NEWS & ISSUES

California Well Represented at NCC

Nine California cotton industry members have been elected to leadership positions in the National Cotton Council (NCC) for 2020, including Kirk Gilkey, who was re-elected a NCC vice president.

Mark McKean and Tom Pires were re-elected as NCC directors.

Cotton Council International (CCI), NCC’s export promotions arm, elected Ted Sheely as first vice president, and re-elected Carlo Bocardo, Calcot, and Ernie Schroeder, Jr., Jess Smith and Son, as CCI directors.

McKean also was elected as chairman of the NCC’s American Cotton Producers (ACP) and as the ACP’s at-large director. Bryan Bone was elected as the ACP’s California chairman.

The NCC’s California unit re-elected Bone as chairman, Joe Cain as vice chairman; and Charles Meyer, III as secretary.

The leaders were named at the recent 2020 NCC Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.

As the unifying force of the U.S. cotton industry, the Memphis-based NCC brings together industry representatives from the 17 cotton-producing states to establish policies reflecting the common interests and promoting mutual benefits for its broad membership and ancillary industries. The NCC’s mission is ensuring the ability of all industry segments to compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed, and U.S.-manufactured product markets at home and abroad.

ARC/PLC Enrollment Urged

USDA is advising producers to enroll now in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs—ahead of the March 16, 2020 deadline for the 2019 crop year.  Until March 16, producers who have not yet enrolled in ARC or PLC for 2019 can enroll for both 2019 and 2020 during the same visit to a FSA county office unless yield updates are requested. Also, farm owners have a one-time opportunity to update PLC payment yields that take effect beginning with crop year 2020.  FSA’s ARC/PLC fact sheet is at http://bit.ly/2TFS1fd and its online ARC and PLC election decision tools are at https://www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc.

CMP Workshops – Tulare/Kings Counties Scheduled for Next Tuesday (2/25)

Next week, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District will be hosting two free workshops to assist farmers and farming operations in updating their Conservation Management Plans (CMP’s).  The first workshop of the day will begin 10 a.m. located at the Tulare County Ag Commissioner’s Office at 4437 S. Laspina in Tulare.  The second workshop on Tuesday begins at 1:30 p.m. and will be located at the Kings County Fairgrounds, 801 S. 10th Avenue in Hanford.
CMP’s are required for all farming operations that are over 100 acres, and the plan requires updating in specific situations.  Some of those situations include if you purchase land after your original CMP was developed, if you change crop types, or if you have changed CMP practices at your operation.  The Association along with several other agricultural organizations is partnering with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to host several CMP Workshops throughout the San Joaquin Valley including at least one workshop in every county.  The workshops will occur as per the following schedule:
CMP Workshop Schedule
Date Time Location
February 25th, 2020 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Tulare County Ag Commissioner
4437 S. Laspina, Tulare
February 25th, 2020 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm Kings County Fair Grounds
801 S. 10th Ave., Hanford
March 4th, 2020 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Merced County Farm Bureau
646 Highway 59, Merced
March 5th, 2020 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Madera County Farm Bureau
1102 S. Pine, Madera
March 11th, 2020 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Stanislaus County Ag Center
3800 Cornucopia Way, Modesto
March 18th, 2020 10:00 am – 1:00 pm San Joaquin County Farm Bureau
3290 Ad Art Road, Stockton
If you plan on attending, please bring the following:
  • A list of crops grown and how many acres are devoted to each
  • Plot plan/map that contains the location of each agricultural parcel on the agricultural operation site
  • Total number of animals at the animal feeding operation
  • Internal combustion engines: make, model, horsepower, fuel and annual hours used for all engines over 50 horsepower
  • For existing CMP Plans, please bring the CMP Plan ID (Example: C-1234)

Tractor Train the Trainer Workshops 2020

The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association in collaboration with other ag organizations will be conducting the Tractor Train-the-Trainer Workshops. These workshops are for Owners, Farmers, Managers Supervisors and those who are responsible to conduct training on forklifts.  The training will review what is needed for the trainer to effectively train their tractor operators at their facility.  Be sure to visit our website www.agprocessors.org for registration.  If you have any questions, please contact our office at (559) 252-0684.

