Friday, December 30, 2016

New state law will allow '70s license plates

From state Sen. Jim Nielsen:
Car enthusiasts of the 1970’s have one additional reason to cheer for the New Year. Effective January 1, owners of cars from the 1970’s will be able to use their California blue and gold vintage license plates on era-appropriate vehicles.

“We Americans take great pride in our cars,” said Senator Jim Nielsen, who pushed for the passage of the law. “We associate fond memories of our families and our younger years with our cars. This law will hopefully add a bit of happiness to those who own and treasure cars from the 70’s.”

Specifically, this bill allows vehicle owners to dust off existing vintage plates in their garages (or be gifted plates from family or friends, or buy one from an estate sale), and register it with the Department of Motor Vehicles. DMV will not be required to produce blue and gold license plates.

The license plate must be legible and serviceable as determined by DMV. It also must be on a vehicle of the coinciding era.

Supported by the Association of California Car Clubs, Capital City Cruisers Car Club, El Dorado Early Ford V8 Car Club and Specialty Equipment Market Association, voluntary participation in this program requires a $45 application fee and an additional $10 fee for annual renewals.
Of course, you may not be able to get the car to pass smog, but hey, you can keep the ugly blue license plates.

Radar to track migrating birds to protect poultry

From the California Farm Bureau Federation's most recent edition of Food and Farm News:
People are used to looking at weather-radar maps, but how about bird radar? A team of researchers is testing radar to track waterfowl populations in the Central Valley, to alert poultry producers of bird-migration patterns. The system uses the same radar as in weather observation. Because wild birds can carry disease to domestic poultry, researchers say the radar tracking could help farmers monitor waterfowl locations.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Accepting Argentine lemons will be a lengthy process

The USDA finally got back to me about the citrus industry's complaints over the government's decision to allow Argentine lemons into the country again after a 15-year ban. Spokeswoman Suzanne Bond said in an email:
Publishing the final rule is one of several steps that must be completed before Argentina may begin shipping lemons to the United States. APHIS and Argentina’s National Plant Protection Organization (SENASA) must now finalize and sign the operational work plan, which details the conditions Argentina must meet for every U.S.-bound lemon shipment. Additionally, SENASA will have to collect and APHIS will have to verify six months of fruit fly trapping data. APHIS will also have to verify that packinghouses have met the safeguarding requirements outlined in the operational work plan. Until these steps are completed, APHIS will not issue import permits for Argentine lemons.
For my update (including a response from the industry), check CapitalPress.com soon.

Today in the Times: January fun at the Cascade

Among the latest stories in the East Valley Times:
Shasta County Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Advisory Board and Public Health Advisory Board to hold joint meeting
A joint meeting of the Shasta County Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Advisory Board (MHADAB) and Public Health Advisory Board (PHAB) will be held on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, at 12:00 p.m., at the Shasta County Mae Helene Bacon Boggs Conference Center, 2420 Breslauer Way, Redding, California.

Cascade Theatre hosts the Second Annual Signature Gala
An elegant evening of dancing, libations, tasty morsels and an opportunity to take home some exclusive autographed posters and prizes awaits those who attend the Cascade Theatre’s second annual Signature Gala. The event, set to be held Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 7:00pm, is the organization’s major fundraising event of the year.

Vicki Lawrence and Mama: A Two Woman Show
Emmy award winning comedienne Vicki Lawrence is best known for her work on The Carol Burnett Show, Mama’s Family, and her gold record “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” and she takes the Cascade Theatre stage on January 21, 2017 at 7:30pm.

PG&E to Increase Flows Below Lake Britton Dam along Pit River
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will increase water flows on the Pit River below the Lake Britton Dam from early January through mid-April of 2017. Recreationalists in or near the river are encouraged to use extra caution during the higher flows.
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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Citrus agency's social media campaign targets city folks

From the Citrus Insider:
Citrus farmers are calling on Californians to help save the state’s citrus trees from a deadly plant disease called Huanglongbing via a social media campaign asking residents to “take the pledge.”

Developed by the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program, the campaign is hosted on the California Citrus Threat Facebook page and online at CaliforniaCitrusThreat.org/pledge. The campaign aims to educate residents on how they can stop the spread of Huanglongbing. Each time a person takes the pledge, he or she is entered to win a prize of fresh citrus fruit provided by California citrus farmers. Prizes will be awarded weekly to recipients chosen at random.
For my full story on this, check CapitalPress.com soon.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

DWR to do season's first manual snow survey Jan. 3

From the California Department of Water Resources:
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) will conduct its first media-oriented manual snow survey of Water Year 2017 at 11 a.m. on January 3 at Phillips Station, just off Highway 50 near Sierra-at-Tahoe Road approximately 90 miles east of Sacramento.

Electronic readings of the Sierra Nevada mountain snowpack today peg its statewide water content at 10.5 inches, 72 percent of the December 27 average. (The list at the end of this advisory has the statewide snow water equivalents on January 1 from 2002 through 2016.)

The Phillips snow course, which has been measured each winter since 1941, is one of dozens that will be traversed during a 10-day period around January 1 to determine the water content of the snowpack, which normally contributes about 30 percent of California’s water when it melts. Manual readings supplement DWR’s electronic data.

It’s too soon to know whether this winter’s wet season will deliver enough rain and snow to move California closer to the end of the state’s five-year drought. The snowpack usually is at its deepest and most water-laden around April 1, so weather watchers won’t know with certainty what kind of wet season it has been until then.

Water Year 2017 began with above-average rainfall in October in all three Sierra Nevada regions monitored continuously by DWR. Northern California’s wettest October in 30 years sparked optimism for a robust water year. November saw below-average precipitation in all three regions, but wet weather returned in December and produced above-average rainfall in the three regions. Rainfall measured from October 1 through December 27 at DWR’s 19 key monitoring stations totaled 150 percent of the stations’ combined historical average during that period.

As the three traditionally wettest months of the year began on December 1, the statewide snowpack’s water content was just 61 percent of average on that date. Relatively warm temperatures had tended to produce rain rather than snow in the mountains, but the cold storm that arrived last weekend improved the snowpack up to 75 percent of the Christmas Day average. The snowpack today holds 72 percent of the December 27th average water content.

California is three months into what could become its sixth consecutive year of drought. State Climatologist Michael Anderson said, “October was one of our wettest on record, and December has produced a nice rebound from November’s below-average precipitation. California needs sustained above-average precipitation and a decent snowpack to overcome the previous years of drought.”

NWS: Showers this weekend, low snow next week

From the National Weather Service:
A series of upper level weather systems will bring a chance of showers across the region this weekend and early next week. Arctic air is likely to arrive early next week, which will push snow levels down into the foothills, possibly even into the higher elevations of the Valley. Forecast confidence is low however on how much and how strong the showers will be.

Impacts
Travel delays, slick roads, and chain controls possible over the mountains

Forecast Confidence
Low confidence

Timing and Strength
Saturday: scattered showers possible with moderate snow levels
Early next week: scattered showers possible, snow levels lowering to 1000-2000 feet, possibly even lower

Friday, December 23, 2016

Water Resources updates report on California groundwater

From the California Department of Water Resources:
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today issued an interim update to its Bulletin 118 series, California’s Groundwater, with key information to help local agencies meet requirements and deadlines under the historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) enacted in 2014.

SGMA requirements and deadlines made it necessary to provide an interim update rather than wait for the comprehensive update of Bulletin 118 scheduled for 2020. Information provided in this interim update – groundwater basins in critical overdraft, modifications to basin boundaries, and in 2017, the priority ranking of groundwater basins – is essential to the successful implementation of SGMA.

