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in the KNOWN

In the Know Newsletter

January 27, 2012


World Ag Expo

Don’t Miss Out—Join Ag Council at the World Ag Expo on Feb. 15th

Ag Council members, prospective members and friends are invited to a breakfast hosted by Ag Council at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA on February 15, 2012 at 9 a.m. The breakfast will be held in the Hospitality Event Center tent located at Median and S Streets on the Expo showgrounds.

Ag Council’s breakfast will feature journalist and columnist, Dan Walters, as the keynote speaker. Join us for this exciting event as Ag Council kicks off 2012.

There is no charge for the breakfast. RSVP is required as seating is limited. Please email Rebecca Osumi at rebecca@agcouncil.org if you’d like to attend.

 

Redistricting Maps

Challenge to State Senate Maps Rebuffed by CA Supreme Court

In a ruling released today by the California Supreme Court, state Senate district maps are left to stand as created by the Citizens Redistricting Commission last year. Under the decision, state Senate candidates must campaign using district maps developed by the Commission, even in the face of a pending referendum to overturn the new state Senate maps.

The referendum could be placed on the November 2012 ballot if 504,760 of the over 711,000 signatures collected in favor of the measure are valid. Elections officials are currently working to verify whether the signatures collected are from valid voters.

The referendum is backed by a Republican-led organization concerned the new Senate maps favor Democrats gaining a 2/3 majority in the state Senate, which is the supermajority needed in that legislative body to raise taxes and fees.

 

Health Care

Bill to Create Single-Payer Health Care System Fails in State Senate

State legislation to implement a single-payer health care system failed to pass by two votes in the Senate this week. One Democrat joined Republicans to vote against the bill, and four Democrats abstained from the vote.

A single-payer health care system, often called universal health care, is where a public agency would administer health insurance for all Californians.

Senator Mark Leno (D-SF) is the author of the bill, SB 810. If passed, the measure would cost an estimated $250 billion annually and would be paid for through higher taxes that must be approved by California voters.

Click here for a Sacramento Bee article about SB 810.

 

Tax Initiative

Survey Reveals Robust Public Support for Governor’s Tax Initiative

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released a survey this week showing strong support for Governor Jerry Brown’s tax initiative, with 68 percent of likely voters favoring the plan.

The survey also reveals 85 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of independents support the plan to temporarily increase the state sales tax and raise personal income taxes on Californians with higher incomes. Fifty three percent of Republicans surveyed approve of the tax plan.

According to Brown, the initiative would generate $7 billion annually in income and sales tax revenue through 2017 by temporarily raising income taxes on those earning $250,000 or more, along with a half-cent state sales tax increase.

Governor Brown continues to travel the state to drum-up support for the initiative. Over 800,000 valid signatures are required for the tax initiative to be placed on the November 2012 ballot. The signatures must be gathered by June 18, 2012.

To read more details about the findings in the PPIC survey, click here.

 

Pest Management

Pest Management Alliance Grant Process Open at DPR

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is accepting applications for projects using integrated pest management (IPM) strategies to lower pesticide use. A total of $400,000 per project is available in Pest Management Alliance funding for 2012-2013.

DPR requests that projects focus on implementation of agricultural or urban IPM practices reducing risks to human health and the environment. A key element needed in the approved projects is the creation of an alliance, essentially a team of individuals representing public, private, agricultural, educational and other stakeholders involved in the adoption of the IPM effort.

The grant application is a two-stage process. Brief conceptual descriptions of projects are due February 6, 2012. Applicants whose concepts are highly ranked in the first stage will be invited to submit a full proposal by April 5, 2012.

Click here for the Pest Management Grant Solicitation link. Contact Ann Schaffner at DPR for further information at ph. (916) 324-4156 or email at aschaffner@cdpr.ca.gov.

January 20, 2012


Annual Meeting

Assemblyman Henry Perea to be Keynote Speaker at Annual Meeting Dinner

Ag Council is pleased to announce Assemblyman Henry Perea (D-Fresno) as the keynote speaker at Ag Council’s Annual Dinner on March 5th during the Annual Meeting at Estancia Hotel in La Jolla, CA. Perea represents the 31st Assembly District comprising Fresno, Dinuba, Fowler, Kerman, Mendota, Sanger and other San Joaquin Valley communities.

Perea is Chair of the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee, and he is a member of the following committees: Agriculture, Banking and Finance, and Governmental Organization. Prior to his election to the Assembly, Perea served on the Fresno City Council and is a co-founder of the Latino Water Coalition.

