in the KNOW

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.



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.



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.