Monday, October 28, 2013

USFWS reschedules Sacramento wolf meeting

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rescheduled a hearing on the proposed lifting of Endangered Species Act protections on the gray wolf that had been postponed because of the partial government shutdown.

The hearing will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 22 in the Golden State Ballroom of the Marriott Courtyard Cal Expo, 1782 Tribute Road, Sacramento.

The public comment period has also been extended until Dec. 17. To read or comment on the proposal, click here.

The Fish and Wildlife Service in June called for removing gray wolves across the Lower 48 states from the endangered species list, with an exception for the struggling Mexican wolf in the Southwest.

Agency director Dan Ashe asserted the wolf had recovered to the point that it could thrive and even enlarge its territory without federal oversight, although some advocates and members of Congress said the move would be premature.

The California Cattlemen's Association recommended that its members attend the Sacramento hearing and submit comments in favor of the wolf's de-listing.

Friday, October 25, 2013

One-third of U.S. workers say they'll never retire

Just as the full-time job with benefits is rapidly becoming a thing of the past in many industries, we may be witnessing another casualty of the Obama economy -- retirement. More than one-third of middle-class Americans say they will never retire and they expect to have to work until they are too sick or die, according to a Wells Fargo survey.

From Newsmax:
Meanwhile, a 59 percent majority of the middle class say paying monthly bills is their chief day-to-day financial concern. That's up from 52 percent last year.

Saving for retirement takes second place, with 13 percent calling it a priority. Overall, 42 percent say saving for retirement and paying bills concurrently is impossible.

Thus 48 percent don't have confidence that they will be able to save enough for a comfortable retirement.

The survey of 1,000 middle-class Americans between the ages of 25 and 75 was conducted July 24 to Aug. 27.

"For the past three years, the struggle to pay bills is a growing concern, and the prospect of saving for retirement looks dim, particularly for those in their prime saving years," Nordquist says in a statement.

"Having a plan and saving not only creates more hopefulness, but it produces results that can grow and lead to a solid retirement."
So much for the "recovery summer", or whatever they're calling it now that the leaves have turned brown.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tour guides teach about figs, walnut shells, olive oil


Today I visited the Lucero Olive Oil plant in Corning, where I met up with an all-day tour of local farms conducted by the Tehama County Farm Bureau. In the photos, from the top: Assistant store manager Jessica Smith-Secreto shows guests how to taste-test different flavors of olive oil; and retail store manager Trisha Billotti hands out samples. I've been to the Lucero plant before, and the business is known for having some of the purest, highest quality extra-virgin olive oil in California.

About 50 people signed up for this year's bus tour. While it is held each year mainly to familiarize Red Bluff businesspeople and other city-dwellers with the agriculture in their county, I was interested to learn the trip is also popular with farmers who wish to learn about other commodities in their area and perhaps gather ideas to use in their own operations. Today's tour finished up at Lucero after stops at Alderson Dairy in Gerber, Eco-Shell Inc., in Corning and Maywood Farms in Corning, which I also recently featured.

For my story on the farm tour, check CapitalPress.com soon.

'What?! A bipartisan bill?!'

On the bipartisan water resources bill mentioned below, Redding.com's Bruce Ross observes:
People -- politicians -- working together to build stuff in America. Hey, it happens.
Hey, when it comes to spending taxpayers' money, you'd be amazed at how like-minded Republican and Democrat politicians are.

Lawmakers hail bipartisan passage of water bill

Two Northern California members of the House of Representatives praised yesterday's near-unanimous passage of a water resources reform measure that seeks to streamline environmental regulations, put hard deadlines on studies and cap project review costs.

From the north state's Rep. Doug LaMalfa:
The measure, H.R. 3080, passed on a 417-3 vote and will now be considered in a conference committee with the Senate.

“California and our nation have vital needs, particularly in the area of flood control, that this bill will help address,” said Rep. LaMalfa. “Looking around California, how many good, solid projects have been studied to death while our state’s needs go unmet? Limiting interminable and expensive studies will go a long way toward ensuring that crucial projects are actually completed on a timely basis.”

Known as the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, key components of H.R. 3080 include the following:

· Standardizes across the nation the three-year, $3 million cap on project studies that was successfully used on the Feather River West Levee upgrade, which broke ground in August.

