A Tribute to Our Beloved Board Member Diana Clark

Aug. 22, 2020 – – Diana Lynn Clark, 65, passed away on August 15, 2020 after a long battle with cancer. She was a beloved wife, mother, Gaga, and friend to many.

Diana was born in Bakersfield to Billy Jack and Betty Jo Greenfield. She grew up in McFarland, and for a memorable, but short time, in San Luis Obispo. She graduated from McFarland High School, and Bakersfield College.

Diana married Allen Clark on December 7, 1974. The two were married for 45 years before his passing last December. Together, they raised two sons, Ryan and Jared, and lovingly welcomed Andrea as a daughter-in-law. She loved being Gaga to their grandkids, Anneke and Luke.

Diana enjoyed spending time with family and friends. She and Allen loved going to the coast, especially when they could take their grandkids along. She attended the First Missionary Baptist church in McFarland and Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield.

Diana served as manager of Central Valley Almond Association in McFarland, California for that 15 years. A true advocate for almond hullers and shellers, Diana always spoke up for those who lived in the south valley.  Diana is remembered as a good friend, respected mentor and champion. She continually motivated the Almond Alliance team, reminded us of the importance of our work and was always ready to lead a helping hand. Diana’s strong spirit brought grit and energy to everything she did. She had a twinkle in her eye and a smile that was encouraging despite the circumstances.

John Wynn, Golden Empire Shelling, commented, “Diane was a great lady who stepped forward as manager of Central Valley Almond Association in a time of need. She was one of this first female huller managers in the industry. She had the respect of the community, her members and board of directors.”

Diana has been involved in the Almond Alliance for many years, serving as Chair in 2011-2012.  She believed in the importance of women’s engagement in agriculture and advocacy. Diana was a pioneer to women in the agricultural industry and was always there for support and encouragement.

“Diana Clark was a thoughtful, articulate, kind and fun member of the AHPA/AAC Board of Directors. She was a valued person at our meetings and a great human being! She will be missed greatly by the entire almond community,” said Almond Alliance Board member Dick Cunningham.

Diana’s fiery personality, big smile and devotion to her family and business were well known to all who knew her. Diana will be missed tremendously. The almond industry is stronger and better because of her work and we are committed to continuing her legacy.

 

Following Advocacy from Rep. Garamendi, USDA Purchases $40 Million in Almonds to Support Growers During COVID-19 Pandemic

August 19, 2020 Press Release Washington, DC—Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) applauded the United States Department of Agriculture’s decision to purchase $40 million of U.S.-grown almonds to support America’s almond growers as they grapple with the impact COVID-19 has had on their industry. This decision follows a letter from Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) to the United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue advocating for the United States Department of Agriculture’s support for California’s almond industry through a direct purchase program as it grapples with the effects of COVID-19.

“California’s almond industry was already facing hardship from retaliatory tariffs prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has made a hard year even harder for California’s almond growers, and the federal government must take action to help them weather this storm,” Garamendi said.

“Since the onset of COVID-19 almond raw bulk market prices have drastically declined, and the industry anticipates a 36% reduction in farm gate value, according to the Almond Alliance of California. Almonds are a top-three commodity in California, contributing approximately 104,000 jobs and more than $11 billion to the state’s economy,” Garamendi continued.

“As our nation toils with a once-in-a-century global pandemic there is an even greater need to ensure our nation’s food supply is strong. California’s food banks have seen a 73% increase in demand due to COVID-19, and demand is expected to remain high in the coming years. I’m pleased that USDA has approved the request a bipartisan coalition of my California colleagues and I made to directly purchase U.S.-grown almonds. This decision will help California’s almond growers weather this storm and ensure this nutritious product will continue to feed Americans during these turbulent times” Garamendi concluded.

A copy of Garamendi’s letter to Secretary Perdue can be viewed here.

$27 Million Available for Zero-Emission Trucks in California

Funding opens August 18, 2020 at 1:00 p.m.

