The Pima guide box matching event is scheduled for Tuesday, July 10th at the Visalia Classing office. We appreciate your participation in the process. We welcome all producers, merchants, and industry representatives to attend the matching event.
NEWS & ISSUES
Effective January 1, 2017, employers in states regulated by federal OSHA were required to electronically submit Log 300 records of injuries and illnesses. The electronic reporting requirements, along with the incorporation of an existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses, were added to federal OSHA’s recording and reporting regulations found in the Code of Federal Regulations, title 29, part 1904.
On April 30, 2018, federal OSHA posted a “trade release” requiring all affected employers to submit injury and illness data in the federal OSHA Injury Tracking Application (ITA) online portal, even if the employer is covered by a state plan that has not completed adoption of their own state rule.
Therefore, even though California has not yet adopted its own state rule, employers are advised to comply with federal OSHA’s directive to provide Form 300A data covering calendar year 2017. Federal OSHA is requiring affected employers to submit their data by July 1, 2018. For specific instructions, go to federal OSHA’s ITA website.
The Association will provide members with instructions on reporting injury data within the next few days, so please stay tuned.
After almost two years of negotiation, a settlement was filed in the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Phase Two General Rate Case. PG&E originally asked for an average 5.1 percent increase for agriculture, on top of the Phase One revenue requirement for all customers. At the conclusion of negotiations the Ag Energy Consumers Association (AECA), PG&E and other parties settled on a 0.7 percent increase for agriculture. That will be added to the Phase One increase of 5.5 percent in 2019 and 4.9 percent in 2020.
Also under discussion was a proposed shift in Time-Of-Use (TOU) periods. PG&E proposed to change the peak TOU period from 12:00PM-6:00PM to 5:00PM-10:00PM and eliminate weekend off-peak periods. Peak periods are changing as more solar renewable energy is added to the generation mix. AECA was able secure more reasonable peak period of 5:00PM-8:00PM and ensured that the TOU period shift will not occur until March of 2021. Starting in 2021, weekends will have on-peak periods for the first time, but a new rate was created for those who need a prolonged off-peak period for irrigation. The new rates will be made available to customers to transfer to on an optional basis starting no later than March of 2020. At that time, customers will also be able to use PG&E’s online tool to see how their bills might change under different scenarios. Account and customer service representatives will also be available to help ag customers understand how the changes will impact their bills and to offer best rate options.
Customers who have installed solar will be grandfathered on existing TOU periods for ten years after their interconnection date. PG&E had proposed to narrow the differentials between peak and off-peak prices for solar customers, but AECA was able to work out a timeline for those differentials to be narrowed, to ensure investments made to feed energy back into the grid during peak hours will be protected.
It is important to note that this settlement has not yet been approved by the CPUC. It is hard to predict when it will be set for a vote, but it is expected to be approved by the end of 2018. AECA is an organization made up of growers, ag associations, water agencies and irrigation districts, ranchers and food processors. Association President/CEO Roger Isom is the current President of AECA.
In December, growers indicated California would see an increase in cotton acreage for the third year in a row. But then it didn’t rain until March. And then when it rained, the water allocations didn’t match expectations. As a result, California is preliminarily expecting about at 15% decrease in overall cotton acreage for 2018.
According to preliminary planting intentions survey conducted by the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association this past month, the Association is currently estimating approximately 205,000 acres of pima and 43,000 acres of upland statewide for the 2018 cotton season plus or minus 10%. This survey is based on surveys from all of the gins in California prior to planting and a lot can happen between now and when things are actually planted. If it plays out, it will represent a 2% decrease in pima acreage and a 50% decrease in upland acreage in California as compared to 2017. Again, this is very preliminary, but reflects what all gins are reporting.
This past week, the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association held its 2018 Sticky Cotton Summit bringing merchants, growers, gin managers, researchers, and PCAs together to discuss this critical issue in Fresno. Giving the merchant perspective were Earl Williams, Supima, and Leigh Pell, Allenberg. Providing an update on the research into the measurement of stickiness was Derek Whitelock, USDA ARS SWCGRL and Chris Delhom, USDA ARS SRRC. Another aspect that was discussed is what cotton gins are doing to deter sticky cotton and providing their insight on what their gins are doing were Wayne Gilbert, County Line Gin; Adriane Carbonel, Farmers Cooperative Gin; and Stan Creelman, Mid Valley Cotton Growers. The California Department of Food and Agriculture presented an overview of the monitoring and mapping efforts in 2017 for aphids, which was presented by Lauren Murphy, CDFA Pink Bollworm Program. Greg Palla, with San Joaquin Valley Quality Cotton Growers made a presentation on a Cotton Clean technology, a bacterial enzyme that works to break down the sugar. A key element to the program was what growers and PCAs are doing to combat whitefly and aphids in the field and providing their thoughts were Bob Hutmacher, UCCE, Tim DeSilva, J.G. Boswell Company, Bryce Borges, Crop Production Services, Andy Gulley, Simplot, and Nick Groenenberg.
