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Conveyor Currents                              November 1, 2013
Upcoming Dates

2014

January 15-16, 2014   Grain & Feed Industry Conference, Embassy Suites, Monterey, CA

April 23-26, 2014  CGFA Annual Convention ~ The Sheraton Resort, Maui, HI 
*** Information Click Here ***

May 14-15, 2014 California Animal Nutrition Conference,  Radisson Hotel in Fresno, CA

 
2015
 
April 22-25, 2015   CGFA Annual Convention - The Monterey Plaza Hotel on Cannery Row.

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California
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      www.cgfa.org
 
California Dept. of Food & Ag 
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U.S. Dept. of Food & Ag
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In This Issue
EPA Shutdown Delays Fertilizer Rules Until End of November
FDA Releases Long-Awaited FSMA Feed/Pet Food Rule
Sellers Promoted to AFIA's Senior Vice President
California Agencies Release Draft Action Plan for Water
Outlook for the Farm Bill Conference
Budget Committee Scales Back Expectations
Safety Corner
Senate Ag Committee Plans Hearing on FSMA and Produce
House Committee Releases Report on Transport Efficiency
House Committee Moves Pesticide, Spill Prevention Bills
Federal Court Rules for Farmers in Runoff Case Against EPA
Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Items
State Board to Discuss Groundwater Supply Challenges
Annual Convention - Room Reservation Link to Sheraton

This is the link for the on-line reservations for the CGFA Annual Convention - April 23-26, 2014.  

 

 

Mahalo!

 

 

 

EPA:  Shutdown Delays Fertilizer Rules Until End of November

While originally expected by the end of October, EPA told the Huffington Post this week its new and existing chemical safety rules and enhancements won't be out until the end of November due to the 16-day federal government shutdown. The rules will place greater restrictions on the use, storage and oversight of ammonia-based chemicals used in fertilizer manufacture in the wake of the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion last spring. 

 
FDA Releases Long-Awaited FSMA Feed/Pet Food Rule

 

On October 29, FDA finally published its proposed rule - about 18 months late - to implement performance standards for the animal feed and pet food industries under provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  Arguably the biggest changes in decades in how the federal government regulates the commercial animal feed and pet food industries, the 405-page rule is the last of the major rules required of the agency under FSMA.  It promises a major battle between industry and the agency over implementation and how the feed rule relates to other FSMA rulemakings already out for public comment.  

 

The new proposed rule, a fact sheet and other related materials can be found by going to this link:  https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2013-25126.pdf. A teleconference between FDA and industry stakeholders was held October 25, and a replay of that call can be heard until November 23 by calling 1-800-285-0610.

 

The proposed rule lays out how registered facilities must create a written food safety plan, perform "hazard analysis," and establish preventative controls for registered facilities.  In essence, the rule lays out how companies will operate if they "manufacture, process, pack, or hold" animal foods - livestock/poultry feed and pet foods - both domestically and overseas to minimize and prevent contaminations "likely to occur."  Monitoring, corrective actions, verification and new recordkeeping, as well as the designation of a "qualified individual" to oversee the prevention/food safety plan, are required.  The rule contains new proposed Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) for non-registered, non-medicated feed and pet food facilities, and carries special consideration for small and "very small" businesses. The rule does not cover on-farm mixers.

 

In a joint statement, the American Feed Industry Assn. (AFIA), which includes broad pet food membership, and the National Grain & Feed Assn. (NGFA) said they were "pleased to see the rules," and said their analysis of the proposal will include how it meshes with the previously published foreign supplier verification and accreditation of third party auditor proposed rules.   AFIA Senior Vice President Richard Sellers noted AFIA and NGFA have already requested an extension of the comment period for the two earlier proposals so that implementation of the three proposed rules would occur at the same time.

 

NGFA's Dave Fairfield, vice president for feed services, said AFIA and NGFA would broaden its efforts to include the Pet Food Institute so comments reflect "what's achievable and to facilitate the continued manufacture and distribution of safe animal feed and pet food."

 

Comments are due 120 days after publication, and requirements will kick in 60 days after a final rule is published.  However, both AFIA and NGFA acknowledge the massive rulemaking will need more than 120 days for analysis, review and comment, and an extension of the comment period will be requested.  In addition, AFIA and NGFA are finalizing preparations for a jointly sponsored webinar on the new proposal, likely to be held in early December.

