CURRENT ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP

CALIFORNIA COTTON GINNERS & GROW ASSOCIATION

  • Air District Announces Opening of the FARMER Ag Truck Replacement Program

    The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (Air District) is pleased to announce the formal opening of the FARMER Ag Truck Replacement Program funding opportunity.  Earlier this year, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced that funding opportunities would be made available through the Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions (FARMER) program.  Funding will be provided at 65% of the cost of the eligible replacement truck. Target vehicles for this program include vehicles that utilize the following Truck and Bus Regulation compliance options:

    • Agricultural Vehicle Extension
    • Low-Use Exemption
    • Specialty Agricultural Vehicle Extension
    • Model Year Schedule and the truck must operate as an “agricultural vehicle” as defined in the Truck and Bus Regulation

    In order to receive funding for the Heavy-Duty Truck portion of the program, applicants must show compliance with the Truck and Bus Regulation for this current year.  Funding will be on a first come, first serve basis, so we recommend you get your applications in ASAP.  Applications can be found on the Air District’s website at http://valleyair.org/grants/FARMER.htm. Any questions in regards to the program can be directed to the incentives department representatives Jennifer Schmaill, Kashmir Pandher, Kira Taylor or Ryan Delmanowski with the Air District at (559)-230-6000.

  • House Passes Valadao Emergency Water Legislation

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Tuesday, December 9, 2014
    CONTACT:

    Rep. Valadao: Anna Vetter; (202) 815-1685
    Rep. McCarthy: Matt Sparks; (202) 225-4000
    Rep. Calvert: Jason Gagnon; (951) 277-0042
    Rep. LaMalfa: Kevin Eastman; (202) 308-8529
    Rep. McClintock: Jennifer Cressy; (202) 225-2511
    Rep. Nunes: Jack Langer; (202) 225-2523

    Washington – On Tuesday, December 9, 2014, the United States House of Representatives passed legislation aimed at providing immediate emergency drought relief to California.

    H.R. 5781, the California Emergency Drought Relief Act was introduced on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 by Rep. David G. Valadao (CA-21) to improve the dire drought conditions currently threatening California. The legislation would provide operational flexibility for the two California State water projects in order to immediately provide relief to hardship caused by water supply shortages. This temporary solution would expire after 18 months, on September 30, 2016. The legislation does not amend the Endangered Species Act and has received bipartisan support in the House of Representatives. On Tuesday, December 9, 2014 the legislation passed in the House by a vote of 230-182.

    Original cosponsors Reps. David G. Valadao (CA-21), Kevin McCarthy (CA-23), Ken Calvert (CA-42), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Tom McClintock (CA-04), and Devin Nunes (CA-22) released the following statement following the passage of the legislation:

    “Californians are suffering and this bill will provide them with the immediate relief they desperately need. The House of Representatives has recognized the importance of this legislation, not just for California, but for our entire nation. The drought is a natural disaster, and like any other disaster, deserves immediate action. Earlier this year, the House and Senate both passed drought-relief bills, and we entered negotiations to try and find middle ground. Every time we return home, we see how much pain this drought continues to cause. In order to get this bill across the finish line in time for the rainy season, House Republicans included many provisions from the Senate’s own legislation as well as agreed upon language from negotiations in the bill passed in the House today. Unfortunately, Barbara Boxer and many of her Democratic colleagues in the Senate have not shown the same commitment to achieving a solution to the California water crisis as House Republicans have, and they remain opposed even to bipartisan compromise. It is time the Senate recognize the severity of this situation and act on this legislation before they adjourn for the year.”

    The full text of the bill can be found here.

    Congressman David G. Valadao represents the 21st Congressional District, which includes Kings County and portions of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern Counties.

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  •  Pink Bollworm Program- Silverleaf Whitefly Report 7/30/18-8/10/18

    The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pink Bollworm Program has released its report for monitoring Silverleaf Whitefly. The program monitored for whitefly and other cotton pests from July 30, 2018 to August 10, 2018. For the full report, please follow the button link below:

    Silverleaf Whitefly Report

  • Regional Whitefly Meetings, July 16th & 17th

    University of California’s Cooperative Extension and the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations have partnered to host four regional whitefly/Sticky Cotton meetings within the Central Valley. Discussions by Dr. Peter Goodell, Dr. Larry Godfrey and Dr. Bob Hutmacher will include information regarding sugar deposits on cotton lint and the following damage/loss to production, monitoring and management assessment of aphid and whiteflies, review of Best Management Practices including insecticide selection and the managing late season cotton. In addition County Ag Commissioners will discuss the current status of new Chlorpyrifos regulations, a critical product in whitefly and aphid pest control. PCA units have been requested and are pending. Meeting locations & times are Thursday, July 16th 9-11 a.m. at San Joaquin Valley Quality Cotton Growers Association office in Shafter and 12-3 PM at County Line Gin in Hanford, along with Friday, July 17th 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at Westside Farmers Co-Op Gin in Tranquillity and 3-5 p.m. at West Side REC in Five Points. Contact Shana Colby to RSVP at (559)252-0684 or email shana@ccgga.org.

    Regional Whitefly Meeting Information

  • Truck and Bus Regulation Amendments Approved in 2014

     

    At an April Air Resources Board (ARB) meeting, several amendments were made to the Truck and Bus regulation that would allow some flexibility to vehicle owners. These amendments will take effect when the regulation is finalized later this year. The board meeting adopted the changes from a November 2013 advisory that included:

    –  Expansion of existing ag truck extension for vehicles that operate less than 15,000 miles per   year after Jan. 1, 2017 and 10,000 miles per year after Jan. 1, 2020; final compliance date of 2023.
    –  An expansion of the low use mileage exemptions from 1,000 miles to 5,000 miles per year and a removal of the hourly limit for trucks that remain stationary.
    –  An expansion of NOx exempt areas that includes a new compliance schedule for trucks in these areas to be phased in from Jan. 1, 2015- Jan 1, 2020.
    –  A deferred compliance date the for the second truck in small fleets; first truck still must meet the Jan. 1, 2014 deadline but the second truck deadline will be moved to Jan. 1, 2017, and third truck to Jan. 1, 2018.
    –  A delay in PM filter requirements until January 1, 2017 for owners of up to three trucks who cannot afford the changes or cannot get financing (rules still being finalized)
    If a PM filter is recalled and cannot be repaired by the manufacturer, the vehicle may operate up to five years from the date of the recall.

    In addition to these changes, other changes were made that will affect compliance dates in later years. Furthermore, credit extensions are available to those fleet owners who made good faith efforts to comply and adopt changes early and now cannot take advantage of the changes now authorized by the ARB.

    CCGGA continues to track changes and will continue to fight for more substantive changes to the regulation to help members!

  • $9.7 Billion More for the Same Amount of Energy

    Californians paying $9.7 billion more than ratepayers in other states using the same amount of energy last year #holdutilitiesaccountable #noWildfireBailout #noBlankChecks

     

  • 2014 American Pima Grade Standards Guide Box Review and Standards Matching

    Please join us to review, comment, and approve the six guide boxes of the 2014 American Pima Grade Standards.  Once approved, the guide boxes will be used as the reference to match all of the 2014 American Pima Grade Standards.  The guide box review and the standards matching will both take place the morning of July 16. Industry participation is key to this process and we hope you all can come and be a part of this important annual event.

    For additional information please contact:

    Greg Townsend, Area Director
    E-mail: greg.townsend@ams.usda.gov
    Visalia Classing Office
    7100 West Sunnyview Avenue
    Visalia, CA 93291
    Phone: (559) 651-3015

    OR

    James Knowlton, Director
    E-mail:  james.knowlton@ams.usda.gov
    Standardization Division
    3275 Appling Road
    Memphis, TN 38133
    Phone: (901) 384-3030

    pima standards

  • 2014 FFA Cotton Judging Event

    The team from Atwater FFA took the first place honors for the First High Team A at the 57th Annual State FFA Cotton Judging Competition held at Fresno State.   Lemoore FFA took first place in the B competition.  Team members judged cotton lint, seed, bolls, plants, and took a general knowledge test of the California cotton industry.  Taking home individual honors was Atwater’s Amanda Skidmore in the A competition and Firebaugh’s Austin La Salle in the B competition.  Bruce Roberts from Fresno State coordinates and hosts the competition, which was held on Saturday, November 8th this year.   The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations, the California Cotton Alliance, and Supima are sponsors of the annual event held on the campus of Fresno State.  Congratulations to all who competed!

    ffa

  • 2014 Legislative Update – Key Bills on the Governor’s Desk

    The California State Legislature has now adjourned the 2013-2014 Legislative Session.  Some key bills were dealt with in the final week of Session and now sit on the Governor’s desk awaiting his action. The Governor has until September 30, 2014 to sign or veto legislation presented to him.

    AB 1522 (Gonzalez):  Employment:  Paid Sick Days

    Summary:  Enacts the Healthy Workplace, Healthy Families Act of 2014. The Act entitles an employee who, on or after July 1, 2015, and works in California for thirty or more days a year, to paid sick days accrued at a rate of no less than one hour for every thirty hours worked.

    Outcome: Passed out of the Assembly 52-25; Passed out of the 22-8.

    AB 1739 (Dickinson):  Groundwater Management

    Summary:  This bill is part of a groundwater management package that also includes SB 1168 (Pavley) and SB 1319 (Pavley). The bill would authorize the Department of Water Resources (Department) or a groundwater sustainability agency (as defined in SB 1168) to provide technical assistance to entities that extract or use groundwater to promote water conservation and protect groundwater resources. Groundwater sustainability agencies would be required to submit a groundwater sustainability plan to the Department for review. The bill authorizes the California State Water Resources Control Board (Board) to designate a basin as a probationary basin, and would authorize the Board in consultation with the Department to develop an interim plan for a probationary basin if a local agency has not remedied a deficiency.

    Outcome:  Passed out of the Assembly 47-28; Passed out of the Senate 26-11.

    AB 1897 (Hernandez):  Labor Contracting:  Client Liability

    Summary:  Would require a client employer to share with a labor contractor all civil legal responsibility and civil liability for all workers supplied by that labor contractor for the payment of wages and the failure to obtain valid workers’ compensation coverage.

    Outcome:  Passed out of the Assembly 47-24; Passed out of the Senate 22-12.

    AB 2416 (Stone):  Liens:  Laborers and Employees

    Summary:  Enacts the California Wage Theft Recovery Act which would authorize employees to request the Labor Commissioner record, on his or her behalf, a wage lien upon real and personal property of an employer for unpaid wages and other compensation owed to the employee.

    Outcome:  Held in the Senate 13-15.

    SB 25 (Steinberg):  Agricultural Labor Relations:  Dispute Resolution

    Summary:  Provides that an action to enforce the order of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board may be filed within sixty days whether or not the other party is seeking judicial review of the order.

    Outcome:  Passed out of the Senate 22-12; Passed out of the Assembly 42-25.

    SB 605 (Lara and Pavley):  Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

    Summary:  Would require the State Air Resources Board to complete a comprehensive strategy to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants.

    Outcome:  Passed out of the Senate 23-12; Passed out of the Assembly 53-24.

     

    SB 1168 (Pavley):  Groundwater Management

    Summary:  This is one of two senate bills that complete the groundwater management package. SB 1168 would create a state policy that groundwater resources be locally managed for long-term reliability and multiple economic, social and environmental benefits. The bill would require groundwater basins designated as high- or medium-priority by the Department of Water Resources and designated as basins subject to critical conditions of overdraft to be managed under a groundwater sustainability plan by January 31, 2020. It would require all other groundwater basins designated as high- or medium-priority to be managed under a groundwater sustainability plan by January 31, 2022. The bill authorizes a local agency to elect to be a groundwater sustainability agency which would have specific authority including, but not limited to, the ability to require registration of a groundwater extraction facility, to require that groundwater extraction facility be measured with a water-measuring device, and to regulate groundwater extraction.

    Outcome:  Passed out of the Senate 25-10; Passed out of the Assembly 47-27.

    SB 1319 (Pavley):  Groundwater

    Summary:  Would authorize the California State Water Resources Control Board (Board) to designate certain high- and medium-priority basins as a probationary basin if, after January 21, 2025, prescribed criteria are met, including that the state board determines that the basin is in a condition where groundwater extractions result in significant depletions of interconnected surface waters. AB 1739 would authorize the Board in consultation with the Department of Water Resources, to develop an interim plan for a probationary basin if it determines that a local agency has not remedied a deficiency. This bill would prohibit the Board from establishing an interim plan before January 1, 2025.

    Outcome:  Passed out of the Senate 24-10; Passed out of the Assembly 48-26.

    The Associations have opposed these bills and have sent, or are in the process of sending, veto requests to the Governor.

  • 2015 American Pima Grade Standards Guide Box Review and Standards Matching

    USDA AMS will be conducting the 2015 American Pima Grade Standards Guide Box Review and Standards Matching on Thursday, June 18, 2015 at the Visalia, California Classing Office beginning at 9:00 am.  Please join us to review, comment, and approve the six guide boxes of the 2015 American Pima Grade Standards.  Once approved, the guide boxes will be used as the reference to match all of the 2015 American Pima Grade Standards.  The guide box review and the standards matching will both take place the morning of June 18th.  Industry participation is key to this process and we hope you all can come and be a part of this important annual event.

     

    For additional information please contact:

     

    Greg Townsend, Area Director                       or         James Knowlton, Director

    E-mail: greg.townsend@ams.usda.gov                      E-mail: james.knowlton@ams.usda.gov

    Visalia Classing Office                                                   Standardization Division

    7100 West Sunnyview Avenue                                    3275 Appling Road

    Visalia, CA 93291                                                        Memphis, TN 38133

    Phone: (559) 651-3015                                               Phone: (901) 384-3030

  • 2015 Annual PIE Tour Visits the Central Valley

    The National Cotton Council held its annual Producer Information Exchange (PIE) this past week.  This program gives an opportunity for cotton growers around the nation to visit other regions within the United States to see how production agriculture works.  Attending this year’s trip were growers from Georgia, Alabama, and Virginia. The trip is sponsored by Bayer Crop Science, and the attendees are guided through California by Mike Brueggemann from the National Cotton Council. The tour was kicked off with a visit to the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association office, with an industry update from President/CEO Roger Isom.  The tour included site visits to Terra Nova Ranches with Don Cameron, a tour of Gilkey Enterprises with Kirk Gilkey and other Corcoran-area growers, as well as site visits to Kirschemann Farms, and Ingomar Packing.  The group was also able to stop and see some experimental work being conducted by UC Davis Cooperative Extension at the Fresno Facility.  The PIE Tour has been an integral part of displaying California’s effectiveness in growing a wide variety of crops.  Many of the participants this year were surprised to hear of the diversification that many area growers have on the west coast.  We look forward to providing future tours and regulatory and legislative updates to fellow Cotton growers.

    IMG_4644

  • 2015 Distinguished Service Award

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    CONTACT:
    Roger A. Isom
    California Cotton Ginners & Growers Associations

    Phone: (559)252-0684
    Fax: (559)252-0551
    email: roger@ccgga.org
    The California Cotton Ginners Association is pleased to announce that Jesse Currlee of Supima has been named as the recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Service Award.

    The award is given each year to honor and recognize an individual outside the Ginners Association that have made significant contributions to the Ginners Association and/or the cotton ginning industry.  This year’s recipient is a graduate of Texas A&M with a degree in marketing.  He began his business career in 1968 with Armstrong World Industries in their Lancaster, Pennsylvania corporate headquarters.  He later moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he was responsible for the company’s industrial sales to the textile industry in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.  In 1973, he joined the U.S. textile industry as Executive Secretary of the Georgia Textile Manufacturers Association and its affiliate organization, The Textile Education Foundation, in Atlanta.  In 1979, he was named General Manager of Supima in Phoenix, Arizona, and in 1981 he was named President of the organization. He is a former trustee and past Chairman of the Texas A&M Foundation. He also served as a director of the 12th Man Foundation at Texas A&M and is a member of the President’s Council of Advisors. In 1993, he served as President of the Former Students Association of Texas A&M University, and is currently a member of the Phoenix Rotary Club; Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations; Advisory Director of the Arizona Cotton Growers Association; and an advisor to the Executive Committee of Cotton Council International headquartered in Washington, D.C.

    Jesse fostered the introduction of Supima to the fashion industry in a major way with the start of its now recognized and respected annual runway fashion show during the September fashion week in New York City. That show has now been invited to Paris this year for a special showing at the US Ambassador’s residence later this year.  Under Curlee’ s leadership, Supima began a licensing program for customers wanting to use the Supima name.  That program has grown today to over three hundred licensees worldwide and the income from that program has helped Supima survive without increasing grower dues since its beginning.  Supima now licenses the name and trademark worldwide to textile/apparel manufacturers, brands and retailers with 370 licensees in 32 countries.  Under Curlee’s leadership, the Supima name has grown to worldwide recognition as the finest cotton fiber in the world.  No better proof of that fact can be made of this fact than is witnessed by the demand of many of the world’s top designers and brand name retailers in their growing use and loyalty to the Supima name! He has held a long and distinguished career, and there is absolutely no doubt the pima industry would not be what it is today without the leadership of Jesse Curlee.

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations are voluntary dues-based organizations representing cotton growers and cotton gins throughout California on regulatory and legislative issues ranging from energy and air quality to labor and water quality.

  • 2015 Ginner of the Year

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    CONTACT:
    Roger A. Isom
    California Cotton Ginners & Growers Associations
    Phone: (559)252-0684
    Fax: (559)252-0551
    email: roger@ccgga.org

    The California Cotton Ginners Association is pleased to announce that Russell Patterson has been named as the recipient of the 2015 Ginner of the Year.  The award is given each year to honor and recognize an individual who has provided dedication, knowledge, and special service to this Association as well as the ginning industry.  This year’s recipient graduated from Fresno State University in December 1978 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Finance.  He began his banking career with Bank of America in January 1979. During his 22 years with Bank of America, he held positions as a General Lending Officer, performing consumer and small business loans.  He spent 2 years in the Bank’s Special Asset’s Department restructuring and/or recovering non-performing loans. He also managed a Small Business Group. His last banking position was in the Bakersfield Commercial Lending Group where he managed a $50 million portfolio of loans/lines of credit for growers and processors.  In 2001, Russ was employed by Tech Ag Financial Group, where for the last 14 years he has provided crop financing as a tool to obtain business for our Chemical, Fertilizer and Ginning business.  In 2007, he was asked to include as part of his duty to Manage Buttonwillow Gin for one year until a replacement was found.  According to Steve Houchin, he did such an outstanding job we convinced him to manage the Gin for the next 7 years.  From the Association’s perspective, he has played an active role from his first day as a board member, all the way up to becoming the 2nd Vice President.  He is the first one to show up at every board meeting, never misses a board meeting and has even traveled to Sacramento numerous times for Association activities.

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations are voluntary dues-based organizations representing cotton growers and cotton gins throughout California on regulatory and legislative issues ranging from energy and air quality to labor and water quality.

  • 2015 Hazard Communication & GHS Workshops

    The risks of chemical exposure are real and often a component of every workday.  The Hazard Communication Standard is OSHA’s #2 most frequently cited standard. Any employer whose employees handle, or are exposed to hazardous chemicals, must have a written hazard communication (HazCom) plan and provide training.

    The Western Agricultural Processors Association is pleased to announce the HazCom & GHS workshops!  The workshop will cover what you need to know and how to comply with the requirement as an ‘End User’ of handling chemicals in the workplace (i.e. in house labeling requirements, proper secondary containers, and safety data sheets, etc.)

    Session Topics:

    • Required elements of a HazCom plan
    • Responsibilities of employers and workers
    • Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)
    • Workplace labeling – What are the options?
    • Training requirements

    Who Should Attend: 
    Owners and Managers
    HR and Safety Personnel
    Superintendents and Supervisors
    Maintenance/Shop Personnel
    Employees handling chemicals

    2015 HazCom-GHS Workshops Flyer

  • 2016 CA Cotton Ginners Association Annual Meeting – Monterey

    We are gearing up for the 2016 Annual California Cotton Ginners Association meeting in Monterey on Wednesday, June 1st through Friday, June 3rd at the Monterey Marriott.  There will be a welcome reception on Wednesday night for the early arrivals.  On Thursday we will be having our golf tournament and for non-golfers it will be an open day, with a reception dinner, and annual award presentations on Thursday evening.  The Board of Directors will hold their regularly scheduled board meeting on Friday morning followed by the Ginners Annual Meeting featuring guest speakers covering the “hot topic” issues in the industry.

    2016 Ginner Registration

    2016 Associate Registration

  • 2018 Seed Cotton Program Webinar

    The National Cotton Council invites its members and interest organizations to participate in regional information webinars regarding provisions of the recently authorized 2018 Seed Cotton farm program. Information will be provided on the provisions of the Seed Cotton program including examples of support levels under various price scenarios and examples of generic base conversion options. IN addition, updates on the new farm bill will be discussed. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions at the end of each session.

    **Given that there is a limit on the number of participants per call, the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association will be hosting a group webinar for the West Region in our offices (1785 N. Fine Ave. Fresno, CA 93727) on Tuesday, February 20 at noon. Mike Brueggemann with National Cotton Council will be in attendance provide assistance in answering and directing questions. If you are unable to participate in the CCGGA group webinar in our offices, you may use the information below to join the webinar.**

    For details on connecting to the webinar please download the “Webinar Information” form below.

    Webinar Information

    Seed Cotton Program Summary

  • 2018 Sticky Cotton Summit, April 25th

    The cotton industry in California is faced with a critical issue, and that is the continued presence of sticky cotton.  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.

    In addition, we are soliciting sponsorship from our Associate Members to help defray the costs of this meeting.  Your support will be duly recognized in print in the meeting program and during the meeting.  You may download the Sponsorship Form below.  Please consider helping by choosing a level of sponsorship from the levels listed and faxing the form back to our offices promptly at (559) 252-0551 to allow for proper advance planning and recognition.
    Draft Agenda
    Online Registration
    Sponsorship Flier

  • 2030 Target Scoping Plan Workshop Held in Fresno

    Earlier this week, representatives from the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Cal EPA, and California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) met in Fresno with local stakeholders to discuss the implementation of the 2030 Target Scoping Plan.  The meeting was held at the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, and was organized to address the Scoping Plan as it pertains to the agricultural sector.  The 2030 Scoping Plan is part of the Governor’s plan to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, the plan also calls for a 50% reduction in petroleum usage, as well as a call to increase the state’s renewable portfolio by 50% by 2030.

    The primary focus within the ag sector includes rangeland management and productive farmland.  The emphasis on rangeland and farmland management is for the purpose of carbon sequestration, and CARB wants to encourage sequestration as much as possible.  The Air Resources Board also presented Climate Smart Ag Practices with management practices such as manure, water and nitrogen management; renewable energy installation and utilization; as well as land conservation, to name a few.  Similar to the Short Lived Climate Pollutant workshop, CARB is encouraging growers to develop their own composting practices to help with California’s Healthy Soils Initiative.  Incentive funding was also a topic of conversation, both on the tractor trade up funding as well as finding funding methods to help encourage the rebirth of biomass and cogeneration plants.  With the floor open for public comment, the Association’s Director of Technical Services, Chris McGlothlin made a couple of remarks.  McGlothlin pointed out that in order for a farm to be able to compost legally, four separate permits are required from four different government agencies.  McGlothlin stressed the importance of incentive dollars to the Central Valley, stating that emissions reductions have exceeded expectations thanks to the amount of money being utilized in the Valley.  There will be more workshops in the future, so stay tuned for more updates.

  • 25TH ANNUAL CALIFORNIA COTTON GROWERS ASSOCIATION MEETING

    Mark your calendars for the California Cotton Growers Associations (CCGA) 25th Annual Meeting to be held at the Visalia Convention Center on March 6, 2015.   This year’s Annual Meeting will begin 9 am with concurrent sessions on Pest & Products Chaired by Pete Goodall, Varieties – Trials & New Releases Chaired by Bob Hutmacher, and Water – Issues and Irrigation Efficiency Chaired by Dan Munk. Please RSVP to Shana at (559) 252-0684.  We hope to see you there!

    2015 Growers Annual Meeting Agenda

    CA Cotton Growers 25th Annual Meeting Flyer, Registration Form & Preliminary Agenda

    CA Cotton Growers Associate Member – Annual Mtg Sponsorship/Exhibitor Flyer

  • 25th Annual California Cotton Growers Association Meeting

    Mark your calendars for the California Cotton Growers Associations (CCGA) 25th Annual Meeting to be held at the Visalia Convention Center on March 6, 2015.   This year’s Annual Meeting will begin 9 am with concurrent sessions on Pest & Products Chaired by Pete Goodall, Varieties – Trials & New Releases Chaired by Bob Hutmacher, and Water – Issues and Irrigation Efficiency Chaired by Dan Munk. Please RSVP to Shana at (559) 252-0684.  We hope to see you there!

    CA Cotton Growers 25th Annual Meeting Flyer, Registration Form & Agenda

    CA Cotton Growers Associate Member – Annual Mtg Sponsorship/Exhibitor Flyer

  • 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.

  • 3rd Annual Central Valley Chemical Safety Day

    3rd Annual Central Valley Chemical Safety Day – Turlock, Stanislaus County

    “Safety Hero’s – We Do It Because People Matter”

    Registration, Sponsorship and Applications for Exhibiting are now open.

    Event Date: Thursday, November 13, 2014

    Location: Stanislaus County Fairgrounds

    900 N. Broadway, Turlock, CA

     

    Download brochure to register for this valuable FREE TRAINING by visiting www.cvcsd.org

     

     

    For additional information, please call (831) 297-2554.

     

  • Accepting AB 60 Licenses for Form I-9 Purposes

    By: Susannah L. Ashton

    The Federal Immigration Nationality Act and Form I-9 Requirements

    The Immigration Nationality Act (INA) makes it illegal for employers to knowingly hire persons who are not legally present in the United States. Employers who do so are subject to fines and possible imprisonment.

    In order to ensure that all employees are legally present in the United States, and thus eligible for employment, they are required to submit a Form I-9 to verify their identity and authorization for employment. When submitting such form, employees are required to provide either one document from List A (e.g., passport) or 2 documents: a List B verifying identity (e.g., driver’s license) and a List C verifying employment eligibility (e.g., social security card). If an employee is unable to provide both a List B and a List C document, he or she is not considered eligible to work in the United States.

    California AB 60 Licenses

    On January 1, 2015, the California Department of Motor Vehicles began issuing a new type of driver’s license to applicants who cannot submit satisfactory proof of legal presence in the United States, but who otherwise meet all qualifications for the issuance of a driver’s license. Such a license, termed an “AB 60” driver’s license contains a mark stating “Not for Federal Identification.” This designation means that an AB 60 License is not compliant with the REAL ID Act in some way. However, the REAL ID Act states that this designation should not raise inferences or assumptions regarding an individual’s citizenship or immigration status, and further, State law precludes discrimination against a person holding an AB 60 License.

    United States Guidance on AB 60 Licenses as Acceptable List B Documents

    On May 19, 2015, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently issued guidance on the applicability of AB 60 Licenses for Form I-9 purposes. On June 4, 2015, various grower associations and legal representatives in the field, along with The Saqui Law Group, issued an Industry Announcement providing guidance to employers in handling AB 60 Licenses.

    Q: Is a state-issued license with the notation “NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR OFFICIAL FEDERAL PURPOSES,” such as the AB 60 License, an acceptable Form I-9 List B document?

    A: An AB 60 Driver’s License with the words “FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY” or “NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR OFFICIAL FEDERAL PURPOSES” is an acceptable List B document for identification purposes if:

    • It contains a photograph or other identifying information such as name, DOB, sex, height,
    color of eyes, address

    and

    • Employers must also examine a List C document establishing employment authorization.

    Q: What is a “knowing hire” violation?

    A: An employer who has knowingly hired unauthorized workers is subject to monetary penalties of up to $16,000 per violation.

    A “knowing hire” violation can be based on actual or constructive knowledge of an employee’s unauthorized status. Constructive notice means that an individual knew, or should have known, of a specific fact.

    Q: Does acceptance of an AB 60 License constitute a “knowing hire violation”?

    A: Acceptance of an AB 60 License does not, in and of itself, support a conclusion that an employer had knowledge of an employee’s unauthorized status.

    Whether an employer is considered to have actual or constructive knowledge that an employee lacks employment authorization is determined on a case-by-case basis and depends upon all of the facts and variables specific to the individual case.

    The omission from the USCIS’ guidance of any statement that an employer must take any affirmative steps other than accept such a license as a List B identity document in the Form I-9 process indicates the federal government does not expect an employer to inquire into why an employee claiming employment eligibility has such a license.

    However, inquiry notice arises when an employer would have obtained actual knowledge had he or she taken reasonable steps to resolve any apparent discrepancy between an employee’s List B identity document and List C employment authorization document.

    Q: Can an employer refuse to accept an AB 60 License or ask for a different form of documentation?

    A: No. Employers must accept an AB 60 License since it satisfies Form I-9 requirements. Only documents that do not appear to be genuine or relate to the specific employee may be rejected. Failure to accept an AB 60 License may constitute illegal discrimination under the INA.

    Q: If an existing employee presents an AB 60 License that bears identifying information that is different than what currently appears on their Form I-9, must an employer alter the information on Form I-9 to comport with the information on the AB 60 License?

    A: While such a request may seem innocuous, it actually does three things: (1) puts the employer on notice that the current Form I-9 information was falsely given; (2) imports actual knowledge to the employer that the AB 60 License was obtained because of the employee’s “illegal” status, thus removing all grey areas; and (3) requires the employer violate federal law.

    Unfortunately, the USCIS did not provided guidance on this matter. Thus, if this event arises, employers should primarily agree to change any necessary information as long as the employee can provide the requisite secondary forms of documentation required by Form I-9. However, it is likely that this scenario removes the grey areas and puts the employer on constructive notice that the employee is not legally authorized to work in the US. The employer thus risks violating federal law by continuing to employ such person.
    ___________________________________________________________________________
    Counsel to Management:

    In light of USCIS’s guidance and Industry Announcement, if an employer is given an AB 60 License as a List B document, they should comply with the following:
    • Employers must accept AB 60 Licenses as List B documents.
    • Employers should not accept photocopies or duplicates for Form I-9 purposes, but only original documents.
    • Employers must also examine a List C  document establishing employment authorization.
    • If an employer has any reason to doubt the veracity of a List B or List C document, that employer
    must take reasonable, affirmative steps to resolve any potential discrepancy.

  • AECA and WAPA Present: Agriculture Energy Conference!

    **Free for Growers & Ag Processors**

    reg attendee_Page_1reg attendee_Page_2

    Click the flyer to preview or print.  To register, either fax to (559) 251-4471 or email Shana at the e-mail address listed on the flyer.

  • Ag Overtime Legislation is Defeated!

    As a result of an ag group effort by all in agriculture, including the Association, the effort to reduce the trigger for overtime pay in agriculture was officially defeated on a vote of 38 to 35!  Assembly Bill 2757 (Gonzalez) would have enacted the Phase-In Overtime for Agricultural Workers Act of 2016, by phasing in a reduction in the trigger for overtime pay for “agricultural workers” as follows:

    • July 1, 2019 – trigger would be 9 ½ hours per day or 55 hours per week
    • January 1, 2020 – trigger would be 9 hours per day or 50 hours per week
    • January 1, 2021 – trigger would be 8 ½ hours per day or 45 hours per week
    • January 1, 2022 – trigger would be 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week 

    The bill was defeated in large part thanks to the “NO” votes by several key urban legislators including Assemblymembers Ken Cooley, Jim Cooper and Bill Quirk, and by those that did not vote including Assemblymembers Jacqui Irwin, Richard Bloom and Adrin Nazarian.  Disappointingly, Assemblyman Rudy Salas of Bakersfield voted for the bill.  Thanks to all in agriculture who worked so hard to oppose this important legislation.

  • AgSafe Sexual Harassment Prevention Updates

    AgSafe is offering compliant webinars for all the new Sexual Harassment Prevention regulations in both English and Spanish. You must pre-register for the trainings by visiting the calendar at www.agsafe.org. See the attached flyer below for more information.

  • Air District Puts Everything on the Table to Address PM2.5

    Succumbing to the pressure of having to attain an impossible air quality standard with very little assistance from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) or Federal EPA, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District unveiled a long list of far reaching control measures to reduce PM2.5.  Those measures up for discussion include:

     

    • Replace all almond harvesters in Valley with latest low-emitting harvester technologies
    • Install PM control technology on larger under-fired charbroilers installed within last 10-15 years (360 out of 1,800)
    • Enhance CMPs for ag operations to reduce directly emitted PM
    • Replace 23,628 older high emitting residential wood-burning devices with cleaner devices
    • Electrify 1,053 ag pump engines in areas impacting peak PM2.5 sites where access to electricity is available
    • Lower NOx limit for container glass plants
    • Lower NOx emissions from various boiler, steam generator, process heaters > 5 MMBtu/hr
    • Lower NOx emissions from various boiler, steam generator, process heaters 2 to 5 MMBtu/hr
    • Install ultra-low NOx flare technology and require additional flare minimization practices
    • Lower NOx emissions from various non-agricultural engine categories
    • Replace 74,912 heavy heavy-duty trucks with upcoming 0.02 g/bhp-hr ultra-low NOx trucks that are 90% cleaner than 2010 trucks recently required by ARB’s Truck and Bus Regulation
    • Replace 110,000 medium heavy-duty trucks with upcoming 0.02 g/bhphr ultra-low NOx trucks that are 90% cleaner than 2010 trucks recently required by ARB’s Truck and Bus Regulation
    • Replace 102,936 light heavy-duty trucks with upcoming 0.02 g/bhp-hr ultra-low NOx trucks that are 90% cleaner than 2010 trucks recently required by ARB’s Truck and Bus Regulation
    • Install 2,622 natural gas fueling stations for deployment of 0.02 g/bhp-hr ultra-low NOx heavy duty trucks
    • Replace 320,000 passenger vehicles with zero-emission vehicles
    • Replace 76 locomotives with new Tier 4 locomotives

     

    The price tag for all of these measures, which the District says need to be done by 2019?  More than $51 billion!  The District staff laid this out today to the Governing Board stating their back is up against the wall, but realizes the above listed measures are too costly and impractical to achieve without incentive monies.  Unfortunately, the District will face federal sanctions unless they can get into attainment of the PM2.5 standard by 2019.  CCGGA President/CEO Roger Isom testified before the Governing Board on the issue stating that the almond harvesting and CMP modifications have not yet been proven to reduce PM2.5 emissions and further research is needed.  Isom also expressed concerns with rising electricity prices that may dissuade farmers from switching from diesel to electric, and encouraged the District to help on that particular issue.  Later in the same meeting, the District brought up but did not adopt such “draconian measures” as “no farm days”, “no construction days” and “no drive days” where Interstate 5 and Highway 99 would be shut down.  Again, the District was trying to state the seriousness of the issue while placing boundaries on what can and cannot be done.  The District will have to adopt their PM2.5 plan demonstrating attainment by August of this year.

  • Air District Receives Nearly $6 Million in Federal Grant Funding

    The Valley Air District will augment its highly successful grant program with an additional nearly $6 million in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) funding to replace old agricultural tractors and dirty residential wood burning devices.  “Grant funds such as these recognize the hard work and sacrifice being made by Valley farmers, businesses and residents to expedite emission reductions in the San Joaquin Valley,” stated Seyed Sadredin, Executive Director and Air Pollution Control Officer of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. “With these funds the EPA is acknowledging the unique challenges of the Valley and providing much needed financial assistance.”  The nearly $6 million in funding being announced today is from two federal grant programs; the Targeted Air Shed Grant Program and the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) Grant Program.  “With this financial assistance, EPA and San Joaquin Valley farmers are working together to improve air quality and promote the use of clean, cutting-edge tractors,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. An additional $2,483,607 of the Targeted Air Shed Grant Program funding will be spent on replacing approximately 187 agricultural tractors under the District’s very successful Tractor Replacement Program. This funding will reduce an estimated 699 tons of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions and 139 tons of PM emissions over the project lifetime of 10 years.  The District also received an additional $1 million from the DERA program.  The $1 million will fund the replacement of approximately 75 agricultural tractors and is estimated to reduce 169 tons of NOx emissions and 28 tons of PM emissions over the project lifetime of 10 years.  The Association was also recognized for its contributions and assistance in the funding effort at a press conference at the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District today.

  • Air Resources Board Conducts Workshop on PM2.5 SIP – Ag called on to do more!

    Yesterday, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) held a workshop in Fresno on the PM2.5 State Implementation Plan (SIP) for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD).  And as we warned a few weeks ago, agriculture is being called on to do more.  Agriculture is being looked at for additional emission reductions from the following categories:

    • Ag Tractor Rule – replace ag tractors and harvesters (particularly almond harvesting equipment) for both NOx and PM2.5 reductions
    • More stringent engine standards for agricultural pump engines (beyond tier 4 and cleaner natural gas engines)
    • A new low-NOx standard for heavy-duty diesel trucks (beyond ARB’s current Truck Rule)
    • Alternatives for ag burning
    • Additional Conservation Management Practices (CMPs)
    • Additional restrictions under Regulation VIII for fugitive dust

    The Association was the only agricultural group in attendance, represented by President/CEO Roger A. Isom and Director of Technical Services Christopher McGlothlin.  Isom also testified at the meeting reporting that incentives are absolutely critical and necessary for the agricultural community due to their inability to pass along the additional costs.  Isom further commented that USDA NRCS already had a program to incentivize the low emission nut harvesting equipment and that the Association is working to develop a similar program with the Air District.  In addition, the Association also pointed to significant research performed recently to more accurately determine PM2.5 emissions from agricultural operations and that data showed that PM2.5 emissions from almond harvesting equipment, cotton gins and other operations are insignificant.  Additional workshops and meetings will occur in January and February.

  • Air Resources Board Looking to Require LSI Equipment Reports

    Large Spark Ignition (LSI) equipment registration is being revisited by the Air Resource Board.  ARB held a workshop at the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to present proposed regulations regarding forklifts and other LSI equipment.  The main focus of the proposed regulation is focused on the governor’s order to reduce fuel usage by 40% by 2030, as well as Cal EPA’s new air standard of .065 ppm.  The plan includes the promotion of electric forklifts and other non-fossil equipment to help attain the EPA standard.  A major component of the proposed regulation is to include mandatory LSI equipment registration, which would include the total number of hours of use during the year.  With that information, ARB would be able to calculate the amount of emissions that are being given off by conventional gasoline/diesel powered equipment.  To report the hours of use, ARB hopes that it can be set up on the same reporting system as the Diesel Off-road On-line Reporting System (DOORS) that is required for all diesel trucks.  The details of the proposed regulations are still being developed and there is still time to find exemptions that Ag will be able to take advantage of.  We will keep you updated when more information becomes available.

  • Air Resources Board Releases SLCP Proposed Strategy

    Earlier this month, California Air Resources Board released a Proposed Strategy to address Short-Lived Climate Pollutants.  This proposed strategy aims to reduce emissions for pollutants that do have a shorter lifespan in the atmosphere, but have the potential to heat that atmosphere exponentially higher than what CO2 can.  Some of the mitigation measures presented in the package by ARB include diversion of material from landfills, incentive investment in smaller communities, and a focus on the development of technology that could lower SLCP emissions.  There are 3 major SLCP’s that are the focus of ARB in this proposed order.  Black Carbon is the particulate matter generated by the burning of fuels, Methane is also a major contributor to SLCP’s, and fluorinated gases are considered one of the heaviest polluters in the SLCP inventory.  Black Carbon is also represented in the Ag industry through the use of combustible on-road and off-road equipment.  Methane is a major focus for the dairy industry, whereas fluorinated gases are a major concern for commodity groups throughout the state that utilize refrigeration transportation to ship and store their products.

    The Association has been engaged with California Air Resources Board throughout their drafting process.  The Association has taken the opportunity to comment on the Proposed Strategy on several occasions, through written submissions as well as testimony during workshops.  One of the key points that the Association has lobbied for is the continued inflow of incentive funding to help replace older equipment, to newer and cleaner technologies.  Incentive money dedicated to the Central Valley has already helped exceed expected emissions reductions tremendously.  Incentive funding also goes towards replacing older refrigeration systems (fluorinated gas systems) and replacing them with newer, lower emitting systems.  The Association has also pointed out that reductions efforts could be greater if biomass and co-generation plants remained operational.  The lack of facilities have left growers with few answers on how to deal with removed orchards and vineyards, and one of the only solutions is to allow temporary burning of the material. Another point made by the Association focused on the overregulation of permitting on site composting operations.  In order to compost on one’s own property, an applicant is required to obtain 4 separate permits from 4 different government agencies.  The Association hopes to achieve a more streamlined approach to applying for a composting permit and contributing to the State of California’s Healthy Soils Initiative.  Stay tuned for more updates.

  • AMENDMENTS TO SICK LEAVE LAW CURE SOME ILLS, NOT OTHERS

    saqui1

    Written by: Carl Larson

    Category: General Legal Updates

    The long-awaited amendments to the paid sick leave (“PSL”) law have arrived. They make a good number of clarifications, change calculations of sick pay, provide a grandfather clause for pre-existing PTO plans, and lays out how it affects certain state employees. Although the amendments still do not explain how the “24 hours or 3 days of sick leave” translates for employees working 10 hour regular shifts, it is a welcome change from the previous version of the law.
    A breakdown of the changes is as follows:
    Qualification
    Threshold qualification for leave is now employment in California for the same employer for 30 or more days within a year from the commencement of employment.
    Broadens the construction exclusion to include construction work not performed onsite.
    Excludes retired annuitants of public entities from the PSL law.
    Accrual Basis
    Allows for accrual on any period basis so long as it is a regular basis and will result in at least 24 hours or 3 days of sick leave available by the 120th calendar day of employment.
    No longer limited to using basis of 1 PSL hour accrued for every 30 hours worked.
    Can be by pay period or other regularly occurring period of time.
    Frontload
    Frontloaded sick days are allowed to be provided for each year of employment, calendar year, or 12 month period.
    Use of Sick Leave
    Allows employers to limit the use of sick leave to 3 days or 24 hours in each year of employment,calendar year, or a 12 month period.
    Payment of Sick Leave
    Allows three methods of calculating how sick leave is paid and clarifies the formulas regardless of whether the employee has different hourly rates, or is paid by commission or piece rate.
    For non-exempt employees:
    Method 1: PSL pay is calculated based on regular rate of pay during the workweek in which the employee uses paid sick time whether or not the employee actually works overtime in that workweek.
    Method 2: PSL pay is calculated by dividing the employee’s total wages, not including overtime, by the total number of hours worked in the full pay periods of the prior 90 days of employment.
    For exempt employees:
    Method 3: Paid sick time is calculated in the same manner as the employer calculates wages for other forms of paid leave time.
    Employee Reinstatement
    Makes clear that an employer who rehires an employee within 12 months of separation is not required to reinstate any paid time off that was cashed out.
    Tracking of Sick Leave
    Allows employers with unlimited leave policies to indicate “unlimited” on the wage statement.
    Makes clear the employer has no obligation to inquire into purposes of sick leave.
    PTO Compliance Method
    Employers who provide a paid time off (“PTO”) or other paid leave policy (not limited to sick leave) that provides an amount of leave that can be used for the same purposes under the same conditions, do not need to provide additional sick days under the PSL law if:
    It satisfies the accrual, carry over, and use requirements of the PSL law listed above.
    OR
    It satisfies the new grandfather clause:
    An employer provided paid sick leave before January 1, 2015 pursuant to a sick leave or PTO policy on any regular accrual basis that resulted in at least 1 day or 8 hours of leave within the first three months of employment of each calendar year or 12 month period and the employee was eligible to earn at least 3 days or 24 hours within 9 months of employment. If the plan is modified from the one in place Jan 1, 2015, then it must comply with the new PSL law requirements.
    State Employees
    For state employees, leave provided pursuant to specified sections of the government code covering leave or as part of a memorandum of understanding will satisfy the requirements of the paid sick leave law.
    Notice Requirements
    Delays the notice of PSL rights requirement for employers covered under wage order 11 and 12 to Jan 21, 2016.
    ___________________________________________________________________________
    Counsel to Management:
    The new amendments provide a great deal more flexibility in crafting a PSL plan that complies with the law. It will also ease some of the administrative burden of implementing these policies. Check with the experts at the Saqui Law Group to be certain your existing policy complies, and is still meeting your needs.

  • American Pima Standards Matching Event July 10th

    Please join us to review, comment, and approve the six guide boxes of the 2018 American Pima Grade Standards on July 10 @ 9am at the Visalia Classing Office. Once approved, the guide boxes will be used as the reference to match all of the 2018 American Pima Grade Standards.

    Industry participation is key to this process and we hope you all can come and be a part of this important annual event.

