Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Farm Bureau, CCA sue state over 'illegal' gray wolf listing

From a news release:
The California Cattlemen's Association (CCA) and the California Farm Bureau Federation filed a lawsuit today challenging the California Fish and Game Commission's June 2014 decision to list the gray wolf as an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act, a decision which formally took effect on January 1, 2017. The organizations are represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, a nationwide leader in litigation aimed at ensuring limited government, private property rights and sensible environmental protections.

The suit alleges that endangered listing of the gray wolf under the California Endangered Species Act was improper for three reasons. First, the subspecies of gray wolves present in California originate from Canada and are not native to the state, as the law requires. Secondly, the Commission focused too narrowly on wolves in California, ignoring their robust and healthy population throughout their range in the western United States. Lastly, the Commission impermissibly listed the species based on what was, at the time, only occasional presence in the state by a single wolf.

"The Fish and Game Commission took a big bite out of its own credibility with this unjustified listing," said Damien Schiff, PLF Principal Attorney. "The agency managed to label the gray wolf as 'endangered' only by myopically and illegally ignoring its population outside California."

Endangered status for gray wolves could have a significant impact upon ranchers whose livestock fall prey to the apex predators and to the local rural economies that are dependent upon agriculture. CCA president and Butte County cattleman Dave Daley said the lawsuit is necessary for ranchers to ensure the humane treatment of their livestock.

"Under California law, you can't even pursue a species that is listed as endangered," Daley said. "If a rancher sees a wolf attacking one of his or her calves, he or she can't chase the wolf away without breaking the law. Ranchers are not seeking open season on wolves, we just want sensible wolf management that also allows us to protect our livestock. That will require delisting the gray wolf."

The case is California Cattlemen's Association, et. al. v. California Fish and Game Commission, filed today in the Superior Court of California for the County of San Diego. For more information visit http://www.pacificlegal.org.
For more on this, check CapitalPress.com soon.

NWS: Next winter storm to arrive tomorrow night


From the National Weather Service:
A storm system this week will bring rain and mountain snow to northern California. Scattered light precipitation will start Wednesday evening across the Coastal and southern Cascade mountains and become more widespread across the area after midnight. Heavier precipitation amounts are expected midday Thursday through Friday with scattered rain and snow showers remaining Saturday as the system exits the region. Storm total snow could reach 2 to 3 feet at pass levels, causing travel difficulties. Gusty winds are probable Thursday into Friday, strongest Thursday afternoon and again later Friday morning. These winds are not expected to be as strong as with recent storms.

Impacts
Hazardous mountain travel likely with chain controls, travel delays, and increased accidents
Wet valley roads with possible travel delays and increased accidents
Gusty winds may cause travel difficulties and bring down tree branches
Minor flooding on small streams and roadways

Forecast Confidence
High on return to wet pattern
Medium on timing, precipitation amounts, snow levels
Medium on small stream and street flooding

Timing and Strength
System spreads inland Wednesday evening and continues through Friday night
Light precipitation starting Wednesday evening; becoming widespread by early Thursday morning with heavier amounts midday Thursday
Total snow accumulations around 1-3 feet above 6000 feet, snow levels a little lower at times
Winds gusting up to around 40 mph in the Valley, 50 mph in the Sierra

Cattlemen's groups back bills to repeal death tax

From a California Cattlemen's Association legislative bulletin:
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association applauded the introduction of bipartisan legislation [last week] that would permanently kill the onerous death tax.

The Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017 was introduced this week by U.S. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota and by U.S. Reps. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.)

"As a fourth-generation cattle producer, I can attest that the death tax can wreak havoc with agricultural families, and it's long past time that we kill it off once and for all," said NCBA President Tracy Brunner. "We thank Senator Thune and Representatives Noem and Bishop for introducing this common-sense bill and we hope Congress passes it as soon as possible."

NCBA has long advocated for a full and permanent repeal of the death tax. In fact, 96 percent of American farms & ranches are owned and operated by families. Many farm and ranch families are asset-rich and cash-poor, with most of the value of their estate attributed to the value of the land, livestock, and equipment they use to grow food and fiber for consumers around the world. Yet the death tax forces them to pay based on the often non-liquid value of those assets.

The death tax also costs agricultural families a lot in unnecessary and unproductive compliance costs. According to the Joint Economic Committee, for every dollar of tax revenue raised from the death tax, a dollar is wasted in compliance costs. For example, in 2006, it was estimated that family businesses spent $27.8 billion just to comply with the law.
The American Farm Bureau Federation has also voiced support for the bills.

Most back pause in immigration from terrorist havens

Wide majorities of American voters back temporary moratoriums on refugees and visas from certain nations until the U.S. government can do a better job of sifting out potential terrorist threats, a non-media-affiliated poll has found.

From Rasmussen Reports:
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a temporary ban on refugees from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen until the federal government approves its ability to screen out potential terrorists from coming here. Thirty-three percent (33%) are opposed, while 10% are undecided. [...]

Similarly, 56% favor a temporary block on visas prohibiting residents of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States until the government approves its ability to screen for likely terrorists. Thirty-two percent (32%) oppose this temporary ban, and 11% are undecided. [...]

These findings have changed little from August when 59% of voters agreed with Trump’s call for a temporary ban on immigration into the United States from "the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism” until the federal government improves its ability to screen out potential terrorists. [...]

Most voters opposed former President Obama’s plan to bring tens of thousands of Middle Eastern and African refugees here this year. Sixty-two percent (62%) said Obama’s plan posed an increased national security risk to the United States.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Andy Peek livestock scholarship awards total $16,000

Via the East Valley Times:
The Shasta Regional Community Foundation is pleased to announce that the Andy Peek Livestock Scholarship has awarded 13 scholarships totaling $16,000.00 to deserving students. The Peek family announced the scholarship recipients during the January 28th Red Bluff Bull Sale, as they do each year on the last Saturday in January.

The 2017 Andy Peek Livestock Scholarship award recipients are: Corte Smith, Kadon Leddy, Kayla McGiffin, Valeriana (Valley) Urricelqui, Wesley Woolery, Adam Blalock, Brooke Niederhauser, Chloe Fowler, Erin Clendenen, Kyler Puckett, Ryan Gifford, Tyler Hufford, and Willis (Wayde) Henderson.

The Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale instituted the scholarship fund in Andy Peek’s name in 2008 after his passing. Before his death, Andy Peek was president of Western Video Market and also General Manager of Shasta Livestock Auction Yard in Cottonwood, California, a family-owned business where he worked for over four decades. He was a past president of the California Livestock Marketing Association and served as a board member for the National Livestock Marketing Association. Peek was a past chairman of the Shasta District Fair Board in California and in 2007 was named Tehama County (CA) Cattleman of the Year. All told, Andy Peek was a major presence in the U.S. livestock industry.

To continue Peek’s support of youth programs, the scholarship is offered annually to students majoring in Agricultural Studies (with a special emphasis in the livestock industry) who share the desire to work in the industry Peek so dearly loved.

For more information about this and other scholarships managed by the Community Foundation, click here.

Bull sale receipts down, but still top $1 million mark

Saturday's bull sale in Red Bluff fell significantly below last year's receipts but still managed to crack the $1 million mark in total sales for the seventh straight year.