· Authorizes several projects that have been recommended by the Army Corp of Engineers with a “Chief’s Report”, including the Natomas Basin levee improvements.

· Consolidates or eliminates duplicative review processes at the Army Corp.

· Deauthorizes $12 billion in old, inactive projects across the nation; all new projects are offset with deauthorizations of old projects.
Rep. John Garamendi, a Sacramento area Democrat who serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, issued this statement:
“This bill is extremely important for my constituents and our nation. The levee projects provide life-saving protection for residents throughout California’s flood prone Central Valley. The construction projects will rebuild our crumbling water infrastructure and create jobs. By revitalizing our ports, waterways, and natural habitats, this bill supports business development, including the agriculture businesses in my district that export their products around the world.

“The Natomas Levee Improvement Project will be authorized because of this bill and will increase flood protection for thousands of residents in the Sacramento area. However, I believe the bill’s project authorization could be expanded to include those projects that are on their way to a completed Chief’s Report, such as a project in the Sutter Basin. I thank Committee leadership for including much needed language instructing the Corps to make a decision on levee vegetation based on local circumstances.

“I also want to continue the dialogue with my colleagues on strengthening the crediting provisions in the bill. Crediting is critical to ensure timely investments in public infrastructure. These changes would not require any additional federal resources. They simply give local agencies more advance notice and allow them to begin construction to address flood threats. I support the measures in the bill to expand opportunities for international trade by providing the resources to deepen and expand our nation’s ports and waterways. This bill moves in the right direction of ensuring more money comes back to the ports. However, I believe more can be done to make sure California gets a fair shake. I will continue to work with my colleagues across the aisle and in our state delegation to advocate for these changes.

“This bill is a milestone in a divided Congress and represents a good compromise from both sides. I thank the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairs and Ranking Members for developing a bipartisan bill that will add a needed boost to our economic recovery.”

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Group: Dems, media 'complicit' in IRS scandal

A legal team is expanding its federal lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service, claiming that an "intimidation campaign" against groups including the Redding Tea Party was more coordinated among political leaders and even the news media than was previously known.

From OneNewsNow:
The American Center for Law and Justice announced on Friday it has filed a second amended lawsuit in federal court in Washington, DC, adding additional defendants. David French, senior counsel for the ACLJ, says additional evidence reveals a politically motivated attack on conservative and tea party groups by the IRS because of their political beliefs.

"It really is astonishing when you put together the complete timeline how much IRS action followed directly after some very ugly, very targeted statements by the president of the United States,” the attorney tells OneNewsNow.

The amended complaint contends that public comments by President Obama – in conjunction with a “climate of hostility” created by congressional Democrats and the media – pressured the IRS to adopt a more rigorous standard for conservatives when applying for tax-exempt status than was applied to liberal organizations. That pressure, asserts ACLJ, made it impossible for their clients to exercise their First Amendment freedoms and “set the stage for the unprecedented, illegal targeting” by the IRS.

The lawsuit, French explains, wants to guarantee accountability from the Internal Revenue Service.

"We have seen that the IRS has a vindictive streak. The IRS is undeterred by things like the Constitution and federal law in pursuing its vindictive streak,” he says. “So we're wanting to make sure there is adult supervision on the IRS and that there is a judicial order preventing them from taking negative action against these conservative groups."

While some progress has been made, French says an inexcusable number of organizations are still facing the same level of scrutiny that they were facing before – with the same lack of progress.
I found it interesting that although this lawsuit has been active for well over a year, some news organizations only started paying attention a few months ago -- after the election was safely in hand.

Meeting to discuss new valley water quality regs

A state panel will hold a workshop in the north state next Wednesday to discuss new water quality regulations for irrigated lands in the Sacramento Valley that could take effect next year.

From the Tehama County Farm Bureau:
There will be a set of new water quality regulations imposed on Sacramento Valley irrigated agriculture and managed wetland owners as soon as April 2014. This is due to adoption of a waste discharge requirement General Order for the Long-Term Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program. An upcoming public workshop, held by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, will summarize the proposed new regulations and give opportunity to comment on issues of concern to Regional Board Members. Interested persons are being encouraged to attend and present oral arguments on October 30 in Colusa. [...]

Proposed new water quality regulations of the Long-Term Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program will add groundwater monitoring, farm evaluations, nutrient reporting, and sediment and erosion control plans. For a more detailed view of these proposed regulations, copies of the draft waste discharge requirements General Order may be downloaded at waterboards.ca.gov/centralvalley. [...]

