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Dairy

Photo by: Rachel Azevedo Photography

Photo by: Rachel Azevedo Photography

Ag Council Testifies on New Bovine General Orferg Council

Ag Council Testifies on New Bovine General Order

On June 8, 2017 Ag Council testified before the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (the Board) on the proposed Waste Discharge Requirements General Order for Confined Bovine Feeding Operations (Bovine Order).

The Bovine Order would impose conditions to protect water quality and applies to commercial operations having six or more animals on site. The Board has made it clear they do not intend to regulate educational projects related to secondary schools, FFA, 4H programs, and similar endeavors where education, not commercial profit, is the primary goal–even if the animals are later auctioned at a fair.

The Bovine Order was adopted and includes the latest revisions requested by industry stakeholders. While agriculture did not get everything we asked for, the final Bovine Order as adopted is improved in many areas. The Board agreed to revise and lengthen the compliance timeline and to work with industry stakeholders to develop compliance forms that are standardized and user-friendly. These changes, along with others, will offer greater flexibility and will provide a higher chance of success and compliance.

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

Click HERE for our comment letter.

 

ARB Approves Plan to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) approved a strategic plan on March 23, 2017 to curb emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs). SLCPs include methane from manure at dairies, exhaust from diesel engines and hydrofluorocarbons from refrigerators. The plan is considered to be the most rigorous and comprehensive strategy in the country for controlling sources of methane emissions. ARB and other government agencies will now need to write detailed rules for achieving the reductions.

Last year, Governor Brown signed SB 1383 by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), which prohibits the ARB from regulating methane from dairy and livestock operations until 2024 and mandates that future rules can only reduce methane emissions from manure management operations up to 40 percent below 2013 level by 2030. Until then, reductions will be voluntary and funded by various sources, including grants, pilot projects by utilities and the sale of credits under the state’s low-carbon fuel standard.

The targets laid out in the plan are very ambitious, and Ag Council testified at the hearing that more research into alternative methane reduction projects and incentive dollars would be needed to achieve the state’s goals. Ag Council will remain engaged as this process moves forward and will participate in an initial dairy and livestock workgroup meeting to address barriers to methane reduction projects on May 23, 2017.

Click HERE for ARB’s press release. For more information please contact Rachael O’Brien at (916) 443-4887.

 

Sen. Cannella & State Senate Recognize June as Dairy Month

Ag Council thanks Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) for authoring a resolution, SCR 157, in the State Senate to proclaim June 2016 as Dairy Month in California.

The resolution, approved by the Senate on June 30, honors the work of California dairy producers, acknowledges dairy farmers’ contributions to the economy, and encourages Californians to continue to support the American dairy industry by including dairy products as part of a healthy diet.

Ag Council appreciates Senator Cannella’s effort to honor California’s dairy farmers and recognize the positive impact the industry has on our economy. We also thank the following bipartisan senators for co-authoring the resolution: Senator Anderson, Senator Bates, Senator Fuller, Senator Gaines, Senator Galgiani, Senator Huff, Senator Moorlach, Senator Morrell, Senator Nguyen, Senator Nielsen, Senator Pan, Senator Runner, Senator Stone, and Senator Vidak.

 

JUNE 21, 2016

Relative to June Dairy Month.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST SCR 157, as introduced, Cannella. June Dairy Month

This measure would proclaim the month of June 2016 to be Dairy Month in California and would encourage Californians to continue to support the American dairy industry by including dairy products as part of a healthy diet.

Fiscal committee: no.

WHEREAS, The annual tradition of National June Dairy Month, originally known as National Milk Month, began in 1937 and is an opportunity for Americans to honor dairy farmers, acknowledge dairy farmers’ contributions to the economy, and recognize the importance of dairy products to a healthy diet for many Americans; and

WHEREAS, California is America’s number one milk-producing state, the number two cheese-producing state, and dairy is the state’s number one agricultural commodity; and

WHEREAS, Ninety-nine percent of California dairy farms are family owned, and dairy farming in California has a 200-year heritage; and WHEREAS, One hundred eighty-nine thousand jobs depend on California’s dairy industry, including 55,000 milk production and processing jobs; and

WHEREAS, The landscape, economy, health, and nutrition of California would not be the same without our dairy farms and the approximately 1,450 families who run them; and

