in the KNOW

February 23, 2015

Assembly GOP Leader Kristin Olsen to Headline Annual Dinner in San Francisco

Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto)

Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto)

Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) is the keynote speaker at Ag Council’s Annual Dinner taking place on March 4 during our 96th Annual Meeting at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco March 4-6, 2015. Assemblywoman Olsen is Vice Chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture.

Other speakers at Ag Council’s Annual Meeting include: Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board and David Gutierrez, program manager of the Groundwater Sustainability Program at the Department of Water Resources. Also, Gordon Fowler, CEO of 3fold Communications, joins us to discuss generational motivation in the workplace.


If you have not yet registered for the Annual Meeting being held March 4-6 in San Francisco, click HERE. To view the itinerary, please click HERE and scroll down to the Program at a Glance.

Hotel Location

Hyatt Regency San Francisco is the site of our 2015 Annual Meeting and is located in the vibrant Embarcadero district with beautiful waterfront and city views. The special reservation rate has expired and availability at the Hyatt Regency is limited. Click HERE for the online reservation site.

Please call Ag Council’s Business and Events Manager Allyson Rathkamp at ph. (916) 443-4887 if you have any questions.

Golf Tournament

Scenic TPC Harding Park is the location of our annual Golf Tournament and PAC Fundraiser to be held on March 4. TPC Harding Park is a challenging course set to host the 2015 World Golf Championships–Cadillac Match Play this spring. You can sign-up for the golf tournament during Ag Council’s online registration process.

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 look forward to having you join us March 4-6, 2015 in San Francisco.

Please contact Ag Council if you have any questions at ph. (916) 443-4887.

Ag Council Speaks Out in Support of Flexibility in our Water System

At a February 18 workshop held by the State Water Resources Control Board (Board), Ag Council spoke out against action by the Board’s executive director to deny the portion of a petition that would allow state and federal agencies to increase pumping to drought-stricken communities. The executive director rejected that portion of the petition due to concerns about salmon and smelt impacts.

Ag Council asked the Board to reconsider the position taken by its executive director and instead requested that the Board support the petition as originally submitted by the California Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation so that water, however limited in quantity, can be beneficially used in agricultural and other areas in desperate need of water.

The original petition asked the Board to review Delta standards to allow for increased pumping, through operational flexibility in the management of the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project, in order to send more water to areas hit hard by drought. Environmental protections would remain in place.

Over 300 individuals attended the workshop and many of those were farmworkers who rode busses for hours to express their support for the original petition and explain their plight given the ongoing drought.

A decision was not made on this matter at the February 18 workshop given that the forum was intended for public comment only. Ag Council will remain engaged in this issue on behalf of our members and will communicate any developments.

To read a recent SacBee editorial on this issue, click HERE.

Water is Key Topic at World Ag Expo Breakfast

On February 12, Ag Council held its Fourth Annual World Ag Expo Breakfast. Over 70 attendees gathered to hear California Water Commission Vice-Chair Joe Del Bosque and State Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) speak.

Del Bosque discussed the California Water Commission’s (CWC) role in the implementation of the water bond, which voters approved in November 2014. Del Bosque said, “We need to ensure that water is available when needed.”

California Water Commission Vice-Chair Joe Del Bosque speaks at Ag Council's World Ag Expo breakfast.

California Water Commission Vice-Chair Joe Del Bosque speaks at Ag Council’s World Ag Expo breakfast.

Eligible projects under the $2.7 billion water storage component of the bond include surface and groundwater storage projects, as well as conjunctive use projects. Del Bosque said, “We must look at everything as an integrated system.”

The CWC is responsible for developing regulations relating to the quantification and management of the public benefits for water storage projects and for selecting storage projects under the water bond through a competitive public process. Funding must go toward the public benefits portion of chosen projects.

When asked what the agriculture community should do at this time, Del Bosque said, “We need more people in agriculture engaged. The public’s involvement is going to be critical.”

The CWC will review public comments and collaborate with other agencies before finalizing regulations by December 2016.

During his remarks at the breakfast, Senator Vidak spoke about last year’s positive, bipartisan work on the water bond and also about the challenges as the groundwater bill was moving through the Legislature.

In 2015, Senator Vidak said he is looking forward to working with his Central Valley colleagues, both Democrat and Republican, as part of the newly launched Central Valley Caucus. He said, “The Caucus is trying to find more common ground.”

To view photos of the event on AgNet West’s website, click HERE.

Proposal to Establish Federal Milk Marketing Order for California

On February 5, 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. 10 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.