CDFA’s CalCannabis to appear with state regulatory partners at annual Emerald Cup

From a California Department of Fish and Wildlife News Release

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division, and the State Water Resources Control Board will be at the Emerald Cup in Sonoma County on Dec. 14 and 15. All three agencies will be participating in two roundtable discussions and hosting an information table with cannabis-permitting materials, wildlife-friendly literature, and a suggestion box.

Roundtable Topics and Times:

Saturday, Dec. 14 from 11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Regulator to Cultivator: Keeping an Open Dialogue
State agencies, cultivators and industry stakeholders all have an investment in today’s cannabis market. Keeping the lines of communication open during California’s historic transition to a regulated commercial cannabis market is crucial. While a regulated market offers many new and exciting opportunities for California’s cannabis industry, there are also many challenges to work through by engaging in conversations and receiving feedback from each other.

Saturday, Dec. 14 from 1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

Environmentally Friendly Cannabis: What Industry Experts Have to Say
With the passage of Proposition 64, thousands of new cultivators are entering the regulated cannabis market. Many are unaware that seemingly harmless farming activities can have big impacts to the environment. Learn more about the state’s role in protecting California’s natural resources and how some traditional cultivators are raising the bar with their wildlife-friendly practices.

Please note, times are subject to change based on conference schedule adjustments.

Cannabis cultivators with questions can always visit the CalCannabis website to learn more about the licensing process.

Learn more about the Emerald Cup at:

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Secretary Ross joins Rominger brothers for conservation award

CDFA secretary Karen Ross (second from left) joined the Rominger Brothers of Yolo County (second and third from right) for the presentation of the 2019 Leopold Conservation Award this morning at the California Farm Bureau’s annual meeting in Monterey. The farming operation of Bruce and Rick Rominger was recognized for measures including water-wise drip irrigation and in-field moisture sensors, habitat-improvement efforts, and managing irrigation water in rice fields to boost declining shorebird populations.

Others in the photo are, from left, Kevin McAleese, president/CEO of the Sand County Foundation, sponsor of the Leopold Award; Ashley Boren, executive director of Sustainable Conservation and member of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture; and Farm Bureau president Jamie Johansson.

Photo credit: California Farm Bureau Federation

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To protect California’s ecosystem services, they must be valued – from UC ANR

Rice fields hosting birds are an example of ecosystem services.

By Jeanette E. Warnert, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources

The ecosystem services of landscapes in California are essential to the state’s future, but many people take them for granted.

In addition to direct economic outputs, working landscapes – farms, rangelands, forests and fisheries, to name a few – sequester carbon, capture water, support wildlife, offer picturesque views and make space for hiking, skiing, boating and other recreational activities.

“We need to put a value to ecosystem services, from an economic standpoint, that incentivizes people who own and manage these landscapes so they can continue to manage them for everyone’s benefit,” said Stephanie Larson, UC Cooperative Extension rangeland advisor in Sonoma County.

When ecosystem services have been monetized, proper compensation can be calculated, ensuring benefits like clean water, fresh air and a livable climate are protected for future generations.

In November, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources released a report at the California Economic Summit in Fresno on the value of California’s working landscapes. The report determined the state’s working landscapes generate $333 billion in annual sales and 1.5 million jobs. That number does not include ecosystem services.

“The value of ecosystem services is probably higher than the $333 billion direct economic contribution of working landscapes outlined in the report,” said Glenda Humiston, University of California vice president for agriculture and natural resources. Humiston is chair of the economic summit’s working landscape task force. “The problem is, when we don’t have that quantified, it’s hard to make investments to make sure those ecosystem services are maintained.”

Humiston said that, in time, systems can be developed for the public to support the ecosystem services they enjoy.

“You might have a small surcharge on binoculars,” she said. “That money could be used to protect bird habitat so birders can go somewhere to see birds. Water districts might assess a surcharge on your water bill to pay for the forested watersheds where they are getting your water. There are many different mechanisms to do this. We’re trying to figure out what would be the best mechanism.”

During the summit, a team of researchers, policymakers and industry professionals launched a new phase of work to calculate with scientific accuracy the value of ecosystem services. Larson is a member of the leadership team, along with executive director of the Central Valley Partnership Dan O’Connell and Sequoia Riverlands Trust director of pubic planning and policy Adam Livingston.

The team is working with partners to secure funding and technical support to integrate data sets already available from the Council of Governments’ Rural-Urban Connections Strategy into an open source, statewide system for mapping ecosystem services.

Once the tool is established, the team will be ready to pilot test it in four areas of California that provide ecosystem services.

“I love this concept,” said Kenny Spain, economic development specialist with the Headwaters Fund in Humboldt County and a member of the task force. “It’s a valuable tool.”

Link to item on UCANR Green Blog

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Healthy Soils Week – CDFA aligns with World Soil Day

World Soil Day (today, Dec 5) was designated by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) to recognize the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system, and as a vital contributor to human life through its connection to food, water, and energy security.

The designation was formally endorsed in 2013 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. World Soil Day is an opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being by addressing the increasing challenges in soil management and, raising the profile of healthy soil by encouraging governments, organizations, communities and individuals around the world to engage in proactively improving soil health.

CDFA and its partners inside and outside of government have aligned with this through a series of events this week promoting soil health. Today, the California Compost Coalition, CalCAN, and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) will facilitate a tour of a local compost facility and farms employing healthy soils practices.