In all, the 288 bulls that went through the Don Smith Pavilion at the 76th annual Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale brought in $1.1 million -- an average of $3,822.40 per bull.

That fell short of the nearly $1.49 million that bidders shelled out for 305 bulls last year, as winning bids averaged $4,816.

Lot prices in Thursday's Western Video Market-hosted sale topped out at $143 per hundredweight for weaned heifers and $173 per hundredweight for weaned steers, down dramatically from last year's $234 and $252, respectively.

Friday's sale of 14 cattle dogs fetched a total of $85,750, an average of $6,125 per dog.

For my full story, check CapitalPress.com soon.

Reporters' errors aren't what's killing the news industry

Reporters' mistakes and corrections aren't why the news industry has lost the trust of the American people. Liberal bias isn't even what's killing this industry. Above everything else, it's the sheer arrogance of some in our midst who believe they're better (smarter, more moral and more sophisticated) than the people in their audience and the people they're covering.

That arrogance manifests in any number of different ways, including the decision by many in the national political press to throw away all pretense of objectivity when it came to the election (it was the "moral" thing to do). But perhaps the most unsightly for average folks is the arrogance of many in the news media to appoint themselves the ultimate arbiters of truth rather than simply laying out facts as they've uncovered them and letting people judge those facts for themselves, and to show open scorn and derision toward anyone who looks at the world differently than they do.

The point is relevant as many people inside and outside of the traditional news media try to explain -- to themselves and to their audiences -- why it is that so many Americans are rejecting what was long referred to as the "mainstream" media. Among those industry professionals is Record Searchlight editor Silas Lyons, whose Jan. 27 column is promisingly titled, "Owning up to the media's errors". He begins:
One of the reasons there’s so much confusion about fake news and alternative facts these days is that legitimate, truth-seeking reporting so often contains errors.

It’s not fair to ask you to join the fight against the normalization of falsehood without acknowledging that we journalists have contributed to the current environment, even if we didn't mean to.

Our errors of fact, our biases, our inexperience with complex subject matter and any other number of human failings have only been magnified by changes in the news industry. While rushing to catch up with audiences who are moving at the speed of an iPhone on an airplane, we have also seen much of the easy money that once funded large newsrooms drain down the digital pipes.
Silas goes on to list what he sees as the causes of errors in reporting: working in a hurry, laziness, arrogance, intimidation (being afraid to ask questions), favoritism (unconsciously being more positive to the sources who help you out more), relying too much on your own observations rather than double-checking facts (as the Time magazine reporter did with the MLK bust) and, yes, political bias. Under arrogance, he writes:
This often causes lazy mistakes, but it’s a more sinister one. The journalist assumes her or his knowledge is superior and doesn’t make a serious inquiry into the truth. This can also take the form of a refusal to listen to people who have legitimate grievances or corrections to share.
All in all, it's a very good list of the pitfalls that can confront honest, well-meaning reporters if they don't remain vigilant. But the problem is that the bad habits of conscientious reporters barely scratch the surface in terms of responsibility for the public image crisis this industry faces.

Essentially there are two main threats to the survival of this industry as we know it -- corruption, which appears to mostly involve major corporate news organizations and mostly at the national level, and institutional arrogance, which permeates through a very large swath of the journalism industry and is exhibited at news organizations large and small, all across the country.

First, the corruption. I don't think many people at traditional outlets fully realize the impact that visible and blatant ethics violations, as evidenced by last year's collusion by national networks and newspapers with the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, have had on the public's trust of all news media. As I chronicled in detail in a post in October, journalists were caught fabricating stories, organizing protests, clearing their reports through the campaign before publication and even urging other journalists to suppress information. And this corruption isn't limited to coverage of election campaigns, either, as Katie Couric's deceptive editing of an interview for a gun control documentary proved.

These weren't "errors" -- these media folks knew what they were doing and meant to do it. Not one journalist was disciplined or let go by their news organizations as a result of their collusion; in fact, many were rewarded with White House gigs covering the president they just colluded against.

This is the biggest corruption scandal this industry has ever faced, it's still ongoing, and the deafening silence about it by professionals at otherwise respectable news outlets across the country has only reinforced the negative image. As the saying goes, silence is consent.

Institutional arrogance comes down to philosophy, and it's a tone that's set within newsrooms by people at the top. This tone establishes a company culture that reinforces approaches and habits, either good or bad. It's all how people within that newsroom see themselves relating to the outside world. I'm reminded of what I blogged in February 2011, when I was having a running debate with then-RS editorial page editor Bruce Ross over some guests on a radio show.
At a risk of oversimplification, I tend to lump what we loosely think of as news media into two main camps: one a cadre of elites that still see themselves as the same gatekeepers of public knowledge, opinion and morality that they thought they were 40 or 50 years ago; and the other having the goal of mainly arming their audiences with information so they can make their own judgments and decisions. Practitioners of the former include journalists, many of whom are old enough to remember their profession's zenith at Watergate. Practitioners of the latter include journalists but also citizens who disseminate information by posting on Facebook and Twitter, forming AgChat networks, sending text messages, holding meetings and going on talk shows.

I have a hunch that's why some media outlets feel so threatened by the tea party -- not because the movement may be conservative, but because it bypasses the gatekeepers and disseminates information to the public.

I believe the old gatekeeper model is doomed to failure, for any number of reasons. For one thing, people resent it in this information age. Perhaps more importantly, this thing we call journalism has long been a sort of jack-of-all-trades-and-master-at-none proposition, and is becoming even more so as news outlets are cutting their staffs.
Six years later, the elites are still trying to be gatekeepers, and they're getting angry, desperate and divisive. They're throwing full-blown tantrums in the White House press room because some New Media outlets got chosen for questions before they did. They've developed a catchphrase to describe any information that didn't come from them -- fake news. And many of them -- at all levels -- are lashing out at others on social media for posting stories and videos that aren't from sources of which they approve.

They don't trust you to sift through the information you receive and determine for yourself what's true, what's false, what's exaggerated, what's meant to be satire and what's intended to be presented as opinion.

This attitude and behavior are a big reason why I believe the corporate news industry as we've always known it may be gone in a very short time. Journalism -- the act of gathering and presenting information -- will go on in different forms, and some people will still be paid to do it. But the Old Media Guard that once defined journalism will be gone by any practical definition. And when it is dead and buried, history will record it as a suicide.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

What Trump's executive order on refugees actually does

The National Review's David French offers an excellent, detailed explanation of what President Trump's executive order on immigration does and doesn't do. It's a refreshing dose of context that's been conspicuously absent in much of the coverage of the order this weekend.

French -- who was such a never-Trumper last year that he considered running for president himself -- observes:
So, what did Trump do? Did he implement his promised Muslim ban? No, far from it. He backed down dramatically from his campaign promises and instead signed an executive order dominated mainly by moderate refugee restrictions and temporary provisions aimed directly at limiting immigration from jihadist conflict zones.
As French notes, the order essentially does four things:
-- temporarily halts refugee admissions for 120 days to improve the vetting process, then caps refugee admissions at 50,000 per year.
-- imposes a temporary, 90-day ban on people entering the U.S. from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
-- puts an indefinite hold on admission of Syrian refugees to the United States “until such time as I have determined that sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP to ensure that admission of Syrian refugees is consistent with the national interest.”
-- prioritizes "refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”

The author explains that the temporary seven-nation ban contains an "important" exception: “Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.”

