What is WHIP+?
Wildfire Hurricane Indemnity Program (WHIP+) program will provide $10 billion in critical relief to growers who suffered financial losses in 2020 and 2021 as a result of:
Eligibility and Application Details
Eligible producers include an individual or legal entity that assumes ownership share and risk of the crop, production, and market risk associated with the agricultural production of the eligible crops (including trees, bushes, and vines) that were verifiably grown/produced at the time of the disaster. The application is anticipated to open in the Spring of 2022.
What to do now to prepare for WHIP+ applications
Growers who are interested in applying when funding becomes available must first establish their farm records with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and complete a crop report before applying.
This can be done now by filling out the FSA form. Proof of farm ownership (i.e. with a deed of trust, or property tax coupon that shows the APN#) and a ranch map is required, and can be submitted via email to your local FSA office at FSA.Vacaville.CA@usda.gov.
Professional grant writing assistance at no cost to small producers!
As part of our recent California Underserved and Small Producers Program (CUSP) grant award, we are offering growers who fit the "small producer" criteria the ability to engage with a consulting firm to receive professional grant writing assistance when establishing farm records and applying for WHIP+ funding. If you are interested in utilizing these complimentary services to assist in your WHIP+ application, please contact Molly Williams at email@example.com at your earliest convenience.
All producers are encouraged to contact the Solano/Napa County FSA office for assistance with establishing records and applying for WHIP+.
Solano/Napa County FSA Office
810 Vaca Valley Pkwy Ste 102, Vacaville
P: (707) 448-0106 | F: (844) 206-0106
Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP) Financial Assistance
The USDA has also announced this new financial assistance program for agricultural producers. Growers who have coverage under most crop insurance policies are eligible for a premium benefit if you plant cover crops during the 2022 crop year.
Contact the Solano/Napa County FSA office via email or phone at (707) 448—0106 for assistance and more information.
Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) announces that bud break has begun in Napa Valley. “We’re seeing variable bud break in our chardonnay planted in the Carneros AVA,” said Brittany Pederson, Director of Viticulture for Renteria Vineyard Management, “Within the next week, we’ll begin seeing bud break throughout the valley.”
Pederson added that her water reserves were full in most locations, and while grape growers need rain, she feels good heading into the new season. “Because the soils are dry, we got a head start with floor management this year,” Pederson said, “For example, we’ve been able to mow and disk early, which helps prepare us for frost season.” By mowing and disking cover crop now, soils can hold the necessary heat to keep frost from damaging delicate buds, it also allows for air flow – both of which support a healthy growing season for Napa’s vineyards.
With sustainable practices top-of-mind, many grape growers are also welcoming sheep into their vineyards. As herds graze freely on hearty cover crop, their nutrient-rich manure provides a quick way for grape growers to feed their soils, and an excellent way to reduce the usage of mowers throughout the vineyard.
Napa Grape Growers, Vineyard Managers, Businesses Come Together to Donate 335 Warm Coats for Families in Need
The Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) and the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation (FWF) kicked off the year collecting cold-weather clothing through their very first Winter Coat Drive.
Throughout January, Napa Valley grape growers, vineyard managers, and ag-based businesses donated high-quality, warm clothing – coats, scarves, socks, and gloves – digging deep into their closets to support community members in need. In total, 335 coats were donated for distribution through local community groups, like Puertas Abiertas, On the Move, and the Salvation Army.
“Whether it is a seminar on climate-smart vineyard practices with NVG or a summer mentor program for local high school students with the Farmworker Foundation – everything we do aims to support and strengthen the Napa Valley community for a brighter tomorrow,” said Jennifer Putnam, Executive Director and CEO of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers and Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation, “To collect warm coats for families in need was an effective and meaningful way to support this winter – and NVG members contributed beyond any expectations!”
The Napa County Pruning Contest is almost of drinking age, having just celebrated its 20th year on Saturday at Beringer Vineyards’ Gamble Ranch.
Put on each year by the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation and Napa Valley Grapegrowers, the pruning contest is a way for the organizations to recognize the valley’s talented vineyard crews.
This year’s winners came from Renteria Vineyard Management and Joseph Phelps Vineyards, with Erika López taking the women’s title and Casimiro Zaragoza for the men, respectively.
Those who came in second, third, and fourth also were awarded, with Atlas Vineyard Management’s Agustín Arias, St. Supery’s Hector Rodríguez, and Walsh Vineyards Management’s Lorenzo Hernández Aquino winning in the men’s category. Verónica Medina Reyes from Bayview — who won first place in the 2019 competition, Ana Mejia from Trefethen, and Rosa Martínez from Bettinelli Vineyards were honored in the women’s contest.