    For additional information please contact:

    Greg Townsend, Area Director
    Email: gregtownsend@ams.usda.gov
    Visalia Classing Office
    7100 West Sunnyview Avenue
    Visalia, CA 93291
    Phone: (559) 651-3015

    Jimmy Knowlton, Director
    Email: james.knowlton@ams.usda.gov
    Standardization Division
    3275 Appling Road
    Memphis, TN 38133
    Phone: (901) 384-3030

  • Announcement of Employment Opportunity

    Director of Regulatory Affairs

    Announcement Date: January 19, 2015
    Application Deadline: February 27, 2015
    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations (CCGGA) and the Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) are seeking Director of Regulatory Affairs. This position is slated to begin Monday, March 23rd, 2015.
    This position is an entry level position, but the Association will consider applicants with experience in the Association’s areas of interest. This position is a full time, exempt employee status position that will report to the President/CEO.
    Primary Responsibilities:
    • Provide support and analysis on regulatory and legislative issues related to air quality, water quality, worker safety, food safety, pesticides, labor, taxes and how they affect the cotton and tree nut industries
    • Provide administrative support for day to day operations and duties, as well as industry meetings, Association meetings and membership relations and development
    • Provide support for the industry information and outreach including the Associations’ website and social media sites (Linked In)
    Qualifications and Requirements:
    • Bachelors degree from an accredited university with major in agriculture, business, safety, engineering, environment or political science
    • Ability to work independently and as a team member
    • Ability to accomplish tasks w/ minimal supervision
    • Good customer service skills
    • Effective communicator and planner
    • Ability to set priorities and work on multiple tasks
    • Ability to travel 20% of the time within state and 2% of the time within US
    • Proficient in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access & Outlook)
    Compensation will include a competitive salary, paid vacation and sick leave, medical and dental benefits, as well as an employer funded retirement program. More details are available by contacting Roger Isom at (559)252-0684 or email at roger@ccgga.org.
    Interested individual should mail their resume with a letter explaining their interest to:
    Roger A. Isom
    CCGGA/WAPA
    1785 N. Fine Avenue
    Fresno, CA 93727

    Job Description_Director of Regulatory Affairs

    Association Description – CCGGA

  • Annual Air Resource Board Truck Registration Due

    January is upon us, and while it is time to celebrate the coming of a new year, it also means that vehicle fleets must be registered or updated with the Air Resources Board (ARB).  If you are familiar with registering your trucks through the Truck and Bus Reporting System, you will be pleasantly surprised with their newly designed reporting website.  If you are unfamiliar with the system, ARB requires that vehicle fleets be reported through their website.   The information needed for reporting includes vehicle make and model, vehicle model year, vehicle type, VIN number, and family name of the vehicle.  The purpose of the website is to report annual mileage for vehicles used at a specific operation.  Agriculture has several exemptions available through the program, including: Ag Mileage Extensions, Ag Specialty Vehicles, Low Mileage Work Truck, and Low-Use Non Operational Vehicles.  There are restrictions to the number of vehicles, or number of miles specific vehicles, can be registered under specific exemptions.  The Ag Mileage Extension only allows for 5 vehicles to be registered under that exemption, and Low Use Non-Op vehicles are only allowed to travel a couple hundred miles every year at the maximum.

    Vehicle fleet registration/update is due by January 31st, so there is plenty of time to get your vehicles updated.  If you have any questions with reporting, or would like help getting your vehicles registered, please feel free to contact Director of Technical Services, Chris McGlothlin, at chris@ccgga.org , or give us a call at (559) 252-0684.

  • ARB Approves Spending Plan for Agricultural Equipment

    The culmination of tough legislation, and six months of negotiations resulted in the approval of $135 million for agricultural equipment in California.  This momentous event occurred at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) hearing in Riverside this past week. This funding will replace ag tractors and harvesters, ag trucks and ag irrigation pump engines.  This is critical because the California Air Resources Board is forced to consider mandatory tractor replacement regulations in the San Joaquin Valley, due to the imposition of incredibly restrictive federal ambient air quality standards.  Without federal action to delay those standards, CARB is obligated to consider all potential measures, including a mandatory tractor replacement rule, such as those already being implemented on trucks and construction equipment.  The Association pushed for this funding, as it is the only way agriculture can comply without being forced out of business.  At the hearing, Association President/CEO Roger Isom stated “the problem with agriculture is that we have no way to pass along the cost.” The funding plan was approved unanimously and money should start flowing to the air districts in the late spring.

  • ARB Holds Hearing on PM2.5 Plan – Association Continues Fight

    While activists outnumbered agricultural representatives 10 to 1, the Association yet again spoke out against the mandate to tractors, harvesters and pump engines at the California Air Resources Board Hearing this week in Sacramento on the State Implementation Plan (SIP) for attaining the PM2.5 Standard.  Once again, Association President/CEO Roger Isom testified before the Board to ensure agriculture’s accomplishments were recognized.  The plan will have a hearing In August or September, but CARB demanded an update from staff on the development of the plan and what will be included.  The Association, along with the Nisei Farmers League, were the only ag organizations to testify at the hearing where environmental advocates and some ARB board members called for a mandatory farm equipment and harvester replacement rule.  Isom highlighted the 12.65 tons of NOx reductions already obtained on a voluntary basis through the NRCS EQIP program and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s Ag Equipment Incentive Program.

  • ARB holds Truck and Bus Regulation Workshop

    WAPA attended ARB’s presentation today regarding their proposed amendments to the Truck and Bus Regulation. Agenda items included overview of the current rule, the new proposed amendments, and a chance for stakeholders to voice their concerns. The meeting was extremely well attended with over 70 concerned individuals in attendance. WAPA’s President, Roger Isom testified at the workshop noting troubles with the diesel particulate filters and proposed several changes to the current regulation. Isom’s proposed changes to ARB staff included extending the sign up period for compliance extension, extending compliance dates for Ag categories, and extending the trade up program from 2014 to 2018.

    In conjunction with the meeting was the deadline for Prop 1B funding through the SJV Air Pollution Control District that helps owners by replacing older trucks or engines.

    More information about the Truck and Bus Regulation is available on ARB’s website: www.arb.ca.gov/dieseltruck. Questions regarding reporting can be directed to trucrs@arb.ca.gov. Lastly, questions regarding the regulation and compliance can be answer at ARB’s hotline at 866-6-DIEDEL or through email at 8666diesel@arb.ca.gov.

  • ARB Rejects SJVAPCD PM2.5 Plan – Ag Better Pay Attention

    The California Air Resources Board yesterday sent the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s PM2.5 Plan back to them for further work, stating it didn’t go far enough.  The PM2.5 plan contains measures on how the District will achieve attainment of the Federal PM2.5 standard.  While the CARB staff had initially proposed approval of the plan, Chairwoman Mary Nichols expressed concerns that this simply delayed the process and asked if this was all that could be done.  At that point CARB staff commented that they did not feel that enough had been done.  Specifically, they indicated that a more thorough review was necessary and that a deeper look into all combustion sources, including farm equipment should be looked at.  Also, CARB staff indicated that more could be done to look at sources of fugitive dust, including agriculture.

    Environmental activist groups showed up in force, outnumbering industry groups by more than 4 to 1.  Association President/CEO Roger Isom was one of only 2 speakers to testify on behalf of agriculture.  Isom stated that everything that could be done, is being done.  Isom further commented that incentives are the one and only way to achieve the goals that CARB wants from this plan, and that more funds are needed.  The environmental activist groups criticized the plan and the District for lack of workshops, failure to include more measures on agricultural fugitive dust and a failure by CARB to adopt a farm equipment regulation.

    The final vote by the board sent the plan back to the SJVAPCD for a rewrite and demanded that additional workshops be held on the proposed plan to review all possible measures.  For the agricultural community this means that the state will take another look at adopting a mandatory replacement farm equipment regulation and the District will have to look at strengthening the Conservation Management Practice (CMP) Rule.  The District will have approximately 90 days to review and revise the plan, along with ARB staff, and then bring it back to the board for consideration in February.

  • 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.

  • Asm. Blanca Rubio Tours Cotton Gin

    California Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio (D-48) joined the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association and other members of the Agricultural President’s Council on a day long tour of agriculture in the Central San Joaquin Valley. Rubio, who represents areas including Baldwin Park, Covina, Glendora and Azsu, had the opportunity to visit Dos Palos Coop Red Top Gin, The Specialty Crop Company, Fowler Packing as well as Minturn Huller Coop. The Assemblywoman was joined by Association President/CEO Roger Isom, Director of Technical Services Chris McGlothlin and Director of Regulatory Affairs Jodi Raley. The primary issues discussed were water availability, necessary oversight from legislature over regulatory agencies, along with discussing the impacts operations are beginning to feel from the ag overtime and minimum wage bills. The Association looks forward to building our relationship with this Assemblywoman and future opportunities to bring southern California representatives to the Valley!

  • 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.

  • Assemblyman Low Visits Cotton Gin

    This past week, the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations (CCGGA) brought Assemblyman Evan Low (28th Assembly District) to Dos Palos Coop, a cotton gin near Dos Palos.  The visit was part of a tour by the Agricultural Presidents’ Council (APC).  Gin Manager Mike Davis was the site host where Assemblyman Low saw first-hand how upland and pima cotton are ginned.  Assemblyman Low saw both a saw gin and a roller gin.  Many topics were discussed including increased automation due to the impact of the increase in minimum wage and the overwhelming regulatory pressures faced by industry.  Assemblyman Low represents the 28th Assembly District, located in the Bay Area and representing such cities such as Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Monte Soreno, San Jose and Saratoga.  The tour is part of the Association’s continuing effort to inform and educate urban legislators on the challenges of operating and doing business in California.  Other sites visited included an almond processor, dairy processor and a tomato processing plant.  Representing CCGGA on the tour was President/CEO Roger Isom.
    img_0688

  • Assemblyman Mathis Tour Gin and Farm

    The Association hosted a tour this past week for Assemblyman Devon Mathis of the 26th Assembly District.  The Assemblyman represents Inyo County and large parts of Tulare and Kern Counties, including the cities of Bakersfield, Delano, Dinuba, Hanford, Lindsay, Tulare, Porterville and Visalia.  On this trip, the Assemblyman visited a cotton field, and cotton gin with Association Board Member Stan Creelman, of Mid Valley Cotton Growers, and met with Growers Association Chairman Steve Wilbur at his cotton field southwest of Tulare.  Water and regulatory impacts were among the topics covered and the Assembly even had an opportunity to ride in the cotton picker.  Assemblyman Mathis is the Vice chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee and also sits on the Agriculture, Aging and Long Term Care, and Water, Parks and Wildlife Committees.  Accompanying the Assemblyman on the tour were the Association’s President/CEO Roger Isom.

    Gin Manager Stan Creelman discussing cotton quality with Assemblyman Mathis

    Gin Manager Stan Creelman discussing cotton quality with Assemblyman Mathis

     

  • Assemblyman Quirk Visits the Valley

    The Association hosted Assemblyman Bill Quirk on a tour of the farm of California Cotton Growers Association Director Cannon Michael of Bowles Farming and with California Cotton Ginners Association Director Mike Davis of Dos Palos Cooperative Gin.  Assemblyman Quirk represents the 20th Assembly District which covers the communities of Hayward, Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, Fremont, Pleasanton, San Lorenzo, Sunsol and Union City.   Assemblyman Quirk is a very active legislator as he is the Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, and also sits on the Agriculture, Appropriations, Revenue and Taxation Committees, as well as the Utilities and Commerce Committee.  Accompanying the Assemblyman from the Association was President/CEO Roger Isom and Director of Technical Services Christopher McGlothlin.  This is part of the ongoing effort of the Association to reach out to urban legislators to educate and inform them on the critical issues facing the cotton industry.

    chris pic

  • Association Announces Election Results and New Chairman

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association is pleased to announce that Tom Gaffney, of the J.G. Boswell Company has been named Chairman of the Association’s Board of Directors.  Gaffney succeeds outgoing Chairman Phil Hansen, of Hansen Ranches.  The Association would like to recognize Hansen for his outstanding service to the Association, especially during the critical time of merging the Ginners and Growers Associations into one organization.  President/CEO Roger Isom stated “Phil was a true asset to the Association during this transition, and the cotton industry in California owes a debt of gratitude for his leadership and service during this time.  During his time at the helm, Chairman Hansen led this Association in addressing critical issues like sticky cotton, the Association’s Section 18 for Transform, as well as the many regulatory and legislative issues we faced.  He also served as the face of the California Cotton Industry during his tenure speaking at critical events in support of FFA and the construction of Temperance Flat Reservoir.”  Also appointed were 1st Vice Chair, Bryan Bone of Buttonwillow; 2nd Vice Chair, Mike Davis of Dos Palos Coop; and Secretary/Treasurer Gary Martin of Firebaugh.  Re-elected to the board were the following Ginners: Tom Gaffney, J.G. Boswell Company; Greg Gillard, Olam Cotton; Tom Pires, West Island Cotton Growers; and Mason Otten, Semi Tropic Cooperative Gin.  The following Growers were re-elected: Kings County: Jim Razor, J.G. Boswell Company; and Phil Hansen, Hansen Ranches; and Southern California: Tim Cox.  Newly elected to the Board of Directors was Kings County Grower Geoff Toledo of Hanford.  Sam Carreiro, of Kings County was appointed as an Advisor to the board.  All board member positions are three year terms, while officers serve in those positions for two years.

  • Association Co-Hosts Ag Tour

    esajian The Association co-hosted a special tour for Richard Corey, Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Alberto Ayala, Deputy Executive Office of CARB, along with some CARB and SJVAPCD staff. The focus of the tour was to introduce the Executive Officers to agricultural equipment and the issues facing the industry with regards to incentive programs and potential regulations. The two day tour covered many different crops and areas of the valley in an attempt to educate the agency on the vast difference in equipment, cameronthe types of specialty equipment that is used in agriculture and the unique challenges facing agriculture including the devastating drought situation. The tour included visits to the operations of CCGGA members Gary Esajian, Bob Wilson, and Don Cameron. The types of agricultural operations visited included citrus groves, stone fruit orchards and packing house, a corn silage field and dairy, cattle feedlot, almond orchards, tomato field, onion and bell pepper fields and a cantaloupe field. Cooperating organizations in the tour included California Citrus Mutual, California Grape and Tree Fruit League, the Nisei Farmers League and the Milk Producers Council.

  • Association Co-Hosts Assemblyman Frank Bigelow

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations (CCGGA) co-hosted Assemblyman Frank Bigelow (5th Assembly District) at the Association Offices in Fresno this past week.  Issues discussed include increased regulatory burden and the regulatory environment in general, the critical biomass disaster, pesticide issues and the California political landscape.  Assemblyman Bigelow has been a longtime friend to agriculture and it was a great opportunity to visit with the Assemblyman and farmer!  Representing the Association at this event were President/CEO Roger Isom, Director of Technical Services Christopher McGlothlin and Director of Regulatory Affairs Jodi Raley.  Co-hosting the event were the Western Agricultural Processors Association, California Citrus Mutual, California Fresh Fruit Association, the Nisei Farmers League, Western Plant Health Association, California Dairies Incorporated and Allied Grape Growers.

    Assemblyman Frank Bigelow with President/CEO Roger Isom

    Assemblyman Frank Bigelow with President/CEO Roger Isom

  • Association Co-Hosts Meeting With Assemblyman Jim Patterson

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations (CCGGA) hosted a meeting with Assemblyman Jim Patterson of the 23rd Assembly District at the Association offices in Fresno today.  Key issues discussed included the biomass facility closure issue, water, labor issues and the State Water Board’s effort to completely redo the Irrigated Lands Program.  Assemblyman Patterson is Vice Chairman on Labor and Employment Committee, Vice Chairman on the Utilities and Commerce Committee and sits on the Budget Subcommittes #3 and #6, one of which oversees the budget for the State Water Resources Control Board.  Participating in the meeting were the Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA), California Citrus Mutual, California Fresh Fruit Association and the South Valley Water Association.

    Talking water issues with Assemblyman Jim Patterson

    Talking water issues with Assemblyman Jim Patterson

     

  • Association Continues Effort to Fix FSMA for Cotton Gins in DC

    The Association traveled back to Washington, DC this week to meet with FDA officials and Congressional representatives on the primary issue of how Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations on animal feed will apply to cotton gins.  Representing the Association in those meetings were Priscilla Rodriguez, WAPA Director of Food Safety, and Roger Isom, CCGGA/WAPA President/CEO.  As has been stated in the past, there are a couple of issues that remain with the applicability of the Preventive Controls Rule for Animal Feed for cotton gins, based on ownership.  FDA has acknowledged there is no difference in risk based on where the cotton is ginned; however, they refer back to the ownership of the cotton when determining applicability, which is of major concern.  Most gins would be exempt based on ownership, but some would fall under the Preventive Controls Rule for Animal Food.  FDA has acknowledged the issue and committed to future rulemaking to address the definition of a farm in order to address ownership issues; however, it is has been several months since they made the announcement at the National Cotton Council Annual Meeting in Fort Worth.  Most recently, Dr. James Gorny, FDA, announced at WAPA’s 2018 Annual Meeting that he expected something out in the spring of 2019.  In this week’s meeting with FDA, it appears to be more likely to be in the summer of 2019 or later.  FDA is concerned with unintended consequences and wants to make sure they don’t cause other problems in trying to solve this particular one.  The Association is concerned with inconsistent applicability of the regulations to operations that are exactly the same except for ownership.  The Association then spent a day in the Capitol meeting with several congressional offices to discuss the issue, including meeting with Congressman David Valadao and Devin Nunes on the matter.  Stay tuned!

  • Association Continues Effort to Prevent Sticky Cotton

    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 ProgramGreg 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

     

    UCCE State Cotton Specialist Bob Hutmacher leads panel of PCAs discussing sticky cotton

  • Association Continues Work for Electric ATV Incentive Program

    Last month the Association, in working with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD), solicited potential participants for an Electric ATV Incentive Program, in which the SJVAPCD would pay 75% of the cost of an electric ATV to replace old fuel fired ATVs. The list of participants was submitted with the District’s application for funding and the funds are anticipated to be approved next month with the hopes of issuing vouchers for the replacements at the beginning of 2018. The Association continues to see this project through. President/CEO Roger Isom, Director of Technical Services Chris McGlothlin and Director of Regulatory Affairs Jodi Raley met with an ATV dealer to learn more about how electric ATVs operate and the feasibility of electric equipment on a farming operation. After lengthy discussion and a demo, it seems incredibly promising! We will continue to be engaged in seeing this program come to fruition so stay tuned!

     

  • Association Hosts Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski

    Assemblyman Wieckowski discussing drought with Ginners Association Chairman Greg Gillard and almond/cotton grower Mike O’Banion

    The Association hosted Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (25th Assembly District – Fremont) for a tour and meeting with agricultural organization leaders, including California Citrus Mutual, California Fresh Fruit Association, Nisei Farmers League, Western Plant Health Association, California Rice Commission, California Dairies Inc. and the Raisin Bargaining Association.  The day began with a visit to Firebaugh area almond and cotton grower Mike O’Banion to discuss the impact of the drought and lack of surface water in California.  Representing the Association on the tour were President/CEO Roger Isom and Director of Technical Services Christopher McGlothlin.  The group then visited Olam’s Silver Creek Gins.  After that the group returned to the Association’s offices for a lunch and meeting with the participating agricultural groups.  The tour and meeting was part of the Association’s ongoing effort to reach out to urban legislators to educate them on the critical issues impacting agriculture in the state.

  • Association Keeps Pressure on Increasing SWRCB Fees

    In response to a proposed 27% increase in Irrigated Lands (ILRP) fees and a 7% increase in Waste Discharge (WDR) fees, the Association has been meeting with Assembly and Senate Budget Subcommittee members who will review the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) proposed budgets next week.  Association President/CEO Roger Isom has been walking the halls on the issue highlighting the shift of program cost burden from the General Fund to permit holders such as farms and processors.  In particular, the Association has pointed out the problem with assessing the cost burden of programs such as beach cleanup and monitoring, TMDL and Basin Plan amendments on these two sources.  The Association has also gone to great detail to identify concerns with the sheer cost of the WDR permit as compared to other environmental permits including air pollution permits.  Currently, WDR permits typically cost more than 2 ½ times the air quality permits.  With the looming budget hearings, the Association will remain vigilant in fighting these proposed fee increases.

  • Association Lone Opposition to Fee Increase by SJVAPCD

    The Association testified this past week in opposition to a proposed increase in fees to permit holders in the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD).  The SJVAPCD is proposing a 4.8% increase in 2018/2019 and a 4.6% increase I 2019/2020.   This will affect permit application fees, permit renewal fees and permit processing fees.  The SJVAPCD held fast to their claim to have the lowest fees of any of the large air districts, and to have the most cost effective permitting program among all air districts as evidenced through independent audits.  The Association was the only organization to speak in opposition to the proposed fees increases at a workshop held this week.  Association President/CEO Roger Isom recognized the District’s efforts to streamline their programs, but questioned the District on several aspects of their proposal.  First, Isom pointed out that while SJVAPCD fees might be lower compared to large air districts like the South Coast and Bay Area Air Quality Management Districts, they are significantly higher than all of the rural districts like the Yolo/Solano, Feather River and Mojave Desert Air Quality Management Districts and all of the County Air Pollution Control Districts in the Sacramento Valley.  Isom also pointed out that the SJVAPCD had the highest hourly permit processing rate amongst the rural districts, and the second highest permit renewal fee.  Isom further pointed out that this fee increase follows the last fee increase by the SJVAPCD in 2016, less than two (2) years ago!  Finally, Isom simply stated “Our members are being Fee’d to death.  We cannot pass along the cost, and every agency wants to keep increasing their fees.  While we appreciate the District’s efforts to minimize the fee increase, enough is enough!”

  • Association Meets with ARB on Proposed Forklift and TRU Regulations

    Association President/CEO Roger Isom and Director of Regulatory Affairs Jodi Raley attended a meeting with the California Air Resources Board today on the proposed next versions of the Large Spark Ignited (LSI) Regulation, which regulates forklifts and floor sweepers/scrubbers, and the Transportation Refrigeration Unit (TRU) Regulation. The first steps in this process is to “survey” the industry, and the Association reviewed and commented on the proposed survey and how it would be carried out for cotton gins. Following this meeting, the Association will be conducting a survey for the industry that will be used to help formulate the rule. This was conducted in the original forklift rulemaking and one of the reasons the ag provisions of the forklift rule where much more lenient than the general business requirements. It is this level of involvement in the process that will hopefully provide the best outcome possible given the state’s air quality issues.

    forklift 1

  • 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. 

     

     

  • Association Opposes Cal/OSHA Indoor Heat Stress Regulation

    The Association joined several other agricultural organizations in submitting written comments opposing CalOSHA’s proposed “Heat Illness Prevention in Indoor Places of Employment” standard.  Last year, the legislature in its infinite wisdom decided it was necessary for California to not only be the only state with an outdoor heat illness regulation, they passed legislation to mandate the Cal/OSHA adopt an “indoor heat illness” regulation.  Accordingly, Cal/OSHA has now drafted and released a proposed standard entitled Heat Illness Prevention in Indoor Places of Employment.  If enacted, the proposed standard would require employers to conduct the following:

    • Establish, implement and maintain an effective heat illness prevention plan for “indoor heat illness”
    • Measure the wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT)
    • Identify each individual employee’s work activity levels and clothing adjustment factors
    • Conduct heat stress hazard assessment of all facilities
    • Provide access to potable drinking water
    • Provide for preventative cool-down rest periods of no less than 5 minutes
    • Establish effective first-aid and emergency response procedures for responding to possible heat illness
    • Provide engineering controls to reduce employee exposures to reduce heat stress including but not limited to: isolation of hot processes or work areas, shielding of radiant heat sources, insulating hot objects, and local exhaust ventilation
    • Provide administrative controls including but not limit to: reduced activity levels, work-rest schedules and cooled rest areas
    • Remind employees throughout the work shift to drink plenty of water
    • Conduct pre-shift meetings to review high heat procedures
    • Make personal protective equipment, such as water-cooled garments, air-cooled garments, ice-packet vests, wetted over-garments and heat-reflective clothing available to employees exposed to high heat sources
    • Keep records of heat stress hazard assessments and trainings

    The Association has reviewed the proposed standard and attended the recent workshop held in Oakland on the proposed standard.  Based upon that review we have serious concerns with the proposed regulations and the impact they could have on agricultural operations, including tree nut farms, hullers and processors.  We feel strongly that the proposed standard is not warranted or justified in the agricultural industry, is overly cumbersome and too complicated and costly to implement.

  • Association Opposes Proposed Indoor Heat Illness Standard – Again!

    Once again, the Association voiced its opposition to CalOSHA’s proposed Indoor Heat Illness Regulation.  President/CEO Roger Isom spoke at the most recent CalOSHA workshop in Oakland expressing our opposition to not only the proposed standard but also to opening up the existing outdoor heat illness standard.  But as has occurred on numerous occasions, CalOSHA allowed the workshop to be overrun by labor activists espousing accusations and unsubstantiated claims of employers not providing water and/or breaks to employees allegedly suffering heat illness.  Furthermore, the labor groups also voiced their opposition to the proposed standard saying it did not go far enough, including asking for a temperature threshold of 70 degrees Fahrenheit!  This is the third draft of the proposed regulation which was mandated by the California State Legislature.  This effort was precipitated by a single case that stemmed from a 2012 serious citation issued to a warehouse and distribution center for the heat illness suffered by an employee who was working inside a metal freight container with a temperature of over 100 degrees.  In this latest draft, unfortunately, DOSH is not “limiting the applicability” and is including any and all employers with an indoor place of employment where the temperature is equal to or greater than 80 degrees.  This means farm shops, packing houses, hullers and processors would all be subject to the new regulations, even if they haven’t had a single incidence of heat illness.  These operations must provide access to water and a “cool-down area”.  The cool-down area must be open to the air or “provided with ventilation or cooling”.  A cool-down area must be provided when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and employees shall be allowed and encouraged to take a “preventative cool-down rest” in a cool-down area when they feel the need to do so.  We remain opposed and will continue to push CalOSHA to limit the applicability of this regulation to only those specific jobs where indoor heat illness has proven to be a significant health risk.

  • Association Participates in BDCP Meeting

    This past week, the Association participated in a meeting on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) with Karla Nemeth, Deputy Secretary for Water Policy at the California Natural Resources Agency.  The conversation focused on the recent changes announced by the administration, which now includes a plan to accelerate long-stalled Delta environmental projects, including critical habitat, wetlands and floodplain restoration, while fixing California’s aging water infrastructure system.  Included is focused project to conduct more than 30,000 acres of delta habitat restoration and protection on managed wetlands, floodplain and tidal and sub-tidal habitat, as well as aquatic, riparian and upland habitat projects.  The other update to the plan centered on two (2) 40 foot diameter tunnels to deliver 9,000 cubic feet per second of water through the delta, and providing levee protection.  Furthermore, the project would reinstate a more natural direction of river flows in the South Delta, and includes new criteria to protect spring outflow in the Bay, and to protect Sacramento River flows and fish.  Critical pieces include new state of the art fish screens, relocated and redesigned intake facilities.  Concerns expressed at the meeting included cost of the system to growers, actual water provided, and potential benefits of the system including lowered salinity levels of water delivered to farmers.  The Association was represented by President/CEO Roger Isom and Director of Regulatory Affairs Jodi Raley.

    Deputy Secretary Karla Nemeth listens to concerns from Ag on BDCP

    Deputy Secretary Karla Nemeth listens to concerns from Ag on BDCP

  • Association President/CEO Isom States: We Need “Real Water”

    At a special meeting of the California Water Commission (Commission) in Fresno this week, President/CEO Roger Isom testified that the outcome of this effort must produce “real water.”  The Commission held the “Water Storage Investment Program” meetings to provide an opportunity for stakeholders and the public to learn about the Commission’s Water Storage Investment Program.  In November 2014, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 1, the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014, affirming the need for a safe and reliable supply of water to support the state’s economy, environment, and quality of life.  The bond includes $2.7 billion for public benefits of water storage projects that improve the operation of the state water system, are cost effective, and provide measurable benefits to the Delta ecosystem or its tributaries.  The Commission, through the Water Storage Investment Program, will fund the public benefits of eligible water storage projects. The public meeting provided details on which projects are eligible for funding, the timeline for the program, and how to provide feedback on the program.  Several participants, ranging from farmers and farmworkers to irrigation districts and county supervisors and elected officials, made comments generally supporting the construction of Sites Reservoir in the Sacramento Valley and Temperance Flat Dam near Fresno.  Association President/CEO Isom urged for a comprehensive solution that includes the storage component to work towards solving all of our water problems.

    water

  • Association Pushes Back on 1 Mile Buffer Zone

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations (CCGGA) participated in a meeting of agricultural organizations the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) opposing the idea of a one mile buffer zone one pesticide and fumigation applications being pushed by pesticide activist groups including the United Farm Workers (UFW) and the Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA).  The concept of a one mile buffer zone on all pesticide and fumigation applications has been raised in recent months by the activists in the CDPR Initiative to address “Pesticides Use Near Schools”.  The UFW and PANNA have submitted several form letters and postcards.  To combat that effort, CCGGA along with the Western Agricultural Processors Association, the Nisei Farmers League, California Fresh Fruit Association, California Citrus Mutual, California Agricultural Aircraft Association, and the Western Plant Health Association met with CDPR Director Brian Leahy to express our frustration with the effort and call for CDPR to continue to use sound science when making regulatory decisions on buffer zones.  CCGGA President/CEO Roger Isom presented Director Leahy with over 500 agricultural industry letters from actual California farmers, processors and allied industry calling for CDPR to make policy decisions based on science.  If you haven’t sent in a letter, we strongly encourage you to do so.  The time is now for your voice to be heard!

  • Association Pushes Back on Plan to Replace 12,000 Tractors in Five Years

    This week, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) held a nighttime “community meeting” in Fresno to discuss the PM2.5 State Implementation Plan (SIP) for the San Joaquin Valley.  And what attendees heard was a repeat of an earlier meeting by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and not good news for agricultural interests.  At the Air District level, attendees learned that Tier 3 irrigation pump engines will now have to be replaced with Tier 4 engines or electric motors.  In addition, the Air District is going to tighten the Conservation Management Practices regulations to control fugitive dust from farms, specifically tightening restrictions on land preparation and how lands are fallowed.  On the State side, CARB confirmed the information released recently stating they will be regulating tractors and harvesters for the first time.  CARB is looking at replacing 12,000 tractors by the end of 2024!  While they will focus on the use of incentives first, it was made abundantly clear there will be a “drop dead date” by which older tractors and harvesters will have to be replaced.  The SIP relies upon at least $55 million per year in funding coming from Cap and Trade monies through 2024.  Speaking on the Industry Panel at the special meeting Association President/CEO Roger Isom said that while we appreciate the incentive approach, we have concerns with relying upon “yet unsecured funds” to replace 12,000 tractors by 2025. Isom also provided testimony opposing the fugitive dust and engines requirements.  The plan is expected to be adopted by the SJVAPCD in November and the ARB in December.

  • 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.

  • Association Speaks Out on PG&E Gas Rate Increase

    PG&E has proposed to increase its revenue requirement for natural gas over the next three years by over $2 billion! Association President/CEO Roger Isom (shown in picture) testified in opposition at a recent public hearing on the case before the Public Utilities Commission. These rate increases are proposed in the 2015 PG&E Gas Transmission and Storage Case (GT&S). PG&E contends this huge increase is necessary for PG&E to carry out all of the necessary pipeline enhancements and replacements in wake of the San Bruno explosions. Ratepayers are being asked to cover more than 75% of the cost with the remaining burden to be picked up by shareholders. The plan would increase rates as follows:

    • 2015: $572 million (80% increase over 2014)
    • 2016: $61 million additional (4.7% increase)
    • 2017: $168 million additional (12.5% increase)
    • Cumulative total = $2.006 billion increase!

    CCGGA/WAPA joined the California League of Food Processors as the only ag organizations testifying in opposition to the proposed rate increase which would be devastating to cotton gins, walnut huller/dehydrators, pistachio plants, almond roasters and other processing plants that utilize significant amounts of natural gas. CCGGA/WAPA will be working with the Ag Energy Consumers Association (AECA) to submit formal comments in the proceeding.

  • Association Supports Agricultural Equipment Trade-Up Program

    Association President/CEO Roger Isom testified this week at the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District Governing Board Meeting in support of the Air District’s proposed “Trade-Up Program”.  The new program would be funded by $500,000 in Cap & Trade Funds from the California Air Resources Board (CARB).  The money would be used to purchase new agricultural equipment (tractors and harvesters) to replace existing Tier 2 and Tier 3 agricultural equipment.  Then, rather than crushing the Tier 2/3 equipment, it would be provided free of charge to growers to replace existing Tier 0 equipment that might not otherwise be replaced due to financial constraints or limited use.  The Tier 2/3 tractors will be inspected and the Air District will spend up to an additional $5,000 to repair this equipment for use.  A big focus will be on harvesting equipment which tends to have a low use.   The new pilot program will go into effect later this summer, and the Association is already lining up growers and equipment for the pilot program.  If it is successful, it could lead to a more permanent program.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Association Testifies at Yet Another PM2.5 Workshop

    Association President/CEO Roger Isom provided testimony at today’s Public Advisory Workgroup (PAW) meeting on the PM2.5 State Implementation Plant (SIP) at the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD).  The 12th such workshop, which does include the four Air Resources Board (ARB) and SJVAPCD Board Briefings, was held to provide an update on the development of the SIP which will be considered and voted on by the SJVAPCD Governing Board in March of 2018 and by the ARB Board in April of 2018.  The Association has been present and testified at every single one.  Isom’s comments focused on the SJVAPCD’s proposal to electrify more ag pump engines, use incentive funds in “hot spots” areas for tractor and harvesters, as well as looking at new Conservation Management Practices (CMPs).  Isom also commented on the ARB’s proposal to have a tractor rule that would put forth a date by which tractors would have to be replaced with Tier 4 engines.   “Incentive funds are the only way agriculture can address a tractor replacement regulation.  We cannot pass along the cost, like other industries”.  With regards to the electrification issue, Isom commented that there needs to be a meeting of the agencies, including the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as the utilities are proposing to change their rates which would have a direct negative impact on further electrification.  Stay tuned as this issue continues to move towards Board adoption.

  • Association Testifies in Support of More Incentive Funds for Air Quality

    Association President/CEO Roger Isom testified before the Governing Board of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District in support of a collaborative effort to bring additional incentive funds to California for businesses throughout the state.  Incentive funds have been used by farmers and agricultural processing facilities for the past several years to replace irrigation pump engines, tractors, loaders, harvesters and trucks.  But there isn’t enough money to meet all of the needs that have been identified.  The use of incentive monies has proven to be the most successful and cost effective means to reduce air pollution emissions and improve air quality in the history of the Clean Air Act.  Isom testified “nowhere has this been more evident than with the use of incentives to replace, repower or retrofit farm equipment.  In 2008, the California Air Resources Board set in motion a plan to regulate farm equipment beginning on January 1, 2014 and achieve to 5 to 10 tons of NOx emissions reductions by December 31, 2017.  Through the use of incentive monies, the State of California has already reduced farm equipment emissions by more than 10 tons as of today on a voluntary basis, thereby proving incentive programs work.  Our organizations wholeheartedly support the incentive program approach and commit our resources to assisting the District and the State in the search for more incentive funds!”

  • Association Testifies Once Again on District’s PM2.5 Plan

    The Association continued its fight against further regulation of PM2.5 emissions from agricultural operations testifying before the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District today at the District workshop on the PM2.5 State Implementation.  Association President/CEO Roger Isom testified against the mandatory replace of all tractors and harvesters, despite an individual alleging to be an almond grower telling the District that every grower should be mandated to purchase new low emitting almond harvesting equipment.  Instead, Association Director of Technical Services Christopher McGlothlin testified that incentives have been used to get equal or greater emission reductions on a voluntary basis.  McGlothlin also commented that incentives allow farmers to purchase new equipment sooner then they normally would and the industry is working with the District and USDA NRCS to strengthen and support the incentive program for tractors and harvesters.   Isom also commented against the proposal to increase fugitive dust requirements for PM2.5, as the science does not support this.  This is another in a series of SJVAPCD and CARB workshops, including two more to be held next week.  As has been the case in all of the previous workshops the Association will be present to fight these proposed far reaching regulations.

  • Association Testifies to CA Water Commission

    The California Water Commission convened in Sacramento to listen to the technical presentations of applicants for the Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP). Director of Regulatory Affairs Jodi Raley attended the meeting to show support for both Sites Reservoir and the Temperance Flat Reservoir Project. Raley had the opportunity to provide comments of support for the Temperance Flat Reservoir. Raley stated that after the devastating effects the drought had on valley agriculture and jobs that the Temperance Flat project was necessary for the long term survival of the industry in the state. Additionally, Raley cited that water will become an increasingly precious resource as farmers begin to feel the pressure of achieving the goals of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The Association supports and has provided letters of support for both Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat Reservoir and will continue to take advantage of opportunities to engage on the matter to ensure the dams get built!

  • Association Tours 10th District with Assemblyman Marc Levine

    Assembly Member Marc Levine hosted representatives of the Agricultural President’s Council to California’s 10th District to show some of the issues that his district faces.  The Associations own Director of Regulatory Affairs, Jodi Raley, as well as Director of Technical Services, Chris McGlothlin, attended the tour.  Attendees were bussed throughout the district, while being shown a wide variety of industry and local businesses.  The first stop on the tour included a walkthrough of the local Army Corp of Engineers station, as well as an overview of the Bay Model interactive map.  The map shows pathways water flows throughout the bay, as well as the different channels and aqueducts that are utilized to provide water to the southern half of the state.  The second stop of the tour included a look at aquaculture with Terry Sawyer of Hog Island Oyster Co., where he discussed the different environmental policies that he must follow in order to maintain his business.  Sawyer detailed the water quality policies that he faces, aquatic health concerns he must address, as well as the overall health of the bay that he operates in as being the primary focus of his business’ compliance.  He also discussed the rising cost of compliance in his specific industry, “When we started, permits to harvest oysters in this area used to cost $500 dollars.  Today, one permit easily exceeds $100,000 dollars.”

    The remaining stops on the tour included a tour of the local Lagunitas Brewing Co., where innovative water filters are utilized to clean up the discharged water after the beer is brewed.  The tour concluded with a look into Spirit Works Distillery, and dinner at Zazu Kitchen & Farm where locally grown ingredients are utilized in dishes served.  Overall it was a great tour, with a chance for attendees to relate to regulatory issues that businesses face in the 10th District.  The Association would like to thank Assemblyman Levine for taking the time to connect with folks from the agricultural industry.

  • Association Voices Concern Over PG&E Rate Increase

    Yesterday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) held a meeting in Merced to discuss the proposed revenue requirements for PG&E’s 2017 General Rate Case (GRC).  In Phase 1 of the GRC, PG&E asked for an increase of $85.7 million over present rates, followed by additional increases of $444 million in 2018 and $361 million in 2019.  While the public testimony was especially light, Association President/CEO Roger Isom was there and voiced the agricultural industry’s concerns over the continued increase in rates over the past 15 years.  Isom informed the PUC Commissions that average electricity rates for agriculture have increased from an average of 11.7 cents per kilowatt hour in 2000 to over 18 cents per kilowatt hour in 2017.  The total amount paid by farmers in the PG&E territory was around $500 million in 2004 and over $1.1 billion in 2014!  Coming increases in the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and further impacts from tightening greenhouse gas regulations will only serve to increase rates even further.  Isom told the Commissioners this must be considered and that agriculture cannot pass along the cost and has passed the point of being competitive.  The PUC can no longer ignore this!

  • Association’s McGlothlin Appointed to Air District Advisory Committee

    McGlothin-009
    The Fresno County Board of Supervisors has appointed the Association’s Director of Technical Services Christopher McGlothlin to a three year term on the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC).  McGlothlin will serve as the position as the “Industry Alternate” for Fresno County.  The CAC consists of 24 primary and 24 alternate members. There is one unpaid representative each for the Industry/Ag, Environmental and City interest groups in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare counties.  The CAC meets monthly and for the purpose of facilitating public input relating to the actions and decisions of the District.  This includes providing input on proposed District rules and regulations, District funding sources, study special subjects at the request of the Governing Board and provide recommendations or input on those subjects.  This is another shining example of the Association’s level of involvement on critical regulatory and legislative issues affecting our industry!

  • Associations Submit Comments in Opposition to Proposed Nighttime Lighting Requirements

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations (CCGGA) and the Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) submitted comments calling into question the proposed new requirements by CalOSHA.  The new requirements would require lighting to be provided such that light can be measured at 10 foot-candle light power within a 25 foot radius when working around agricultural equipment.  In attempting to determine the impact of these proposed rules, CCGGA and WAPA took measurements of an almond loading operation, cotton module unloading operation and a cotton bale loading operation, with all of these activities occurring at night.  These measurements clearly demonstrated the inability to comply with the law as proposed, and in the one instance where additional had been provided to help rectify the situation, an air pollution control district violation was also created!  As a result, CCGGA and WAPA have serious concerns with the premise for the proposed revisions, serious concerns with the industry’s ability to meet the proposed requirements for levels of light intensity, and issues with whether or not the standard is necessary based on a couple of the measurements we conducted.  CCGGA and WAPA submitted the comments and the measurements in response to CalOSHA’s request for data supporting the industry’s claims that the proposed regulations are not necessary and impractical to meet.

  • Attention Ag Employers: Impact of Mandated Travel for Ag Employers

    Come hear Mike Saqui and John Segale discuss both the legal threat and economic impact of mandated travel for ag employers.

    When: 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    Tuesday, October 2, 2018
    Where: California Fresh Fruit Association
    7647 N. Fresno Street in Fresno

  • 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.

  • CA Cotton Growers Association Announces Steve Wilbur as Chairman of the Board of Directors
    California Cotton Growers Association Announces Steve Wilbur as Chairman of the Board of Directors
    The California Cotton Growers Association is pleased to announce Steve Wilbur as the new Chairman for the California Cotton Growers Association. Steve is a partner of SBS AG and has farmed for over 40 years. He oversees the production and operation of alfalfa, black-eye beans, corn, cotton, pistachios and wheat, as well as a dairy operation.
    Steve is actively involved in community and agriculture service and holds positions with the following organizations:
    Mid-Valley Cotton Growers, Inc., Board President
    International Agri-Center, Board President
    California Cotton Growers Association, Board Chairman
    California Cotton Alliance, Board Member
    Cotton Incorporated, Alternate Board Member
    Tulare First Baptist Church, Past Board Member
    He is a life-long resident of Tulare, California and a graduate of the College of the Sequoias, Visalia, California. Steve enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife Roni; their children and grandchildren.  
    Steve Wilbur succeeds outgoing Chairman Cannon Michael. In addition to Wilbur being elected Chairman, the
    following officers were also elected:
    1st Vice Chairman – Phil Hansen, Kings County
    2nd Vice Chairman – Bryan Bone, Kern County
    Secretary/ Treasurer – Gary Martin, Fresno County
    The California Cotton Growers Association is a voluntary dues based agricultural trade organization based in Fresno representing cotton growers in California on regulatory and legislative issues. Cotton is grown in the Imperial, Palo Verde, San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys of California.
  • CA’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (PSL)

    Saqui

    tpo picture- saqui

    CA’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (PSL)

    • PSL Applies to All CA Employers, Regardless of Size
    • Your Current PTO Plan Does NOT = Compliance!
    • New Employment Posters and Notice Requirements Went Into Effect on 1/1/15

    NOW YOU NEED TO GET READY FOR JULY 1, 2015!

    This law has lots of complicated angles…up to and including employee relations!

    Attend TPO’s PSL Compliance Briefings to learn more about:

    • – Eligibility
    • – Accrual, Carryover, and Use
    • – Rates of Pay
    • – Impact on Current Paid Time-Off Policies
    • – Coordination with Other Laws
    • – New Paycheck Reporting Requirements
    • – Penalties for Non-compliance
    • – Assessing the Financial Impacts
    • – and more…

    We will build on the information covered in the TPO Annual Conference and provide a checklist to follow so that you are confident and ready for implementation on July 1!

    Now it is time to update your Employee Handbook. Contact TPO for assistance!

    There is No Charge for TPO Members to Send One Person – Others Pay $35

    TWO SCHEDULED OPTIONS:
    TPO Monterey: April 15th, May 14th, June 17th from 9:00am – 10:30am

    Webinar: April 22, May 19th, June 24th from 9:00am – 10:3am

    Additional Scheduled Briefing Dates… Go to http://www.tpohr.com/training-calendar/ to register, or contact Amber at 831.647.7292 or ambera@tpohr.com

    THE BOTTOM LINE:
    The law requires either one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked or three days of sick leave per year.

    THIS IS A GAME CHANGER!

  • Cal/OSHA 300A Summary Posting Requirements

    It’s that time again….the Cal/OSHA 300A Summary, which lists the total number of job-related illnesses and injuries that occurred during 2017, must be posted from February 1st – April 30th, 2018.   Form 300A should be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted.  The summary must include the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in 2017 and were logged on your Cal/OSHA Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. To assist in calculating incidence rates, information about the annual average number of employees and total hours worked during the calendar year is also required. If no injuries or illnesses occurred in 2017, you must enter “zero” on the total line. The form must be signed and certified by a company executive. Visit our website for Recordkeeping Forms or contact our office.
    Click for Cal Osha Form 300A (Annual Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses)

  • Cal/OSHA Electronic Reporting

    Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Regulations for Workplace Injuries require employers to electronically submit their 2017 Form 300A on the OSHA ITA Launch Website by December 31, 2018 to comply.  This regulation is in compliance with federal OSHA requirements.  Please visit the OSHA ITA Launch Website, for instructions https://www.osha.gov/injuryreporting/index.html. Should you need assistance, please contact Elda Brueggemann for step-by-step instructions.  

