WUD to host paid sick leave workshop, March 6

Western United Dairymen will host a workshop on California’s sick leave law, March 6, 10 a.m.-noon, at the UCCE Office in Tulare, Calif.  Anthony Raimando, of Raimando & Associates Law Firm, will discuss how the law will impact dairy operators and how to handle record keeping and implementation. 

The state's new sick leave law took effect Jan. 1, 2015. However, the right to accrue and take sick leave under this law takes effect July 1, 2015. The new law requires most employers to allow employees to accrue up to three days of paid sick leave per year, based on an accrual of at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

California's sick leave law does provide for various accrual caps, in deference to employers that already have a paid time off (PTO) policy meeting certain standards, as well as various other exceptions.

Employees may use the paid sick leave to care for themselves or other family members. The law imposes notice, posting and record-retention obligations with which employers must now comply. 


California Milk Stabilization Fund assessments to resume

The California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) will reinstate collection of fees to finance the Milk Stabilization Fund, effective April 1.

CDFA collects fees on Grade A market milk and Grade B manufacturing milk sold in commercial channels to fund operations of the Dairy Marketing Branch.

Fee collection was suspended effective Sept. 1, 2014, after it was determined the fund had adequate cash reserves to meet budget projections. The balance is now projected to fall below six-month reserve levels.

To read the CDFA notice, click here.


Water/conservation project grants available

Western United Dairymen has partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Sustainable Conservation to secure an additional $3.5 million for Merced and Stanislaus County dairy producers for water quality/conservation projects.

The process to apply for the available funding is the same as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and will be submitted with NRCS. EQIP has changed from one deadline and funding cycle per year to five.

Applications will now be batched and ranked on specific dates, providing a more timely funding response.The remaining FY ’15 batching schedule is as follows:

• Batching Period 3 – April 17

• Batching Period 4 – June 19

• Batching Period 5 – July 17

A Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) must be completed as part of the process, making it important to plan ahead.

A Technical Service Provider (TSP) is necessary to complete the CNMP process and NRCS reimburses producers for the cost of the CNMP. The type of projects  funded through this program are: irrigation pipelines; pumps; structures for water control; waste storage facility (concrete pads); solid liquid separators; irrigation land leveling; and Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (CNMP).

Contact a local NRCS office for more information.

-- Western United Dairymen


WUD Dairy Leader Program applications available online

Application deadline for Western United Dairymen's California Dairy Leaders Program is March 31. The program is targeted toward dairy producers and those in dairy-related enterprises who want to assume leadership roles within the California dairy industry.

Introduced in 2002, the program consists of regular classes to study issues affecting dairy producers, including: environmental issues, the state and federal legislative process, dairy pricing and economics, biotechnological developments, marketing and promotion, and public relations skills.

Applications can be downloaded <here>.


CDFA sets dairy digester program update meeting

A meeting to take input on California’s new Dairy Digester Research and Development Program will be held March 4, 10 a.m. - Noon, in Sacramento, Calif. The meeting will focus on Phase II, the research provisions of the project.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) was appropriated $12 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to provide financial assistance for the installation of dairy digesters that will result in reduced greenhouse gas (methane) emissions.

Approximately $11 million is dedicated to the installation of digesters, and an estimated $500,000 will be made available for competitive grants for research and demonstration projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; facilitate improved understanding of the scientific and technical aspects of dairy digesters; and provide information about economic feasibility, widespread implementation and environmental benefits.

Visit CDFA’s dairy digester website, www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/dd for more information. Interested parties may submit comments to grants@cdfa.ca.gov, March 4-18.


CVRWQCB workshop set, March 2

The Central Valley (California) Regional Water Quality Control Board will host a public workshop to update stakeholders on the progress of the Central Valley Dairy Representative Monitoring Program (CVDRMP). The meeting will beheld March 2, 1-3:30 p.m., in Fresno, Calif.

A copy of the agenda is available at http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralvalley/water_issues/dairies/public_notices/index.shtml.