Working for Permanent Protection of Agriculture and its Resources
First Annual Napa County Groundwater Monitoring Report
To sustain our groundwater resources and comply with new state groundwater regulations, county government has implemented a comprehensive groundwater monitoring program and released its first annual report last month. The report covers 4 main basins and 17 subareas. It reviewed decades of geologic data, 1332 driller’s reports, 191 driller’ reports for cross sections, and data from 115 wells. The summary findings concluded that groundwater level trends in the Napa Valley sub-basin of the Napa-Sonoma Valley Groundwater Basin are stable in the majority of wells. There was some degree of groundwater response to the drought conditions of 2013 and 2014. Groundwater level responses differ within the Milliken Sarco Tulocay subarea, indicating that localized conditions, whether geologic or man-made, might be the primary influence on conditions in the subarea. Declines in groundwater levels were observed in a few wells in the Napa Valley Floor Subareas, near the Napa Valley margin in the eastern Napa Subarea, southwestern Yountville Subarea, and southeastern St. Helena Subarea. Access the full report at the link to the right.
Napa County’s Planning Commission held an informational update on Feb. 20th regarding the 75% Napa grape sourcing rule in the Winery Definition Ordinance (WDO). New information was presented that shows a dramatic 190% increase in permitted wineries on ag zoned land since 1990 (212 to 404), and a modest 24% growth of the grape harvest with 114,303 tons crushed in 1990 and 141,677 tons crushed on average over the last 11 years (accounting for lean and bountiful years). There are many nuances and complexities to the data, but generally there is concern about whether the county is producing enough fruit to meet the growing demand to meet the 75% rule.
No action was taken by the Planning Commission, but there was general agreement that the WDO has served the county well in protecting our ag lands and that new or expanded winery permits will have more explicit conditions on the 75% grape sourcing applicability and that the Commission should use common sense (“believability”) when reviewing the grape sourcing in the use permit applications.
Protecting Napa’s farmlands & the value of the Winery Definition Ordinance
Jan 2013. Members of the 4 winegrape industry groups, Napa Valley Vintners, Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Winegrowers of Napa County and Napa County Farm Bureau have been meeting for several months to find common ground regarding questions about the 75% Napa grape sourcing requirement in the Winery Definition Ordinance. The issue arose after the Napa County Planning Commission considered two use permit applications for winery expansions with greatly increased production and asked questions regarding the available supply of Napa County grapes to meet the 75% grape sourcing requirement.
The County is looking to our industry to provide guidance on the 75% Napa grape sourcing rule. The grape sourcing policy is one component of the Winery Definition Ordinance (WDO) which was adopted in 1990 to insure the integrity of our Ag Preserve and define standards for wineries and accessory uses on ag parcels.
Over the years, our four industry groups have been able to reach consensus on policy decisions regarding the WDO. We will continue to seek collaboration and agreement on this important issue
NCFB continues to advocate for ag friendly changes in the Stakeholder Advisory meetings regarding the S.F. Water Quality Control Board’s pending Vineyard Waiver rule. As proposed, the rule will require vineyards to prepare Farm Water Quality Plans to protect water quality in the Napa River Watershed. We are collaborating with Napa Valley Vintners, Napa Grapegrowers and Winegrowers on this important industry issue and are also receiving legal guidance from attorneys at California Farm Bureau. We anticipate the draft rule will be published in the summer and approved in the fall.
Farm Bureau joins forces to stop Indian Casino in the Ag Preserve
The Napa County Farm Bureau in partnership with Napa Valley Vintners, Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Winegrowers of Napa County, Napa Valley Destination Council, the Chambers of Commerce of Napa, St Helena and Calistoga, Friends of the Napa River and the local Sierra Club are releasing a joint statement to our memberships regarding efforts to prevent establishment of an Indian casino in the Ag Preserve.
A group of Native Americans using the name “Mishewal Wappo Tribe of Alexander Valley” claims to be the descendants of the historic group of Pomo/Wappo Indians and have applied to the federal government for sovereign tribal status and to take lands in Napa and Sonoma counties into a tribal trust. Once land is taken into a trust, the Tribe would be exempt for local land use policies.