Reassessing the prioritization of California’s groundwater basins is currently underway. The Bulletin 118 interim update will be amended in 2017 to include the approach for, and results of, the basin prioritization at the completion of that effort. The basin priority update process will include public meetings and workshops to solicit input. More information about the reprioritization of California’s groundwater basins is available here.

Under SGMA, groundwater sustainability agencies must be established for all groundwater basins that DWR has identified as high- and medium-priority by June 30, 2017. SGMA also requires that basins subject to critical conditions of overdraft, as classified in Bulletin 118, be covered by groundwater sustainability plans or their equivalent by January 31, 2020. Groundwater sustainability plans, or their equivalent, must be established for all other high- and medium-priority basins by January 31, 2022.

Today’s update of Bulletin 118 is the latest in a series of reports about California’s groundwater that date to 1952, when DWR’s predecessor, the Division of Water Resources, published a first-ever base map showing California’s principal groundwater basins. A comprehensive update of Bulletin 118 is scheduled for 2020 in accordance with Water Code section 12924 and the California Water Action Plan. It will include an inventory and assessment of efforts by groundwater sustainability agencies and the state to implement SGMA, information on groundwater management successes and challenges, and recommendations for the future.
Local and state water officials held a meeting in Redding earlier this month to educate the public on the ongoing formation of local sustainable groundwater agencies. Here is my report.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The 2016 version of the TV Christmas special

... is a livestream of the Christmas program at your local church or school, available in high-definition on your TV through devices such as Roku.

Neighborhood Church of Redding is offering one such program -- or actually six. It's livestreaming all of its Christmas services today and tomorrow, beginning at 4 p.m. today. The YouTube link is here.

NCBA lauds official for defending American beef

From the National Cattlemen's Beef Association:
Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced it will start the process of reinstating retaliatory tariffs on goods and products from the European Union due to the E.U.’s unfair treatment of U.S. beef. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Tracy Brunner applauds USTR Ambassador Michael Froman for standing up for the U.S. beef industry and taking action in defense of U.S. beef producers.

“The European Union has left us no choice but to seek compensation for the long-standing mistreatment of U.S. beef exports,” said Brunner. “Our temporary agreement with the E.U. was meant to be an opportunity to build a bridge of trust between U.S. beef producers and E.U. consumers, and to compensate the United States for the losses we have suffered as a result of the E.U.’s hormone ban. The E.U. has violated the spirit of that agreement and caused U.S. beef exports to become a minority interest in a quota meant to compensate U.S. beef producers.”

In 2009 the U.S. and the E.U. signed a Memorandum of Understanding under which the E.U. agreed to create a new duty-free quota for imports of specially-produced beef to compensate the United States for losses arising from the E.U.’s ban on the use of hormones in beef production. Imports under the quota have grown steadily since then, and for the past two years, the entire 45,000 metric ton quota has been filled, though from countries other than the U.S.

Over the past two years the U.S. government has attempted, without success, to engage the European Commission in discussions about ways to rectify this situation.

“While this is not our preferred choice, retaliation is the only way cattle producers are going to secure our rights for the losses we have incurred over the years due to the E.U.’s hormone ban,” said Brunner. “If the E.U. is unwilling to honor the terms of the agreement then we have no alternative but to seek restitution. We will not continue to be subjected to such trade agreement abuse.”

While initially imports from the United States accounted for the majority of the business done under the quota, over time imports from Australia, Uruguay and Argentina increased rapidly, taking a greater share of the quota. Neither Australia, Uruguay, nor Argentina was a party to the hormone dispute or the 2009 MOU that created the quota intended for the United States. The United States now has a minority and declining share of the quota, and imports so far this year point to a continuation of this trend.

Final environmental documents for WaterFix released

From the California Natural Resources Agency:
Following hundreds of public meetings and thousands of public comments, California today released the final, refined environmental documents for WaterFix, an essential effort to modernize the State’s water infrastructure.

“WaterFix will secure water supplies for 25 million Californians and prepare for a future marked by rising seas, seismic threats and more extreme weather,” said Mark Cowin, Director of the California Department of Water Resources. “After years of scientific study and analysis, we have found the best solution for protecting both the Delta’s ecosystem and a vital water supply for California.”

The Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) describe environmental impacts that could arise from modernizing California’s infrastructure and includes measures to avoid or minimize those impacts. The document analyzed 18 project alternatives, including the status quo, and ultimately concluded that WaterFix, known as Alternative 4A, was the best option for both increasing water supply reliability and addressing current Delta ecosystem concerns while minimizing environmental impact. WaterFix was chosen because of its ability to provide a reliable source of clean water while minimizing unnatural flows in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that harm native fish and habitat. More than 100 alternatives were also considered in the development of the WaterFix EIR/EIS and screened out for lack of feasibility or public benefit.

WaterFix is the State’s plan to upgrade infrastructure in the estuary where two major rivers – the Sacramento and San Joaquin – meet before flowing to San Francisco Bay. The Delta provides critical habitat for wildlife, including several endangered or threatened species of native fish. The State’s two biggest water projects, the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project, deliver water that passes through the Delta. Together, the two projects deliver water to 25 million people across California. Water project operations in the south Delta are increasingly curtailed to protect listed fish species. WaterFix aims to reduce that conflict so that water supplies are stabilized and harmful reverse flows are reduced. The project consists of three new intakes in the northern Delta and two 35-mile-long tunnels to transport water to the existing pumping plants in the south Delta. New intakes and tunnels would also help guard water supplies against saltwater intrusion as sea levels rise and in the event of an earthquake or storm powerful enough to destroy levees in the low-lying Delta.

The product of 10 years of study, analysis, and public input, California WaterFix is a key element of the Brown Administration’s five-year plan to build more reliable, resilient water systems and to restore important ecosystems. The basic elements of WaterFix were chosen in order to satisfy the 2009 Delta Reform Act, which established the co-equal goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. The 2009 law directed State agencies to analyze a reasonable range of Delta conveyance alternatives, including various routes and carrying capacities.

Now that the EIR/EIS is completed, Biological Opinions are expected to be finalized in early 2017, clearing the way for final environmental clearances, completion of other necessary agreements, and construction beginning as soon as 2018.

Today’s final EIR/EIS was refined after more than 300 days of public review and 600 public meetings throughout the State about the draft versions. It includes responses to and revisions based on more than 30,000 public comments. The final environmental documents are available here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

State Water Project allocation boosted to 45 percent

From the California Department of Water Resources:
With reservoirs rising from December storms, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) today boosted its early-season estimate of next year’s State Water Project (SWP) supply from 20 to 45 percent of most requests.

“This winter’s wet start gives us hope we’ll be able to keep increasing the State Water Project allocation,” said DWR Director Mark Cowin. “But the faucet can shut off suddenly and leave us dry for a sixth year in a row. Drought always looms over California, so we must use water wisely and sparingly.”

Each December, DWR makes its initial estimate of SWP water delivery capability (allocation) for the following calendar year. The allocation is adjusted – hopefully upward -- as hydrologic conditions develop through the rainy season. Under the initial 20 percent water allocation for 2017, the 29 public agencies served by the SWP would receive only 839,376 acre-feet of the 4,172,786 acre-feet they collectively requested. Under today’s allocation, they would receive 1,894,645 acre-feet.

The initial allocation for this calendar year (2016) was 10 percent of the requested 4.1 million acre-feet, but was increased to 60 percent as storms developed and reservoir storage increased.