 

FDA announced it will hold three public meetings on the proposed rule.  The first will be held November 21 at the FDA Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) in Beltsville, MD; the second on November 25 will be held at the Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building in Chicago, and the third on December 6, will be held at the John E. Moss Federal Building in Sacramento, CA.

 

Sellers Promoted to AFIA's Senior Vice President


ARLINGTON, VA., November 1, 2013 - Veteran American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) employee Richard Sellers has been promoted to senior vice president. The announcement was made at the association's October Board Meeting in Des Moines, Iowa. Sellers previously served as AFIA's vice president of feed regulation and nutrition.

 

"Richard really enjoys working with and helping members," said AFIA Chairman Jeff Cannon at a Board dinner held at the World Food Prize building. "He gets far and away the most member calls for advice and leadership, fulfilling one of our '4 Promises.' Richard sets the bar for member services."

 

Sellers has served AFIA for 22 years providing leadership on legislative and regulatory issues as well as serving as the organization's corporate secretary. He leads AFIA's feed legislative and regulatory activities with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and state feed agencies. He also serves as the staff coordinator for the Feed Regulatory Committee, Aquaculture Committee and as a technical advisor to the Nutrition Committee.

 

"Richard's contributions to AFIA are continuous and significant, and our organization's staff and members appreciate his enthusiasm toward the industry and the challenges it can produce," said AFIA President and CEO Joel G. Newman. "Richard is my most trusted advisor on many issues, a team player and well deserving of the promotion to senior vice president."

 

Sellers holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Memphis and master's degree from the University of Arkansas in animal sciences. Previously Sellers served as a feed control official for the state of Texas. He is also a registered professional animal scientist with the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS).  

 

Congratulations Richard! 

 
California Agencies Release Draft Action Plan for Water

The California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Food and Agriculture released a detailed draft action plan to help guide state efforts and resources on one of California's most important resources, water. The California Water Action Plan will focus on the reliability of our water supply, the needed ecosystem restoration to bring our water system back into balance, and the resilience of our infrastructure. The report identifies actions that, in the next five years, will move California toward more sustainable water management by providing reliable water supply for our farms and communities, restoring important wildlife habitat and species, and helping the state's water systems and environment become more resilient.

 

The plan focuses on ten key actions:

  1. Make Conservation a California Way of Life
  2. Increase Local and Regional Self-Reliance
  3. Achieve Co-Equal Goals for the Delta
  4. Protect and Restore Important Ecosystems
  5. Manage and Prepare for Dry Periods
  6. Expand Water Storage Capacity
  7. Provide Safe Drinking Water for All Communities
  8. Improve Flood Protection
  9. Increase Operational and Regulatory Efficiency
  10. Identify Sustainable and Integrated Financing Opportunities

 

 Below is a link to the report.

 

Outlook for the Farm Bill Conference

 

The long-awaited Conference Committee on the 2013 Farm Bill held its formal opening session on October 30.  The meeting was pro forma, providing the 41 Conferees an opportunity to stake out their priorities while calling for flexibility and compromise to finish a bill before the end of the year.

 

How frequently Conferees will meet over the coming weeks and months remains to be seen.  House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK), who will also chair the Conference, thinks differences between the House and Senate bills would best be settled by the principals and their staffs, behind closed doors.  His counterpart, Senate Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), supports more frequent formal meetings of Conferees in order to involve more than just the Chairs and Ranking Members in the deliberations. 

 

Now let's look at the major outstanding differences between the two bills, and how they might be resolved.

 

Nutrition Title

The nearly ten-fold difference between the $4.5 billion cut in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the Senate bill and the $39 billion cut in the House bill over the years is considered the hardest issue to bridge in getting to a final bill.  Whatever resolution can be reached is likely to be couched in terms of policy changes but, in reality, it will be the optics of the size of the SNAP cut that both sides will look at in deciding whether it is acceptable. 

 

Opponents of reductions in SNAP funding have significant leverage in that the status quo - doing nothing - is preferable to agreeing to any reduction above the $4.5 billion Senate number.  In addition, an increase in SNAP benefits dating back to 2009 will expire at the end of October, which will make it harder for Conferees to reach agreement on additional reductions.   Some House Republicans have indicated that the SNAP cut could be less than $10 billion, since passage on the House floor will require a significant number of Democrats.

 

It is broadly expected that resolution of this issue will require the involvement of the House and Senate leadership as well as the White House.  The sooner that President Obama makes good on his offer to meet with Conference principals after the opening session, and which needs to include how to address SNAP, the sooner progress can be made in finding compromises on other differences between the two bills.

