NEWS & ISSUES

Tractor Train-the-Trainer Workshops

In the ongoing effort to increase safety awareness in the agricultural industry, a coalition of agricultural organizations is conducting a specialized “train-the-trainer” workshops with an emphasis on tractor safety.
The training is for Owners, Farmers, Managers, Supervisors and those who are responsible for training on agricultural equipment. Each participant will be provided with the information needed for understanding the rules and regulations on tractor operation and conducting training. Sessions will cover Cal/OSHA regulations, safety aspects and proper operation and maintenance.
This class does not “certify” or authorize the participants to operate a tractor. Official training must be provided by the employer on their specific equipment and documented as such. The training provided is to educate participants on what needs to be covered in their training programs, and how to effectively train their own employees on these same issues.
Cost: $50 per participant
Pay online www.agprocessors.org and Fax form or Fax/Mail registration form and a check payable to:

Western Agricultural Processors Association
1785 N. Fine Avenue, Fresno, California 93727

Office (559) 455-9272
FAX (559) 251-4471
Check out all our locations by clicking the Registration Form below!

Tractor “Train the Trainer” Workshop Registration Form

State Water Board Proposes to Substantially Increase Fees

At a workshop in Sacramento this past week, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) proposed to increase the SWRCB portion of the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) fee by 21.9%  The ILRP fees are paid by every grower  and cover the SWRCB portion of the fee each grower pays to his/her watershed coalition.  CCGGA President/CEO Roger Isom was present at the workshop and testified adamantly against the fee increase, calling it unjustified.  The final fees will be adopted later this year; meanwhile, CCGGA is opposing any fee increase and preparing information to support the opposition.

Rest Breaks Must Be Completely “Off-Duty”

 
By: Rebecca Hause-Schultz
In a decision unfavorable to employers, the California Supreme Court in Augustus v. ABM Security recently ruled that employees must be relieved of all duties and relinquish all control over employees during rest periods. At issue in the case, the defendant employer, a security company, required its security guard employees to keep pagers and radio phones turned on and with them during rest periods. The Court reasoned that on-duty or on-call rest periods require employees to essentially perform free work, meaning that the employee receives the same amount of compensation for working through the rest periods as the employee would have had the employee been permitted to take off-duty rest periods.
The Court held that even through employees were required just to keep their radio phones and pagers on, and may not necessarily be interrupted during their break, the practice compelled “employees to remain at the ready, tethered by time and policy to particular locations or communications devices.” Thus, the Court concluded that the employees did not receive an off-duty break, in violation of the law.
COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:
This case highlights how critical it is for employees to be relieved of all duties and not be “on-call” during rest periods. Further, employers should ensure that employees receive a total of no less than ten net minutes of rest period time for each rest break. If you have questions as to whether your company’s rest break policy is lawful, please contact the Saqui Law Group.

ARB Staff Holds Workshop on Draft 2030 Scoping Plan

Last week, ARB staff held a workshop in Sacramento to discuss the economic analysis currently being conducted on the proposed 2030 Scoping Plan.  ARB staff discussed that the economic models would be officially released along with another draft in January, however, the economic data would not fully be discussed in that workshop.  ARB’s 2030 Scoping Plan aims to achieve a 40% reduction from 1990 levels in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2030, as well as 80% emissions reductions below 1990 levels by the year 2050.  The draft plan focuses on reducing emissions generated within the energy, transportation, waste management, and agricultural sector.  A majority of the emission reductions will occur in the energy and fuel sectors through updating technologies as well as a reduction in the allowable emissions that facilities are allowed to generate.  The agricultural working lands sector aims to achieve emissions reductions through redirecting Ag by-product material from the landfills and sending that same material to newly commissioned biomass and composting facilities.  The Association submitted comments in support of the expansion of the biomass industry, as well as a streamlined approach for facilities and operations that wish to compost.  A revised draft, along with the economic analysis for all sectors, is set to be released in January.  The Association will keep you updated.

Deadline approaching for Food Facility Biennial Registration Renewal

Food facilities required to register with FDA must renew their food facility registrations this year during the period beginning on October 1, 2016 and ending on December 31, 2016.  The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), enacted on January 4, 2011, amended the food facility registration requirements of section 415 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).  The registration requirements apply to domestic and foreign food facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food for human or animal consumption in the United States.  FSMA amended section 415 of the FD&C Act to provide that food facilities required to register with FDA must renew their registrations with FDA every other year, during the period beginning on October 1 and ending on December 31 of each even-numbered year. Please visit FDA’s Food Facility Registration website  for more information and to register online. For those that wish to mail or fax their registrations in, FDA is now accepting the expired Form 3537 which can be downloaded here. Please note, the Form 3537 will take 4 to 6 weeks to process.