Lake Oroville in Butte County, the SWP’s principal reservoir, this morning was holding 1,895,292 acre-feet, 54 percent of its 3.5 million acre-foot capacity and 88 percent of its historical average for the date. Shasta Lake north of Redding, California’s and the federal Central Valley Project’s (CVP) largest reservoir, was holding 3,327,257 acre-feet, 73 percent of its 4.5 million acre-foot capacity and 120 percent of its historical average. San Luis Reservoir, a critical south-of-Delta storage facility for both the SWP and CVP, was holding 1,155,838 acre-feet, 57 percent of its 2 million acre-foot capacity and 87 percent of its average for the date.

It’s important to note that nearly all areas served by the SWP have sources of water other than their SWP allocation, among them streams, groundwater and local reservoirs.

The last 100 percent SWP allocation – difficult to achieve even in wet years because of Delta pumping restrictions to protect threatened and endangered fish species – was in 2006. SWP allocations in recent years:

2016 – 60 percent
2015 – 20 percent
2014 – 5 percent
2013 – 35 percent
2012 – 65 percent
2011 – 80 percent
2010 – 50 percent
2009 – 40 percent
2008 – 35 percent
2007 – 60 percent

DWR’s California Data Exchange Center Web sites show current water conditions at the state’s largest reservoirs and weather stations.

Obama 'fired top scientist to advance climate agenda'

The global warming movement has suffered another black eye in terms of credibility. From The Hill via WorldNetDaily:
The Obama administration withheld information from Congress and improperly fired an employee as part of a politically motivated push to end a Department of Energy (DOE) program, House Republicans say.

A report Tuesday from the House Science Committee, based on an 11-month investigation, said the Obama administration wanted to shut down the DOE’s Low-Dose Radiation Research Program — which the committee has voted to save — in order to shift funds to President Obama’s climate change priorities.

In doing so, DOE officials improperly lobbied Congress against intervening to save the program and fired a scientist when her bosses thought she lobbied in support of the radiation research, committee staff concluded.
Here is the full story. Here is the committee's report.

Today in the Times: Help for community nonprofits

Among the latest headlines in the East Valley Times:
Please support fundraising campaign at Shingletown Medical Center
If you have Schwan’s in your area they have GREAT food and it’s delivered to your doorsteps!! We’ve launched a “Shingletown Medical Center”, fundraising campaign and I need your help. Schwan’s will give 20% of your product purchase and 40% of your eGift Card purchase (one per customer, per campaign) back to our campaign and you’ll get great food for your friends and family!

Community Foundation announces final results for North State Giving Tuesday
The Shasta Regional Community Foundation has released the final event totals for the November 29, 2016 online North State Giving Tuesday fundraising event. The 96 participating nonprofits in Shasta and Siskiyou counties raised a collective $750,161 in online donations for their charities.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Friday storm to impact travel, produce white Christmas


If you're traveling on Friday, expect to encounter weather. But if you're going to the mountains, at least you'll enjoy a white Christmas.

From the National Weather Service:
Our forecast confidence continues to increase in a potentially strong weather system moving through Northern California Friday into Saturday. This system has the potential to cause substantial headaches to travel leading up to Christmas. The greatest impact may be to the mountains, where heavy snow with gusty winds and low snow levels could cause near-whiteout conditions and significant travel delays. Gusty winds are also expected for the Valley, but precipitation is expected to be less than recent rainstorms.

Impacts
Significant travel delays possible, especially over the Sierra
Snow and blowing snow could cause near-whiteout conditions over mountain passes
Slick roadways could result in increased traffic accidents
Gusty winds could bring down trees and cause power outages

Forecast Confidence
Medium

Timing and Strength
Friday into Saturday (greatest impact Friday & Friday Night)
Light to moderate precipitation across the Valley, heavy over mountains
Heavy snow appearing more likely over mountains. Snow levels initially 4500-6000 feet, potentially rapidly lowering to 2500-3500 feet Friday night

LaMalfa: Water bill will bring relief to families, communities

From the north state's Rep. Doug LaMalfa:
Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after President Obama signed into law S. 612, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, which addresses California’s water supply crisis, protects North State water rights, and authorizes Sites Reservoir along with eligibility for federal funding. This legislation passed the House on December 8, 2016 by a margin of 360-61 with Rep. LaMalfa’s support.

LaMalfa said: “Now that this legislation has become law, California’s families and communities will soon begin to receive the relief they so desperately need. With broad bipartisan support, this bill has taken years of hard work and compromise. Make no mistake, there is plenty of work left to be done, but the WIIN Act is a step in the right direction towards securing our state’s economic future while continuing to protect North State water rights.”

The WIIN Act is the first California water supply proposal to receive support from a majority of California’s congressional delegation, including Senator Dianne Feinstein. This legislation protects North State water rights by implementing language to ensure any additional water provided South of the Delta is not taken from North State allocations, as well as requiring a greater portion of South of Delta water supplies be diverted and stored during winter storms, when doing so does not impact North State supplies. The House amendment to S. 612 also allocates $335 million in federal funding toward surface water storage projects, such as Sites Reservoir, and ensures businesses impacted by new storage projects are compensated fairly and given an opportunity to construct replacement facilities on federal land.
Here is my story on Obama's signing of the bill on Friday. The full text of the bill is here.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Cold so far isn't hurting Central Valley citrus groves

From California Citrus Mutual:
Cold weather blanketed the Central Valley this weekend, but for local citrus growers the sub-freezing temperatures are a welcomed change from the unseasonably warm December weather to-date.

Temperatures ranged in the high 20s to low 30s on Friday-Sunday nights which is ideal for most citrus varieties at this point in the season. Navel oranges and lemons are generally more cold tolerant than mandarin, or easy-peel, varieties such as Clementines, Murcotts, and Tangos, but with frost protection by wind machines the weekend temperatures proved favorable for all varieties. The cold weather will actually cause the maturation process of the fruit to slow, allowing for the fruit to store longer on the tree and maintain its flavor, external quality, and color.

In Kern County, where much of the Central Valley mandarin crop is concentrated, temperatures hovered around 31 degrees last night, which with the aid of wind machines is an ideal temperature point. Similarly, in Tulare and Fresno Counties temperatures were well within preferable ranges.

Most mandarin growers report running wind machines on average 16 hours this weekend. Navel oranges, by contrast, can withstand cooler temperatures at longer durations. Wind machines were used on roughly one-third of the Central Valley navel crop – covering 44,000 acres – for an average of 5 hours on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Wind machines can raise temperatures as much as 5 degrees by trapping and circulating the warm air rising from the moist ground in the grove. Growers will irrigate in anticipation of cold weather to ensure ground temperatures are warm. When that warm air rises as temperatures cool, it is pushed downward by the wind machines.

California Citrus Mutual estimates Central Valley citrus growers spent a total of $25.1 million in frost protection this weekend alone to protect the region’s $2.5 billion crop.

In sum, temperatures this weekend proved manageable and well within preferable ranges for the Valley’s citrus growers.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Group cheers Obama's signing of Calif. drought relief bill

President Obama has signed the compromise bill that will provide $558 million for drought relief for California. Western Growers is pleased that he has done so. They write:
Statement by Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif in response to President Obama’s signature on the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN):

“Even though it has taken us a while to get to this point, we are pleased that Congress has finally passed, and the president has signed into law, legislation that provides a measure of drought relief to rural communities and urban residents throughout California.

Thanks to three years of hard work and dedication by Senator Feinstein, House Majority Leader McCarthy, and our champions in the House, including Congressmen Calvert, Costa, Denham, Nunes and Valadao, we can now begin bringing aid to the thousands of businesses and millions of lives that have been devastated by a combination of Mother Nature and broken policies governing California’s water system.