  • California Cotton Acreage is Down Due to Lack of Water

    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.

  • California Cotton Acreage on the Rebound

    The drought is not over, but for the first time in six years, cotton acreage will increase in California according to preliminary survey conducted by the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations this past month.  The Association is currently estimating approximately 145,000 acres of pima and 61,000 acres of upland statewide.   Now, this is preliminary and a lot can happen between now and when things are actually planted, but based on the survey this is our best estimate.  If it plays out, it will represent a 19% increase in pima acreage and a 24% increase in upland acreage in California as compared to 2015.

  • California Democrats on the Verge of Supermajority

    With the nation still celebrating, or protesting, the results of this year’s election, outcomes for some key Assembly and Senate races are still being tallied.  A final count is being reviewed to determine if Democrats have secured a supermajority in both the Assembly and Senate.  On the Assembly side, Democrats are on the verge of picking up the two necessary seats to give them a two-thirds supermajority.  With a return victory for Democrat Al Muratuschi in District 66 (Torrance), District 65 (Fullerton) is also showing Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva ahead of her Republican challenger Young Kim by a slim margin.  Democratic Challenger Sabrina Cervantes is also leading incumbent Republican Assembly Member Eric Linder in District 60’s (Corona) race.

    The supermajority is too early to call on the Senate side, but Senate Dems have held on to all of their current seats.  They only need to pick up one more additional seat to gain the supermajority.  Ballots are still being calculated in the race to fill former Republican Minority Leader Bob Huff’s seat for District 29 (Diamond Bar).  Republican nominee Ling Ling Chan holds a 1.8% lead over Democratic Challenger Josh Newman.

    In other election news, Governor Brown secured a small victory for his Twin Tunnels project with the defeat of Proposition 53.  Prop 53 would have required the project to go before a vote of the people before the building process could begin.  Republicans also scored a small victory with the passage of Proposition 54 which requires all legislation to be in print 72 hours before it is voted on.  If you have any other questions on any other propositions or races, please feel free to contact us.

     

  • California Minimum Wage Set to Increase January 1st

    For the second time in the past two years, Californians will be seeing an increase to minimum wage.  The first increase saw minimum wage reach $9/hour and took effect July 1st, 2014.  This upcoming increase will be to $10/hour effective January 1st.  While this minimum wage increase is being applied state wide, cities throughout California are taking it upon themselves to increase minimum wage beyond the signed $10 per hour bill.  San Francisco, and some surrounding communities, has agreed to increase minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2015, the City of Sacramento has agreed to increase the minimum wage to $12.50 per hour by 2020, and Los Angeles City Council approved a measure to increase minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020.  These increases are having negative effects on various industries, with some business owners being forced to reduce staff in order to pay for minimum wage hikes.  The unfortunate news is that the increases are not over.  There are currently two ballot measures asking voters to approve a $15 per hour, statewide minimum wage. Stay tuned for more wage updates in the upcoming year.

  • California Small Businesses may be eligible for Injury Disaster Loans

    A press release sent out by the United States Small Business Administration on September 18th may hold some good news for small businesses affected by the drought. Small, nonfarm businesses are now eligible to apply for low interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. These loans are made available when the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agriculture disaster, which occurred on September 17th, 2014 when Secretary Tom Vilsack declared the drought a disaster. The program, known as The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)   will cover 57 California counties and neighboring counties in Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon. The loans have been created to help offset the harsh economic impact of the current drought that began January 1, 2014. The EIDL eligibility will be limited to small, nonfarm businesses, small agriculture cooperatives, private nonprofit organizations (any size), and small businesses engaged in aquaculture. These entities may qualify for up to $2 million to help offset operating expenses and financial commitments which could have been made if the drought wasn’t present. It is important to note that eligibility for the loans is based on financial impact and not any actual property damage.

    The EIDL loans have an interest rate of 4% for businesses and 2.625% for private, nonprofit organizations, a maximum term of 30 years and will be made available for qualified entities that do not have the financial ability to offset the impact of the drought without hardship.  Deadline to apply for these loans is May 18, 2015.

    Applicants may register online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure WEB site at https://disasterload.sba.gov/ela.  Additional information can be obtained through the SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955 or emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

  • Californians Prioritizing Affordability and Safety

    Californians prioritizing safety and affordability…not a utility blank check. #noWildfireBailout #holdutilitiesaccountable #noBlankChecks

  • Call for Action!

    The State Legislature is taking up a massive bailout for PG&E that could put much of the onus of the massive 2017 fires on the backs of ratepayers, even if PG&E is found negligent.  The legislation came to life this week, in typical “last week of session fashion”, from a legislative conference committee tasked with addressing the wildfire and utility liability issue.   Unfortunately, the committee sided with the utility and its shareholders, not ratepayers like you.  The legislation, SB 901 would require ratepayers to cover whatever damages are beyond the cap placed on PG&E, even if PG&E is found negligent in the massive 2017 fires.  At $10 billion in liability, customers will pay an additional ½ cent per kWh for every kilowatt hour for the next 20 years!  SB 901 will be voted by both the Assembly and Senate Friday night, and the Association is adamantly opposed and we need your help to stop it.  We need you to call your State Senator and Assembly representatives and let them know you wholeheartedly oppose this legislation.  Let them know how much electric rates already impact you and that businesses cannot stand any more.  It is not fair for the burden of the utilities negligence to fall on the backs of ratepayers and the time to stop this is right now!

    Oppose SB 901

  • Call to Action – Important Water Meetings

    The State Water Resources Control Board will be making presentations this Tuesday, October 18th to the Merced and Stanislaus County Boards of Supervisors.  The Water Board’s current proposal calls for taking 40% of our Valley water!  If implemented, it will be devastating to our area and will hurt our economy, contaminate our water supply, destroy our farmland, drop our property values, and keep us from achieving groundwater sustainability.  Please attend one of the meetings on October 18th to let the Water Board know that our local community opposes their plan!  Here are the times and locations of the meetings:

     

    MERCED
    State Water Resources Control Board
    Presentation to the Merced County Board of Supervisors
    Tuesday, October 18, 1:30 pm

    Board Chamber on the 3rd Floor
    2222 M St.
    Merced, CA 95340

     

    MODESTO
    State Water Resources Control Board
    Presentation to the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors
    Tuesday, October 18, 6:30 pm

    Board Chamber in the Basement
    1010 10th Street
    Modesto, CA 95354

     

    Be sure to attend and make your voice heard!

  • CalOSHA Approves Changes to Heat Illness Regulations

    Despite extreme opposition from agricultural groups and other employer groups, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board approved significant revisions to the state’s heat illness prevention standard.  The Board voted to approve the changes on a 5 to 1 vote.

    The new revisions include the following major changes:

    •   – The procedures now kick in at 80 degrees, instead of the current 85
    •   – Shade must now cover 100% of those employees working during recovery or rest periods, and onsite meal periods, instead of the current 25%.
    •   – High-heat procedures now include a mandatory 10 minute cool-down period every two hours. 

     

    That means that employers must revise their heat illness programs and train employees on an accelerated schedule, with barely two months before the changes become enforceable. Normally, these changes would go into effect on July 1st, but Cal/OSHA is asking the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) to move these up to as early as April 1st.  Training must be provided and the Association will be working with its members to assist in this effort, and to make sure their Heat Illness Plan are updated.

  • CARB Adopts Tractor Requirements

    The California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted requirements this week to replace 12,000 Tier 0, Tier 1, and Tier 2 tractors through the use of incentives by 2025.  This effort is part of CARB’s State Implementation Plan (SIP) to reduce PM2.5 emissions in the San Joaquin Valley.  The Association’s President/CEO Roger Isom testified at the hearing supporting the use of incentives, but expressed concerns over the fact that the incentives are not locked in after next year.  Additionally, the Association commented on the concern on replacing 2,400 tractors per year, and whether that is achievable.  Despite the concerns, Isom promised CARB the Association would be at the table pushing for continued incentive funds, as they did in leading the charge to get the current two years of funding at $135 million per year.  This was highlighted at the recent SJVAPCD Press Conference where Isom addressed the media on how important these incentives are and how they will be used.  These incentive funds are included in the new FARMER program and applications are already available in most Air Districts throughout the state.  If you have any questions or need assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact our office at (559)455-9272.

  • CARB Holds Workshop on $135 Million to Agriculture

    The California Air Resources Board (CARB) held a workshop in Fresno today to discuss the allocation of $135 million dedicated to reduce emissions from agricultural equipment including trucks, tractors, harvesters and pump engines.  $85 million will come from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) as per the Cap & Trade legislation passed this past year, $15 million will come from the Air Quality Improvement Fund (AQIF) and $35 million from the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Funds.  80% of the funds will be directed to the San Joaquin Valley due to their air quality concerns.  At the workshop, Association President/CEO Roger Isom commented “this is the single biggest funding allocation to help the agricultural industry, ever!  We need to make this process easy and get it in place as quickly as possible.  The San Joaquin Valley is staring down the barrel of a mandatory farm equipment replacement rule, and this funding is the only way to assist farmers!”  The funding proposal goes before the board in March.  The Association has been a leader on this issue and played a critical role in getting this unprecedented funding as part of the Cap & Trade discussion.

  • CARB Lawsuit Rolls Back Ag Provisions

    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.

  • CARB Releases Draft PM2.5 Plan – Tractors Will be Regulated

    This past week the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has released their portion of the measures to be contained in the State Implementation Plan (SIP) for the San Joaquin Valley to achieve attainment of the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for PM2.5.  Two of these measures includes tractors and harvesters.  One of the measures, named the “Accelerated Turnover of Agricultural Tractors” would use existing and new incentive funding programs to help accelerate the natural turnover of agricultural equipment.  These programs include the Carl Moyer Program, the USDA NRCS EQIP Funding and the new FARMER Program funding.  On the other hand, another measure entitled “Cleaner In-Use Agricultural Equipment” is designed to increase the penetration of cleaner agricultural equipment, including advancing zero-emission technology (aka “electric”) where feasible.  This program appears to be a mandatory replace measure, that allows for incentive funds to be used, but will become mandatory of the necessary reductions are not achieved.  The amount of reductions being asked for by CARB is as follows:

    Proposed Measure Agency Action Date Implementation Begins Expected Emission Reductions (tons/day)
    Accelerated Turnover of Ag Tractors CARB/SJVAPCD 2020 Ongoing 11
    Cleaner In-Use Agricultural Equipment CARB 2025 2030 Not Yet Quantified

    While this is still in draft, it confirms comments by CARB over the past year in several workshops. This will only apply to the San Joaquin Valley and the eight counties therein.  This will be coupled with the measures being proposed by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) including a measure to require the replacement of Tier 3 diesel fired pump engines with either a final Tier 4 pump engine or electric motor.  That measure has not yet been formally released and the final compliance dates have yet to be announced.  However, workshops on both the CARB and SJVAPCD plans will be held this next month, so we will know the details soon enough.

  • CARB Releases Final Sustainable Freight Plan

    In response to an Executive Order issued last year by Governor Brown, state agency leaders released the California Sustainable Freight Action Plan, a comprehensive document that serves as a blueprint for transforming the state’s multi-billion dollar freight transport system.  This new plan affects every facet of transportation in the state from rail, trucks and forklifts to fuel, transportation refrigeration units (TRUs) and ships.  From the Association’s perspective the plan has improved in that it now recognizes and relies heavily upon incentives to help fund many of the new technologies that companies will be implementing.   “We listened to stakeholders, incorporated changes, and we will continue to consult with them as we put the Plan into action” said California Air Resources Board Chair Mary D. Nichols.  While it has improved, major impacts still remain or are yet to be fleshed out.  Developed in response to Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-32-15, which calls for a single integrated action plan for California, the Action Plan was prepared by the California State Transportation Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency, California Natural Resources Agency, California Air Resources Board, California Department of Transportation, California Energy Commission and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, with broad stakeholder input.   The Executive Order directs the state agencies to pursue a shared vision to “improve freight efficiency, transition to zero-emission technologies and increase the competitiveness of California’s freight system.”  The Action Plan includes a long term-2050 vision and guiding principles for California’s future freight transport system along with these targets for 2030:

    • Improve freight system efficiency 25 percent by 2030
    • Deploy over 100,000 zero-emission vehicles/equipment and maximize near-zero by 2020
    • Foster future economic growth within the freight and goods movement industry.

    The plan also identifies opportunities to leverage State freight transport system investments, pinpoints actions to initiate over the next five years to meet goals, and lists possible pilot projects to achieve concrete progress in the near term.  Some of the areas where our members will be impacted include:

    • Zero emission technologies, such as electric forklifts
    • Lower emission trucks (beyond the current ARB Truck Rule)
    • Transportation Refrigeration Units (TRUs)
    • Freight Hubs (could include our operations where trucks come and go)

     

    Over the next several months, the Association will be heavily involved in this issue as we work to push for incentives and voluntary approaches to this broad regulatory effort.  Next steps for state agencies will include continued work with federal, state, industry, labor, regional, local and environmental and community-based partners to refine and prioritize the strategies and actions outlined in the Action Plan.  The state agencies will also create collaborative stakeholder working groups on competitiveness, system efficiency, workforce developments, and regulatory and permitting process improvements.  Regular California Freight Advisory Committee meetings will continue, and by July 2017, the state agencies will establish work plans for chosen pilot projects.

  • CARB Wants 12,000 Tractors Replaced in San Joaquin Valley by 2024!

    In a meeting yesterday at the Association offices, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) unveiled is plan to require the replacement of 12,000 Tier 0, 1, and 2 tractors by 2024.  This requirement is contained in their portion of the measures to be contained in the State Implementation Plan (SIP) for the San Joaquin Valley to achieve attainment of the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for PM2.5.  This particular measure, called the “Accelerated Turnover of Agricultural Tractors” would use existing and new incentive funding programs to help accelerate the natural turnover of agricultural equipment.  These programs include the Carl Moyer Program, the USDA NRCS EQIP Funding and the new FARMER Program funding.  Unfortunately, it also assumes that we will be able to secure FARMER from the Cap & Trade program beyond 2019, which is all we have a commitment for.  This puts ag in a quandary, because of the back stop that CARB is also considering; another measure entitled “Cleaner In-Use Agricultural Equipment” which is designed to increase the penetration of cleaner agricultural equipment, including advancing zero-emission technology (aka “electric”) where feasible.  This program appears to be a mandatory replacement measure, that allows for incentive funds to be used, but will become mandatory if the necessary reductions are not achieved through the incentive funding.   This will be heard in a workshop in Fresno next Tuesday, August 28th, where the Association will be presenting comments.

  • CASI Welcomes Dr. Andrew Price for two Seminar Presentations

     

    Andrew Price

     

    Download

     

  • CCGGA & WAPA Reaction to the Withdrawal of Negotiations on Critical Water Legislation

    For Immediate Release:
    CONTACT:

    Roger A. Isom, President/CEO                                                              Phone: (559)252-0684
    California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations                        Fax: (559)252-0551
    Western Agricultural Processors Association                                      email: roger@ccgga.org


    CCGGA/WAPA President/CEO Roger Isom reacted to the withdrawal of negotiations on federal drought legislation by stating “It is unconscionable to walk away from talks at this point in time.  In a year where hundreds of thousands of acres of productive farmland received zero surface water, this delay is unacceptable.  Thousands of acres lay fallow and productive orchards were ripped out – this is unacceptable.  The jobs that are associated with this acreage go far beyond the individual farmer and his family.  It affects farm workers and their families, the fuel delivery personnel and their families, the custom harvesters and their families, the bankers and their families, the insurance companies and their families, the equipment dealers and their families.  The list goes on and one thing remains the same.  The lack of water is devastating.  There are cities in the San Joaquin Valley that are without water for even the basic necessities.  This is not a time when politics should come before the needs of the people.

    While we applaud the bipartisanship that went into the serious negotiations that were undertaken, the fact remains that there will be no legislation this year.  Despite assurances that this will be taken up early in the next session it is simply too late.  Another planting season will have gone by.  Without a miracle winter, more acreage will be removed.  Consequently, more farmworkers will be laid off or simply not hired.  There will be even less work for the fuel suppliers, harvesters, banks, chemical supply companies, equipment dealers, and others that rely upon a viable agricultural industry.

    We don’t know what happened or why the negotiations were discontinued, but it doesn’t matter.  Simply put, something has to be done to provide more water at these critical times.   Farmers have done their part by investing billions converting irrigation systems to automated, high-efficiency, low water use systems, such as buried drip on cotton.  It’s time for Congress to do theirs.“

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations are trade organizations representing cotton growers and cotton gins throughout California.  The Western Agricultural Processors Association is a trade organization representing tree nut hullers and processors of almonds, pecans, pistachios and walnuts.  All three organizations are operated and managed in the same offices in Fresno, California.

  • CCGGA and WAPA Announces the Hiring of Director of Regulatory Affairs


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

    CONTACT:

    Roger A. Isom
    California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations

    Western Agricultural Processors Association
    Phone: (559)252-0684

    Fax: (559)252-0551
    email: roger@ccgga.org

    California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations and Western Agricultural Processors Association Announces the Hiring of Director of Regulatory AffairsRaley40352-018

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations (CCGGA) and the Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) are pleased to announce Jodi Raley has joined the organization as their new Director of Regulatory Affairs.  Ms. Raley will be graduating from California State University – Fresno, with a degree in Ag Education – Communications this spring.  Ms. Raley was born and raised in Tollhouse.  Raley is a member of Alpha Zeta, and is the current Chancellor for the chapter at CSU Fresno.  Raley has previously worked as an intern for the California Fresh Fruit Association and the California Olive Oil Council.   Ms. Raley will officially begin her duties on March 31st on a part time basis and will begin full time following graduation.  As the Director of Regulatory Affairs, Ms. Raley will be responsible for regulatory issues with respect to cotton growers and ginners, as well as the tree nut hulling and processing industries.  Specific areas will include water, air quality, pesticides and environmental issues.

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations are voluntary dues-based organizations representing cotton growers and cotton gins throughout California.  The Western Agricultural Processors Association is a voluntary dues-based organization, and represents the tree nut hulling and processing industry on regulatory and legislative issues ranging from energy and air quality to labor and food safety.  All three organizations are operated and managed in the same offices in Fresno, California.

     

  • CCGGA and WAPA Announces the Hiring of Director of Technical Services

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    CONTACT:
    Roger A. Isom
    California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations
    Western Agricultural Processors Association
    Phone:  (559) 252-0684
    Fax: (559) 252-0551
    email:  Roger@ccgga.org

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations (CCGGA) and the Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) are pleased to announce Christopher McGlothlin has joined the organization as their new Director of Technical Services.  Mr. McGlothlin is a graduate of California State University – Fresno, with a degree in Political Science.  Mr. McGlothlin was born and raised in Coalinga and also worked as an intern in the Washington Office of Congressman Devin Nunes.  Mr. McGlothlin began his duties on June 9th.  As the Director of Technical Services, Christopher will be responsible for technical issues with respect to cotton growers and ginners, as well as the tree nut hulling and processing industries.  Specific areas will include water quality, air quality, and environmental issues.

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations are voluntary dues-based organizations representing cotton growers and cotton gins throughout California.  The Western Agricultural Processors Association is a voluntary dues-based organization, and represents the tree nut hulling and processing industry on regulatory and legislative issues ranging from energy and air quality to labor and food safety.  All three organizations are operated and managed in the same offices in Fresno, California.

  • CCGGA and WAPA Continue to Oppose Changes to Heat Illness Standard

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations (CCGGA) and the Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) partnered with several other agricultural groups to submit comments in opposition to the proposed amendments to CalOSHA’s latest proposed revisions to the Heat Illness Standard.  While the agency has removed the onerous and impractical distance requirements for shade and water, serious issues remain.  The concerns focused on a failure to demonstrate necessity, as CalOSHA has not provided a shred of evidence that these changes will provide any additional protection over the existing standard.  The group also expressed concerns with the additional rest period requirements that would only apply to agriculture!  And while the distance requirement for shade at 700 feet was removed, it still requires shade to cover all employees at any point in time.  This is not only impractical it is most likely impossible in an ag setting.  These proposed changes were under a 15 day comment period.  CalOSHA remains under serious pressure to pass these changes due to a lawsuit by the UFW.  But the Associations remain resolute in opposition to the proposed changes and will remain so until such time as evidence is provided that demonstrates sufficient evidence to warrant revisions to the existing standard.

  • CCGGA Annual Meeting & Agenda, Feb. 21-23 Register TODAY

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association is looking forward to hosting the 2018 Annual Meeting at the Monterey Plaza from February 21-23. The cutoff for hotel reservations and meeting registration is just under a month away!
    This year’s meeting will surely be a good time with a fully packed agenda. Attendees can look forward to the historic favorites including a Wednesday evening welcome reception, the Annual CCGGA Golf Tournament on Thursday at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club, Thursday evening dinner with comedic entertainment as well as an informative session during the Friday Business meeting. New this year, CCGGA is offering a Nitrogen Management Plan Self Certification course Thursday morning for growers or other interested parties to participate in. The Annual Business meeting on Friday will include both a ginner’s and a grower’s track delving into the issues of pest pressures of the past year and how we address the 2018 crop, classing office activities, updates from our gin labs, as well as speakers from National Cotton Ginners Association, National Cotton Council along with an issues update from our staff.

    Please fill out the below forms and submit to our offices no later than Friday, February 9th. You can pay for your registration online and download forms at //ccgga.org/membership/ccgga-annual-meeting/.

    Hotel reservations MUST be made by February 1st to ensure the Association’s special rate. Reservations can be made by calling (800) 334-3999 and you must identify yourself with the group name “CA Cotton Ginners & Growers Association” by the cutoff date above.

    If you have any questions please contact our offices at (559) 252-0684

    Member Registration Forms

    Associate Member Registration Forms

    Tentative CCGGA Annual Meeting Agenda

    Wednesday, February 21, 2018
    5:00 pm                Welcome Reception Lower Terrace

    Thursday, February 22, 2018
    8:00 am Nitrogen Management Plan Self Certification WorkshopCarmel Room
    8:30 am CCGGA Golf TournamentQuail Lodge and Golf Club, Carmel Valley
    6:00 pm                ReceptionLower Terrace
    7:00 pm                DinnerMonterey Bay Room
    8:00 pm                Entertainment: Comedian Adam FerraraMonterey Bay Room

    Friday, February 23, 2018
    Business Meeting Agenda
    8:00 am Welcome/IntroductionsPhil Hansen, Chairman, CCGGA
    8:05 am CCGA Financial ReportJanell Attebury, Baker Peterson Franklin
    8:15 am National Cotton Council UpdateMike Brueggemann, National Cotton Council
    8:35 am Supima UpdateEarl P. Williams, Supima
    8:55 am Cotton Inc. UpdateChristi Chadwell, Cotton Inc.
    9:15 am BREAKOUTS

    Ginners Track
    Cypress Ballroom
    Growers Track
    Carmel Ballroom
    9:15-9:35
    National Cotton Ginners Association Update
    Stan Creelman, President, NCGA 9:15-10:15
    Insect Pressures – 2017 Season in Review Panel Discussion
    Bob Hutmacher, UC Cooperative Extension State Cotton Specialist, Moderator  Panelists:
    9:35-9:55
    Cotton Ginning Laboratory Research Update
    Derek Whitelock, Research Leader, USDA-ARS, SWCGRL
    9:55-10:15
    Cotton Classing Update
    Greg Townsend, Area Director, USDA AMS

    10:15 am              **BREAK**
    10:35 am              Sacramento Update George Soares, Kahn, Soares & Conway
    10:55 am              Regulatory and Legislative Issues Update
                                 Roger Isom, President/CEO, CCGGA
                                Christopher McGlothlin, Director of Technical Services, CCGGA
                                Jodi Raley, Director of Regulatory Affairs, CCGGA
    11:55 am              Closing RemarksPhil Hansen, Chairman, CCGGA

  • CCGGA Annual Meeting HOTEL DEADLINE TOMORROW, Feb. 1

    The registration deadline for the 2018 CCGGA Annual Meeting has been extended from Friday, February 9th to Friday, February 16th. The 2018 Annual Meeting will be held at the Monterey Plaza from February 21-23.
    This year’s meeting will be one for the books as we offer a new and FREE Irrigation & Nitrogen Management Plan Self Certification course on Thursday, February, 22nd in conjunction with the Annual Meeting. This specific training will prove extremely valuable as growers will be able to utilize this certification to achieve compliance for the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program.
    In addition, attendees will enjoy a Wednesday evening reception, the Annual CCGGA Golf Tournament at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club and the CCGGA Annual Meeting Dinner complete with entertainment provided by comedian Adam Ferrara! Members will dive into an information packed agenda for the Friday Business Meeting, which will include a ginner’s and a grower’s track. Topics of discussion will include an annual insect panel review, classing office activities, gin lab research updates and MUCH MORE! Guest speakers include representatives from the National Cotton Ginners Association, National Cotton Council, Cotton Inc., Supima and Association staff.
    The deadline to receive rooms at the Annual Meeting discount rate has passed, rooms are now at regular price and subject to availability. Please complete and return your registration forms with payment ASAP. Deadline to register is now Friday, February 16th. You can pay for your registration online and download froms at https://ccgga.org/membership/ccgga-annual-meeting/.

    If you have any questions please contact our offices at (559) 252-0684.

    Tentative CCGGA Annual Meeting Agenda
    Wednesday, February 21, 2018
    5:00 pm               Welcome Reception – Lower Terrace
    Thursday, February 22, 2018
    8:00 am                Irrigation & Nitrogen Management Plan Self Certification Workshop – Carmel Room
    8:30 am                CCGGA Golf Tournament – Quail Lodge and Golf Club, Carmel Valley
    6:00 pm               Reception – Lower Terrace
    7:00 pm               Dinner – Monterey Bay Room
    8:00 pm               Entertainment: Comedian Adam Ferrara – Monterey Bay Room
    Friday, February 23, 2018
    Business Meeting Agenda
    8:00 am                Welcome/Introductions – Phil Hansen, Chairman, CCGGA
    8:05 am                CCGA Financial Report – Janell Attebury, Baker Peterson Franklin
    8:15 am                National Cotton Council Update – Mike Brueggemann, National Cotton Council
    8:35 am                Supima Update – Earl P. Williams, Supima
    8:55 am                Cotton Inc. Update – Christi Chadwell, Cotton Inc.
    9:15 am                BREAKOUTS

    Ginners Track
    Cypress Ballroom
    Growers Track
    Carmel Ballroom
    9:15-9:35
    National Cotton Ginners Association Update
    Stan Creelman, President, NCGA 9:15-10:15
    Insect Pressures – 2017 Season in Review Panel Discussion
    Bob Hutmacher, UC Cooperative Extension State Cotton Specialist, Moderator  Panelists:
    9:35-9:55
    Cotton Ginning Laboratory Research Update
    Derek Whitelock, Research Leader, USDA-ARS, SWCGRL
    9:55-10:15
    Cotton Classing Update
    Greg Townsend, Area Director, USDA AMS

    10:15 am             **BREAK**
    10:35 am             Sacramento Update – George Soares, Kahn, Soares & Conway
    10:55 am             Regulatory and Legislative Issues Update
    Roger Isom, President/CEO, CCGGA
    Christopher McGlothlin, Director of Technical Services, CCGGA
    Jodi Raley, Director of Regulatory Affairs, CCGGA
    11:55 am             Closing Remarks – Phil Hansen, Chairman, CCGGA

    Regular Registration Packet

    Associate Packet

    Irrigation & Nitrogen Management Training Registration

  • CCGGA Annual Meeting Registration Deadline EXTENDED

    CCGGA Annual Meeting Registration Deadline EXTENDED

    The registration deadline for the 2018 CCGGA Annual Meeting has been extended from Friday, February 9th to Friday, February 16th. The 2018 Annual Meeting will be held at the Monterey Plaza from February 21-23.
    This year’s meeting will be one for the books as we offer a new and FREE Irrigation & Nitrogen Management Plan Self Certification course on Thursday, February, 22nd in conjunction with the Annual Meeting. This specific training will prove extremely valuable as growers will be able to utilize this certification to achieve compliance for the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program.
    In addition, attendees will enjoy a Wednesday evening reception, the Annual CCGGA Golf Tournament at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club and the CCGGA Annual Meeting Dinner complete with entertainment provided by comedian Adam Ferrara! Members will dive into an information packed agenda for the Friday Business Meeting, which will include a ginner’s and a grower’s track. Topics of discussion will include an annual insect panel review, classing office activities, gin lab research updates and MUCH MORE! Guest speakers include representatives from the National Cotton Ginners Association, National Cotton Council, Cotton Inc., Supima and Association staff.
    The deadline to receive rooms at the Annual Meeting discount rate has passed, rooms are now at regular price and subject to availability. Please complete and return your registration forms with payment ASAP. Deadline to register is now Friday, February 16th. You can pay for your registration online and download froms at //ccgga.org/membership/ccgga-annual-meeting/.

    If you have any questions please contact our offices at (559) 252-0684.

    Tentative CCGGA Annual Meeting Agenda
    Wednesday, February 21, 2018
    5:00 pm               Welcome Reception – Lower Terrace
    Thursday, February 22, 2018
    8:00 am                Irrigation & Nitrogen Management Plan Self Certification Workshop – Carmel Room
    8:30 am                CCGGA Golf Tournament – Quail Lodge and Golf Club, Carmel Valley
    6:00 pm               Reception – Lower Terrace
    7:00 pm               Dinner – Monterey Bay Room
    8:00 pm               Entertainment: Comedian Adam Ferrara – Monterey Bay Room
    Friday, February 23, 2018
    Business Meeting Agenda
    8:00 am                Welcome/Introductions – Phil Hansen, Chairman, CCGGA
    8:05 am                CCGA Financial Report – Janell Attebury, Baker Peterson Franklin
    8:15 am                National Cotton Council Update – Mike Brueggemann, National Cotton Council
    8:35 am                Supima Update – Earl P. Williams, Supima
    8:55 am                Cotton Inc. Update – Christi Chadwell, Cotton Inc.
    9:15 am                BREAKOUTS

    Ginners Track
    Cypress Ballroom
    Growers Track
    Carmel Ballroom
    9:15-9:35
    National Cotton Ginners Association Update
    Stan Creelman, President, NCGA 9:15-10:15
    Insect Pressures – 2017 Season in Review Panel Discussion
    Bob Hutmacher, UC Cooperative Extension State Cotton Specialist, Moderator  Panelists:
    9:35-9:55
    Cotton Ginning Laboratory Research Update
    Derek Whitelock, Research Leader, USDA-ARS, SWCGRL
    9:55-10:15
    Cotton Classing Update
    Greg Townsend, Area Director, USDA AMS

    10:15 am             **BREAK**
    10:35 am             Sacramento Update – George Soares, Kahn, Soares & Conway
    10:55 am             Regulatory and Legislative Issues Update
    Roger Isom, President/CEO, CCGGA
    Christopher McGlothlin, Director of Technical Services, CCGGA
    Jodi Raley, Director of Regulatory Affairs, CCGGA
    11:55 am             Closing Remarks – Phil Hansen, Chairman, CCGGA

    Regular Registration Packet

    Associate Packet

    Irrigation & Nitrogen Management Training Registration

  • CCGGA Blasts NMFS Proposal

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations (CCGGA) submitted a letter to Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell this week urging the Department to reconsider the proposal by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to limit Shasta releases to 8,000 cfs for temperature protection for salmonids.  Doing so would cost the Central Valley Project (CVP) over 400,000 ac-ft of water, most of which had already been factored into this year’s water plans.  The elimination of this water will have far reaching impacts to all water users.  To add to the mess, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is requesting 300,000 ac-ft to be released later this summer for Delta smelt protection, meaning even more water could be lost from an already devastated valley.

  • CCGGA Co-Hosts United States Senator Roger Wicker

    Today, the Association co-hosted United States Senator Roger Wicker, of Mississippi, for a breakfast meeting at the Association offices in Fresno.  Issues discussed included water, immigration, trade, pesticides (in particular neonics), crop insurance and other regulatory matters.  Senator Wicker sits on the Armed Services, the Budget, the Commerce, Science and Transportation, the Environment and Public Works, and the Rules Committee.  Most importantly for our interests, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will be involved in any federal legislation involving water supply or attempts to address the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Also participating in the meeting were Western Agricultural Processors Associations, California Citrus Mutual, California Fresh Fruit Association, Committee for the Advancement of Cotton, Nisei Farmers League, and several individual farmers and ranchers from throughout the valley.

    United States Senator Roger Wicker fields questions alongside CCGGA President/CEO Roger Isom

    United States Senator Roger Wicker fields questions alongside CCGGA President/CEO Roger Isom

  • 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.

  • CCGGA HOSTS ASSEMBLYWOMAN KRISTIN OLSEN ON TOUR

    CCGGA hosted Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen this past month on a tour of an almond huller, farm and a cotton gin.   The Assemblywoman toured the Dos Palos Co. Op. Gin and even had the opportunity to drive a tractor!  Assemblywoman Olsen is the Vice Chair for the Assembly Ag Committee. The tour was a huge success with the Assemblywoman “tweeting” about her stops along the entire tour!  The tour was part of CCGGA’s ongoing program to bring legislators and regulators to our operations to educate about them on the critical issues affecting our industry.

    Ron Leach of the Hulling Company explains the almond hulling process to Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen

  • CCGGA Hosts Congressional Staff

    This week the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations hosted Kristina Dunklin, Legislative Director for Congressman David Valadao (21st Congressional District), Jilian Plank, Legislative Director for Congressman Devin Nunes ((22nd Congressional District) and Ruth Hazdovac, Staff Assistant for Congressman Nunes.  The group toured several agricultural sites with CCGGA President/CEO Roger A. Isom, CCGGA Director of Technical Services Christopher McGlothlin and Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) Safety Specialist Priscilla Rodriguez.  Of particular interest, the group visited County Line Gin.  The purpose of the visit was to discuss implementation issues with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), in particular, the current applicability of the Preventive Controls Rule for Animal Food to a cotton gin.  CCGGA is working with the National Cotton Ginners Association and the National Cotton Council along with members of Congress and the Senate to have FDA address this discrepancy.

    Pictured here, Kristina Dunklin discussing the FSMA Rule with Wayne Gilbert.

    Pictured here, Kristina Dunklin discussing the FSMA Rule with Wayne Gilbert.

  • CCGGA Hosts Legislators at “Kitchen Dinner” Event in Sacramento

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations hosted Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez, Assemblyman Bill Dodd, Assemblyman James Gallegher, Assemblyman Marc Levine and Senator Anthony Cannella as part of the Annual Agricultural Presidents Council (APC) “Kitchen Dinner” Event in Sacramento this past month.  This event is a special “invitation only” event held at the “Kitchen Restaurant” in Sacramento for select members legislators and sponsored by members of the APC.  The legislators have a sit down dinner with the hosting organizations in essentially a one-on-one format for the evening.  Co-hosted by the agricultural organizations that make up the APC, this year’s event attracted 25 legislators.  Agricultural organizations co-hosting the event were the Western Agricultural Processors Associations, California Citrus Mutual, California Fresh Fruit Association, California Rice Commission, California Strawberry Commission, Western Plant Health Association, Far West Equipment Dealers Association, and California Agricultural Aircraft Association.  The events provide the Association and its leadership an opportunity to meet new legislators, as well as veteran ones, and educate them on the critical issues facing our industry.  Attending on behalf of WAPA included Growers Chairman Steve Wilbur, Ginners Chairman Greg Gillard, and Association President/CEO Roger Isom and Director of Technical Services Christopher McGlothlin.  Each and every legislator received a special California Agriculture gift bag, which included a mini cotton bale and cotton handkerchief.

  • CCGGA HOSTS LEGISLATORS AT KITCHEN DINNER EVENT IN SACRAMENTO



    ccgga-kitch Growers Chairman Steve Wilbur Talking Issues with Assemblyman James Gallagher

    ccgga-kitch1 Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez Talking with Ginners Chairman Greg Gillard

  • CCGGA Hosts State Water Board Chair

    CCGGA along with the Nisei Farmers League, California Citrus Mutual, California Grape and Tree Fruit League, Kings River Conservation District, and  the Western Agricultural Processors Association recently hosted State Water Resources Control Board Chair Felicia Marcus for a visit and tour of our member’s operations. In a pre-tour meeting, the groups stressed the importance of incentive funding to help growers comply and advance water quality goals. Continuing fee increases on processing facilities and irrigated lands program acreage fees was also a focus during the meeting. During the tour we visited with two small farm operations, Grower Director Mark McKean’s farm, and a tree fruit and vine grower. The tour highlighted the diversity in agricultural and the importance of using a variety of farming approaches that fit the needs of specific growers in specific regions and on specific soils. Ms. Marcus was appointed Chair of the SWRCB following former Chair and rice grower Charlie Hoppin’s retirement. She is no stranger to the issues faced by agriculture having previously served as the Regional Administrator of EPA Region 9 headquartered in San Francisco during implementation of the Pesticide VOC program.

  • CCGGA in Action on Proposed Night Work Standard

    The CA Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations (CCGGA) attended the recent CalOSHA Advisory Committee on the proposed standard for “Agricultural Operations during Hours of Darkness (between Sunset and Sunrise)”.  The proposed standard would require employees working around equipment at night to wear reflective vests and for employers to provide lighting at a level of 20 foot-candle power within 25 feet of any equipment.  The standard was in response to a petition by California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA).  CRLA is pushing for the standard because they accuse farmers of shifting work to nighttime hours to avoid the new heat stress regulations.  CRLA, along with United Farm Workers (UFW), made accusations that farmworkers are subject to sexual harassment due to working at night.  CRLA further commented that Asian farmworkers (??) have very poor eyesight and it makes for unsafe work conditions.  CCGGA and the California Farm Bureau Federation both made presentations on actual light measurements taken at night.  WAPA’s points were based on the fact that 10 foot-candle light power cannot be met by any equipment manufacturer’s standard lighting at 25 feet.  Furthermore, CCGGA pointed out that the only way to meet the proposed standard was to bringing in additional portable lighting such as the diesel fired, generator powered lighting that you see on the highway by Caltrans.  Lastly, CCGGA showed pictures of an area lit to a level of only 6.8 foot-candles, where a worker could see fine without any issues, including reading documents if necessary.  CCGGA also asked CalOSHA what accident data they had to support such changes, to which no response was received.  This is no surprise, as CalOSHA recently adopted the most recent changes to the Heat Illness Standard without a shred of evidence, simply due to the threat of a lawsuit by the UFW.  Based on some of the comments by CRLA and UFW, and the fact they were unwilling to negotiate on the any of the proposed revisions, we can expect to see another lawsuit or to see CalOSHA simply adopt more regulations.  Representing CCGGA at the meeting were President/CEO Roger Isom and WAPA’s Director of Environmental and Safety Services Elda Brueggemann.

    light

  • CCGGA Keeps Up Pressure on FDA

    Despite the fact the rules are final and the odds are against it, the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations are still battling on the issue of applicability and how it applies to cotton gins under the Preventive Controls Rules for Animal Food.  As the rules stand now most cotton gins will be exempt from the Animal Food rule; however, some will be subject to the confusing rules.  Confusing, because the rules state that cotton gins are specifically exempt from the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) required by the rule, but must comply with the risk assessment and supplier control provisions of the rule.  Applicability is based on ownership and in recent correspondence from FDA to CCGGA, FDA stated “We have acknowledged that the safety of animal food (e.g., cotton seed) from ginning on farm and off farm would not be different based on where the activities take place. We have also acknowledged that cotton ginning facilities are likely to determine through their hazard analysis that there are no hazards requiring a preventive control and that therefore they are not required to establish preventive controls and associated management components”.  With these statements in mind, CCGGA has engaged Congress to assist in the effort to put all cotton gins under the same provisions, meaning exemption from the Animal Food Rule.  CCGGA is working closely with the National Cotton Ginners Association and National Cotton Council on this issue.  An important announcement related to this could be made soon, so stay tuned!

  • CCGGA Latest News- FINAL CALL to Register to Attend the 2018 Sticky Cotton Summit

    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.

    Sticky Cotton Summit Agenda

  • CCGGA Never Stops Working

    After two days at the State Capitol with Board Members discussing critical issues affecting the cotton industry, the Association hurried back to Fresno yesterday to attend a special Air Resources Board (ARB) Meeting on the State Implementation Plan (SIP) for the San Joaquin Valley.  The evening meeting which began at 5:00 pm included a presentation by the ARB and discussions on the need for a mandatory farm equipment replacement rule and increased requirements for Conservation Management Practices (CMPs).  Then it was opened to public comment, where industry was outnumbered 10 to 1 and the attack on agriculture began.  Several environmental groups berated the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and ARB for not mandating the replacement of farm equipment and requiring more CMPs.  After 3 hours of this testimony, Association President/CEO Roger Isom addressed the crowd by stressing the steps that farmers have taken to clean up the air in advance of these regulations.  Isom talked about the reductions achieved through the CMP rule and practices developed hand in hand with the industry, and the tremendous reductions achieved through the incentive programs such as Carl Moyer and the EQIP program through NRCS.  Isom also discussed the conversion of ag pumps from diesel to electric through the Ag-ICE program and the current work on Ag-ICE 2.0.   The Nisei Farmers League also testified in opposition to the proposed control measures and the push by the environmental community to increase regulations on agriculture.

  • CCGGA Opposes Air Resources Board Freight Facility Survey for 2017

    The California Air Resources Board (CARB) held a public workshop yesterday to discuss “Data Collection and Freight Hub Survey” as part of CARB’s Sustainable Freight Strategy. This issue from early on has been an extreme concern of the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations (CCGGA) as the loose term of freight facility and warehouse/distribution center could include cotton ginning operations among other agricultural post-harvest facilities. This is critical as CARB eyes future rulemaking that, while not explicit stating it, could lead to the potential of a facility based diminishing emissions cap. Director of Regulatory Affairs Jodi Raley was among the very few participants in yesterday’s workshop and the only agricultural organization to comment on the matter. CCGGA’s comments included opposition to the survey presented as we believe the questions asked are not needed, contain sensitive information or data can be attained through CARB’s current resources. Additionally, CCGGA commented on the concern our Association has with CARB’s aggressive survey approach as it was just a month ago that the agriculture industry received the Large-Spark Ignition (aka Forklift) and Transportation Refrigeration Unit survey. CARB claims that they are still developing the definition and criteria of facilities that would be included on this survey, however they are stating they are eyeing a potential 55,000 facilities that they have identified thus far based off of tax assessor document along with aerial imaging identifying loading docks/bays. We will be following up with detailed comments and continued pressure to identify who will be targeted for this survey.

  • CCGGA Opposes Wild and Scenic Designation for San Joaquin River

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations (CCGGA) has weighed in on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) proposed designation of a 7.5 mile stretch of the San Joaquin River above Millerton Lake as “wild and scenic”.  Such a designation would eliminate any possibility of the construction of Temperance Flat Dam and Reservoir.  CCGGA wrote a letter this week to Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell opposing the proposed listing as not meeting the criteria for “wild and scenic”, which requires the river to be “free flowing”.  The proposed area falls between Kerckhoff Dam and Kerchoff Powerhouse which has the water running through tunnels thereby largely bypassing the area.  As such, it could not possibly meet the very basic criteria of “free flowing” and CCGGA urged the Secretary to not list the San Joaquin River as “wild and scenic.”

  • CCGGA PAC Fundraiser – Beretta Shotgun Raffle!

    CCGGA PAC Fundraiser

    Beretta Shotgun Raffle!

    There are a few ways to purchase tickets!

    1.    Tickets are available to be purchased online (link below).

    2.    Tickets may be purchased directly from the association by contacting our office at (559) 252-0684.

    3.    All CCGGA Board Members and Advisors will be selling tickets.

    All payments made with a personal credit card or personal check will be allocated to CCGGA Federal PAC.

    All payments made with a corporate credit card or corporate check will be allocated to CCGGA State PAC.

    WIN A 686 SILVER PIGEON I!
    
    Tickets - $100/ea. (limit 250 entries)
    
    Payment must be received by 5 pm Wednesday, Nov. 22
     to 1785 N. Fine Ave. Fresno, CA 93727.
    
    All payments made with a personal credit card will go to the CCGGA Federal PAC.
    
    All payments made with a company credit card will go to the CCGGA State PAC.
    
    Drawing - Wednesday, Dec.  6, 2017
    
    Questions? Call (559) 252-0684

     

    Contributions to the California Cotton Ginners & Growers Federal PAC are not deductible for federal income tax purposes. Contributions from corporations, foreign nationals and federal government contractors are prohibited. **Federal law requires political committees to report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer for each individual whose contribution exceeds $200 in an election cycle.