The public workshop will be held in Colusa on October 30, 2013 at 10:00 AM. The location is Colusa Indian Community Council, 3730 Hwy. 45

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Good weather propels California harvests

This month's dry and balmy weather has enabled growers to breeze through their harvests of nuts and other crops. Here is the latest California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service office in Sacramento.
WEATHER

A moderate high pressure system dominated the weather pattern during a beautiful fall week in California. A weak storm front brushed Northern California on Thursday and brought scattered showers to some locations of the northern mountains. There was not much precipitation in the Central Valley south of Sacramento, however. A few scattered afternoon mountain thunderstorms followed the weak front. Most of the week was filled with sunny skies and near to slightly above normal temperatures across the State.

FIELD CROPS

Rice field harvest continued with over three-fourths of the crop finished. Reports noted cotton harvest was the main activity of the week. Half of the cotton crop was harvested by week’s end. Alfalfa growers continued to cut, windrow, rake and bale with good drying conditions across the State. Winter wheat field planting continued and some early planted wheat had emerged.

FRUIT CROPS

Late wine grape harvest continued. Some raisin grapes were still drying on the ground. Table grape harvest continued. Fig harvest was over. Asian pear harvest was ongoing. Apples continued to be harvested, including the Fuji and Pink Lady varieties. Kiwi harvest began. Peach, nectarine, and plum harvests were complete. Early persimmons were
harvested. Pomegranate harvest continued. Citrus growers were preparing for the Navel orange harvest.

NUT CROPS

Almond harvest was nearly complete. Finished orchards were irrigated, fertilized and pruned. Pistachio and walnut harvests continued.

VEGETABLE CROPS

Tulare County reported fall vegetables such as pumpkins, pomegranates, and persimmons were sold at farmers markets. In Fresno County, carrots were irrigated and treated with fungicides. Dehydrator onion fields were prepared for planting. San Joaquin County reported harvest of bell peppers and pumpkins. Tomato harvest was winding down and fields were prepared for fall plantings. Winter vegetables such as broccoli and lettuce were planted in San Mateo County. Yuba County reported cantaloupe harvest was winding down. In Siskiyou County, dehydrator onion harvest was ending.

LIVESTOCK

Range and non-irrigated pasture continued to be in fair to very poor condition. Cattle were moved from higher range in preparation for winter. Sheep and cattle grazed on idle fields, dry land grain and alfalfa fields. Livestock supplemental feeding of hay and grain was ongoing.
For my story on the nut harvests, check CapitalPress.com soon.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Redding meeting to discuss state wildlife plan

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife will hold a meeting Nov. 12 at the Turtle Bay Exploration Park to discuss its proposed new wildlife management plan, which it will finalize by 2015.

If you're a rancher, here's why you should care. From the California Cattlemen's Association:
In 2005, the Department of Fish and Wildlife developed a "State Wildlife Action Plan." Requisite for obtaining federal funding for the Department, this guidance document established goals for the overall improvement of the state's habitats and species. Per federal law, California is now updating the plan for scheduled completion in 2015.

The wildlife action plan is required to assess the condition of the state's wildlife and habitats, identify the problems they face, and outline the actions that are needed to conserve them over the long term.

Unfortunately, the Department has opted to update this plan by including a myopic view of what they perceive to be "threats" to the health of wildlife and their habitats, and grazing is frequently cited as one of those threats. While mention is made that grazing has been found to be beneficial to a number of plant and animal species, the scoping document thus far offers no distinction between good and bad practices, and instead categorizes grazing as a threat.

Although this guidance document does not yet contain regulatory or enforcement measures, it is critical that CCA members be aware of its development and play an active part in the public development of the plan.
For my story on the plan, check CapitalPress.com soon.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The R-S and Capital Press: Two journalistic journeys

I wouldn't have missed today's 75th anniversary celebration at the Record Searchlight, where nearly 100 past and present employees and top decision-makers from parent company E.W. Scripps reflected on the Redding local paper's mission and legacy.

This was my first time in the building since I left there in November 2008 to become the north state's field reporter for Capital Press, and one of the nicest parts was seeing former colleagues like city editor Maline Hazle, business reporter David Benda, Anderson Valley Post editor George Winship and others.