We urge all stakeholders to recognize that the language in this law is the product of bipartisan, bicameral negotiations that provide temporary improvements to the operations of the Delta pumping plants while maintaining the integrity of the Endangered Species Act. With California’s winter rainy season already upon us, it critical that we not prevent the reasonable diversion of all available runoff to storage.

Finally, we encourage Congress to continue working together – and with the new administration – during the next session to complete negotiations around longer-term, more permanent solutions to California’s water crisis.”
For more on this, check CapitalPress.com soon.

NWS official: This week's rain 'a typical winter storm'

Cindy Matthews, one of the lead forecasters at the National Weather Service office in Sacramento, made some observations about the past storm in an email this morning. She wrote:
This was an exciting storm with a little wind, lots of rain and even a little bit of high water. This storm was a typical winter storm for Northern California, it was even being characterized as an Atmospheric River storm - warm temperatures with high snow levels and plenty of rain. Since we've been in a 5 year drought with very few storms, to some folks, leading up to it, this seemed like a huge storm - it wasn't.
I'll be checking on whether this week's storms had an impact on agriculture and its effect on reservoirs, snowpack, etc. Keep watch at CapitalPress.com for the latest in weather conditions and impacts throughout the West.

Mt. Shasta Farmers Market had 'bountiful' season

From mtshastanews.com:
The Mt. Shasta Farmers' Market reports that its 18th season of operation "was a bountiful one with record numbers of vendors, including four new agricultural producers and several new ag-related craft vendors."

It was also the longest season yet, open for 22 market days from May 23 to Oct. 17.

The market again offered Market Match coupons to CalFresh/SNAP customers, which provided up to $15 extra per market day to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables.

The market had more attendance and foot traffic than last year and sales were strong throughout the season, according to a press release.
More details are here.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Cascade Theatre party to feature 'It's a Wonderful Life'

The Cascade Theatre is showing the classic film "It's a Wonderful Life" as part of a Christmas party with entertainment tomorrow night. From the East Valley Times:
Combine your love of film with a good old family-friendly holiday party and join us for the best film of the Christmas season. Live music and dancing in the lobby before the film, themed drinks for all ages, a Christmas sweater contest (best, ugliest), a visit from Santa, the South Shasta County Children’s Chorus and other surprises. Then enjoy the ultimate holiday movie when George Bailey realizes all the lives he’s touched—with the help of bumbling Clarence.
More details are here. For tickets, click here.

If you're going, we'll see you there.

Almond Board researching new uses of hulls, shells

From a news release:
The Almond Board of California [has] announced innovative research that looks into new potential applications for almond coproducts. The almond community has always taken responsibility for its coproducts – almond hulls, shells, and other woody material – ensuring that they’re put to beneficial use rather than sent to a landfill. However, changing market for these products has led the ABC to focus research investment on new uses which address manufacturing needs across several industries, among them food, automotive, pharmaceutical and plastics. This brings value to the California almond community, the economy, the local environment, and supports almonds on their journey to zero waste.

At The Almond Conference, Glenda Humiston, PhD., Vice President, UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, presented on the topic of coproducts, noting, “We have shifted our mindset to view agriculture coproducts as an opportunity, not a problem. In fact, as research continues to find new and innovative technologies to commercialize coproducts into bioproducts, almond coproducts might someday be as profitable as the almonds themselves. It’s a win-win for the almond industry.”

Researchers are looking at creating materials from almond hulls and shells that can be incorporated into cosmetics, foods, pharmaceuticals and plastics. Almond shells can be heated to high temperatures, producing a charcoal-like product, which has the potential to be used to create stronger, biodegradable plastics such as garbage bags, flower pots and rubber tires.

Existing research has already shown how sugar can be extracted from almond hulls, which has potential applications as a food ingredient or a fuel. Once the sugar is extracted spent hulls remain and Almond Board research is focused on exploring the ways to use this material. One example is using fermentation by which they can be converted to make fibrous materials that can be added to diapers as a natural absorbent or as additives for foods, moisturizers and pharmaceuticals.

“This research supports California in creating a genuine bioeconomy - where every byproduct is an input to another valuable product,” said Karen Lapsley, D.Sc., Chief Scientific Officer at the Almond Board of California. “However, we are also exploring opportunities to take these coproducts and incorporate them back into the orchard, which can contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of almonds.”

Ongoing research is examining the potential benefits of whole orchard recycling, the process of grinding up entire almond orchards at the end of their mature life and incorporating the trees’ material into the soil. Potential benefits of this practice include returning nutrients to the soil; improving soil quality, air quality, water infiltration and water-holding capacity; and slowing the rate at which carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, prolonging the carbon sequestration benefits that trees bring to our planet.

Additionally, researchers are examining the benefits of reincorporating almond hulls into the soil. Just as almonds are high in important nutrients, almond hulls are as well which can make them a valuable soil amendment and source of organic matter. Furthermore, the spent almond hulls left over from sugar extraction can also be heated to high temperatures to produce a product similar to charcoal, known as biochar. Biochar can be spread on all farms (not just almond farms) which could lead to improvements in soil quality and water-holding capacity. Future research is needed to understand and quantify the impacts of biochar on almond orchards.

It’s important to note that while new research is looking at alternative uses, for decades the California Almond community has utilized almond coproducts, which include the hulls and shells that protect the nut during its development as well as the woody biomass of the tree itself, in a responsible, sustainable fashion, often yielding secondary benefits. Currently, the hulls are sold as nutritious livestock feed, the shells are used as livestock bedding and the tree woody material can be used to create alternative energy.

In 2015, the California almond industry grew 1.9 billion pounds of almond kernels as well as 3.8 billion pounds of hulls and 1.3 billion pounds of shells.

The difference between the Jefferson push and CalExit


Katy Grimes spells it out in the Shasta Lantern. An exerpt:
State of Jefferson is an Article 4 Section 3 Constitutional State split. SOJ is vastly different than the CalExit effort, explained Sally Rapoza in a Redding Searchlight article. “First, and most importantly we do not want to leave the Union. We want to add a star to our flag, not take one away. We love our country and want to return to Constitutional principles.”

There are major differences between State of Jefferson and CalExit:

--SOJ is a grass roots effort—there is no large financier behind this movement.
--The Jefferson proposal has historical roots. It was supposed to go through before World War I and boundaries were developed.
--There are already 21 counties, which officially voted for and signed on to the movement. [...]

“The CalExit group is throwing a tantrum over the election of Donald Trump,” Rapoza said. State of Jefferson is a legal, Constitutional and patriotic movement.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Water Commission OKs Prop. 1 application guidelines

From the California Water Commission:
California today made significant progress in providing funding for public benefits associated with new water storage projects, as the California Water Commission (Commission) adopted regulations that advance the implementation of the Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP). Through the WSIP, the Commission will fund the public benefits of water storage projects that improve the operation of the state water system, are cost effective, and provide a net improvement in ecosystem and water quality conditions.

In November 2014, California voters approved Proposition 1, the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act, a $7.5 billion water bond for investments in the state's water management systems. The bond dedicated $2.7 billion for investments in the public benefits of water storage projects and designated the Commission as the agency responsible for appropriately investing these funds.

“I commend the Water Commission for completing these regulations and meeting the statutory deadline,” said Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird. “The Water Bond was the result of bipartisan legislative action, supported by Governor Brown and ratified by a two-thirds vote of the electorate, advocating for an all-of-the-above water strategy embodied in the California Water Action Plan. The Water Storage Investment Program is an important part of that comprehensive approach.”

