in the KNOW

June 22, 2012

State Democrats Strike Budget Deal

Legislative Democrats reached a deal this week with Governor Jerry Brown on deeper cuts to state and welfare programs to help close the projected $15.7 billion budget deficit. The Legislature approved a $92 billion state budget last week, but Governor Brown demanded more reductions before he would commit to signing the budget, particularly in the area of welfare reform.

The Legislature will vote on the new budget deal and several companion measures next week, just before the next fiscal year begins on July 1. Given the Democrat majorities in both the state Senate and Assembly, the budget has enough votes to pass without any Republican votes.

Importantly, the deal relies upon passage of Governor Brown’s tax measure on the November ballot to close the state budget deficit.

As highlighted in a previous Ag Council newsletter, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is being reduced by an additional $2.5 million this budget cycle, which is in addition to the $63 million in General Fund budget reductions that have already been made to the CDFA budget in the current and previous budget cycles.

Ag Council continues to be an active participant in the stakeholder consortium created by CDFA Secretary Karen Ross to provide advice regarding budget reductions. The ag community is focused on preserving the core operations of CDFA that are crucial to agriculture, such as protecting against plant and animal pests and diseases. Ag Council members are encouraged to contact our office at ph. 916.443.4887 if you would like specific details about the latest budget reductions at CDFA.


Cap and Trade Forum in Fresno

Ag Council is a sponsor of an upcoming Cap and Trade Forum being held by Assemblyman Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno) and Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) on June 29, 2012 at 2 p.m. in Fresno. The Forum is being held at Fresno City College in the Old Administration Building, Room 251. The event is open to the public, and Ag Council encourages members to attend.

Ag Council members and other stakeholders will be formally speaking at the Forum about the projected impacts of the state cap and trade program on their businesses.

The cap and trade regulatory system is being implemented by the California Air Resources Board to carry out a landmark climate change law, AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act. AB 32 was approved by the state Legislature and signed into law by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006. The law mandates that California reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Click HERE for the flyer about the Cap and Trade Forum on June 29.

Ag Council remains actively engaged on climate change issues at the state level. Click HERE for a video of Ag Council President, Emily Rooney, speaking before the Air Resources Board on May 24, 2012.


U.S. Senate Approves Farm Bill

On Thursday this week, the U.S. Senate approved the Farm Bill, which is a legislative package establishing national policies on agriculture, nutrition, conservation and forestry. The vote in the Senate was 64-35.

The Senate bill lowers federal spending by $23 billion over 10 years when compared to policies under the current Farm Bill by ending direct payments and streamlining other programs.

The House of Representatives is expected to consider its version of the Farm Bill in the House Committee on Agriculture in mid-July.

You can review a summary of the State Senate-passed Farm Bill on the Senate Committee for Agriculture’s website HERE.


Fertilizer Advisory Board Vacancies

Three Fertilizer Inspection Advisory Board vacancies were recently announced by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The Board advises CDFA’s Fertilizing Materials Inspection Program whose purpose is to ensure consumers receive fertilizing materials that are safe, effective, and meet the quality guaranteed by the manufacturer.

Those interested in a Board appointment must send a resume to the California Department of Food Agriculture – Feed, Fertilizer, and Livestock Drugs Regulatory Services Branch, 1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, Attn: Maria Hicks or via email at: maria.hicks@cdfa.ca.gov. The deadline to apply is August 1, 2012.

Click HERE to read the full CDFA announcement regarding the Board vacancies.


Farm Management & Ag Consulting Seminars

The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, California Chapter, is holding Farm Management and Agricultural Consulting Seminars on June 28 and 29, 2012 in Clovis, CA.

The seminars are training sessions for individuals seeking to enhance their professional skills in areas such as project management, negotiating, budgeting and business contracts.

The seminars will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn located at 520 West Shaw Avenue in Clovis, CA 93612. Click HERE for details about the seminar fees and who should attend. To register online, click HERE.