On August 18, 2020, $27 million in funding will be available statewide to replace higher polluting trucks with zero-emission vehicles. The funding is part of the Volkswagen (VW) Environmental Mitigation Trust program, which is intended to fund projects that will fully mitigate the excess nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions caused by the vehicles included in the VW settlement.

This is the first installment from the $90 million available for the Zero-Emission Class 8 Freight and Port Drayage Trucks category and will provide funding to replace freight trucks (including drayage), waste haulers, dump trucks, and concrete mixers. Existing vehicles must be engine model years 1992 to 2012, in compliance with all applicable regulations, and scrapped in exchange for a zero-emission replacement vehicle. Private and public entities that own and operate eligible vehicles in the State may apply.

Applicants must be able to meet basic project requirements which include:

  • Ownership: Proof of ownership for at least one year.
  • Operation: Operate old and new vehicle at least 75% of the time within California.
  • Scrapping: Existing vehicle must be scrapped.
  • Replacement: New vehicle must be a zero-emission vehicle.
  • Certification: New vehicle must be certified or approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) or eligible under the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP).

Maximum funding will not exceed $200,000 per eligible replacement vehicle. The second installment of funds for this category is expected to be released within the next few years.

Eligible participants will be awarded funding on a first-come, first-served basis. South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) will administer the funding statewide with CARB providing program and fiscal oversight. Applications for the program will be accepted online only, beginning Tuesday, August 18, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. PDT. Visit the project website to apply.

Register

The VW Environmental Mitigation Trust is a nationwide program that provides funding for California to fully mitigate the excess NOx emissions caused by VW’s use of illegal emissions testing defeat devices in VW diesel vehicles. More than 50 percent of the total project funds are expected to benefit disadvantaged and low-income communities.

The Zero-Emission Class 8 Freight and Port Drayage Trucks category is one of five categories that will be funded from California’s $423 million allocation of the VW Environmental Mitigation Trust. CARB estimates funding for all five categories will result in over 10,000 tons of NOx reductions over a 10-year period.

The following list details the four other project categories under the VW Environmental Mitigation Trust program in California and the regional air quality agency assigned to administer the funds statewide on behalf of CARB:

For more information on the VW Environmental Mitigation Trust, the project categories, or additional details on eligibility requirements for Zero-Emission Class 8 Freight and Port Drayage Trucks, please visit the project website.

Pre-Solicitation Announcement for Section 32 Purchase of Nut Products

August 14, 2020 – – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced plans to purchase Almond, Hazelnut, Pecan, Pistachio, and Walnut Products for distribution to various food nutrition assistance programs. Purchases will be made under the authority of Section 32 of the Act of August 24, 1935, with the purpose to encourage the continued domestic consumption of these products by diverting them from the normal channels of trade and commerce.

Offers may be solicited in the following forms:

Material Code Material Description
100393 ALMONDS ROASTED WHOLE SHELL PKG-12/2 LB
100907 ALMOND NATURAL WHOLE SHELL CTN-12/2 LB
100908 WALNUT ENG PCS CTN-24/1 LB
110178 PISTACHIO ROASTED IN SHELL PKG-25/1 LB
111101 PECAN PIECES PKG-24/1 LB
111172 HAZELNUTS PKG-24/1 LB

Solicitations will be issued in the near future, and will be available electronically through the Web-Based Supply Chain Management (WBSCM) system. A hard copy of the solicitation will not be available. Public WBSCM information is available without an account on the WBSCM Public Procurement Page. All future information regarding this acquisition, including solicitation amendments and award notices, will be published through WBSCM, and on the Agricultural Marketing Service’s website at www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food. Interested parties shall be responsible for ensuring that they have the most up-to-date information about this acquisition. The contract type is anticipated to be firm-fixed price. Deliveries are expected to be to various locations in the United States on an FOB destination basis.

Pursuant to Agricultural Acquisition Regulation 470.103(b), commodities and the products of agricultural commodities acquired under this contract must be a product of the United States, and shall be considered to be such a product if it is grown, processed, and otherwise prepared for sale or distribution exclusively in the United States. Packaging and container components under this acquisition will be the only portion subject to the World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement and Free Trade Agreements, as addressed by FAR clause 52.225-5.