The Commission voted 8-0 to adopt the regulations with Commissioner Catherine Keig because she was only recently appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on December 12. The regulations will now be sent to the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for review, approval and filing. Under the Administrative Procedure Act, OAL has 30 working days to approve the regulations.

“The regulations adopted by the Commission today are the result of extensive public engagement and define the guidelines and criteria to award bond funding for new water storage projects that provide public benefits like ecosystems improvements, recreation, flood control, emergency response, and water quality improvements,” said Water Commission Chair Joe Byrne. “This program will help provide safe and reliable water to support the state's economy, environment, and quality of life, and help address the long-term water needs for California families, farms, communities, and the environment.”

Proposition 1 affirmed the role of water storage as part of a comprehensive approach to address the varied challenges facing the management of California’s water resources. The WSIP represents an important opportunity to invest in California’s water future and complements the California Water Action Plan’s goal of expanding surface and groundwater storage.

The nine-member California Water Commission is charged with advising the director of the California Department of Water Resources, approving rules and regulations, and furthering development of state policies that support integrated and sustainable water resources management. For more information about the Water Storage Investment Program, visit https://cwc.ca.gov/Pages/PublicBenefits1.aspx.
Here is the advance story I did in late November.

Christmas tree farms face balancing act amid drought

From the California Farm Bureau Federation:
As California Christmas tree farmers work to rebuild their inventories after years of drought, they’re balancing that with trying to satisfy their customers. Some farms that typically allow people to cut their own trees are doing the cutting instead, to avoid overharvesting their properties. Other farms have closed early. The California Christmas Tree Association says fewer precut trees from the Pacific Northwest have been coming into the state, as well.
KSBW-TV in Salinas reported last week that the drought was impacting Christmas tree prices. Here is our report on the shortage from last month.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Today at ANewsCafe: The internet and Sherri Papini

While we're highlighting independent local news sites, columnist R.V. Scheide is one of the best writers Doni Chamberlain has at ANewsCafe. He has a piece this morning titled, "Real News, Fake News and Sherri Papini". A snippet:
Former classmates and even a hairdresser claiming to know Sherri Papini have offered negative opinions on her mental state. Someone found a post allegedly written by Sherri under her maiden name more than a decade ago which includes racist statements regarding Latinos. It’s a dark cruel world out here—so much so that websleuths.com has banned posts that question the Papini’s account of the abduction. That didn’t matter too much, because the doubters all just moved to Reddit where /r/sherripapini is doing moderately well according to the up-votes.

This type of posting has recently been classified by some mainstream media organizations as “fake news,” particular in the #pizzagate scandal, in which anonymous posters on Reddit alleged high profile members of the Clinton campaign are engaged in a worldwide pedophile conspiracy run out of a Washington, DC, pizza parlor. Reddit banned the hashtag, but a few hundred #pizzagate conspiracy theorists are still working it hard on other message boards. It’s only a conspiracy theory until they find one pedophile. Then it will be news, guaranteed.

That’s why I don’t think “fake news” really describes this phenomenon very well in this case, if by news we’re speaking of stories that are investigated by a reporter, checked for facts by an editor and published by a journal or website with an established reputation for accuracy. Anonymous opinions posted on websites aren’t news, they’re raw investigative product at best. Some of it may be gold, some of it may be garbage. Sifting through it is catnip for armchair detectives, of which there are many, but it’s not news, real, fake, or otherwise.
In my view, it can't be disputed that there's a political element in some of this second-guessing. The mere fact that 1) she's a blonde-haired white woman who identified her abductors as Latino and 2) the negotiator has ties to Bethel Church are enough to send some people scrambling for a safe space. It really doesn't take much to get the haters riled. For what it's worth, one of my wife's acquaintances is a close friend of the Papinis and describes Sherri as a model mother. She's very small in stature, and it's been speculated that perhaps her abductors thought she was a child walking alone. But physical evidence is physical evidence. Do people really think she battered and branded herself?

There's been many a time when an investigative reporter spent months chasing a story and came up with zilch, or not enough to print (back when most news organizations had minimum standards for publication). And as for the internet, declarative statements not backed up with concrete facts are called opinion and should be considered as such.

Today in the Times: Momentum in McArthur

Among the latest headlines in the East Valley Times:
Small changes, big momentum at McArthur store
As you walk through McArthur Mart you will notice something strikingly unique about this small store. Mouthwatering advertisements of fresh, crisp salads and delicious, healthy wraps with the slogan “Fall River Fresh” are hung throughout the store.

Trying to save as many horses as they possibly can, while fighting through horrific weather
By Palomino Armstrong As I sit here typing, the winds are howling. We have been working in pretty much blizzard conditions, with a wind chill well under 0. It is 3 degrees with the temperature at -20 with the wind chill at this time. More snow is expected in the next few days with even colder temperatures.

Active 20-30 Club of Redding announces 2016 Redding Lighted Christmas Parade winners
The Active 20-30 Club of Redding would like to announce the winners of the 2016 Redding Lighted Christmas Parade:

Today in the Lantern: The hidden dangers of CalExit

Introducing another independent local news outlet in the north state -- the Shasta Lantern, which has actually been around for a couple of years but has been down of late for remodeling. Although the site's renovations are ongoing, it's back up and running, and we'll be posting links to notable articles in the weeks and months ahead.

The top story on their homepage this morning is titled, "The Hidden Danger of #Calexit," by Red Smith. A sampling:
The Tuesday November 9th, 2016 historic vote for President Elect Donald Trump has sent seismic cultural and civil shock-waves throughout the nation to the point there have even been calls for the direct overthrow of the United States Government. [...] As protests and riots have erupted across the nation to dispute the latest election, it would appear our nation faces its greatest social divide in 155 years since the election of Abraham Lincoln. In a twist of historical irony, it is once again predominantly the American Democratic party refusing to concede to the lawful election of a highly unpopular Republican President elect, who recently had shattered the status quo of his own party, and sought to lead a national social revolution.
The entire piece is here. (My thought is that California can do what it wants, as long as it leaves Jefferson in the Union.)

The Lantern is also a regular presence on Facebook as we are ("we" being both the Capital Press and myself), posting lots of national and international news that you might not have heard from established corporate media.

Support independent local news.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Storms to offer one-two punch this week


From the National Weather Service:
A series of Pacific storm systems will impact the region Tuesday through Friday. The first system will move in for Tuesday and Wednesday with heaviest precipitation north of Interstate 80. Snow levels will be rising so travel impacts may be limited. The stronger and much more impactful storm will arrive Thursday into Friday. Creeks and streams are still running high, and significant rainfall could bring additional flooding. Gusty winds could bring widespread downed trees and power outages. Snow levels will initially be high, but will rapidly lower Thursday evening below pass levels. Gusty winds and snow could bring near white-out conditions.

Impacts
Urban, small stream, and burn scar flooding possible. Highest potential over mountains
White-out conditions possible with chain controls and significant travel delays over mountain passes Thursday-Friday
Gusty winds may bring widespread downed trees and power outages Thursday-Friday
Travel delays and accidents due to slick or snow-covered roads

Forecast Confidence
High confidence in stormy weather
Medium confidence in precipitation amounts and snow levels

Timing and Strength
Storm 1: Tuesday - Wednesday

Weaker system. Precipitation mainly from Interstate 80 northward
Snow levels 4000-5000 feet Tuesday, rising above pass levels Wednesday
Storm 2: Thursday - Friday
Stronger and more impactful storm
Higher likelihood for flooding. See attached precipitation graphic for week-long precipitation total (most of which will come with Storm 2)
Snow levels initially 7000+ feet. Heavy snow possible Thursday evening into Friday as snow levels rapidly drop to 2000-4000 feet.
Gusty winds 45-55 mph possible across the Valley
The Shingletown Medical Center is offering cold-weather tips, per the East Valley Times.

