Western United Dairies (WUD) is letting California dairies know to be on the lookout for a letter from the Central Valley Water Board. The agency is working to sort out which parcels of agricultural land are registered under its different regulatory programs. Letters will be sent out to the dairy industry in an attempt to update current records and ensure that agricultural land is covered by the appropriate regulation.
“The regional board is trying to sort out different irrigated parcels and making sure that they’re all regulated in one of their programs,” said Paul Sousa, WUD Director of Environmental Services. “They’re just making sure that all those parcels are covered. They’ve looked around and found that there are parcels that are not regulated in any of their programs.”
The letters are expected to be sent out sometime this Fall. For producers who have parcels that are not currently covered by one of the water board’s regulatory programs, there will be a choice. Depending on the situation, a producer may want to put their land in the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program or cover it in their dairy program. Sousa provided an example of the type of parcel that may not be accounted for.
“Let’s say a dairy farmer owns 40 acres of almond trees down the road. He may not be putting that in his dairy annual report because it doesn’t get manure. It’s not really a part of the dairy,” Sousa noted. “But he also didn’t enroll it in the irrigated lands program. So that parcel is kind of floating out there. That’s what the water board is trying to figure out.”
While the letters are not likely to affect a large number of California dairies, producers will want to be prepared for them. Sousa explained that producers do not need to be alarmed when they receive their letter from the water board. In many instances, producers will not need to do anything other than confirm their parcel numbers are correct. For those dairies that are affected, most will work with their service provider to take care of it. Either way, Sousa said producers do not need to panic when they receive their letter from the water board.
“It’s just a little bit of housekeeping about the way things have been done and the way they kind of need to be done,” said Sousa. “It’s always good for folks to know there’s something coming from the water board, so they don’t get a surprise when they open their mail one day and there’s a thick envelope from the water board and think ‘oh my goodness, what did I do? What’s going on?’”
Listen to the full interview below.