Offerors are urged to review all documents as they pertain to this program, including the latest—

These documents are available on the AMS Commodity Procurement website.

To be eligible to submit offers, potential contractors must meet the AMS vendor qualification requirements. The AMS point of contact for new vendors can be reached by phone at (202) 720-4237 or by email to NewVendor@usda.gov. Details of these requirements are available online at: https://www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food/becoming-approved. Once qualification requirements have been met, access to WBSCM will be provided. Bids, modifications, withdrawals of bids, and price adjustments shall be submitted using this system. Submission of the above by any means other than WBSCM will be determined nonresponsive.

To receive e-mail notification of the issuance of AMS solicitations, contract awards, and other information, subscribe online by visiting: “Stay up to date on USDA Food Purchases” available on the AMS Commodity Procurement website.

Inquiries for may be directed to the Agricultural Marketing Specialist, Shelia Tucker at shelia.tucker@usda.gov

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender

 

 

Rotating Power Outages Likely to Occur Monday Afternoon and Evening

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Based on current energy supply forecasts, rotating power outages are likely to occur Monday. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) urges customers to conserve electricity in response to the California Independent System Operator’s (ISO) statewide Flex Alert called for Monday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. CAISO is the organization that manages the state’s power grid.

The CAISO on Friday (Aug, 14) announced a series of Flex Alerts amid forecasts of extended, above-normal temperatures across California. Extreme heat is forecasted to last at least through the middle of this week. Prolonged heat through Thursday is expected to drive electricity demand higher, as nighttime temperatures are also forecast to be above average.

Outages are estimated to last one to two hours. PG&E’s Emergency Operations Center is activated and working closely with the CAISO to support this event.

Reason for Rotating Outages

Rotating outages (Stage 3 Emergencies) become necessary when the CAISO is unable to meet minimum contingency reserve requirements and load interruption is imminent or in progress. These emergencies are declared by the CAISO. During these emergencies, the CAISO will typically order the state’s utilities, including PG&E, to reduce electric load by turning off service immediately to prevent larger outages on the grid. Due to the emergency nature of these outages, utilities will not be able to give advance warning to customers.

These outages are not Public Safety Power Shutoffs, which are called during specific high fire-threat conditions, and they are not related to any issues with PG&E’s equipment or its ability to deliver energy locally.

Energy Conservation Needed Now

PG&E strongly urges customers to reduce electricity use during the Flex Alert on Monday, especially during the afternoon and evening, when air conditioners are typically at peak use. Customers should also follow these conservation tips:

  • Raise the thermostat: Cool homes and use air conditioners more during morning hours. Set the thermostat to 78 degrees when at home during the rest of the day, health permitting. Turn it up to 85 degrees or turn it off when not at home.
  • Use a ceiling fan: Turn on a ceiling fan when using the air conditioner, which will allow the thermostat to be raised about 4 degrees to save on cooling costs with no reduction in comfort. Turn off fans and lights when you leave the room.
  • Cover windows: Use shade coverings and awnings so the air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to cool the home.
  • Avoid using the oven: Instead, cook on the stove, use a microwave or grill outside.
  • Limit the opening of refrigerators, which are major users of electricity in most homes. The average refrigerator is opened 33 times a day.
  • Clean clothes and dishes early: Use large energy-consuming appliances like washing machines and dishwashers earlier in the day or late at night after 10:00 pm.

PG&E Tips to Stay Safe and Cool

  • Plan ahead: Check the weather forecast to prepare for hot days.
  • Keep an emergency contact list: Keep a list of emergency phone numbers.
  • Have a buddy system: Check in on elderly or people with access and function needs.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water, even when you are not thirsty.
  • Stay cool: Take a cool shower or bath and wear lightweight, loose, light-colored clothing.
  • Stay safe: Stay out of direct sunlight and avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 23,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.