Friday, December 9, 2016

People seeking -- and finding -- alternative info sources

Last week in a post I recalled the sea change that occurred in the media landscape in the 1990s, partly in response to public dissatisfaction over media coverage of the 1992 presidential campaign. Within four years there were two new 24-hour news networks and a major proliferation of talk radio programs; within six years the Drudge Report was breaking news that rocked Bill Clinton's presidency; and within eight years upstart online news and opinion sites were beginning to have an impact on political coverage.

I believe this year's election -- during which the extent of the major media corruption is still being learned -- will lead to even more dramatic changes in the media landscape in the months and years ahead. In fact, we may be witnessing a tectonic shift in our culture that affects everything from the buying patterns of consumers to which institutions we still value and which ones we don't.

In recent weeks, I've noticed evidence that lots of people are rethinking where they get their information and are seeking -- and finding -- alternatives. To wit:

Online networks that debuted or gained popularity during the campaign are expanding their offerings. Talk radio host Mark Levin launched a nightly TV show entirely online via subscription earlier this year, and now the service is expanding to become CRTV (for Conservative Review), featuring a nightly investigative report by Michelle Malkin and a talk show featuring Mark Steyn. Right Side Broadcasting, a YouTube channel that revolutionized campaign coverage by showing events live in their entirety (and showing crowd sizes at Donald Trump rallies when the other media wouldn't), announced plans to become a 24-hour network before the end of the year. And Breitbart News, the campaign's hero or goat depending on your point of view, is taking advantage of its exploding web traffic by launching new online talk shows and planning more bureau offices.

Speaking of web traffic, it's growing at a brisk pace for alternative information and opinion sites large and small. At the big end of that spectrum is RushLimbaugh.com, which is adding new Rush 24/7 members at a pace not seen since the site launched several years ago, according to the host. At the small end of the spectrum is this humble blog, which had far and away its best month in terms of traffic in November and is on a pace to shatter that this month with as many as 10,000 visits. I'm now getting one or two new friend requests per day on Facebook, where I post from here and from CapitalPress.com as well as pertinent links to stories and commentary about current events.

Cable TV cancellations are escalating. ESPN has lost nearly 1.2 million subscribers in the last two months, meaning other networks, including CNN, have also lost subscribers. The question of whether to continue to fund the cable networks has become a moral issue for many people as they realize these networks are more interested in driving wedges between people and fomenting dissent than reporting what's actually going on.

Now all of this evidence is circumstantial and/or anecdotal, but I think we're seeing only the very beginning of shifts in media consumption that people will make over the next decade or so as they look for reliable information that is relevant to their lives. They clearly haven't found it in the corporate media, which is dying as we know it. And the information media in the future may look very different, as people demonstrate they're willing to trust information from local or regional sources or people they know more than they trust the media institutions of the past.

AFBF: Farmers, ranchers welcome pick of Pruitt for EPA

From the American Farm Bureau Federation:
Farmers, ranchers and many others cheered President-elect Donald Trump’s choice of Scott Pruitt to lead EPA. In his position as attorney general in Oklahoma, Pruitt has stood up for common-sense, effective regulation that protects the environment and the rights of the regulated community, according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.

Trump’s selection of Pruitt “is welcome news to America’s farmers and ranchers—in fact, to all who are threatened by EPA’s regulatory overreach—and should help provide a new degree of fairness for U.S. agriculture,” Duvall said in a statement.

Noting farmers’ appreciation for Pruitt’s effective legal work in response to EPA’s overreaching Waters of the U.S. rule, Duvall said AFBF anticipates that as EPA administrator, Pruitt will pay attention to the concerns of farmers and ranchers and others who work with the nation’s natural resources on a daily basis.

Pruitt led attorneys general from several states in filing one of a number of lawsuits challenging EPA’s WOTUS rule.

The EPA administrator must be confirmed by the Senate.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

One of EPA's biggest foes nominated to run agency

As we have reported, President-elect Donald Trump has picked Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. And far-left environmentalists, who have used the EPA for decades as a weapon against production agriculture and other industries, aren't happy.

From the Environmental Defense Fund (HT: Gateway Pundit):
Pruitt, who met with President-elect Donald Trump in New York on Nov. 28, has used his current position to try to block some of the EPA’s most important air-quality rules.

On his own LinkedIn page, he boasts that he “led the charge with repeated notices and subsequent lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their [sic] leadership’s activist agenda.”

Tries to block every EPA rule he sees

Since becoming Oklahoma’s top legal officer in 2011, Pruitt has sued the EPA to stop vital protections for public health – including standards for reducing soot and smog pollution that crosses interstate lines; protections against emissions of mercury, arsenic, acid gases and other toxic pollutants from power plants; and standards to improve air quality in national parks and wilderness areas. Each time he failed.

These common-sense efforts to cut pollution will save lives, prevent dangerous brain-development issues in children, reduce asthma attacks and increase productivity. Yet, Attorney General Pruitt has apparently never seen an EPA rule that didn’t prompt him to run to court to have it blocked.

Not surprisingly, Pruitt has also questioned “the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”
Obviously, Trump is looking at reforming the EPA, which many in agriculture believe is badly in need of reform. What's Upstream, anyone? Here's a look at Pruitt's press release page. He's certainly no Kamala Harris.

More farm groups jump on drought bill bandwagon

More California farm groups are coming out in support of the compromise drought relief language in a water resources bill being debated in Congress this week.

Among them is the California Farm Bureau Federation, whose president, Paul Wenger, said this:
“As California faces a potential sixth consecutive drought year, it’s critical for Congress to do what it can to assure we can capture as much water as possible from winter storms, while maintaining protections for the environment. The [...] bill offers a balanced solution to help pay for long-overdue water supply, conservation and recycling projects.” [...]

“Senator Feinstein, Representative McCarthy and other California members of Congress have worked hard, in good faith, to produce legislation that will benefit our entire state. We’ve watched too often as water from winter storms has flowed uncaptured out to sea. We have to become more sophisticated at operating our water system to store as much water as we can while meeting environmental and other needs. This bill moves us in that direction and deserves congressional support.”
Meanwhie, California Citrus Mutual, the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations, Western Agricultural Processors Association and Fresh Fruit Association opined in a joint statement::
"Not Perfect But It Will Help"

The words above uttered by U. S. Senator Feinstein, accurately sums up our feelings regarding the California drought legislation introduced yesterday and attached to the Water Resources Development Act. Our collective email accounts were inundated with announcements and summaries yesterday and over last night we collectively read the pertinent language addressing California's drought and aging infrastructure needs.

The litany of positives is significant and contains both short term and long term solutions to California needs. The crescendo of concern expressed by those opposing would have us living in an undeveloped California, foregoing ingenuity and the forward thinking that once helped turn California into a leading producer of food and fiber. The bill removes subjective intuition that has never been held accountable as a pathway to achieve a goal. Science that is vetted will create solutions for fish, families and farming.

Funds are authorized that begins a process to create more water efficiencies and create more water for a state seeking environmental and community relief. We commend Senator Feinstein and Congressman McCarthy for their tireless efforts to achieve a viable compromise on an import issue. Our thanks to Congressmen Valadao, Nunes, Calvert, Costa, and Garamendi for expressing their support and helping lead Congress to the goal line.

