NEWS & ISSUES

Pesticides Found to be below Health Concern Level for Second Year in a Row!

For the second year in a row the California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s Air Monitoring Network found all pesticides monitored to be below levels that would indicate a health concern in 2016! DPR monitored 37 different chemicals, made up of 32 pesticides and five breakdown products. Of these different monitored chemicals 12 were not detected at all, 14 were detected at trace levels and 11 were detected at quantifiable levels. Of DPR’s 5,928 analyses 91 percent had no detectable concentrations. Among the chemicals that were detected at “quantifiable concentrations”, 91 percent of these detections were from carbon disulfide. In DPR’s report it is noted that there are no current product registrations for carbon disulfide. DPR notes that it is most likely present due to combustion form industrial facilities or is present due to decomposition occurring in wetland areas. For these reasons, DPR will no longer monitor this chemical.

Full Report-> http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/emon/airinit/amn_2016_report_draft.pdf

Full Press Release-> http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/pressrls/2017/081717.htm

Photo courtesy of CDPR

Association Supports Sites Reservoir Project

In a recent letter of support for the Sites Reservoir Project, the Association stated “After the entire state was crippled by several years of drought, it is increasingly evident that innovative water storage projects are needed. The Sites Project would create an additional 1.8 million acre-feet of storage which would produce up to 500,000 acre-feet of supplies to California’s water system annually. This water would be extremely valuable in helping achieve a more efficient and reliable water supply system. Capturing and capitalizing on years of increased precipitation would not only help keep families and farms in business but it would also generate economic growth, produce jobs and help California achieve ecosystem benefits.”  The letter of support was submitted to the Sites Project Authority for inclusion in their application to the California Water Commission for Proposition 1 Water Storage Investment Program funding.

The Association would like to take this opportunity to apologize to our Sacramento Valley members who might have been taken back by our Latest News Bulletin yesterday.  The Association fully supports both projects and does not favor one project over the other.  This has been conveyed to the California Water Commission (CWC) in letters of support and in testimony to the CWC given by Association President/CEO Roger Isom.  The Association apologizes for the misstatement and wants to assure all of our members that we fully support water storage wherever and whenever we can get it.  It has been, and always will be, a pillar of our efforts and activities.

Temperance Flat Takes Momentous Step Forward

The San Joaquin Water Infrastructure Authority (SJVWIA) took a momentous step to secure additional water storage for California. The SJVWIA submitted an application to apply for a little over 1.3 billion dollars from the Proposition 1 (Water Bond) Water Storage Investment Program to construct the Temperance Flat Dam and Reservoir Project. The project would provide an additional 1.3 million acre-feet of aboveground storage to capture and store high flows in above average water years. The project would be constructed about 6.5 miles upstream from Friant Dam, whose current capacity is only 520,000 acre feet. Chairman of the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association, Phil Hansen, commended the work of the SJVWIA and urged that in light of weather events like last year it is critical that there be aboveground infrastructure, and Temperance Flat is the best project. There is a long road ahead of us but the Association will continue its support to see this project through until the end!

Reminder – FSMA Compliance date extension for Cotton Ginning Facilities

Back in August of 2016 FDA extended compliance dates for cotton ginning facilities under the animal food rule. Off-farm facilities solely engaged in cotton ginning that provide products (for example, cotton seed and lint) without further processing for use as animal food now have additional time to comply with the applicable requirements in the CGMP and Preventive Controls Rule for Animal Food. The earliest compliance date is January 28, 2019 since cotton gins are exempt from the CGMP portion of the rule.

For cotton ginning facilities who are classified as a farm, you are exempt from the Preventive Control Rule for Animal Food.

The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association continues to work with FDA to classify all cotton gins as farms and therefore become exempt from the Preventive Controls for Animal Food Rule. For now, be assured your compliance date is not until the beginning of 2019. We will keep you updated!

 

Association Testifies at PUC Hearing on PG&E General Rate Case

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) held an outreach hearing yesterday in Stockton to discuss the impacts of the proposed rate structure under the 2017 PG&E General Rate Case (GRC).  Association President/CEO Roger Isom testified at the hearing by demanding that this “not just be another meeting!  Electricity prices are already too high!”  The hearing was to take public comments on the Phase 2 portion of the 2017 PG&E GRC.  CPUC Administrative Law Judge Michele Cooke presided over the hearing since she is the ALJ assigned to this case and will ultimately be making the recommendation to the Commissioners on the GRC.  During the hearing, Isom specifically commented on the proposed rates for cotton gins, and tree nut hullers and processors.  Isom also expressed major concerns with shifting the “peak period” and the impact it would have on growers in terms of irrigation scheduling and on the businesses that installed solar and made financials decisions on an assumed rate of return that would now be completely turned upside down. The meeting was fairly well attended, especially by growers and members of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau.  These growers did an outstanding job of expressing their specific concerns with changing the time of use periods.  Phase 2 of the GRC is where rates are divided up amongst the various rate classes and those negotiations are ongoing.  This was an important meeting where industry could express their specific concerns outside of the negotiations.