 

Title 1

The differences between the House and Senate bills on commodity programs might appear as complicated to resolve as a Rubik's Cube.  The House puts most of its resources in the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program which ties high fixed target/reference prices to current-year plantings, requires a one-time choice between the PLC and a barebones Revenue Loss Coverage program, and offers the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) option only to PLC participants.  The Senate emphasizes the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) program to cover a percentage of current-year revenue loss but also includes a decoupled Adverse Market Program (AMP) with market-based target/reference prices tied to a moving average of recent prices for all crops except rice and peanuts, which have higher fixed target prices.  The Senate provides ARC, AMP, and SCO coverage to all producers as part of a comprehensive program.

 

How can Conferees resolve these significant differences?  Chairwoman Stabenow has made clear that payments under any price-based program must be decoupled from current-year planting decisions to avoid production distortions and potential WTO challenges.  The House Committee leadership has replied that the PLC program is no more likely to distort production than the ARC program, which is also tied to current plantings.

 

So the first question is whether both sides will be willing to decouple their respective programs. 

A second issue is whether producers should be forced to choose between a price-based and a revenue-based program.  A similar option under the 2008 Farm Bill resulted in very low participation in the ACRE program, and confusion among growers about which safety net provided the best protection.  If a single program is affordable, it would be preferable to producers in making a five-year decision between price versus revenue risk.

 

A third question is what to do about the potential for revenue program benefits to overlap with crop insurance coverage and SCO.  Conferees will need to work through how these programs fit together to avoid any suggestion that producers can "double dip."

 

Crop Insurance

The sharp increase in the cost of the crop insurance program in recent years has generated calls for policy reform, if not an outright cut in benefits.  The Senate bill requires conservation compliance for crop insurance participants and reduces the premium subsidy by 15 percent for participants who have more than $750,000 in adjusted gross income (AGI).  The House instructed its Conferees to accept the AGI cap.  In addition, the President's Budget proposed to reduce farmer premium subsidies as well as further cut reimbursements to crop insurance companies and agents.  There is strong pressure for the final farm bill to include at least one of these provisions for "crop insurance reform" in order for the final conference report to attract enough votes to pass in both the Senate and House.

 

So which of these alternatives is the least objectionable?  Chairwoman Stabenow supports linking crop insurance to conservation compliance.  As the benefits available through Title 1 continue to decline, this would seem far preferable to establishing means-testing thresholds that are likely to be reduced over time or a direct cut in subsidy.   Some farm organizations endorsed tying conservation compliance to crop insurance as part of larger agreement in which conservation groups agreed to work with farm organizations to oppose means testing or cuts in subsidies for crop insurance, and in which farmers are given extended opportunities to correct violations before there is any loss in future-year premium subsidies.

 

Research Title

Both the House and Senate Bills increase mandatory funding for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative.  The Senate provides $416 million over 10 years while the House provides $555 million.  Both the House and Senate continue the large competitive grant program - the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - at a $700 million per year authorization; with the House adding emphasis to conduct research on "plant based foods that are major sources of nutrients of concern."   

 

Permanent Law and Expiration of Program Authorities            

The House bill replaces permanent law dating back to 1938 and 1949 with the new Title 1 and allows SNAP program authority to expire in 2016 - two years ahead of the agriculture titles.  The Senate maintains current law and renews all program authorities through 2018.

 

Even farm program critics recognize that making the new Title 1 permanent would make it very difficult to open it up for changes after five years.  Farm program advocates are concerned that any miscalculations in how program support is provided would be equally difficult to remedy.  Additionally, farm groups are concerned that without the need to pass a periodic farm bill, other important programs authorized and funded under other titles of the farm bill such as trade, conservation, research, and bioenergy that don't have underlying permanent law would simply expire since there would be diminished incentive for a divided Congress to pass a new farm bill.  Agricultural export and market development programs that greatly benefit the soybean industry are examples of programs that could expire and not be renewed.   So it is expected that current permanent law will remain in place as an incentive to reach agreement on new legislation.

 

Placing the expiration of nutrition program authorities on a different timetable than agriculture programs is a direct threat to being able to pass either in future years.  While House Conferees representing leadership may try to insist on keeping this provision, others who recognize the longstanding symbiotic relationship between rural and urban constituencies in the farm bill will insist on maintaining co-terminus program authorities.  So there's hope for the masochists who may already be looking forward to working on another farm bill in five years.