    **Drawing will be held at CCGGA Board Meeting, winners need not be present

    California Cotton Ginners & Growers Association
    1785 N. Fine Avenue
    Fresno, CA  93727

     

    Purchase Tickets

  • CCGGA Participates In and Supports Huge Water Rally

    As part of our efforts on water, the CCGGA participated in and helped sponsor a huge water rally this week at the State Capitol in Sacramento. The Association’s Director of Regulatory Affairs Aimee Brooks led the Association’s efforts in Sacramento where over 1,000 supporters joined with a bipartisan group of legislators calling for the governor to declare a drought emergency, and to encourage passage of the water bond and for more storage. Buses from all over the state descended upon the Capitol where chants rallied for immediate action on water, including supporting the passage of the Water Bond on the 2014 Election Ballot. Supporters then entered the Capitol where they knocked on legislator’s doors pleading them to hear their story and discuss why this issue is so critical to jobs, families, and local economies.

    Just one day after the rally, the governor has declared an emergency drought which will provide minimal and temporary relief by loosening restrictions on water transfers among other limited administrative powers the governor can initiate. In addition to these changes, the declaration serves as an important public relations tool to draw the attention of the federal government, who could help with relief efforts.

    More updates regarding the implications of the emergency drought declaration will be coming soon!

  • CCGGA Pushes Back on Aboveground Tank Mandate in Kern County

    CCGGA President/CEO Roger Isom joined forces with California Citrus Mutual, the Nisei Farmers League and the California Independent Oil Marketers Association in meetings with Kern County Supervisors this past week to oppose a Kern County mandate to replace all aboveground storage tanks immediately.  Multiple farmers have already received notices of violation and been told to replace all gravity fed aboveground storage tanks and single wall aboveground storage tanks “immediately”.  This is being done in response to a change in State Fire Code that the Association has been fighting for the past year.  The Association is also leading an effort to introduce legislation to ensure that this mandate is spread over time, instead of immediately.  The group met with Supervisors Maggard and Scrivner, and staff from Supervisors Gleason and Perez.  The primary purpose was to inform the Supervisors how Kern County was going beyond the law and was the only county in the state doing this at this time.  Additional meetings will occur in the coming weeks as we work to find a more reasonable solution.

  • CCGGA Stands Down for Veterans

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association, represented by President/CEO Roger Isom, Chris McGlothlin, Director of Technical Services, and Jodi Raley, Director of Regulatory Affairs, ventured to San Diego to take part in a unique opportunity for the cotton industry to give back to those who have served our country. Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins represents the 39th Senate District, which includes La Jolla, Del Mar, Downtown San Diego, Point Loma and other surrounding communities. With Point Loma Naval Base and the San Diego Marine Base within her district’s bounds, there is a large population of veterans, some of which who are struggling. CCGGA learned earlier this year that Pro Tem Atkins was passionate about assisting these veterans and hosts on an annual basis a Stand Down event in her district. Stand Down events offer food, shelter, clothing, health screenings and other services to homeless veterans. One of the most requested items for these events is, of all things, socks. Once CCGGA learned of this event and the high demand for good quality socks for these veterans, we started thinking on how we as a fiber industry can contribute to this cause. In partnership with Supima, CCGGA was able to donate 1,000 pairs of California Grown, American Made pima cotton socks. The socks will be distributed at San Diego’s 31st Annual Stand Down taking place June 29th through July 1st. The Association was honored to be able to use our grower’s cotton to be put forward towards a great cause. CCGGA looks forward to continuing this momentum and finding additional opportunities to give back as an industry. CCGGA would like to extend our sincere appreciation and thanks to Supima and Harris & Covington Hosiery Mills for partnering with the Association to make this happen!

  • CCGGA Submits Crisis Section 18 for Transform

    After receiving numerous reports from growers, PCA’s and Cooperative Extension representatives regarding the severe Lygus populations in California cotton, the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association (CCGGA) immediately went to work in preparing a Section 18 Crisis Emergency Exemption for sulfoxaflor (aka Transform®). Given the extended winter season and increased rains, a perfect storm was created to give Lygus the ideal conditions to grow to large populations, many indicating this is the worst they have ever seen. With the assistance from UCCE IPM Specialist Peter Goodell, state cotton specialist Bob Hutmacher and the representatives at Dow AgroSciences, CCGGA was able to prepare and submit an application within a week’s timeframe. Throughout the entire process, CCGGA has been engaged in communication with the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to convey the urgency and time sensitive nature of getting this application approved. It is hoped with this particular Section 18 being categorized as a “crisis”, DPR and the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) will speed up the process to allow timely access to growers. At this point there is no timeline as to when the product will be able to be used, CCGGA staff are in contact with DPR on a daily basis conveying the urgency and will provide updates as they become available.

  • CCGGA Testifies At CalOSHA Heat Illness Hearing

    CalOSHA held a hearing yesterday in San Diego on the proposed revisions to their proposed revisions to the Heat Illness Standard.  The proposed changes include requiring water to be within 400 feet, shade within 700 feet that covers 100% of all employees, and mandatory 10 minute breaks every two hours when the temperature hits 95 degrees.  CCGGA President/CEO testified on the issue stating that the distance requirements were not only impractical but not justified.  Isom asked the board to consider the basis for the changes, stating that CalOSHA staff had not provided any justification for the changes.  Isom also testified on the confusion and burdensome paperwork that would be required to track both breaks for heat illness and breaks already mandated under current labor law.  Comments were given throughout the day, and the CalOSHA Standards Board will vote on the proposed revisions later this year.

  • CDFA TO INITIATE SECOND ROUND OF FUNDING FOR THE STATE WATER EFFICIENCY AND ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM (SWEEP)

    There is a bit of good news coming out of CDFA recently, as they will start their second round of financial assistance to install water distribution systems that help reduce greenhouse gases and conserve water. The program titled State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) was authorized by emergency drought legislation. Agriculture operations looking at energy and water conservation projects (pump improvements, equipment to facilitate water saving measures and other quantifiable water distribution and greenhouse gas reduction management practices) could be provided with up to $150,000.

    CDFA will begin accepting applications on September 29, 2014. Details regarding eligibility information and program requirements can be accessed at www.cdfa.ca.go/go/SWEEP . To expedite the application process, CDFA is partnering with the State Water Resources Control Board, which hosts an online application using the Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAST). All applicants must register for a FAAST account at https://faast.waterboards.ca.gov. The deadline to submit electronically to FAAST is Friday, November 10, 2014 at 5;00 PM (PST).

    To help with program requirements and for more information about the program, CDFA will hold three application workshops to help with the application process. The workshop is free but individuals are encouraged to RSVP to grants@cdfa.ca.gov with their contact information, number of seats required and workshop location.

    Workshop Locations:

    Fresno – October 6, 2014
    1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
    Fresno County Ag Commissioner Office
    1730 S. Maple Avenue
    West Wing Conference Room #1
    Fresno, CA 93702

    San Luis Obispo – October 8, 2014
    1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
    San Luis Obispo County Ag Commissioner Office
    Auditorium
    2156 Sierra Way,
    San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

    Sacramento – October 13, 2014
    10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
    California Department of Food and Agriculture
    Auditorium
    1220 N Street
    Sacramento, CA 95814

    Webinar – October 16, 2014
    10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (PST)
    Webinar Information will be provided upon registration

  • CE Credits Available on Pesticide Breakout Session – 25th Annual CA Cotton Growers Association Meeting

    We have been approved to have 1.5 hours of CE Credits for the Pesticide Breakout Session, so mark your calendars for the California Cotton Growers Associations (CCGA) 25th Annual Meeting to be held at the Visalia Convention Center on March 6, 2015.   This year’s Annual Meeting will begin 9 am with concurrent sessions on Pest & Products Chaired by Pete Goodell, Varieties – Trials & New Releases Chaired by Bob Hutmacher, and Water – Issues and Irrigation Efficiency Chaired by Dan Munk. Please RSVP to Shana via email at shana@ccgga.org or call (559) 252-0684.  We hope to see you there!

    2015 Growers Annual Meeting Agenda

    CA Cotton Growers 25th Annual Meeting Flyer, Registration Form & Preliminary Agenda

    CA Cotton Growers Associate Member – Annual Mtg Sponsorship/Exhibitor Flyer

  • Chlorpyrifos: A Restricted Material Starting July 1st

    Chlorpyrifos will be labeled effective July 1, 2015 as a restricted material in California when it is an ingredient in pesticides for use in the production of an agricultural commodity. Applicators will need to obtain a restricted materials permit from their County Agriculture Commissioner if they wish to purchase, possess or apply affected chlorpyrifos products. Department of Pesticide Regulations is currently developing interim permit condition recommendations, this will be additional mitigation to the instructions users of restricted materials must follow. The interim permit conditions may include buffer zones near sensitive sites, GMP (good management practices) to prevent drift or offsite movement into the air and measures to reduce runoff into surface waters. County Agriculture Commissioners will be notified by the DPR next month with a letter of the recommended interim conditions. DPR published a list of products indicating 31 pesticides that would be affected by the new regulation.

  • Community Food Bank To Help Those Suffering The Effects Of The Drought

    The drought has been tough on valley farms but it has been especially tough on valley families. You can help! On July 15th, 2014 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. the Community Food Bank will try to make history with the largest food drive to directly help those most affected by the drought. The Food Bank is requesting numerous food items and personal hygiene items which are listed on the flyer attached.

    Four locations have been chosen for dropping off donations:

    • Fig Garden Village parking lot
    • Manchester Center parking lot
    • River Park parking lot
    • Sierra Vista Mall parking lot

    In addition to food donations, financial resources are also needed. Differing levels of sponsorship are available on the attached flyer. All checks can be made payable to: The Community Food Bank. Online donations are also welcome and can be found at www.communityfoodbank.net/howtohelp.aspx or over the phone at 559.237.3663.

    We hope you can take this opportunity to help those who rely on agriculture for their livelihood.

    Sponsorship Forms_Community Food Bank

    Community Food Bank Donation List

  • Congratulations to the Former Ms. Jodi Raley!

    This past month the Association’s own Director of Regulatory Affairs, Ms. Jodi Raley, became Mrs. Jodi Devaurs when she married Mr. Nick Devaurs in a beautiful wedding ceremony in Fresno.   On behalf of all of us here at the Association we wish Jodi and Nick a lifetime of love and happiness as they embark on this wonderful new journey in their life together!

  • Cotton Board Advisor Positions Available

    The Cotton Board has two new advisory positions designed to represent the voices and issues faced by under-represented cotton producers such as minorities and the youth. Ideal candidates should familiarize themselves with the organization, attend and participate in Cotton Board meetings, and remain ethical and confidential while serving as an ambassador for the program.

    Advisors are appointed by the Secretary and are non-voting. Their three-year term will begin at the start of 2019.  Advisors are welcome to all of the Cotton Board’s regularly scheduled meetings which are held in March, August, and December each year. Travel and participation expenses will be reimbursed by the Cotton Board.

    For interested candidates, please refer to the information below and complete the fillable form attached. Completed forms are to be submitted to Tom Eubank via e-mail at teubank@cottonboard.org no later than Wednesday September 5th.

    Board Advisor Positions

    Candidate Form

  • Cotton Board Seeking Nominees

    The Cotton Board is currently seeking nominees from California to fulfill a three year term beginning on January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2020.  Based in Memphis, Tennessee, The Cotton Board is the oversight and administrative arm of the Cotton Research & Promotion Program, representing U.S. Upland cotton.  To fund the Program, The Cotton Board collects a per bale assessment of all Upland cotton harvested and ginned in the U.S., as well as an importer assessment for all Upland cotton products imported into the U.S.  To conduct the Program, The Cotton Board contracts with Cotton Incorporated to carryout the actual research and promotion activities for U.S. producers and importers of cotton.  While Cotton Incorporated is consumer and trade focused, it is a charged function of The Cotton Board’s mission to keep U.S. producers and importers of cotton informed on the innovative developments coming from the Program.  Being a board member of the Cotton Board will help shape cotton’s future and play a critical role in the success of the cotton industry for years to come.  Growers Aaron Barcellos and Dustin Mancebo currently represent California.  There are 2 to 3 meetings per year, and travel costs are reimbursed.  Anyone interested in encouraged to apply.  If you are interested, please contact Roger Isom at (559)252-0684 or via email at roger@ccgga.org.

  • Cotton Ginning Cost Share Program

    On June 6, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched the Cotton Ginning Cost Share (CGCS) program, providing cost share assistance payments to cotton producers to expand and maintain the domestic marketing of cotton. Through the Cotton Ginning Cost Share program, eligible producers can receive a one-time cost share payment, which is based on a producer’s

    2015 cotton acres reported to FSA multiplied by 40 percent of the average ginning cost for each production region. The regional payment rates are

    $47.44 for the Southeast, $56.26 for the Mid-South, $36.97 for the Southwest and $97.41 for the West. The average assistance to cotton producers from the program is estimated to be about $4,200 per farm or $8,100 per producer on average. For comparison, the 2014 Cotton Transition Assistance Program

    (CTAP) provided about $2,600 per farm or $5,200 per producer on average.

    Since 2011, cotton fiber markets have experienced dramatic changes. As a result of poor U.S. market conditions for cotton and, in part, as a result of a large amount of excess stocks of cotton held in China, cotton producers are facing economic uncertainty that has led to many producers having lost equity and having been forced to liquidate equipment and land to satisfy loans. The ginning of cotton is necessary prior to marketing the lint for fiber or the seed for oil or feed. While the Cotton Ginning Cost Share program makes payments to cotton producers for anticipated cotton ginning costs, the benefits of the program will be felt by the broader marketing chain associated with cotton and cottonseed, including cotton gins, cooperatives, marketers and cottonseed crushers and the rural communities that depend on them.

    Signup for the program will begin June 20 and run through Aug. 5, 2016 at your local FSA office. Payments will be processed as applications are received and are expected to begin in July.

    For more information, contact Kent Politsch:

    Kent.Politsch@wdc.usda.gov; 202-720-7163.

  • Cotton Harvest Safety Seminar

    Wednesday, September 23, 2015
    8:00 am- 12:00 pm

    Kings & Tulare County Farm Bureaus, UCCE and State Fund will host their annual fall harvest safety training event for cotton and other fall harvesting crops.

    Location: Kings County Fairgrounds, 801 10th Ave, Hanford, CA 93230

    All farming operations with fall harvests approaching are encouraged to attend, with registration beginning at 7:30 am. This annual safety training will cover topics employers are required to offer: farm equipment safety, road safety, and chemical safety. Training sessions are offered in Spanish and English, certificates of completion are provided to all participants, and complimentary lunch is served afterwards.

    For reservations, call Tulare County UCCE office at 559-684-3300.

    Deadline to register is Monday, September 21.

    Thank you to California Cotton Ginners and Growers, State Compensation Insurance Fund, California Highway Patrol, Kings and Tulare County Farm Bureaus, and University of California Cooperative Extension Service for your support and continued involvement in this harvest day, that now dates back more than 40 years!

    Download fill-able registration form  

  • Cotton Harvest Safety Training

    Cotton Harvest Safety Training set for Sept. 17
    Fresno County Farm Bureau (FCFB), California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations (CCGGA), California Highway Patrol (CHP), Proteus Inc. and State Compensation Insurance Fund will host the annual Cotton Harvest Safety Training on Thursday, Sept. 17, at the West Side Research and Extension Center, 17353 W. Oakland Ave., Five Points.

    The free program will begin with registration at 7:30 a.m. and conclude with lunch at noon.

    Registration forms are available online at www.fcfb.org

    For more information, or to register, contact FCFB at 559-237-0263 or info@fcfb.org

  • Cotton Harvest Safety Training September 27th

    FCFB and California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association will host their annual Cotton Harvest Safety Training in English and Spanish on Thursday, September 27, from 8 to 10 a.m., at the UC West Side Research and Extension Center, 17353 W. Oakland Ave., Five Points. The training will be provided by Zenith Agribusiness Solutions.

  • Cotton Harvest Safety Training, Sept 20

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association, Fresno County Farm Bureau and Zenith Agribusiness Solutions are presenting the 2017 Cotton Harvest Safety Training on September 20 from 8-10 a.m. at the Westside Research & Extension Center (17353 W. Oakland Ave. Five Points, CA 93624) with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. This annual training is meant to provide education and training to cotton harvest equipment operators, crews, ginners, farm employees as well as farm managers/supervisors and growers. All trainings will be conducted in both English and Spanish. Training will cover equipment safety (preparation and operation), electrical hazards, heat illness prevention and road safety. To register click here or contact Fresno County Farm Bureau at 559-237-0263 or info@fcfb.org.

  • Cotton Transition Assistance Program Enrollment Begins Next Week

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 7, 2014 — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency Administrator Juan M. Garcia today announced that farmers can enroll in the Cotton Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) from Aug. 11, 2014 through Oct. 7, 2014.

    The program, created by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides interim payments to cotton producers during the 2014 crop year until the Stacked Income Protection Plan, a new insurance product also created by the legislation, is available. Details on the plan will be released by mid-August.

    “The Cotton Transition Assistance Program is another milestone in USDA’s ambitious timeline for implementing the provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill. Cotton producers now have a risk management tool in place,” said Garcia. “To help us provide the best service possible, cotton producers are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their local Farm Service Agency office early in this enrollment period,” added Garcia.

    CTAP applications approved before Oct. 1, are subject to congressionally mandated automatic reductions of 7.2 percent for the 2014 crop year. Applications approved after Oct. 1 will be reduced the required 7.3 percent for the 2015 crop year. The Budget Control Act of 2011 requires USDA to implement these reductions to program payments.

    CTAP and the Stacked Income Protection Plan were established by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

    For more information about CTAP, visit a local FSA office or go online to www.fsa.usda.gov.

    USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

  • CRLA Entering Farms, Posing as Agents of the State

  • Dairy Sustainability Summit

    The dairy industry has united to host the inaugural California Dairy Sustainability Summit at the Sacramento Convention Center. The event will showcase
    world-leading achievements in sustainable farming practices, while promoting technology, services, and strategies to help farmers reduce operating costs and generate revenue, while making further advancements. The summit will be held November 27th and 28th at the Sacramento Convention Center. To register, please visit cadairysummit.com.

  • 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.

  • DPR Issues Proposed Regulation Governing Pesticides Used Near Schools

    In a move that could have significant impact on certain agricultural operations, DPR is proposing a new regulation that would give further protections to children when agricultural pesticides are applied within a quarter mile schools and child day-care facilities.  The proposed regulation would require advance notification when certain pesticides are applied within a quarter mile of schools or child day-care facilities.  DPR is seeking further public comment on the proposed regulation by November 17, 2016, and a final regulation is expected to become effective in September 2017.  The proposed regulation would do the following:

    • Prohibit many pesticide applications within a quarter mile of public K-12 schools and child day-care facilities from Monday through Friday between 6am and 6pm. These include all applications by aircraft, sprinklers, air-blast and all fumigant applications. In addition most dust and/or powder pesticide applications such as sulfur would also be prohibited during this time.
    • Require California growers and pest control contractors to notify public K-12 schools and child day-care facilities and county agricultural commissioners (CACs) when certain pesticide applications are made within a quarter mile of these schools and facilities.

    Under the proposed regulation, California growers would be required to provide two types of notifications to a school or child day-care facility:

    1. An annual notification that lists all the pesticides expected to be used during the upcoming year. This must be provided to the school or child day care facility administrator by April 30 each year. The notice must include among other things:
    • The name of pesticide products (and the main active ingredient) to be used
    • A map showing the location of the field to be treated
    • Contact information for the grower/operator and the County Agricultural Commissioner
    • The web address for the National Pesticide Information Center where additional sources of information or facts on pesticides may be obtained.

     

    1. An application-specific notification which must be provided to the school or child day-care facility 48 hours before each application is made. This begins Jan 1 2018 and must include among other things:
    • Name of pesticide products (and the main active ingredient) to be used;
    • Specific location of the application and the number of acres to be treated;
    • Earliest date and time of the application.

    At least one cotton gin could be impacted significantly, possibly even shut down, by the adoption of these proposed regulations.  The Association is currently reviewing the draft regulations and will be submitting comments

  • DPR Releases Revised Pesticide Use Near Schools Regulation

    The Department of Pesticide Regulation released the revised Pesticide Use Near Schools Regulation today. After several months of reviewing comments, the revised regulation provides little relief to the agricultural industry from these over reaching proposals amended to become effective January 1, 2018.

    Below are the most substantial changes to the document:

    • Schoolsite is given a clearer definition, identifying a schoolsite as a property used as a child day care facility (defined by the Health and Safety Code) or kindergarten, elementary or secondary school. The definition includes all areas of property used on weekdays by children who attend such facilities. Commissioners can identify adjacent parks if used for school activities.
      • Schoolsite does not include family day care homes, private schools, vehicles or bus stops not on schoolsite property.
    • The 48-hour notification was eliminated, however annual notification would still be required.
    • Growers who need to use a pesticide that was not included on the annual notification must provide the required information to the school site and commissioner at least 48 hours prior to application

    Despite specific requests directly to DPR and through public comments, the regulations failed to identify commodity fumigation exempt from this proposal. The regulation will be open for a 15-day public comment period from March 20th to April 4th. CCGGA, who testified at the Tulare hearing with more than 20 growers, will continue to oppose the proposal.

    Written comments relevant to the modifications may be sent via e-mail <dpr16004@cdpr.ca.gov>; or may be directed to Ms. Linda Irokawa-Otani, Regulations Coordinator, Department of Pesticide Regulation, 1001 I Street, P.O. Box 4015, Sacramento, California 95812-4015. FAX: (916) 324-1491.

  • Drought Takes Its Toll on California Cotton Acres

    The fourth consecutive year of drought is leaving a lasting impression on the California cotton industry.  A fourth consecutive year of drought coupled with depressed prices, is leading California cotton growers to plant less acres in 2015.  Based on a survey conducted in early March, the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations are currently estimating cotton plantings in 2015 to be at 135,000 acres of pima and 35,000 acres of upland for a total of 170,000 acres.  Now, this is preliminary and a lot can happen between now and when things are actually planted, but based on the survey this is our best estimate.  If it play out, it will be represent at 12% decrease in pima acreage and a 38% decrease in upland acreage in California as compared to 2014.  With a zero allocation in surface water and a dwindling supply of groundwater2015 looks to be a rough year for all of agriculture.

  • DWR Drops State Water Project Allocation to Zero, Seeks to Preserve Remaining Supplies

    A press release sent out today by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced more devastating news for water users in California. In response Governor Brown’s Drought Declaration, the DWR and State Water Resource Control Board will take action to conserve currently stored water that remains at critically low levels. The result is a 0% allocation of water for State Water Project (SWP) customers if current weather conditions persist. This comes after their December announcement projecting a 5% allocation. Even long standing water rights customers in the Sacramento Valley will feel the pain with this announcement, with delivery cuts of up to 50%!

    Never before has the DWR allocated 0% water for the 29 public water agencies that utilize the SWP. It is estimated that those 29 water agencies supply water to 25 million Californians and roughly 750,000 acres of irrigated farmland! Impacts could be disastrous!

    It seems none are exempt from the pain of the drought, including delicate environmental regulations that monitor water quality in the Delta. According to the DWR report, a formal petition has been filed with the SWRCB “to adjust requirements for freshwater outflow in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in order to preserve stored water that may be needed later in the year…”

    These announcements came after yesterday’s decision by the Bureau of Reclamation to preserve rescheduled water supplies that CVP farmers had banked as a hedge against dry conditions. Even with this decision, federal CVP users will fallow thousands and thousands of acres of farmland in 2014, sending local economies spiraling and hundreds of families that rely on agriculture work, unemployed.

    For more information on this Press Release, water conservation measures, snowpack results and more, click the link to DWR’s website: http://www.water.ca.gov/recent_news.cfm.

  • DWR Hosts SGMA BMP Workshop

    Earlier this week, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) hosted a public meeting to discuss a newly released draft document regarding the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).  The workshop focused on a newly released Best Management Practices (BMP) draft document.  The BMP document primarily focuses on basin modeling, as well as developing and maintaining basin-wide monitoring networks.  The modeling and monitoring are both important to the long term effectiveness of the SGMA program.  The basin modeling will show the layout of the basin as well as the various sources that provide and take water in that specific area, and the monitoring will be able to show changes to the basin in real time.  The Association has submitted comments on the draft document, encouraging DWR to take a synergistic approach to monitoring with other programs that are already in place.  Programs such the California Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring (CASGEM) and the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) are already monitoring water levels and water quality.  Utilizing these pre-existing programs help reduce cost of installing monitoring wells, and will also minimize the potential for collecting duplicative data.  It is our understanding that the development of these BMP’s will not create any additional regulatory requirements in the monitoring for these programs; they will work in coordination with what is already required.  DWR only wants to utilize monitoring sites that are already in place and functional.  If you would like a link for the draft BMP’s or an email to submit comments, please feel free to contact Chris McGlothlin with the Association.

  • East San Joaquin Petition Workshop Held

    Roger Testifying
    On May 17th, State Water Resources Control Board members traveled down to Fresno for a workshop on the proposed changes to the Waste Discharge Requirements in the East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition.  The workshop had to change locations due to the amount of grower involvement that was being encouraged by coalitions, commodity groups, and other interested stakeholders.  Over 300 interested stakeholders attended the workshop, with many taking the opportunity to comment on the effects the changes to the current order will have throughout the state.  State Water Board staff heard from coalition groups, as well as a panel of technical experts who participated in the Expert Panel report development, and finally a panel comprised of experts on the Southern San Joaquin Valley Water Quality Coalition which is leading the way on a Management Practices Effectiveness Program (MPEP).

    Roger Testifying
    CCGGA’s President/CEO Roger Isom provided public comment on the effectiveness of grower participation in various other programs, such as the CMP rules for PM10 as well as the Ag ICE program for diesel pump engines.  Isom also discussed the importance of grower participation on rule and program development, such as the East San Joaquin petition.  The Association’s Director of Technical Services, Chris McGlothlin, also provided comments on a few key issues.  McGlothlin touched on the concern over the Regional Board’s capacity to handle the new responsibilities that the proposed changes would incur, the fear of bio-attacks against landowners if private information is made public, as well as asking the Board to trust the efforts being made on addressing water quality issues within the Central Valley.  State Water Board Chairwoman, Felicia Marcus, commended attendees and commenters at this workshop for providing a valuable perspective on the effects the ag industry will face if the proposed rules are implemented.

  • Effort to Expedite CEQA for Water Storage Projects Runs into Political Roadblock
    On Monday, the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association (CCGGA) participated in a press conference at the steps of the State Capitol to help support the passage of AB 311 (Gallagher) which would “expedite” CEQA for water storage projects in California, such as Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat Dam.  Against the backdrop of recently pulled out almond trees, and despite overwhelming support from the agricultural community, the Republican backed bill did not receive a single Democratic vote in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee and died.  The bill would have “expedited CEQA” in much the same way as legislation was passed to expedite CEQA for the new basketball arena or the Sacramento Kings professional basketball team.   CCGGA President/CEO Roger Isom and CCGGA Director of Technical Services Christopher McGlothlin were on hand for the event.Effort to Expedite CEQA for Water Storage Projects Runs into Political Roadblock
  • EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Visits Valley

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy visited Fresno on Wednesday, as part of a day long visit to the valley to meet with agricultural stakeholders.  WAPA staff Roger Isom, Casey Creamer and Aimee Brooks attended a special meeting to discuss air quality issues at Melkonian Farms near Fresno.  WAPA President Isom specifically addressed the success of “incentive programs” to address air quality issue citing the recent success of the tractor replacement program through the SanJoaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.  Isom also mentioned the success that happens when the agencies work with agriculture including the success of the Conservation Management Plan (CMP) program to address PM10 emissions from agriculture that resulted in more reductions in emissions than originally proposed.

    WAPA President Isom speaking to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and EPA Region IX Administrator Jared Blumenfeld

     

  • EPA Denies Activist Petition Aimed to Ban Chlorpyrifos

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt signed an order denying the activist petition that sought to ban chlorpyrifos (Lorsban). This long fought battle starting in October 2015 was begun with pressure from Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) to submit a petition proposing to revoke all U.S. food tolerances of chlorpyrifos, in essence regulating it out of use. As one of the most widely used pesticides across the world, California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association (CCGGA) and other representatives of the agricultural industry defended the product and grower practices relentlessly in an effort to keep the product available. The largest issues being the main argument in the petition was centered on a study that lacked availability of raw data, duplication or further review. CCGGA and others recently submitted comments citing issues with this data, today’s news shows they listened. EPA’s denial of the petition is based off of the foundation in which EPA was created on, relying on sound-science and a transparent process. EPA will now direct its efforts to updating and revising its human health assessment for chlorpyrifos under the standard procedures of the ongoing registration review process, scheduled for completion on October 1, 2022. This is great news for producers and shows the EPA’s redirection towards supporting a scientific process!

  • EPA Proposes 14 Areas of the Country as Non-attainment for PM2.5

    U.S. EPA has proposed designating 14 areas in six states as out of compliance with the 2012 pollution standard for airborne fine particulates (PM2.5).  In 2012, EPA tightened the particulate limit from 15 micrograms per cubic meter to 12 micrograms per cubic meter, based on information about health effects.  The list of 14 areas out of compliance with the standard is based on monitoring data from 2011 to 2013.  The nonattainment areas are in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, California and Idaho. For California, the following counties are listed as not meeting the standard: Plumas, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Kern, San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange and Imperial Counties.  EPA is accepting public comment on the list until the end of the month. States with nonattainment areas have 120 days to work with the agency and provide more information before EPA makes a final decision.  Under the Clean Air Act, states with areas not meeting the federal standard must come up with plans to reduce pollution from sources of fine particulate matter, primarily combustions sources including trucks and tractors.

  • EPA Releases Proposal to Update Ozone Standard

    Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to strengthen the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone, based on what EPA claims is extensive scientific evidence about ozone’s effects on public health and welfare.  With this announcement, business just got a whole lot tougher, if not impossible for California.  EPA is proposing to update both the primary ozone standard, to protect public health, and the secondary standard, to protect the public welfare.  Both standards would be 8-hour standards set within a range of 65 to 70 parts per billion (ppb).  EPA is also seeking comment on potentially setting the levels for the health standard as low as 60 ppb!  To put this in perspective, in the 1990’s the Central California Ozone Studies measured background ozone levels on the Farallon Islands off the California Coast of 60 ppb!  The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has made the comment that it would take the elimination of every car, truck, tractor and cow and it would still be unable to achieve this standard.   Ozone forms in the atmosphere when emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds “cook” in the sun.  Emissions from sources such as cars, trucks, buses, industries, power plants, and products such as solvents and paints are among the major man-made sources of ozone-forming emissions.  As required by the Clean Air Act, EPA would make attainment/nonattainment designations for any revised standards by October 2017; those designations likely would be based on 2014-2016 air quality data.  A number of California counties likely would have attainment dates ranging from 2032 to late 2037.  EPA analyzed the benefits and costs for California separately, because a number of areas in California would have longer to meet the proposed standards.   Estimated costs in California post-2025 are $800 million for a standard of 70 ppb and $1.6 billion for a standard of 65 ppb.

  • EPA Tightens Ozone Standard

    Citing “extensive scientific evidence on effects that ground-level ozone pollution, or smog, has on public health and welfare” the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has strengthened the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone to 70 parts per billion (ppb) down from 75 ppb!  What does this mean for California?  Good question.  Much of the state has not even written the plan on trying to meet the 75 ppb, because the current requirements are for the 84 ppb standard adopted under the Clinton Administration.  To put it in perspective, the San Joaquin Valley just had their cleanest summer on record for ozone, and still exceeded the 84 ppb standard on 75 days.  In fact, substantial progress has been made in reducing ground-level ozone. Nationally, from 1980 to 2014, average ozone levels have fallen 33 percent, and the San Joaquin Valley has reduced the number of exceedances of the 84 ppb standard by 54% just since 1996!  Depending on the severity of their ozone problem, areas would have until between 2020 and 2037 to meet the standards.  In the San Joaquin Valley it will be 2037, and many doubt that this standard is achievable in the San Joaquin Valley, including EPA who stated the technology does not yet exist for the San Joaquin Valley to get into attainment!  To take it one step further, the San Joaquin Valley has indicated that this new standard could not be met, even if you took every car, truck and tractor off the road!  Nonetheless, EPA has adopted a new standard, and failure to meet the standard will result in penalties on businesses.  What that means is that the current truck rule and the potential tractor rule will not be enough to get into attainment and businesses in the San Joaquin Valley will pay penalties as a result…

    ozone

  • FAQs About The New Paid Sick Leave Law

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    By Carl Larson

    Who qualifies for Paid Sick Leave (“PSL”)?
    Employees who work 30 or more days for the same employer providing the leave qualify.
    This includes part-time, seasonal, and full-time employees.
    Who is excluded from the PSL law’s requirements?
    (1) Employers who already provide paid time off (“PTO”) or PSL plans which provide for accrual of sick leave on a regular basis, so long as:
    · at least 24 hours of paid time off are accrued by the 120th calendar day of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period; and
    · leave carries over at least “3 days or 24 hours” of sick leave from year to year; and
    · the leave is permitted to be used for the same purposes allowed in the PSL law.
    (2) Employers who provided a PTO or PSL plan to a class of employees before January 1, 2015 that provided leave accrual on a regular basis so long as:
    · no less than one day or eight hours of sick leave accrued within three months of
    employment each calendar year or 12-month period; and
    · employees were eligible to earn at least 3 days of sick leave or paid time off within nine months of employment.
    (3) Employers already covered by a collective bargaining agreement that meet certain requirements.
    (4) In-home support services employees.
    (5) Airline flight deck or cabin crew employees who are already provided with compensated time off equal to or exceeding the requirements of the PSL law.
    (6) Public employees who receive a retirement allowance.
    Does the PSL Law apply to employees who work in California but are employed by an out-of-state employer?
    Yes. All employees who work at least 30 days in California for the same employer are covered regardless of where the employer is based.
    How much leave are employers required to provide?
    The PSL law generally requires employers to grant employees at least “24 hours or 3 days of leave.” Please note that although the law as written requires 24 hours or 3 days of PSL, this requirement is based on a standard 8-hour day/40-hour week schedule. The legislature did not consider harvesters and other agricultural workers who work a varying schedule that often requires at least 10-hour days. Although the terms “days” and “hours” are not well defined under the new PSL regulations, the safest, most conservative approach in light of the purpose of the statute is to provide 30 hours of PSL for agricultural workers who work a 10-hour day schedule.
    What are the use requirements?
    Frontloading
    · Employers must provide at least “24 hours or 3 days”* of leave at the beginning of each year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period.
    · Leave is not required to be carried over.
    · Pro-rating the amount of leave is not permitted.
    · Can an employer using the frontloading method pro-rate because of the July 1 start date?
    o No. Pro-rating of leave is not permitted by the statute. However, an employer can choose whether to provide the frontloading in each year of employment, calendar year, or other 12-month basis.
    Accrual
    · Employers may allow leave to be accrued on another basis, so long as it is accrued at regular intervals, and will result in at least 24 hours or 3 days* of sick leave available bythe 120th calendar day of employment.
    · Employees accrue leave on the later of July 1, 2015 or their date of hire.
    · Leave must be carried over from year-to-year up to a maximum of “48 hours or 6 days.”*
    * In accordance with the interpretation of “3 days or 24 hours” agricultural employees who regularly work 10 hour shifts should be allowed to carry over up to 60 hours.
    Can an employer use one method for seasonal workers and another for year-round and another for other classes of employees?
    Yes. The law permits employers to use one method for one class of employees, and a different method for another class of employees so long as all methods are compliant.
    When does accrual under the new law begin?
    Accrual begins the later of July 1, 2015 or date of hire for employees who have worked in California for the same employer for more than 30 days in a year.
    When can the sick leave be used?
    Employees can use sick leave after 90 days of employment.
    For what purposes can leave be used?
    Employees may take leave for treatment, diagnosis, or preventative care of self, parents, children, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparents, grandchildren, or siblings.
    Employees may also take leave to obtain services or take other steps in dealing with domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault.
    Can an employer limit the amount of sick leave employees can take each year?
    Yes. The use of sick leave may be limited to “3 days or 24 hours” of leave each year. Again, the meaning of 3 days in this context is not clear. In the case of agricultural employees regularly working 10 hours shifts, a conservative approach would raise the limit on use to up to 30 hours each year. An employer may also set a minimum increment of two hours for the use of leave.
    Is an employer required to “cash out” unused sick leave?
    No. The statute does not require an employer to cash out unused sick leave ever. However, unused sick leave is subject to the reinstatement provisions below.
    If an employee is rehired within 1 year of termination, is the employer required to reinstate unused sick leave?
    Yes. If an employer rehires an employee within 1 year of separation from employment, any unused sick leave accrued by the employee previously must be reinstated.
    What are the record-keeping requirements?
    The PSL law requires that employers keep records of paid sick leave accrual and use for three years.
    How does this affect wage statements?
    Employers must provide a written notice that sets forth the amount of PSL available on employee wage statements or a separate writing provided with the statement.
    _______________________________________________________
    Counsel to Management:
    This guide generally addresses compliance with the paid sick leave law in general and the options facing employers. Deciding which of these options best fits your needs, provides a strategic advantage, or how the options apply to your unique situation requires a more in-depth analysis. If you have questions about the paid sick leave law as it applies to your business please contact the Saqui Law Group.

  • FDA Announces Enforcement Discretion Policy for Certain FSMA Regulations

    The FDA announced that it intends to exercise enforcement discretion for certain provisions in four of the rules that implement the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  This means that during the enforcement discretion period, the agency does not intend to enforce these provisions as they currently apply to certain entities or activities.

     

    The enforcement discretion announced today pertains to specific provisions in the Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food rule (PC Human Food), Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals rule (PC Animal Food), Foreign Supplier Verification Programs rule (FSVP), and Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption rule (Produce Safety) and how they apply to:

     

    • facilities that would be farms except for certain factors and activities; such as the ownership criteria and/or facilities that are solely engaged in the ginning of cotton.
    • written assurances provisions in all four rules related to the control of identified hazards or microorganisms that are a potential risk to public health
    • the animal food preventive controls requirements for certain manufacturing/processing activities performed on human food by-products used as animal food, and
    • FSVP requirements for importers of food contact substances.

     

    In general, the FDA is exercising enforcement discretion to allow time to consider changes or other approaches to address concerns regarding the application of these provisions to certain activities or entities.  FDA had previously extended the compliance dates for many of the provisions covered by this enforcement discretion guidance (see August 2016 compliance date extension) but is now exercising enforcement discretion.

     

    The enforcement discretion will be given until FDA can complete rule-making related to the farm definition. 

     

    This announcement aligns with the concern CCGGA has voiced to FDA on the use of ownership in the definition of a farm and the necessity to define all cotton gins as a farm and exempt from the Preventative Controls for Animal Food. CCGGA will continue to work with the FDA to find the appropriate solution. We will keep you updated!

     

  • FDA Releases Revised Drafts of Critical FSMA Proposed Rules

     

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing changes to four rules proposed in 2013 to implement the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA): Produce Safety, Preventive Controls for Human Food, Preventive Controls for Animal Food, and Foreign Supplier Verification Programs.

    FDA is proposing new ways to make the original proposals more flexible, practical and targeted. The changes are based on the input received from thousands of comments submitted on the proposed rules.

    The changes include:

    • Produce Safety: More flexible criteria for determining the safety of agricultural water for certain uses and a tiered approach to water testing.

     

    • Produce Safety: A commitment to conduct extensive research on the safe use of raw manure in growing areas and complete a risk assessment. Pending those actions, FDA is deferring its decision on an appropriate time interval between the application of raw manure and the harvesting of a crop and removing the nine-month interval originally proposed. FDA also proposes eliminating the 45-day minimum application interval for composted manure that meets proposed microbial standards and application requirements.

     

    • Preventive Controls for Human and Animal Foods: Requirements that human and animal food facilities, when appropriate, test products and the food facility’s environment, as well as implement certain supplier controls.

     

    • Foreign Supplier Verification Program: A more comprehensive analysis of potential risks associated with foods and foreign suppliers, and more flexibility for importers in determining appropriate supplier verification measures based on their evaluation of those risks.

     

    The FDA will accept comments on the revised provisions for 75 days after publication in the Federal Register, while continuing to review comments already received on the original proposed rules. No additional comments will be accepted on the original proposals. FDA will consider both sets of comments—on the original proposed rules and on the revisions—before issuing final rules in 2015.

    The agency is planning to hold a public meeting on the revised proposals on Thursday, November 13, 2014 in College Park, Md.  Details will be forthcoming.

     

  • FDA Submits Preventive Controls Rules

    Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released the Preventive Controls For Human Food Rule and Preventive Controls for Animal Food Rule as under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  The FDA has stated they will share updates as soon as the final rules are available, saying “documents submitted to the Federal Register can publish several days after they are submitted, with larger documents taking longer to process and display”.  The Association will provide more information as it becomes available.

  • Final Mapped California Cotton Acreage

    The Pink Bollworm Program under the California Department of Food and Agriculture has released their final mapped numbers for 2016.  While the drought is not over, for the first time in six years, cotton acreage has increased.  Final acreage numbers for California put Pima at 152,630 acres and upland at 66,353 acres for a total of 218,713 acres statewide.acre

    This represents a 31% increase in Pima acreage and a 44% increase in upland acreage as compared to 2015.  This represents a 35% increase in overall cotton acreage for 2016.

     

    *click on the graph to enlarge

  • Final Mapped California Cotton Acreage

    The Pink Bollworm Program under the California Department of Food and Agriculture has released their final mapped numbers for 2018, including the Pima and Upland acreage splits.  Final acreage numbers for California put Pima at 209,945 acres and Upland at 47,925 acres for a total of 257,870 acres statewide.

    This represents a 0.1% increase in Pima acreage and a 44.6% decrease in upland acreage as compared to 2017.  This represents a 12.6% decrease in overall cotton acreage for 2018.

  • Final Pink Bollworm Program- Silverleaf Whitefly Report 7/2/18-10/5/18

    The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pink Bollworm Program has released its report for monitoring Silverleaf Whitefly. The program monitored for whitefly and other cotton pests from July 2, 2018 to October 5, 2018. For the full report, please follow the button link below:

    Silverleaf Whitefly Report

  • Final Update on Cotton Acreages for California for 2014

    The Association has received the final information on cotton acreage in California including the breakdown between upland and pima.  The acreages as determined by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pink Bollworm Program are 56,730 acres of upland and 153,670 acres of pima, for a total of 210,400 acres.  The breakdowns are as follows:

    The breakdown in the San Joaquin Valley is as follows:

     

    SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY

    County

    Upland Acres

    Pima Acres

    Fresno

    7,395

    40,380

    Kern

    4,175

    30,260

    Kings

    4,040

    60,660

    Madera

    715

    30

    Merced

    19,895

    16,190

    Tulare

    8,090

    5,940

    TOTALS =

    44,310

    153,460

     

    In Southern California, the breakdown is as follows:

     

    SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

    County

    Upland Acres

    Pima Acres

    Imperial

    2,485

    210

    Riverside

    7,445

    0

    San Bernardino

    115

    0

    TOTALS =

    10,045

    210

     

    In the Sacramento Valley, the breakdown is as follows:

     

    SACRAMENTO VALLEY

    County

    Upland Acres

    Pima Acres

    Glenn

    1900

    0

    Sutter

    475

    0

    TOTALS =

    2375

    0

     

    Please be advised that the acres listed are based on Pink Bollworm Program field mapping techniques are intended for use on PBW Program detection and control activities and are not assumed to represent exact cotton acreage planted in California.

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE “Not Perfect But It Will Help”

     

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           December 6, 2016

    “Not Perfect But It Will Help”

    The words above uttered by U. S. Senator Feinstein, accurately sums up our feelings regarding the California drought legislation introduced yesterday and attached to the Water Resources Development Act.  Our collective email accounts were inundated with announcements and summaries yesterday and over last night we collectively read the pertinent language addressing California’s drought and aging infrastructure needs.

    The litany of positives is significant and contains both short term and long term solutions to California needs.  The crescendo of concern expressed by those opposing would have us living in an undeveloped California, foregoing ingenuity and the forward thinking that once helped turn California into a leading producer of food and fiber.  The bill removes subjective intuition that has never been held accountable as a pathway to achieve a goal.  Science that is vetted will create solutions for fish, families and farming.

    Funds are authorized that begins a process to create more water efficiencies and create more water for a state seeking environmental and community relief.   We commend Senator Feinstein and Congressman McCarthy for their tireless efforts to achieve a viable compromise on an important issue.  Our thanks to Congressmen Valadao, Nunes, Calvert, Costa, and Garamendi for expressing their support and helping lead Congress to the goal line.

    The Senator is correct, “this bill isn’t perfect but I do believe it will help California.”  That’s something that hasn’t been done in a generation relative to water infrastructure and use.

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    Pdf Version
  • Forgot about the Port Issue? Not CCGGA!

    U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez met with several agricultural organizations this week to discuss several issues, including the recent port debacle, immigration, hot goods and Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).  The meeting was held at the WAPA offices in Fresno and occurred at the request of Congressman Jim Costa, who took the opportunity of the Secretary’s visit to meet with agriculture officials on these important issues.  CCGGA President/CEO Roger Isom focused on the impact of the port situation on the cotton industry, and reminded the Secretary of the importance of addressing the issue moving forward to prevent it from happening again.  Isom thanked the Secretary for his critical assistance in helping bring the negotiations to a close.  Also, in the discussions, the Secretary agreed and emphasized the need to get the parties together again to work on a permanent long term solution.  There was talk on immigration, ICE audits and the impact of Hot Goods.  Included in the meeting were the California Fresh Fruit Association, California Citrus Mutual, and the Nisei Farmers League.

