Nov. 10, 2008
Almond Board
California Legislative Report: Update on State Issues Affecting California's Almond Industry

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Water
  • State cuts water deliveries to second lowest level ever - -  - An already grim forecast for water deliveries to California farms and orchards turned gloomier Oct. 30 as the state Department of Water Resources (DWR) http://www.water.ca.gov/  announced it will deliver just 15 percent of the amount that local water agencies request every year. The announcement reflects the low carryover storage levels in the state’s major reservoirs, ongoing drought conditions and court ordered restrictions on water deliveries from the Delta. This marks the second lowest projection since the first State Water Project deliveries were made in 1962. The State Water Project delivers water to approximately 750,000 acres of farmland and more than 25 million residents. In past years there has been the possibility that water deliveries could be increased if there is a wet winter. A DWR spokesman  noted that in 2006 water agencies received their full allotment due in part to heavy rains and a thick Sierra snowpack. But last year a federal court limited water pumping out of the delta to protect the threatened Delta smelt. "We are anticipating drastically reduced water supplies, regardless of weather conditions," Laura King Moon, assistant general manager of the State Water Contractors http://www.swc.org/  said in a statement. DWR has historically made this important announcement at the end of November, complying with the long-term water supply contracts requiring a Dec. 1 announcement.  This announcement comes slightly earlier to help local water agencies better prepare for 2009. A notice to SWP contractors appears on DWR’s State Water Project Analysis Office Web site at: http://www.swpao.water.ca.gov/notices/ Oct. 31, 2008

  • Three studies driving the discussion of how to meet California’s water needs
    Three studies released over the past several months have put plenty of ideas on the table as California leaders try to come to grips with the state’s thorniest issue: How to provide a safe and reliable water supply and meet environmental, farming and drinking water demands. For a closer look at these studies, please click on the links below:

  • Delta Vision Strategic Plan - - Governor's Blue Ribbon Panel

  • Public Policy Institute Report - - Calls Peripheral Canal "promising"

  • Pacific Institute Study - - Water can be saved if ag grows different crops
     

Transportation

  • LA-Long Beach to begin collecting truck fee Nov. 17 - - The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will begin collecting a $35 per-TEU clean-truck fee on Nov. 17. The fee is a major component of the ports' Clean Air Action Plan designed to cut all harbor pollution by 45 percent and truck diesel emissions by 80 percent over the next five years.  The ports on Nov. 10 will go live with electronic gate readers for Radio Frequency Identification devices (RFID) tags that must be mounted on all trucks. Also, motor carriers must register each truck with the ports and pay an annual registration fee of $100 per vehicle or the trucks will not be allowed to enter the marine terminals. The PortCheck system will also determine which trucks are exempt from the fee as certain vehicles that meet the ports' strict diesel emission standards will not be charged. Prior to the availability of the official PortCheck website, PortCheck urges cargo owners that are not registered with PierPASS to register on the PierPASS site at www.pierpass-tmf.org. For more information on PortCheck, visit www.pierpass-tmf.org .  For more Information on the Clean Trucks Program of the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, see the ports' web sites, www.portoflosangeles.org/cleantrucks and www.polb.com/cleantrucks.  Nov. 6, 2008

USDA News

  • James Link Assumes Post of Administrator of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service James E. Link assumed the position of administrator of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) this week. He was named to the post by Agriculture Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Bruce Knight. Link will direct USDA’s programs that facilitate the marketing of U.S. agricultural products and will also be responsible for programs that procure commodities, including chicken and chicken products, for the national school lunch and other federal food and nutrition programs. Prior to this appointment, Link served, since 2005, as administrator of USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration. He replaces former AMS Administrator Lloyd Day, who had held the position since August 2005. Nov. 7, 2008 AMS Press Release

Election Results

  • House ag committee sees big turnover
    Seven members of the 45-member House Agriculture Committee were defeated in Tuesday’s election: Republicans losing their bid for re-election were: Robin Hayes (R-NC), John Kuhl (R-NY), Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO). Democrats defeated were Nancy Boyda (D-KS), Nick Lampson (D-TX) and Tim Mahoney (D-FL). Collin Peterson (D-MN), committee chair, easily won re-election. The Democrats picked up 22 seats to move to a 254-174 margin in the House. There are still four undecided races, including California’s open seat in the 4th District where Republican Tom McClintock has a narrow lead over Democrat Charlie Brown. The seat was held by retiring Republican John Doolittle.

  • Senate ag committee has two seats still in question
    As of press time, all members of the 22-member U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee were re-elected or leading in their races. Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) was leading by just 237 votes in his battle against Al Franken, which becomes an automatic recount in Minnesota. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), ranking member of the Senate Ag Committee, was leading challenger Jim Martin and close to securing 50 percent. Under Georgia law, if he fails to receive 50 percent of the vote, there will be a run-off election. Former USDA secretary Mike Johanns won the Nebraska Senate seat to replace Chuck Hagel. The chairman of the Senate Ag Committee, Tom Harkin of Iowa, was re-elected. The Democrats picked up three open seats in Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado, and they defeated North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole and New Hampshire’s John Sununu to increase their margin in the Senate to 56-42. Two Senators listed as independent Joe Lieberman, Connecticut and Bernie Sanders, Vermont, usually caucus with the Democrats.

  • Assembly Ag Chair Galgiani easily re-elected
    Incumbent Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani easily won re-election in her bid to retain the 17th Assembly District seat over Republican challenger Jack Mobley, a Merced businessman and retired U.S. Air Force officer. Democrat Galgiani held a 65.9 percent to 34.1 percent lead. In seeking re-election, the Stockton native promised that she would seek to advance a proposal to bring high-speed rail through the Central Valley. She also said she would use her position as the recently elected chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee to advance and protect farming.

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