The Senator is correct, "this bill isn't perfect but I do believe it will help California." That's something that hasn't been done in a generation relative to water infrastructure and use.

Local districts' group: BLM rule 'a mixed bag'

From the National Association of Conservation Districts:
Last week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published its final planning rule, commonly referred to as “Planning 2.0,” in the Federal Register. The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) submitted comments on the proposed version of the planning rule in May 2016, and while it recognizes the agency has made improvements to the rule in its final form, it is still concerned the regulation inadequately acknowledges the critical importance of local involvement in the planning process.

“We commend the BLM for rising to the challenge and taking on a tremendously important topic: local participation in the management of public lands,” NACD President Lee McDaniel said. “That said, we are still concerned the final Planning 2.0 rule does not adequately foster local stakeholder participation in the planning process.”

“For one, the BLM’s rule would require that all land management plans used in the agency’s planning process be approved by local, state, or tribal governments. As an organization that represents thousands of local entities, we know just how resource-intensive and time consuming developing and approving these plans can be, and fear this provision could disincentivize local participation,” McDaniel continued. “In the past, local governments with policies and programs for public lands management were included in the BLM’s planning process, but now, unless they have an ‘official’ plan, these entities won’t be able to participate at the same level.”

NACD was also disappointed the final rule will not undergo a National Environmental Policy Act assessment, and it did not include a comprehensive update to the protest procedures.

NACD was pleased, however, with two major improvements made in the final rule. First, BLM upped the minimum durations for public comment periods on draft Environmental Impact Statements and Resource Management Plans from the proposed rule. It also designated BLM state directors the default “deciding officials” on multi-state projects on BLM managed land, allowing the BLM representative with the most intimate, local knowledge of the project area to manage the planning process.

“The BLM set out to increase local involvement in the planning process with this rule, and in part, has delivered on that mission,” NACD CEO Jeremy Peters said. “NACD believes a comprehensive, locally led-strategy is the best approach to public-lands management and will continue to work with BLM to enhance local governments’ contribution to the planning process.”The Capital Press' John O'Connell reports on the rule here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Chico State associate dean to lead California Cattlemen

From California State University-Chico's College of Agriculture:
Associate Dean Dave Daley of the CSU, Chico College of Agriculture was named president of the California Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) at the organization’s Centennial Celebration December 1–3, 2016 in Sparks, Nevada. Daley also received honors at the 2016 Western Nugget National Hereford Show held concurrently.

Meanwhile, CSU, Chico senior animal science major Rebecca Swanson was elected chair of the California Young Cattlemen’s Committee (YCC), and animal science professor Kasey DeAtley was recognized as the Butte County CattleWoman of the Year during the California CattleWomen’s Association’s (CCW) annual proceedings. Thirty-five students and six faculty and staff attended the annual convention of the CCA and CCW held at the Nugget Casino Resort.

Daley will serve two years as president of CCA, which is a nonprofit trade association formed in 1917 that represents California’s ranchers and beef producers in legislative and regulatory affairs. Daley earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science at CSU, Chico, and went on to complete his graduate work at Colorado State University. He has served as College of Agriculture faculty for 26 years, including two years at the college’s interim dean. Daley coadvises the CSU, Chico Young Cattlemen’s Association and manages the University Farm beef unit. Together with his family, Daley ranches in Oroville, California.

The Western Nugget National Hereford Show selected Daley as its 2016 honoree in recognition of his work in education, policy development and advocacy on behalf of the beef industry, and specifically acknowledged his applied research into heterosis and the value of Hereford genetics in a planned cross-breeding program.

Swanson, who is the current president of the Chico State Young Cattlemen’s Association, was elected chair of the YCC, which is a committee within the California Cattlemen’s Association that integrates the next generation of leaders into the grassroots organization. Swanson will represent YCC members at meetings and events throughout the state in 2017.

DeAtley received her Butte County CattleWoman of the Year award at a luncheon honoring active and inspiring CCW members from throughout the state. Kasey DeAtley is a sixth-generation Northern Californian who earned her bachelor’s degree in animal science from CSU, Chico in 2005. She did her graduate work at New Mexico State University in reproductive physiology and beef cattle genetics, then returned to CSU, Chico and joined the agriculture faculty in 2014. DeAtley coadvises the Young Cattlemen’s Association; teaches a variety of beef production, rangeland management and agricultural research classes; and ranches with her family in northeastern California.

The 35 Chico State Young Cattlemen’s Association members who attended the CCA and CCW convention were able to network with other Young Cattlemen from throughout the state, attend various CCA and CCW committee meetings, visit the tradeshow, and learn about issues affecting beef cattle producers.
Here is the feature I did on Dave Daley last year.

McClintock: It's 'a critical moment' to pass drought bill

Northern California's Rep. Tom McClintock spoke on the House floor today about the water resources bill that includes drought relief for the Golden State. Here is the text of his speech.
The conference report on the Water Resources Development Act is the product of many, many hours of good-faith negotiations between the House and Senate and between Republicans and Democrats. Like any compromise, I don’t like everything in it; but the net effect is an important step forward in protecting against the devastation of future droughts in California and catastrophic wildfire that threatens Lake Tahoe.

It provides for $335 million for desperately needed surface water storage. It opens a new era of hatcheries to provide for burgeoning populations of endangered fish species. It adds flexibility to management of New Melones Reservoir and water transfers to assure water can be more efficiently moved to where it is most needed. It adds strong protection to Northern California area of origin water rights. It expedites review and approval of new projects. It updates flood control management criteria to make better use of our existing reservoirs.

I particularly want to highlight the provisions related to Lake Tahoe. For many years, we’ve spent enormous resources to adjust drainage in the basin to improve water clarity at the lake. The Senate version of the measure introduced this session by Senators Heller and Feinstein continued this effort.

But the Heller-Feinstein bill neglected the most immediate environmental threat to Lake Tahoe, and that is catastrophic wildfire. The Senate bill had no provision for forest management specifically for fire prevention.

The number of acres burned by wildfire in the Lake Tahoe Basin has increased each decade since 1973, including a ten-fold increase over the past decade. Eighty percent of the Tahoe Basin forests are now densely and dangerously overgrown. They are dying. At lower elevations, there are now four times as many trees as the land can support. Modeling by the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit warns that in two thirds of the forest, conditions now exist for flame size and intensity that are literally explosive. If a super-fire of the size we’ve seen in other parts of the Sierra were to strike the Tahoe Basin, it could decimate this lake and its surroundings for a generation to come.

For this reason, Congressman Amodei and I introduced a bill aimed strictly at fire prevention. This measure is specifically designed – after extensive input from fire districts throughout the Tahoe region – to reduce excess fuel before it burns.

It provides for expediting collaborative fuel reduction projects consistent with the Lake Tahoe Land and Resource Management Plan and it calls for funds generated by timber sales and other fee-based revenues to stay in the Tahoe Basin to provide for further fuels management and other improvements.

This was falsely portrayed by left-wing activists in the region as a substitute for the Senate bill. As Congressman Amodei and I repeatedly made clear, it was designed to supplement that bill and to fill a very glaring deficiency that ignored the single greatest environmental hazard to the lake.

I am very pleased to note that the critical provisions of both bills – for lake clarity and fire prevention – are now in the conference report, thanks to the bipartisan negotiations between House and Senate negotiators, most notably by Senator Feinstein and House Majority Leader McCarthy.

