Assemblyman Cooper Hears Issues on Two Day Agriculture Tour

Assemblyman Jim Cooper traveled to the Central Valley to join the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations and other members of the Ag Presidents’ Council to learn about the diverse, complex and embattled agricultural industry in the valley. Assemblyman Cooper, a moderate democrat representing the 9th district including Lodi, Galt, Elk Grove and parts of Sacramento, has been an ally to the agricultural industry including recent NO votes on AB1066 (Ag Overtime) and SB32 (Greenhouse Gas Emission Levels).  Assemblyman Cooper concluded his two day long tour visiting Dos Palos Co-Op Gin and visited Bowles Farming during cotton harvest. Mike Davis, General Manager of Dos Palos Co-Op, showed the assemblyman how cotton is handled, cleaned and transformed into a bale to go to textile mills. Davis shared with Assemblyman Cooper recent regulatory hurdles the gin and its members are facing including transportation issues with module truck movers and the exceedance in length that trucks are incurring in attempt to meet air quality standards. The Assemblyman accompanied cotton grower Cannon Michael of Bowles Farming to a near-by field cotton field being picked. President Roger Isom addressed how the signing of AB1066 will impact farms and workers across the valley, noting that many operation are already seeking or implementing more mechanization to have reduced labor costs. Other stops for his two-day Central Valley tour included a tour of Valley Harvest Nut Co., California Dairies, Inc., Exeter-Ivahoe Citrus Association and HMC Farms. While each industry had problems that were commodity specific, an underlying and common issue brought to the Assemblyman’s attention was the relentless and at times uncalled for regulatory burdens being piled on to the agricultural community as well as the disconnect to agriculture most Los Angeles based democrats have.