After a chicken and tri-tip lunch that would fit in nicely at some of the cattlemen's functions I cover, I was impressed by the presentation by Paul Scripps, the son of one of the Searchlight's founders. He told the story of how the Record, as it was called in 1938, sold about 600 copies in the first week, then doubled the number before the end of the year and doubled it again the next year. The company's founders believed that "men, method and money" were the key to starting a successful paper. In other words, maintaining a focus on employees, developing a strategy to respond to competition and having the capital to put into the business and spending it wisely. Scripps also said the paper's founders understood the importance of building a relationship with the community.

When Scripps, publisher Shanna Cannon and editor Silas Lyons relayed the paper's history, I was struck by the similarities between the Searchlight and my current employer, the Capital Press, which is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year. Both came from humble, small-town beginnings to make a distinct mark on the newspaper industry. The Capital Press was created as the Hollywood Press to cover a portion of the community of Salem -- the capital of Oregon, hence the current name -- and later found its niche, marketing itself to readers in outlying areas of the Willamette Valley with a focus on agriculture. Since then, the Record Searchlight has become a trend-setter in online journalism, tipping the 6 million mark in pageviews to Redding.com in a recent month. And the Capital Press has become a trend-setter in agricultural journalism, often providing news that no other outlet is reporting and maintaining a loyal readership throughout the West.

Several people remarked today that they wondered if the Record Searchlight would be around to celebrate its 150th anniversary, or even its 100th. Given the nature of the industry today, the same question could be asked of the Capital Press. If these papers maintain the relationship with their readers that Paul Scripps talked about, if they respect and appreciate their readers and make their product indispensable to them, I believe they will.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Runner to address Redding Rotary meeting

George Runner, the north state's representative on the California Board of Equalization, will be the keynote speaker at tomorrow's Redding Rotary Club meeting. He will discuss the topic, "Can California Really Tax Itself Into Prosperity?"

The noon event will be held at the Riverview Country Club, 4200 Bechelli Lane. Call his office at 916-445-2181 for information.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Columnist Buchanan lauds the Jefferson movement

In his column today, nationally known commentator Pat Buchanan listed the newly revived State of Jefferson movement amid secession efforts he says are growing more popular around the country.

He writes:
In California, which many have long believed should be split in two, the northern counties of Modoc and Siskiyou on the Oregon border are talking secession – and then union in a new state called Jefferson.

“California is essentially ungovernable in its present size,” says Mark Baird of the Jefferson Declaration Committee. Baird hopes to attract a dozen counties to join together before petitioning the state to secede.

Like the western Maryland and northern Colorado counties, the northern California counties are conservative, small town, rural and have little in common with San Francisco or Los Angeles, or Sacramento, where Republicans hold not one statewide office and are outnumbered better than 2-1 in both houses of the state legislature.
Of one group's suggestion that the United States be peacefully dissolved, he concludes:
If America does not get its fiscal house in order, and another Great Recession hits or our elites dragoon us into another imperial war, we will likely hear more of such talk.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

'Dictatorial' feds sued for shutting Tehama farm

The Pacific Legal Foundation is suing the federal government over a stop order it issued to a nursery that was growing wheat in a field south of Red Bluff.

From the PLF:
Federal regulators threw due process rights out the window recently when they ordered a halt to wheat-growing operations on private farmland in Tehama County without giving the property owners advance notice or opportunity for a hearing.

So argues a lawsuit filed today by attorneys with Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), on behalf of the property owners — Duarte Nursery Inc. and John Duarte, who is president of the family-owned business. The property is located on Paskenta Road in rural Tehama, a few miles south of the city of Red Bluff.

In February, 2013, the Corps issued a cease and desist letter and a notice of violation that accused Duarte of illegally filling wetlands. Although the accusation itself is wrong, the lawsuit targets the Corps’ due process violation in not allowing Duarte to answer the accusation before summarily ordering a shut-down of Duarte’s wheat-growing operations on the Tehama property. [...]

Under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, the Corps was required to advise Duarte ahead of taking an enforcement action, and to give Duarte a reasonable opportunity to set the record straight. But federal officials failed to do either.

