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Conveyor Currents                  August 21, 2015
In This Issue
CGFA District Meeting
California Legislative Update
End of August to Bring FDA's FSMA Final Feed Safety Rule; Industry Tells OMB Concerns
Economic Analysis of Drought Impact on CA Economy
Administration Wins Court Victory on Immigration; Pope Expected to Include Issue in DC Message
Industry Pushes Back on Antibiotic Use Reporting; Senators Want Agency Answers
Anti-GM Labeling Coalition Airs TV Ads in Kansas, Minnesota
WTO COOL Meetings Set for September; USTR Says Damages "Dramatically Overestimated"
Truck Driving Schools in California
CGFA Careers Center
Upcoming Dates


October 12: CGFA Day At The Races Fresno



January 13-14, 2016: 

Grain & Feed Industry Conference

The Embassy Suites on Monterey Bay

April 27-30, 2016:

CGFA Annual Convention The Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego 


May 4-5, 2016

 California Animal Nutrition Conference at the DoubleTree by Hilton Fresno Convention Center      

Fresno, CA 


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CGFA District Meeting: October 12th Day At The Races

Pleas join California Grain & Feed Association on
Monday, October 12, 2015
 The Big Fresno Fair in Fresno, CA at the Races
Live horse racing is back in the Brian I. Tatarian Grandstand at The Big Fresno Fair, with plenty of hoof-pounding action!  Don't miss the excitement of live horse racing; it's only here once a year. Your registration includes admission to the fair and an air conditioned seat at the exclusive Turf Club. Dinner will be on your own after the races - some may want to stay at the fair and enjoy the other activities and others may want to head out after the races - we'll leave that to you.
Win, Place or Show - You Will Want To Be There!!  
Meet the group at 12:30 pm - Post Time is 1:15 pm - Limit First 40
QUESTIONS? Call us at (916) 441-2272 
Email Donna Boggs 
Email Nicole Dominguez

[Click here to register]

California Legislative Update 
By Dennis Albiani, Legislative Advocate 
Bill Requiring Food Labeling for Recycled Water Irrigation Introduced
Legislation that would require a "warning" label on food that was grown with recycled "wastewater" from oil and gas field activities was introduced this week in the Legislature during the Special Session on Health Care. AB x2 14 (Gatto) was introduced following an activists report where they sampled the water from oil and gas operations prior to treatment by the water district.

The measure requires two distinct warning labels, one on packaged food containing any plant irrigated with this water and a second at retail establishments that sell raw ag products from plants irrigated with this water. Additionally, the bill mandates that the farmer must inform the retailer or processor if they know that plant was irrigated with this wastewater, as defined.

The legislation raises a host of issues the ag and food manufacturing industry is addressing. The first is that there is no claim or requirement that the food or raw ag product contains any contaminants. A warning label is required solely because it was irrigated with reclaimed water, not that the food or water contains any constituents that make the products unsafe. Second, is the quality of the water. Currently the water that is a byproduct of oil extraction is filtered, treated and cleaned to a standard that meets all state regulations and requirements mandated by the Regional Water Quality Board. Under current law, if the water does not meet the standards, the water district cannot distribute it for irrigation. Third, the legislation places liability on the farmers. Farmers accept water from the district which may have a broad number of water sources including groundwater, surface water and reclaimed water. The ambiguous wording may require far more notice on crops that may never be irrigated from this specific reclaimed water source. Finally, the legislation establishes a dangerous precedent. Agriculture uses reclaimed water from a host of sources and state policy has been encouraging using clean treated reclaimed water. Unfortunately, this legislation does not address the safety of the water when applied, only its source.

The association has taken a lead in addressing the issue on behalf of both the farmers and processors. Agriculture and food processors take the safety of the food they produce very seriously, and warning labels should only be required where there is a legitimate food safety issue. The association advocates have been meeting with Assembly Member Gatto's office and working with a coalition of water districts and farm organizations to encourage that state policy look at the safety of the food and agriculture product not require warnings on unsubstantiated claims. Additionally, we continue to work with news outlets to ensure accurate reporting that California Grown products are the safest in the world.