 

Timing and Enactment of the 2013 Farm Bill

With only 16 legislative days remaining when the House and the Senate are both in session, there's little time for Congress to pass a free-standing farm bill in the next two months.  At the same time, the Conference on an FY-2014 Budget Agreement also held its opening session on October 30, with the goal of coming up with an agreement by December 13.  There is general consensus that this plan will be a small down payment on deficit reduction rather than a "grand bargain" involving entitlement cuts and increased revenues through tax reform.  Also, Congress will be looking at how to deal with sequestration under the 2011 Budget Control Act that has already cut billions from federal agencies and programs and will continue to reduce spending by $110 billion per year unless amended.   

 

One suggestion under consideration is to reduce the cuts required by sequestration by one-half in FY-2014 and FY-2015 in order to defer the issue until after the 2014 elections.  If so, cuts of about $100 billion would be required.  If the farm bill contributes something on the order of $20 billion in savings, it might be included in the budget agreement in December.  This appears to be the best chance for completing what is now a three-year farm bill process by the end of 2013. 

 

It is important to remember that enactment of any farm bill requires the support of many constituencies beyond those interested in just the farm safety net.  In addition to urban groups which support nutrition programs, these include conservation advocates, environmentalists, and dairy and specialty crop producers.  As Congress works to assemble a bill that can attract enough support to pass both the House and the Senate and be signed into law, its members need to resurrect the rural-urban coalition that has been successful in passing this omnibus legislation every five years or so since 1974.  In the process, they will also need to return to a way of doing business that has been out of fashion in Washington for the last 20 years - agreeing to compromise in order to get what they need, but not everything they want.     

 

(Source: Gordley Associates, US Dry Bean Council's Government Relations staff in Washington, DC)            

 

Budget Committee Scales Back Expectations

With word that for the first time since 2009 the House and Senate will sit down to reconcile their respective budget resolutions, speculation is rife over spending cuts and revenue "enhancements."  However, both sides of Capitol Hill are backing away from the "grand bargain" scenario, focusing on just getting a bottom line number on how much discretionary spending will be available to the federal government in the coming fiscal year. Even that may not be possible.

 

Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI), chair of the House Budget Committee and author of strict spending control budgets agnostic on programs to be pared back, and Sen. Patty Murray, chair of the Senate budget panel whose committee approved this year its first full budget resolution in almost five years, are challenged to take two very different bills and reconcile at least the amount of discretionary spending available for parceling out by appropriators. This must be completed while also devising a sequester fix or replacement.

 

Once the top line spending numbers are agreed to - with or without a sequestration fix - appropriators will know how much money they have to spend and action can be taken to replace the FY2013 continuing resolution that expires January 15.  It looks now as if a longer-term CR could be agreed to, and it could include as many as five individual appropriations bills - possibly including agriculture - when and if it moves in December.   

 

Both House and Senate full-government allocations are below $1 trillion, which signals the Senate has moved slightly off its previous demand that $1.15 trillion be made available for all federal spending.  Both chambers and both sides of the aisle acknowledge the mandatory spending cuts required under sequestration have caused too much pain. However, members from both chambers continue to push Ryan and Murray to turn the bill into a multi-billion jobs/tax reform/regulatory package.  Insiders say there isn't time to develop that magic formula before the panel's December 13 deadline for delivering a finished product. 

 

 
Safety Corner

Confined Space - Entry - English

Helps to identify potential hazards and needed controls, including an assessment of hazards that could be created by the work to be done in the space.
Helps to identify potential hazards and needed controls, including an assessment of hazards that could be created by the work to be done in the space.



Mike Taylor, CPCU

Vice President 

InterWest Insurance Services, Inc.

100 Pringle Avenue, North Tower, Suite 550

Walnut Creek, CA 94596

(925) 977-4104 Office

(800) 464-0077 Toll Free

(925) 977-4150 Fax

(510) 206-5505 Mobile

CA Lic #0B01094

www.iwins.com

mtaylor@iwins.com

 

Let our experience guide you.

 

 

Senate Ag Committee Plans Hearing on FSMA and Produce

 

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Chaired by Senator Cathleen Galgiani, is holding an informational hearing on the impact of the Food Safety Modernization Act on the fresh fruits and produce industry.  Experts from the Center for Food Safety in Davis and the California Department of Food and Agriculture will testify.  The Hearing will be held Monday November 4, at 1:30 pm at the Stockton City Council Chambers in Stockton. 