“Constitutional rights were plowed under when the feds issued their summary shut-down order against Duarte’s wheat farming,” said PLF attorney Tony Francois. “The Corps apparently couldn’t be bothered with giving the landowner an opportunity for a hearing. Now, the Corps will have to answer in court for that arbitrary and frankly dictatorial behavior.”

If a hearing had been allowed before the shut-down demand, Duarte could have informed the government that a consultant had carefully identified the few areas of Duarte’s property that are possible wetlands, and there has been no plowing in those areas. Moreover, Duarte could have demonstrated that the areas where plowing has occurred don’t meet the tests that the U.S. Supreme Court has set out for “wetlands” subject to federal Clean Water Act oversight. And Duarte followed normal farming practices in the way it plowed the property.
The entire release is here. For my story, check CapitalPress.com soon.

UPDATE: The story is here. The photo is of Tony Francois and John Duarte, courtesy of the PLF.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Nielsen lauds state board for pot grow inspections

The north state's Sen. Jim Nielsen praised the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board for reversing an earlier decision and agreeing to inspect illegal marijuana growing operations in Shasta, Butte and Sacramento counties.

“This is a big deal and great news for residents of the region and all those who rely on clean ground and surface water,” Nielsen said. He thanked Assemblyman Dan Logue, Butte County Supervisors Bill Connelly and Doug Teeter, and sheriffs Jerry Smith of Butte County and Tom Bosenko of Shasta County for urging the board to change course.

In a letter to water board chairman Karl Longley, Butte County supervisors said the board should enforce the Clean Water Act at marijuana growing sites. As the AP reports on our site, state officials were initially fearful of the potential danger of the growers.

In August, Nielsen and Logue held meetings with local officials and state water board staff to discuss the impact of illegal marijuana grows. Another meeting was held with Gov. Jerry Brown’s representative. As a result, officials agreed they needed to prevent and regulate environmental damages caused near streams and lakes throughout the region.

Sheriff officials agreed to work closely to coordinate enforcement actions with state water staff to help ensure their safety.

“We will all benefit from this effort to ensure the quality of the water,” Nielsen said.

Photo gallery: Harvest fest at Hawes Farms



On a recent morning I visited Hawes Farms, which is bustling at this time of year with hundreds of schoolchildren visiting each day and lots of families coming on weekends to enjoy the pumpkin patch, corn maze, pizza farm and other attractions.

In the photos, Greg Hawes shows a pepper to children from Turtle Bay Elementary School in Redding, and homeschool kids (and a toddler) from Red Bluff check out pumpkins.

The photos were for this story on the pumpkin harvest in California and this one on a state climate change consortium. For the latest in agricultural news from the north state and beyond, keep checking CapitalPress.com.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A primer on the government shutdown

The north state's Rep. Doug LaMalfa says he will keep his offices open during the so-called government shutdown, which is actually affecting only about a quarter of the nation's federal employees.

“I’m committed to serving the people of the First District, and our availability to help solve constituent issues won’t change,” he said.

His office issued the following "frequently asked questions" primer on what the shutdown affects and doesn't affect.
Will my Social Security checks be issued?

• Social Security payments will continue to current beneficiaries. New applicants and those who have recently submitted a change of address/direct deposit slip, or other changes may be affected.

Will I still receive Medicare and Medicaid benefits?

• Funding for Medicare and Medicaid is mandatory, meaning it is not subject to annual appropriations that lapse during a shutdown. Although a government shutdown for any period of time could result in delays in claims processing, audits, and other administrative functions, most essential functions of Medicare will continue to operate under emergency and mandatory funding. Since Medicaid is a joint state and federal program, signing up for that is less likely to involve problems. Since Medicaid is a joint state and federal program, and the funds are paid in advance to the states, new enrollment would likely continue with no problems.

Will my medical services provided through the VA be affected?

• No. The VA’s medical services, medical facilities, and medical support & compliance accounts will not have a disruption in their services. However, other services including VA call centers and hotlines, decisions on claims appeals or motions by the Board of Veterans Appeals, recruiting and hiring of veteran job applicants, VA Secretary correspondences with veterans and VSOs, and outreach and public awareness activities will be impacted.

Will the postal service still deliver mail?

• Mail services will still continue as normal.

Will military personnel be paid?

• Yes. Congress approved and President Obama signed into law an order that ensures active duty military and select "essential" civilian personnel are paid on-time despite the shutdown. The 1998 guidance on a shutdown directs that "All military personnel shall continue to report for duty." Not all units will continue to operate, however, and military personnel may be assigned to other than their regular duties.