Water Commission Reviews "Critically Over Drafted Basins"
On August 19th there was a meeting of the California Water Commission where they received a report on the Department of Water Resources "Critically Over Drafted Groundwater Basins." The vast majority of the San Joaquin Valley overlies basins that have been identified to meet this criteria.   According to DWR, the basins on the draft list show obvious and significant negative impacts from chronic groundwater pumping. Those impacts include seawater intrusion, land subsidence, groundwater depletion, and chronic drop in groundwater levels. This update will be the first public release of the draft critically over drafted basins list. If local agencies disagree with the list, basin managers have the option to provide compelling data and information to DWR for reconsideration of the draft determination.

Here is a link to the meeting agenda where a summary and maps can be found. Additionally, included is a second link to a map of the basins identified so far.

Groundwater Adjudication Bills Face Hurdles in Both Houses
Two key bills intended to reform and expedite the groundwater adjudication process face hurdles in the opposite houses of the legislature this week. AB 1390 (Alejo) which is sponsored by agriculture and water districts addresses procedural hurdles in the common law adjudicatory process will be heard Monday, August 24th in the Senate Appropriations Committee. This bill focuses solely on the judicial procedures unique to groundwater adjudications. SB 226 (Pavley) will be heard on Wednesday, August 26th in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The bill was introduced as a "spot bill" and was recently amended to include provisions that blend groundwater adjudications of water rights with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of last session. It is opposed by most agriculture and business entities.
The differences in the measures include:
  • AB 1390 was drafted in the Code of Civil Procedure and addresses only court processes.  
  • SB 226 was drafted in the Water Code which allows provisions to impact water rights.
  • AB 1390 allows the state Water Board and Department of Water Resources to intervene in adjudications only when the states interest is at stake, SB 226 allows state intervention in all proceedings.
  • AB 1390 only coordinates with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act after the factual adjudication of water rights is agreed upon while 226 gives groundwater districts and the state say over the water right adjudication process.
Negotiations are ongoing with both authors and the Brown Administration. At this point, agriculture strongly supports AB 1390 because it addresses procedures without impinging on water rights and is actively opposing SB 226 because it may negatively impact landowners ability to exercise groundwater rights.

End of August to Bring FDA's FSMA Final Feed Safety Rule; Industry Tells OMB Concerns

Under pressure to meet a federal court-ordered August 30th  deadline, FDA is expected to publish soon its final preventive control rule on actions feed makers, packagers and processors must take to prevent product contamination.  This is part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) designed to shift FDA from reacting to food safety episodes to preventing them.

In the meantime, representatives of the American Feed Industry Assn. (AFIA), the National Grain & Feed Assn. (NGFA), the Pet Food Institute (PFI) and the National Renderers Assn. (NRA) met August 13th , for a second time with the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) to drive home feed/pet food industry collective concerns with the feed rule's overly "human food" approach, the high costs and low benefits of the rule, and the impracticality of the original proposed feed safety rule, as well as to highlight other concerns with the FDA rulemaking.

"We asked for matching the final rule to FDA's requirements that already exist for safe manufacturing of medicated feed, and we reiterated our request for a phased-in implementation period of one, two and three years for (new) current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs), and two, three and four years for preventive controls, given the majority of the feed industry previously has not been subject to CGMPs," the groups said in a joint statement.   The groups further urged OMB to consider the cost reductions represented by the CGMP recommendations.

Under the federal court order, FDA had until the end of July to notify the court if it would miss the August 30th  deadline.  The agency sent no message to the court.  Following the August 30th  publication of the feed rule - the human food equivalent of the preventive rule will be published the same day - FDA is expected to publish by October 31st , another rule governing the growing, harvesting and shipping of unprocessed fruits and vegetables.