Tractor Training Registration and Information

NCC Predicts 10% drop in CA Cotton Acreage for 2020

At this past weekend’s Annual Meeting of the National Cotton Council (NCC), preliminary forecast for cotton acreage in California reflected an expected overall 10% drop in acreage.  Pima acreage was forecast at 197,000 acres, down from 205,000 acres in 2019 reflecting about a 4% drop in acres.  Upland was expected to be at 38,000 acres, down from 55,000 acres in 2019 representing approximately a 31% drop in acreage.  Total acreage is predicted to be 235,000 acres, down from 260,000 acres in 2020 meaning an overall predicted reduction in acreage of approximately 10%.  The Association has just sent their Annual Predicted cotton acreage survey to all gins and hope to have expected numbers by mid-March.

Association Hosts State Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara

This past week the Association, along with several agricultural organizations hosted State Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and his staff.  This meeting was a follow-up to a meeting the Association had with the Commissioner late last year, where the Association warned the Commissioner of skyrocketing rates for property and casualty insurance as well as stock insurance for our agricultural products.  In some cases, the have been more than 200% increases in rates or even unwillingness to cover agricultural commodities for the full value.  Some of our members have had to get multiple policies just to cover onsite inventories of product.  Much of this is related to the devastating losses associated with the catastrophic wildfires over the past two years, and a couple of very expensive losses at a couple of specific agricultural facilities.  With a couple of firms leaving the state, rates have skyrocketed and our members are feeling the impact.  There was a lot of good discussion defining the issues.  A more specific follow-up meeting will be held in the next month or two to explore potential solutions to help reduce or at least control costs.  Joining the Association at this meeting were California Citrus Mutual, California Fresh Fruit Association, and the Nisei Farmers League.

Updated I-9 Forms Now Available

After months of waiting, a new I-9 form has been released.  Employers are still allowed to use the previous version of the I-9 until April 30th, 2020.  After that date, the new version of the I-9 must be utilized.  A significant change to the original form includes the ability for an employer to designate an “Authorized Representative” to assist in completing the employer requirement of the forms.  This Authorized Representative is responsible for completing Section 2 of the I-9 which includes examining evidence of identity and employment authorization on behalf of the employer.  Additionally, clarification to the list of “Acceptable Documents” have been made, and a full list of those accepted documents are available on the last page of the I-9 forms.  We have attached copies of both the I-9 forms as well as the I-9 instructions for your review and utilization.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out the Association.

Click Here For I-9 Instructions
Click Here For I-9 Form

CMP Workshops Scheduled for San Joaquin Valley

Have you changed the crops, acres or practices on your farm in the past few years?  If so, you most likely need to update your Conservation Management Practice (CMP) Plan.  As you may recall, farms located in the San Joaquin Valley in excess of 100 acres must complete a CMP Plan and keep it regularly updated.  To aid in the effort to ensure farms are keeping up to date on their CMP Plans, the Association along with several other agricultural organizations is partnering with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to host several CMP Workshops throughout the San Joaquin Valley including at least one workshop in every county.  The workshops will occurs as per the following schedule:

CMP Workshop Schedule
Date Time Location
January 23rd, 2020 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Fresno County Farm Bureau
1274 W. Hedges, Fresno
January 23rd, 2020 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm Fresno County Farm Bureau
1274 W. Hedges, Fresno
January 28th, 2020 10:00 am – 1:00 pm Shafter Ford Theater
1101 E. Lerdo Hwy, Shafter
February 7th, 2020 9:00 am – 12:00 pm UC Cooperative Extension
1031 S. Mount Vernon, Bakersfield
February 25th, 2020 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Tulare County Ag Commissioner
4437 S. Laspina, Tulare
February 25th, 2020 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm Kings County Fair Grounds
801 S. 10th Ave., Hanford
March 4th, 2020 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Merced County Farm Bureau
646 Highway 59, Merced
March 5th, 2020 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Madera County Farm Bureau
1102 S. Pine, Madera
March 11th, 2020 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Stanislaus County Ag Center
3800 Cornucopia Way, Modesto
March 18th, 2020 10:00 am – 1:00 pm San Joaquin County Farm Bureau
3290 Ad Art Road, Stockton

