Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long-term Sustainability (CV-Salts) is a program that was initially formed to review issues with salts in water. It has now evolved to focus on nitrates as it specifically pertains to drinking water. A few years ago, you may remember hearing that growers in the Central Coast and Tulare County area received letters to “Cease and Desist” and had to offset nitrate contaminates by providing bottled water to impacted individuals in those areas. This has now evolved to water kiosks that the impacted residents can visit. As an example, think of this as a water dispenser located inside or outside of a grocery store.
The California State Resources Water Control Board (SWB) has now issued letters to waste discharge permit holders that they must develop management plans to offset poor water quality. To better clarify, waste discharge permits are issued to those such as the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (IRLP) coalitions, dairy producers, food processors and wineries. In this case, dairies will receive letters directly addressed to them while IRLP coalitions will receive an all-encompassing letter for their membership due to their permit.
This program is currently isolated as the SWB has developed a pilot project to move this forward. The pilot consists of subbasins that are considered Tier 1 and are isolated to the Modesto, Turlock and Chowchilla Subbasins. Industry leaders have been brought together to determine what the best mode of action will be for all involved as there is a 275-day timeline to report back to the state. Merced and Madera Subbasins have been issued Tier 2 orders and will not receive letter to comply for 1-2 years. I do foresee this being another cost to the members of each of these organizations as this program develops.
Following with more unwanted news is the effort by animal activist that continue to harm animal agriculture. As Novel Coronavirus (COVID) started to shut down our economy, individuals were told if their jobs were essential or non-essential and all of us waded through the latest regulations, activists continued to decry that animal agriculture was at fault. They have continued to call for action in asking their members to target livestock producers by virtual means, heightening their efforts on social media accounts.
While we have continued our outreach to those that we know are member producers, we ask that if possible, please update your records with us. We ask this so we can better communicate with you moving forward. It is completely understood that you have a lot on your plate and 2020 continues to be a record year, however it is necessary that you remain vigilant and talk with your employees about these issues. Should you have an unknown individual on your property, please remember the following:
Ask them for their information – name, driver’s license, license plate, who they are with and what they are needing
Call local law enforcement
Have a protocol in place where employees direct any unknown individuals to you
The above are a some of the recommendations that we ask producers to follow. I am happy to speak with our local producers about their individual operations and the concerns they have in these situations. We are here for you and monitoring this issue daily.
Please check out some of our upcoming trainings that Denelle has detailed in her column and the flyers we have within the pages of Farm News. Welcome aboard to Tabitha and congratulations to all of the local graduates!