Unfortunately, in the last 48 hours, Senator Boxer has threatened to blindside this effort and destroy the fruit of these years of labor and endless hours of negotiation. She has threatened to assemble enough votes – not to put forward a positive and credible plan of her own to address these critical needs – but rather to ruin the painstaking negotiations of many others just as they are coming to fruition.

In the last four years, the King Fire, the Butte Fire, the Rough Fire and the Rim Fire have destroyed more than a thousand square miles of forests in the Sierra. If we don’t restore forest management in the Tahoe Basin NOW, the next fire could reduce its magnificent forests to cinders, and clog the lake with ash and debris for decades to come.

We can only pray that wiser heads prevail in the Senate and that this conference report is speedily adopted by both houses and signed by the President.

Growers' group: Drought relief proposal a good 'first step'

From Western Growers:
Statement by Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif in support of the bipartisan California water deal as part of the FY17 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA):

“A wise proverb reads: ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ For the last several years, rural communities and urban residents alike have been waiting for Congress to take the first step to restore more balanced operation of our water projects in the Delta. We are pleased that leaders in the House and Senate appear ready to finally move us all forward with the introduction of negotiated drought language in the WRDA legislation.

“We applaud Senator Feinstein, House Majority Leader McCarthy, Congressmen Costa, Valadao, Nunes, Denham, Calvert and all who remained diligent in this process. The product of three years of work, this legislation can lay the foundation for additional good work to be done in the next Congress.

“The timing of this agreement is critical. With several early storms already behind us, California is entering its rainy season and we cannot once again allow flawed policies to prevent reasonable diversion of runoff to storage.”
Here is my full report at CapitalPress.com.

Glenn County leader among CFBF class graduates

Glenn County Farm Bureau manager Lisa Humphreys was among 10 graduates of the California Farm Bureau Federation's Leadership Farm Bureau program, a year-long course with intensive training in leadership, advocacy and communication skills. The graduates were honored at the organization's 98th Annual Meeting this week in Monterey.

Here is the CFBF's news release. Here is a rundown on all the honorees at CapitalPress.com.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Shasta County Farm Bureau wins another Innovator Award

The Shasta County Farm Bureau has won another statewide Innovator Award, it was announced during the California Farm Bureau Federation's 98th Annual Meeting this week.

From the CFBF's news release:
The Innovator Award, which recognizes a creative, forward-thinking project or program, was presented to the Shasta County Farm Bureau. Seeking a “fresh, original and creative approach” to recruit members, it sponsored a video contest for local high school FFA chapters, challenging them to create videos about why someone should become a Farm Bureau member. The county Farm Bureau awarded a cash prize to the winning chapter, which helped it expand operations on its school farm and send students to FFA contests and conferences.
As we reported, Shasta County previously won the Innovator Award in 2014, when it put on an agriculture-related summer camp, and 2011, when it started a ranch rodeo to raise money.

Trinity County forester wins CFBF discussion meet

From the California Farm Bureau Federation:
Following a discussion about the need to reform the nation’s immigration policy, a Trinity County man earned top honors in the California Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers Open Discussion Meet. Dan Dresselhaus of Weaverville received the award today during the 98th CFBF Annual Meeting in Monterey.

Molly Fagundes of Tulare County was judged first runner-up in the contest; Amber Simmons of San Luis Obispo County and Brie Witt of the San Joaquin Country were the other finalists.

In the final round of the contest, the four finalists were asked to address the question: “American agriculture depends on a foreign-born labor force. How would you draft a national immigration policy?”

Dresselhaus pointed out that the issue of immigration is a “highly emotional topic, ranging from open borders to isolationism.” Central to solving the issue, he said, is to reach a compromise between finding the employees farmers need, while also honoring the country’s laws.

“We need to look at reforming our guestworker program to make it more timely and flexible,” Dresselhaus said. “We also have to discuss solutions on how to bring the current workforce that is here illegally into the current workforce (legally).”

As the Discussion Meet winner, Dresselhaus earned $5,000 courtesy of sponsors Farm Credit, Rabobank and Chevrolet. The first runner-up, Fagundes, received $1,000; the other two finalists each earned $500.

Dresselhaus, a registered professional forester with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, will represent California during the American Farm Bureau Federation Open Discussion Meet, to be held at the AFBF Annual Convention next month in Phoenix.

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of more than 48,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.

Today in the Times: Center seeks support for fundraisers

Among the latest headlines in the East Valley Times:
Shingletown Medical Center asks for support during holiday fundraising efforts
SHINGLETOWN MEDICAL CENTER – HOLIDAY FUNDRAISING EFFORTS The Shingletown Medical Center (SMC) is involved in various fundraising efforts during this holiday season, and we are asking for your continued support. We’d like to start by thanking all involved in our recent North State Giving Tuesday (NSGT) campaign.

Rivercity Jazz Society and Pat Karch Band to offer discount admission for December
Rivercity Jazz Society holds their dances on the third Sunday of each month from 1-4 pm at the Redding Elks Lodge at 250 Elk Drive. Pat Karch Band and the Rivercity Jazz Society have joined together for our December Dance and are offering a very Special admission fee of only $5.00 this month.

Caltrans director to become chair of transportation research board executive committee
The Transportation Research Board announced today that Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty will become chair of its Executive Committee, effective January 12, 2017.

ASSE seeking local host families for high school exchange students
ASSE International Student Exchange Programs (ASSE), in cooperation with community high schools, is looking for local families to host boys and girls between the ages of 15 to 18 from a variety of countries: Norway, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Japan, to name a few.

LaMalfa praises California provisions in water bill

From a congressional news release:
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) today released the following statement in support of the California water resources language included in the California water supply language included in a bill to be considered in Congress this week:

“After years of bipartisan, bicameral negotiations, we’ve reached an agreement to modernize water supply in the short term and invest in storage projects to secure California’s economic future,” stated Rep. LaMalfa. “This agreement improves water supply for all Californians, North and South, while using the latest science to provide more water without harming wildlife.”

For the North State, this agreement achieves several major goals: it secures the region’s senior water rights, improves supplies for junior water right holders, and will authorize construction of Sites Reservoir, a key project needed to prepare California for the future.

“While this bill is a step in the right direction, as a negotiated agreement it does not reform environmental restrictions or dedicate resources to storage to the degrees I believe are necessary,” LaMalfa added. “My colleagues and I remain committed to continuing to working on this issue and expect the President-elect to be a much more willing partner in those efforts than the current administration.”

Key North State components of the House amendment to S.612, which may be read here, include the following:

- Ironclad protections for the North State’s senior water rights and language ensuring that any additional water provided South of the Delta is not taken from North State allocations. (Title J, Section 4005)

- Significant improvements in deliveries for less senior North State water right holders, ensuring that even in droughts they receive at least 50% allocations. (Title J, Section 4005)

- A new system of authorizing surface water storage projects, including Sites Reservoir, that will speed construction of the infrastructure 67% of Californians voted for in passing Proposition 1 in 2014. The bill also directs $335 million in federal funding toward storage projects. (Title J, Section 4007)

- Language ensuring that businesses impacted by new storage projects are not only compensated fairly, but have the opportunity to construct replacement facilities on federal land. This provision is intended to protect marinas, resorts, and others who could be impacted by a raised Shasta Dam. (Title J, Section 4008)

- Requirements that a greater portion of South of Delta water supplies be diverted and stored during winter storms, when doing so does not impact North State supplies or the environment. The current system pits North and South against one another for access to Lake Shasta and other reservoirs during California’s dry summers. Now, the South will be able to store additional water that was never available for use by the North and has no environmental necessity. (Title J, Section 4003)

Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.