The one problem he has with the order is that it is reportedly being applied even to green-card holders.
This is madness. The plain language of the order doesn’t apply to legal permanent residents of the U.S., and green-card holders have been through round after round of vetting and security checks. The administration should intervene, immediately, to stop misapplication. If, however, the Trump administration continues to apply the order to legal permanent residents, it should indeed be condemned.
All in all, though, French concludes:
Trump’s order was not signed in a vacuum. Look at the Heritage Foundation’s interactive timeline of Islamist terror plots since 9/11. Note the dramatic increase in planned and executed attacks since 2015. Now is not the time for complacency. Now is the time to take a fresh look at our border-control and immigration policies. Trump’s order isn’t a betrayal of American values. Applied correctly and competently, it can represent a promising fresh start and a prelude to new policies that protect our nation while still maintaining American compassion and preserving American friendships.
The entire article is well worth the read. It's full of "wow"-inspiring statistics and is backed up by lots of research. It can really be considered a definitive guide to the truth about the order. And we keep hearing that "truth" is what we're after, right?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Cow Creek schools' gun policy makes national news

A local school district's new policy for teachers has attracted the attention of Breitbart News. The site reports:
Palo Cedro’s North Cow Creek School District will now allow teachers with concealed carry permits to bring their firearms to school for defense of themselves and their students.

By adopting this policy, North Cow Creek became the fifth district in the state to allow teachers to be armed. The other four districts that allow concealed carry at school are Kern High School District; Kingsburg Joint Union High School District; Folsom Cordova Unified School District; and Anderson Union High School District, which is in Shasta County, the same county in which North Cow Creek is located.

Record Searchlight reports, “It makes sense that Shasta County now has at least two districts that support CCW permit-holders — at 5,116 permits, it had the third-highest number of them [in the state], according to 2013 California Department of Justice data compiled by the Calguns Foundation.” [...]

At least 12 school districts in Colorado recently adopted policies that allow their teachers and staff to carry at school for defense of themselves and their students. And teachers are allowed to carry in at least 40 districts in Ohio.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Sun comes out for 76th Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale


Amid what's turning out to be one of the wettest winters on record, sunny and cool weather has greeted this week's Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale, where thousands have gathered for one of the West's premier livestock events.

In the photos, from the top: University of California Cooperative Extension farm adviser Larry Forero (top) and UC-Davis rangeland watershed specialist Ken Tate give tips on managing ranch land in droughts; bulls are prepared for tomorrow's sale; and horse consigners wait outside the Pauline Davis Pavilion for their turns in showcasing their horses before tonight's auction.

This morning I sat in on the drought forum sponsored by the California Cattlemen's Association and talked with producers about the markets and what they expect from tomorrow's bull sale, which is vying to top the $1 million mark for the seventh straight year. For my stories on drought tips and bull and gelding sale results, check back at CapitalPress.com.

California's 'recipe for voter fraud on a massive scale'

You may have noticed the coordinated full-court press by some media organizations to try to debunk the notion that voter fraud exists -- even at all. This would include the USA Today's attempt at a "fact check" by arrogantly claiming "here's the truth" and a Los Angeles Times article that quotes California Secretary of State Alex Pedilla calling President Donald Trump a liar.

But former Assemblyman Tim Donnelly asserts that California has intentionally created a recipe for voter fraud on a massive scale. He describes the recipe at Breitbart News:
Treat anyone who proposes a Voter ID bill like [Saul] Alinsky would — shame them, shun them, ridicule, then repeat.

Make access so easy that you can register to vote online up to 15 days prior to Election Day and still vote. (They pushed for same day voter registration so that people who “forgot” to register could still register & “participate” as late as Election Day).

Make a major push to move as many voters as possible to mail-in ballots (permanent absentee ballots).

Spend millions of taxpayer dollars handing out Drivers Licenses to millions of people illegally present in the state (with an asterisk stating, “Federal Limits Apply”).

Pass a law requiring everyone who has a California Drivers License to be “automatically” registered to vote—including illegal aliens.

“If the voter does not check either the “Yes” or “No” box (for whether or not they are US Citizen), and the registration is otherwise complete, the registration should be processed normally and entered on the voter rolls.” (See screenshot of official publication below on California Secretary of State Website regarding CA compliance with National Voting Rights Act (NVRA): http://elections.cdn.sos.ca.gov/nvra/laws-standards/pdf/complete.pdf

Never update statewide voter database with any information that ever disqualif[ies] a voter — especially county coroner lists of the newly deceased.
That first point? That's where the media organizations come in. He adds:
When you look at what California has done to protect the ruling class of Democrat politicians and powerful public sector unions who represent the legions of bureaucrats, it’s diabolically simple and diabolically clever.

And easy to understand why.

Hundreds of millions in contracts and pay increases for tens of thousands of public sector unions and permanent political careers for politicians are at stake, and as long as the unions keep their cronies in power, the gravy train continues.

All you have to do is follow the money.

They created a system where it was virtually impossible to ever catch anyone cheating, removed all verification processes, automatically register[ed] all drivers license holders — whether they like it or not, and then launch[ed] that program immediately after granting every one of the untold millions of illegal aliens in California a driver[‘s] license.

When the Election Integrity Project brought forth a report on documented voter fraud, the LA Times and other publications slamming Mr. Trump — you guessed it — (yawn) ignored the facts.
Donnelly also presents evidence with links to numerous other voting irregularities in other states. But hey, it was all about the Russians hacking the election, right?

DWR to hold another manual snow survey on Feb. 2

From a news release:
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) will host the news media on February 2 for the second manual snow survey at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada. Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program, will begin the survey at 11 a.m. just off Highway 50 near Sierra-at-Tahoe Road about 90 miles east of Sacramento. The survey will determine the water content of the snow at Phillips.

The first months of Water Year 2017 (October 1 to today) have been exceptionally wet in California due to atmospheric river storms and rainfall from lesser storms that drenched the state. All three regions DWR monitors continuously for rainfall had recorded more by January 23 than their annual averages for the entire water year, which runs from October 1 through September 30.

The Phillips snow course has been measured each winter since 1941 and is one of hundreds that will be traversed during a 10-day period around February 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.
As it stands now, California's statewide snowpack is nearly double what it usually is this time of year and is even above the April 1 average, which is considered its peak. But it's too soon for the precipitation to stop, which is why we hope the forecast of rain for next week comes to fruition.

For results of the manual snow survey, check here and at CapitalPress.com.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Today in the Lantern: Bill would withdraw US from UN

The Shasta Lantern's Red Smith reports:
A Republican-proposed House Resolution has quietly slipped past the public radar – proposing that the United States withdraw its membership from the United Nations, just as another bill was being concocted to cut US funding to the body.

The bill, proposed by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), entitled American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017, seeks a complete US withdrawal from the UN, that the international body remove its headquarters from New York and that all participation be ceased with the World Health Organization as well.