Join Ag Council for the dinner and other events during our Annual Meeting. For further details, and to register for the Annual Meeting, see below.

Register Now for Ag Council’s Annual Meeting

Ag Council’s 93rd Annual Meeting will be held March 5-7, 2012 in beautiful La Jolla, California at Estancia Hotel. The Annual Meeting and Golf Tournament are held jointly with CoBank’s 2012 Pacific West Customer Meeting.

We encourage you to join us in La Jolla. Click here for more Annual Meeting details and to register online. To view the tentative itinerary, click here.

This year, Ag Council’s golf tournament and PAC fundraiser is at the picturesque Torrey Pines, North Course overlooking the Pacific Ocean and is held during the Annual Meeting on March 5th. Click here for further information about the tournament. Ag Council is also seeking sponsors for the tournament. The benefits of sponsorship can be found by viewing the brochure here.

 

State of the State

Governor Brown says “California is on the Mend” during State of the State Address

Governor Brown delivered the annual State of the State speech on Wednesday, as required by the California Constitution, to a joint session of the Legislature. He discussed budget cuts and advocated for the passage of his tax initiative on the November 2012 ballot to temporarily raise taxes, which he said will prevent further cuts to education and public services.

At the same time, the Governor touted large infrastructure projects such as High Speed Rail and efforts to increase the state water supply. On water, Governor Brown said he and U.S. Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, are working to complete the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and “agreed that by this summer we should have the basic elements of the project we need to build.” He also said, “This is an enormous project. It will ensure water for 25 million Californians and for millions of acres of farmland as well a hundred thousand acres of new habitat for spawning fish and other wildlife.”

In addition, the Governor encouraged the Legislature to consider his pension reform plan. He also touted renewable energy projects and AB 32, the state climate change law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Click here to read the Governor’s speech.

 

Climate Change

Cap & Trade Registration Deadline is January 31st

The deadline is nearing for companies, with over 25,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually, to register for the cap and trade program with the California Air Resources Board. The deadline, January 31, 2012, is the first step in mandatory compliance set to begin in 2013.

If you have questions regarding compliance, reporting requirements or other detailed information related to implementation, please call ph. (916) 322-2037.

Click here to register. For answers to frequently asked questions, click here. To read about Ag Council’s advocacy actions pertaining to cap and trade, click here.

 

CDFA

Phytosanitary & Master Certificate Fee Increase

The comment period is open for the draft regulation to increase fees for phytosanitary certificates and master certificates at the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Under the draft regulation, phytosanitary fees increase by $5.30 per certificate and the master certificate increase by $125 annually. The fees sunset on July 1, 2015.

As background, due to the state budget deficit, $31 million in General Fund budget reductions are being made to the CDFA budget (in addition to the $32 million in reductions to fairs) through the current and next budget cycles. The reductions include approximately $27 million in reductions to programs at CDFA. About $3 million must be generated in industry fees in an effort to protect the remaining programs vital to agriculture in conducting business throughout the U.S. and globally.

The comment period on the draft regulation to raise phytosanitary certificate and master certificate fees closes on January 31, 2012. Ag Council is coordinating comments with a stakeholder group of its members. Should you wish to be involved, please contact Emily Rooney at ph. (916) 443-4887.

The draft rule is available by clicking here.

January 13, 2012


Department of Pesticide Regulation Update

Court Hears Methyl Iodide Lawsuit

A Superior Court in Alameda heard testimony this week in the lawsuit filed by environmental and farmworker organizations against the state regulator and the manufacturer of methyl iodide, which is used as a pre-plant soil fumigant to control plant pathogens, nematodes, insects and weeds.

The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit because they believe methyl iodide was approved by the state Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) using bad science and that it causes serious health problems.

DPR approved the fumigant for use in December 2010 with the most stringent restrictions in the nation. It is licensed for use in 47 states and is approved for restrictive uses by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Among other issues, the court is looking at whether DPR considered alternatives to methyl iodide, as required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). DPR has one week to respond to the court’s request for a brief detailing why DPR is not required to abide by CEQA. Environmental attorneys also have a week to respond before a ruling is issued in the case as to whether DPR violated state law when it approved methyl iodide.

Click here for a related San Francisco Chronicle article.

Pest Management Alliance Grant Process Now Open at DPR

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is now accepting applications for projects using integrated pest management (IPM) strategies to lower pesticide use. A total of $400,000, per project, is available in Pest Management Alliance funding for 2012-2013.