If you plan on attending, please bring the following:

  • A list of crops grown and how many acres are devoted to each
  • Plot plan/map that contains the location of each agricultural parcel on the agricultural operation site
  • Total number of animals at the animal feeding operation
  • Internal combustion engines: make, model, horsepower, fuel and annual hours used for all engines over 50 horsepower
  • For existing CMP Plans, please bring the CMP Plan ID (Example: C-1234) 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office.

Statement on the Governor’s Proposed Budget for 2020-2021

This past week Governor Gavin Newsom released his proposed 2020-2021 Budget for the State of California. While we are encouraged by the Governor’s proposed investment in rural communities through food and education programs, the Governor’s budget proposal falls woefully short in delivering necessary funds to the San Joaquin Valley for programs to improve air quality.  Specifically, the budget proposal calls for only $50 million in FARMER incentive funding to replace old farm equipment such as tractors and harvesters with new low emission equipment.

The use of the FARMER Program incentives has proven to be hugely successful with the replacement of farm equipment having already achieve significant reductions of NOx emissions in the first three years of implementation.

FARMER received $75 million in 2019-20 and $130 million in 2018-19.  Last month, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) called for a minimum of $193 million per year in FARMER funding as the only way to achieve attainment of the State’s air quality standards.  The proposed $50 million in the 2020 budget is inadequate to reach the State’s emissions reduction goals and assures that the San Joaquin Valley, which faces some of the worst air quality in the Nation, will not achieve the standard.

The FARMER program is an example of industry and government working together to provide solutions for a significant challenge facing our rural communities and is worthy of continued investment.

With rising farm equipment prices, increasing fuel prices, and ever growing labor costs coupled with stagnant commodity prices, a mandatory farm equipment regulation will be overwhelming to the agricultural industry in the San Joaquin Valley.

For the health of the San Joaquin Valley and all who live and work here, we call on our Central Valley legislators to see that funding for the FARMER program is fully restored and increased to the necessary level.

 

DPR Chlorpyrifos Alternatives Workgroup Public Roundtables are a Farce

Last night Association President/CEO Roger Isom attended and participated in the Chlorpyrifos Alternatives Work Group Public Roundtable.  Unfortunately, the meeting was a complete travesty.  The stated purpose of the meeting was to present the group’s preliminary recommendations to the public and listen to the public’s reactions and comments.

What followed was an utter farce.  The presentation did not include any list or hint of alternatives, and instead what was a presentation of how the agencies could conduct better outreach, carryout applied research and determine alternative approaches to pest management.  None of these will solve the immediately problem of the loss of chlorpyrifos in the short term.  Then the meeting was broke into small workgroups with the intent to hear comments on the proposed recommendations, discuss how farmers, workers and communities can protect a thriving agricultural industry in California while increasing the use of safety pest management tools, and finally, what the audience thought where more funding should be placed to create a more sustainable and healthy agricultural system.  While these are good questions, they had little to do with the task at hand which is to find immediate alternatives to the loss of chlorpyrifos.  Furthermore, the pesticide and environmental justice activists seized the opportunity to lambast farmers with accusations of corporate greed and spraying indiscriminately, and attack county agricultural commissioners for not actively enforcing the regulations.  And while participants were repeatedly told to keep the comments on point and limit their time, the activists were given free reign to comment on anything they wanted, which they did in attacking agriculture on all aspects from pesticides to air quality.  In one of the most revealing moments of the night, a prominent local environmental justice activist was seen co-moderating one of the Spanish sessions, in a clear conflict of interest.

In the end, the meeting did nothing it was intended to do.  Rather it is clear that this event was only done to check the box that the agencies had outreached to the community, and nothing meaningful was ever intended to come of it.