Click here to read a detailed fact sheet on the Mishewal Wappo tribal recognition and land acquisition demands written by staff of the Napa County Board of Supervisors click here.
To read the joint press statement on Saving the Napa Agricultural Preserve click here.
Napa County Farm Bureau is empathetic to the needs of Native American tribes but believes those needs can be met without overriding the land use policies which are integral to preserving our agricultural lands.
Farm Bureau will continue working collaboratively with government leaders, community and industry trade groups, and citizens to prevent Napa Valley from being “casino shopped,” and to staunchly defend the Ag Preserve from such incompatible development, and we will continue to keep you informed as the issue progresses.
We want to alert you that several brazen rural theft cases occurred recently in Napa County. Here are a few tips from Napa County Deputy Sheriff Jon Thompson and Farm Bureau to help prevent burglaries at your property:
The following tips may make you a less likely target.
1.Install an alarm system, either one that tells the world with noise and lights, or a silent alarm to tip off the sheriffs.
2.Note suspicious vehicles, people and activities, and warn your neighbors and workers to do the same. Take down license numbers of such vehicles. It always helps to have a description of not only the vehicle but the people associated with the vehicle as we respond. This includes height, weight, hair color, eye color clothing description…etc
Check info on the California Farm Bureau website at www.cfbf.com/ruralcrime/metaltheft.cfm for tips to prevent metal theft. Deputy Thompson reports that the county is being terrorized with metal theft throughout the valley right now. If your have metal around their property it needs to be secured. Any type of copper needs to be especially watched.
Mark your equipment with an Owner Applied Number (OAN) to assist in recovery of farm machinery, equipment and even household goods. O.A.N. is a program supported by numerous organizations and agencies including: the California Rural Crime Prevention Task Force, the California Highway Patrol, California Farm Bureau Federation, United Agri-Business League and California State Grange. Info at cfbf.com/ruralcrime/oan.cfm.
Post “No Trespassing” signs. Rural crime begins with trespassing. Whether the crime involves theft, vandalism or other violations, a person has to enter property illegally to commit the crime. State law that took effect Jan. 1, 2004, increases the penalty for people who trespass on farms and ranches. "No Trespassing" signs, in English and Spanish, are available to Farm Bureau members from CFBF. Signs in English cost $1.35 each. Signs in Spanish cost $1.62 each. Shipping costs will be added to each order. To order, call toll-free, 800-698-FARM; e-mail email@example.com
To guard against solar panel theft: Have a map of the panels with their serial numbers, so you can identify stolen property. Ask your contractor or solar panel manufacturers to embed RFID (radio frequency identification) chips inside the packages to discourage theft.
Use locking bolts; they do slow down the thieves. If you suspect anything, call the sheriff. Don't enter the scene, which could compromise evidence -- and don't mess with the thieves, they may be armed and dangerous.
Contact info for Deputy Jon Thompson is cell 707-253-4280 or Jon.Thompson@countyofnapa.org . The Problem Oriented Policing Program will always come out and make evaluations of people’s property (homes, business or rural ag land) to help prevent crimes from occurring.
Regulations changes regarding petroleum and petroleum oil products storagefor farmers and ranchers at the state and federal level.
A brief overview of what you need to know for your agricultural operation about petroleum and oil products storage is outlined in the attached documents. October 2010
Napa County Farm Bureau, Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Pina and the Napa Valley Vintners' position on the use of genetically engineered organisms (GEOs) in viticulture and winemaking.
In April 2007, the Napa County Farm Bureau (NCFB), Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG), and the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), were approached by an advocacy group called Preserving the Integrity of Napa's Agriculture (P.I.N.A.), who hoped to engage the Napa County winegrowing community in a discussion addressing the evolution and use of genetically engineered organisms (GEOs) in viticulture and winemaking.
The NCFB, NVG, NVV, and P.I.N.A. met monthly to study the promise and consequences of GEO usage and the potential impact of GE crops, yeast, and bacteria should they be used by the Napa County wine industry. Please click here to read the position on the use of genetically engineered organisms (GEOs) in viticulture and winemaking.