WHEREAS, Twenty-five percent of Americans do not meet their recommended intake of calcium; and

WHEREAS, The Office of the Surgeon General predicts that by 2020, one-half of all Americans older than 50 years of age will be at risk for fractures as a result of osteoporosis and low bone density, and one in five people with a hip fracture dies within a year of their injury; and

WHEREAS, The United States Surgeon General’s 2015 report on bone health and osteoporosis reveals that people can improve bone health and prevent fractures by boosting calcium and vitamin D intake; and

WHEREAS, Dairy foods provide essential nutrients, including calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin A, and milk is the number one source of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamin D in the American diet; and

WHEREAS, Obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years, and more than one-third of adults are considered to be obese; and

WHEREAS, Consumption of dairy foods plays a beneficial role in maintaining a healthy weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and

WHEREAS, Dairy farming is a leading agricultural commodity in California, producing $7.6 billion in annual retail sales in 2014; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, the Assembly thereof concurring, That the Legislature hereby proclaims the month of June 2016 to be Dairy Month in California in honor of the work of dairy producers in California and encourages all Californians to continue to support the American dairy industry by including dairy products as part of a healthy diet; and be it further

Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.

 

Ag Council Testifies at CDFA Dairy Pricing Hearing

June 2015 Post Hearing Brief (dragged)

June 2015 Post Hearing Brief page 2(dragged) (dragged)

To read the post-hearing brief and the UC Davis preliminary analysis of the 2015 Drought Economic Impact Study click HERE.

 

Ag Council Supports Pricing Proposal on Dry Whey

LOS for June 2015 hearing

 

Air Resources Board Develops a Strategy on Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

Recently, Ag Council has been participating in a Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP) workgroup assembled by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. As background, SLCPs include methane and black carbon (such as diesel).

The goal of the workgroup is to compile a suite of recommendations regarding the reduction of SLCPs from the agricultural sector in California. The recommendations will be provided to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as it develops a draft strategy on SLCPs. CARB is undertaking this effort as a result of a law passed last year, SB 605, authored by Senator Lara.

While the final list of recommendations is not yet complete, Ag Council wanted to share the key themes that have emerged from the discussion:
1. Emissions of methane from agricultural sources are due to natural biological processes and are difficult to measure.
2. California agriculture contributes nutritional food products and has a key role in global food security.
3. There must be flexibility in policies to accommodate changing environmental or economic conditions.
4. Regulations on agricultural operations have dramatically increased, particularly since 2004.

In addition to the workgroup, Ag Council attended and spoke at a workshop on SLCPs held by CARB on May 27. At this workshop, CARB staff explained their initial ideas and potential SLCP strategies. CARB also heard from stakeholders to help inform the development of a draft strategy planned for release this summer on SLCPs.

Read the Short-Lived Climate Pollutants Reduction Strategy Concept Paper on the California Air Resources Board website HERE.

Bill to Mandate a Renewable Gas Standard is Held in Committee

SB 687, a measure to require the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to adopt a carbon-based renewable gas standard, is no longer proceeding through the legislative process becuase it was “held” in the Senate Appropriations Committee due to a lack of support the committee.

Ag Council strongly opposed SB 687 because it would have led to higher costs and made California businesses less competitive, as well as create a double tax on those participating in the cap and trade program. Senator Allen (D-Santa Monica) was the bill’s author.

During Legislative Day on May 19, Ag Council members lobbied against SB 687, and we are pleased the bill was halted in committee given it easily could have raised natural gas costs by 25 percent.

Dairy Members Meet with Legislators

Ag Council’s Dairy Committee members met with a bipartisan group of legislators in Sacramento in late January for breakfast. The meet and greet breakfast was an opportunity to connect with legislators and also discuss issues facing the dairy industry.

Through this initial conversation, we endeavor to build a stronger dialogue between our members and legislators regarding policies impacting California dairy farmers.

Legislation Impacting Dairy

With the 2015 legislative session underway, legislators are drafting and introducing bills on a multitude of policy matters. February 27 is the last day for bills to be introduced in the California State Legislature, which means we will see a significant number of measures introduced prior to the deadline.