State Water Board Appoints New Executive Director

The California State Water Resources Control Board has appoint Eileen Sobeck as the new Executive Director, replacing Tom Howard who retired in May of this year.  Ms. Sobeck comes with nearly 40 years of government service, most recently as Assistant Administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the Fisheries Division, where she worked from 2014 to 2017.  Prior to her work at NOAA she was the Department of Interior’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs (2012-2014), and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks (2009-2012).  Sobeck is a lawyer by training and spent 25 years at the U.S. Department of Justice, ultimately serving as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Environment and Natural Resources (1999-2009).  While Sobeck has spent her professional career in Washington, D.C., she has many ties to California.  She grew up in Davis, is a graduate of Stanford and Stanford Law School, and has strong family connections to California.  Sobeck will join the State Water Board following the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Association Speaks at Cap & Trade Town Hall in Tulare

Addressing concerns expressed by the community on why Assemblyman Devon Mathis voted for the recent Cap & Trade legislation (AB 398), Association President/CEO Roger Isom spoke on the need for the legislation for agriculture and that many have misunderstood the bill and its true impacts.  Isom was part of an eight person panel that consisted of representatives from Western United Dairyman, California Dairies Inc., Southern California Edison, California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA), California League of Food Producers, and Assemblyman Devon Mathis himself.  Isom explained that this is a complex issue that has forced agriculture in a position where they are stuck.  With the passage of SB 32 last year, the state has a mandate in law for businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.  The state has two options to make that happen: “command and control” or “Cap & Trade”.  The option with the least impact by far is Cap & Trade.  Isom said “Let’s be clear.  No one up here likes Cap & Trade or the whole greenhouse gas emission program.  We’re the only area in the world with a mandatory program and it is killing us.”  AB 398 provides the least impactful pathway for facilities subject to the mandatory reductions, and it also resulted in concessions that helped nut processors, tomato processors, milk and cheese plants, and poultry processing plants that are actually subject to the regulations.

Breaking News: Section 18 Approved for Use of Transform on Cotton

In less than 30 days from submittal of the application, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has received approval from Federal EPA and has authorized for use the pesticide Transform for use on lygus in cotton in California.  Use is limited to Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Riverside, Sutter, Tehama and Tulare counties.   This was issued as a Section 18 Crisis Exemption to help combat the unprecedented levels of lygus seen in cotton fields this year.  This is a limited exemption currently only available through August 4th.  The Association is also working on a specific Section 18 and hopeful that deadline will be extended.    Meanwhile, Dow AgroSciences is working to get supply of the product in to California as we distribute this announcement.  At this point we wish to thank Dr. Peter Goodell, and Dr. Bob Hutmacher for their tireless efforts in working on the Section 18 application and information.  In addition we want to especially recognize Dow AgroSciences for their work and cooperation in obtaining this important Section 18.

House Passes H.R. 23 – GROW Act

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 23, known as the Gaining Responsibility on Water Act of 2017 (GROW Act), by a vote of 230 to 190. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. David Valadao (CA-21), aims at increasing the amount, quality, and reliability of water available to California.  This is an important piece of legislation that follows on the heels of the passage of the Water Infrastructure Improvement for the Nation Act (WIIN Act) in 2016.  A large portion of the bill focuses on modifying policies regarding the operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project and the implementation of the San Joaquin River Settlement.  More specifically, the legislation does the following:

 

  • EXPANDING WATER STORAGE The GROW Act requires the federal government to expedite and complete consideration of feasibility studies for water storage projects some of which have been wasting away in bureaucratic purgatory for over ten years
  • IMPROVING INFRASTRUCTURE: “ONE-STOP-SHOP” PERMITTING The GROW Act establishes the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) as the lead coordinating agency for the permitting process for new or expanded surface storage facilities in order to streamline agency permit requirements that often impose unnecessary costs and burdens when constructing new water infrastructure
  • ENSURING WATER RELIABILITY The GROW Act updates the Central Valley Project Improvement Act to ensure water resources are reliable and available to fulfill supply promises
  • PROTECTING WATER RIGHTS The GROW Act prohibits past abuses of the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture that required private entities to relinquish their water rights to the federal government as a permit condition to continue operating on federal lands
  • SAFEGUARDING THE ENVIRONMENT AND FISH The GROW Act provides reasonable flows for habitat restoration of fish and wildlife in the Central Valley and ensures compliance with requirements of the Endangered Species Act

 

The Association sent letters urging Congress to support the legislation, which now moves to the Senate where it will face a more fervent challenge.  If you haven’t already done so, please write letters of support to our two (2) California Senators, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Kamala Harris.

NO CHARGE EVENT:  SPONSORED AND PRESENTED BY:  WAPA and The Saqui Law Group 

Date: July 18 2017
Time: 10:00 a.m.

The Saqui Law Group and the Western Agricultural Processors Association offer this webinar for Owners, Office Managers, supervisors, and HR team members.

PRESENTER
Michael Saqui, The Saqui Law Group — Michael Saqui’s highly successful track record spanning over two decades makes him a powerful partner to the clients he represents in all aspects of employer-employee relations. He does extensive public speaking including seminars, lectures and in-house training, to counsel employers in developing proactive approaches to address employment and labor relations matters.

TOPICS COVERED

  1. “TRUMP-Train” trends and their effect on AG;
  2. Dealing with Employee confusion and “Fake News;”
  3. Dealing with I-9 compliance issues;
  4. Employer workplace obligations; and
  5. What to do when ICE shows up.

Q+A: Bring your questions.

Please RSVP by July 14, 2017.
For more information and to register, contact Elda at: Elda@agprocessors.org

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