Chairs Report, November 2015

With the legislature out of session our focus has turned to communities throughout the state. We are excited about the launching of CGA Local Chapters in an increasing number of producer Counties.  Novemebr 12-15th will feature a four-event in four-day swing through Humboldt, Mendocino and Sonoma. 

 

We’ll be in Humboldt on the 12th for CGA Local Chapter Launch, in Sonoma on the 13th for local CGA Chapter in concert with Sonoma County Growers Alliance.  Saturday the 14th finds us at Hempfest and Sunday the 15th will find us at the Mendocino Chapter meeting in Laytonville. On the horizon next month is an LA chapter and continued growth in San Francisco and Nevada county chapters. 

With the passage of MMRSA everyone is working to digest the language and figure out which licenses will be needed under the legislation.  There is a certain amount of ambiguity given the potential for impending legalization measures and the different interpretations of the legislative package. 

There are some things that are not ambiguous. 

Farmers on the North Coast need to start working towards their Water Board Discharge Permits immediately.  This process includes developing a farm plan for wastewater discharge (storm runoff or any form of water leaving your property) if you are above a tier 1.  http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/northcoast/water_issues/programs/cannabis/   Cultivators must demonstrate that their activities are not a negative impact to waters of the state.  

The discharge program is not specific to cannabis and can be equally applied in other industries.  It is regulation designed to keep our water clean. As good land stewards, we should be doing this anyway. 

There are areas for improvement, including giving operators access to existing grant funds to help address legacy impacts.  We must cooperate as farmers as we move into the process for state licensure, we must also make our case for access to Proposition 1 funds for cleanup of some of these legacy effects that would sink the budget of small farmers. 

County roads and other systemic processes that cause sediment to enter waterways can be dealt with in constructive manner by small farms who are proactive in their management plans.  We can work together to keep the rivers and spawning grounds clean and free of sediment for fish while demonstrating land stewardship that will go a long way towards the discharge permit. 

We are having the Water Board out to the farm on Thursday (11-5) to begin our permitting process.  I’ll be reporting out about how that goes.  We’ll be beginning the process for 3 farms in the Bell Springs Area, starting to feel out how the program will progress.  Department of Fish and Wildlife is accompanying the Water Board. 

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Emerald Cup and then at Strategic Planning at the beginning of January.  Great success!

 


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