DPR requests that projects focus on implementation of agricultural or urban IPM practices reducing risks to human health and the environment. A key element needed in the approved projects is the creation of an alliance, essentially a team of individuals representing public, private, agricultural, educational and other stakeholders involved in the adoption of the IPM effort.

The grant application is a two-stage process. Brief conceptual descriptions of projects are due February 6, 2012. Applicants whose concepts are highly ranked in the first stage will be invited to submit a full proposal by April 5, 2012.

Click here for the Pest Management Grant Solicitation link. Contact Ann Schaffner at DPR for further information at (916) 324-4156 or email at aschaffner@cdpr.ca.gov.

 

Legislature

Pesticide Measure Stalls in Assembly Committee

A state bill to add new requirements to increase public access to pesticide information and to create a two-year time limit for the adoption of pesticide control measures for pesticides deemed Toxic Air Contaminants (TACs) or Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP-TAC) was not approved in the Assembly Agriculture Committee this week.

The measure, AB 1176, is authored by Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara). The author believes the bill addresses existing delays in the adoption of control measures at the Department of Pesticide Regulation.

Assemblymember Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) voted against the bill, along with Republican members of the Committee. Due to a 4-4 vote, the measure did not move out of Committee.

 

Upcoming Ag Council Events

Columnist Dan Walters to Speak at Ag Council Breakfast at World Ag Expo

Ag Council members and prospective members are invited to breakfast at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA on February 15, 2012 at 9 a.m. in the Hospitality Event Center tent (located at Median and S Streets on the Expo showgrounds).

Ag Council’s breakfast will feature journalist and columnist, Dan Walters, as the keynote speaker. We encourage you to attend this exciting event as Ag Council kicks off 2012.

There is no charge for the breakfast. RSVP is required as seating is limited. Please email Rebecca Osumi at rebecca@agcouncil.org if you’d like to attend.

Registration Now Open for Ag Council’s Annual Meeting March 5-7

Ag Council members, allied members and friends are encouraged to register online for our 93rd Annual Meeting to be held March 5-7, 2012 in beautiful La Jolla, California at the Estancia Hotel and Spa. We have an exciting line-up for the General Session this year.

Highlights include former Senator George Runner, Member of the Board of Equalization (BOE), who will discuss opportunities for agriculture to work with BOE. In addition, Charlie Arnot, CEO at the Center for Food Integrity, will discuss recent consumer research completed in California focusing on how consumers look at our food system.

Ag Council’s annual meeting and golf tournament are held jointly with CoBank’s 2012 Pacific West Customer Meeting. We encourage you to join us in La Jolla. Click here to register online now.

January 6, 2012


Upcoming Ag Council Events

Columnist Dan Walters to Speak at Ag Council Breakfast at World Ag Expo

Ag Council members and prospective members are invited to breakfast at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA on February 15, 2012 at 9 a.m. in the Hospitality Event Center tent (located at Median and S Streets on the Expo showgrounds). Ag Council’s breakfast will feature journalist and columnist, Dan Walters, as the keynote speaker.

We encourage you to attend this exciting event as Ag Council kicks off 2012. There is no charge for the breakfast.

RSVP is required as seating is limited. Please email Rebecca Osumi at rebecca@agcouncil.org if you would like to attend.

Registration Now Open for Ag Council’s Annual Meeting March 5-7 in La Jolla

Ag Council members, allied members and friends are encouraged to register online for our 93rd Annual Meeting to be held March 5-7, 2012 in beautiful La Jolla, California at the Estancia Hotel and Spa.

We have an exciting line-up for the General Session this year. Highlights include former Senator George Runner, Member of the Board of Equalization (BOE), who will discuss opportunities for agriculture to work with BOE. In addition, Charlie Arnot, CEO at the Center for Food Integrity, will discuss recent consumer research completed in California focusing on how consumers view our food system.

Ag Council’s annual meeting and golf tournament are held jointly with CoBank’s 2012 Pacific West Customer Meeting. We encourage you to join us in La Jolla. Click here to register online now. To view our Program at a Glance on Ag Council’s website, click here.

 

Budget

Governor Brown Releases 2012-2013 State Budget

After staff accidentally posted Governor Brown’s budget online a few days earlier than planned, the Governor held a press conference on Thursday this week to outline his proposed 2012-2013 budget.