Rogers and other prominent Republicans have repeatedly voiced the idea that US taxpayer money should not go to an organization that does not promote US interests – especially one that does not stick up for Israel together with the US. The new document is merely the latest manifestation of sentiment that has been brewing for some time.

The bill was quietly introduced on January 3 and was passed on to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. If approved, the bill would take two years to take effect. It would also repeal the United Nations Participation Act of 1945, signed in the aftermath of WWII.
The north state's Rep. Doug LaMalfa hasn't made any public statements about the bill, but he did vote in favor of a House measure calling on the UN to repeal the anti-Israel resolution it passed without objections from the Obama administration in December.

American Farm Bureau backs bills to repeal death tax

From a news release:
The American Farm Bureau Federation has endorsed bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate to repeal the federal estate tax. AFBF President Zippy Duvall said the bills are needed because farm and ranch families continue to face challenges to passing their family businesses to the next generation.

The AFBF-endorsed Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017 was introduced today in the House by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.). Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

“Farmers and ranchers face a number of factors that are unpredictable and beyond their control, from changing weather to fluctuating markets,” Duvall said. “These family-run businesses need a tax code that encourages investment, rather than one that punishes their success. We believe that repeal of the estate tax offers the best solution to protect farms, ranches and all family-owned businesses from the estate tax.”

Central Valley Project holds off on water supply estimate

From the California Farm Bureau Federation's Food and Farm News:
Even with a well above-average Sierra snowpack and rivers swollen by flood releases from reservoirs, federal water officials remain cautious about agricultural water supplies. Managers of the federal Central Valley Project say it’s too early to estimate whether farm customers in the San Joaquin Valley can expect more water than the 5 percent supply of last year. The CVP will make its first official projection of water supplies next month.
As I reported recently, the State Water Project has already boosted its allocation to 60 percent of normal supplies. For updates on water, keep an eye out at CapitalPress.com.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Today in the Times: Movies, musicians and acrobats

Among the latest headlines in the East Valley Times:
Silver Screen Classics Party with Gone with the Wind at the Cascade
You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how. –Clark Gable, Gone with the Wind The Cascade Theatre returns to its movie palace roots on Sunday February 12th for a romantic Valentine’s weekend party centered on a screening of the original 1939 classic, “Gone with the Wind.”

Golden Dragon Acrobats to perform at the Cascade Theatre
China’s Golden Dragon Acrobats return to the Cascade Theatre on February 16th at 7:30pm with daring feats of athleticism, heart-stopping stunts, vivid costumes and the grace of their centuries-old art form. The Golden Dragon Acrobats represent the best of a time honored tradition that began more than twenty-five centuries ago.

Shasta County musicians and poets join forces to stand against stigma at McArthur open mic event
The Stand Against Stigma campaign and Community Education Committee are proud to present the 9th Hope Is Alive! Open Mic Night, an evening to enjoy the community’s talented performers and share inspiring stories of facing mental health challenges. This FREE event is open to the public and will be held 6-8 p.m. Friday, February 3,

The Midtown Men—four stars from the Original Cast Of Broadway’s Jersey Boy to perform at Cascade Theatre
THE MIDTOWN MEN are coming to the Cascade Theatre Thursday, February 2nd at 7:30pm. This high-octane musical tour de force celebrates the best of the ‘60s.

Shingletown Medical Center – Give Kids A Smile® day to provide free dental screening
Shingletown Medical Center will be sponsoring their third annual Give Kids A Smile® event to provide children with free dental screening and fluoride varnishing on Thursday, February 2nd, at Black Butte Elementary and Jr. High beginning at 8:30am and will continue through the course of the day until completed.

LaMalfa votes to permanently ban federal abortion funding

From a news release:
Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act.

LaMalfa said: “Today, I was proud to join with my fellow men and women of the House to ensure that Americans are never forced to pay for abortions with their tax dollars. This bill makes permanent some of the protections we already have, such as the Hyde amendment, but until now have been forced to go through the appropriations process each year. Coupled with President Trump’s decision to reinstate the Mexico City Policy – which prevents federal funding for abortions outside our borders – this sends a clear message that Republicans are united in our mission to protect all life.”

The main provisions of H.R. 7 are as follows:

Ø Establishes a government-wide permanent ban on abortion funding by codifying existing policies that prohibit federal funding for abortions.
Ø Makes permanent the Hyde amendment, which prohibits abortions provided in any federal health care facility – excepting conditions of physical endangerment of a woman’s life or a pregnancy that arises from rape or incest.
Ø Amends the Affordable Care Act to disallow premium assistance tax credits or health insurance tax credits for providers who cover abortions, beginning in 2018.
Ø Amends the ACA to ensure multi-state health plans offered on health insurance exchanges do not cover abortions.
Ø Creates greater transparency to ensure consumers are fully informed about abortion coverage and surcharges on plans sold on the exchanges.

Citrus Mutual disappointed, not surprised by TPP move

From California Citrus Mutual:
President Trump's Executive Order withdrawing the U.S. from the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is disappointing, yet not surprising.

"The President has been unapologetically opposed to TPP since early in his campaign, so it comes to no surprise that he has officially withdrawn the U.S. from the proposed trade agreement, despite it's clear and obvious benefit to the California citrus industry and broader U.S. agricultural sector," says California Citrus Mutual (CCM) President Joel Nelsen.

The TPP included an immediate elimination of tariffs on citrus exports to Vietnam and a gradual reduction or elimination of tariffs to other Pacific Rim countries, including Japan, a leading importer of California citrus. The trade deal also established a structure for phytosanitary negotiations with Vietnam.

"The President's Executive Order does set back efforts by the citrus industry to increase exports to both existing trading partners and emerging export markets," continues Nelsen, "But we remain confident that demand for California citrus in these countries will continue to grow even without TPP."

Japan is and will continue to be a top export market for California citrus and demand from Vietnam is on an upward trajectory.

"Our job now is to assure President Trump that the California citrus industry is committed to working with his Administration to maintain the existing TPP language whether it is through a country-by-country approach or a broad trade agreement," concludes Nelsen.

About CCM - CCM is the only advocacy organization representing CA citrus growers on the economic, regulatory, and political issues that impact them most. We are a voluntary, non-profit trade association dedicated to enhancing the sustainability of the CA citrus industry by advocating for sound, reasonable policy that allows for fair competition in the market place. Our 2,500 members represent 75% of California 270,000 acre, $3.3 billion citrus industry.
The Capital Press' Matthew Weaver filed a comprehensive report on farm groups' reaction to the TPP decision.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Are the Russians backing the CalExit movement?

Pie N Politics editor Liz Bowen makes the case that the effort by a few Californians to secede from the United States has ties to Russia. She writes:
In doing research about Calexit and the Yes, California, I have found several very rich Silicon Valley elites are behind it. Even more interesting is that the leader of Yes, California is Louis J. Marinelli, who is a New Yorker that lives in Russia. Yep, Russia — and there is proof that the Russian government is providing assistance to promote his efforts. And on Dec. 18, 2016, Marinelli announced that Yes, California campaign had opened an embassy in Moscow.