By Kristen Bieler
In the fall of 2020, the grapes in Alison Sokol Blosser's vineyards were ripe—and she had no one to pick them.
Pandemic-related travel restrictions meant that none of her international harvest interns had arrived, and the local labor pool in Oregon's Yamhill County, where the winery is located, was essentially nonexistent. "We had to get the grapes off, so I pulled my kids out of school and my nephews and my parents—who hadn't picked grapes in 30 years—all worked in the vineyard."
Grappling with a similar labor shortage in 2021, Sokol Blosser, like so many desperate vintners across the U.S., turned to farm labor contractors for hiring needs, which drove up seasonal costs exponentially. "We need solutions; the labor crisis is not going away," she told Wine Spectator.
There is so much going on in our personal and professional lives right now. We want to make it easy for you to get a quick digest of what the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) and Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation (FWF) are doing for you this winter.
How NVG is Working for Members This Winter:
How FWF is Working to Support Farmworkers This Winter:
Informational Webinar and How to Apply
Friday, December 17 | 10am
Applications will open soon for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+), providing $10 billion in critical relief to growers and farmers who have suffered financial losses as a result of wildfires, smoke exposure, drought, excessive heat, and other natural disasters in 2020 and 2021.
In anticipation of this, the USDA Napa/Solano County Farm Service Agency (FSA) in conjunction with Sonoma/Marin FSA, is conducting a short webinar on this and other programs that offer disaster benefits to growers, farmers, and ranchers.
To register, contact Brooke Raffaele at Brooke.Raffaele@USDA.gov
The webinar will emphasize how to register farm records and what is required, including eligibility paperwork, in anticipation of program opportunities.
The Patrick Foley Fields of Opportunity Summer Mentor Program was created by the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation (FWF) and the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) to prepare Napa County high school students for careers in our world class wine industry. During the 8-week program, students gain first-class industry experience and develop professional skills in hospitality, wine production, grape growing, human resources, and accounting, with some of the world’s most forward-thinking wine producers.
Through the FWF and NVG’s ongoing partnership with the Napa Valley Unified School District (NVUSD), the program is promoted to high school students from a range of backgrounds. To apply, students must be 16 years or older, able to commit to an 8-week program, have interest in learning about a career in the wine industry, and a positive attitude and willingness to learn new skills. All applicants are put through an interview process, with priority extending to students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. When selected, students are placed with an employer mentor, and receive a soft skill workshop schedule covering topics, such as: financial literacy; mental health; resume writing; professional networking on social media; history of the Napa Valley; leadership stories and lessons; and goal setting.
Montserrat Granados, a student from the 2021 graduating class, said about her Fields of Opportunity experience, "I liked working outside, especially in the mornings. We did things like collect sugar samples or scouted for pests. Before this summer, I wasn't thinking about a job in this field, but now after working at Hall Wines under viticulturist Sarah Lansing, I am considering working in the wine industry.” For Montserrat, the program left a lasting impression.
The large number of qualified applicants is a positive challenge; creating opportunity for more employer mentors to get involved. In 2021, for example, FWF and NVG initially planned to place 16 students with employer mentors. When 80 student applications were received, additional outreach was made to employers; in the end, 23 students were placed, all of whom completed the program.
In 2022, the organizations hope to double student placements with support from new employer mentors who want to impact a young life by introducing them to the wine industry and sharing their passion for the field.
Past employers included many of Napa’s most recognized wineries and vineyard management companies such as: Foley Family Wines; Hall Wines; Hudson Ranch, Jericho Canyon Vineyards; Larkmead Vineyards; Napa Wine Company; Opus One; Pine Ridge Vineyards; Renteria Vineyard Management; Tres Sabores; V. Sattui Winery; Viader Vineyards & Winery; Walsh Vineyards Management; and Yount Mill Vineyards.
“Over the past 4 years, Napa Wine Company and Yount Mill Vineyards have thoroughly enjoyed supporting the Fields of Opportunity program through mentorship. We feel it is crucial to support the next generation because they represent the future of our local community,” said Kendall Hoxsey-Onysko, business manager for Napa Wine Company and Yount Mill Vineyards. “It goes both ways, though, through mentorship we learn how to continually hone our management skills, which reinvigorates our love for the business itself.”
“We highly recommend every business in Napa Valley participate as mentors for the Fields of Opportunity program.”
The Patrick Foley Fields of Opportunity Summer Mentor Program has begun outreach to employer mentors for the 2022 program, which will be held June 20 - August 5. If you are interested in joining as an employer mentor, learn more here or email Jill Durfee, Farmworker Foundation Program Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For press inquiries related to the Patrick Foley Fields of Opportunity Summer Mentor Program, please email Caroline Keller, NVG Marketing Manager, at email@example.com.