Winegrape Growers: Be on the Lookout for Spotted Lantern Fly
Spotted lantern fly (SLF) is an invasive insect that attacks grapevines and some fruit trees, and is threatening multiple states including Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The insects suck sap from stems and branches which can weaken and damage the plant. This leaves behind sticky, sugary residue (honeydew) that attracts other insects and promotes growth of sooty mold, which can further damage the plant.
SLF first arrived in the U.S. in 2014 in Pennsylvania. Since then, it has been spreading through several eastern states while popping up in other places throughout the country. When established in an area, it can cause potential problems for growers as well as homeowners. SLF not only threatens yield and quality of grapes, but results in costly quarantines and increased pesticide use to manage the pest.
What can you do?
SLF does not fly long distances, but it is a hitchhiker. Starting in the fall, SLF seek out outdoor surfaces and lay mud-like egg masses on tree bark, outdoor gear (such as lawnmowers, bikes, and grills), methods of transport, and more. SLF egg masses are about an inch long and resemble a smear of mud. If found in an area known to have an SLF population, residents should crush them and scrape them off. If you find this pest outside of a spotted lanternfly quarantine area, please take a picture, note location and report to your State Department of Agriculture before destroying. (Source: APHIS).
How Do Continuing Resolutions Impact Government Agencies?
On September 30, 2021, the President signed a continuing resolution (CR) that extends funding for federal agencies and programs. Under the CR, federal agencies can only continue work on projects and activities that were ongoing in the previous fiscal year (which ended September 30), and cannot start new projects or activities or resume projects/activities that were not funded during 2021. The CR provides exceptions such as disaster response. The current CR expires December 3, 2021. Before then, one of the following must occur to avert a government shutdown:
• Congress must pass the 12 appropriations acts for fiscal year 2022, which began October 1, and the President must sign the 12 bills into law; or
• Congress must pass a second CR that is signed into law by the President.
Federal Focus: What Does the Infrastructure Bill Mean for Winegrapes?
The House passed the Senate version of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) and it is signed into law by President Biden on Monday, November 15. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will authorize maintenance and upgrades to infrastructure used for producing, transporting and marketing grapes and wine, including highways, bridges, water supply and wastewater systems, electrical grid resiliency, and broadband infrastructure. The bill also authorizes funding for wildfire prevention and remediation, energy efficiency grants, western water infrastructure, and Pacific coastal salmon recovery. Additionally, it expands clean energy tax credits, and addresses extreme weather in forestry, wetlands and agriculture.
Federal Cannabis Legalization Bill
The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, HR 3617, was introduced in the House on September 29, 2021. It would remove cannabis from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act and eliminate criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses cannabis. It also imposes an excise tax on cannabis, and allows cannabis businesses access to Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and services. WGA is actively monitoring this issue and will share updates with members.
Fiscal Year 2022 Agriculture Appropriations Bill
Congress has not yet passed the fiscal year 2022 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The House bill (H.R. 4356) was passed on July 29, 2021 as part of an omnibus bill that includes six other appropriations bills. The Senate has not yet voted on its Agriculture Appropriations bill (S. 2599, which was passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 4, 2021.
S. 2599 includes over $7 billion to assist with crop losses, including those related to harvested adulterated winegrapes, caused by extreme weather events in 2020-2021, such as droughts, wildfires, floods, derechos, winter storms, smoke exposure, quality losses and excessive moisture. The Senate also provides funding for a collaborative research program for precision viticulture.
Both bills include language prohibiting the Food and Drug Administration from enforcing Food Safety and Modernization Act requirements for winegrapes. Both bills also provide funding for small fruit research, including forecasting pest and disease spread, and an additional $1.5 million above 2021 funding levels for research on the impacts of wildfire smoke on winegrapes.
Join Your Peers and Register for the 2022 Leadership Luncheon!
Are you planning to attend the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium this coming January in Sacramento? If so, join us for the annual WGA Leadership Luncheon.
Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Time: 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Where: Hyatt Regency, Capitol View Room, 1209 L Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
Sponsored by Farm Credit, the luncheon is held at the top of the Hyatt Regency in the Capitol View Room each year by the Winegrape Growers of America. Catch up with peers from around the country while enjoying lunch, Smith Family Wines, and a keynote speaker, to be announced soon. During the lunch, and in collaboration with WineAmerica and the National Grape Research Alliance, an individual will be honored with the Rich Smith Distinguished Service Award. This award honors Rich Smith who served all three organizations and a highly effective, collegial, selfless and respected leader in the American grape and wine industry. He devoted significant money, time, and energy to industry organizations created to further the common good, spreading goodwill wherever he went and with whomever he talked.
Are You Ready for DC? Join Us for the 2022 National Winegrape Policy Conference!
The 2021 National Winegrape Policy Conference is back in-person! Join industry leaders from across the US to discuss issues with policymakers, hear presentations from state and regional leaders, meet with regulators, ask panelists about pressing issues, and walk to Capitol Hill to meet your congressional delegation.
Dates: Monday, March 21 – Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Where: Cornerstone Government Affairs Office, 800 Maine Ave SW, 7th floor, Washington, DC 20024
A hotel room block and registration will be available soon!
THANK YOU TO OUR
LEADERSHIP LUNCHEON AND NATIONAL WINEGRAPE POLICY CONFERENCE SPONSOR!
NGRA President Appointed to USDA Science and Research Advisory Board
Congratulations to National Grape Research Alliance President Donnell Brown, who was appointed to USDA’s National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory (NAREEE) Advisory Board. She will also serve as a NAREEE Specialty Crops Committee (SCC) representative. The SCC studies the scope and effectiveness of research, extension and economics programs affecting the specialty crop industry, including the Specialty Crop Research Initiative.
Reminder to Renew Your Membership for 2021-2022
From a relentless pandemic to wildfire disaster to federal funding and regulatory issues, what a year we endured and continue to endure. The silver lining? Our renewed enthusiasm coupled with your support allowed us to disseminate information, virtually network, lobby, and amplify our unified voice of U.S. winegrape growers to be heard loudly on the issues that matter to you!
We must continue to represent the interests of growers impacted by public policies that affect their bottom line. Please join us and renew your WGA annual membership.
The growth in membership the past year has been encouraging and our goal is to get every state with a grower related organization as a member! And, thanks to a generous donation from Farm Credit, funds are available for those needing financial assistance for dues (one per state)!
Learn more about membership benefits at: www.winegrapegrowersofamerica.org. Invoices and reminders have been sent out. If you are interested in renewing your membership, please contact us and we can send you an invoice. If you have questions, contact us at 509.782.8234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.