So the entire project is very suspect to say the least. My goodness!
She also cautions people not to confuse CalExit with the State of Jefferson movement.
The State of Jefferson is not part of this group and the leaders are adamant to explain the Jefferson movement opposes Calexit. Jefferson supporters believe in the U.S. Constitution and want to add a star to the United States flag as a new state.

Unfortunately, in some news articles the State of Jefferson has not been correctly explained and reporters insinuate the Jefferson movement is much like Calexit. That suggestion is blasphemy to Jefferson leaders. And as spokesman Mark Baird has explained, if the Calexit campaign should happen to be successful, many citizens in the Northern California counties will be clamoring and demanding their legislative leaders to use Article 4 Sec. 3 of the U.S. Constitution to break away from California and create a new state – just like West Virginia did during the Civil War.
False reporting. Imagine that.

Citrus group lauds Trump's stay of Argentine lemon rule

From California Citrus Mutual:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in accordance with guidance from the White House issued January 20, 2017, today issued a stay for 60 days on its final rule to allow the importation of fresh lemon fruit from northwest Argentina into the continental United States.

California Citrus Mutual (CCM) applauds the Administration and USDA for acting with careful consideration for the US citrus industry and the negative impacts of the importation of lemons from Argentina.

"While CCM does not oppose trade or the inevitable competition created for our industry by the importation of offshore product, we cannot support any trade deal that will place the California citrus industry at risk," states CCM President Joel Nelsen. "To this end, we will continue to work with the USDA to create a work plan that better protects the domestic citrus industry from the multitude of pests and diseases known to be present in northwest Argentina."

The final rule, issued on December 23, 2016, creates significant vulnerability for the domestic citrus crop to invasive pests and diseases. The bacteria responsible for Huanglongbing (HLB), a disease that has devastated citrus industries around the world including Florida, has been present in Argentine since 2012 and potentially threatens 336,056 acres of citrus crops in the Northwestern and Northeastern regions of the country.

The U.S. citrus industry and the USDA have invested well over a billion dollars in the past decade to protect the U.S. citrus crop against HLB and the insect vector Asian citrus psyllid. As growers, government, and homeowners work to prevent further spread of HLB in or outside of the Los Angeles Basin, Argentine lemons could bring similar destructive pests and diseases into California including Citrus Black Spot and Leprosis, a virus similar to HLB that has no cure and is be transmitted by mites.

"The President campaigned on a platform of protecting American industries from trade packages that create unnecessary vulnerabilities for domestic production, business, and jobs. The President's swift action in regard to the Argentine lemon rule is a clear signal that he intends to keep his campaign promise," continues Nelsen. "While CCM may disagree with the President's position on other trade negotiations from the perspective that deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership would have benefitted citrus producers, we support the Administration's efforts to protect domestic industries."
I wrote about the lemon rule here and here. For updates, keep watch at CapitalPress.com.

California Farm Bureau disappointed at TPP withdrawal

From the California Farm Bureau Federation:
Calling for continued efforts to break down barriers to agricultural trade, the California Farm Bureau Federation expressed disappointment today in President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

“Trade in food and farm products benefits both rural and urban areas of California,” CFBF President Paul Wenger said. “For example, farm products represent the top export from the Port of Oakland, and agreements such as the TPP would allow us to reach more potential customers in key Pacific Rim markets.”

Wenger said he hopes the administration will follow up with policies aimed at opening foreign markets for American farm products.

“We operate in a world where it’s much easier for crops from other nations to enter the U.S. than for American farm goods to be sold elsewhere,” he said. “We will encourage the administration to work on smaller-scale agreements that would allow American farmers to trade with other nations on an equal basis.”

Wenger noted the administration has also discussed reopening the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.

“If NAFTA is reopened, its agricultural provisions should be left alone,” he said. “We don’t want successful agricultural trade to be caught in any conflict about other portions of the agreement.”

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.
The Capital Press' Matthew Weaver got reactions to the withdrawal from numerous farm groups. His updated story is here.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Bull sale lineup to include drought management forum

Among the various activities at this week's Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale will be a California Cattlemen's Association-sponsored informational forum Friday morning discussing on-farm drought management. From the CCA:
Please join CCA for the third installment of a series of workshops being held throughout the state to help ranchers better prepare for and withstand periods of drought. The workshop will take place on Jan. 27 from 8-10:30 a.m. at the Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale located at the Tehama District Fairgrounds in Red Bluff.

There has been an excellent start to this year's rainy season, however California still remains in one of the most extended droughts in its recorded history.

This forum will focus on specific on-farm management practices that can be implemented to successfully adapt your operation to drought and help provide for the future economic resiliency of your ranch. Topics and speakers will include:

Water Use on Irrigated Pasture and Growth Cycle of Annual Rangelands
Larry Forero, Shasta County Director, UC Cooperative Extension

Consideration of Supplemental Feeding, Including Byproducts
Josh Davy, Tehama County Livestock, Range, and Natural Resources Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension

Benefits of Rotational Grazing During Drought
Ken Tate, Rangeland Watershed Specialist, UC Davis

Coping with Drought on California Rangelands: Results of Interviews and Surveys of California Ranchers
Leslie Roche, Rangeland Specialist, UC Davis

The forum is free and open to all. Take the opportunity to attend this informational seminar while enjoying all the Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale has to offer.
Here is my advance story on the bull sale. In the photo, bull sale manager Adam Owens carries fencing to where it is needed during set-up last week.

I will be covering the forum and other bull sale activities. Check here and at CapitalPress.com for reports.

Rain, snow expected to stop for awhile after Tuesday

The current series of storms in Northern California is winding down. From the National Weather Service:
System expected to produce up to 2 inches of additional rain in the Central Valley with heavy snow in the mountains above 3000 feet. Hazardous mountain travel likely with chain controls, delays, accidents, and white-out conditions at times. Isolated thunderstorms which may produce small hail will be possible [...] through Monday, especially in the afternoon. Localized flooding remains a concern, especially near area creeks, streams, and rivers. Decreasing showers expected later Monday into early Tuesday, then dry weather forecast through the remainder of the week.

Impacts
Downed trees and power outages due to saturated soil & gusty winds have already occurred early [Sunday] morning
Hazardous mountain travel with chain controls, delays, accidents, and white-out conditions through Monday
Localized flooding concerns over the next several days
Isolated thunderstorms possible which may contain small hail through Monday.

Forecast Confidence
High with rain, snow, and wind
Low with thunderstorms

Timing and Strength
Current storm: Now - Early Tuesday

Early Morning winds: Central Valley and Foothills - Southerly wind 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 60 mph. Winds gradually decrease after 7-8 am
Strong South to Southwest mountain wind gusts over 60 mph through early Monday.
0.5-2 inches of rain in the Central Valley with up to 3 inches in the Foothills. Isolated thunderstorms which may contain small hail are possible Monday.
Snow levels 3000-4000 feet, 1 to 4 feet of additional snow accumulation above 4000 feet with several inches possible down to 3000 feet.
Dry later Tuesday - end of the week

Friday, January 20, 2017

Counter the 'protests' by celebrating deplorable lifestyles

If you're looking for an alternative to sitting around and watching the corporate TV networks' never-ending coverage of the anti-American protests this weekend, one north state event will highlight people who actually keep the country moving by working on the land.

