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Santa Barbara Independent, October 21, 2020

Judge Thomas Anderle rejected a lawsuit filed by the Coalition for Responsible Cannabis that challenged the adequacy of the environmental review conducted as part of the County of Santa Barbara’s controversial new hoop-house ordinance, passed by the Board of Supervisors last year.

Traditionally, hoop houses have escaped the scrutiny of county environmental review on the grounds that they are agricultural implements and ag is generally exempt. But in recent years, the county has seen a significant proliferation of hoop houses — not just more, but bigger, too — fueled by an increase in berry production as well as cannabis cultivation.

Read more here

Hi Friend,

As the owner of Central Coast Agriculture (CCA) and co-Founder of Good Farmers Great Neighbors, John De Friel has worked tirelessly to develop cannabis as an emerging agricultural crop in North County. Learning from other farmers, he’s taken the time to incorporate decades of technological advancements in row crop farming with innovative technologies for water conservation and soil fertility, including hoop-houses, plastic mulch and drip irrigation.

Watch John’s ag beginnings, work to revitalize ag acreage in North County and plans for the future of ag tourism

Like so many of his peers, John and CCA have not been immune to permit challenges. After nearly two years, the County Planning Commission will be reviewing John’s permit on October 28th.

Will you take a minute to sign on to our petition to encourage agricultural best practices that are beneficial to the environment?

It takes all of us to promote the farming practices that tap into our proud agricultural traditions, benefit the environment and improve crop efficiency.

Thank you, as always, for your continued support. Together, we will thrive as good farmers and great neighbors.


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Santa Barbara News Press, October 6, 2020

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors is expected to deny an appeal filed against Castlerock Family Farms’ land-use permit application for cultivating 23 acres of cannabis in the Santa Ynez Valley.

According to the board letter for today’s Board of Supervisors meeting, county staff recommends the appeal filed by the Santa Barbara County Coalition for Responsible Cannabis be rejected on grounds that none of the issues it raises are of merit.

Read more here

Hi Friend,

First and foremost, our appreciation and salute to all State, County and City Firefighters who are protecting us from the most dreadful wildfires in California in a century.

To date, over 2.2 million acres of land have been scorched in 25 counties – including Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Monterey. There’s been more than 7,606 fires statewide destroying an estimated 150 million trees. We send our prayers and thoughts to all firefighters, their families and the victims of these devastating burns.

Residents of North County in particular please be careful and diligent about smoke and air pollution. Avoid being outdoors and exposed to fire generated smoke and excessive heat.

Please follow the guidelines of both the Air Quality Boards of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties.

Click below to learn more:

https://www.ourair.org/wildfire-smoke-and-health-infographic/

https://www.slocleanair.org/air-quality/wildfire.php

More Cannabis Tax Revenues

Over the past two fiscal years (2018 – 2020) Santa Barbara County has collected $19 million dollars. During the last reported fiscal quarter (April – June), Cannabis Farmers paid more than $5.5 million dollars in taxes to the County.

“It is important to understand that this revenue is significant … where other entities are cutting back dramatically their public services”, declared Supervisor Das Williams.

Santa Barbara County has dedicated 297 acres for cannabis farming, mostly in the Lompoc Valley with 104 acres, followed by Santa Ynez Valley with 97 acres, Carpinteria with 67 acres and Santa Maria with 19 acres for cultivation.

Governor Newsom’s executive order declaring the ‘cannabis supply-chain’ essential in March provided both marketplace certainty and regulatory reliance during an economic downturn experiencing massive unemployment, especially in the hospitality and food service sectors.

Our very own Sara Rotman, CEO of Busy Bee’s Organics, and her husband Nate Diaz were recently interviewed by Bloomberg TV (click to view) underscoring these efforts and how appreciative farmers are in doing what they love and retaining their local workforce.

Trends in Cannabis

A survey of 10,000 California Cannabis Consumers have shown a propensity to reduce or replace alcohol and pharmaceutical consumption to find relief and enjoyment from cannabis. See report here.

High Tax Rates Push Cannabis Consumers out of the Legal Market: The Importance of Proper State and Local Cannabis Tax Policy. See report here.

Other News:

Vintner’s 3rd Wine Bid Fails, Stephen Pepe of Clos Pepe Vineyards

Vintners announced they were scrapping their third Wine BID proposal- the 1 1⁄2% on tasting room sales and will next week propose 1% on all DTC sales which would include wine club sales but not wholesale wine sales to the Trade.

