ADVOCACY: Your Sonoma County Farm Bureau WORKING FOR YOU

Written By: Admin
Published: August 7, 2018
“As the united voice of Agriculture, our MISSION is to represent, protect and advance the social, economic and educational interests of the farmers and ranchers of Sonoma County.”

 

AUGUST 2018:

Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (OWTS) Revised Local Agency Management Plan (LAMP):
As previously reported, the Board of Supervisors approved an extension for submission of the OWTS LAMP to the Regional Water Board. The SCFB board has authorized funding toward working with technical experts to develop a LAMP that meets the state requirements, but does not over-regulate local landowners on septic systems and other wastewater treatment systems. This work will be done in conjunction with other organizations interested in this project.

 

Groundwater Sustainability Agencies:
The Sonoma County Farm Bureau board is closely monitoring the work of the 3 current GSA boards and the potential for more GSA boards to be required. Along with many other partner organizations, we are advocating for there to be one GSA that manages all the planning and monitoring for all the basins in our county. To ensure that agriculture has a seat on the GSA board, the SCFB is providing financial support to the Gold Ridge RCD and the Sonoma County Resource Conservation District.

 

Agricultural/Animal Rights Activists
To better assist our local agricultural community, the Farm Bureau is developing a series of educational programs and resources to help farmers, ranchers and agriculturalists be prepared for any potential protests on their property. Keep updated through our weekly e-blasts or follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SonomaCountyFarmBureau

 

North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
On July 11th, Executive Director Tesconi provided comment on Farm Bureau’s support of the NCRWQCB staffs’ proposed plan for the Laguna Water Quality Trading (WQT) Framework.

 

Farmworker Housing
On Friday, July 20th, Executive Director Tesconi and Sara Neagu-Reed, Federal Legislative Associate with California Farm Bureau, toured the Ortiz Family Plaza in Windsor and Harvest Grove in Healdsburg. Both housing communities provide farmworker permanent housing and were built with public funding. Legislative Associate Neagu-Reed was impressed with the effort that Sonoma County has put toward farmworker housing and viewed these facilities as models for other programs that could be developed throughout the state.

 

REVIEW: JULY 2018

Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (OWTS) Revised Local Agency Management Plan (LAMP):
At their May 22nd meeting, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors considered revisions to the Sonoma County Onsite Wastewater Treatment System Manual (OWTS) Local Agency Management Plan (LAMP). These revisions to the County manual was in response to enhanced requirements imposed by the California State Water Resources Board. SCFB joined other organizations in expressing concerns about the new requirements outlined in the LAMP and requested a six-month extension of adoption of the plan to allow for more stakeholder engagement. The Board of Supervisors supported our extension request and formed an Ad-Hoc Committee with Supervisor Rabbitt and Supervisor Hopkins as the appointed members.

 

Our initial review of the revised manual indicates that there are major revisions to the requirements with dramatic shifts from prior framework and we are concerned with the stringent regulations being proposed for voluntary septic system repairs. SCFB and technical advisors will represent farmers and rural landowners in advocating for less restrictive requirements while ensuring these local regulations comply with state requirements.

 

Groundwater Sustainability Agencies and Groundwater Management Plans:
DWR recently released its draft recommendations for SGMA reprioritization and Sonoma County figured prominently in their recommendations. Unfortunately, Alexander Valley, Wilson Grove Highlands and Dry Creek were upgraded to medium priority and now must comply with SGMA. In addition, the Santa Rosa Plain, Petaluma Valley, and Sonoma Valley Basins were increased to high priority. There will be a two-month public comment with final prioritization in mid-October. SCFB will be working with agriculture stakeholders to provide written comment on these draft recommendations.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD CLOSES August 20, 2018
You may make you public comments online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SG2N83R
OR visit: https://www.water.ca.gov/Programs/Groundwater-Management/Basin-Prioritization
Contact the CA Dept. of Water Resources at: General Inquiries:
sgmps@water.ca.gov OR (916) 653-5791

 

Proposed Housing Bond:
In response to concerns expressed by the SCFB board and other organizations, the Housing Bond Ad Hoc Committee is considering various mechanisms to fund the housing bond. These proposed funding methods are intended to be less obtrusive on landowners. At their May meeting, the SCFB Board voted to oppose a countywide housing bond regardless of the funding mechanism proposed. We content that agriculture is the only local industry that has made significant progress with remarkable success toward workforce housing and the proposed bond fee structure unjustly overtaxes all farmers, wineries and landowners. Instead of seeking additional funding, our board would like to see public agencies more effectively manage the housing-designated funds that are already collected.

 

State of California Water Board, Waste Management Plans (WMP) for Dairies: We are working closely with our local dairy farmers and the North Coast Regional Water Board on a Waste Management Plan (WMP) that will blanket existing dairies under one permit. For decades, dairies have been following effective waste management practices and any additional regulatory requirements put on these operations is unjustified. Most notable is the inclusion of language related to AB52, a bill passed in 2014 that added the requirement for tribal consultation into CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act). The draft Waste Management Plan (WMP) being discussed has language that includes tribal oversight of waste management on dairies. SCFB is concerned about the inclusion of this requirement in the draft WMP, and we are working with water board staff, Western United Dairyman and California Farm Bureau Federation to eliminate this requirement.

 

City of Santa Rosa, Reclaimed Water Program:
The Farm Bureau held a meeting for all ag users who participate in the City of Santa Rosa Reclaimed Water Program. Working together, we plan on solidifying contractual language, rate information and best management practices that will support the diverse needs of the various commodities that use this water. An educational outreach campaign will also be developed to educate the public and city officials about the benefits provided by agriculture using this recycled resource.

 

Agricultural/Animal Rights Activists
To better assist our local agricultural community, the Farm Bureau is developing a series of educational programs and resources to help farmers, ranchers and agriculturalists be prepared for any potential protests on their property. Keep updated through our weekly e-blasts or follow up on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SonomaCountyFarmBureau

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To represent, protect and advance the social, economic and educational interests of the farmers and ranchers of Sonoma County.