CCGGA will continue its focus and ongoing effort to bring all hullers, into the “Farm” definition regardless of ownership status, and subsequently under the Produce Safety Rule. There may be an opportunity to de-register your facility in the near future. If you have any questions please first reach out to President/CEO Roger Isom or Safety Specialist Priscilla Rodriguez at (559) 455-9272.

CCGGA Comments on CDPR School Regulations

The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association (CCGGA) submitted formal comments to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) opposing the proposed regulations that would mandate a quarter mile buffer zone restricting numerous applications from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. including air blast, aerial and sprinkler chemigation around school sites and registered child daycare facilities. CCGGA has been actively engaged in opposing this proposal because of the lack of science that is the foundation for this regulation. CCGGA staff and several growers gathered on Wednesday, Nov. 16 to publicly testify in opposition to the proposed regulations. These public comments were supported on Friday when CCGGA submitted written comments to CDPR staff. With no science or incidents to cite the cause of creating this proposal, CCGGA has been adamant that the current laws put forth but the US Environmental Protection Agency, CDPR and the County Agricultural Commissioners office provide an abundance of protection to human health. Additionally, CCGGA cited several issues including concerns with the two-tier notification system, lack of flexibility for time sensitive applications and concern with distribution conducted by schools regarding application information. Should CDPR choose to change the regulation in a major way, there will be a reopening of the comment period. We look forward to bringing you an update when we know more.

Joe Vierra Passes Away

It is with a very heavy heart that we report on the passing of long time Gin Manager Joe Vierra on December 7th. Joe was Gin Manager at Stratford Growers from the mid-1980’s until he retired in 2000, and was President of the Ginners Board in 1992. In 1998, Joe was recognized as the Ginner of the Year for his service to the industry. As we understand it the services will be private.  If we receive any more details we will be sure to pass them along.

Fresno State – Jordan College Career Fair

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Partner with us to Grow Your Team!

The Jordan College Advising & Career Development Center is your source for finding great new talent through internships and for your entry level career positions.  For Spring 2017 we have a number of events and other opportunities that will allow you to connect with potential interns and staff members.

Register for the Harvesting the Leaders of Tomorrow
Internship & Career Fair

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Thursday, February 2nd . 10:30 am to 3:00 pm

Fresno State’s Satellite Student Union 

Connect with Fresno State students seeking internships and careers in the Agriculture and Food Industry. Registration includes 6′ table and two chairs and lunch for two representatives.  There is a $20 registration fee for each additional representative.
Registration Fees:

  • $55 for Government, Non-Profits and Small Business (less than 25 employees).
  • $100 for For-Profits.

Enhance your visibility at the Career Fair by becoming an Event Sponsor.

To Register to Attend or Sponsor the Event:

Please visit Jordan Connect by Thursday, January 26th, at http://www.fresnostate.edu/jcast/student-success/login/index.html.  After logging in, click the “Career Events” menu and select “Search”.  Then enter “Harvesting” in the the “Career Event Name” field.
Questions about registration or sponsorship?  Please contact Mary Willis at mwillis@csufresno.edu or 559.278.4207.

More Spring 2017 Career Fairs

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Expand your reach by attending these upcoming career fairs.

  • February 8, 2017 – The Viticulture and Enology Career Fair

Hosted by the Fresno State Viticulture & Enology Department

  • March 15, 2017 – Recruit Down the 99 and Beyond Career & Internship Expo

Hosted by the Fresno State Career Development Center

Recruit Now for Spring Interns

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If you are looking for interns for the Spring 2017 semester, please submit your internship description to Mary Willis, the Coordinator of Internships & Professional Experiences for the Jordan College, by December 23rd.  You can email your internship description directly to her at mwillis@csufresno.edu or post your internship on Jordan Connect by clicking HERE.

Don’t have an internship program?  If you would like to learn more about the benefits of having an internship program and how to get started, please contact Mary Willis at mwillis@csufresno.edu or by calling 559.278.4207.