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Healthy Soils Week – Fruit from composted groves shared at State Capitol

Jorge Reyes Salinas, Communications Director for Assemblymember Monique Limón, receives a lemon today from CalRecycle staffer Alexandra Rosado. The lemon was grown in a composted garden.
The lemons were delivered to legislative offices as part of Healthy Soils Week 2019. Each one carried a message about the importance of soil health and composting.
The lemons were donated through CalEPA’s Crop Swap. A CalRecycle crew of four made the deliveries. From left, Allegra Curiel, Alexandra Rosado, Angel Fong and Elicia Hoffman.
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Healthy Soils Week: Legislative briefing demonstrates, explains the value of healthy soil

Photo of two women dropping clumps of soil into water-filled vertical cylinders to demonstrate the properties of healthy soil.
California’s Healthy Soils Week (December 2-6) continued today with a briefing at the Capitol for legislators and staff about the science and value of healthy soils. The briefing began with a demonstration of soil health properties: Farmer Victoria Robles with Robles Farms (left forefront) and CDFA Senior Environmental Scientist Natalie Jacuzzi dropped different soil samples into water-filled cylinders. The demonstration was led by Regional Soil Health Specialist Zahangir Kabir (rear left) and State Soil Scientist Tony Rolfes, both with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, who explained that the healthier soil (left) retained its structure, its ability to sequester carbon, and its ability to absorb and filter water, while the other sample broke apart quickly.

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Remembering former California State Board of Food and Agriculture member Marvin Meyers – video from ABC-30, Fresno

Fresno-area farmer Marvin Meyers, who served on the California State Board of Food and Agriculture during the administrations of governors Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown, has passed away at age 85.

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross: “Marvin Meyers was a generous visionary and truly one of a kind. It was a privilege to work with him on the State Board of Food and Agriculture.  May he Rest In Peace.” 

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Healthy Soils Week – Healthy soils and food

Healthy soils mean more food, including notable increases in yields for farmers using soil management practices, according to USDA case studies. That’s critical as agriculture looks to feed an expected world population of more than 9 billion by 2050! #HSW2019

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Healthy Soils Week Display Unveiled at State Capitol

California Healthy Soils Week: December 2-6, 2019

Photo of three officials cutting a gold ribbon in front of a set of seven banners hanging in a hallway at the State Capitol
CDFA Secretary Karen Ross (right),  the ribbon on the Healthy Soils Week display at the State Capitol. The banners will be on display outside the Governor’s Office all week.
Group photo in front of a set of seven banners hanging outside the Governor's Office at the State Capitol
Healthy Soils supporters gathered today at the State Capitol to unveil a set of banners proclaiming “Healthy Soils Week” December 2-6. From left: California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN) Associate Policy Director Brian Shobe, Community Alliance with Family Farmers Executive Director Paul Towers, Assembly Committee on Agriculture Deputy Chief Consultant Victor Frankovich, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist Carlos Suarez, Assembly Committee on Agriculture Chair Susan Talamantes Eggman, CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, CDFA Undersecretary Jenny Lester Moffitt, and Mary Kaems, Principal Consultant with the Assembly Speaker’s Office.

Healthy Soils Week continues with these scheduled events:

  • Tuesday, Dec. 3: A legislative briefing plus an informational session with the State Board of Food and Agriculture.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 4: A regional workshop, “Building our Food Resilient System,” in Santa Barbara. Also, CalRecycle will deliver fruit grown in a composted grove to state legislators. 
  • Thursday, Dec. 5: World Soil Day as well as a tour for legislative staff and partner agencies that will include farms that employ healthy soils practices and a local compost facility. 
  • Friday, Dec. 6: An event, “Rebuilding Urban Soil with Three Sisters Gardens” in West Sacramento.

More information is available at CDFA’s Healthy Soils Week web page.

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Welcome to Healthy Soils Week!

CDFA has introduced a webpage to promote Healthy Soils Week, starting today and extending through Friday, December 6. CDFA has joined with several partner agencies and non-governmental organizations to promote awareness about the importance of soil health to fight climate change, enhance food security, and conserve California’s natural resources.

The website provides details about the following daily events:

  • Today, Monday, Dec. 2: Ribbon cutting at 11 am to unveil large display panels at the State Capitol near the Governor’s Office.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 3: A legislative briefing plus an informational session with the State Board of Food and Agriculture.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 4: A regional workshop, “Building our Food Resilient System,” in Santa Barbara. Also, CalRecycle will deliver fruit grown in a composted grove to state legislators.
  • Thursday, Dec. 5: World Soil Day as well as a tour for legislative staff and partner agencies that will include farms that employ healthy soils practices and a local compost facility.
  • Friday, Dec. 6: An event, “Rebuilding Urban Soil with Three Sisters Gardens” in West Sacramento.

Healthy soil is quite literally the foundation of sustainable food, water, air and biodiversity. Restoring and preserving healthy soil results in:

  • Improved plant health and yields
  • Increased water infiltration and retention
  • Sequestered carbon and reduced greenhouse gases (GHGs)
  • Reduced sediment erosion and dust
  • Improved water and air quality
  • Improved biological diversity and wildlife habitat

Hashtags for Healthy Soils Week: #HSW2019 and #HealthySoilsWeek2019

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