Action items coming out of the meeting included the following:
- Continue and increase cotton stickiness testing efforts with USDA
- Provide additional samples of sticky seed cotton to USDA for research purposes
- Include details of difficulty ginning, etc.
- Use samples from small plot field trials from UCCE (B. Hutmacher/T. Pierce)
- Continue research with Cotton Clean technology
- Continue aphid and whitefly monitoring with CDFA, but increase frequency of reporting
- Look into AgLogic production/distribution of aldicarb into California
- Work to expand Movento label for whitefly
- Support bindweed management research
The Truck and Bus Regulation will be making significant changes once again after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiff regarding agricultural provisions added during 2014. The plaintiff (John R. Lawson Rock and Oil of Fresno, partnering with the California Trucking Association), sued CARB in Fresno County Superior Court claiming that the amendments to the Truck and Bus Regulation were unfair to other industries based off of extended timelines for compliance and an increased allowance in mileage for agricultural fleets. The Superior Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and CARB quickly filed an appeal with the 5th Circuit. In January, the Superior Court also ruled in favor of the plaintiff, removing the 2014 amendments.
This week, letters are being sent to Truck and Bus Stakeholders throughout the state regarding the changes that will take place once the court’s decision becomes effective. Changes to the rule include:
- Low Use Exemption: Less than 1000 miles allowed in California per year only.
- Agricultural Vehicle Mileage Requirements: Starting January 1, 2011, vehicles that operated less than 10,000 miles per year can continue to use the extension until January 1, 2023.
While the letters are not specific on the date in which the court decision goes into effect, it should be noted that the letter indicates that non-compliance during this next year of reporting will result in required replacement, repower or retrofit of the vehicles compliant with the Engine Model Year schedule of the regulations.This is crucial, if you claimed the Low-Use Exemption, then you must keep your vehicle below the 1,000 mile limitation.Ag Mileage Exemption limitations are now rolled back to 10,000 miles.If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us here at the office.
At this past month’s Governing Board Meeting of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, the Board approved a fee increase for permits. This change will increase permit fees by 4.8%, effective July 1, 2018, and again by 4.6%, effective July 1, 2019. The Association voiced its opposition during workshops on the fee increase, but was the only industry group to do so. At the Governing Board Meeting Association President/CEO Roger Isom testified in opposition, one of only two groups to do so. Isom stated, “While we recognize and appreciate the efforts by staff to keep costs down and minimize fees, all of our operating costs are going up. The State Water Resources Control Board is proposing to increase their fees this year. Minimum wage is going up. The prices for electricity will be increasing this year. Meanwhile, the prices for our commodities are not. The agricultural industry has no way to pass along the cost.” Despite the Association’s effort, the lack of industry opposition made this an easy decision for the board to increase their fees. The Nisei Farmers League was the only other group to oppose these fee increases.
This is the last call to attend the 2018 CCGGA Sticky Cotton Summit. We have discussed this issue many times, and brought it to the forefront last year in our first ever Sticky Cotton Summit. We walked away from that meeting with several action items, and now it’s time to see where we are. The cotton industry in California can ill afford to be labeled with sticky cotton. Our Board of Directors has called for an update on where we are on those action items. This important meeting will be the 2018 CCGGA Sticky Cotton Summit and will be held on Wednesday, April 25th at the Wyndham Garden Fresno Airport Hotel in Fresno. Registration and Continental Breakfast will begin at 8:30 am. The actual program will begin at 9:00 am and will end with lunch. This event is FREE; however registration is REQUIRED in order to provide us with an accurate count for room and lunch needs. You may register online at https://2018stickycottonsummit.eventbrite.com or you can call our offices at (559) 252-0684.
Department of Industrial Relations,
Cal/OSHA Consultation & Agricultural Organizations
Date: Friday, April 13, 2018
Time: Spanish 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
English 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Place: C.P.D.E.S. Portuguese Hall
172 W. Jefferson Avenue
Easton, CA 93706
NO COST TO ATTEND
Program intended for:
Contractors, Field Supervisors,Crew Leaders, Managers, Construction
RSVP NOT REQUIRED
Certificates will be given upon completion of the two-hour session