    Congressman Jim Costa, US DOL Secretary Thomas Perez and CCGGA President/CEO Roger Isom share a lighter moment during Labor Meeting at CCGGA Offices

    Congressman Jim Costa, US DOL Secretary Thomas Perez and CCGGA President/CEO Roger Isom share a lighter moment during Labor Meeting at CCGGA Offices

  • Forklift Train-the-Trainer Workshops 2018

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association in partnership with other Ag Organizations are now conducting the Forklift Train-the-Trainer Workshops. The first workshop began in Reedley to a great start with already 70 participants trained!  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 cover with their forklift operators at their facility.  Be sure to visit our website www.ccgga.org for registration.  If you have any questions, please contact our office at (559) 252-0684.

    Registration Form and Flyer

  • Form I-9 In a Nutshell Webinar

    Completing the I-9 form can be a timely and confusing process. If not done correctly it can result in major repercussions for your business. Form I-9 In a Nutshell will provide guidance on the process for completing the form, and compliance requirements through the Department of Homeland Security. This webinar will provide you with information on what documents are acceptable when trying to establish identity for employees whether U.S. citizens or non U.S. citizens, acceptable procedures for storing forms, and what to do
    when unforeseen situations may arise.

    Form I-9 In a Nutshell Webinar Flyer

  • Fred Starrh Recognized by the Cotton Research and Promotion Program Hall of Fame

    Cotton Incorporated has announced the formation of a Cotton Research and Promotion Program Hall of Fame, which will annually recognize U.S. cotton industry leaders that have made significant contributions to the Program or to the cotton industry in general. The five inaugural honorees: J. Dukes Wooters (New York); Morgan Nelson (New Mexico); Marshall Grant (North Carolina); Fred Starrh (California); and Lambert Wilkes (Texas) will be recognized for their achievements at the combined Cotton Board/Cotton Incorporated Board of Directors meeting in St. Petersburg, Florida this December.

    The Cotton Research and Promotion Program was established in 1966 to expand the demand for upland cotton and to increase profitability for both cotton growers and importers of cotton products.

    “As the Research and Promotion Program approaches its fiftieth year, we felt the time was right to acknowledge the contributions of those who have helped shape the modern cotton industry,” says Berrye Worsham, President and CEO of Cotton Incorporated.

    • J. Dukes Wooters, the first President of Cotton Incorporated, is recognized for his innovative marketing of cotton to consumers, including the development of the now iconic Seal of Cotton trademark.
    • Morgan Nelson, known as “Mr. Cotton” in his home state of New Mexico, was among the first directors of the Cotton Incorporated Board of Directors. He is honored for his strong leadership and lengthy tenure in this role, in which he was instrumental in generating and maintaining grower support and helping to shape the direction of Cotton Incorporated.
    • Marshall Grant, a staunch advocate of boll weevil eradication, is recognized for his foresight and tenacity in convincing local and national leaders to address one of the greatest threats ever to face the U.S. cotton industry. Heralded as one of the most successful USDA projects, the Boll Weevil Eradication Program also contributed to a reduction in pesticide applications and the implementation of Integrated Pest Management among U.S. cotton growers.
    • Professor Lambert Wilkes (deceased), along with his team at Texas A&M, is responsible for the engineering of the cotton module builder, which dramatically increased the efficiency of cotton collection and storage. In 2000, the state of Texas acknowledged the module builder as one of the four most significant economic achievements of the 1970s, alongside the opening of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Southwest Airlines.
    • Fred Starrh provided many years of leadership to the industry, first as Chairman of Cotton Incorporated and later as President and Chairman of Cotton Council International. He is honored for his strong leadership and for shepherding Cotton Incorporated through a transition of partnership with Cotton Council International to promote U.S. upland cotton around the world. He also served as the President of the California Cotton Growers Association (formerly Western Cotton Growers Association) from 1986 to 1990.

    The 2014 honorees of the Cotton Research and Promotion Program Hall of Fame were chosen from nominations made by Certified Producer and Importer Organizations and voted upon by the Chairman’s Committee of the Cotton Incorporated Board of Directors. A huge congratulations from the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations to Fred Starrh, and to all of the inaugural recipients on a very special honor!

  • FREE Cotton Harvest Safety Seminar

    A FREE Cotton Harvest Safety Seminar will be held September 12th from 8-11 a.m. at the Kings Fairgrounds in Hanford. The Sessions will include general equipment safety, chemical safety, road safety, and much more! To register, call the UC Cooperative Extension at 559-684-3300 or register the day-of from 7:30-8:00 a.m.

  • 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

    2

    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

    3
    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

    4
    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

    5

    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.

  • Fresno State Kern County Alumni and Friends

    Join us for the 39th annual Fresno State Kern County Alumni and Friends Luncheon at South Valley Farms in Wasco on Wednesday, Oct. 10! This event is an opportunity to see all that Kern County has to offer the community, students and agricultural industry. Enjoy lunch while visiting with Fresno State, Bakersfield College and local high school students, then stay for a facility demonstration. The staff of CCGGA and WAPA will be on hand as we are all proud Fresno State grads and supporters!  The social begins at 11 a.m. followed by lunch and program at noon and the demo at 1 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person, RSVP by Oct. 3. For information about sponsorships or to purchase a ticket, visit http://www.fresnostate.edu/jcast/agonefoundation/kerncounty.html.

  • Fresno State’s Plant Science Club brings home the President’s Trophy

    Competing against 14 major U.S. universities with agriculture programs, Fresno State’s Plant Science Club brought home the President’s Trophy for the national Students of Agronomy, Soils and Environmental Sciences (SASES) club speech contest. The completion was held during the Tri-Societies (American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science and Soil Science) recent national conference held in Long Beach, CA.  The contest challenged student clubs from agriculture universities to showcase their activities in community service, educational outreach, and professionalism in plant/crop and soil sciences. Armando Guzman, also one of two Fresno State Plant Science students selected as a Golden Opportunity Scholar, presented the slide show on the Plant Science Club’s activities. This is the second win in the three years Fresno State’s Plant Science Club has participated in this event. A delegation of 12 Plant Science Club members was able to attend the conference from Associated Student Incorporated funds and cheered for the clubs accomplishment. Additional students competed in the College Quiz Bowl, Crops Judging Contest and served as delegates for the national SASES meetings. Mala To, Plant Science Club president, said “I am very proud of our accomplishments and involvement in this year’s club activities. Next year, our club members will be going to Minneapolis, MN to compete and bring home the Trophy again.”

  • Funding for Electric ATVs Now Available!

    The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (District) has just announced the opening of the Zero Emission Ag UTV Voucher Program for the replacement existing diesel or gasoline-powered UTVs with new, zero-emission UTVs to qualified individuals, businesses, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations involved in California agricultural operations as defined by The California Air Resources Board.  Incentives will pay up to 75% of the cost of the new electric ATV.  Applications and Guideline documents are available on the District’s website at http://valleyair.org/grants/utv.htm.  This funding was a result of the Association’s involvement in the Cap & Trade negotiations that created the FARMER incentive funding program.  If you have any questions, please call our office at (559)455-9272 or contact the District’s Ag UTV Program Staff at 559-230-5800 with additional questions.

  • Funeral Services for Ron Nimmo

    Funeral services will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, December 30th at 1:30 pm at the Phipps Dale Funeral Home located at 420 West D Street in Lemoore.  Graveside services will immediately follow at the Grangeville Cemetery located at 10428 14th Avenue in Armona.  In lieu of flowers, remembrances can be sent to the American Cancer Society.

  • Governor Brown Declares Drought State of Emergency

    Calls for Conservation Statewide, Directs State to Manage Water for Drought

    SAN FRANCISCO – With California facing water shortfalls in the driest year in recorded state history, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today proclaimed a State of Emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for these drought conditions.

    “We can’t make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas,” said Governor Brown. “I’ve declared this emergency and I’m calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible.”

    In the State of Emergency declaration, Governor Brown directed state officials to assist farmers and communities that are economically impacted by dry conditions and to ensure the state can respond if Californians face drinking water shortages. The Governor also directed state agencies to use less water and hire more firefighters and initiated a greatly expanded water conservation public awareness campaign (details at saveourh2o.org).

    In addition, the proclamation gives state water officials more flexibility to manage supply throughout California under drought conditions.

    State water officials say that California’s river and reservoirs are below their record lows. Manual and electronic readings record the snowpack’s statewide water content at about 20 percent of normal average for this time of year.

    The Governor’s drought State of Emergency follows a series of actions the administration has taken to ensure that California is prepared for record dry conditions. In May 2013, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water and water rights. In December, the Governor formed a Drought Task Force to review expected water allocations, California’s preparedness for water scarcity and whether conditions merit a drought declaration. Earlier this week, the Governor toured the Central Valley and spoke with growers and others impacted by California’s record dry conditions.

    The full text of the emergency proclamation is below:

    A PROCLAMATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY

    WHEREAS the State of California is experiencing record dry conditions, with 2014 projected to become the driest year on record; and

    WHEREAS the state’s water supplies have dipped to alarming levels, indicated by: snowpack in California’s mountains is approximately 20 percent of the normal average for this date; California’s largest water reservoirs have very low water levels for this time of year; California’s major river systems, including the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, have significantly reduced surface water flows; and groundwater levels throughout the state
    have dropped significantly; and

    WHEREAS dry conditions and lack of precipitation present urgent problems: drinking water supplies are at risk in many California communities; fewer crops can be cultivated and farmers’ long-term investments are put at risk; low-income communities heavily dependent on agricultural employment will suffer heightened unemployment and economic hardship; animals and plants that rely on California’s rivers, including many species in danger of
    extinction, will be threatened; and the risk of wildfires across the state is greatly increased; and

    WHEREAS extremely dry conditions have persisted since 2012 and may continue beyond this year and more regularly into the future, based on scientific projections regarding the impact of climate change on California’s snowpack; and

    WHEREAS the magnitude of the severe drought conditions presents threats beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of any single local government and require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat; and

    WHEREAS under the provisions of section 8558(b) of the California Government Code, I find that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist in California due to water shortage and drought conditions with which local authority is unable to cope.

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the state Constitution and statutes, including the California Emergency Services Act, and in particular, section 8625 of the California Government Code HEREBY PROCLAIM A STATE OF EMERGENCY to exist in the State of California due to current drought conditions.

    IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:

    1.State agencies, led by the Department of Water Resources, will execute a statewide water conservation campaign to make all Californians aware of the drought and encourage personal actions to reduce water usage. This campaign will be built on the existing Save Our Water campaign (www.saveourh20.org) and will coordinate with local water agencies. This campaign will call on Californians to reduce their water usage by 20 percent.

    2.Local urban water suppliers and municipalities are called upon to implement their local water shortage contingency plans immediately in order to avoid or forestall outright restrictions that could become necessary later in the drought season. Local water agencies should also update their legally required urban and agricultural water management plans, which help plan for extended drought conditions. The Department of Water Resources
    will make the status of these updates publicly available.

    3.State agencies, led by the Department of General Services, will immediately implement water use reduction plans for all state facilities. These plans will include immediate water conservation actions, and a moratorium will be placed on new, non-essential landscaping projects at state facilities and on state highways and roads.

    4.The Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) will expedite the processing of water transfers, as called for in Executive Order B-21-13. Voluntary water transfers from one water right holder to another enables water to flow where it is needed most.

    5.The Water Board will immediately consider petitions requesting consolidation of the places of use of the State Water Project and Federal Central Valley Project, which would streamline water transfers and exchanges between water users within the areas of these two major water projects.

    6.The Department of Water Resources and the Water Board will accelerate funding for water supply enhancement projects that can break ground this year and will explore if any existing unspent funds can be repurposed to enable near-term water conservation projects.

    7.The Water Board will put water right holders throughout the state on notice that they may be directed to cease or reduce water diversions based on water shortages.

    8.The Water Board will consider modifying requirements for reservoir releases or diversion limitations, where existing requirements were established to implement a water quality control plan. These changes would enable water to be conserved upstream later in the year to protect cold water pools for salmon and steelhead, maintain water supply, and improve water quality.

    9.The Department of Water Resources and the Water Board will take actions necessary to make water immediately available, and, for purposes of carrying out directives 5 and 8, Water Code section 13247 and Division 13 (commencing with section 21000) of the Public Resources Code and regulations adopted pursuant to that Division are suspended on the basis that strict compliance with them will prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the effects of the emergency. Department of Water Resources and the Water Board shall maintain on their websites a list of the activities or approvals for which
    these provisions are suspended.
    10. The state’s Drinking Water Program will work with local agencies to identify communities that may run out of drinking water, and will provide technical and financial assistance to help these communities address drinking water shortages. It will also identify emergency interconnections that exist among the state’s public water systems that can help these threatened communities.

    11.The Department of Water Resources will evaluate changing groundwater levels, land subsidence, and agricultural land fallowing as the drought persists and will provide a public update by April 30 that identifies groundwater basins with water shortages and details gaps in groundwater monitoring.

    12.The Department of Water Resources will work with counties to help ensure that well drillers submit required groundwater well logs for newly constructed and deepened wells in a timely manner and the Office of Emergency Services will work with local authorities to enable early notice of areas experiencing problems with residential groundwater sources.

    13.The California Department of Food and Agriculture will launch a one-stop website (www.cdfa.ca.gov/drought) that provides timely updates on the drought and connects farmers to state and federal programs that they can access during the drought.

    14.The Department of Fish and Wildlife will evaluate and manage the changing impacts of drought on threatened and endangered species and species of special concern, and develop contingency plans for state Wildlife Areas and Ecological Reserves to manage reduced water resources in the public interest.

    15. The Department of Fish and Wildlife will work with the Fish and Game Commission, using the best available science, to determine whether restricting fishing in certain areas will become necessary and prudent as drought conditions persist.

    16.The Department of Water Resources will take necessary actions to protect water quality and water supply in the Delta, including installation of temporary barriers or temporary water supply connections as needed, and will coordinate with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to minimize impacts to affected aquatic species.

    17.The Department of Water Resources will refine its seasonal climate forecasting and drought prediction by advancing new methodologies piloted in 2013.

    18.The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection will hire additional seasonal firefighters to suppress wildfires and take other needed actions to protect public safety during this time of elevated fire risk.

    19.The state’s Drought Task Force will immediately develop a plan that can be executed as needed to provide emergency food supplies, financial assistance, and unemployment services in communities that suffer high levels of unemployment from the drought.

    20.The Drought Task Force will monitor drought impacts on a daily basis and will advise me of subsequent actions that should be taken if drought conditions worsen.

    I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this Proclamation be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given of this Proclamation.

    IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 17th day of January, 2014.

    ______________________________
    EDMUND G. BROWN JR.,
    Governor of California
    ATTEST:

    ______________________________
    DEBRA BOWEN,
    Secretary of State

  • Governor Signs Ag Overtime Bill

    Ignoring the pleas of real farmworkers and the agricultural industry, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed AB 1066, the ag overtime legislation.  This means that California will have the most stringent trigger of any state in the country for overtime for farmworkers, with 45 states having no overtime protection at all.  The Governor signed this bill, supposedly to bring “equality to all workers”, yet taxi cab drivers, commercial fishermen, car salesmen, student nurses, computer programmers, and carnival workers all work without any overtime provisions whatsoever.  The Governor signed this ag overtime bill in the same year that minimum wage legislation was also passed that will take California to the highest minimum wage as well as legislation forcing California to adopt additional greenhouse gas regulations for businesses in California.  California is the only state in the country subject to such regulations.  Today’s signing occurred despite numerous requests by the agricultural industry to meet with the Governor to discuss our concerns.  The message is clear.  California simply doesn’t care.  These provisions will be phased in over the next few years ending with the overtime provisions to be triggered at 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week.

  • Governor Signs Indoor Heat Stress Legislation

    The Governor has now signed into law a bill to address “indoor heat stress”.  SB 1167, by Senator Ton Mendoza representing East Los Angeles, would require the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), by January 1, 2019, to propose to the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board for the board’s review and adoption, a heat illness and injury prevention standard applicable to workers working in indoor places of employment.  The standard shall minimize heat-related illness and injury among workers working in indoor places of employment.  The standard shall be based on environmental temperatures, work activity levels, and other factors.  In developing the standard, the division shall take into consideration heat stress and heat strain guidelines in the 2016 Threshold Limit Values and Biological Exposure Indices developed by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).  The bill also contains specific wording that allows the division to propose, and the standards board to adopt, a standard that limits the application of high heat provisions to certain industry sectors.  The Association will be closely monitoring the development of this regulation and how it may apply to agricultural processing facilities that operate during any of the warmer months of the year.

  • Growers Gather in Tulare to Oppose DPR School Regulation

    Over the past week the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association (CCGGA) has been calling upon our grower community and last night they answered. Joining CCGGA Director of Regulatory Affairs Jodi Raley, nearly 20 growers gathered to provide public comment opposing the Department of Pesticide Regulation’s (DPR) proposed draft rule that would prohibit many applications within a quarter mile of a school site and day care facility. Additionally it would could cause growers to provide an annual notification to the school site of all potential applications they expect to make over the next year as well as a 48-hour notification to the school site providing a 12-hour window of when and where the application will be made. CCGGA provided public comment adamantly opposing the regulation as it not only limits the flexibility that growers need to make real-time decision for applications, but additionally the regulation only further will propagate fear, misunderstanding and undue concern surrounding crop protection tools and the method of applications. Comments from the grower community included points of how it will impact their operation and limit their ability to produce, however most importantly growers shared their relationship with adjacent schools and how they take pride in the communication, coordination and trust that has been developed for years. Many shared of how their children and now grandchildren attend those very schools so as responsible stewards of the land it is their duty to protect human health when growing their crop. These comments and others were critical in the public hearing process as the activists group present at last night’s meeting was requesting an extension of the regulation to a 1-mile buffer zone enforced 24/7. There is one public hearing left on this issue schedule for Thursday, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. with written comments being accepted until COB Dec. 9, 2016. If you would like more information or would like to sign on to our opposition letter you can do that at http://www.ccgga.org/industry-call-to-action/.

    dpr6dpr

     

  • Handling Employees Under the Influence

    saqui

    Question:

    How should I handle an employee who reported to work obviously under the influence of drugs or alcohol? What can/can’t I say?

    Answer:

    Prior to taking any administrative action against your employee, SLG strongly recommends you consult with legal counsel as each case will be different and require separate analysis. The first thing to do in this situation is to relieve the employee from his duties as the employer has a duty to provide a safe working environment for all employees and the general public. As an employer, you are not required to tolerate an employee attempting to function in such a condition. Also, your “zero tolerance” drug and alcohol policy should prohibit employees from reporting to work under the influence of controlled substances (e.g., alcohol, marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, etc.) as well as prescription drugs, which are also often abused. You do not need to say anything specific at first, other than to tell the employee that he appears to be unable to perform his job functions and is being relieved of duty pending further investigation into his condition. Be sure to look for objective indications that the employee is under the influence as the employer will need to be able to articulate a reasonable suspicion that the employee is under the influence should a drug test be necessary.

    Once the employee has been relieved of duty, escort the employee to a private area or room in the workplace for further questioning. Because there may be a legitimate reason for the employee’s behavior that is health-related and a privacy concern to the employee, it is best to deal with these situations in private. That said, feel free to ask the employee if he is under the influence of drugs. Surprisingly, employees sometimes admit to this. If the employee admits being under the influence, termination of employment would probably be appropriate absent some special circumstances – for example, perhaps the employee was legitimately taking a prescription drug that produced unexpected adverse reactions through no fault of or abuse by the employee. In the case where the employee admits using an unlawful drug, like marijuana, the employee should be subject to immediate termination.

    It is important to look for objective indications that the employee is under the influence because under California privacy laws, an employer should not send a current employee for a drug test unless the employer has a reasonable suspicion the employee is under the influence. If, for example, you smell alcohol on the employee’s breath, the employee slurs his speech, you recognize the aroma of marijuana, the employee’s eyes are bloodshot, and/or the employee is stumbling into the walls or cannot stand up, you probably have reasonable suspicion to submit the employee to a drug test. If the employee then submits to a drug test and tests positive for drugs or alcohol, you have grounds to terminate the employee. If you have reasonable suspicion and the employee refuses to submit to a test, you could also terminate the employee. SLG recommends the implementation of a written reasonable suspicion policy in advance to educate employees and to obtain their written consent to be tested in addition to their consent at the time of the testing. Employees should be notified in advance of what substances will be tested for as well as the tolerable level of each.

    Under Labor Code §1025, private employers with 25 or more employees shall reasonably accommodate employees who voluntarily enter drug/alcohol rehabilitation programs provided that the rehabilitation does not provide an undue hardship for the employer. However, there is no affirmative duty on the employer to allow an employee to enroll in or to attend a rehabilitation program. The employer also may terminate or refuse to hire an employee if the employee cannot perform his job duties because of current drug/alcohol use or poses a threat to the health or safety of himself or others. However, employers covered by FMLA/CFRA may be required to give time off to employees undergoing treatment.

    Counsel to Management: Although certain scenarios might be straight-forward, it is always a good idea to consult with counsel as each case should be examined on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the Saqui Law Group if you have questions concerning any personnel issues.

  • Hazard Communication Deadline Approaching

    The last deadline of the phase-in period in the revised Hazard Communication Standard is June 1, 2016.

    Are you in compliance?  Your Hazard Communication Program must be updated, provide employee training on identifying chemical physical or health hazards, safety data sheets and container labels (primary and secondary).

    Please visit the Industry Issues page for Hazard Communication Compliance Safety Guide or contact Elda Brueggemann or Priscilla Rodriguez for assistance.

  • Heat Illness Changes Are Now Final

    It is now official.  CalOSHA’s proposed changes to the Heat Illness Prevention Standard will become effective as of May 1.  The major changes include the following:

    •  – Water must be “fresh, pure, suitably cool” and located as close as practicable to where employees are working
    •  – Shade must be present at 80 degrees F
    •  – Shade must accommodate all employees working on the site
    •  – Employee must be provided a minimum 10 minute cool-down period every two hours when temperatures hit 95 degrees F
    •  – Employees taking a “preventative cool-down rest break” must be monitored for symptoms of heat illness
    •  – New training requirements covering employers’ responsibilities, employees’ rights and appropriate first aid and emergency responses

     

    The Association is currently updating all of our member’s and our client’s Heat Illness Prevention Plans.  We will also be conducting trainings in the next few weeks to make sure our members have been trained on the new requirements.

  • Heat Illness Prevention Regulations – Go Into Effect!

    Effective today, May 1st, the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Regulations go into effect!  Now that the temperature is heating up, you are required to take steps to prevent heat illness.

    • –  Water must be “fresh, pure, suitably cool” and located as close as practicable to where employees are working
    • –  Shade must be present at 80 degrees F
    • –  Shade must accommodate 100% of employees working on the site
    • –  When temperature hits 95 degrees F, the employee must be provided a minimum 10 minute cool-down period every two hours
    • –  Employees taking a “preventative cool-down rest break” must be monitored for symptoms of heat illness
    • –  New training requirements covering employers’ responsibilities, employees’ rights and appropriate first aid and emergency responses

     

    The Association has updated Appendix R of the Safety Manual for its members to comply with the new regulations.

  • Heat Illness Prevention Training Session

    Sponsored by
    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

    Event Flyer

  • Heat Illness Tool Kits

    As temperatures continue to rise, heat illness prevention remains at the forefront.  The Heat Illness Prevention Tool Kits have been created to aid our members and clients stay in compliance.  The kit contains a heat illness prevention training guide for supervisors, toolbox talks in English/Spanish, heat illness poster, heat illness prevention cards, etc.   For more information visit our website www.agprocessors.org and click on the Heat Illness Kit link for order information.

  • High VOC Restrictions to Continue in SJV Through 2017

    The Department of Pesticide Regulations released their Annual Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) Emissions Inventory Report. Pursuant to the State Implementation Plan goals the San Joaquin Valley, one of five ozone nonattainment areas (NAAs) in California, was to have VOC emissions no greater that 18.1 tons/day. This is the equivalent to a 12 percent reduction from 1990. In 2013 the San Joaquin Valley NAA exceeded this benchmark triggering additional restrictions on non-fumigant pesticides identified as high-VOC. While emissions went down in 2015, the regulations require that the high-VOC restrictions remain in effect from May-October 2017. However, the exemption for use on high-VOC Chlorpyrifos (Lorsban) for use on late season aphid remains in effect.

  • Highlights from the 2014 CCGA Annual Meeting!

    The 24th Annual meeting for the California Cotton Growers Association held at Harris Ranch on March 13th, 2014 was one for the record books! The Growers Association estimated over 170 people in attendance and filled the room from end to end. The high turnout was in large part due to the perfectly timed cast of guest speakers as a myriad of recent California water woes in the news have brought several California water agencies into the spotlight.

    The cast of speakers on water quality and water quantity included Felicia Marcus, Chair, State Water Resources Control Board; Gary Bardini, Deputy Director, Department of Water Resources; Pablo Aroyave, Reg. Deputy Director – Mid Pacific Region, USBR. Each speaker addressed the current issues at their respective agencies and fielded questions from concerned attendees.

    Marcus, chair of the SWRCB, noted her agency’s action in doing all they can to ease burdensome regulations and continue to try to move water but admitted that certain conditions including limiting the salinity in the delta for “health and safety” concerns would not be trumped, to which Aroyave echoed. In addition, Marcus touched on groundwater challenges and prioritized clean drinking water as the heart of the issue.

    Both the State and Federal Directors focused on current and historical hydrologic conditions and addressed the seriousness of the drought and it’s implications to agriculture, urban, and environmental users.

    This year’s annual meeting was an excellent platform for growers to voice their concerns in regards to water quality, water quantity, and the plague of inaction that has prevented any real movement. Equally important was for growers to hear what actions or positions the agencies would take in the coming months.

    As always, the California Cotton Growers Association will continue to press upon these agencies the need for urgency and the huge implications their actions or inactions have not just toward California cotton growers but the whole agricultural industry, consumers, and other related businesses! 

  • HOT TOPICS INSTALLMENT #2 – The Reignited Issue of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

     By: The Saqui Law Group

    In 2017, the topic of sexual harassment in the workplace not only dominated the news networks and everyday conversation, but it has also created a domino effect of sexual harassment and sexual abuse complaints against high profile men in politics, the media, and entertainment. With increasing frequency, men and especially women, are sharing their experiences of alleged sexual harassment and assault. In October of 2017, a flood of complaints against producer Harvey Weinstein quickly resulted in his ouster from the Weinstein Company, a company he founded and ran until he was removed by its Board of Directors.

    The Weinstein scandal has reignited and elevated discussions of sexual harassment in the workplace to an extent not seen in decades. It is shining a spotlight on the prevalence of harassment in the workplace, particularly by those in positions of power who use that power to take advantage of others. Although individual abusers have been the chief target of complaints, those companies that are seen as having allowed the abuse to occur, or having acted to protect the alleged harassers at the expense of alleged victims, also find themselves in increasingly hot water. In these times, it is more important than ever that employers go above and beyond to fulfill their legal obligations by having sexual harassment policies in place, conducting sexual harassment training with employees, and taking necessary steps to prevent sexual harassment. Sexual harassment comes in many forms and varying degrees, and as the current trend demonstrates, a long-simmering environment of sexual harassment can erupt suddenly.

    This year, it will be more important than ever for employers to consider their sexual harassment policies and reflect whether they can effectively prevent a sexual harassment claim from occurring. While employers cannot eliminate the possibility of employees occasionally acting inappropriately, there are reasonable steps an employer can take to prevent unlawful harassment, including having proper policies describing and prohibiting sexual harassment, notifying employees of their right to make complaints, ensuring employees know that complaints will be promptly investigated and remedial action taken, and that complaining employees will not be subject to retaliation. It is extremely likely this trend will trickle down to employers all over the country, and the courts will see an uptick in sexual harassment claims. Employers need to be prepared and ensure they are minimizing the risk of a harassment claim and in the event a claim comes forward, the employer needs to be prepared to handle the complaint seriously and thoroughly.

    Enforce a Zero-Tolerance Harassment Policy for All Levels

    A zero-tolerance harassment policy will discourage harassing conduct in the first place and will help protect employers against claims that the employer has fostered or tolerated an unprofessional workplace culture in which sexual behavior is common. Having a strict zero-tolerance harassment policy means an employer prohibits all forms of harassment and that any confirmed harassment will result in appropriate remedial action, making no exceptions for the degree of the alleged harassment or the alleged harasser’s position within the company. All employees, both management and rank-and-file, should be provided with a copy of the zero-tolerance harassment policy. Additionally, employers should strongly consider providing training on the policy to all employees, not just supervisors. Further, complaints of harassment should be treated equally, no matter who brings forth the claim and who the complaint is made against.  Discounting certain complaints because of who is making them, or who they are being brought against, is likely to lead to mistakes being made and legal action against the employer. Having a zero tolerance policy in place and enforced is the best tool in the employer’s belt for dealing with problems associated with sexual and other forms of harassment.

    Provide a Multichannel Complaint Procedure and Assure Employees that They Will Not Be Subject to Retaliation for Making or Participating in a Harassment Complaint

    A key part of preventing sexual harassment in the workplace is ensuring that employees know they can and should come forward to identify harassing behavior and that they understand that they will not be retaliated against for doing so. In shocking numbers, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), a federal agency that administers and enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination, estimates that three out of four people who encounter sexual harassment do not report the incident either out of fear they will be retaliated against or that no one will believe them.[1] Therefore, it is critical that employers have an anti-retaliation policy in place so that employees feel comfortable reporting harassment in the workplace. Employees need to be aware that making a harassment complaint or participating in an investigation will not result in any form of retaliation.

    One key component of maintaining an effective sexual harassment policy is making sure that you have an open door policy about reporting sexual harassment. In the past, many employers who encouraged the reporting of harassment made the mistake of requiring employees to first report complaints to their direct supervisors before going to Human Resources or another member of management. The problem, of course, is that it is oftentimes the employee’s direct supervisor who an alleged victim contends is guilty of engaging in harassing behavior. In such a situation, it makes sense that the employee choose to remain silent rather than tip off the alleged harassing supervisor. Instead, employers should have a multichannel complaint procedure that provides employees with at least two separate avenues for making harassment complaints. Employees should be able to bring a complaint to various members of management or HR and not just one specific individual.

    An employer’s complaint policy should also clearly indicate the steps that will be taken in response to an employee bringing forth a harassment complaint. This will create a system for employers to follow in response to a complaint being made and weed out any confusion the employee may have as to how the complaint will be investigated. The investigation should be prompt, followed by remedial action if harassment is found to have occurred.

    U.S. Legislator’s Response to the Weinstein Scandal

    A bipartisan group of lawmakers in both the United States Senate and House of Representatives have introduced legislation that would ban pre-dispute arbitration agreements of sexual misconduct claims. The bipartisan bills would allow those who allege sexual harassment or gender discrimination in the workplace to take their claims to court rather than forced arbitration.

    Farmworker’s Response to the Weinstein Scandal

    In solidarity with the women and men of Hollywood who came forward with their experiences of sexual harassment, 700,000 female farmworkers have written a letter of solidarity stating they stand with actors against sexual assault. The letter is written on behalf of female farmworkers by Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, an organization comprised of current farmworker women, along with women who hail from farmworker families. Although Hollywood may have reignited the discussion of sexual harassment in the workplace, it is now affecting other industries, including agriculture.

    New Sexual Harassment Laws in California Effective 1/1/2018

    Governor Jerry Brown signed two new bills effective January 1, 2018, that employers should be aware of that are related to sexual harassment, SB 396 and SB 295.

    Under SB 396, employers with 50 or more employees will be required to modify mandatory sexual harassment training to include discussion of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Additionally, employers will be required to post an amended poster on discrimination developed by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing regarding transgender rights in a prominent and accessible location in the workplace. Copies of the amended poster in multiple languages are available online at the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s website.

    Under SB 295, Farm Labor Contractors (“FLC”) will be required to follow additional compliance requirements in sexual harassment prevention and reporting training as a part of the California FLC licensing process. FLCs will be required by law to provide sexual harassment training for agricultural employees in the language understood by those agricultural employees. Additionally, FLCs will have to provide the Labor Commissioner with the number of agricultural employees trained and a complete list of materials used to provide the sexual harassment training. If the FLC fails to adhere to the new law, the Labor Commissioner is authorized to issue citations and assess civil penalties of $100 for each violation relating to failure to comply with the training requirement.

    Under SB 179, California is the first state to legally recognize non-binary as a gender. This allows individuals to update their gender on their birth certificate, driver’s licenses, and identity cards without undergoing clinical treatment or getting a court order. In turn, employers may see employee requests of using particular pronouns and the employers should not willfully violate the employee’s wish to be called a different pronoun. Failure to recognize an employee’s preferred pronoun could result in a lawsuit.

    [1] Feldblum, Chai and Lipnic, Victoria. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace, June 2016.

  • 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.

  • Huge Turnout for Sacramento Water Rally

    Over 1,000 farmers, farmworkers, business owners, teachers, medical agency staff, students and elected officials showed up at the Capitol to protest the “State Water Grab” contained in the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) proposed Water Quality Control Plan for the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary (the “Bay-Delta Plan”) and the supporting proposed final Substitute Environmental Document (“Final SED”).  The proposal would require “unimpaired flows” on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers during critical times of the year, which would ultimately mean a loss of 40% to 60% of the water used those areas.  This will be devastating not only to agriculture but to everything in Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties.  In interviews following the Rally, Association President/CEO Roger Isom, who participated in the Water Rally, stated “this is not only a water grab, it is a clear signal that the State Water Board has no consideration for life in the San Joaquin Valley.  Anyone who questions that should look no further to the west side of the San Joaquin Valley devastated by similar measures that eliminated water coming to that area.  Fresno County went from being the number one cotton producing county in the world to outside of the top 100.  More than 20 cotton gins and the over 1,000 people involved in those operations lost their jobs, and the populations of salmon and delta smelt are no better off today, then they were back then.  This new proposal will have the same impact to the economies of Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties and towns like Denair and Ballico will look like Mendota and Firebaugh.  Today is the day we stand up and say enough is enough.  And today the state’s agricultural industry did just that!”

  • Hydrauli-flex Scholarship Accepting Applications

    In an effort to support the fields such as engineers, machinists and inventors the $1000 scholarship will be exclusive for students finishing their studies in a respective field that utilizes hydraulics. To be eligible for the scholarship students but be in the last year of study for their degree program, be in good academic standing (3.0 GPA or better) and must apply online. The application and additional scholarship requirements can be found at https://www.hydraulichose.com/hydrauli-flex-education-scholarship/. Applications must be turned in no later than June 30, 2017.

  • Incentive Money for Tractors are Available

    USDA NRCS is accepting applications incentive funding under the EQIP National Air Quality Initiative for the 2015 fiscal year.  The purpose of the plan is to replace and destroy off-road tier 0 farm equipment.   The older equipment would be turned over and destroyed.  Incentive funding would be provided to applicants that qualify to be used to replace the destroyed tractor with newer, cleaner technologies.  Current model-year diesel engines are available with inventive funding.

    NRCS is opening the application period to multiple times throughout the year in order to encourage more applicants. Forms and applications should be submitted to said producer’s respective county Service Center.  Applicants should apply prior to:

    • April 17, 2015
    • June 19, 2015
    • July 17, 2015

    Applications will be processed quickly if all of the proper information is present. If you are interested in enrolling, please find click on the links below for the proper information.

    Service Center Directory: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=CA

    EQIP:  http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/ca/programs/?cid=nrcs144p2_063939

    NAQI:  http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/ca/programs/financial/eqip/?cid=stelprdb1247003

  • Industry Leader, Advocate & Friend Mark Watte Passes Away


    wattebypicker-medium

    Longtime industry advocate Mark Watte passed away this past weekend after a valiant battle with cancer.  Watte was a tireless, passionate and unselfish voice for all of agriculture.
    Association President/CEO Roger Isom stated “the California agricultural industry is grieving this week.  We have lost one of our true champions.  Mark’s rise to the Chairmanship of Cotton Incorporated was symbolic of his enduring drive to promote cotton and all of agriculture as the best in the world.  His courageous bout with cancer was emblematic of his toughness and can do attitude no matter the circumstances.  Mark Watte inspired all of us to get up, get involved and speak our minds.  While we mourn his passing, I can assure you that Mark is chastising us right now to pick up the flag and get back to it.  Get back to promoting, supporting and fighting for the greatest agricultural land in the world”.

    Past Association President/CEO Earl P. Williams, who knew Watte well, said “The industry has lost an outstanding leader and all that knew him have lost a real and true friend.  The industry is better off having had his inspirational and “cut to the chase” leadership.  A wonderful person and proud to say I had the honor of his friendship.”

    Watte was a partner in George Watte & Sons, a 3,000-acre diversified farming operation in Tulare, California, including cotton, alfalfa, corn silage, black-eyed peas, pistachios and a 1,000 jersey cow dairy.  Watte graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in Agricultural Business in 1974.  He then distinguished himself as one of the true leaders within the California agricultural community and the U.S. cotton industry.   Watte demonstrated his leadership through participation in several organizations, including the Consolidated Peoples Ditch Co; the Friant Water Authority; the Tulare Board of Public Utilities; and the Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District, on which he served as Vice Chair, and Past Chairman of the World Ag Expo.  He was also an advisor to the California Cotton Growers Association and most recently became Chairman of the Cotton Incorporated, a national organization conducting research and tasked with the worldwide promotion of US cotton.  Over the course of his career Watte has received numerous recognitions, including:  the 2000 Tulare Farmer of the Year (an award shared with his brother and business partner, Brian Watte); 2013 Tulare Man of the Year; Tulare County Agriculturist of the Year; and is a recipient of the 2015 High Cotton Award, presented by Delta Farm Press.

    Funeral Services will be at 10:30 am this Thursday, June 23rd at the St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Tulare followed by the burial at North Tulare Cemetery, then a reception afterwards at the International Agri-center, Heritage Complex.   Donations, in lieu of flowers, can be made to the Watte/Griesbach Memorial Fund, 627 Beatrice Dr., Tulare; or the Tulare Hospital Foundation in Tulare.

  • Irrigated Lands Fees Set to Increase This Year

    The State Water Resources Control Board is looking to increase the per acre charged to growers through their Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) this year, adding to the list of State Agencies increasing the cost of compliance to do business in the state.  Earlier this month, the SWB proposed the increases, and announced that they will be taking the recommended fee increases before the Board during the September Board Meeting.  The ILRP program is locked in to increase by 8.9%, going from .87 cents/acre, up to .95 cents/acre.  The ILRP program has still yet to reach full enrollment of all irrigated acres within the state, and the development of these newer programs will be supplemented by fees collected elsewhere in the state.  There are still two regions that have yet to adopt the order, or are in the process of developing coalitions to represent growers for that specific area.    Usually, SWB staff include up to 6% of their collected revenue as part of their “Reserve Funding” from year to year.  This fund helps offset some of the proposed fee increases, however, staff has put in place a plan to reduce the amount collected year to year to help offset future fee increases.  The fund will decrease to 4% starting this upcoming season.

    State Water Board staff has noted that numerous permit programs that operate under their guidance are severely underfunded, and that fee increases are necessary to maintain proper operation of these programs.  CCGGA has attended several of these fee workshops and tried to find a working solution outside of charging stakeholders (grower) more for the same amount of work year after year. Unfortunately, SWB staff has also proposed a 20% increase in fees to be broken up over the next 3 years to help bring revenue closer to actual expenditures for these programs.  The Association will continue to fight against these unwarranted fee increases.  Stay tuned.

  • Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program Update

    The State Water Resources Control Board (SWB) has begun conducting outreach and educational meetings between interested stakeholders, as well as the overall public, on their recently proposed order.  The East San Joaquin WDR Proposed Order is a draft regulation that will essentially eliminate all of the work being done through the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program.  The changes made to the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program through this Draft Order include the re-designation of all areas within California as Highly Vulnerable to groundwater threats, the power to collect and organize Farm Evaluation Plans and Nitrogen Management Plans no longer sits with the Coalitions and that same information will be submitted directly to the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWB), as well as require wells that supply drinking water to communities to be monitored continuously.  These changes directly affect the functionality of the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program, and also add a significant burden to the Regional Water Board to collect and store all of the data.

    Pursuant to the release of the draft Proposed Order, watershed coalitions have begun meeting with SWB representatives in an effort to find some ways to push back.  WAPA also took the opportunity to voice concerns over recent actions by meeting with Pamela Creedon, Executive Officer for the Regional Water Quality Control Board.  Creedon voiced as much concern over the proposed changes and the adjustments that her department will need to make in order to satisfy their burden in receiving this information.  The Association then took the time to meet with Felicia Marcus, Chair of the State Water Board.  Marcus took a more defensive stance of the proposed order, stating that she felt confident the Board would be able to handle the changes the proposed order creates.  The Association has also found opportunities to participate in Coalition led meetings, which focus primarily on the areas of the proposed order that can be challenged and possibly thrown out.  Comment letters for the ESJ Proposed Order are due by May 18th. A public workshop will be held at the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District on May 17th, if you would like to participate or attend the public workshop, feel free to contact the Association’s Director of Technical Services, Chris McGlothlin.

  • 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.

  • Kings County Sheriff’s Office BOL Kubota RTV 900

    Please click here to view.

    Thank you,
    CRCPTF

    For General Questions regarding the CRCPTF and Membership please contact the following members:
    President – Chad Parker  caparker@tehamaso.org
    Vice President – Kristie Dougan  kdougan@SBCSD.ORG
    Secretary – Neil Bailey neil.bailey@sonoma-county.org
    Treasurer – Robert Winn winnr@kernsheriff.com

    For BOLO distribution – Bo Houngviengkham  agcrimes@fresnosheriff.org

    Recent Changes to CRCPTF Crime Alerts

    CRCPTF has recently changed the format of its news alerts in order to provide you information more efficiently and to add new features. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to send them to CRCPTF.

  • Latest News – Agriculture to Receive Significant Money from Cap & Trade

    This month, the Governor signed the Cap and Trade Expenditure Plan bills, AB 109 and AB 134, which set forth how money collected from Cap and Trade would be spent.  Agriculture will receive $300 million in this plan during this fiscal year.  The money will be allocated as follows:

    • $60 million to food processors to reduce GHG emissions
    • $6 million for renewable energy research and development in agriculture
    • $99 million in dairy digester research and development and alternative manure management
    • $135 million to reduce emissions from agricultural pumps, tractors, harvesters, and other equipment

    The Association played a critical role in creating this funding, including being involved in high level meetings during the negotiations of the Cap & Trade legislation.  While the Association’s involvement was necessitated by the need to continue the Cap & Trade program for food processors, we saw this as an opportunity to re-direct this funding towards projects that actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions, yet help our farms, cotton gins, and tree nut hullers and processors address critical air quality issues through the use of incentives.  With a potential mandatory farm equipment replacement regulation looming in the not so distant future, it was important to seize the opportunity while it was there.  Stay tuned for details on when this money is available and how to receive this funding.

     

     

     

  • Latest News – Air District Electric ATV Incentive Program

    The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD), in partnership with our Association, is applying for special one-time grant funding to receive $3 million that will go solely to replace existing fuel fired ATV with electric ATV’s. This special opportunity would replace fuel fired ATVs with models including the John Deere Electric Gator or Polaris EV UTV. The incentive will pay participating recipients 75% of the electric UTV to replace the existing fuel fired ATV, which will be scrapped. We are in a very short time frame to participate in this one-time project. Anyone who is interested in taking advantage of this opportunity must complete the below spreadsheet and email to our office at roger@ccgga.org by the end of next week! If you have any questions please call Jodi Raley or Roger Isom at (559) 252-0684.

    Link to spreadsheet

  • Latest News – ARB Seeks Out Additional Pathways to Reduce Emissions

    As the agricultural industry, and many other industries, look down the pipeline of regulations to come from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) it may be quite daunting. We have the Large Spark Ignition rule (aka Forklift Rule), Transportation Refrigeration Unit (TRU) rule in early rule making discussions, the Farm Equipment Rule (aka Tractor Rule) and the truck and bus rule which continually phases out older trucks. But this does not seem to be enough. This past week the CARB held a public workshop in Sacramento to begin discussions of seeking out additional pathways for freight facilities (airports, seaports, railyards, and warehouse/distribution centers) to further reduce emissions. While it was not specifically discussed, CARB staff were instructed at a March 2017 board meeting to return to the board with concepts for an indirect source rule. This simply cannot happen. Before we are able to see the reductions from the programs that are currently in place or being developed CARB is evaluating additional areas to regulate emission reductions. The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association was represented by Director of Regulatory Affairs Jodi Raley at the workshop. Raley probed CARB staff on what the qualifications and criteria were being outlined to define a “warehouse and distribution center”. CARB currently is identifying nearly 50,000 facilities in the state that could fit this definition, it is the Association’s push to exclude agricultural facilities from this definition. CARB’s plan is to conduct yet another survey effort for any of the applicable facilities. Additionally, Raley made it clear to the staff that our Association remains opposed to applying additional regulations or mitigation measures before we even begin to see the reductions that industry is already having to comply with. Our Association was the only agricultural association to testify at this week’s meeting.