The preventive control rules for both food and feed will call for risk analyses, detailed hazard identification plans with control contingencies, recordkeeping, and treatment of small businesses.  Larger companies will have one year to comply; businesses with less than 500 employees will have two years, and "very small" businesses will have three years to meet the rule. 

Economic Analysis of Drought Impact on CA Economy

Richard Howitt
Duncan MacEwan
Josué Medellín-Azuara
Jay Lund

Daniel Sumner
UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences
ERA Economics
UC Agricultural Issues Center

August 17, 2015

Funded by
California Department of Food and Agriculture
University of California - Davis
With assistance from California Department of Water Resources

Economic Analysis of the 2015 Drought for California Agriculture

Executive Summary
In 2015 California agriculture is facing its fourth year of severe drought. As in 2014, irrigation districts and farmers are showing more resilience to the drought than many had anticipated.

Groundwater substitution has again greatly reduced crop fallowing and job losses. Water trading and operational flexibility also have significantly reduced the costs of the drought, and preservation of the most valuable crops has helped buffer economic impacts.

However, the effects of drought are unevenly distributed over regions. In some regions with limited groundwater reserves the economic and employment impacts are very severe. In others, there is an increased cost of expanded groundwater use which is partially offset by high crop prices.

Just as the economic impacts of the drought have grown modestly since 2014, continuation of the drought to 2016 or beyond with similar intensity is likely to slowly erode the state's agricultural production and employment.

[Read Full Economic Analysis by Clicking Here]

Administration Wins Court Victory on Immigration; Pope Expected to Include Issue in DC Message

A federal appeals court tossed out last week a case brought by an Arizona sheriff against the White House over President Obama's 2012 and 2014 executive orders deferring deportation of certain undocumented immigrants, upholding a lower court which ruled the sheriff did not have standing to sue.

In a related matter, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, KY) has said comprehensive immigration reform will not be acted on by the GOP-controlled Congress while Obama is in office, a September 22-24 Washington, DC, visit by Pope Francis is expected to bring strong papal comments on the issue.  Pope Francis will be the first pontiff to address a joint session of Congress on September 24, followed by a meeting with immigrants and Latino families the next day in Philadelphia.  The Pope called the massive influx of undocumented children across the Texas border a "humanitarian emergency," and has long been an advocate of immigrants fleeing poverty.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpalo's second loss on the federal front is a win, albeit a small one, for the Obama Administration.  Still ahead for the Department of Justice (DOJ) is a suit brought by 26 states to be tried in Texas which has blocked implementation of the Obama executive orders.  DOJ has had one appeal of the barrier rejected; the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit is considering a second DOJ filing in the case.  If, as expected, the appeals court again rejects the DOJ filing, the case is most likely headed for the Supreme Court.

Industry Pushes Back on Antibiotic Use Reporting; Senators Want Agency Answers 

The American Feed Industry Assn. (AFIA) told FDA this week the agency's proposed rule on industry reporting of animal drug sales and species-specific antibiotic distribution "is a giant overstep of the legal boundaries" created by Congress, joining most of animal agriculture and the animal drug industry in pointing out the futility of FDA's proposal.

At the same time, three Democrat Senators this week said they want to know why a White House task force on antibiotic resistance hasn't responded to a letter they sent over eight months ago asking several questions about on-farm antibiotic use, including data collection on antibiotic use.

Overall industry reaction held that the agency proposal to change its current data collection - total sales on individual approved drugs - to a system that breaks down that data into species-specific sales will produce misleading end points from data very difficult to produce, and data which could be used to target parts of animal agriculture.  Particularly objectionable to industry was a part of the proposal that would allow FDA to use estimates when hard data is lacking.

"AFIA strongly contests the wisdom and FDA's legal authority to require new animal drug sponsors to report species-specific estimate of product sales," said the feed industry comments.  AFIA Senior Vice President Richard Sellers added that "this is a crystal clear example of FDA ignoring congressional intent."   Sellers said AFIA is not contesting the overall goal of monitoring antibiotic use in agriculture, but rather objects to trying to force animal drug companies to provide data they don't have.  He called FDA's intent to estimate use based on whatever data it has as a "poor use of the available information."