 
CFTC OKs Customer Protection Rule

Despite strong opposition from the industries it says it wants to protect, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) this week approved a controversial "customer protection rule."  The rule is designed to avert customer losses in the wake of disasters such as the MF Global bankruptcy, the commission said.

 

The rule effectively requires futures commission merchants (FCMs) to ensure customer margins are covered 24/7, including a requirement that FCMs post their own cash to cover those customer margins.  The CFTC requires a system that will calculate margin coverage using a residual interest formula.  

 

In a joint statement, 12 national organizations, including the American Feed Industry Assn. (AFIA) and the National Grain & Feed Assn. (NGFA), said they're "disappointed" by the CFTC action.

 

"Although the commission improved on its initial concept of how margins would be collected, its decision to maintain an automatic trigger that would move the residual interest calculation by FCMs to first thing in the morning the day following the trade does, not address practical impediments that many smaller futures markets participants in agriculture face," the group said.

 

"Ultimately, the (new CFTC) requirement will lead to smaller entities, including farmers, ranchers and hedgers, being disadvantaged disproportionately, and being driven from the futures markets as fewer risk management tools become economically feasible," the groups said.

 

"The irony of (the) vote is that significant and diverse customer groups - America's farmers, ranchers and hedgers - cannot support a mostly beneficial rule intended by the commission to protect customers because the commission failed to correct very specific provisions we believe are harmful to agriculture market participants," the groups said.  

 

Other groups opposing the rule include American Farm Bureau Federation, American Cotton Shippers Assn., American Soybean Assn., Commodity Markets Council, National Cattlemen's Beef Assn., National Corn Growers Assn., National Cotton Council, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Pork Producers Council and USA Rice Federation.

 
House Committee Releases Report on Transport Efficiency

The "Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation," a project of the House Committee on Infrastructure & Transportation, this week released a report on how the U.S. can improve freight transport.  The report recommended several items, including the following:

  • The Department of Transportation (DOT), the U.S. Army and Coast Guard should set a comprehensive national freight policy, designate a national, multi-modal framework and identify sustainable sources of revenue across all modes;
     
  • Strong government "investment" in all modes of  transport is needed, along with incentives to inspire additional private investment in transport facilities;
     
  • A grant process should be set up to create "dedicated, sustainable funding" for multi-modal freight projects, and
     
  • DOT's freight funding and revenue ideas need to be reviewed through the House transportation committee, along with the Ways & Means Committee. These reviews should be done before Congress considers the federal highway reauthorization bill in 2014.
House Committee Moves Pesticide, Spill Prevention Bills

A bill to allow farmers to spray EPA-approved pesticides in or near waterways without additional permitting, and a bill to clarify an exemption for farmers from EPA's oil spill prevention rules were approved this week by the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure.

 

The pesticide bill - which allows spraying of FIFRA-approved chemicals without new National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits - has been approved by both House and Senate Agriculture Committees - and the full House - several times over the last couple of Congresses.  The committee shares jurisdiction on the permitting issue with the House Agriculture Committee.

 

The oil spill bill codifies an exemption for farmers that says any producer using an above-ground storage tank of less than 10,000 gallons does not have to prepare spill prevention and countermeasure plans.  

 
Federal Court Rules for Farmers in Runoff Case Against EPA

A U.S. District Court in West Virginia has ruled against EPA and in favor of a West Virginia farmer who sued the agency contending "ordinary stormwater" runoff from her farm is exempt from National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting.  The court decision creates a much higher hurdle for EPA in its effort to force confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to come under point source pollution requirements.

 

In 2012, EPA threatened the poultry producer with a fine of $37,500 each time stormwater came into contact with dust, feathers or manure on the ground outside of poultry houses. An identical fine - to be charged daily - was threatened if the farmer didn't apply for a NPDES permit.

 

The court said the Clean Water Act (CWA) "clearly exempts agricultural stormwater runoff" - citing congressional action and intent - because ag runoff is not considered to be point source pollution, hence there's no authority to require the NPDES permit.

 

EPA earlier this year tried to opt out of the case by withdrawing its order against the farmer.  However, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and the West Virginia Farm Bureau, interveners in the case, argued successfully important legal issues had to be resolved or the farmer would remain vulnerable to EPA actions.  The court agreed.