Spotlight:

Lompoc Mayor, Jenelle Osborne has been a leader on a mission. Her passion and energy to address and find practical solutions for the all the residents of Lompoc is exemplary. As Mayor, she has led efforts to attract various elements of the cannabis industry – including manufacturing, processing, laboratory testing and retail to anchor their operations in the City of Lompoc. As such, even during the COVID Pandemic, the City continues to experience economic growth and job creation. Moreover, Mayor Osborne is a dedicated public servant with unique skills to also address the area’s social ills of poverty, income inequality and social equity. She has a deep understanding of how public and private partnerships can improve the quality of life for all residents, especially the most vulnerable. Her optimistic energy is contagious and merits consideration of our support. Click here to learn more.

 

Thank you, as always, for your continued support. Together, we will thrive as good farmers and great neighbors.

 

 

Stay informed. Follow us on social media for updated events and news stories.

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Santa Maria Times, August 29, 2020

“Since the stay-at-home mandate was imposed, the cannabis industry has experienced a sharp increase in consumer demand at the retail level, which in turn impacts the supply chain, creating an increased demand for product supplied by growers,” says the report, authored by fiscal and policy analysts Reese Ellestad and Steven Yee.

“Additionally, new operators are successfully navigating the county’s and state’s regulatory processes, and are therefore entering the market, thus generating new sales and new tax revenue,” the report says.

Read more here

Bloomberg,  July 19, 2020

Cannabis farmers and cannabis businesses, we don’t have access to unemployment, small business loans. We don’t have access to any of the rescue money that came for other businesses that were struggling so there’s no safety net for our business. — Sara Rotman, Wellfounded Botanicals

Watch full coverage here

Hi Friend,

After over a year of meetings, public comment and county data, Supervisors will again be discussing additional regulations for local cannabis farmers next Tuesday, July 14. As Good Farmers and Great Neighbors we pride ourselves on looking at the data, so before next week’s meeting here’s some key points to remember.

Send an email to County Supervisors Supporting Local Farmers

What state and local experts are saying…

“I really think that over time we are going to start looking at cannabis as agriculture, as it should have been looked at from the beginning … cannabis can help those small grape growers who are struggling to survive…” – Tony Linegar, Sonoma County Ag Commissioner, North Bay Business Journal

State Facts

In 2019, Sonoma Ag Commissioner’s Office estimated the value of local cannabis equals about $5.9 million per acre, far outpacing the almost $13,000 average per-acre value of wine grapes.

“Area dairy farmers, who have dealt with declining prices in the organic milk market, also will start growing or leasing their land for hemp and cannabis cultivation.” – Tony Linegar, Sonoma County Ag Commissioner, Press Democrat

Science Facts

Professor Sellu implemented a study to measure drift from hemp acreage into vineyards at SRJC’s Shone Vineyard and Farm. The conclusion: No Hemp Terpenes were detected on wine grapes or in wine made from those grapes. – Professor George Sellu, Santa Rosa Junior College, Agribusiness Program, PhD in Agricultural Science, University of California – Davis. Click here to view Dr. Sellou’s study.

Economic Equity and Opportunity

“Hemp, like other grain crops such as corn, rice and wheat requires a much lower capital investment compared to wine grapes, which cost anywhere from $25 – 35k per acre to plant.

More importantly, Hemp provides a higher revenue per acre compared to other grain crops which could help low-income farmers service their business loans and potentially become financially independent. Preventing low-income farmers from increasing their revenue stream in a shorter time is an elitist mentality that needs to be challenged.” – Professor George Sellu, Made Local Magazine, Sonoma County Food Action Plan, Sustaining Technologies

A Local Farmer’s Perspective

“De Friel supplements his knowledge of bioengineering with years of family history in farming lettuce, celery, onions, potatoes and apples in California, Oregon and Washington…views cannabis as just another agricultural crop.” – Just a Plant: Farmers Stress that Cannabis is another agricultural commodity, Santa Maria Sun, click here to view profile on John De Friel, Farmer of Central Coast Agriculture and others.

Let us continue to work together to build a better future for Santa Barbara County where we all share in its economic prosperity and promise to collaborate with respect and integrity.

Join us in adding your voice to a growing concert of farmers, entrepreneurs, business suppliers, workers and their families with a commitment to support the very best sun grown, pesticide-free cannabis cultivation practices in Santa Barbara County.

Please consider sending a letter of support for sustainable jobs and economic growth to the Board of Supervisors before Monday at 5pm.

