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in the KNOW

August 25, 2017

Assembly Republicans Select Dahle as their New Leader

Brian DahleUpon returning from their summer recess this week, the Assembly Republican Caucus chose Assemblyman Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) as the new GOP leader replacing Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley). Dahle takes over as leader after September 15, once the legislative session concludes.

Mayes came under fire by some conservative Republicans recently after supporting a bill to extend the cap and trade program along with seven other Republicans in the Legislature.

Mayes gave Dahle praise after Assembly Republicans chose Dahle as the new GOP leader on Thursday. “His heart and his character and the vision that he has is symbiotic with what I believe as well and so he’ll do a fantastic job,” Mayes said.

Dahle is a farmer and small business owner representing Mt. Shasta, Quincy, Redding, Susanville, Truckee and other North State towns. He is well-liked by his colleagues and has positive relationships with Democrats in the Legislature.

Cal/OSHA Releases Draft Indoor Heat Stress Regulation

The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) recently released a draft indoor heat stress proposal. Ag Council is weighing-in with serious concerns about the proposal during the public participation process and the impact on agriculture, including warehouses and processing facilities. In particular, the proposal is unnecessarily prescriptive, going much further than the outdoor heat illness prevention regulation.

Currently, the draft proposal requires employers to establish, implement and maintain an effective indoor heat illness prevention plan including pre-shift meetings to review high heat procedures and effective emergency response strategies. Stipulations include:

• Identify each employee’s work activity levels, clothing adjustment factors and make personal protective equipment available
• Conduct heat stress hazard assessment of all facilities
• Provide cool-down rest periods of no less than 5 minutes
• Reduce employee exposures to heat stress
• Provide access to potable drinking water

Ag Council strongly believes the proposed standard is not warranted or justified in the agricultural industry, is overly cumbersome and complicated, as well as too costly to implement. Ag Council joined other organizations in submitting written comments outlining our objections and making recommendations for changes to the proposal.

Click HERE to read the coalition’s letter to Cal/OSHA.

Chlorpyrifos Targeted for Additional Restrictions

The California Environmental Protection Agency announced that both the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) are pursuing health protections on chlorpyrifos.

Chlorpyrifos is a critical part of pest management programs for farmers and is used on more than 60 crops including tree nuts, grapes and citrus.

OEHHA referred chlorpyrifos for potential listing as a developmental toxicant under Proposition 65. Meanwhile, DPR updated a risk assessment for chlorpyrifos and announced its intention to place interim additional restrictions on the product.

DPR believes chlorpyrifos may pose a public health risk based upon the latest studies in the scientific community. However, the new findings have not yet been peer reviewed. A public process is underway, including a comment period, and is expected to conclude late in 2018.

Ag Council is engaging in the public process to advocate for the safe and continued use of this critical crop protection tool.

For more information, click HERE. If you have any questions, please contact Rachael O’Brien at ph. (916) 443-4887 or Rachael@agcouncil.org

Healthy Soils Grant Funding Available for Projects

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is accepting applications for project through the Healthy Soils Program (HSP). The two components of the program are: 1) the HSP Incentives Program and 2) the HSP Demonstration Projects.

For the HSP Incentives Program, an estimated $3.75 million in competitive grant funding will be awarded to provide financial assistance for implementation of agricultural management practices that sequester soil carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Eligible practices as defined by CDFA include the use of cover crops, mulching, compost application, hedgerow planting and reduced or no-till techniques.

For the HSP Demonstration Projects, approximately $3 million in competitive grant funding will be awarded to demonstration projects, which focus on quantifying, monitoring and educating others on healthy soils management projects that sequester soil carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Applications are due by September 19, 2017. Click HERE for further information on CDFA’s website.