in the KNOWN

In the Know Newsletter

January 27, 2016

 Assemblyman Cooper & Assemblyman Salas to Headline Ag Council Dinner

Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) and Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield)

Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) and Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield)

Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) and Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), the new co-chairs of the moderate Democrats (known as the “Mod Dems”) caucus in the Legislature, will headline as speakers during the dinner at Ag Council’s Annual Meeting at the Meritage Resort in Napa on March 7, 2016.

Assemblyman Cooper and Assemblyman Salas were recently chosen by their peers to co-chair the group of business-friendly Democrats, which is an important ally to agriculture in the Legislature. We look forward to Assemblyman Cooper and Assemblyman Salas connecting with our members in Napa.


Annual Meeting Information
If you’d like information about Ag Council’s Annual Meeting to be held March 7-9, 2016, please click HERE for details about registration, hotel reservations, the golf tournament and more.

Join Us for Breakfast at the World Ag Expo on Feb. 10

299311301Ag Council members are invited to join us for our Fifth Annual World Ag Expo Breakfast on February 10, 2016 at 8 a.m. The breakfast is held at the Heritage Complex, conference dining room (2nd floor), located on the grounds of the World Ag Expo at 4500 S. Laspina Street in Tulare.

Featured speaker:
David Gutierrez, program manager for the Groundwater Sustainability Program at the Department of Water Resources, will provide an update regarding implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

There is no cost to attend, however, an RSVP is required. RSVP to Jennifer Johnson at: jennifer@agcouncil.org or call 916.443.4887. Entry into the World Ag Expo must be purchased separately.

Blue Diamond Young Leaders Visit State Officials

299311601Farmers and others participating in Blue Diamond’s Young Leaders program met with legislators and California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross this week. Participants gathered in Sacramento to learn about advocacy and state issues at the forefront in 2016. The leaders discussed a variety of pressing issues with state officials including water, transportation, education and other policy issues.

The young leaders had the opportunity to connect with Assemblyman Levine (D-San Rafael), Assemblyman Alejo (D-Watsonville), Senator Vidak (R-Hanford) and Assemblywoman Olsen (R-Modesto). A special thank you to the legislators for their time. We also appreciate Secretary Ross who eloquently spoke with the young leaders during dinner.

Ag Council staff gave presentations to the young leaders about Ag Council’s regulatory and legislative work and answered their questions. We wish the participants all the best as they continue to learn and grow in the program.

Sustainable Freight Action Plan Workshops

On January 26, Ag Council attended a workshop focused on increasing the efficiency of California’s freight system. Per an Executive Order by Governor Brown, an interagency task force is creating an action plan that paves the way to a multi-decade shift towards using zero or near-zero emission equipment to move goods in the state while increasing our economic competitiveness.

Ag Council is closely following these activities and will continue to keep our members updated.

Interested members are encouraged to click HERE for a listing of the upcoming workshops being held in different areas of the state on Jan. 28, Feb. 1 and Feb. 5.

In Case You Missed It — Assembly Formally Elects Rendon as Speaker

In a previous newsletter, Ag Council announced that Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) was formally elected on January 11 as the next Speaker of the California State Assembly. He will assume the office of the Speaker on March 7, 2016.

The day after Rendon was elected, Ag Council and others met with the incoming Speaker and he highlighted how he would handle his new role. He said he will not author any bills and would instead focus on managing the Assembly. He also said he wants to empower committee chairs to dig in regarding policy issues, as well as allow members to develop more expertise, perform stronger oversight and pursue longer-term strategies.

To read more about how the incoming Speaker describes his new role, click HERE.

January 14, 2016

Assembly Formally Elects Anthony Rendon as Speaker

RendonOn January 11, Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) was formally elected as the next Speaker of the California State Assembly. He will assume the office of the Speaker on March 7, 2016.

“I thank my colleagues for the confidence they have placed in me and for this immense privilege to serve,” Rendon said. “We as policymakers have a great deal of work ahead of us to meet the challenges Californians demand we address.”

“The role of the Speaker in an era when members can serve up to 12 years is to maximize that potential by helping members develop greater expertise, pursue longer-term policy strategies, and perform more vital oversight,” Rendon said. Ag Council appreciates the emphasis on these areas and the desire to conduct a more in-depth examination of policy issues, as well as undertake a stronger oversight role.

In a bipartisan move, the new Assembly GOP Leader Chad Mayes, was among those who nominated Rendon for the speakership. Mayes said, “Doing so is contrary to a practice that goes back decades, and I’ve taken heat for doing so. But, it’s time for a change.”

Regarding his priorities, Rendon said, “With the annual budget process underway, my immediate priority is working with my colleagues to negotiate a budget that represents the values of the people of California.”

Rendon commended outgoing Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) stating, “One of the best aspects of Speaker Atkins’s leadership has been the manner in which she has empowered members and democratized the institution. This will also be my approach.”

Given the longer term limits in place, Rendon could potentially serve as Speaker until 2024.