Will security operations at airports, nuclear facilities, U.S. borders and military installations continue?

• Yes, essential security and monitoring personnel will continue to perform their duties, including law enforcement/security personnel, air traffic controllers etc. Additionally, personnel at the National Weather Service who perform essential services dealing with public safety such as warning forecasts for severe weather, fire weather services, ongoing flood monitoring etc., will be maintained.

Will the public have access to federal buildings/properties?

• Generally-speaking, all federal properties will be closed to the public and non-essential personal. Essential maintenance and security services will continue. This will mean closures of courthouses (yet courts and other essential offices will be open only for emergencies) and other government properties to the public.

Will National Parks be open?

• No. During a government shutdown parks will be closed. However, the House is acting this evening to pass a bill funding National Park operations.

Our family is planning on visiting Washington, D.C. next week. Will your office be able to help us with tours? Will Smithsonian museums be open?

• No. Unfortunately, the Capitol Visitor Center, all federal museums and federal buildings will be closed. Once the federal government shutdown ends, my office will again be able to assist with scheduling tours.

Will government websites have current information despite the federal shutdown?

• No. As federal departments and agencies will be shutdown, information available on their respective websites will not be the most current available. Individuals needing information are encouraged to call 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636) where information specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST to answer questions. This call center will be open despite the shutdown.

How long will the government shutdown last?

• Until there is a budget solution passed by Congress and signed by the President. For perspective, the last federal government shutdowns were in 1995 & 1996 during the Clinton Administration. At that time, there were two separate shutdowns: 5 days (from November 14 through November 19, 1995) and 21 days (from December 16, 1995, to January 6, 1996).
Several Capital Press reporters are working on a package of stories explaining how the shutdown is affecting agriculture. For those stories, check CapitalPress.com soon.

Shutdown affects USDA; business goes on

From the California Cattlemen's Association:
As you have likely heard, beginning at 12:01 this morning, the federal government has shutdown because Congress was unable to reach a deal with the President to fund the government in the new fiscal year which began today, Oct. 1. With the exception of federal employees who have been deemed "critical," all government agencies have begun to shut down and furlough employees until Congress is able to reach a deal and pass a continuing resolution to fund the government based on last year's budget or pass a new appropriations bill.

Congress has provided no indication on when negotiations between the Republican controlled House of Representative and the Democratic controlled Senate will resume. The last government shutdown that occurred in 1995-96 lasted for a total of 28 days.

Some producers may have questions on how the government shutdown will impact them. First and foremost, cattle will continue to be slaughtered in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspected facilities. Meat inspectors mandated by the federal government to be present when livestock are being harvested and processed have been deemed "critical" employees and will remain on the job. With this in mind, we expect and hope there to be little interruption in commerce for livestock producers throughout the government shutdown.

The end of September also officially ended any framework in place to implement provisions of the old Farm Bill that had been extended for one year following Congress' inability to reach a deal on a new Farm Bill last year. During the shutdown, producers will not be able to contact or conduct business with most USDA agencies including the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Services Agency. With the expiration of the Farm Bill, some disaster programs administered by USDA may also be in jeopardy, however this remains unclear at this time. Needless to say, expect any service from USDA to be either discontinued until a deal is reached or significantly stalled.

The Department of the Interior has announced that nearly 81 percent of the employees working at the Bureau of Land Management will be furloughed including range staff that process grazing permit applications. The U.S. Forest Service has not released specific details at this time, but again expect any communications to be stalled or permanently delayed until the shutdown ends.

Public hearings related to new government regulations have also be canceled including a hearing scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, in Sacramento to discuss a proposed action by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species. CCA staff provided a notice of this meeting in last week's Legislative Bulletin and encouraged members to attend. Again please note, this meeting has been CANCELED and will be rescheduled at some point again in the future following the end of the shutdown.

Members of Congress and their staff will continue to be employed throughout the shutdown in order to reach a compromise that will once again fund the government and reopen the doors. That said, expect any communications to your federally elected representatives to be stalled unless they pertain specifically to the shutdown until a negotiated deal is reached.

CCA will continue to provide updates to members as we receive them. Do not hesitate to contact the CCA office with any questions or concerns.