings will take place in phases, corresponding with the timing of construction of the facility, which will encompass an advanced bioethanol refinery producing as much as 75 million gallons annually, and a power island that will produce 43 megawatts of bioelectricity as well as pipeline-grade biogas.



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   admin@edcfb.com 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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