"New animal drug sponsors do not maintain sales distribution records by species.  Many of these products are sold as premixes to distributors and licensed feed mills, and at this point, the new animal drug sponsors are no longer responsible for what species...actually receive the products," Sellers said.

Meanwhile, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D, CA), Elizabeth Warren (D, MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) told the co-chairs of the White House Interagency Task Force for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria they have 30 days to answer 11 questions from a letter that was received from the three lawmakers in December, 2014. 

The letter keyed in on enforcement, data collection and policy evaluation, particularly as those areas affect animal agriculture.  The Senators want to know from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) Sylvia Burwell and the Secretary of Defense Ash Carter how veterinarians will adopt FDA guidance 213; whether USDA voluntary surveys will collect "valid" on-farm antibiotic use data, and what changes FDA expects to see if its cooperative efforts with industry to curb agriculture antibiotics use are successful.

Anti-GM Labeling Coalition Airs TV Ads in Kansas, Minnesota

Television ads explaining why labeling foods with genetically modified (GM) ingredients is a bad idea and thanking the congressman who introduced a bill to put FDA in the labeling driver's seat began airing last week in Kansas and Minnesota, underwritten by the Coalition for Safe & Affordable Food (CSAF), an industry group of farm groups, input associations, processors and food companies.

The two-week ad campaign on cable and local news shows is designed to show support for HR 1599, approved by the House by a wide margin, a bill by Representative Mike Pompeo (R, KS) that would federally preempt state labeling laws and create a voluntary USDA certification programs for labeling foods that contain or don't contain GM ingredients.

Senate prospects remain uncertain, with Sen. John Hoeven (R, ND) having drafted a Senate bill to mirror HR 1599.  However, Hoeven wants a strong Democrat to co-author the bill and thus far he's gotten lots of commitments to support the bill, but no Democrat has agreed to be his co-author.  The Senate Agriculture Committee has committed to a September hearing and possible markup once Hoeven introduces his bill. 

WTO COOL Meetings Set for September; USTR Says Damages "Dramatically Overestimated"

The World Trade Organization (WTO) will hold sessions September 15-16 to consider Canada and Mexico's proposed schedule of more than $3 billion in retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. for failure to modify or repeal country-of-origin labeling (COOL).  The sessions, to be held in Geneva, will be overseen by the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body.

The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has filed a legal brief contesting the level of retaliation requested by the two nations in the wake of the fourth finding by WTO that the U.S. COOL law discriminated against Mexican and Canadian meat exports to the U.S.  USTR contends the two countries have submitted "dramatic overestimation of damages," and asked the WTO to reject the $3 billion amounts, and set Mexico's damages at $47.55 million and Canada's at $43.22 million.
The retaliatory tariff lists released by the governments of Canada and Mexico take direct aim at U.S. meat exports, and the only feed industry product which may be impacted by Mexico's list is pet food.

In September, the Senate will again take up competing approaches to the impending trade war between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  Sen. Pat Roberts (R, KS), chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, favors a repeal of the meat sections of the COOL law as the House has approved; committee ranking member Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D, MI) wants to see a version of a voluntary COOL program put in place, a program that would put a "Product of the U.S." label on fresh meats.  Canada and Mexico have said nothing short of repealing meat COOL will satisfy them.

Truck Driving Schools in California

A list of truck driving schools in California has been added to the Web Links page under Resources on Click here to view truck driving resources throughout the state.
These schools will be sent the video on Careers in the California Grain and Feed Industry and encouraged to share the CGFA Career Center with their students.

CGFA Careers Center
The CGFA Careers Center can help connect you with qualified and talented employees searching for dynamic and challenging career opportunities. After registering, you can post job & internship openings available at your company, as well as view potential candidates' resumes and upcoming career fairs.

Follow CGFA's page Careers in the California Grain & Feed Industry on LinkedIn and encourage your audiences to as well to help get the word out!