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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.

 

 

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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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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

Hi Friend,

Last week we learned that during the next fiscal year the county expects to collect $10.6 million in cannabis taxes alone. These projected revenues enabled Supervisors to budget essential public services throughout our community, especially for vulnerable populations such as seniors, communities of color and families struggling with food insecurity issues.

As an essential industry, cannabis businesses have continued to operate under strict safety protocols and precautions during the Covid-19 pandemic. In Santa Barbara County, cannabis farmers pay 4% on gross sales. The county will have collected more than $20 million in cannabis cultivation taxes by the end of this fiscal year. While other counties are grappling with furloughs that create an even greater demand for public services, Santa Barbara County is using this new revenue stream to retain its employees and deliver services.

Yet, amidst these contributions, cannabis farmers have faced constant appeals and hearings attempting to impede their livelihoods and farms, including Thursday’s County Supervisors’ meeting.

Following the hearing, Teddy Cabugos, owner of Sunstone Winery, released a statement to the Press. His comments are supported by the recent survey results (read the Polling Memo here) of more than 500 Santa Barbara County registered voters who strongly feel that Cannabis and Wine entrepreneurs should work together to spur economic growth and create sustainable jobs over the long term for local residents.

“It’s ironic that, when vineyards first emerged in the Santa Ynez Valley in the 1980s and ‘90s, the wine industry experienced similar resistance. The community feared alcohol would compromise the Valley’s integrity, and that wine culture would displace the cattle and horse-ranching tradition. However, cattle and horse-ranching were only two of the many cultures in the Valley’s recent history, including olive, peach, walnut, prune, cherry, quince, and dairy farmers, and Chumash inhabitants before them. Each of these cultures has made a lasting impact on the Valley’s rich heritage. As we now see, history is repeating itself.

Enter cannabis. We at Sunstone, among other wineries, envision a culture synergistic of cannabis and wine.  We envision the future birth of a new culture of class and elegance, where the community and visitors can visit wine and cannabis tasting rooms, further placing Santa Barbara County on the map as a world-class tourist destination. Like wine, cannabis is a connoisseur-good so specialized as to inspire tastings and a new vocabulary. If Santa Barbara acts with pioneering foresight, it will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to positively reinvent the cannabis image and define an entire industry.

We believe and emphasize that, for small wineries such ourselves, cannabis as a supplemental crop is critical to the viability of our businesses.  After more than twenty-five years of a robust wine industry in the Valley, wine is on a marked decline. Millennials are largely behind the decline, as they are disconnecting with alcohol for a variety of health and lifestyle reasons.  When millennials do choose alcohol, they now have diverse offers in breweries and beer and now recently many different Seltzers. As a result of this shift, many wineries now find themselves in the red, with many landowners facing foreclosure. With cannabis legalization and rediscovery of its medicinal, therapeutic, and recreational uses, we view cannabis with the potential to help save our wine business, and help revitalize the entire community. It can help save smaller wineries from going out of business, by diversifying their land and brand, so long as all the proper procedures are in place. We understand there are very wealthy wineries out there that don’t count on their winery business for income, many of whom actually use their winery as a tax write off. Not all wineries are in that position. 99% of the super wealthy wineries made their money in different businesses.

Now, in the midst of a global pandemic and economic shutdown, cannabis is more critical than ever to our community. Jobs and tax revenues are needed like never before. Around the country, cannabis revenues are saving counties, cities, and even states. Santa Barbara County is extremely fortunate that, through its climate and rich land, it has the potential to develop one of the most prosperous cannabis industries in the world. At this unimaginable time in history, we need to be thinking about ways to make it easier for responsible constituents or businesses to pursue the cannabis opportunity. We should be thinking about ways to make it easier to build this industry, to create massive job expansion, and to generate huge tax revenue for our community. Why would anyone want to crush that?”

We are grateful for neighbors and partners, like Teddy, represented across so many industries in our community. Thank you, as always, for your continued support at each hurdle. 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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Hi Friend,

With your support and perseverance, on Wednesday we at Busy Bee’s Organics finally received unanimous county board approval for our farming project. Though this is a momentous win for our family farm, workers, and the broader cannabis farming community, our victory is overshadowed by the uncertainty that the Covid-19 pandemic exerts over every corner of our lives and community. Those of us deemed essential employees will continue to serve the community, and we hope that everyone can stay safe as this public health crisis continues.

While we know we will continue to face challenges and challengers as we move through the regulatory system, we are ready to continue alongside our amazing community of friends and professionals who have shepherded us through the maze of regulations, and stood by the science to build a stronger agricultural community.

You can read about the Board of Supervisors’ meeting HERE.

We are so grateful for the support each of you has shown throughout this process; we couldn’t have done it without you! Last night after the dust settled, Nate and I felt a mix of relief and gratitude. But what made us the happiest was an overwhelming sense of community. We hope that our victory will help pave the way for more projects to successfully navigate this system.

Thank you again, for your support and for sharing this journey with us.

Now we plant,

Sara and Nate

Photo from Voice Magazine