The JP Ranch Rodeo tonight and tomorrow night at the Tehama District Fairgrounds in Red Bluff will make competitions out of activities that actually happen on ranches. Twenty-six three-man teams will compete in such rodeo events as herd counting, calf branding, a ranch horse competition, ranch sorting, ranch doctoring, calf roping and bronc riding. Live concerts follow the action on both nights. Here are the details.

Because we all know that those "deplorable" ranchers rape the land, mistreat their animals, steal all the water and pollute the air with all those cow farts. At least I think I heard that somewhere.

Scoping session today for Klamath dam removal project

The Klamath River Renewal Corporation -- the private entity formed to proceed with the removal of four dams from the Klamath River -- is holding a scoping session this morning at the CalEPA headquarters in Sacramento.

The 10 a.m. meeting will be webcast here.

Another scoping meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Jan. 26 in the convention center auditorium at the Best Western Miner's Inn, 122 East Miner St., in Yreka.

As Pie N Politics reports:
Written comments are due by 5:00 pm on February 1, 2017. Details regarding the scoping meetings and Lower Klamath Project are available in the Notice of Preparation. The Notice of Preparation has been updated with the Yreka scoping meeting details and is available under the “Related Documents” section of the Lower Klamath Project’s webpage at: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/water_quality_cert/lower_klamath_ferc14803.shtml

If you are receiving this notice in a forwarded message and would like to receive future emails regarding the Lower Klamath Project, please subscribe to the “Lower Klamath Project License Surrender” email subscription list, under “Water Rights” at:
http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/resources/email_subscriptions/swrcb_subscribe.shtml

If you have questions regarding this email, please email Mr. Parker Thaler at: parker.thaler@waterboards.ca.gov.

Tractor Brigade to highlight agriculture at inaugural parade

From RFD-TV:
In its continuing effort to “reconnect city with country,” RFD-TV has organized the Rural Tractor Brigade which has been added to the 2017 Presidential Inaugural Parade, themed “We The People: Our American Journey.” RFD-TV invited every tractor manufacturer to participate and those confirmed include Case IH, Challenger, John Deere, Kioti, Kubota, Mahindra, Massey-Ferguson, and New Holland who will showcase tractors used in modern agriculture production. [...]

Members of the National FFA, the world’s premiere youth organization, will carry the banner for the Rural Tractor Brigade and lead this contingent of colorful tractors that help make America’s farmers and ranchers the most efficient food and fiber producers in the world. [...] On Inauguration Day, RFD-TV and Rural Radio will have live updates beginning at 9 a.m. EST and continue through the course of the day, with complete highlights on the “Rural Evening News” at 11:30 p.m. EST.

“RFD-TV is on a mission to reconnect city with country again,” stated Patrick Gottsch, founder and president of RFD-TV. "The invitation from the Inaugural Parade to include agriculture in this celebration with tractors going down Pennsylvania Avenue is confirmation that progress is being made. We are proud to have the Rural Tractor Brigade represent agriculture in Washington D.C. on this historic day and hope that this kicks off a year where there is a new appreciation for the importance of working together is recognized and embraced by all in this great country.”

Several leaders of agriculture associations will be representing their members by driving a tractor in the parade. Those leaders include Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation and their 5.9 million members; Ron Moore, president of the American Soybean Association and his wife Deb; Randy Krotz, CEO of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance; John Weber, president of the National Pork Producers Council; and Jim Odle, co-founder of Superior Livestock Auction. Also driving to represent rural media include National Association of Farm Broadcasting past and current presidents Mark Oppold and Max Armstrong, Duncan Smith of Sinclair Broadcasting, and Patrick Gottsch, founder and president of RFD-TV and RURAL RADIO on SiriusXM.
The parade is slated to begin at noon and will be carried by numerous livestreams as well as cable networks.

RFD-TV is available online with a subscription (no cable subscription is needed).

U.S. Cattlemen, Western Growers back Perdue nomination

Two more farm groups have come out in favor of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue's nomination to be the next USDA secretary.

From the U.S. Cattlemen's Association:
Following the announcement of President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) President Kenny Graner issued the following statement:

“USCA commends President-elect Trump on his long-awaited nomination of Secretary of Agriculture. Sonny Perdue led a state with a $74-billion agricultural sector and a robust cattle industry, and we are confident that Mr. Perdue will serve as a strong leader for rural America. Given Mr. Perdue’s veterinary background, we know that we will have a strong advocate for issues related to animal health and welfare.

USCA looks forward to working with Mr. Perdue and his staff on the challenges facing today’s livestock industry, including the current state of the cattle market and lack of competition and true price discovery; the need to modernize the Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting law and the Packers and Stockyards Act; the opening up of export markets, such as China, with a growing demand for U.S. beef; and a clear definition for country-of-origin labeling information.”

USCA sent a letter to the Trump Agricultural Advisory Team in December outlining priorities for the new Administration; read the letter HERE.
From Western Growers:
In response to President–elect Donald J. Trump naming Sonny Perdue as the nominee to head the Department of Agriculture, Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif issued the following statement:

“We support the nomination of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture and congratulate him on gaining the confidence of President-elect Trump. Over the course of Governor Perdue’s career, he has proven to be a consummate champion for agriculture and will undoubtedly serve our industry well in this capacity. We look forward to working with the Governor to develop and implement the public policy priorities of the fresh produce industry.

While the secretary’s importance to agriculture is obvious, Governor Perdue will assume the role at a particularly vital time as our country reengages in a discussion about the future of our immigration system. Reform is essential to the long-term viability of American agriculture, which is unique among industries that rely on foreign workers in that our labor needs cannot be met by domestic workers. Foreign hands will harvest our crops, either here or abroad. It is our hope that once confirmed, Governor Perdue will be a relentless advocate for immigration reform that works for agriculture and will present our case to the president, other key cabinet members and members of Congress who will be engaged in future negotiations.

Additionally, we are confident that Governor Perdue will continue the legacy of past secretaries and drive forward other agricultural priorities in areas such as trade, the farm bill, nutrition, research funding and the environment.

On behalf of the nearly 2,500 Western Growers members who collectively grow more than half of the nation’s fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, we congratulate Governor Perdue on his nomination as Secretary of Agriculture and wish him a speedy confirmation process.”
The Capital Press' Eric Mortenson and Matthew Weaver gathered reactions from numerous farm and natural resource groups. Their story is here.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Journalists' organization fundraises by bashing Trump

I had to do a double-take because it looked like one of those emails circulated by the political parties or other partisan groups. But into my inbox today came this message from none other than the Society of Professional Journalists, under the heading, "Fight back with us":
Dear Tim,

On Friday, our nation will inaugurate its 45th president, Donald J. Trump, whose words and actions threaten the underpinning of democratic society: an independent press and freedom of speech.

The First Amendment is under attack. Fight back with us.

Stand with us as we fight for information from the highest office in the land.

Stand with us as we fight for the rights of journalists to do their jobs.

Stand with us as we fight for the public’s right to know.

Stand with us as we fight for the dignified treatment of the press.

Stand with us. Because we need you.

Commit to the fight on Inauguration Day by joining the Society of Professional Journalists for just $45 – normally $75. Become part of more than 7,000 journalists and people who care deeply about a free and independent press.