Governor Brown projects a $9.2 billion deficit in the budget and proposes $4.2 billion in cuts to state services such as Medi-Cal, education, prisons, and the juvenile justice system. In education, the University of California and California State University systems each lose $100 million while community colleges in the state are cut $103 million. K-12 education is cut in the Governor’s budget by $330 million.

At the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), the 2012-2013 budget contains $12 million in General Fund reductions, which were negotiated by the stakeholder consortium developed by CDFA Secretary, Karen Ross. Ag Council President, Emily Rooney, participates in the consortium on behalf of Ag Council members. Ag Council appreciates Secretary Ross’ work to bring agricultural stakeholders together to provide input during these difficult fiscal times.

To meet the $12 million in General Fund reductions at CDFA, the budget includes $4.38 million in cuts to border station inspections, eliminates state funds for the Light Brown Apple Moth program (federal funds remain), decreases funding to the biocontrol program by $701,000, reduces plant pest diagnostics and seed labs by $366,000 and cuts the animal health program by $245,000, among other reductions. In addition, $2.4 million in CDFA cuts are still being discussed at this time.

The $12 million in reductions are in addition to the $19 million in cuts already made to CDFA in the current-year budget.

As part of the budget reductions, alternative funding solutions of roughly $3 million will be achieved through increases in phytosanitary certificates, master certificates, device fees and dairy inspection programs. The phytosanitary fees to CDFA will support the following areas:

Creation and maintenance of pest-free areas; these areas conform to international standards

  • Emergency Quarantine Response Program
  • Pest Detection Program
  • Emergency Pest Eradication Program
  • Exotic Pest Trapping
  • Plant Pest Diagnostics Laboratory
  • Trade Facilitation

The Governor’s proposed budget must now be considered in the state Legislature, and the 2012-2013 budget-year begins July 1, 2012. Please do not hesitate to contact Ag Council at ph. (916) 443-4887 if you have any questions regarding the budget.

Governor Brown’s budget proposal can be viewed by clicking here (CDFA is found under General Government).

Ballot Measure

The Governor said this week that, if voters do not approve the nearly $7 billion in temporary taxes he is proposing on the November 2012 ballot, an additional $4.8 billion in cuts will be made to state education alone, in addition to cuts in other services.

Governor Brown’s ballot proposal includes a sales tax increase from 7.25 percent to 7.75 percent. Also, state income taxes on those making over $250,000 would rise from 9.3 percent to 10.3 percent while taxes on those earning $300,000-$500,000 would climb to 10.8 percent, and state income taxes on Californians making over $500,000 would rise to 11.3 percent.

Click here for a Bloomberg news article about the ballot measure and the state budget.

 

CDFA

Invasive Species Advisory Committee Openings—Nominations Due Next Week

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) recently announced that the Invasive Species Council of California (ISCC) is looking to appoint seven members to the California Invasive Species Advisory Committee (CISAC).

CISAC advises the ISCC on how to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species and provides for their control and/or eradication, as well as minimizing the economic, ecological, and human health impacts that invasive species cause. The ISCC’s objective is to promote a consistent approach to invasive species at the state level.

Members of the CISAC are not paid for their service. However, travel expenses for CISAC business, including per diem, might be available.

Nominations should be typed and include the following information:

1) A brief summary of no more than two pages explaining the nominee’s suitability to serve on the CISAC

2) A resume

3) At least two letters of reference

Send nominations to: Dr. Robert Leavitt, Invasive Species Council of California, Executive Office, 1220 N Street, Suite 221, Sacramento, California 95814.

The recommended postmark deadline is January 9, 2012. For further details, please visit the Invasive Species Council of California’s website at: www.iscc.ca.gov.

CDFA Announces Pierce’s Disease Board Vacancy

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has a vacancy on the Pierce’s Disease/Glassy-winged Sharpshooter Board. The board includes representatives from each of the major grape growing regions in the state. The current vacancy must be filled by a winegrape producer from the North Valley area who is not also a winegrape processor.

The North Valley region comprises the following counties: Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo, and Yuba.

The board advises the CDFA secretary on a variety of issues pertaining to Pierce’s disease and the glassy-winged sharpshooter. An annual assessment paid by winegrape growers supports its research efforts.

Board members receive no compensation, but are entitled to payment of necessary traveling expenses. If interested in the appointment, please send a brief resume to the CDFA Pierce’s Disease Control Program, Attention: Kapua Kahumoku, 2800 Gateway Oaks, Suite 200, Sacramento, CA 95833. The deadline is January 20, 2012.