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.

Farmers and Ranchers in California Can Now Apply for Financial Assistance through USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

May 26, 2020 – Agricultural producers can now apply for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides direct payments to offset impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. The application and a payment calculator are now available online, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) staff members are available via phone, fax and online tools to help producers complete applications. The agency set up a call center in order to simplify how they serve new customers across the nation.

“We know California producers are facing a tough time now, and we are making every effort to provide much needed support as quickly as possible,” said Connie Conway, state executive director for FSA in California. “FSA is available over the phone and virtually to walk you through the application process, whether it’s the first time you’ve worked with FSA, or if you know us quite well.”

Applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020. Through CFAP, USDA is making available $16 billion for vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline due to COVID-19 and face additional significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly marketing of commodities.

“We also want to remind producers that the program is structured to ensure the availability of funding for all eligible producers who apply,” Conway said.

In order to do this, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date nationwide, as funds remain available.

Producers can download the CFAP application and other eligibility forms from farmers.gov/cfap. Also, on that webpage, producers can find a payment calculator to help identify sales and inventory records needed to apply and calculate potential payments.

Additionally, producers in search of one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. This is a good first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office at their local USDA Service Center.

Applying for Assistance

Producers of all eligible commodities will apply through their local FSA office. Those who use the online calculator tool will be able to print off a pre-filled CFAP application, sign, and submit to your local FSA office either electronically or via hand delivery. Please contact your local office to determine the preferred method. Find contact information for your local office at farmers.gov/cfap.

Documentation to support the producer’s application and certification may be requested after the application is filed. FSA has streamlined the signup process to not require an acreage report at the time of application and a USDA farm number may not be immediately needed.

Additional Commodities

USDA is also establishing a process for the public to identify additional commodities for potential inclusion in CFAP. Specifically, USDA is looking for data on agricultural commodities, that are not currently eligible for CFAP, that the public believes to have either:

  1. suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,
  2. shipped but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channel, or
  3. not left the farm or remained unharvested as mature crops.

More information about this process is available on farmers.gov/cfap.

More Information

To find the latest information on CFAP, visit farmers.gov/cfap or call 877-508-8364.

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

USDA Announces Support for Farmers Impacted by Unjustified Retaliation and Trade Disruption

(Washington, D.C., May 23, 2019) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take several actions to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation and trade disruption. President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a relief strategy to support American agricultural producers while the Administration continues to work on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally. Specifically, the President has authorized USDA to provide up to $16 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. These programs will assist agricultural producers while President Trump works to address long-standing market access barriers.

“China hasn’t played by the rules for a long time and President Trump is standing up to them, sending the clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate their unfair trade practices, which include non-tariff trade barriers and the theft of intellectual property. President Trump has great affection for America’s farmers and ranchers, and he knows they are bearing the brunt of these trade disputes. In fact, I’ve never known of a president that has been more concerned or interested in farmer wellbeing and long-term profitability than President Trump,” said Secretary Perdue. “The plan we are announcing today ensures farmers do not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and other trading partners. Our team at USDA reflected on what worked well and gathered feedback on last year’s program to make this one even stronger and more effective for farmers. Our farmers work hard, are the most productive in the world, and we aim to match their enthusiasm and patriotism as we support them.”

Background:

American farmers have dealt with unjustified retaliatory tariffs and years of non-tariff trade disruptions, which have curtailed U.S. exports to China. Trade damages from such retaliation and market distortions have impacted a host of U.S. commodities, including crops like soybeans, corn, wheat, cotton, rice, and sorghum; livestock products like milk and pork; and many fruits, nuts, and other crops. High tariffs disrupt normal marketing patterns, raising costs by forcing commodities to find new markets. Additionally, American goods shipped to China have been slowed from reaching market by unusually strict or cumbersome entry procedures, which affect the quality and marketability of perishable crops. These boost marketing costs and unfairly affect our producers. USDA will use the following programs to assist farmers:

  • Market Facilitation Program (MFP) for 2019, authorized under the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), will provide $14.5 billion in direct payments to producers.
    • Producers of alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, mustard seed, dried beans, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, upland cotton, and wheat will receive a payment based on a single county rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to those crops in aggregate in 2019. Those per acre payments are not dependent on which of those crops are planted in 2019, and therefore will not distort planting decisions. Moreover, total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings.
    • Dairy producers will receive a per hundredweight payment on production history and hog producers will receive a payment based on hog and pig inventory for a later-specified time frame.
    • Tree nut producers, fresh sweet cherry producers, cranberry producers, and fresh grape producers will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of production.
    • These payments will help farmers to absorb some of the additional costs of managing disrupted markets, to deal with surplus commodities, and to expand and develop new markets at home and abroad.
    • Payments will be made in up to three tranches, with the second and third tranches evaluated as market conditions and trade opportunities dictate. The first tranche will begin in late July/early August as soon as practical after Farm Service Agency crop reporting is completed by July 15th. If conditions warrant, the second and third tranches will be made in November and early January.
  • Additionally, CCC Charter Act authority will be used to implement a $1.4 billion Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP) through the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to purchase surplus commodities affected by trade retaliation such as fruits, vegetables, some processed foods, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and milk for distribution by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to food banks, schools, and other outlets serving low-income individuals.
  • Finally, the CCC will use its Charter Act authority for $100 million to be issued through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) administered by the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) to assist in developing new export markets on behalf of producers.

Further details regarding eligibility and payment rates will be released at a later date.

For USDA Press Release, Click Here.

 

Almond Advantage Magazine: September/ October 2018

The Almond Advantage is our bimonthly printed magazine, featuring the latest industry news and recent activities the Almond Alliance has been engaged in.