 
Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)  Items

ASA, National Biodiesel Board Meet Vilsack on RFS Protections -- The American Soybean Assn. (ASA) and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) met this week with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden to remind them of the negative impacts of not increasing the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for biodiesel and renewable diesel, advanced biofuels refined from plant and animal feedstocks.  Vilsack pledged his continued support for a strong RFS.  ASA has asked EPA to set the 2014 biodiesel RFS at not less than 1.7 billion gallons - the entire expected 2013 biodiesel production - after media reports indicated the agency was considering an RFS for advanced biofuels of only 1.28 billion gallons.

 

House Members Ask EPA to Lower RFS -- Nearly 170 House members from both sides of the aisle this week sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy urging the agency to consider what the lawmakers called "a fair and meaningful adjustment" to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for corn ethanol.  The effort was led by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R, VA), chair of the House Judiciary Committee and author of bills to either adjust the RFS lower or repeal the biofuels blend mandate.  Goodlatte was joined by Reps. Peter Welch (D, VT), Jim Costa (D, CA) and Steve Womack (R, AR).  Last week, talks focused on the possibility the agency could hold the RFS mandate at 2013 levels.  Several media outlets reported two weeks ago the agency was looking to decrease by almost half the amount of biofuels current mandated for blending with gasoline.  EPA officials say agency action is in the draft stage.

 

Senators Want End to Corn Ethanol RFS -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D, CA) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R, OK) this week said they'll soon introduce legislation to kill the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for corn ethanol.  RFS requirements for advanced biofuels would be continued under the Feinstein/Coburn bill.  The two Senators successfully led the 2011 fight in the Senate that repealed the blenders' tax credit and import protections on ethanol.  The Renewable Fuel Assn. (RFA), calling the proposed legislation "monumentally stupid," said Feinstein and Coburn are "failing to understand...that we will never see these (advanced biofuel) technologies develop if the policy is gutted and the investment community is given the unambiguous signal that Congress is not serious about reducing our dependence on foreign oil."

 

State Board to Discuss Groundwater Supply Challenges and Efforts to Improve Availability

Meeting on November 5th in Sacramento

 

SACRAMENTO, November 1, 2013 - The California State Board of Food and Agriculture will focus on groundwater supply issues at its upcoming meeting on Tuesday, November 5th in Sacramento. This meeting will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, 1220 'N' Street - Main Auditorium, Sacramento, CA 95814.


"Groundwater plays a critical role in California's water supply, but greater reliance upon this precious resource during times of drought increases the challenges we face," said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. "Managing groundwater at the local and regional level is effective but must relate to California's overall water management plan. Issues of overdraft, impaired water quality, salinity accumulation and land subsidence must be addressed to ensure sustainable groundwater management and the long-term vitality of agriculture."  

 

California's groundwater supply provides about 40 to 50 percent of total annual water use for agricultural and urban purposes. In 2009, the U.S. Geological Survey reported that for water years 1962-2003, California's Central Valley aquifer was depleted by almost 60 million acre-feet - the equivalent of providing every resident of California with water for eight years. In addition, the Central Valley is the second-most-pumped aquifer in the United States, accounting for approximately 20 percent of the nation's groundwater demand. California is the largest agricultural producer in the United States with farm revenue of $44.7 billion - an estimated seven percent of the total U.S. food supply comes from the Central Valley.

 

Invited speakers include: Jay Famiglietti, UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling, University of California, Irvine; Jim Branham, Sierra Nevada Conservancy; Martha Conklin, University of California, Merced; Dr. Ruth Langridge, University of California, Santa Cruz; Steve Phillips, U.S. Geological Survey; Eric Oppenheimer, State Water Resources Control Board; Clay Rodgers, Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board; Karen Christensen, Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County; Kelley Bell, Driscoll's; Jerry Reaugh, Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions, and E. Michael Solomon, United Water Conservation District.

 

"Water remains one of the most critical topics for this Board," said Craig McNamara, president of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture. "We cannot have the level of farming in this state that generations of consumers are used to unless we manage our water resources effectively and efficiently. Our rural communities and farmers deserve no less."

 

The California State Board of Food and Agriculture advises the governor and the CDFA secretary on agricultural issues and consumer needs. The state board conducts forums that bring together local, state and federal government officials, agricultural representative and citizens to discuss current issues of concern to California agriculture.

 

This meeting will be streamed online at: www.cdfa.ca.gov/LiveMediaStream.html