Ag Council wanted to take this opportunity to provide information regarding legislation introduced at the state level that would impact our dairy members. Given that it is early in the year, legislation will continue to be altered and amended.

Use of Antibiotics in Livestock & Poultry – SB 27

Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) introduced SB 27, a bill addressing the use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry. SB 27 was written in response to Governor Brown’s veto of an antibiotics bill, SB 835, by Senator Hill last year. SB 835 would have aligned California law with recent federal actions to phase out the use of antibiotics for growth promotion purposes.

At this time, SB 27 includes the following provisions:
• Prohibits the use of medically important antimicrobial drugs in livestock and poultry unless prescribed by a veterinarian.
• Bans the use of antibiotics to promote growth or increase feed efficiency.
• Requires CDFA to develop antibiotic stewardship guidelines.
• Mandates CDFA to create a program to track the use of medically important antibiotics and track antibiotic-resistant bacteria and patterns of emerging resistance.

Ag Council and other ag groups have met with Senator Hill and his staff to communicate concerns about SB 27 including privacy protections for the farming community. At the federal level, the United States Department of Food and Agriculture (USDA) is developing a blueprint document coordinated with other federal agencies to address antibiotic resistance nationwide, and we do not want the state to circumvent the important work occurring at the national level on this issue.

A hearing has not yet been scheduled regarding SB 27. Ag Council continues to engage on this issue, and we will continue to communicate further developments.

Proposal to Establish Federal Milk Marketing Order for California

On February 5th, California Dairies, Inc., Land O’ Lakes, Inc., and Dairy Farmers of America, Inc., requested that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) hold a public hearing to consider establishing a Federal milk marketing order for California.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service issued the following statement on Feb. 10th regarding the request.

“USDA has not yet determined whether to conduct a hearing. Before deciding if a hearing will be held, USDA is requesting additional proposals regarding the provisions of a potential California Federal milk marketing order.

Proposals amending existing Federal milk marketing orders will not be accepted in conjunction with this invitation.

Following an internal analysis of the proposals received, USDA will decide whether a hearing will be held.

USDA plans to conduct a series of public outreach meetings throughout California in early May. Information regarding these meetings will be released soon.”

For further details about the hearing request, click HERE, to link to USDA’s website.

Bill Addressing Antibiotics in Farm Animals is Tabled

A bill opposed by Ag Council and others to create a costly and burdensome regulatory scheme for antimicrobials used by California farmers and ranchers producing meat, milk and eggs was not considered in the Assembly Agriculture Committee in May, as scheduled. The measure, AB 1437 by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco), did not have enough votes for approval. Assemblyman Mullin tabled the measure prior to the committee hearing due to opposition.

Ag Council opposed AB 1437 because it would hinder the ability of farmers and ranchers to respond to health needs by requiring a prescription for all medically important antibiotics. In addition, under AB 1437, the use of antibiotics would have to be reported to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), and the information would be posted on a public website.

Farmers and ranchers work very hard to maintain the health of their animals, and this bill would have severely limited their ability to treat animals to prevent the spread of disease. AB 1437 is not expected to return this legislative session.

Raw Milk Bill Halted in Committee

The Assembly Agriculture Committee halted a bill in April that would have excluded certain farms from health and safety standards and allow the sale of raw milk from those farms. Ag Council opposed the measure and advocated against the bill on behalf of our dairy members: California Dairies, Inc., Dairy Farmers of America and Land O’Lakes. The measure, AB 2505, was authored by Assemblywoman Yamada (D-Davis).

Ag Council was concerned the proposed exemptions for certain farms could endanger public health and any resulting illness linked to raw milk could jeopardize the entire California dairy industry.

AB 2505 did not have the votes needed for passage. Out of the seven legislators on the Ag Committee, four expressed opposition to the measure during the hearing on AB 2505. The legislators primarily cited health and safety concerns. Given that the majority of the committee did not support AB 2505, no motion was made to move AB 2505 to a vote, and the bill was held in committee.

Ag Council appreciates the bipartisan group of four legislators who expressed opposition to the bill during the committee discussion: Assemblywoman Olsen (R-Modesto), Assemblyman Pan (D-Sacramento), Assemblyman Dahle (R-Bieber) and Assemblyman Quirk (D-Hayward).