Visit fight.spj.org to join the fight. Use the hashtag #PressthePrez to join the conversation and help spread the word.

Together, we are stronger.

Lynn Walsh
President, Society of Professional Journalists
Now I can understand sending out alerts about specific policy proposals such as lowering the legal threshold for libel, which would require an act of Congress. But can somebody explain what Trump has done to "threaten the underpinning of democratic society: an independent press and freedom of speech"? Hint: Criticizing reporters -- which has happened to me more times than I can remember -- doesn't rise to that level.

The fact is I've been watching established news outlets for the past two months getting fully behind the "fake news" meme in an attempt to control or shut down political speech on the internet. And I don't remember getting a fundraising letter from SPJ a few years ago when a sitting U.S. senator said, "There's a little bug inside of me which wants to get the FCC to say to Fox and to MSNBC, 'Out. Off. End. Goodbye.' It would be a big favor to political discourse."

I was a student member of SPJ back in the '80s and briefly edited the organization's newsletter at San Diego State University. But now it appears the open partisanship that has infected so much of our media has made it inside one of our most cherished professional organizations as well. It's a sad day for our industry.

CFBF: Flooded fields may not show damage for months

From the California Farm Bureau Federation's Food and Farm News:
In areas of Northern California where rivers and streams have overflowed their banks, farmers assess the impact of flooding on their crops. In many cases, the possibility of damage will hinge on how long the crops remain under standing water. University of California farm advisors say flooded alfalfa fields may not show any damage for months. Advisors encourage farmers to inspect alfalfa fields carefully once they drain.
Meanwhile, Southern California farmers are hoping for more rain, the Farm Bureau reports.
There’s rain forecast this week for many parts of Southern California, and that’s welcome news for farmers in the region. Whereas Northern California has seen powerful storms during January, rainfall totals to the south remain below average. Farmers in Santa Barbara County have had to prune some of their avocado trees down to stumps, due to lack of water. A farmer who grows wheat in northern Los Angeles County says he needs more rain to assure he can plant his crop.

Cattlemen's groups praise Trump's USDA secretary pick

From the National Cattlemen's Beef Association:
Tracy Brunner, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, today released the following statement in support of President-elect Trump’s nomination of former Gov. Sonny Perdue to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

“Governor Perdue’s an excellent pick to head the Agriculture Department. As a lifelong agri-businessman and veterinarian, as well as the two-term governor of a state where agriculture’s the largest industry, Gov. Perdue has a unique and expert understanding of both the business and scientific sides of agriculture. In a time of increasing regulations and a growing governmental footprint, we have no doubt that Gov. Perdue will step in and stand up for rural America so that we can continue to do what we do best – provide the safest and most abundant food supply in the world.”

In addition, Kyle Gillooly, a seedstock cattle farmer in Wadley, Ga., and president of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, released the following statement:

“The Georgia Cattlemen's Association is excited to hear the selection of Gov. Sonny Perdue to lead the USDA. Governor Perdue has always been a strong supporter of agriculture. His background in agribusiness and as a veterinarian will bring a wealth of knowledge and real-world common sense to a department that is vitally important to the success of our nation. As a graduate of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, he understands the issues we face in the livestock industry and he is a true believer in the land grant university system, their mission, and how they impact the cattle industry across the nation. His experience leading the State of Georgia, with its large agriculture heritage, will be invaluable to the Trump Administration.”
However, Friends of the Earth isn't so positive.
Donald Trump has nominated Sonny Perdue to lead the Department of Agriculture. Perdue served as Georgia’s governor from 2003-2011. He currently serves as CEO of Purdue Partners, a global trading company that specializes in exports of U.S. agricultural commodities.

As governor, Perdue supported major expansions of factory-farm poultry operations in Georgia and mocked the role of climate in causing extreme weather events affecting farmers. Instead of taking climate change seriously, the governor organized a public vigil to pray for rain.

Friends of the Earth Deputy Director of Food and Technology Kari Hamerschlag issued the following response:
Rather than draining the swamp, Trump’s pick of Perdue to run the USDA puts a career politician and agribusiness CEO in charge of running one of the nation’s largest agencies. Given Perdue’s position with a global agribusiness trading company and his actions as governor, we are concerned that Perdue will use his position at the USDA to prioritize the profits of big agribusiness and trade over the interests of American farmers, workers and consumers.

Farmers are among the most vulnerable to extreme weather events caused by climate change. This year was the hottest on record and farmers need a champion in the USDA who will fight for conservation programs to help farmers be more resilient in the face of extreme weather, not pray for rain.

While trade is important, we need a leader at the USDA who understands the importance of growing stronger local agricultural economies. The USDA Secretary must focus on creating good jobs in rural America by supporting independent family farmers and ranchers who are working hard to meet U.S. consumers’ demand for healthier, cleaner food that is grown without the use of synthetic hormones, routine antibiotics, GMOs or toxic pesticides.

With the appointment of Sonny Perdue, Trump has created a cabinet with almost no racial or gender diversity. Of sixteen cabinet positions, Perdue is the twelfth white man to be appointed. Of note, Trump met with and rejected several Latino candidates for Secretary of Agriculture over the past month.
Some farm groups had voiced frustration that a USDA secretary had not yet been named. For more on this pick, check CapitalPress.com soon.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

State Water Project boosts allocation to 60 percent

The storms are paying off. From the Department of Water Resources:
As winter storms continue to fill reservoirs and boost the snowpack, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) today increased its estimate of this year’s State Water Project (SWP) supply from 45 to 60 percent of most requests.

“Our water supply outlook is definitely brighter, but we still haven’t shaken off the effects of our historic drought,” said DWR Acting Director William Croyle. “Californians’ in some areas still depend on bottled drinking water, some reservoirs remain low and groundwater basins are still in decline and have yet to recover. We know from painful history that California winters can go quickly from very wet to very dry. We want to see the snowpack continue to build for the remainder of the wet season.”

DWR initially estimated it would be able to deliver only 20 percent of the 4.1 million acre-feet of SWP water requested this year. That projection (allocation) was increased to 45 percent as reservoirs rose from December storms. Today’s increase to 60 percent of collective delivery requests is due to the atmospheric river storms that have filled many reservoirs and brought flood waters to some areas. With more rain and snow in the forecast, DWR hopes it will be able to increase the allocation further.

Under a 45 percent allocation, DWR would have delivered 1,894,645 of the 4,172,786 acre feet of water requested by the 29 public agencies served by the State Water Project. Under today’s 60 percent allocation, 2,536,267 acre-feet of water would be delivered.

Reservoirs have risen dramatically with runoff from this month’s storms. Major Northern California reservoirs, including Lake Oroville, Shasta Lake and Folsom Lake have been required to make flood control releases to maintain room to safely capture inflow that otherwise could flood downstream areas.

Lake Oroville in Butte County, the SWP’s principal reservoir, early this morning was holding ­­­2,806,473 acre-feet, 79 percent of its 3.5 million acre-foot capacity and ­­­­125 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 3,640,765 acre-feet, 80 percent of its 4.5 million acre-foot capacity and 123 percent of its historical average. Folsom Lake near Sacramento, another CVP reservoir, was holding 484,000 acre feet, 98 percent of its historical average and 50 percent of its 977,000 acre-foot capacity. San Luis Reservoir, a critical south-of-Delta pool for both the SWP and CVP, was holding 1,480,803 acre feet, 73 percent of its 2 million acre-foot capacity and 98 percent of its historical average for the date.