  • Latest News – Association Continues the Fight on Tractor Rule

    This past week, CCGGA President/CEO Roger Isom testified before the California Air Resources Board touting the success of the incentives approach to replacing tractors and harvesters in an effort to stave off a mandatory replacement regulation for tractors and harvesters.  It was yet another hearing/meeting in a two-year process for CARB and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.  CARB announced they are now looking at putting a firm date in place by which all Tier 0 and Tier 1 engine equipped tractors and harvesters would have to be replaced. Those dates were not announced and Isom encouraged the board to allow the incentives to work. Isom also briefed the board on the huge influx of money coming from the recent Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) budget bill that was passed that will being $135 million in incentive funding for agricultural equipment. This is very significant and should be allowed to be utilized first, Isom stated. The latest timeline has the Air District adopting the State Implementation Plan (SIP) in December and CARB will consider the plan in March.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Latest News – CCGGA Tours SoCal Ag with Urban Legislators

    CCGGA Tours SoCal Ag with Urban Legislators

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association joined a large group of urban southern California legislators last Friday to tour the agricultural industry in the 44th (Irwin) and the 37th (Limon) legislative districts. Assemblywoman Irwin, Assemblywoman Limon, Speaker Rendon, Assemblyman Bloom, Assemblywoman Burke, Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer, Assemblywoman Rubio as well as several staffers were among the participants in the day long tour. The group visited Houwelling’s Tomatoes, a Driscoll’s farm site and Limoneira packing house. The Association was represented by Director of Technical Services Chris McGlothlin and Director of Regulatory Affairs Jodi Raley. This was an incredibly unique opportunity to discuss agricultural issues with several members who are primarily in urban Los Angeles areas. Issues discussed included labor, the increasing cost of staying in business in California, and the increasing regulatory burden agencies are rolling out. The Association finds great value in these opportunities to expose our lawmakers to the agricultural industry with the result of them emerging with a greater understanding and appreciation of agriculture!

  • Latest News – Chlorpyrifos to Be Listed Under Prop 65

    The Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity Identification Committee (DARTIC) made a decision to list chlorpyrifos under Proposition 65 as a developmental toxicant. California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association submitted comments in opposition to the product’s potential listing, stating that any additional actions that could potentially limit the use of the product are unacceptable. This latest action while not favorable, will not affect the availability or use of chlorpyrifos containing products for the time being.

  • Latest News – Don Cameron, Awarded 2017 Agriculturalist of the Year

    Don Cameron, longtime cotton industry advocate and friend, was awarded Fresno Chamber of Commerce’s Agriculturalist of the Year award. Cameron who farms more than 7,500 acres has proven to be an industry leader through innovative farming practices as well as through his high level of involvement in the industry. Cameron, who once served as California Cotton Growers Association Chairman from 2007-2008, has participated on numerous committees and boards. He currently serves on the California State Board of Food and Agriculture and is currently the chairman for the California Cotton Alliance and serves on the Western Growers Board of Directors. He has had critical involvement with the Sustainable Ground Water Management Act formation, in the Kings Sub-basin. President/CEO Roger Isom said, “There is no one more deserving than Don. If you look at what a grower needs to be successful in California in 2017, it’s Don Cameron.” California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association congratulates Don Cameron on a well-deserved award! To watch Don Cameron receive the award watch the link below.

    https://video.valleypbs.org/video/3006267487/

  • Latest News – East San Joaquin Revised Order Draft Released, Workshop Dates Set

    Last month, the State Water Board released a second draft of their Proposed East San Joaquin Order.  This Order aims to strengthen groundwater quality protection by leveraging stronger monitoring and field level requirements on growers and coalitions, and the Order is precedential in that it can be applicable to all Coalitions throughout the State.  The recently released draft has several key changes to various requirements set forth in the order, primarily the inclusion of more stringent surface water monitoring throughout the state.  This newly added requirement will undoubtedly result in higher fees to stakeholders due to the newly incurred cost at the Coalition level for this kind of monitoring.  Other changes include the elimination of township level data aggregation, this provision is being replaced by individual operation data being submitted to the Regional Board with only the name of the operation being withheld by the Coalitions.  Another major change is that growers in Low Vulnerability areas must have their Nitrogen & Irrigation Management Plans signed off on by a CCA or other certified source.  This was not a requirement in the previous draft, although the State Water Board was trying to designate the entire State as being in High Vulnerability to groundwater quality.

    The State Water Board will be hosting 2 workshops on this specific topic within the month of November, as well as holding a specific workshop in front of the entire Board during the month of December.  A workshop will be held in Fresno on November 27th, and an additional workshop will be held in Redding on November 30th.  We will be developing talking points to distribute amongst the membership, and we encourage you to participate in the Board Hearing as well as the workshop that is closest to you.  We would also encourage you to submit written comments to the Board, as these will be reviewed and considered for the final draft to be released this next year.  For more information on the proposed workshops, please visit the link below.

    http://bit.ly/2mKPLV6

  • Latest News – Environmental Activists Continue Pressure On Ag

    At a workshop last night, the environmental community blasted the oil and agricultural industries for not doing enough to clean up the air.  To make matters worse, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) failed to recognize the accomplishments that agriculture has made to clean up the air and the efforts that agriculture has made to find new solutions for reducing emissions.  Those new efforts include the significant Cap & Trade funding for agriculture, the efforts to create a second-generation AG ICE program to electrify ag pump engines, the research and development of biogas solutions, and the most recent investigation of incentives to replace tractors, harvesters and all-terrain vehicles.

    There was particular attention to almond harvesting, including one attendee who blamed the recent passing of their father-in-law on an almond harvesting operation that blew dust on their house.  The Association commented that research is underway by the Almond Board to look at low dust almond harvesters, and there is an incentive program to replace low dust harvesters with NRCS, and one under development by the SJVAPCD.  ARB did announce there will be a rule regarding tractors that is based upon incentives, but has backstop dates by which this equipment will need to be replaced.  ARB did not provide those details at this meeting stating they are still under development. It is clear that the situation is growing worse as we head into the last few months of plan development with adoption slated for December.  Ag will need to be engaged.

  • Latest News – Final Silverleaf Whitefly Report Released

    The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pink Bollworm Program has released its final report for monitoring Silverleaf Whitefly. The program monitored for whitefly and other cotton pests from July 11, 2017 to September 29, 2017. Throughout the season California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations encouraged growers, PCAs and others to utilize this valuable information in working to eliminate sticky cotton. We encourage the industry to read and share this critical information.

    http://bit.ly/2yIDmGa

  • Latest News – IC-DISC Restored in Senate Bill

    Late Friday night, the Senate capped a frenetic few days with the adoption of a “wraparound” amendment to H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  These amendments were drawn to the manager’s amendment which incorporated a range of individual members’ amendments that had been prepared for the bill, along with new language negotiated throughout the day.  Many of these amendments are technical, clarifying or making minor revisions to non-notable provisions.  However, there were some important revisions that were made as a result of intense negotiations.  Included in those amendments was restoring the IC-DISC tax incentive.  The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association (CCGGA) was heavily involved in this effort working closely with a tax coalition focused on IC-DISC, and was on the phone daily last week with Washington, DC and New York, NY.  We also want to recognize our members and Associate members who took the time to write letters and make calls to legislators throughout last week.  It was the specific examples of the impact of potentially losing IC-DISC that changed the tide for us.  The bill now heads to Conference Committee, where the Association will still be closely monitoring the situation to protect IC DISC.

     

     

  • Latest News – Pink Bollworm Program – Silverleaf Whitefly Monitoring Report

    As the season continues, it is important to remain vigilant to invasive cotton insect pests. The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pink Bollworm Program has released their latest Silverleaf Whitefly Report from August 14, 2017 to September 14, 2017. Please use and share this report to maintain the industry effort to eliminate sticky cotton! To view the Silverleaf Whitefly Monitoring Report (8/14/2017-9/14/2017) click the link below.

    http://bit.ly/2xTvXCY 

  • Latest News – Senate Tax Bill Proposes to Eliminate IC-DISC: Could Cost Cotton Industry Millions

    Unlike the House Tax Reform Legislation, HR 1, passed this past week, the Senate Finance Committee similarly passed its version of the tax reform legislation, which unfortunately contains specific language that repeals the IC-DISC provisions.  The IC-DISC tax savings are achieved from a reduced 20% U.S. capital gains tax rate on at least half of the income derived from qualifying products, in lieu of the normal Federal tax rate which can be almost 40%.  IC‐DISC stands for “Interest Charge – Domestic International Sales Corporation,” a tax incentive which was introduced by Congress in its current form in 1984.  It was designed to provide a U.S. tax incentive to stimulate U.S. export activities.  The IC‐DISC is relatively unknown and often overlooked because other alternative tax incentives were more often used until the last remaining alternative was eliminated in 2006.  This is a critical tool for the tree nut industry, which exports the majority of its product.  The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association (CCGGA) is actively working against these provisions, through our Senate and House Representatives, and in conjunction with a national coalition working to preserve IC-DISC.

     

  • Latest News – Supporting Temperance Flat Dam

    The San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority is seeking the attendance of Temperance Flat Dam supporters at the next California Water Commission meeting on Wednesday, December 13. During this meeting Valley water leaders will be making a formal presentation on the project to commission members and how critical the 1.3 million acre-foot reservoir is to valley agriculture and residents. This is possibly the only chance to show the California Water Commission, the strong regional support there is for the project. Transportation and provisions will be provided to all participants as this will be an all day trip. If you are interested in participating in this effort please contact your County Farm Bureau for information on bus transportation.

  • Latest News – Urgent Request Air District Electric ATV Incentive Program

    Last week we put out a bulletin notifying our members of a one-time funding opportunity totaling $3 million that the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is providing. This money will solely go towards replacing existing fuel-fired ATVs with electric ATVs. The response has been overwhelming! So much so that the district may provide additional funds to provide more replacements. If you are interested in this opportunity but have not reached out for more information, the time is NOW! Fuel-fired ATVs have the opportunity to be replaced with models including the John Deere Electric Gator, Polaris EV UTV, Xtreme Green Citdael ATV Pro, Textron Recoil or Cushman Hauler Pro-X. The incentive will pay participating recipient 75% of electric UTV to replace the existing fuel-fired ATV.

    Anyone who is interested in taking advantage of this opportunity must complete the below spreadsheet and email to Roger Isom at roger@ccgga.org by the end of this week! If you have any questions or would like more information please call Jodi Raley or Roger Isom at (559) 252-0684.

    Registration Form

  • Latest News – Fall Farm & Cotton Harvest Safety Training Class

    The annual safety training program is directed to cotton harvest equipment operators, crews and farm employees in conjunction with farm managers/supervisors and growers. This will cover topics that are required for growers (Topics may include road safety, equipment and chemical safety and electrical safety). The training will be held in English and Spanish. Be sure that you indicate on your registration form which training the employee will be attending and whether they will be staying for lunch. Certificates of attendance will be issued. The Safety Training Class will be offered Wednesday, September 20th at the Kings County Fairground from 8:00am to 12:00pm and even includes a delicious lunch. Family Healthcare Network will be on hand from 7:30 – 8:00 a.m. to provide free health screenings for participants. Participants must apply by September 15th.

    Registration Form

  • Latest News- Irrigation & Nitrogen Management Plan Grower Self-Certification Training

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association (CCGGA) will be holding our first ever Irrigation & Nitrogen Management Plan Grower Self-Certification training event at the Monterey Plaza Hotel on February 22nd, 2018. This training is being held in coordination with CCGGA’s Annual Meeting, also being held at the Monterey Plaza Hotel February 22nd-23rd. This training is open to growers of all commodities, and is aimed at assisting growers in being able to self-certify Irrigation & Nitrogen Management Plans. These plans are submitted to 3rd Party Coalitions, and ultimately to the Regional Water Quality Control Board. The State Water Board is including a requirement for these types of plans to be certified by either a licensed CCA, or by growers who have achieved certification through a Grower Self-Certification course. Click below for more information.

    http://bit.ly/2mzJvfp

  • Latest News-CDPR Finalized Pesticide Use around Schools

    CDPR Finalized Pesticide Use around Schools

    The California Department of Pesticide Regulations has adopted the official regulations regarding the use of agricultural pesticides near schools and licensed child day-care facilities. The regulations will take effect on January 1, 2018. The new rule prohibits most applications within a quarter mile around schools and day care facilities from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Additionally, the regulations require growers within the quarter mile radius to provide an annual notification no later than April 30 of pesticides they expect to be used between July 1 of the current year through June 30 of the next year. Pesticides that require use but are not included on the annual notification must provide notification at least 48 hours prior to their use. Fumigants may not be applied within 36 hours of the school and/or daycare facility are open.

    Below is a breakdown of distance and application restrictions.

    Prohibited applications within a quarter mile:

    • Aircraft
    • Airblast sprayer or other ground application equipment that delivers spray into an air stream created by fan
    • Sprinkler chemigation
    • Dust or Powder, unless injected into the soil
    • Fumigant, includes fumigation of stockpiles in orchards but excludes fumigation on huller/processor sites.

    Prohibited applications within 25 feet:

    • Ground rig sprayer
    • Field soil injection equipment
    • Drip or flood chemigation

    No distance restriction:

    • Application made within closed space (exception of fumigant)
    • Bait stations
    • Dust or powder injection into soil
    • Application of granule, flake or pellet (exception of fumigant or aircraft application)
    • Backpack sprayer (exception if it incorporates airblast or is used to apply dust/powder)
    • Hand pump sprayer (exception if used to apply dust, powder or fumigant)
  • Latest News: Are you ready for fuel price increases in 2015? … Neither is CCGGA!

    The association is a part of the grassroots Fed Up at the Pump campaign, which aims to stop the coming state-mandated gas fee – created by the regulations put forth by the California Air Resources Board. CARB’s own economic analysis show that the mandated gas fee will lead to a substantial increase in gas prices ranging from 16 cents to 76 cents a gallon starting January 1, 2015.aimee
    Just yesterday at an event put on by Fed Up At The Pump, the Association’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, Aimee Brooks spoke to the crowd about the impending impacts higher fuel prices will have for the agriculture industry and others. Brooks quoted current diesel fuel costs in California which sit 8.7% higher than competing agriculture regions in the US and explained to onlookers how fuel prices have a much broader impact that just rising food and freight prices, saying:
    “Workers can’t make ends meet when their own fuel costs to get to work and home increase significantly, pair that with the current drought, and it’s a recipe for huge unemployment in disadvantaged communities. What about the thousands of entities that provide goods and services to the industry? Who will get cut out when budgets tighten?”
    Legislation to delay fuels under the cap, AB 69 (Perea) is currently held up in the Senate Rules Committee.aimee1
    Want to take action? YOU CAN HELP! Join Fed up at the Pump and tell Governor Brown and the California Air Resources Board to “BACK OFF!” and stop the January 1 gas price hike before it damages California’s struggling economy and negatively affects millions hard working Californians! Visit their website at www.fedupatthepump.org to sign up and for more information.

  • Legislative Staffers Tour Almond & Walnut Operation

    Over 35 legislative staff from assembly and senate districts across the state joined the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association and other members of the Agricultural President’s Council on a day-long agricultural tour. The group departed from the Capitol steps to Winters, CA to visit Mariani Nut Company’s almond and walnut hulling operation as well as their almond and walnut processing plant. This tour was meant to open the door to begin a conversation about agricultural issues with staffers having a real-world tie to what “agriculture” represents. Tour attendees were able to see the inner-workings of a large family operation, the advancement of technology the industry is implementing as well as how the business has evolved with regulations and laws. Other participants of the tour included Western Agricultural Processors Association, California Fresh Fruit Association, California Citrus Mutual, California Rice Commission and Western Plant Health Association.

  • Louie Colombini Named “National Cotton Ginner of the Year”!

    IMG_0994

    Louie Colombini, Westside Farmers Co-op Gin was named the winner of the 2015 Horace Hayden National Cotton Ginner of the Year by the National Cotton Ginners Association, this month at the National Cotton Council Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas.  Louie is one of the most active Ginners in California Cotton Ginners Association.  He is a past Chairman of this Association in 2000-2001, Ginner of the Year recipient in 2002, and longtime and current board member.  Currently, Louie sits on the Association’s Joint Steering, Safety, and Energy Committees.  Additionally, Louie has served as a board member for the San Joaquin Valley Cotton Board.  Finally, on the national level, Louie has been a longtime Ginner delegate to the National Cotton Council.   Louie is a member of, and serve as a Eucharistic Minister for the St. Phillip’s Catholic Church.  He is a past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus.  Louie was also involved in the Boy Scouts for 15 years.  Louie has been a significant contributor to the California cotton ginning industry for many years, and is a shining example of the leadership within our industry.    Congratulations to Louie Colombini!

     

  • Maddy Report – Association’s Isom Talks Implications of Climate Change

    The Maddy Report recently held a discussion on their weekly radio and television program entitled “Adapting to Climate Change: Implications for the Valley.”  Guests Carol D’Elia, Executive Director of California’s Little Hoover Commission, discussed climate change with Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler, and California Fresh Fruit Association President Barry Bedwell.  On the radio portion, commentary was provided by Roger Isom, President of the California Cotton Ginners & Growers Association and President & CEO of the Western Agricultural Processors Association, and Fresno Bee Environmental Reporter Mark Grossi.  To hear the report on the internet, please visit http://www.maddyinstitute.com/adapting-to-climate-change-implications-for-the-valley/.

  • Make Plans Now to Attend the 2018 Sticky Cotton Summit, April 25th

    The cotton industry in California is faced with a critical issue, and that is the continued presence of sticky cotton.  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.

      

     

     

  • Make Plans to Attend the 41st Annual Ag Boosters BBQ

    The 41st Annual Ag Boosters BBQ for the California Women for Agriculture (CWA) and Ag One will be held on Sunday, September 9th at the Borba Ranchlocated at the San Joaquin River and Highway 99 in Madera.  The grounds open at 4 pm, and Dinner will be served from 5:30 to 6:30.  Individual tickets are $50 each, or you can purchase a table of 10 for $450.  Festivities include:

    • CWA Country Store featuring handmade arts, crafts and baked goods
    • Fresno State Farm products – enjoy award-winning wine, extra virgin olive oil, grapes, and more
    • Fresno State sausage sampling sponsored by Fresno-Madera CAPCA
    • Cheese tasting sponsored by Valley dairy processors
    • Silent and live auctions
    • Raffle prizes, a fabulous door prize and much more!

    The Ag Boosters Barbecue has raised more than $1 million for both organizations. This support has played an important role in Ag One’s ability to support students and programs in the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State. Since 1979, Ag One has provided some 4,400 students with more than $6.2 million in scholarships as well as program support. More than $19.5 million is endowed with the Fresno State Foundation. In the 2018-2019 academic year, $700,000 will be awarded to deserving students and programs. Additionally, CWA uses the funds raised by the barbecue to help California agriculture through education and legislative programs and by giving nearly $100,000 in scholarships annually.  For more information, please contact the Ag One Foundation at California State University, Fresno at (559)278-4266.

  • Market Facilitation Program Deadline Approaching

    Attention Cotton Growers: USDA California Farm Service Agency has the Market Facilitation Program that provides payments to cotton producers who have been significantly impacted by actions of foreign governments resulting in the loss of traditional exports.

    • Growers Must sign up by January 15
    • 2018 production not required at sign up
    • 2018 production must be submitted by May 1, 2019
    • Visit www.farmers.gov/mfp for more information
    • To Sign up please contact your local FSA Office

    USDA launched the trade mitigation package aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. Cotton Producers are eligible to sign up for the Program. MFP provides payments to cotton producers who have been significantly impacted by actions of foreign governments resulting in the loss of traditional exports.

    The sign-up period for MFP runs through Jan. 15, 2019, with information and instructions provided at www.farmers.gov/mfp.  A payment will be issued on 50 percent of the producer’s total production, multiplied by the MFP rate for a specific commodity. A second payment period, if warranted, will be determined by the USDA.

    For a list of initial MFP payments rates, view the MFP Fact Sheet.

    MFP applications are available online at www.farmers.gov/mfp. Applications can be completed at a local FSA office or submitted electronically either by scanning, emailing, or faxing. To locate or contact your local FSA office, visit www.farmers.gov.

  • Midseason Cotton Field Day

    The San Joaquin Sustainable Farming Project, UCCE, and UC IPM present Midseason Cotton Field Day. The event will be held on Tuesday, July 24th from 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at Pik-A-Lok Farms in Mendota. Cooperative Extension Specialist, Westside REC Bob Hutmacher will be speaking about cotton diseases and plant development issues. Dan Munk, UCCE Farm Advisor (Fresno), Cotton Specialist Center, will also be in attendance to speak about monitoring cotton for improved yield performance. Lastly, Associate Extension Vegetable Crops Specialist at the Kearney Ag Center, Jeff Mitchell, will speak about getting beyond the hype of soil health and actually doing something about it. Questions about the event can be directed to Marcia Gibbs with the San Joaquin Sustainable Farming Project at (530) 370-5325 or marcia@sustainablecotton.org.

    Directions
    From South/Mendota: Travel North on Hwy 33/Hwy 180 over RR tracks. Turn right on Bass Ave. Continue about 3 miles. Look for field day signs.

    From North/Firebaugh: Travel South on “N” St./Hwy 33. Take Hwy 33 almost into Mendota. Just before the RR tracks, turn left on Bass Ave. Continue about 3 miles. Look for field day signs.

  • MOU Signed…Now Real Work Begins on Temperance Flat

    The dirt isn’t moving just yet, but the real work on the Temperance Flat Dam and Reservoir is now underway.   With the recent signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority and the Bureau of Reclamation, the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) is now meeting on a regular basis to prepare the necessary application for the Proposition 1 Water Bond Funding.  Critical work has to go into this effort including determining all of the different components in the application package (i.e. dam project, groundwater recharge, ecosystem restoration, etc.).  The Association has a seat at the table with the Association’s President/CEO Roger Isom appointed to the TAC.   The TAC, which meets monthly, is chaired by Chris White, General Manager of the Central California Irrigation District, and the Vice Chair is Julia Berry, Director of Water and Natural Resources for Madera County.   The TAC is charged with assisting the Authority in meeting its mandate to solicit grants from the Water Bond or similar state and federal programs or funds.  The TAC will also provide ongoing guidance and expertise on the disbursement and expenditure of these funds.

    Recent TAC Meeting discussing Feasibility Study for Temperance Flat

    Recent TAC Meeting discussing Feasibility Study for Temperance Flat

  • Narrated Whitefly Presentation Now Available!

    Did you miss the whitefly meetings in early June or need a refresher on whitefly management? No Problem…As part of the educational program to raise the awareness of sticky cotton as a serious industry concern, the linked presentation using materials from June’s whitefly meetings is now available to all growers, PCA’s and interested parties. Please share to all those who grow, manage, or treat cotton fields! Below is a summary of what the presentation will cover:

    “This presentation will help cotton growers, consultants and Pest Control Advisers in California and Arizona understand the importance of managing whiteflies and aphids to prevent sticky cotton. The high quality of cotton in the California and Arizona requires that it be free of all contaminates, especially sugars deposited by aphids and whiteflies.”

    Three major areas will be discussed:

    • The problem to spinning mill customers caused by sugars on cotton lint
    • Identification, scouting, assessing and managing sweet potato whitely, biotype B
    • Identification, scouting, assessing and managing cotton aphid

    http://www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/edcenter/seminars/cotton/stickycotton/

     

  • National Cotton Ginners Association Honors Earl Williams

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    CONTACT:
    Roger A. Isom
    California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations
    Phone:  (559) 252-0684
    Fax:  (559) 252-0551
    Email:  roger@ccgga.org

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations is pleased to announce that Past President/CEO Earl P. Williams was recently honored as the recipient of the National Cotton Ginners Association’s (NCGA) 2013-14 Distinguished Service Award.  The annual award recognizes individuals who have provided a career of distinguished service to the U.S. ginning industry.   Williams received the award during the California Cotton Ginners Association’s annual meeting.  Williams joined the California Cotton Growers and Ginners’ Associations in 1993 as executive vice president, was named president and CEO in 1997, and retired at the end of 2014.  He was one of fifteen charter members of the California Cotton Ginners Association, serving on their Board from 1972 to 1980.  He has previously served as an advisor to the National Cotton Council, the American Cotton Producers, the NCGA’s Advisory Policy Council and Supima’s board.  A native of Arkansas, where his family was involved in cotton farming, Williams came to Buttonwillow, Calif., with his family in 1958 and later received a Bachelor of Science in Crop Production from Cal Poly.  Williams continues to serve the Association on a part time consulting basis working on coordination of cotton research activities and is the Supima representative for California.

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations are voluntary dues-based organizations representing cotton growers and cotton gins throughout California on regulatory and legislative issues ranging from energy and air quality to labor and water quality.

  • New Employment Laws that will Affect Employers

    By: Jeanne Rosenberg

    Governor Jerry Brown has signed all the legislative bills for 2018, his last as Governor of California, clearing the way for newly elected Governor Gavin Newsom to take his place next year. We now provide you with a compilation of employment related laws effective January 1, 2019, except when otherwise indicated.

    AB 1066: Phase In of Overtime for Farmworkers

    AB 1066, which went into effect in 2017, phases in new overtime requirements for agricultural employers, the first of which begins as the clock strikes midnight at the New Year.  Starting in 2019, AB 1066 lowers the 10-hour-day threshold for overtime to 9.5 hours in a day and 55 hours per week when overtime pay is requiredThis only applies to employers with 26 or more employees.

    Not only does this affect overtime wages, but also causes an adverse effect to employees on the minimum amount of paid sick leave employers are required to offer. Under California’s paid sick leave law, employees should be given the greater of either 24 hours or three days of PSL, regardless of whether the frontloading or accrual method is selected. This means that employees whose regular work day are 9.5 hours would get a minimum of 28.5 hours of paid sick leave per year. 

    For more information regarding this bill and its gradual phase-in to the standard 8 hour day/40 hour workweek model, see our previous post here.

    SB 1300: Expanded Fair Employment and Housing Act

    As we previously reported hereemployers will be prohibited, with certain
    exceptions, from requiring an employee to sign a release of claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act in exchange for a raise or bonus, or as a condition of employment or continued employment. Employers are also prohibited from requiring an employee to sign a non-disclosure agreement that aims to deny the employee the right to disclosure of unlawful acts in the workplace, including sexual harassment.

    SB 820: Settlement Disclosure of Sexual Harassment Claims

    Settlement agreements entered into will prohibit and make void any provision that prevents the disclosure of factual information related to civil or administrative complaints of sexual harassment, sexual assault, workplace harassment, or discrimination based on sex. As previously reported here, this bill does not prevent parties from mutually agreeing to settle, but it will prohibit individuals and/or businesses from requiring a claimant to remain silent about the alleged assault/harassment as a condition of settlement. Further, SB 820 expressly authorizes provisions that (1) preclude the disclosure of the amount paid in settlement of a claim and (2) protect the claimant’s identity and any fact that could reveal the identity, so long as the claimant has requested such anonymity and the opposing party is not a government agency or public official.

    AB 3109: Disclosure of Sexual Harassment

    AB 3109 makes a provision in a contract or settlement agreement void and unenforceable if it waives a party’s right to testify in any proceeding concerning alleged criminal conduct or sexual harassment. In many settlement/severance agreements, it is not uncommon to include a provision that a former employee will not participate in any actions against the employer or will not make any disparaging remarks against the employer. Now, any provision that does not allow an employee to testify when they are required by subpoena or requested in writing by an administrative agency or legislature will be void. This bill was previously reported here.

    SB 1343: Expanded Duties for Employers Regarding Sexual Harassment Training

    SB 1343 requires an employer of five or more employees to provide sexual harassment training within 6 months of assuming their position and once every two years thereafter. By January 1, 2020, all supervisors must receive at least two hours of training, and all nonsupervisory employees must receive at least one hour. For more information regarding this bill, see our previous post here.
    AB 1976: Accommodation for Lactation
    This bill requires employers to make reasonable efforts to provide workers with a use of a room or private area that is not a restroom to pump breast milk. Existing law required that employers only make a reasonable effort to provide both a lactation space that is not a bathroom stall. If an employer can demonstrate that providing a separate room (other than a bathroom) would create an undue hardship, an employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide an employee with the use of a room or other location, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the employee’s work area, for the employee to express milk in private. For more information regarding this bill, see our previous post here.

    AB 1654: Expanded Exemption of PAGA Claims for Union Construction Employers

    This bill exempts employers in the construction industry from claims under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”) if the employees are covered under a valid collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) in effect any time before January 1, 2025 that expressly provides for the wages, hours of work, and working conditions of employees. As previously posted here, this applies to any CBA in currently in effect until the CBA expires or January 1, 2028, whichever is earlier.

    SB 1252: Right to Receive a Copy of Employment Records
    Labor Code section 226 is amended to provide employees the right to receive a copy of their employment records. If requested by the employee, the employer must provide copies to the employee rather than require the employee copy the records on their own.

    SB 224: Sexual Harassment Relationships Expanded to Venture Capital Industry
    Civil Code section 51.9 is amended to expand the definition of sexual harassment under the Unruh Act, a California civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on things like sex, race, religion, age and disability. The Unruh Act, in its previous form, prohibited sexual harassment between people who have a business relationship but don’t work for the same company and the plaintiff was not able to easily terminate the business relationship. Now, under SB 224, a plaintiff has a viable claim for sexual harassment if they prove, among other things, that the defendant holds himself or herself out as being able to help the plaintiff establish a business, service, or professional relationship with the defendant or a 3rd party. In addition, the amendment eliminates the element that the plaintiff prove there is an inability by the plaintiff to easily terminate the relationship.

    Furthermore, to drive the point home, the statute has been amended to specifically include lobbyists, elected officials, directors, producers, and investors as examples of persons that can be subject to a claim for sexual harassment.

    SB 1412: New Limits on Criminal Background Checks

    Labor Code section 432.7 is amended to limit the exception for both public and private employers that are required by law to screen applicants using a criminal background check. The new law only permits inquiries about an applicant’s criminal history to a “particular conviction” that is relevant to the position sought by the applicant. Particular convictions is defined as “conviction for specific criminal conduct or a category of criminal offenses prescribed by [law] that contains requirements [and/or] exclusions…expressly based on that specific criminal conduct or category of criminal offenses.” Inquiries into particular convictions are only permitted in the following situations:

    • The employer is required by law to obtain information regarding the particular conviction of the applicant, regardless of whether that conviction has been expunged, judicially ordered sealed, statutorily eradicated, or judicially dismissed following probation;
    • The employer requires the applicant to possess or use a firearm in the course of his or her employment;
    • An individual with that particular conviction is prohibited by law from holding the position sought by the applicant, regardless of whether that conviction has been expunged, judicially ordered sealed, statutorily eradicated, or judicially dismissed following probation;
    • The employer is prohibited by law from hiring an applicant who has that particular conviction, regardless of whether that conviction has been expunged, judicially ordered sealed, statutorily eradicated, or judicially dismissed following probation.

    SB 826: Women on Corporate Boards
    By close of 2019, SB 826 requires public companies whose principal executive offices are located in California to have at-least one female director on its board. By the close of 2021, must comply with the following standards:

    • Four or fewer board members: minimum of 1 female director;
    • 5 board members: 2 female directors;
    • 6+ board members: minimum of 3 female board members.

    For more information regarding this bill, see our previous post here.

    SB 970: Human Trafficking

    As previously posted here, by January 1, 2020 and every two years thereafter, hotels and motels must provide at least 20 minutes of training and education regarding human trafficking awareness to an employee who will likely interact or come into contact with victims of human trafficking, such as an employee who works in a reception area, performs housekeeping duties, help customers in moving their possessions, or drives customer.
    COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:

    There are a lot of new laws this year; please make sure to take the time to understand the implications of these laws and how they may affect your company. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the new bills or how to comply with their requirements, please do not hesitate to contact the experts at the Saqui Law Group.

  • New I-9 Form Released by Feds

    The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has released the latest revision to the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Beginning January 22, 2017, employers must begin using the revised Form I-9 for new employees.   The new form is intended to make it easier complete electronically.  It does not does not require any additional information be provided by the employee or employer.  You can continue to use the old form until January 21, 2017.  The latest version can be downloaded at the USCIS’s website, available here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.

  • New Insecticide Approved for Use in California

    After a lengthy registration process cotton growers in California have another tool to help combat whitlefly.   Bayer CropScience has received the registration for its new insecticide Sivanto from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR)). Sivanto, which was developed to control devastating sucking pests on fruits and vegetables as well as most broadacre crops, will be available for the 2015 growing season.  Sivanto is a novel systemic insecticide for the control of major sucking pests such as aphids, whiteflies, hoppers, psyllids, and other key insects, and acts effectively on all mobile stages including larvae and adults. It can be used on pome fruits, citrus, vegetables: cucurbit, fruiting, leafy & brassica; winegrapes, melons, alfalfa and cotton. Sivanto is based on the active ingredient flupyradifurone which belongs to the new chemical class of butenolides.  It is also important to note that when applied at proposed label rates, Sivanto presents no effects on honey bee colony development.   Finally, another tool in our battle against whitefly.  Remember, NO STICKY COTTON!

  • New Overtime Provisions Signed by Governor

    The Governor has now signed AB 1066 (Gonzales).  AB 1066, known as the Phase-In Overtime for Agricultural Workers Act of 2016, will make significant changes to the IWC’s Wage Order 14 covering all employees subject to the Wage Order 14.  Here are the important details.

    Key Impacts & Changes –

    • Changes overtime triggers from 10 hours per day and 60 hours per week in a phased-in approach.
    • Removes exemption for irrigators, as irrigators are now subject to the new overtime provisions
    • Removes exemption for drivers, as regulated by the Federal DOT or CHP are now subject to the overtime provisions
    • Agricultural workers under Wage Order 14 were previously exempt from the mandatory 7th day off. Under this Act, agricultural workers must provide one day’s rest every seven days.
      • However, there is a provision that the one-day-of-rest requirement may be met by accumulating days of rest when the nature of the employment reasonably requires that the employee work seven or more consecutive days, provided that in each calendar month the employee receives days of rest equivalent to one day’s rest in seven.

    Timeline –

    The Act becomes effective on January 1, 2017, as per the following schedule:

    Employers with more than 25 employees:

    • January 1, 2019: Overtime must be paid for work in excess of 9 ½ hours per workday or in excess of 55 hours per week.
    • January 1, 2020: Overtime must be paid for work in excess of 9 hours per workday or in excess of 50 hours per week.
    • January 1, 2021: Overtime must be paid for work in excess of 8 ½ hours per workday or in excess or 45 hours per week.
    • January 1, 2022: Overtime must be paid for work in excess of 8 hours per workday or in excess of 40 hours per week. Any work in excess of 12 hours in one day must be compensated at the rate of no less than twice the employee’s regular rate of pay.

    Employers with 25 or fewer employees:

    • January 1, 2022: Overtime must be paid for work in excess of 9 ½ hours per workday or in excess of 55 hours per week.
    • January 1, 2023: Overtime must be paid for work done over 9 hours per workday or in excess of 50 hours per week.
    • January 1, 2024: Overtime must be paid for work in excess of 8 ½ hours per workday or in excess or 45 hours per week.
    • January 1, 2025: Overtime must be paid for work in excess of 8 hours per workday or in excess of 40 hours per week. Any work in excess of 12 hours in one day must be compensated at the rate of no less than twice the employee’s regular rate of pay.

    A full legal summary will be posted on our website.

  • New Year, New DFEH Poster—Get Yours Ready

    By: Rebecca Hause-Schultz

    As 2017 quickly draws to a close, it is important for employers to review new laws that will be implemented January 1, 2018, and ensure their company is in compliance.
    Starting in 2018, as a result of Senate Bill 396, employers must display a poster about transgender rights in the workplace, available here in English, and here in Spanish. The poster is required to be posted in a prominent and accessible location in the workplace. If ten (10) percent or more of a company’s workforce speaks a language other than English, the DFEH posters must also be displayed in that language.
    You can brush up on the other bills that will become effective January 1, including the “Ban the Box” bill and the prohibition on salary inquiries here.

    COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:
    It is important to get your company in compliance with these new laws sooner rather than later. As employers know, the employment-law landscape in California is constantly changing—be on the lookout for more e-Blasts in 2018! The Saqui Law Group wishes you a happy and safe new year!

  • 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

    Webinar Flyer

  • No Wildfire Bailouts

    Ratepayers shouldn’t be expected to pay for billions of dollars in damages due to negligence fires caused by Utilities. #holdutilitiesaccountable #noWildfireBailout

  • NRCS California Launches Air Quality Chipping Initiative

    The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California will assist farmers to chip woody debris in fallowed orchards and vineyards impacted by California’s ongoing drought. The conservation benefits associated with this practice include controlling erosion and protecting air quality.   “NRCS is committed to helping farmers and ranchers manage the impacts of California’s drought,” said Carlos Suarez, NRCS California state conservationist. “This initiative builds upon the $25 million we have already invested this fiscal year to apply on-farm water conservation measures across the state.”  The California Air Quality Chipping Initiative, through NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), will assist agricultural producers in chipping woody debris from removed orchards or vineyards that are no longer being irrigated due to the extreme drought conditions. These crops are located in areas where surface water deliveries are severely curtailed or suspended and no other sources of water are available for continued irrigation.  Applying the chipped debris to the fallowed orchard or vineyard land stabilizes the surface area to limit fugitive dust emissions due to wind erosion and helps improve soil health by increasing soil carbon, organic matter and water retention. The wood chips may also be hauled away to a nearby composting facility or to a biomass-fueled power plant where the chips are consumed as renewable fuel for producing electricity. Farmers in Fresno, Kings, Kern, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare counties have until June 20, 2014, to apply.  For additional information, eligible farmers are encouraged to contact their local NRCS Service Center. Service center locations can be found at www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov.

  • OFF-THE-CLOCK WORK? NOT ON MY WATCH (or timesheet…)


    saqui

    One of the primary lessons from the recent class action frenzy is the importance of policing off-the-clock work. Nearly every class action lawsuit that we have recently seen has included a claim for off-the-clock work, i.e., early arrival, standing in line, donning and doffing, etc. These claims are very attractive to plaintiffs’ attorneys as they are easy to allege and difficult to disprove. In this respect, they can be the ideal glue to certify a class action. Relying on time records is no help, because the work is alleged to have happened before or after the recorded work hours. Thus plaintiffs can easily allege that they worked fifteen to thirty minutes before they signed in for their regular work without any hard evidence.

    Attacking these claims is an expensive and labor intensive task as you need to interview and present sworn statements from a significant number of employees who may or may not be keen on participating in a legal proceeding. In addition, if the allegations arise in a class action setting, there are restrictions on communicating with putative class employees so that the employer must be careful and guided by counsel in securing the statements. Judges are also often skeptical of declarations when current employees are asked by their employer to sign a statement in the employer’s favor.

    If you cannot defend against these claims with time records, what is an employer to do? The answer lies in strict policies and aggressive enforcement. It is absolutely critical that every employer have clear policies prohibiting off-the-clock work. Supervisors must be drilled into policing and preventing any off-the-clock work irrespective of the demands for production. That means immediate discipline for any violation. Employees should not be allowed to linger at the work premises before or after a shift. Loose enforcement of start and end times to meet production can buy the employer a business crippling lawsuit. Clear, regular start and end times are also helpful to the extent that they are possible.

    To illustrate the danger of an off-the-clock work claim, consider the following sample scenario (using basic numbers for clarity). Happy Farms employs approximately 300 seasonal employees for a 30 week season every year under Wage Order 14. The employees work an eight hour workday, five days a week, earning an average of $12 per hour and are paid weekly. A former employee files a class action lawsuit alleging off-the-clock-work. This plaintiff alleges that employees were required by the employer to arrive fifteen minutes early before the regular start time to perform exercises and put on gear (gloves, etc.) before harvesting. Accordingly, he claims a minimum wage violation, waiting time penalties and inaccurate wage statement penalties. The exposure for the employer presuming class certification would be:

    Minimum wage violation: $607,500 (15 minutes per day plus liquidated damages)

    Waiting time penalties: $864,000 ($12 x 8 hour day x 30 days x 300 employees)

    Inaccurate Wage Statements: $885,000 ($2950 per employee, max $4000)

    Total Liability: $2,356,500

    By having and enforcing effective written policies that are provided to the employees, you can provide your attorneys with the means to defend against these claims. In a recent California Court of Appeal decision, an employer prevailed against an employee that was claiming off-the-clock work. Jong v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. (2014) 226 Cal.App.4th 391. The court pointed out that the employee at issue “knew of Kaiser’s written policy that [employees] should be clocked in whenever they were working.” The court further pointed out that the employee signed a company form attesting that he would not work off-the-clock. Because of the policies and because the employer was not aware of the off-the-clock work, the employer was not liable. In reaching its decision, the Court of Appeal delineated an actual or constructive knowledge standard for employers with respect to off-the-clock work. In other words, the court found that employers are not responsible for unauthorized work performed by the employee unless the employer knew or should have known about the work at issue. Accordingly, employers with strong policies against off-the-clock work can rely on their policies and enforcement to combat these claims.

    Counsel to Management: Employers should include clear prohibitions against off-the-clock work in their handbooks and written policies. They should further have employees sign a form acknowledging that they are not allowed to work before or after their start and end time or during rest or meal periods. Employers should further articulate and enforce a policy of recording all work hours. In this respect, supervisors must be well-trained on the paramount importance of keeping all work on the clock. For further guidance on off-the-clock work issues or policies, please contact The Saqui Law Group.

  • ON-DUTY MEAL PERIODS: WHAT EMPLOYERS SHOULD KNOW

    Saqui
    The foreman starts his workday at least 1 hour before (5:30 a.m.) the general laborers (6:30 a.m.) because he has to transport people.

    He then takes his lunch with the general laborers (11:00 a.m.) and is not allowed to leave. Is this legal?

    No. Generally, California law provides that every employer shall authorize and permit all employees to take a thirty (30)-minute meal period after no more than five (5) hours of work.

    If the employee is not relieved of all duties during the thirty (30)-minute meal period, the meal period shall be considered an “on duty” meal period and counted as time worked.

    The “on-duty”meal period is permissible only when (1) the nature of the work prevents the employee from being relieved of all duty; (2) the employee and the employer agree in writing to an on-the-job meal period; (3) the written agreement states that the employee may revoke in writing at any time; and (4) the employee is paid for the meal period.

    Moreover, the employee must still be provided with the opportunity to eat the meal. The parties may not agree to on-duty meal period because it is desired or helpful.

    In the example above, the employer is in violation of the law for several reasons. First, if the foreman starts work at 5:30 a.m., he must be provided with a meal period no later than 10:30 a.m. Second, the foreman is not relieved of all his duties because he is not allowed to leave the employer’s premises. Therefore, his meal period is considered an “on-duty” meal period. The employer may lawfully provide an “on-duty” meal period if it can satisfy “the nature of the work” exception along with the other requirements.

    California courts have not defined what constitutes “the nature of the work” exception. However, the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”) issued several opinion letters addressing when the exception may apply. (Note: DLSE opinion letters are not binding on California courts, but may serve as persuasive material).

    DLSE letters make clear that the showing necessary to establish “the nature of the work” exception is high. Whether the exception applies must be made on a case by case and day by day basis.DLSE provides a list of non-exhaustive factors that should be considered in deciding whether the exception applies:

    1. The type of work;
    2. The availability of other employees to provide relief during the meal period;
    3. The potential consequences to the employer if the employee is relieved of all duty;
    4. The ability of the employer to anticipate and mitigate these consequences such as by scheduling the work in a manner to allow the employee to take an off-duty meal period;
    5. Whether the work product or process will be destroyed or damaged by relieving the employee of all duty.

    According to DLSE, some examples that fit this exception are a sole worker in an all-night convenience store, a sole security guard stationed in a remote location or a position requiring continuous operation of machinery, which requires monitoring. However, DLSE declined to apply the “nature of work” exception to late-night shift managers at fast-food restaurants because other employees are on duty and could cover for the manager with no economic hardship for the employer.

    In the above example, the foreman is not allowed to leave the employer’s premises presumably because he is needed to supervise or to address any issues. Nonetheless, the foreman will not meet the “nature of the work” exception because other crew members are present at the same time and can be trained to provide the necessary relief. It is also unlikely that the employer will suffer any economic harm if the foreman takes an off-duty meal period. Therefore, the employer above is in violation of the law because the foreman does not meet “the nature of the work” exception.

    Counsel to Management: DLSE sets an impossible standard for “the nature of the work” exception. Most of the employees will be unable to meet the exception. Therefore, if possible, the employers should not provide “on-duty” meal periods. If you have any questions regarding on-duty meal periods, please contact The Saqui Law Group.

     

    Did you know?

    It is illegal for an employer to fire or discriminate against anyone who complains about a violation of the wage and hour laws or reports a violation to the Labor Commissioner.Source: www.las-elc.org

     

    Contact Info

    1420 Rocky Ridge Dr. #260
    Roseville, CA 95661
    Tel: (916) 782-8555
    Fax: (916) 782-8565
  • OSHA Electronic Reporting

    As a reminder, all employers – including California – are advised to comply with the directive from federal OSHA to submit their workplace injuries and illnesses electronically.  Employers must submit injury and illness data from their 2017 Cal/OSHA Summary 300A form electronically by July 1, 2018.  For specific instructions go to federal OSHA’s website https://www.osha.gov/injuryreporting/index.html.  Should you have any questions or need assistance, please call our office.