Application Deadline Extended to Sept. 11, Producers Who Have Approved Applications to Receive Final Payments

USDA News Release

 (Washington, D.C., Aug. 11, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today that additional commodities are covered by the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) in response to public comments and data. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is extending the deadline to apply for the program to September 11th, and producers with approved applications will receive their final payment. After reviewing over 1,700 responses, even more farmers and ranchers will have the opportunity for assistance to help keep operations afloat during these tough times.

“President Trump is standing with America’s farmers and ranchers to ensure they get through this pandemic and continue to produce enough food and fiber to feed America and the world. That is why he authorized this $16 billion of direct support in the CFAP program and today we are pleased to add additional commodities eligible to receive much needed assistance,” said Secretary Perdue. “CFAP is just one of the many ways USDA is helping producers weather the impacts of the pandemic. From deferring payments on loans to adding flexibilities to crop insurance and reporting deadlines, USDA has been leveraging many tools to help producers.”

Background:

USDA collected comments and supporting data for consideration of additional commodities through June 22, 2020. The following additional commodities are now eligible for CFAP:

  • Specialty Crops – aloe leaves, bananas, batatas, bok choy, carambola (star fruit), cherimoya, chervil (french parsley), citron, curry leaves, daikon, dates, dill, donqua (winter melon), dragon fruit (red pitaya), endive, escarole, filberts, frisee, horseradish, kohlrabi, kumquats, leeks, mamey sapote, maple sap (for maple syrup), mesculin mix, microgreens, nectarines, parsley, persimmons, plantains, pomegranates, pummelos, pumpkins, rutabagas, shallots, tangelos, turnips/celeriac, turmeric, upland/winter cress, water cress, yautia/malanga, and yuca/cassava.
  • Non-Specialty Crops and Livestock – liquid eggs, frozen eggs and all sheep. Only lambs and yearlings (sheep less than two years old) were previously eligible.
  • Aquaculture – catfish, crawfish, largemouth bass and carp sold live as foodfish, hybrid striped bass, red drum, salmon, sturgeon, tilapia, trout, ornamental/tropical fish, and recreational sportfish.
  • Nursery Crops and Flowers – nursery crops and cut flowers.

Other changes to CFAP include:

  • Seven commodities – onions (green), pistachios, peppermint, spearmint, walnuts and watermelons – are now eligible for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability (CARES) Act funding for sales losses. Originally, these commodities were only eligible for payments on marketing adjustments.
  • Correcting payment rates for onions (green), pistachios, peppermint, spearmint, walnuts, and watermelons.

Additional details can be found in the Federal Register in the Notice of Funding Availability and Final Rule Correction and at www.farmers.gov/cfap.

Producers Who Have Applied:

To ensure availability of funding, producers with approved applications initially received 80 percent of their payments. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) will automatically issue the remaining 20 percent of the calculated payment to eligible producers. Going forward, producers who apply for CFAP will receive 100 percent of their total payment, not to exceed the payment limit, when their applications are approved.

Applying for CFAP:

Producers, especially those who have not worked with FSA previously, are recommended to call 877-508-8364 to begin the application process. An FSA staff member can help producers start their application during the phone call.

On farmers.gov/cfap, producers can:

  • Download the AD-3114 application form and manually complete the form to submit to their local USDA Service Center by mail, electronically or by hand delivery to their local office or office drop box.
  • Complete the application form using the CFAP Application Generator and Payment Calculator. This Excel workbook allows customers to input information specific to their operation to determine estimated payments and populate the application form, which can be printed, then signed and submitted to their local USDA Service Center.
  • If producers have login credentials known as eAuthentication, they can use the online CFAP Application Portal to certify eligible commodities online, digitally sign applications and submit directly to the local USDA Service Center.

All other eligibility forms, such as those related to adjusted gross income and payment information, can be downloaded from farmers.gov/cfap. For existing FSA customers, these documents are likely already on file.

All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person by appointment only. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel, and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors are also required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Our program delivery staff will be in the office, and they will be working with our producers in the office, by phone and using online tools. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.