As State Water Project allocations change, it is important to remember that nearly all areas served by the project also have other sources of water, 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
2006 – 100 percent

CFBF lawyer: Storms underline need for new storage

Chris Scheuring, an environmental attorney for the California Farm Bureau Federation, writes:
Driving to work each morning this past week across the Yolo Causeway, which has been intentionally flooded to take excess flows from the Sacramento River system, I have been reminded of how quickly water can appear in California—and how quickly it can disappear.

After six years of drought, our state's hydrology has turned on a dime—as we knew it could—and the various structures of the California flood control system are shunting something like 150,000 cubic feet per second of water out to sea as I write this. Some of that water is heading to the ocean because there's just no other place to put it, and flood-control protocols require water managers to make room in reservoirs for expected, later flows.

That brings to mind a couple of things we have been saying for a while here at the Farm Bureau about the capture of our water resources.

By the time you read this, the water in the bypass will probably be down again, and certainly we can't know when the rains will return again—except that they will. And we are told that California's already-inconsistent precipitation patterns will become even "flashier" in the coming decades, which is to say that the experts at places such as the Department of Water Resources predict a long-term trend toward more prolonged drought periods and more severe—if sporadic—flood events.

For the future of our farms, cities and environment, California is going to have to get a lot more sophisticated and strategic about grabbing and holding the water when it comes.
His full commentary in AgAlert is here.

State of Jefferson organizers to hold conference call


Advocates for a state of Jefferson will hold a conference call on Sunday night to discuss next steps in their movement.

The 7 p.m. call can be joined at 1-712-770-4114, with access code 307268# .

The Jefferson formation group's website is here. Their Facebook page is here. And here is the first edition of their new newsletter.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Preparations made for next week's 76th Red Bluff bull sale


In the photos, ranchers and other volunteers move fencing for chutes and corrals into place for next week's 76th annual Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale, which runs Jan. 24-28. The set-up activities were this morning.

In all, 400 bulls are entered, and consigners will try to top last year's $1.49 million in total receipts. Ninety-two geldings and 20 dogs are also entered in their respective auctions.

Here is the full schedule of events. For my full preview and for coverage of bull sale activities, keep watch at CapitalPress.com.

What a responsible media would be asking the 'protesters'

I cover the agriculture community, and in it are many people who justifiably have mixed feelings about the incoming Donald Trump administration. As I and my colleagues have reported, people are optimistic that Trump can ease the grip of regulations on farmers, but they're concerned about his positions and rhetoric regarding immigration and trade -- two issues that are of the highest importance to farmers.

Many are looking to Congress to help shape policy; for instance, negotiating for comprehensive immigration reform in exchange for Trump's wall and border security. They hope that Trump will work with Congress and find compromises rather than take the "my way or the highway" attitude that we saw all too often from the last two administrations. And many hope he moderates his language on Twitter.

But concerns about Trump's policy positions and approach are far different from what we're seeing from the organized Left these days, which should be seen as nothing less than a modern-day Bolshevist movement. We have public figures openly calling for martial law to prevent the peaceful transition of power. We have members of Congress attacking the legitimacy of a freely elected leader and refusing to work with him. We have organized anarchist groups that aren't just protesting the inauguration, but making plans to disrupt it by blocking roads and intersections and even using chemical weapons and violence.

Check out this conversation between two "protest" organizers caught on tape, courtesy of Project Veritas:
Luke Kuhn: “Yeah, if you had…a pint of butyric acid, I don’t care how big the building is, its closing.”

Scott Green: “And this stuff is very efficient, it’s very very smelly, lasts a long time and a little goes a long way.”

Colin Dunn: “I’m trying to think through how to get all the sprinklers to go off at once. There’s usually a piece of like fusiable metal or a piece of glass with liquid in it that will blow.”

Luke Kuhn: “The message has to be, we do not recognize the city government either. If you try to close us down we will look for your house, we will burn it. We will physically fight the police if they try to steal one of our places. We will go to war and you will lose.”
It would be reassuring if we had a dominant news media that identified this behavior for what it is -- domestic terrorism -- and soberly examined the existential threat it poses to our country and the freedoms our Constitution guarantees. But unfortunately, as I wrote yesterday, much of the major corporate media is an active participant in fomenting the unrest. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, they were seen begging the civil right's icon's son, Martin Luther King III, to bash Trump. Across the country, reporters, editors and producers have been taking to social media to essentially guarantee high-profile coverage to any protests of the inauguration in their communities.

A quick sampling of corporate-owned local news sites in Northern California found absolutely ZERO stories about the Project Veritas revelations after the story broke. Lots of wire stories about Rep. John Lewis and about how California is gearing up for legal fights against the Trump administration, but NOTHING about how radical groups were planning to derail the swearing-in of a new president.

In these times, it's never been more important to have discerning news consumers who demand a certain level of standards from the news organizations that they use. As these protests unfold in the coming days, in Washington, D.C. and in our communities, here are some of the questions we should be hearing from reporters: What exactly are you protesting? Are you against the idea of citizens electing their own leaders? If having Trump as president is unacceptable to you, what would you like to see happen? Did you vote, and who for? What would you say to the argument from Trump supporters that these protests are just people who are upset that their candidate lost?

Questions like these will instantly tell the audience who just wants the legislative branch to fulfill its constitutional role as a check on the White House, and who wants to blow up the whole system.

For members of Congress who call Trump "illegitimate", we should be hearing reporters ask the following: If you think the incoming president is illegitimate, what would you like to see happen? On what basis in the Constitution are you questioning his legitimacy? If you believe the freely elected president is illegitimate, how do you expect your own constituents to trust that you will serve in the best interests of the people who elected you? If you can't work with the president of the United States, how can you be an effective congressman? Shouldn't you resign?

Such questions would help the audience separate people like Rep. Barbara Lee, who's staying away from the inauguration on specific policy grounds, from the likes of Lewis, who just doesn't tolerate any opposing views.

In my lifetime, the terms of Democratic and Republican presidents have been exactly evenly split. In America, the pendulum always swings, and whoever is out of power now will be back, usually in eight or 12 years if not four. When President Obama was elected on the promise to "fundamentally transform" America, there were no inauguration protests to speak of. Yet the Left is becoming increasingly intolerant of the right of the people to choose its leaders, when they aren't the chosen ones. And this intolerance is shared by many in the major corporate media, who realize their best chances of economic survival are with an authoritarian government that will recognize them as "official" sources and shut down or heavily scrutinize alternative media.

It will be one thing if we see signs like "One person one vote -- abolish the Electoral College," or "Congress should stand up to Trump on TPP." At least they're advocating working within our current system of government. But if the news outlet you use (either local or national) is giving fawning coverage to people who hold signs saying "Trump is not my president" and calling his supporters fascists, that outlet is not looking out for your best interests or your freedom and you should look for new sources of information. The nation's future hangs in the balance.