Highlights in September/October edition of the Almond Advantage include:

  • Market Facilitation Program (MFP) – Almond Growers can sign up for the MFP payments between September 24 through January 15, 2019; however, payments to eligible growers will only be issued once harvest is 100% complete, and production is reported. (Pg. 14)
  • Member Spotlight –  Trinitas Farming, LLC is a leader in the farm services industry and oversees world-class agricultural properties. Headquartered in the heart of California’s Central Valley, they offer a full range of farm management and agricultural business services to their members. (Pg. 16)
  • The Port of Oakland is Almond Friendly – The Port of Oakland continues to make the infrastructure investments that help keep California agricultural exports desirable and competitive throughout the world. (Pg. 18)

To read the September/October 2018 Almond Advantage, click HERE.

US Trade Mitigation Package Direct Payments for Almonds

Modesto, CA – The Almond Alliance of California appreciates the efforts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish the procedures required to provide direct payments to almond growers to help offset some of the damage being incurred due to the retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and Turkey. As announced today by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, growers of California almonds are now eligible to apply for direct payments of $.03 per pound as part of the $12 billion mitigation package announced earlier this month. The damage assessment figure assigned to almonds is $63.3 million.

The announcement is a result of the industry coming together and advocating through the Almond Alliance of California (AAC). Elaine Trevino, President/CEO of AAC said “Industry members should be proud that through a unified effort they were able to have their voices heard and be acknowledged for their contribution to the national economy, along with the significant role they play in the international market place.”

The almond industry has been significantly impacted by retaliatory tariffs and the inclusion of the commodity in the USDA trade mitigation package is a result of a vocal industry and the support and hard work of California’s congressional delegation. Trevino noted, “The direct payment program reflects the hard work of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Chairman Jeff Denham who led the congressional effort including Congressmen Costa, Valadao, Nunes, LaMalfa, Pannetta and Senators Harris and Feinstein. Their combined efforts and leadership helped ensure that the California almond industry received direct payments within the specific program guidelines. We are thankful that our congressional delegation worked hard for our industry and acknowledged the importance of almonds to the California and U.S. economy.”

Producers of almonds can now sign up for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), which is a direct payment program for eligible almond growers who have been directly impacted by retaliatory tariffs, resulting in significant export losses. The MFP is established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and is under the administration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA). There are specific eligibility requirements that must be met by an applicant and the maximum payment per applicant is $125,000. Eligible applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000.

Producers may apply for MFP beginning now through January 15, 2019, however payments will only be made after an eligible producer has harvested 100% of their crop and provided appropriate documentation verifying their production. Eligible almond growers may apply for MFP now through January 15, 2019.

Almonds are one of California’s top three valued commodities and the leading agricultural export.  The California almond industry exports 67% of what it produces.  With exports of nearly $4.5 billion in 2017, the California almond industry contributes significantly to the longstanding trade surplus generated by American agriculture.

For more Information:

For more information about the MFP program, visit www.farmers.gov/MFP or contact your local FSA office. To find your local FSA office, visit www.farmers.gov.

About the Almond Alliance of California

The Almond Alliance of California (AAC) is a trusted non-profit organization with a mission of advocating on behalf of the Almond industry in California. AAC actively advocates for the positions of almond growers, hullers, shellers, handers and processors, while educating the industry about upcoming and existing regulatory changes.  Through workshops, newsletters, conferences and meetings, AAC serves as a clearing house of information that informs the almond industry and continues to position the industry as an agricultural leader in the state.

US Retaliatory Mitigation Package Places Almonds in Market Facilitation Program

September 11, 2018 – – Modesto, CA – – California almonds are included in the $12 billion trade mitigation package announced by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture assisting farmers suffering from damage due to international trade retaliation. The damage assessment figure assigned to almonds is $63.3 million, yet the program details of distribution are forthcoming.

The announcement by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue pertaining to almonds is a result of the industry coming together and advocating through the Almond Alliance of California (AAC). Elaine Trevino, President/CEO of AAC states “The industry should be proud that through a unified organized effort they were able to have their voice heard and be acknowledged for what they provide to the national economy and what significance they have in the international market place.”

The almond industry has been significantly impacted by retaliatory tariffs and the inclusion of the commodity in the USDA trade mitigation package is confirmation of that reality by the Administration. AAC President/CEO states “This is the recognition that the California almond industry deserves given the hard work and investment that they have made to grow a proven nutritious food to meet international demand for wholesome products and to increase markets for almonds, thereby improving the federal trade deficit with our international partners.”

Almonds are one of California’s top three valued commodities and the leading agricultural export. The California almond industry exports 67% of what it produces, thereby making it a valuable commodity that addresses the federal trade deficit. The California almond industry is focused on trade and market growth. None of the mitigation programs will begin to offset the financial impacts, the disruptions to our relationships with commercial partners, or the longer term effect this could have on the considerable market development investments the almond industry has made over the past decades. On the domestic side the California almond industry generates about 104,000 jobs in California, with over 97,000 in the Central Valley, especially in areas that suffer from chronic unemployment. The industry also generates more than $21 billion in economic revenue and directly creates more than $11 billion to the size of the state’s total economy.

About the Almond Alliance of California
The Almond Alliance of California (AAC) was formerly the Almond Hullers and Processors Association and is a trusted non-profit organization with a mission of advocating on behalf of the Almond industry in California. AAC actively advocates for the positions of almond growers, hullers, shellers, handers and processors, while educating the industry about upcoming and existing regulatory changes. Through workshops, newsletters, conferences and meetings, AAC serves as a clearing house of information that informs the almond industry and continues to position the industry as an agricultural leader in the state.