This week, during a meeting with advocates in Sacramento, including Ag Council, Rendon further highlighted how he would handle his new leadership role. He said he would not author any bills in 2016 and would instead focus on his role of managing the Assembly.

Rendon also discussed his desire to “empower” committee chairs to “dig-in” regarding policy issues and allow the chairs to “stop bad bills,” which Ag Council believes is a positive move. In our view, too many measures are given courtesy votes during the committee process without a significant amount of analysis and debate and then sent to the floor for consideration by the full body. Strengthening the role of the committee chairs is an appropriate action to more thoroughly examine legislation before it moves to the floor of the Assembly.

Ag Council looks forward to working with Rendon in his new role as Speaker, and we extend our appreciation to outgoing Speaker Atkins for her outreach to our members and willingness to work on tough issues. For further details about Rendon, click HERE for his biography.

January 8, 2016

Governor Unveils California State Budget Proposal

Photo above of Gov. Brown during his Jan. 7, 2016 press conference (AP photo by Rich Pedroncelli).

Photo above of Gov. Brown during his Jan. 7, 2016 press conference (AP photo by Rich Pedroncelli).

On January 7, Governor Jerry Brown unveiled a $122.6 billion General Fund budget proposal for 2016-2017 saying, “Relative to budgets in the past, this budget is in good shape.”

General overview
During his budget announcement, Governor Brown reminded Californians that state deficits are more likely than surpluses. “If you don’t remember anything else, just remember everything that goes up comes down,” Brown said. Given this, within the proposed budget is an additional $2 billion for the “rainy day fund” to be used for fiscal emergencies.

About $3.6 billion in funds are shifted to improve transportation infrastructure, including funds from the state’s cap-and-trade program. He provides $1 billion for the Medi-Cal program by taxing health plans. The proposal also allocates $250 million to pay a $10 minimum wage to government workers.

The governor’s budget proposes to allocate funds in the following key areas. This information is a snapshot of issues of interest to our members and is not inclusive of all ag and water funding.

Cap and Trade Funds for Agriculture
Cap and Trade Expenditures – $75 million within the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) proposed to be spent in the following manner:
• $20 million for SWEEP – a grant program to incentivize ag operations to invest in   energy‐efficient irrigation technologies that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water use
• $35 million for Dairy Digesters – to reduce GHGs from dairy manure
• $20 million for Healthy Soils – an effort focused on ensuring agricultural soils have adequate soil organic matter or soil carbon contents

• $1.3 million for CDFA to implement the recently approved law to address antibiotics resistance in humans by regulating the use of antibiotics in farm animals

• $200,000 for CDFA to conduct a drought impact assessment with the University of California
• $719 million one-time drought package, including funds for salinity barriers in the Delta, emergency drinking water projects, water transfers, water supply modeling, local assistance for small communities and significant funds to the state’s emergency fund to fight fires

Next, the California State Legislature will hold hearings on the state budget, taking into consideration the governor’s plan, before developing their proposal. The deadline for the Legislature to finalize and approve the budget is June 15.

To read the governor’s press statement, click HERE.

January 7, 2016

Join us at Ag Council’s Annual Meeting in Napa – March 7-9, 2016


Ag Council members and friends are invited to register for our 97th Annual Meeting to be held March 7-9, 2016 at the beautiful Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa. Click the link below to register online today. As in the past, the Annual Meeting is held in conjunction with CoBank’s Pacific West Customer Meeting, and we appreciate CoBank’s partnership.

We are pleased to announce that our Annual Meeting speakers include Secretary Karen Ross with the California Department of Food and Agriculture and David Orth, who is a member of the California Water Commission appointed by Governor Brown.


We look forward to seeing you in Napa. Please contact Jennifer Johnson at ph. 916.443.4887 or jennifer@agcouncil.org with any questions.

Meritage Resort & Spa – Hotel ReservationsMeritageResort_Wedding3

A special Ag Council and CoBank room rate of $195 (plus taxes & fees) is available at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa during the Annual Meeting. Click HERE to book your hotel room and select “attendee” as your guest type (an access code is not needed).

Golf Tournament & PAC Fundraiser

Silverado Resort in Napa is the location of Ag Council’s Annual Golf Tournament and PAC Fundraiser to be held during the Annual Meeting on March 7, 2016. The tournament location is a PGA championship course where golf professionals recently played the north course during the Frys.com Open.

Players can sign-up for the golf tournament during Ag Council’s online Annual Meeting registration process HERE.

Annual Meeting Sponsorship Opportunities40888_VinoBello_product06

Ag Council is seeking sponsors for our 97th Annual Meeting in Napa. Our sponsors play a major role in helping us deliver the highest quality meeting possible for attendees and a memorable golf experience for our players. In addition to supporting Ag Council, sponsorship allows you to highlight your brand to attendees and build upon existing relationships.

Click HERE for an overview of sponsorship opportunities for both the Annual Meeting and the Golf Tournament and PAC Fundraiser. Please contact Jennifer Johnson at jennifer@agcouncil.org or Rachael O’Brien at rachael@agcouncil.org with any questions. Jennifer and Rachael can also be reached at ph. 916.443.4887.