     

  • OSHA Updates Recordkeeping Rule on Electronic Submittal

    The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently updated its recordkeeping rule. The rule expands the list of severe work-related injuries that all employers must report to OSHA. Under the new reporting requirements establishments with 20 – 249 employees must electronically submit information only from the OSHA Form 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. For those employer’s with 250 employees or more, must electronically submit to OSHA injury and illness information from OSHA Forms 300, 300A, and 301 forms.

    Submission of this data electronically will enable the public to access this data.  In addition, it will also assist employers to review their own performance and compare against industry and to enhance their own safety programs and procedures.

    The Federal changes will be effective August 10, 2016 and data submission will begin in 2017.  Along with the electronic submission of injury and illness date, employers are still required to complete the accident report and investigation, and record injuries and illnesses on the OSHA Log 300 and Summary 300A forms.

    The Cal/OSHA Standards Board will have to adopt requirements that are identical to the Federal requirements within 6 months after publication of OSHA final rule.  WAPA will be monitoring the rulemaking advisory committee meetings and any proposed regulations regarding this change for our members.

  • Pacific Ginning Co. Gin Manager Ron Nimmo Passes Away

    On December 26th, Pacific Ginning Co. Gin Manager Ron Nimmo passed away after a long battle with cancer.  Ron was a board member and past Chairman of the California Cotton Ginners Association.  Ron started his career with Producer’s Cotton Oil.  He began as a night ginner at Pleasant Valley Gin in Coalinga.  From there he moved to Tranquillity under Jack Lyons, also as the night ginner.  He was then promoted to day ginner at Mesa Gin and then moved to Westhaven Gin, a gin that would have later significance.  He then became a field electrician and later went into business for himself, opening an auto repair & electric shop.  He returned to the cotton industry working as a ginner for Westhaven Cotton Company and Stone Land Company and eventually became the Gin Manager running the former Producers gin.  His career was just getting started at this time.  Over the last several years Ron has continued in his service as a Director of the California Cotton Ginners Association, and served on several committees even after he left Westhaven Gin to work in the Solar Industry and subsequently came back as a gin manager for County Line Gin.  Ron later went to work for the Pacific Ginning Company where he has been ever since.  Ron was Chairman of the California Cotton Ginners Association from 2011 to 2012, and received the Ginner of the Year Award from the California Cotton Ginners Association in 2011.  Ron has been called an “innovator” and a “wonderful person and friend” by his colleagues.  Truer words were never spoken.   He will be sorely missed by this Association, his colleagues and the entire cotton industry in California.

  • Packed Workshop Hears ARB & SJVAPCD Target Agriculture

    Over 60 people attended last night’s workshop on the PM2.5 plan for the San Joaquin Valley.  And what they heard was not good news for agricultural interests.  At the Air District level, attendees learned that irrigation pump engines, both diesel and natural gas, will once again become targets for a further tightening of the regulations governing those sources.  Tier 3 pump engines will now have to be replaced with Tier 4 engines or electric motors.  In addition, the Air District is going to tighten the Conservation Management Practices regulations to control fugitive dust from farms, specifically tightening restrictions on land preparation and how lands are fallowed.  On the State side, CARB confirmed the information released last week stating they will be regulating tractors and harvesters for the first time.  While they will focus on the use of incentives first, it was made abundantly clear there will be a “drop dead date” by which older tractors and harvesters will have to be replaced.  These mandates are a result of a very tight Federal EPA ambient air quality standard for PM2.5.  Interestingly, EPA was at the meeting, but said nothing.  Fittingly, EPA still intends not to regulate locomotives, a significant source in the valley, and one that can only be regulated by EPA!  The Association opposes these mandates and will be submitting written comments accordingly.  The plan is expected to be adopted by the SJVAPCD in October and the ARB in November.

  • Paid Sick Leave (AB 1522) Reminder!

    Bill Summary:

    – Enacts the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 to provide that an employee who, on or after July 1, 2015, works in California for 30 or more days within a year from the commencement of employment is entitled to paid sick days to be accrued at a rate of no less than 1 hour for every 30 hours worked.
    – An employee would be entitled to use accrued sick days beginning on the 90th day of employment.
    – Authorizes an employer to limit an employee’s use of paid sick days to 24 hours or 3 days in each year of employment.
    – Prohibits an employer from discriminating or retaliating against an employee who requests paid sick days.
    – Requires employers to satisfy specified posting, notice, and recordkeeping requirements.

    New Paid Sick Leave Posters/Publications:

    – Revised Notice to Employee (Labor Code §2810.5) in English and Spanish now includes Paid Sick Leave
    – New Paid Sick Leave Posters English and Spanish

    Counsel to Management: Employers should carefully review and update their policies to be consistent with the new requirements. For questions or assistance with the new sick leave law, please contact The Saqui Law Group.

  • Paid Sick Leave and Dual-State Employees

    saqui
    California’s recently enacted paid sick leave law, the Healthy Workplace, Healthy Family Act of 2014 (hereinafter the “Act”), goes into effect on July 1, 2015. This Act provides that all employees who work in California for 30 or more days within a year are entitled to paid sick leave (PSL). Under the Act, paid sick leave accrues at the rate of 1 hour per every 30 hours worked, paid at the employee’s current rate of pay, and employees are entitled to up to 24 hours or 3 days of PSL per year.

    Q: Who is Covered Under the Act? 

    A: The Act applies to all employees, including those who are seasonal, temporary, part-time, and full-time, except those who are covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement that expressly provides for paid sick leave, are in-home support services employees, or are airline flight deck or cabin crew.

    Q: Are all employees who are covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement (CBA) exempt from PSL?

    A: No. Only those employees who are covered by a CBA that expressly provides for paid sick days, premium wage rates for overtime hours worked, and a regular hourly rate of pay that is at least 30% more than the minimum wage are exempt from California’s PSL requirements.

    Q: Are Employees of Out-of-State Employers Covered Under the Act? 

    A: The Act applies to “any person employing another.” This sweeping language of the Act, and the stated purposes of protecting employees in California, read in conjunction with recent California court decisions stating that all employees who perform work within California are covered by state wage and hour laws, suggests that any employee, regardless of where the employer is located, who works at least 30 days within the State of California is covered by the Act, and is therefore entitled to PSL.

    Written By: Jason Resnick V.P & General Counsel, Western Growers Association
    Patrick S. Moody, Barsamian & Moody
    Michael C. Saqui, The Saqui Law Group


    Counsel to Management:
    Now is the time to update your Employee Handbooks to ensure compliance with the new law beginning July 1, 2015. For questions regarding the new law and/or compliance issues, please contact The Saqui Law Group

  • Pesticides below Health Screening Levels…Again!

    The Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced in a press release that DPR’s Air Monitoring Network found that all 36 pesticides monitored at four different sites never exceeded any screening level or regulatory target. Among the 36 pesticides monitored some included, chlorpyrifos, endosulfan, malathion, acephate, along with many others. The four sites that DPR used were stationed in Shafter, Santa Maria, Watsonville and Chualar. Of all the pesticides monitored 17 were only detected at trace level and nine were not detected at all!

    Also in the press release was information regarding DPR’s two-year monitoring study of 1, 3-D with stations in Parlier and Delhi. Even though 1, 3-D did not exceed a human health screening level, DPR will be reviewing the current mitigation measures to determine if the interim restrictions should be replaced! The finding of the Air Monitoring Network, along with 1, 3-D’s current interim restrictions will be discussed that the Pesticide Registration and Evaluation Committee (PREC) meeting on Friday, July 20, 2018. The Association will be in attendance to provide comments commending the findings of the air monitoring program and push back on additional restrictions on 1, 3-D.

  • 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

  • Petition Drive for Prop 1 Funding

    In 2014, Californians voted to improve our state’s failing water infrastructure and build additional water storage – including Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat.

    Now, the California Water Commission is snubbing these critical projects and jeopardizing their funding. The Commission’s decision has put California’s future and water security at risk.

    Have your voice heard!

    Tell the Water Commission that we need additional water storage to prepare for the next drought, and we need it now. Sign the petition today!

  • PG&E Phase Two Agricultural Settlement Filed at CPUC

    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.

  • Pima Guide Box Review Held Today

    The 2018 American Pima Grade Standards Guide Box Review and Standards Matching event was held today at the Visalia USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Classing Office in Visalia.  Several participants including growers, ginners, merchants, mills and associated industry representatives attended the event hosted by USDA AMS representatives Greg Townsend, Area Director and Jimmy Knowlton, Director – Standardization Division.  The guide box review and standards matching for pima takes place each year in Visalia and gives the entire industry an opportunity to review the standards and make sure there is industrywide consensus in matching previous standards.  160 boxes were reviewed and approved today

  • Pink Bollworm Program – Silverleaf Whitefly Monitoring Report

    We have already begun to receive reports that whitefly counts are beginning to rise and applications are underway. The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pink Bollworm Program has released their Silverleaf Whitefly Report for the San Joaquin Valley from July 11, 2017 to August 11, 2017. As we continue through this growing season, we are urging folks to remember the efforts that were discussed at this year’s Sticky Cotton Summit. To be knowledgeable of the current pest pressures and knowing what tools and practices to implement early on will be the key to ensuring there is no sticky cotton in the San Joaquin Valley! We strongly encourage for you to utilize and share with others!

    Silverleaf Whitefly Monitoring Report (7/11/2017-8/11/2017) 

     

     

  • Pink Bollworm Program- Silverleaf Whitefly Report 8/13/18-8/24/18

    The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pink Bollworm Program has released its report for monitoring Silverleaf Whitefly. The program monitored for whitefly and other cotton pests from August 13, 2018 to August 24, 2018. For the full report, please follow the link below:

    Silverleaf Whitefly Report

  • Pink Bollworm Program- Silverleaf Whitefly Report 8/27/18 -9/07/18

    The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pink Bollworm Program has released its report for monitoring Silverleaf Whitefly. The program monitored for whitefly and other cotton pests from August 27, 2018 to September 7, 2018. For the full report, please follow the button link below:

    Silverleaf Whitefly Report

  • Pink Bollworm Program- Silverleaf Whitefly Report 9/10/18-9/21/18

    The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pink Bollworm Program has released its report for monitoring Silverleaf Whitefly. The program monitored for whitefly and other cotton pests from September 10, 2018 to September 21, 2018. For the full report, please follow the button link below:

    Silverleaf Whitefly Report

     

  • Pink Bollworm Program- Silverleaf Whitefly Report 9/24/18-10/5/18

    The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pink Bollworm Program has released its report for monitoring Silverleaf Whitefly. The program monitored for whitefly and other cotton pests from September 24, 2018 to October 5, 2018. For the full report, please follow the button link below:

    Silverleaf Whitefly Report

  • Pink Bollworm Report- Silverleaf Whitefly Report

    The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pink Bollworm Program has released its report for monitoring Silverleaf Whitefly. The program monitored for whitefly and other cotton pests from July 16, 2018 to July 27, 2018. For the full report, please follow the link below:

    http://bit.ly/2AzcD0u

  • PMA/ILWU Announce Tentative Contract

    With mounting pressure from the White House, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) reached a tentative contract late Friday night ending a several month marathon that cost the ag industry millions of dollars in lost contracts, delays, excess charges and resulted in mounting job losses for agricultural workers.  With involvement from the US Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Deputy Director Scot Beckenbaugh, the two sides reached a long overdue agreement.  With over 50 ships at anchor on the West Coast, it is anticipated that it could take up to 3 months for the ports to “catch back up!”  Port activity was resuming to a more normal capacity this week.

  • Port Issues Continue to Slow Down Business

     

    It has been, nearly, three weeks since the issues at the port began, and the situation has not experienced any improvement.  Long lines at the receiving terminal, the constant changing of   containers, and the uncertainty of vessel departure times have led to higher costs on containers, storage fees as well as transportation.

    With the processing season in full swing, more goods including cotton and tree nuts are expected to leave the ports for destinations across the seas.  The effects of the delays at the ports have caused uncertainty among producers as to when their products will be delivered.  The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association (CCGGA) and the Western Agricultural Processors Association have been collecting information from many of our members regarding their experiences with the ports up to this point.  Some of the repetitive reports that CCGGA and WAPA are receiving regards the long lines that transportation trucks have to wait in.  One almond processor explained that “…the truckers are having to wait in lines for hours and sometimes they will wait in line for 4 to 6 hours and then get turned away because they decided to close.” This, in turn, is driving the price of transportation higher, as drivers are having to spend all day waiting in line to deliver one container.  Container prices are also climbing because shipments are often being received, only to be transferred to a storage yard.

    Not only are producers paying more to have their goods stored, but the delays at the ports also have the potential to cost the industry future business.  “We have bookings that have rolled or been delayed by weeks. This creates a huge problem, especially when the sales are guaranteed delivery by a certain date,” wrote one almond shipper.  Demand for tree nuts overseas is at its peak, and buyers are willing to find other producers or methods to meet their demands.  One walnut processor was forced to pay twice as much in transportation fees to have his containers picked up from a storage yard at the port, and trucked across the country to the port in Montreal.

    These issues must be resolved quickly in order to keep the industry functioning properly.  CCGGA and WAPA have participated in conference calls with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, informing Secretary Karen Ross of the effects our industry is experiencing.  To ensure that your voices are heard, WAPA has been sending updated reports to the Governor’s office, as well as Senator Feinstein’s office to collectively find a solution.  If you have experienced the long lines at terminals, had your goods transferred to a storage yard when it should have been on an outgoing vessel, or have had to find other means of shipment to ensure your deadlines are met, we want to hear from you.  Please send your information to Chris McGlothlin (chris@agprocessors.org).

  • Port Issues Update – CCGGA Helps Elevate Issue to the White House

    Since late November, the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations (CCGGA) has been collecting information from our members and supplying that information and updates to the Governor’s office and to Senator Feinstein on a daily basis.  From congestion, container and chassis fees, to lengthy shipping delays and cancelled contracts, we have been providing this specific information to these critical people to help provoke action.  Some of this information and that of other efforts has led to the appointment of a federal mediator, which on the surface has not resulted in any positive results.  Without knowing the specifics of those negotiations, it is hard to know if we are close to a resolution or at impasse.  This past week we toured several of our processing members only to learn that shippers are now looking to Houston, Ensenada, and East Coast ports at extreme cost to get product shipped.  In some cases we now have members that are laying workers off, because they simply can’t ship product.  This led to a conference call yesterday with staff from Senator Feinstein’s office and Governor Brown’s office to discuss next steps and whether federal intervention is possible.  Prior to that call, CCGGA provided information to staff at the White House who are currently reviewing the information as well as that from other areas of commerce that have been heavily impacted.  We learned the situation does not yet meet enough of the criteria for the Federal Government to invoke the Taft-Hartley Act, which might help bring this issue to a head.  However, Senator Feinstein’s staff continues to pursue that angle to see what if anything can be done.  In the meantime, we ask that you continue to provide us with your daily updates on issues with the ports including shipping delays, trucking issues, chassis shortages, storage fees, etc.  This is how we can keep the Administration up to date on the situation and just how drastic it has become.  Please forward your information to Christopher McGlothlin, Director of Technical Services at chris@ccgga.org

  • Preliminary Cotton Acreages for California Released

    The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pink Bollworm Program have released the preliminary acreages for most of the cotton growing counties in California.  The breakdown is as follows:

    With a currently estimated 4,200 acres in the Sacramento Valley, the overall total is estimated to be 295,848 acres statewide.  It is too early for the Pink Bollworm Program to confirm Pima/Upland splits, but current estimates put the split at 75%/25%, but we will wait to confirm what was actually planted, especially given the late announcement on water.

  • Preliminary Cotton Acreages for California Released

    The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pink Bollworm Program have released the preliminary acreages for most of the cotton growing counties in California for 2018.  The breakdown is as follows:

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The grand total of 257,552 acres statewide is down from 295,848 acres statewide in 2017.  It is too early for the Pink Bollworm Program to confirm Pima/Upland splits, but current estimates put the split at 82%/18%, but we will wait to confirm what was actually planted.

     

  • Preliminary Pink Bollworm Numbers Are In – Acreages Lower than Expected

    The preliminary acreages as determined by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pink Bollworm Program are in and slightly lower than predicted back in March.  The current estimate is now at a total of 160,000 acres statewide with 153,410 acres in the San Joaquin Valley, 4,755 acres in Southern California and an estimated 2,819 acres in the Sacramento Valley.  The breakdown in the San Joaquin Valley is as follows:

    Fresno County –                38,140

    Kern County –                    20,845

    Kings County –                   51,385

    Madera County –                    735

    Merced County –               31,955

    Tulare County –                    9,900

    Total =                               160,806

     

    In Southern California, the breakdown is as follows:

    Imperial County –             1,262

    Riverside County –           3,315

    Total =                               4,577

    In Northern California, acres are estimated to be at 2,819 in total.  In terms of variety, the pima vs. upland/acala has yet to be determined.  We will notify everyone when that becomes available.

    Please be advised that the acres listed are based on Pink Bollworm Program field mapping techniques are intended for use on PBW Program detection and control activities and are not assumed to represent exact cotton acreage planted in California.

  • Preliminary Pink Bollworm Numbers Are In Acreages Higher than Expected

     

    The preliminary acreages as determined by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pink Bollworm Program are in and slightly higher than predicted back in March.  The current estimate is now at a total of 210,000 acres statewide with 197,000 acres in the San Joaquin Valley, 10,255 acres in Southern California and an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 acres in the Sacramento Valley.  The breakdown in the San Joaquin Valley is as follows:

                   Fresno County –                47,805
                   Kern County –                   34,660
                   Kings County –                  63.970
                   Madera County –               745
                   Merced County –               35,945
                   Total =                                197,115

    In Southern California, the breakdown is as follows:

                   Imperial County –             2,695
                   Riverside County –            7,445
                   San Bernandino County  –  115
                   Total =                                10,255

    The Sacramento County acres are still being determined, but again estimated to be between 2,500 and 3,000 acres.  In terms of variety, the pima vs. upland/acala has yet to be determined.  We will notify everyone when that becomes available. 

    Please be advised that the acres listed are based on Pink Bollworm Program field mapping tecniques are intended for use on PBW Program detection and control activities and are not assumed to represent exact cotton acreage planted in California.

     

  • President Obama Gets Involved in Port Issue

    After almost nine months of negotiations with little results President Obama has ordered Labor Secretary Tom Perez on Saturday to renew talks between shipping companies and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.  The slowdown at the West Coast ports has cost the cotton industry millions in cancelled contracts and delayed shipments.  In addition, the cotton industry has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional and extraordinary container fees, chassis fees, storage fees and congestion management fees.  The slowdowns have become progressively worse, culminating in a major shutdown this past weekend.  The involvement by the administration is seen as the only way to bring this dispute to an end, as both sides have refused to budge.  “The negotiations over the functioning of the West Coast ports have been taking place for months with the administration urging the parties to resolve their differences,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Saturday. “Out of concern for the economic consequences of further delay, the president has directed his Secretary of Labor Tom Perez to travel to California to meet with the parties to urge them to resolve their dispute quickly at the bargaining table.”  Many cotton merchants have resorted to shipping products out of Houston or East Coast ports.  The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations (CCGGA) have been heavily involved in this issue, updating Senator Feinstein and Governor Brown on a daily basis, including participating in periodic conference calls with these offices to update their representatives on the devastating impact of this dispute on the tree nut industry.  CCGGA President Roger Isom said “These delays cannot continue and we urge the Administration to move swiftly and decisively in bringing this dispute to a resolution.”

  • Press Conference on FARMER Air Quality Funding

    A special press conference to highlight the new “Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions (FARMER) Program” will be held next Monday, October 22nd at 10:00 am at Bruno’s Iron and Metal located at 3211 S. Golden State Blvd., in Fresno.  Federal, state and local officials will gather to showcase how $108 million from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is helping to fund the FARMER incentive program in the Valley and assist farmers in replacing their older tractors and ag equipment with cleaner low emissions technology. The funding assists growers and agricultural processing facilities to replace tractors, trucks and ATVS.  The Association’s own President/CEO Roger Isom will be speaking at the event.  The entire speaker list includes:

     

    • Autumn Burke, Assembly Member, District 62
    • Heath Flora, Assembly Member, District 12
    • Buddy Mendes, Fresno County Supervisor, Valley Air District Board Chair
    • Mike Stoker, Regional Administrator, EPA Region 9
    • Samir Sheikh, Executive Director/APCO, Valley Air District
    • Manuel Cunha, President/CEO, Nisei Farmers League
    • Roger A. Isom, President/CEO, California Cotton Ginners & Growers Association & Western Agricultural Processors Association
    • Hector De La Torre, Board member, California Air Resources Board
    • Jenny Lester Moffitt, Undersecretary, California Department of Food & Agriculture
    • Carlos Suarez, USDA-NRCS California State Conservationist

     

    FARMER funding comes from the California Climate Investments that takes Cap 7 Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  The Association was one of a handful of organizations that sought to bring that money to the valley to help address air quality issues with agricultural equipment.

     

  • Purchase Your CCGGA PAC Raffle Ticket Today!

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association is offering folks the chance to win a Beretta Silver Pigeon I shotgun at the same time as supporting the Association’s PAC efforts! Funds from the CCGGA Federal and State PAC are critical in influencing legislation, campaigns and industry efforts in Sacramento and D.C. With today’s political climate these funds prove to me more valuable now more than ever!

    Tickets are $100/each, limit 250 entries. You can purchase a ticket online by clicking the button below or by check mailed to our offices (1785 N. Fine Ave. Fresno, CA 93727). Payment can be accepted in the form of a personal or company check. Checks can be made payable to California Cotton Ginners & Growers PAC and you MUST include your phone number on the check. Payments must be received by 5 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 22 to 1785 N. Fine Ave. The drawing will be held during the CCGGA Board Meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 6th, winner need not be present.

    If you have questions or would like more information please call Jodi Raley at (559) 252-0684.

    Buy Tickets

     

  • Rally to Stop the State Water Grab

    The State Water Board’s proposal is devastating to the entire state of California, including farmers, farm workers, and business owners. In order to make your voice heard, a rally to stop the state water grab will be held on August 20th at noon on the north steps of the Sacramento Capitol Building (facing L Street).

    For more information or to RSVP, please contact Assemblyman Adam Gray’s District Office at (209) 726-5465.

  • Ratepayer Protection Network

    In July the Ratepayer Protection Network group was established to protect ratepayers, improve wildfire preparedness and response and advocate on behalf of ratepayers as Sacramento considers new policies to deal with California wildfires. The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association has joined the Ratepayer Protection Network to help make sure our issues are addressed.

    Responding to the escalating number and costs of California wildfires, the State Legislature formed a Conference Committee on Wildfire Preparedness and Response, responsible for improving rules for utilities to prevent, mitigate and respond to wildfires caused by utility equipment.

    This Conference Committee will set the stage for how California handles future major incidents, including who is held accountable for covering the costs of catastrophic wildfires.  They will be meeting throughout August to discuss various topics.

    As you are well aware, we Californians already pay some of the highest utility rates in the country.   It is likely that current legislation would worsen these burdens by providing a bailout for utilities and major new costs – all at the expense of California families and businesses.   The Ratepayer Protection Network is giving a voice to ratepayers.

    California’s ratepayers urge the Conference Committee to protect ratepayers from these unfair impacts and hold utilities and their shareholders accountable for making their systems safer.

    To learn more about the Ratepayer Protection Networks please visit: www.RatepayerProtection.Network

     

     

  • Ratepayers Could be Left Holding the Bag for Wildfire Damages

    With little notice and even less transparency, in typical “last week of session fashion”, the legislative conference committee tasked with addressing the wildfire and utility liability issue jammed through a massive bailout for PG&E standing with their shareholders over ratepayers, including businesses and homeowners in California who will experience skyrocketing energy bills.   The legislation, SB 901 would require ratepayers to cover whatever damages are beyond the cap placed on PG&E, even if PG&E is found negligent in the massive 2017 fires.  At $10 billion in liability, customers will pay an additional ½ cent per kWh for every kilowatt hour for the next 20 years!  SB 901 will be voted by both the Assembly and Senate Friday night, and the Association is adamantly opposed.   Association President/CEO Roger A. Isom stated “Our members cannot afford any more rate increases to the already highest industrial electricity rates in the country.  To put this on our backs is unequivocally unacceptable.  We refuse to pay for their negligence and wholeheartedly oppose this legislation.”

  • Ratepayers Left Holding the Bag for Wildfire Damages

    This past week, the legislature passed SB 901 (Dodd) that will without a doubt increase our members’ electric bills for those located in the PG&E territory.  Despite Association pressure and the fact this add thousands of dollars per month to electricity rates, the legislature gave PG&E the blank check they were looking for.  Less than a week prior, with little notice and even less transparency, in typical “last week of session fashion”, the legislative conference committee tasked with addressing the wildfire and utility liability issue jammed through a massive bailout for PG&E standing with their shareholders over ratepayers, including businesses and homeowners in California who will experience skyrocketing energy bills.   The legislation, SB 901 would require ratepayers to cover whatever damages are beyond the cap placed on PG&E, even if PG&E is found negligent in the massive 2017 fires.  At $10 billion in liability, customers will pay an additional ½ cent per kWh for every kilowatt hour for the next 20 years!  The Association fought the bill vigorously alongside many ag groups, such as Western Growers Association, Ag Energy Consumers Association, California Citrus Mutual and others.  Association President/CEO Roger A. Isom stated “Our members cannot afford any more rate increases to the already highest industrial electricity rates in the country.  To put this on our backs is unequivocally unacceptable.  We refuse to pay for their negligence and wholeheartedly oppose this legislation.”

  • Ready Or Not – New Laws Affecting Employer

    As the New Year is upon us, so are numerous new laws, not the least of which is a minimum wage increase to $10 per hour effective January 1st.  But there are several other laws that you should be aware of and our labor attorneys, the Saqui Law Group have summarized these here.  As always, we will be covering these in detail at our annual Safety and Labor Summits and coming webinars throughout the year.  For details on these new laws, please click here: Ready Or Not New Laws Affecting Employers 

  • Refresher: The Use of an AB 60 License for I-9 Verification

    By: Jizell Lopez

    The Saqui Law Group

    1. Q. What is an AB 60 License?
    A. An AB 60 License is issued when an individual does not have “satisfactory proof of legal presence in the U.S.” Many people who have an AB 60 License are legally in the U.S. and are work-authorized. In certain cases, an individual who has an AB 60 License can provide proof of legal status, but their documents are not considered compliant with state regulations and the REAL ID Act and therefore cannot be accepted by the DMV.

    2. Q. Is an AB 60 License an acceptable identification document for I-9 purposes?
    A. Yes. The AB 60 License is an approved document a potential employee may wish to provide as a List B Identity Document. As long as the AB 60 License meets the requirements as stated on Form I-9, it is an acceptable List B Identity Document. The employee must accompany the AB 60 License with a List C document to prove work authorization in order for the company to be in compliance with I-9.

    3. Q. What if I refuse to accept an AB 60 License?
    A. The refusal to accept a valid I-9 document from an individual may be considered a discriminatory act, especially if it leads to an individual’s inability to work. A company cannot discriminate against individuals based on the use of an AB 60 License. In addition, the company may not assume the individual is undocumented because they have presented an AB 60 License.
    If the document is valid on its face and meets the I-9 requirements, then it should be accepted. If an individual presents a valid AB 60 License as a List B Identity Document, it is best to not inquire further as to why it may be a restricted License.

    4. Q. When does the revised Form I-9 go into effect?
    A. On September 18, 2017, employers should have stated using the revised I-9 form. The new version can be found here. In addition, the USCIS also updated its handbook (here) which provides guidance on how to complete the form.

    COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:

    If your company is given an AB 60 License as a List B Identification document, you must accept the license as long as it contains a photograph of the potential employee and other identifying information such as a name, date of birth, sex, height, etc. Your company must also collect a List C Authorization document along with the AB 60 License.

    Do not assume a potential employee’s legal status if they present an AB 60 License. Keep in mind, the purpose of I-9 Forms is work authorization or eligibility to work in the U.S. and not an individual’s immigration status.

    Lastly, the revised I-9 form does not change the use of the AB 60 License as a List B Identity document. If you have any questions regarding the use of an AB 60 License or the revised I-9 form, please contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group.

  • Register TODAY for the CCGGA Annual Meeting, Feb. 21-23

    Less than 5 days to register for the 2018 CCGGA Annual Meeting taking place at the Monterey Plaza from February 21-23. Registration forms and payment must be submitted to our offices no later than Friday, February 16th.

    CCGGA will be offering a FREE Irrigation & Nitrogen Management Planning Certification course in conjunction with this year’s meeting. The course will be held the morning of Thursday, February 22nd. Growers are HIGHLY encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity as this self-certification will become increasingly valuable to achieve compliance with the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program.

    Other highlights of this year’s meeting will include a Wednesday evening reception, the CCGGA Annual Golf Tournament at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club as well as the CCGGA Annual Meeting dinner Thursday evening where guests will enjoy the comedic entertainment by Adam Ferrara! Adam Ferrara comes from the critically acclaimed & Emmy award winning TV shows Rescue Me & Nurse Jackie, he is also one of the hosts of the world renowned automotive series TopGear US.

    Attendees will receive critical industry updates at the Friday Business Meeting, which will include a ginner’s and a grower’s track. Topics of discussion will include an annual insect panel review, classing office activities, gin lab research updates and MUCH MORE! Guest speakers include representatives from the National Cotton Ginners Association, National Cotton Council, Cotton Board, Supima and Association staff.

    The deadline to receive rooms at the Annual Meeting discount rate has passed, rooms are now at regular price and subject to availability. Please complete and return your registration forms with payment ASAP. Deadline to register is Friday, February 16th. You can pay for your registration online and download forms at https://ccgga.org/membership/ccgga-annual-meeting/.

    If you have any questions please contact our offices at (559) 252-0684.

    Tentative CCGGA Annual Meeting Agenda
    Wednesday, February 21, 2018
    5:00 pm               Welcome Reception – Lower Terrace
    Thursday, February 22, 2018
    8:00 am                Irrigation & Nitrogen Management Plan Self Certification Workshop – Carmel Room
    8:30 am                CCGGA Golf Tournament – Quail Lodge and Golf Club, Carmel Valley
    6:00 pm               Reception – Lower Terrace
    7:00 pm               Dinner – Monterey Bay Room
    8:00 pm               Entertainment: Comedian Adam Ferrara – Monterey Bay Room
    Friday, February 23, 2018
    Business Meeting Agenda
    8:00 am                Welcome/Introductions – Phil Hansen, Chairman, CCGGA
    8:05 am                CCGA Financial Report – Janell Attebury, Baker Peterson Franklin
    8:15 am                National Cotton Council Update – Mike Brueggemann, National Cotton Council
    8:35 am                Supima Update – Earl P. Williams, Supima
    8:55 am                Cotton Inc. Update – Christi Chadwell, Cotton Inc.
    9:15 am                BREAKOUTS

    Ginners Track
    Cypress Ballroom
    Growers Track
    Carmel Ballroom
    9:15-9:35
    National Cotton Ginners Association Update
    Stan Creelman, President, NCGA 9:15-10:15
    Insect Pressures – 2017 Season in Review Panel Discussion
    Bob Hutmacher, UC Cooperative Extension State Cotton Specialist, Moderator  Panelists:
    9:35-9:55
    Cotton Ginning Laboratory Research Update
    Derek Whitelock, Research Leader, USDA-ARS, SWCGRL
    9:55-10:15
    Cotton Classing Update
    Greg Townsend, Area Director, USDA AMS

    10:15 am             **BREAK**
    10:35 am             Sacramento Update – George Soares, Kahn, Soares & Conway
    10:55 am             Regulatory and Legislative Issues Update
    Roger Isom, President/CEO, CCGGA
    Christopher McGlothlin, Director of Technical Services, CCGGA
    Jodi Raley, Director of Regulatory Affairs, CCGGA
    11:55 am             Closing Remarks – Phil Hansen, Chairman, CCGGA

    Regular Registration Packet

    Associate Packet

    Irrigation & Nitrogen Management Training Registration

  • Remembering Bill H. Adams

    Bill H. Adams
    JANUARY 24, 1943 – OCTOBER 18, 2018

     Bill H. Adams, born January 24, 1943 in Rains County, Texas passed away on October 18, 2018 in Bakersfield, California. Bill attended 7 primary schools, graduating from Grand Saline High School in Grand Saline, Texas. He attended Rutherford School of Business in Dallas from 1960 to 1962. Bill married Donita Shaw in August of 1962. They had two sons, Bill Jr. and Todd, three grandchildren, Ayla, Jon and Rebekka, and a great granddaughter, Emma.

    Bill joined Toyo Cotton Company in 1962 in Dallas as a shipping clerk and was promoted to Traffic Manager in 1970. In 1975 he was transferred to McFarland, California to work as the Office Manager of Toyo’s California operation. In 1981 he was promoted yet again to Vice President of Toyo Cotton Company’s California operation. Bill was Vice President of Toyo Cotton Co.’s Dallas office when he retired the end of December 2011.  He continued as an Advisor to Toyo after his retirement. Bill remained active the cotton business for 56 years.

    He served on the Board of Directors of Fresno Cotton Exchange in 1978 and 1979 as well as the Board of Directors of Western Cotton Shippers Association in 1982/1983 and 1984/1985. From 1985-1986 Bill served as President of the Western Cotton Shippers Association.  He also served on the Board of Directors of the American Cotton Shippers Association and many committees of ACSA and WCSA.  Bill was proud to serve in an industry that gave him so much.  In lieu of flowers please donate to one of his favorite charities: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, The Salvation Army, or the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center.

  • Remembrance of Wayne Dumont

    A luncheon will be held in remembrance of Wayne Russell Dumont tomorrow, Friday, January 15th at the San Joaquin Wine Co. located at 21801 Avenue 16 in Madera from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.

  • Reminder — California STAX/Farm Bill Workshop

    As a reminder, NCC will hold a STAX/Farm Bill Workshop on Monday, November 10, 9:00 a.m. at Harris Ranch in the Garden Ballroom.  The address is 24505 West Dorris Drive, Coalinga.

    This meeting is co-hosted by California Cotton Ginners, California Cotton Growers and the San Joaquin Valley Quality Cotton Growers Association.

    We hope your schedule will permit you to attend this important meeting.  Please contact Mike Brueggemann at (559) 696-6823 or mbrueggemann@cotton.org with any questions.

    Thanks for your continued support of the National Cotton Council.

  • 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!

     

  • REMINDER TO ALL KINGS COUNTY GROWERS: Election Closes this Week

    This is just a reminder that the 2017/2018 CCGGA Director Election closes this Friday, January 19th for the election of 2 directors to your Association’s Board of Directors.  These are grower positions for Kings County.  There are 3 duly nominated and certified candidates that have filed the required Candidates Statement Form indicating their willingness and desire to serve if elected.  The two receiving the most votes as certified by your Elections Committee will be elected to the two (2) – 3 year term directorships up for election.  In the case of ties, a run-off election will be held at the 2018 Annual Meeting to take place in Monterey, California on February 23rd, 2018.  Should a run-off be necessary, a proxy process will be available and all members will be notified accordingly.  Please take time to vote and please do not vote for more than 2 of the 3 candidates on the ballot.  Deadline for return of your official original ballot to the Association’s office will be Friday, January 19th, 2018.  Thank you for your participation in this important process.

  • Reminder: Cotton Harvest Safety Training September 27th!

    FCFB and California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association will host their annual Cotton Harvest Safety Training in English and Spanish on Thursday, September 27, from 8 to 10 a.m., at the UC West Side Research and Extension Center, 17353 W. Oakland Ave., Five Points. The training will be provided by Zenith Agribusiness Solutions.

  • Reminder: FREE Cotton Harvest Safety Seminar September 12th!

    A FREE Cotton Harvest Safety Seminar will be held September 12th from 8-11 a.m. at the Kings Fairgrounds in Hanford. The sessions will include general equipment safety, chemical safety, road safety, and much more! To register, call the UC Cooperative Extension at 559-684-3300 or register the day-of from 7:30-8:00 a.m.

  • Reminder: Last Day to Vote in Kern County Grower Election Friday January 18th

    Friday January 18th is the last day to vote in the CCGGA Kern County Grower Election. There are two seats open on the Association’s Board of Directors. If you wish to vote, please mail your completed ballots to our offices at 1785 N. Fine Ave. Fresno, CA 93727. We thank you for your participation in this important process.

  • REMINDER: Please Vote on Association Merger

    This past year the Board of Directors of the California Cotton Ginners Association and the Board of Directors of the California Cotton Growers Association appointed a joint committee to consider the merging of the two Associations into one organization.  On September 14th, 2016, after several months of meetings, the Boards of Directors of both Associations voted to recommend to the membership to merge the two Associations.  Both Associations currently already utilize the exact same staff and office, and this effort is proposed to the membership to streamline the Association’s operations.

    This movement is an important evolution for the cotton industry in California, and will not impact our effectiveness in representing California cotton gins and cotton growers in any way.  To finalize this effort, we need you to vote yes or no on the proposed merger.

    If you would like to see a copy of the proposed new bylaws, you have a couple of options:

    1. Visit our website at www.ccgga.org and click on the “Proposed Joint Bylaws” link on the home page.
    2. Call our office at (559)252-0684 and we will fax or mail you a copy.
    3. Contact Shana Colby at our office at shana@ccgga.org and she will email you a copy.

     

    Once you have reviewed the proposed bylaws and made a decision, please vote, sign, and mail, fax or email the attached ballot.  It is imperative that everyone vote on this initiative.  Please do so by Friday, November 11th, 2016.

                                 Ginner Members Only Ballot                                                      Grower Members Only Ballot

     

  • REMINDER: Register for the CCGGA Annual Meeting, Feb. 21-23

    Be sure to get your registration in for the 2018 CCGGA Annual Meeting in ASAP! This year’s meeting will be held February 21-23 at the Monterey Plaza. Registration cut off is Friday, February 9th and hotel reservations must be made by Thursday, February 1st.

    Attendees can look forward to the historic favorites including a Wednesday evening welcome reception, the Annual CCGGA Golf Tournament on Thursday at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club, Thursday evening dinner with comedic entertainment as well as an informative session during the Friday Business meeting. New this year, CCGGA is offering an Irrigation & Nitrogen Management Plan Self Certification course Thursday morning for growers or other interested parties to participate in. The Annual Business meeting on Friday will include both a ginner’s and a grower’s track delving into the issues of pest pressures of the past year and how we address the 2018 crop, classing office activities, updates from our gin labs, as well as speakers from National Cotton Ginners Association, National Cotton Council along with an issues update from our staff.

    Please fill out the below forms and submit to our offices no later than Friday, February 9th. You can pay for your registration online and download forms at //ccgga.org/membership/ccgga-annual-meeting/.

    Hotel reservations MUST be made by February 1st to ensure the Association’s special rate. Reservations can be made by calling (800) 334-3999 and you must identify yourself with the group name “CA Cotton Ginners & Growers Association” by the cutoff date above.

    If you have any questions please contact our offices at (559) 252-0684.

     

    Tentative CCGGA Annual Meeting Agenda

    Wednesday, February 21, 2018

    5:00 pm               Welcome Reception Lower Terrace

    Thursday, February 22, 2018

    8:00 am                Irrigation & Nitrogen Management Plan Self Certification WorkshopCarmel Room

    8:30 am                CCGGA Golf TournamentQuail Lodge and Golf Club, Carmel Valley

    6:00 pm               ReceptionLower Terrace

    7:00 pm               DinnerMonterey Bay Room

    8:00 pm               Entertainment: Comedian Adam FerraraMonterey Bay Room

    Friday, February 23, 2018

    Business Meeting Agenda

    8:00 am                Welcome/IntroductionsPhil Hansen, Chairman, CCGGA

    8:05 am                CCGA Financial ReportJanell Attebury, Baker Peterson Franklin

    8:15 am                National Cotton Council UpdateMike Brueggemann, National Cotton Council

    8:35 am                Supima UpdateEarl P. Williams, Supima

    8:55 am                Cotton Inc. UpdateChristi Chadwell, Cotton Inc.

    9:15 am                BREAKOUTS

     

    Ginners Track

    Cypress Ballroom

    Growers Track

    Carmel Ballroom

    9:15-9:35

    National Cotton Ginners Association Update

    Stan Creelman, President, NCGA 9:15-10:15
    Insect Pressures – 2017 Season in Review Panel Discussion
    Bob Hutmacher, UC Cooperative Extension State Cotton Specialist, Moderator  Panelists:

     

    9:35-9:55

    Cotton Ginning Laboratory Research Update

    Derek Whitelock, Research Leader, USDA-ARS, SWCGRL
    9:55-10:15

    Cotton Classing Update

    Greg Townsend, Area Director, USDA AMS

     

    10:15 am             **BREAK**

    10:35 am             Sacramento Update George Soares, Kahn, Soares & Conway

    10:55 am             Regulatory and Legislative Issues Update

    Roger Isom, President/CEO, CCGGA

    Christopher McGlothlin, Director of Technical Services, CCGGA

    Jodi Raley, Director of Regulatory Affairs, CCGGA

    11:55 am             Closing RemarksPhil Hansen, Chairman, CCGGA

    To view the Regular Member, Associate, and Thursday Training packets please click the link below.

    http://bit.ly/2n7jbds

     

  • 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.

  • Revisions to Requirements for 1,3-D;Telone Use

    The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced new requirements on the way 1,3-D (aka Telone) is managed and used in California. Taking effect January 1, 2017 the annual limit for a township (six mile by six mile area used to monitor pesticide activity) will be changed to 136,000 pounds. This is a drastic decrease given some current township limits are as high as 180,500 pounds per year.  To give a better indication of the impact this reduction will have, growers will only be able to treat about 410 acres in a township a year. Additionally, DPR announced that it will no longer allow the use of the “banking” system, which allowed for annual carryover of unused allocations of 1,3-D from one year to the next.  Furthermore, growers will no longer be allowed to use 1-3,D during the month of December, citing that the weather conditions tend to make air concentrations higher. These changes poses serious hurdles for growers to overcome, if a township meets the new threshold growers who need to use 1,3-D will have little to no options for nematode control.

  • Rosemarie Dowdle 2014 Ginner of the Year

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    CONTACT:
    Roger A. Isom
    California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations
    Phone:  (559) 252-0684
    Fax:  (559) 252-0551
    Email:  roger@ccgga.org

    The California Cotton Ginners Association is pleased to announce that Rosemarie Dowdle has been named as the recipient of the 2014 Ginner of the Year.  The award is given each year to honor and recognize an individual who has provided dedication, knowledge, and special service to this Association as well as the ginning industry.  Dowdle is the Gin Manager at Tri City Growers Gin in Terra Bella, California, and just completed her 50th season at Tri-City!  She began her career at Tri-City in October of 1964 becoming the Manager in 1975 and has the honorable distinction of becoming the first woman gin manager in California.  In honoring Dowdle, CCGA President/CEO Roger Isom cited her long time support of the Association and its efforts, as well as her commitment to high standards at the gin.  As an example, Isom pointed out that Tri-City Growers gin was the first gin in California to receive the award for 5 consecutive years without a lost time accident, and the first gin to receive the award for 10 consecutive years without a lost time accident.  In fact, in the history of the CCGA Annual Injury Survey, Tri-City Growers has the fewest reported lost time accidents of any gin in California!   This is an amazing accomplishment and starts with the leadership at the top.  Congratulations on a long overdue and well deserved recognition for Ms. Rosemarie Dowdle.

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations are voluntary dues-based organizations representing cotton growers and cotton gins throughout California on regulatory and legislative issues ranging from energy and air quality to labor and water quality.

  • San Joaquin Valley Air District to Increase Fees

    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.

  • San Joaquin Valley Groundwater Briefing Wednesday, June 1

    The California Department of Water Resources and Water Education Foundation in cooperation with the Center for Irrigation Technology will host a FREE one-day briefing on Wednesday, June 1 discussing how San Joaquin Valley groundwater conditions have responded to the multi-year drought and actions being taken towards sustainable groundwater management. This briefing is open to any interested parties including media, elected officials, legislative aides, water district managers and board members, state and federal agency officials, city and county govern­ment officials, farmers, environmentalists, attorneys, consultants, engineers, business executives and public interest groups.

    Topics to be discussed include:

    • Hydrologic conditions and drought status
    • San Joaquin Valley groundwater conditions and status of SGMA implementation
    • Monitoring valley land subsidence with remote sensing
    • Beginning SGMA implementation – the local perspective
    • Private residential wells and drought

    Full agenda here.

    The event will be held at the Alice Peters Auditorium (PB 191) in the University Business Center at Fresno State. Check-in/registration begins at 9:30 a.m. Complimentary coffee will be served. The program runs from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Lunch is on your own.

    Event Flyer->june_1_fresno_flyer

    Event Agenda->draft_june_1_agenda

  • Save the Date: American Pima Cotton Standards Matching

    The Pima guide box matching event is scheduled for TuesdayJuly 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.