Invest in the Future: Become an Agribusiness Mentor

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The Agribusiness Program at Fresno State is seeking mentors to provide wisdom and career guidance to students entering the Ag and Food Industry.  Serving as a mentor can be as simple as being available for an occasional informational interview to committing to meet with a student for a total fo 8-hours over the course of a semester.  To learn more about the Agribusiness Mentoring program, please contact Mary Willis at mwillis@csufresno.edu or by calling 559.278.4207.

2nd PM2.5 Workshop in One Week

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) a workshop this week on the PM2.5 SIP in Fresno.  This follows right on the heels of the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) workshop less than a week ago.  Again, agriculture is one of the sources listed as a target for further controls.  The meeting began with the SJVAPCD indicating that farming operations make up 23% of the PM2.5 emissions on an annual basis, and 18% during the critical winter months.  As a result, the SJVAPCD identified the following control measures on agricultural operations for consideration:

  • Evaluate further practices that minimize dust from wind erosion and soil disturbances (could include tree nut harvesting)
  • Evaluate all feasible opportunities for additional reductions from Conservation Management Practices (CMPs)
  • Assess economic feasibility of lowering NOx emission limits for ag irrigation pump engines
  • Avoid relaxing prohibition on ag burning
  • Increase funding for incentives to replace ag tractors, pump engines and trucks

 

The Association’s President/CEO Roger Isom was one of only two agricultural representatives to testify at the hearing.  Isom raised questions on the emission inventory highlighting research that has been conducted in recent years demonstrating that PM2.5 emissions from agricultural operations was insignificant, and this is demonstrated in the information provided by CARB and the SJVAPCD in their own presentations where the monitor used to monitor air quality where measuring less than 2% geological material (dust)!  Isom then made the following points on behalf of agriculture:

  • We oppose any new CMP requirements that cannot be demonstrated through peer reviewed research that significant PM2.5 emissions reductions are achievable, and if so, they are demonstrated to be cost effective.
  • We oppose the proposed Healthy Soils Initiative as an approach until such time as the state can streamline the bureaucracy to an acceptable level and avoid composting operations having to get 4 separate permits from 4 different agencies.
  • We oppose any new regulations on ag irrigation pump engines, since many of these engines were just upgraded to Tier 3 or Tier 4 under the existing regulations.
  • We support incentive funding and support for pyrolysis and gasification technology advancement, and commit to working with the SJVAPCD and CARB on this matter.
  • We wholeheartedly support the use of incentives and commit to assisting the SJVAPCD in securing additional funds to incentivize the replacement of ag equipment

 

Workshops will continue for the next few months, as the plans moves forward towards adoption in the fall.

Association Merger Approved!

On January 1, 2017, after a unanimous vote from members of both Associations, the California Cotton Ginners Association and the California Cotton Growers Association will become one organization!  The Western Cotton Growers Association was founded in 1949 as a cotton organization representing the interests of Arizona, California, and New Mexico cotton growers. One of the important issues that brought these growers together was government cotton allotments. By the mid 1950′s, with cotton allotments no longer being the central issue, each of the three states went their separate ways and formed their own state grower associations. Since that time, the Western Cotton Growers Association, the name retained by the California organization, worked on issues involving the California cotton growers.  In 1971, a few ginners began meeting. They were concerned over a series of regulations being imposed by State and Federal agencies. What they envisioned was an organization that would represent a united front, and in 1973 the needs led to the formation of the California Cotton Ginners Association.  In 1990, the Western Cotton Growers Association and the California Cotton Ginners Association agreed to share offices, staff and costs of running both organizations.  This agreement has facilitated better use of the dues collected from the members of both associations by avoiding duplication of costs. Furthermore, the Ginner – Grower Associations’ Agreement has greatly enhanced and strengthened the legislative advocacy link in Sacramento as well as Washington.  To further identify the members as California Cotton Growers, in 1991 the Western Cotton Growers changed its name to the California Cotton Growers Association.  For the past 25 years these Associations have shared staff and offices, but kept separate accounting, Boards of Directors and meetings.  With the approved merger there will now be one Board of Directors made up of 12 growers and 12 ginners.  At the December joint board meeting the following board members and officers were appointed from the existing boards:

merger-members

The new officers for the Association were appointed as follows:

Officers
Chairman – Phil Hansen
1st Vice Chairman – Mike Davis
2nd Vice Chairman – Bryan Bone
Secretary/Treasurer – Tom Gaffney

Officially, this new organization will be called the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association.