 

SUPPORT OUR FARMERS JULY 14TH
There are new guidelines to provide public comment to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors:
To make a general public comment or to comment on a specific agenda item, the following methods are available:
  • Distribution to the Board of Supervisors: Submit your comment via email prior to 5 p.m.. on the day prior to the Board meeting. Please submit your comment to the Clerk of the Board at: [email protected]. Your comment will be placed into the record and distributed appropriately.
  • By Phone: If you would like to make a comment by phone, please call (805) 568-2240 and state your name, your phone number and which item you would like to speak on and the clerk will call you at the appropriate time. Please make every effort to be available and mute all streaming devices once it is your turn to speak.
  • You may observe the live stream of the Board of Supervisors meetings on:
Thank you, as always, for your continued support. Together, we will thrive as good farmers and great neighbors.

 

 

Stay informed. Follow us on social media for updated events and news stories.

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Green Entrepreneur,  July 7, 2020

We are very fortunate in Santa Barbara. When they first drafted the ordinance, they allowed us to consider ourselves from an agricultural scale perspective. But even with that, we have a structure in our county where the appeal process is forgiving for any opponent and extremely arduous for someone to make it through. And it is possible for someone to bankrupt a small independent farmer in order to prevent them from coming online in a fully compliant way.

Read the full article

Hi Friend,

The 2017 Census of Agriculture reports that there are more women directly involved in operations than in previous years.
Why does this matter?
Because when you can see others who look like you accomplish something, it gives you the hope, drive, and the desire to succeed as well. A quote from FarmHer is, “Images change perceptions. Perceptions become reality. A new reality means equal treatment, pay, opportunities, involvement and recognition.” That is why a 15.47 percentage point increase is such a huge deal.
 
GROWTH OF WOMEN IN FARMING
In the 2012 census, women were principal operators of 13.66 percent of farms in the United States. In the 2017 census, that number grew to 29.13 percent.
A little more than 36 percent of American producers were women as reported by the 2017 census, which was an increase from 31.5 percent in 2012.
This means over 500,000 more women are now principal producers on their farms or ranches than in 2012. Over 250,000 more women are involved in agriculture in any capacity than in 2012.

FEMALE PIONEERS IN CANNABIS CULTIVATION

Here closer to home, we have women pioneers who are at the pinnacle of innovation and creativity in farming and cannabis cultivation. Last week, the Santa Barbara Independent profiled these women of courage on their cover entitled “The Agro Women of Santa Barbara County”, by Ninette Paloma. Take a view here.
Here are some of their observations about farming, cultivation and related activities.
  • “Just take a look around our Farmers’ market” – Noey Turk of Yes Yes Nursery
  • …”Being surrounded by family and animals and mother nature feels soulful in a way that I could have never imagined.” – Kirsten Becker, Farmer, Valley Heart Ranch
  • “There’s so much wonder outdoors and it’s so empowering to know you have the ability to raise your own food.” – Clara Cadwell, Farmer Tutti Frutti Farms
  • “We take pride in the work that we do…and we consider ourselves part of one collective family.” – Maria “Lupe” Monroy, Farm Team Leader, Stolpman Vineyards
  • “As women, it’s in our DNA to gather information…because we’ve been historically marginalized, we’re appropriately skeptical and less dogmatic about the next thing, which is why I value your voices first.” – Sara Rotman, Farmer, Busy Bee Organics, addressing a crowd of female farmers, winemakers, politicians, hospitality leaders and neighbors.
  • “Cultivating the mind and spirit encourages a deep connection to our food sources and land, something most of us are missing in our daily lives.” – Chiara Shannon, Owner, Yogi Sommelier Wellness
SUPPORT OUR FARMERS
Join us in support of all farming, especially sun grown, pesticide free cannabis cultivation providing an equal opportunity for many of our community to fully participate and benefit economically – creating more than 4,000 jobs countywide.
New guidelines to provide public comment to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors:
To make a general public comment or to comment on a specific agenda item, the following methods are available:
  • Distribution to the Board of Supervisors: Submit your comment via email prior to 5 p.m.. on the day prior to the Board meeting. Please submit your comment to the Clerk of the Board at: [email protected]. Your comment will be placed into the record and distributed appropriately.
  • By Phone: If you would like to make a comment by phone, please call (805) 568-2240 and state your name, your phone number and which item you would like to speak on and the clerk will call you at the appropriate time. Please make every effort to be available and mute all streaming devices once it is your turn to speak.
  • You may observe the live stream of the Board of Supervisors meetings on:
Thank you, as always, for your continued support. Together, we will thrive as good farmers and great neighbors.

 

 

Stay informed. Follow us on social media for updated events and news stories.

Facebook             Twitter             LinkedIn             Instagram

Santa Barbara Independent,  July 2, 2020

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Santa Barbara County’s agro women forged ahead, adjusting their approaches to reflect a fast-changing crisis much like their predecessors had done almost four decades earlier. Farmers with wildly diverse productions described similar challenges or sources of inspiration: agricultural teachings to help fuel the industry for generations to come.

Read the full article