  • Secretary Vilsack Designates 55 California Counties as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

    On February 4th, USDA Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack designated 55 California counties as primary natural disaster areas due to a recent drought.  According to the U.S. Drought Monitor (see http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/), these counties suffered from a drought intensity value during the growing season of: (1) D2 (Drought-Severe) for 8 or more consecutive weeks; or (2) D3 (Drought-Extreme) or D4 (Drought-Exceptional).  In accordance with section 321(a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act, Del Norte, Imperial, and San Francisco Counties in California, are named as contiguous disaster counties. A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in primary counties and those counties contiguous to such primary counties eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. This assistance includes FSA emergency loans. Farmers in eligible counties have 8 months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans. FSA considers each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses on the farm, and the security and repayment ability of the operator. Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with further information.

  • Senator Stern Tours Cotton Gin

    The Association as well as members of the Agricultural Presidents Council hosted Senator Henry Stern on a tour of agricultural operations in the Central Valley. Senator Stern represents the 27th Senate District which includes parts of Santa Clarita, Malibu, Calabasas, Thousand Oaks, Canoga Park, Lake Balboa and much more. The Senator has Valley ties, but wanted to understand agricultural issues in more detail. CCGGA brought the Senator to Cross Creek Gin to show how cotton is transformed from coming in from a module to a bale ready to be sent to a textile mill. CCGGA Board Member, Kirk Gilkey shared the history of cotton in California, the advancements the industry has made in technology and how California cotton holds pride in the ability to grow some of the strongest and softest fiber in the world. Spending the entire day with the group the Senator was able to visit a dairy farm, a citrus operation, a table grape operation, a cotton gin, a pistachio processor as well as receive an aerial demonstration at Lakeland Dusters Aviation.

  • Sixth Circuit Issues Stay on Federal Water Regulation Rule

    Today, a federal appeals court issued a nationwide stay blocking the new Environmental Protection Agency regulation that seeks to expand the amount of water and wetlands under federal protection, known as “Water of the United States” or WOTUS.  The Cincinnati-based U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in a split ruling, said it was prudent to block the regulation while litigation continued over whether the Obama administration’s effort was legal.  “A stay temporarily silences the whirlwind of confusion that springs from uncertainty about the requirements of the new rule and whether they will survive legal testing,” the court said.  Previously, a federal judge in August blocked the rule in 13 states that had challenged it in a federal court in North Dakota, saying those states were likely to succeed in their lawsuit against the regulation.  In coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the EPA in May issued the rule, which is estimated to put about 3% more waterways throughout the U.S. under new federal jurisdiction, which would require a federal permit to pollute those waters and could restrict access altogether.  Major waterways, like most rivers and lakes, are already under protection of the Clean Water Act and aren’t affected by the rule.  The EPA has said the rule is necessary to clarify which waters should fall under the protection of the federal Clean Water Act of 1972 after two Supreme Court rulings, in 2001 and 2006, called into question whether and to what extent 60% of U.S. waterways, especially streams and wetlands, should fall under federal jurisdiction.

     

  • SJV Agronomic Crops Field Day

    The SJV Agronomic Crops Field Day will be held Thursday September 27th at the UC West Side Research and Extension Center in Five Points, CA.  The field day will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will adjourn at 12 noon.

  • SJVAPCD Governing Board Hearing Today

    The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s Governing Board held a hearing today where the issue of agricultural Biomass was discussed.  The Association’s President/CEO Roger Isom testified that this is a crisis issue that’s needs everyone’s attention.  Isom spoke to the different technologies currently underway including biogas plants such as the one at West Biofuels, renewable diesel such as that being tested by Technikon, and air curtain burners like the one recently permitted at an Almond Huller in the valley.  Isom thanked the Air District for helping push these technologies and support of the projects the Association is working on.  The Governing Board voted to support these types of solutions as an alternative to open burning.

  • Soil Health Workshop Next Week

    Next Week, the Cal Poly Center for Sustainability will be holding a Soil Health Assessment Field Day at Macon Seed in Turlock.  The event will feature plant pathologist and Denele Analytical Director, Joe Mullinax, USDA-NRCS Regional Soil Health Specialist, Zahangir Kabir, as well as Cal Poly staff.  The event will focus on the contribution of biology and organic matter as it relates to soil health, how they can be measured and supported through sustainable agricultural management practices, as well as a variety of tools available now that assess soil health.  The event will be held Thursday, May 25th at Macon Seed, located in Turlock, CA.  For more information on the event and registration information, please visit: http://cfs.calpoly.edu/soilsworkshops.html

     Flier 

  • Some Good News – EPA Finds that San Joaquin Valley Meets 1 Hr. Ozone Standard!

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that the San Joaquin Valley nonattainment area “has attained the 1-hour ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard”.  This determination is based on sufficient, quality-assured, and certified data for the 2012-2014 period. Ozone data collected in 2015 shows continued attainment of the standard in the San Joaquin Valley.  EPA noted that preliminary data for 2015 was consistent with continued attainment in the San Joaquin Valley. The Valley covers approximately 23,000 square miles and includes all of Fresno, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare counties, as well as the western half of Kern County.  EPA agrees with reports and associated analyses, submitted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (“District”), and finds the Valley has attained the 1-hour ozone standard.  While this is great news, unfortunately it does not in any way change the air quality regulations related to ozone.  That is because EPA has adopted an 8 hour ozone standard that is much lower and much more difficult to achieve.  Nonetheless, as trucks, tractors and off-road equipment are being replaced ozone measurements have dropped considerably in the last ten years as air quality has drastically improved!

    ozone

  • Speaker of the Assembly Visits the Valley

    The Speaker of the Assembly in the California State Legislature Toni Atkins was in Fresno, and took time out of her incredibly busy schedule to visit the Association’s office for a lunch meeting with a small group of agricultural organizations to discuss critical issues facing agriculture.  The Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) hosted the event.  Other organizations involved in the event included the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association, California Citrus Mutual, California Fresh Fruit Association, Nisei Farmers League and the American Pistachio Growers.  As one would expect water dominated the discussion, with talk about the need for increased water storage and the situation in the delta as critical to helping solve the long term water situation in this state.  Other matters touched on in the event included climate change, exotic pests, labor issues, transportation and the overall state of agriculture in this time of significant drought.  Speaker Atkins has long been a friend to agriculture and we are appreciative she would take time to stop and visit us during her trip to Fresno.  Speaker Atkins has previously toured the valley visiting an almond huller, cotton gin and operating a cotton picker.  The Speaker will be termed out next year and is considering continuing her work in the State Senate.  She currently represents the La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Mission Bay, Old Town, downtown, Coronado Island and Imperial Beach areas of San Diego.

    atkins1_ccgga

  • State Legislature Ready to Push New $7.4 Billion Transportation Bill

    In an effort almost a year in the making, the Governor and the state legislature are getting ready to move a $7.4 billion transportation bill to address deferred maintenance on the state highway system and local street and road system.   They will fund this bill by increasing fuel taxes, levying an additional new motor vehicle tax and increases annual vehicle registration fees.  Proposed measures include: 

    • 17 cents per gallon increase in the motor vehicle fuel tax
    • 30 cents per gallon increase in the diesel fuel excise tax  
    • Increase the sales and use tax on diesel fuel by 3.5% from the current 1.75% to 5.25%
    • $38.00 increase in the annual vehicle registration fee
    • A new $165.00 annual vehicle registration fee attributable to zero emission vehicles  

     

    Furthermore, moving forward these increases will be tied to the California Consumer Price Index.   The bill also creates the independent Office of the Transportation General (“Independent Office”), which would be a separate governmental agency designated to oversee all state agencies expending state transportation funds, including the Department of Transportation, High-Speed Rail Authority, Department of California Highway Patrol, Department of Motor Vehicles and State Air Resources Board.  The bill will alter funding allocations to the Air Resources Board by continuously appropriates 20% of the annual proceeds collected by the Air Resources Board from Cap and Trade auctions to the Transit and Intercity Rail Capitol Program and 10% of the annual proceeds to the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program.  The Association will be watching and opposing this legislation.  With the need for a two-thirds majority to pass tax and registration increases, it will be difficult to secure the needed republican votes in this session.  If the bill is not passed during the special session, but the democrats gain a super majority in the assembly and senate, we can anticipate an attempt to pass a similar transportation bill next session.  Stay tuned!

  • State Proposes Aggressive Water Conservation Plan

    This week, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) released a draft plan for achieving permanent conservation measures for water consumption in California in line with the Executive Order the Governor issued is May of 2016.  Several key water conservation efforts included in the plan include:

    • Permanent bans on wasteful practices, such as hosing driveways and excessively watering lawns.
    • Technical assistance and financial incentives for water suppliers to implement leak prevention, detection, and repair programs.
    • Collecting information about innovative water conservation and water loss detection and control technologies.
    • Requiring agricultural water suppliers to quantify water use in their service areas and describe measures to increase water use efficiency.
    • Full compliance with water use targets for urban water suppliers by 2025.
    • Planning and preparing for continued and future drought and water shortages.

    The draft plan concerning agricultural water is outside of the scope of the Executive Order, so will require statutory authority.  It is anticipated that the administration the administration has already drafted language that will either be run through the process or as a budget trailer bill.   The SWRCB has been overseeing much of the implementation of the Executive Order, so it is likely the expanded statutory authority would be given to the Board as well.   For agricultural water suppliers, requirements will include:

    1. Develop an annual water budget for the agricultural water service area;
    2. Identify agricultural water management objectives and implementation plans;
    3. Quantify measures to increase water use efficiency; and
    4. Develop an adequate drought plan for periods of limited supply.

    The proposal would expand existing requirements to require agricultural water suppliers providing water to over 10,000 irrigated acres of land to prepare, adopt, and submit plans by April 1, 2021, and every five years thereafter. Agricultural water suppliers would also be required to submit an annual report to DWR by April 1 of each year that documents water budget inflow and outflow components in the water budget for the preceding water year.   The draft plan can be found here: http://www.water.ca.gov/wateruseefficiency/conservation/docs/EO_B-37-16_Report.pdf

    Comments on the plan will be received through December 19.

  • 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.

  • State Water Board Approves Eastern San Joaquin Revised Order

    The State Water Board (SWB) met in the beginning of February to discuss and vote on the East San Joaquin Proposed Order.  Board listened to numerous comments, and several panels that looked at numerous details that are included in the plan.   Staff was also able to answer questions posed by attendees and Board Members.

    The East San Joaquin Staff-Proposed Order – Draft #2 was released late in January, with a 3rd draft being released in the beginning of February.  Changes to the East San Joaquin Order primarily focused on growers, and included certification requirements for growers operating in High Vulnerability threat to groundwater ratings.  Another inclusion in the plan adds another reporting requirement in the new Management Practices Implementation Report (MPIR).  This plan will be submitted along with the altered Irrigation & Nitrogen Management Plan (INMP).  The most significant change regarding the order will be the increased cost that growers will be required to pay in order to remain in compliance.  The Association testified in opposition, with Director of Technical Services, Chris McGlothlin, commenting on the lack of thorough economic analysis included in the Staff Order.  Costs are only estimated for implementation in the East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition, however, cost estimates for implementation in other regions has not been considered at this point.

    Board Members recommended that areas to streamline reporting requirements, and find ways to cut cost associated with the new requirements of this Order. However, Board Members also recommended that Regional Boards identify “outlier” operations that were demonstrating over-application of nitrogen in their fields.  The Board moved forward with the vote and approved the changes.  Edits have been released for review.  Stay Tuned.

  • State Water Board Drops Hammer on Central Valley

    Last week, 27 growers throughout the Kaweah, Tule and Kings River Watershed and Water Quality Coalitions were issued letters from the State Water Board’s (SWB) Office of Enforcement.  These letters identified each specific grower as a primary contributor to nitrate contamination within the aquifers in their areas.  The letters also “recommend” that identified growers participate in a preliminary settlement hearing as a means of avoiding the hard handed regulatory enforcement that the growers would face otherwise.  We have updated you previously on similar actions taken by the Office of Enforcement, specifically in the Salinas Valley where 17 growers were served identical letters due to their usage of nitrogen fertilizers and soil amendments to help produce the region’s crops.

    The State Water Board is requiring that these growers provide temporary clean drinking water to the communities as well as begin the process of finding a long term source of clean and reliable drinking water for communities. The cost of long term sources for clean drinking water can be very costly, and so one avenue that the SWB is exploring is the development of a fertilizer tax.  Fertilizer taxes have long been a target by the Governor’s office, with multiple attempts failing to pass in the legislature.  The SWB is justifying the extortion of cited growers solely on studies that claim irrigated agriculture is the sole proprietor of nitrogen contamination within drinking water sources. The Association is monitoring this and is in discussions with some of the affected parties.  Stay tuned.

  • 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.

  • State Water Board Releases 2018-2019 Proposed Fee Schedule

    Earlier this month, State Water Board (SWB) accounting staff released their proposed fee and accounting information for Fiscal Year 2018-2019.  To no surprise, the presentation that was provide displayed an increase in fees for both the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) as well as the Waste Discharge Requirement (WDR) Program.  Increases for the WDR program were proposed at 10.2%, whereas the ILRP program is facing a 14.4% increase in cost for compliance.  These programs are grouped along with several other programs that make up the enforceable programs covered by the State Water Board.  Fee collection goes toward staff time to evaluate the information submitted, enforcement of programs, as well as the increasing amount going for SWB employee benefits. The Association’s Director of Technical Services, Chris McGlothlin, made comments to staff in opposition of any proposed fee increase or restructuring.  This is a preliminary proposal, and there will be follow up meetings where the proposal numbers are adjusted based off of the kind of reserve amounts that have amassed in SWB program accounts.  We will keep you updated.

  • State Water Board Releases Final Draft for Bay-Delta Plan

    Last week, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) released their third, and final, draft for the proposed Bay-Delta Plan.  This proposed draft, considered a Substitute Environmental Document (SED), establishes new flow water quality objectives on top of pre-existing drinking water quality standards, irrigation supply, as well as fish and wildlife habitat supply requirements for the Bay-Delta Region.  The SED sets flow requirements for the Lower San Joaquin River and the three salmon-bearing tributaries connected the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and the Merced Rivers.  The plan also revises the salinity water quality objectives in the southern Delta.  This action comes in response to several studies showing decline in native species in the Delta, specifically the reduction in Chinook Salmon, as well as the degradation of habitat for the various other species within the aquatic regions.

    The revised plan sets flow requirements for certain times of the year to be maintained by all Lower San Joaquin River tributaries, which in turn will reduce the amount of water made available to agricultural and urban water users.  The proposed plan sets the unimpaired flow releases to be set at 40% to provide adequate habitat and wildlife support from February to June.    The State Water Board evaluated the potential impact to other water users along these tributaries and acknowledged the impact to agricultural operations, as well as the future reliance on groundwater with the reduction in surface water availability.  The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) will also lessen the amount of available water in the upcoming years, and so the State Water Board is encouraging these affected regions to look for other ways to make the water available last longer through enhanced groundwater recharge projects as well as encouraging irrigation efficiency upgrades.  In the end, these upgrades will only do so much, and the implementation of SGMA as well as these unimpaired flow requirements only puts agriculture in a more difficult position.

  • State Water Resources Control Board Focusing on Non-Compliant Dischargers

    On Friday, April 17th, the Regional Board held a board meeting in the Fresno office.  The most concerning item on the agenda was enforcement of Waste Discharge Requirements.  Three operations were cited to appear before the regional board; one dairy and two commercial farming operations.

    The first farming operation (Farm A) called before the Regional Board farmed a little over 300 acres in Madera County.  According to the report, the operation is required to comply with Water Code section 13264 which requires that irrigation users report their waste discharges to the Regional Board.  The second farming operation (Farm B) that was cited on the docket was a commercial agriculture operation that was separated into multiple parcels across Stanislaus, Merced, and Madera counties. The accumulated acreage for the operation across the several counties totaled over 900 acres

    The process that can ultimately lead to a meeting before the Regional Board begins with a Notice of Intent, which notifies operations of their lack of compliance.  The notices are sent via certified mail, so when a notice is signed for, the time to respond begins. Once that deadline passes, the Regional Board then moves along with a Notice of Violation (NOV) which is another notice requiring compliance, and notifying the owner that serious fines are to be levied. The fines are listed as $1,000 per day for non-compliance.  Both farms were notified in 2013 of their noncompliance.

    The owner of Farm B failed to report his discharged acreage to the coalition which kept the time on the fine running. In all, the owner was out of compliance for 204 days resulting in a penalty of over $200,000 dollars.   The Regional Board issued an Administrative Civil Liability Complaint with a reduced amount for $31,460 dollars. Farm A was cited for non-compliance for not enrolling in a watershed coalition or reporting to the Regional Board and assessed a fine of $51,480 dollars.

    As stated above, both farms were notified 2 years ago and encouraged to report discharges to the Regional Board or enroll in a watershed coalition.  The timeline for unpunished enrollment has long passed, and penalties like these will become more common.  If you have not enrolled in a coalition, or reported your discharge to the Regional Board, we encourage you to do so.  If you have received a notice of intent or violation, we encourage you to respond to the Regional Board with your plan of action.  The fines that are being imposed are very high, and we fear that the longer an operation waits, the levied fines will be much heavier.

     

  • STAX / Farm Bill Workshops

    You are encouraged to attend one of the educational meetings the National Cotton Council has scheduled to provide its members with in-depth information regarding insurance options for cotton under The Agricultural Act of 2014. The meetings will provide an in-depth look at the new Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) and the Supplemental Coverage Option. Coverage levels, expected yields and premium rates will be covered in detail in order to better equip producers with the information necessary to evaluate the insurance options for 2015. The meetings also will include an update on overall farm bill implementation and a question/answer session.

    (All Times Local)

    Arizona

    Casa Grande – November 11, 9:00 a.m.

    The Property Conference Center – Ellington Ballroom, 1251 West Gila Bend Highway

    California

    Coalinga – November 10, 9:00 a.m.

    Harris Ranch Inn & Restaurant – Garden Ballroom, 24505 West Dorris Avenue

    AZ & CA STAX Farm Bill Workshop Flyer

  • STAX/Farm Bill Webinars

    As follow-up to the STAX/Farm Bill Workshops, the National Cotton Council is hosting a series of regional information webinars.  Each session will include regional examples of insurance rates, county yields and information regarding farm programs.
    Anyone who was unable to attend the meetings or who wishes additional information is welcome to participate in one the webinar sessions.  To participate, call the conference number provided and then login to the webinar site.  If you have any questions, contact the National Cotton Council, 901-274-9030.

    Wednesday, December 17, 2014
    Southeast Region:
    9:00-11:00 am Central
    10:00 am – 12:00 noon Eastern

    MidSouth Region:
    2:00 – 4:00 pm Central

    Thursday, December 18, 2014
    Southwestern Region:
    9:00 – 11:00 am Central

    Western Region:
    11:00 am – 1:00 pm Pacific
    12:00 noon-2:00 pm Mountain

    Instructions:

    Conference Number:
    800-377-8846; Participant Code: 55634947#

    Webinar login: https://cotton.adobeconnect.com/stax/

    Webinar Instructions: Once at the web address, the default option is to enter as a Guest. Type your name into the box and Select the button “Enter Room”.

  • Successful Sticky Cotton Summit at Fresno State

    The California cotton industry gathered at Fresno State to participate in the 2017 Sticky Cotton Summit hosted by California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association (CCGGA). Dean of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology Dr. Sandra Witte welcomed the group to Fresno State campus and thanked the attendees for the ongoing support that the agriculture industry has shown for the Jordan College. Attendees of the summit had the opportunity to meet Dr. Margaret Ellis of Fresno State. Dr. Ellis is the recipient of a CCGGA research grant surrounding Fusarium in cotton and fungicide efficacy, she is the first professor at Fresno State to receive a grant from the Association.

    Jordan College Dean Dr. Sandra Witte welcoming Sticky Cotton Summit attendees.

    As the program for the Sticky Cotton Summit got underway panels from the mill, merchant, ginner, grower, PCA and UCCE offered their perspective on how sticky cotton impacts their respective segments of the industry. In addition, USDA-ARS researcher Chris Delhom demonstrated the diverse testing methodologies that are present throughout the country, in part creating an issue of developing uniform testing standards for the industry to adopt. The conclusion of the summit resulted in an open group discussion that led to action items for the industry and CCGGA to pursue. The items included looking into a uniform gin level penalty for sticky cotton delivered, conducting outreach, education and retraining on thresholds and best management practices for growers, seeking additional research dollars to invest in sticky cotton testing measures as well as increasing awareness in order to have more open communication surrounding the issue. CCGGA was directed to develop an industry subcommittee to ensure the progress of the action items outlined from the day’s discussion. We will be sure to provide updates and progress as these items are pursued.

    Following the summit Fresno State’s Ag One Foundation welcomed members and staff of CCGGA to tour Fresno State’s 1,000-acre farm, the Fresno State Gibson Farm Market as well as a tour of the new Jordan Agricultural Research Center. The tour showcased the diversity of the agricultural operations students have access to use as well as the vision for the agricultural centered research to be conducted on campus for years to come.

  • SUSTAINABLE GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT (SGM) PROGRAM NEWS

    October 7, 2016
    The California Department of Water Resources provides bi-weekly updates regarding SGM Program information to its stakeholders and interested parties.

    State Water Control Board Public Meetings on Fee Schedule
    SGMA requires the formation of local groundwater sustainability agencies in California’s high- and medium-priority groundwater basins. Sustainability agencies are required to develop groundwater sustainability plans that will bring basins into sustainability within 20 years of plan implementation. If locals are unable or unwilling to sustainably manage their basin, the State Water Board is authorized to intervene. The State Water Board is required to develop a fee schedule for the purposes of recovering programmatic costs related to implementation of SGMA (Water Code §1529.5). The fee schedule will be adopted through emergency regulation (Water  Code §1530). These fees will accompany groundwater extraction reports required to be  submitted by groundwater extractors subject to intervention (Water Code §5202).

    The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) will be conducting public meetings beginning in October to present the details of their proposed intervention fee schedule and to outline the groundwater extraction reporting requirements for unmanaged areas (Water Code  1529.5 and 5200 et. seq.). The first meeting is October 7, 2016, and the meeting notice is available via this link: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/gmp/docs/fees/100716_sgma_mtg.pdf

    The State Water Board is conducting outreach to solicit feedback on the currently proposed fee concepts. The State Water Board has prepared a draft of the fee schedule for discussion purposes. In preparation of the draft concepts, State Water Board staff conducted four stakeholder meetings to solicit preliminary feedback. The purpose of the October 7 meeting will be to provide the general public an opportunity to provide input. The meeting is for the purpose of information gathering only. The feedback provided will be used to inform development of the emergency regulations; the draft regulations will be made available in formal public comment in Spring of 2017.

    Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) Formation Notification
    DWR reviews and track GSA formation notifications and updates the GSA  Interactive Map regularly. The GSA Interactive Map now shows the boundaries of Exclusive GSAs and the statutory boundaries of the exclusive local agencies identified in SGMA.

    The entire basin must be covered by one or more GSAs by June 30, 2017, or an Alternative Plan that covers the entire basin must be submitted to DWR by January 1, 2017 in order to avoid potential intervention by the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Code Section 10735.2) If a basin is not entirely covered by one or more GSAs by June 30, 2017, then it will be up to the discretion of the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to place the entire basin on probation.

    DWR published its GSA Formation Notification Guidelines for Local Agencies which outlines the information that must be submitted by a local agency(s) after it decides to become or form a GSA(s). DWR will use these GSA guidelines to perform completeness reviews for all GSA notices filed after January 1, 2016. Only complete GSA formation notices will be posted on DWR’s GSA  Formation Table and included on DWR’s GSA Interactive Map.

    Contacts:
    Mark Nordberg, DWR Sustainable Groundwater Management Program (916) 651-9673, Mark.Nordberg@water.ca.gov. Lauren Hersh, DWR Public Affairs Office (916) 653-2639, Lauren.Hersh@water.ca.gov.

    Basin Boundary Modifications
    To discuss modification submissions please contact your DWR Region Office Representative:
    ·         Northern Region Office (Red Bluff) – Bill Ehorn, Bill.Ehorn@water.ca.gov
    ·         North Central Region Office (West Sacramento) – Bill Brewster,
    Bill.Brewster@water.ca.gov
    ·         South Central Region Office (Fresno) – Dane Mathis, Dane.Mathis@water.ca.gov
    ·         Southern Region Office (Glendale) – Tim Ross, Timothy.Ross@water.ca.gov

    Local agencies can locate their respective Region Office Representative by accessing the map-tool here. For more information regarding California’s groundwater basins please visit the Basin Boundary Modifications webpage.

    Contacts:
    Tim Godwin, DWR Sustainable Groundwater Management Program (916) 651-9223, Timothy.Godwin@water.ca.gov. Lauren Hersh, DWR Public Affairs Office (916) 653-2639, Lauren.Hersh@water.ca.gov.

    Facilitation Support Services Available
    The Facilitation Support Service Program connects water management groups with professional facilitators to support local public agencies seeking to meet requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), including forming groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) and developing groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs). Facilitation support services from contracted professionals include strategic planning, stakeholder assessments, meeting facilitation, mediation, governance assessment, and public outreach services. Requests for facilitation support services will be evaluated on a regular basis and support will vary based on need and funding availability. DWR continues to accept new applications from local agencies and water management groups for facilitation support services. For more information about applying for Facilitation Support Services, please view the Information for Applicants and Supplemental Information for SGMA Implementation. To discuss applications for Facilitation Support Services, please contact your DWR Region Office Representative:

    ·         Northern Region Office (Red Bluff) – Mary Randall, Mary.Randall@water.ca.gov
    ·         North Central Region Office (West Sacramento) – Hong Lin,
    Hong.Lin@water.ca.gov
    ·         South Central Region Office (Fresno) – Charles McKenzie,
    Charles.McKenzie@water.ca.gov
    ·         Southern Region Office (Glendale) – Brian Moniz, Brian.Moniz@water.ca.gov

    Contacts:
    Lauren Hersh, DWR Public Affairs Office (916) 653-2639, Lauren.Hersh@water.ca.gov
    Tom Filler, DWR Sustainable Groundwater Management Program (916) 653-5272, Thomas.Filler@water.ca.gov

    Water Available for Replenishment (WAFR) Report
    SGMA directs DWR to prepare and publish a report on water available for replenishment of groundwater in California by December 31, 2016. DWR has developed a white paper describing concepts, challenges, uncertainties, and a potential technical approach to estimating water available for groundwater replenishment. Public comments are appreciated and those received will help inform the December 2016 WAFR Report. Please email comments to mailto:sgmps@water.ca.gov with the following subject line: Public Comments on WAFR White Paper. For more information visit the website here.

  • TAKE THE NATURAL RESOURCES SURVEY

    As a U.S. cotton grower, you are committed and invested in responsible cotton production. Please help Cotton Incorporated promote the investments and the great strides U.S. farmers like you have made in environmental stewardship by completing the Natural Resources Survey.

    Your participation in the Survey is important to the success of the Cotton Research and Promotion Program conducted on your behalf.  Your data will be included in the national average and your responses will be anonymous. Please, take the time to respond to the questions that only you, the producer, can answer.

  • Temperance Flat Project Makes Significant Step Forward

    A partnership between San Joaquin Valley and federal agencies aimed at moving toward development of additional San Joaquin River water storage became reality this morning during a signing ceremony overlooking Millerton Lake and Friant Dam northeast of Fresno.  Representatives of the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority and the Bureau of Reclamation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to coordinate and complete feasibility studies of the proposed Temperance Flat Dam and Reservoir projectTulare County Supervisor Steve Worthley, Authority President, and Reclamation Deputy Director of the Mid-Pacific Region Federico Barajas signed the MOU.  The partnership will allow communities and organizations throughout the San Joaquin Valley to participate in completing the studies of a new dam and reservoir on the San Joaquin River upstream of Friant Dam.  The project would permit capture and storage of high flows in above-average water years and high flow events. Existing Millerton Lake’s comparatively small capacity of 520,500 acre-feet is frequently exceeded by inflows from the river’s Sierra Nevada watershed.   “I’m pleased to sign this Memorandum of Understanding between the Bureau of Reclamation and the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority,” said Deputy Director Barajas.   The proposed project’s site, several miles upstream from Friant Dam, was the originally proposed location for a Millerton area reservoir in 1930. The present Friant Dam location was selected to reduce construction costs. The proposed site is within the upper reaches of Millerton Lake. If authorized by Congress and jointly funded, the facilities would be part of the Federal Central Valley Project. As conceived, the new reservoir would create approximately 1,200,000 acre-feet of additional water storage to supplement Millerton Lake’s current capacity. “This project would permit us to store more of the high flows now being lost to flood releases when Millerton storage runs out of room,” Worthley said. “Being able to capture and hold high flows until there is conveyance and percolation capacity available for moving the water to distant aquifer recharge and banking facilities is critical for improving the valley’s groundwater management.” Speaking at the press conference, the Association’s President/CEO Roger Isom stated “This has been a long time coming.  I brought my shovel and concrete boots, let’s get to work!  The Assembly members here today and agriculture worked hard to get the Water Bond passed, so let’s make this happen!”

  • 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!

  • The California Cotton Ginners Association Announces the Election of New Officers

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    CONTACT:
    Roger A. Isom
    California Cotton Ginners & Growers Associations
    Phone: (559)252-0684
    Fax: (559)252-0551
    email: roger@ccgga.org

    The California Cotton Ginners Association is pleased to announce its new slate of officers.  Tom Pires, of West Island Cotton Growers, Inc., was elected as Chairman of the Board.  Mike Davis, of Dos Palos Cooperative Gin, Inc., was elected as 1st Vice Chairman.  Tom Gaffney, of the J.G. Boswell Company, will serve as 2nd Vice Chairman, and Matt Toste, of Huron Ginning Company, will assume the role of Secretary/Treasurer.  Officers terms are for two (2) years.

    The Board of Directors currently consists of 13 board members that includes John Colbert, Modern Ginning Company; Stan Creelman, Mid Valley Cotton Growers, Inc.; Michael Hooper, Farmers Cooperative Gin, Inc.; Don Van Schuyver, Semi Tropic Cooperative Gin, Inc.; Wayne Gilbert, Broadview Cooperative Gin, Inc.; Kirk Gilkey, Cross Creek Ginning Company; Ron Nimmo, Pacific Ginning Company, LLC; Louie Colombini, Westside Farmers Co-op Gin; and Immediate Past Chairman Greg Gillard, Olam Cotton.

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations are voluntary dues-based organizations representing cotton growers and cotton gins throughout California on regulatory and legislative issues ranging from energy and air quality to labor and water quality.

  • The Truth in California Water Use

    Following Governor Jerry Brown’s announcement of mandatory water restrictions on Thursday, April 1 the agriculture industry has been scrutinized and called into question for the levels of water used for the California agricultural industry. In a recent Washington Post article, the agriculture industry is branded for being responsible for upwards of 80 percent of California’s water use. This staggering and inflated statistic has been the source of questions regarding agriculture water efficiency and use. However, the California Department of Water Resources released a report detailing that when factoring in environmental needs of California, the agriculture industry does not use 80 percent but rather uses 40.9 percent of water allocation. The leading source in receiving water for California is the environment with 50.2 percent of California water allocation totaling nearly 40-million acre-feet. This allotment of water is used in wetland management as well as to meet Delta, stream and river flows.  Executive Director of the California Water Alliance, Aubrey Bettencourt said, “In an effort to demonize hardworking farmers and portray the environment as neglected, activists are waging a propaganda campaign that perpetuates the grossly misleading and disingenuous claim that farmers are hoarding 80 percent of the state’s water supply. That is simply not true.”
    WATER

     

     

  • The Zenith Agribusiness Solutions – BOL – Stolen 2015 Honda TRX420 ATV – (Madera County)

    If the vehicle is located, please notify the The Zenith Insurance Company.

    Please click here to view BOL.

    Thank you,

    CRCPTF

    For General Questions regarding the CRCPTF and Membership please contact the following members:

    President – Chad Parker  caparker@tehamaso.org

    Vice President – Kristie Dougan  kdougan@SBCSD.ORG

    Secretary – Rodney Blaco RBlaco@co.tulare.ca.us

    Treasurer – Robert Winn winnr@kernsheriff.com

    For BOLO distribution – Bo Houngviengkham  agcrimes@fresnosheriff.org

    Recent Changes to CRCPTF Crime Alerts

    CRCPTF has recently changed the format of its news alerts in order to provide you information more efficiently and to add new features. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to send them to CRCPTF.

    About the CRCPTF

     

    The Task Force is a combination of County Sheriff’s Departments, District Attorney Offices, Agricultural Commissioners and local Police Departments together with state agencies such as the Attorney General’s Office, Food and Agriculture and the Governor’s Office of Criminal Justice Planning and the United States Department of Agriculture. Additionally, private organizations within the agri-business community such as the Farm Bureau, the State Grange, the Agri-Business League and other agricultural business related groups form an invaluable part of the Task Force.

    We all work together for the common goal of reducing crime in the agriculture related business community.

    To Join the CRCPTF:
    Contact Robert Winn at:
    winnr@kernsheriff.com

    CRCPTF Mailing Address:

    CRCPTF

    1350 Norris Rd.

    Bakersfield, CA 93308

  • Time 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, 2014 and ending on December 31, 2014.  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.  To renew, please click on the following link: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FoodFacilityRegistration/default.htm?source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

  • Time 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. At this time, the updated renewal form has not been published and renewal is only available online through FDA’s website, please click on the following link: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FoodFacilityRegistration/default.htm?source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

    WAPA 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.

  • Time to Hold Utilities and their Shareholders Accountable

    Utilities and their shareholders need to be held accountable, instead of “passing liability costs to their customers” #holdutilitiesaccountable #noWildfireBailout

  • 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

  • Tractors Crushed at FARMER Funding Roll Out Event

    The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (District) and California Air Resources Board (ARB) in partnership with state and local officials as well as the Association gathered at Bruno’s Iron and Metal to highlight the new Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions (FARMER) Program. This program funding of $108 million, comes from the California Climate Investments that puts Cap & Trade dollars to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Through the FARMER program valley farmers can apply for incentive dollars to replace their older tractors, trucks and ATVs with newer, lower-emission technology. Association President/CEO Roger Isom said, “Today is a monumental day… (or whichever quote you would like”. The Association was one of the few ag organizations to fight for this money to come to the valley. Additionally, Isom noted that this was an effort where party lines were crossed and legislatures were able to come together to make happen. Attendees of the event were able to witness tractors, road graders and an ATV being replaced with these dollars being crushed. Among the speakers for the day were Assembly Member Autumn Burke, Assembly Member Heath Flora, Supervisor Buddy Mendes, Director of EPA Region IX Mike Stoker, Executive Director/APCO Samir Sheikh, Nisei Farmers League President Manuel Cunha, ARB Board Member Hector De La Torre, CDFA Undersecretary Jenny Lester Moffitt and Carlos-Suarez with USDA-NRCS.

  • Transform Section 18 Moves to Federal EPA

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers submitted an application to California Department of Pesticide Regulation to reissue the Association’s 2017 Section 18 authorizing the use of Transform on cotton for Lygus. The application soared through DPR and is now in the hands of the federal Environmental Protection Agency. DPR specifically requested that this application be reviewed in an expedited manner. In addition, CCGGA is already underway with putting together another Section 18 for Transform for use on aphid. While we have additional time to put this application together, we are working as diligently as possible to get it as early as we can. If you have any questions, please contact us at our offices at (559) 252-0684.

  • Truck & Bus Regulation Information Session and Conference

  • Truck Rule Advisory

    This is a reminder that ARB registered Ag fleets taking advantage of one of the mileage provisions of the rule have until January 31st to update your truck mileage into the ARB system. The only ARB registered trucks that do not have to report mileage are Specialty vehicles which do not have annual mileage limitations.

    Also, there are ARB requirements that state that those hiring trucks have a responsibility to hire trucks that are complying with the truck rule. Many of you may need to document that you are hiring compliant trucks or are being asked to prove your trucks are compliant. This can be done using ARB’s online system by printing a certificate of compliance and keeping it on file. When hiring trucks you can ask for their certificate. Many haulers will be taking advantage of the recently added “Good Faith Efforts” proposed by ARB to delay filter requirements. Fleets that wish to take advantage of the delay will need to enter their information into ARB’s system. Those vehicles registered under the “Good Faith Efforts” will also have the ability to provide a printed certificate. If you need assistance or have any questions, please contact our office at (559) 252-0684.

  • Truck Rule Advisory

    This is a reminder that ARB registered Ag fleets taking advantage of one of the mileage provisions of the rule have until January 31st to update your truck mileage into the ARB system. The only ARB registered trucks that do not have to report mileage are Specialty vehicles which do not have annual mileage limitations.

    Also, there are ARB requirements that state that those hiring trucks have a responsibility to hire trucks that are complying with the truck rule. Many of you may need to document that you are hiring compliant trucks or are being asked to prove your trucks are compliant. This can be done using ARB’s online system by printing a certificate of compliance and keeping it on file. When hiring trucks you can ask for their certificate. Many haulers will be taking advantage of the recently added “Good Faith Efforts” proposed by ARB to delay filter requirements. Fleets that wish to take advantage of the delay will need to enter their information into ARB’s system. Those vehicles registered under the “Good Faith Efforts” will also have the ability to provide a printed certificate. If you need assistance or have any questions, please contact our office at (559) 252-0684.

  • Upcoming AgSafe Trainings

    AgSafe will be holding various Pesticide Compliance Continuing Education Webinars throughout September and October. These webinars will cover the general practices of EPA and DPR pesticide compliance, as well as the comprehensive strategies and current regulation systems that go along with pest management.

    AgSafe will also be hosting a Pesticide Safety Train the Trainer Workshop on September 18th in Fresno, CA. This course meets the requirements established by the revised Worker Protection Standard, mandated by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

    Lastly, AgSafe’s new Online FLC Continuing Education Program will be available October 16th, 17th, and 18th.

    For dates and more information about AgSafe’s Upcoming trainings, please see the links below.

    Pesticide Compliance Webinar

    Pesticide Safety Train the Trainer

    Online FLC Continuing Education Program

     

     

  • Upcoming Event: Exporter’s Webinar

    Tuesday July 22: The Exporter’s Tax Incentive

    Upcoming Event: Exporter’s Webinar
    July 22, 2014
    10:30 am – 12:00 pm

    Sign up now for a webinar with IC-DISC expert Doug Wright and learn about how your company can take advantage of this valuable tax incentive for companies that export products outside of the U.S.

    Who should attend: U.S. manufacturers, growers and processors whose products are ultimately exported from the U.S.
    What: Webinar about the IC-DISC, a federal tax incentive for exporters that can offer substantial permanent U.S. tax savings
    When: Tues, July 22, 10:30am – 12:00pm

    Registration closes July 21 — learn more and sign up today.

    Register Now

  • Upcoming Regional Whitefly Meetings!

    The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations are gearing up for the upcoming growing season and will be holding three Regional Whitefly Meetings. The meetings will address pest management strategies to avoid sticky cotton and provide real time updates in your growing area.  The meetings will be led by UC IPM advisor Pete Goodell and UC Extension Entomologist Larry Godfrey.  The meetings will start at 10:00 AM and conclude around 12:00 PM. Lunch will be provided following the meeting.  The following are dates and locations where the meetings will be held:

    •  June 10th :  Tulare County Co-Op Extension
    •  June 11th  The Shafter Research Station
    •  June 12th :  West Side Research/Extension

    It is imperative for cotton growers, PCAs and other affected parties to join the associations at these important meetings to help maintain our reputation as the highest quality cotton in the world! We must act now and act together to prevent sticky cotton!  We hope to see you there!
    Please address questions and RSVPs to Shana at 559-252-0684 or at shana@ccgga.org.  

     

  • Upcoming Seminars

    WAPA along with other Agricultural Associations and Organizations are sponsoring two upcoming seminars.  These seminars are provided at no charge to WAPA Members!

    The first is the Heat Illness Prevention Training which will be held on Friday April 13th at the C.P.D.E.S Portuguese Hall, see attached flyer registration.

    The second is Sexual Harassment Prevention Training which will be held on Thursday, April 26 at the Fresno County Farm Bureau, see attached flyer for registration.

    Heat Illness Prevention 4-13-18 Easton

    Sexual Harassment Seminar 4-26-18 FCFB

  • Update on CA’s mandatory Paid Sick Leave (PSL)

    Following is TPO’s recap of CA’s mandatory Paid Sick Leave (PSL) with yellow highlights representing areas of change with the 7/13/15 “clean-up” law.

    Employers who revised/created their policies to comply with PSL prior to 7/1/15  may choose to make further revisions in light of the “PSL clean-up” law, though revisions are not required and some employers may choose to not further revise their policies.

    The Department of Industrial Relation’s (DIR’s) website was updated in October 2015 to reflect the 7/13/15 law (http://www.dir.ca.gov/DLSE/Paid_Sick_Leave.htm).

    3 4 16 – TPO’s PSL Recap CoBranded (002)

  • Update on Cotton Acreages for California for 2014

    The Association has recently received information on the cotton acreage in California including the breakdown between upland and pima.  Preliminary acreages as determined by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pink Bollworm Program are 54,440 acres of upland and 153,325 acres of pima, for a total of 207,765 acres.  This does not include the cotton acreage for the Sacramento Valley, which will be all upland and is estimated to be between 2,000 and 3,000 acres.  The breakdown in the San Joaquin Valley is as follows:

    County

    Upland Acres

    Pima Acres

    Fresno

    7,465

    40,140

    Kern

    4,230

    30,205

    Kings

    4,135

    60,510

    Madera

    715

    30

    Merced

    19,770

    16,290

    Tulare

    8,080

    5,940

    TOTALS =

    44,395

    153,115

    In Southern California, the breakdown is as follows:

    County

    Upland Acres

    Pima Acres

    Imperial

    2,485

    210

    Riverside

    7,445

    0

    San Bernardino

    115

    0

    TOTALS =

    10,045

    210

    Please be advised that the acres listed are based on Pink Bollworm Program field mapping techniques are intended for use on PBW Program detection and control activities and are not assumed to represent exact cotton acreage planted in California.

     

     

     

     

  • Urban Legislators Tour Valley Agriculture

    Assemblywoman Christina Garcia (58th Assembly District – Downey) and Assemblyman Marc Levine (10th Assembly District – Marin) toured several farms and processors in the valley.  Association staff on the tour included President/CEO Roger Isom, Director of Regulatory Affairs Aimee Brooks, and Director of Technical Services Christopher McGlothlin.  The tour included stops at citrus orchards, table grape harvesting and packing operation, aerial applicator operation, cotton gin, cotton field, dairy and pistachio operation. The tour included a ride on a cotton picker at grower Mark Trigueiro’s farm. Several issues were discussed during the tour, but the focus was the effects of the prolonged drought.  Participating with the Association was the California Fresh Fruit Association, California Citrus Mutual, California Dairies Incorporated, and the California Agricultural Aircraft Association.  The tour was part of the Association’s ongoing effort with the Agricultural Presidents Council (APC) to reach out to urban legislators to educate them on the critical issues impacting agriculture in the state.

  • URGENT ALERT! DHS Performing I-9 Audits

    By: Michael C. Saqui and Rebecca Hause-Schultz

    We have just received word that the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) is showing up to agricultural employers, and in particular packing houses, in the Central Valley performing I-9 Audits. The most critical thing for employers to do in the event of an audit is BE PREPARED! You can find our Cheat Sheet™ for employers “What to Do When ICE Shows Up” here.
    New in California this year, under AB 450, an employer may not voluntarily consent to ICE performing audits. The bill makes it clear that it does not override federal law and that employers must act in compliance with a subpoena or court order presented by ICE. Employers are also required to provide notice to current employees of an inspection of Form I-9 within 72 hours of receiving a federal Notice of Inspection—notice must also be provided in writing to the employees’ union, if there is one. Penalties for non-compliance range from $2,000 to $5,000 for an initial violation and $5,000 to $10,000 for subsequent violations. If you have any questions about what to do when ICE shows up, contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group.

    • The Saqui Law Group “I-9 Audits – What to Do When ICE Shows Up” Podcast can be found on iTunes, Google Play, or on our website here!
  • Urgent Bulletin

    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.

  • USDA and Farm Bureau Co-host Meetings to Answer Farm Bill Questions

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    CONTACT:  Anita Brown (530) 792-5644
    Sarah Marquat  (916) 798-9295

    DAVIS, CA, June 10, 2014–The new 2014 Farm Bill brought changes in conservation, commodity programs, crop insurance, rural development programs, loans, disaster programs, energy opportunities and much more. Many of these changes will take full effect in fiscal year 2015, beginning October 1, 2014.  Interested farmers, ranchers, agencies and organizations are welcome to attend workshops to hear about these and other Farm Bill changes from four USDA agencies.  Most of the workshops will be devoted to answering questions and providing one-on-one assistance to attendees.

    The June workshops will be held as follows: 

    Yuba City on June 24th, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. at the Farm Bureau 475 Palora Ave

    Fresno on June 25th, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. at Farm Bureau 1274 W Hedges Ave

    The four USDA Agencies listed below will be available to discuss new, broadened and ongoing program opportunities and new eligibility requirements.

    The Natural Resources Conservation Service: New streamlined program structure; a new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), and new adjusted gross income (SGI) requirements.

    The Farm Service Agency: Significant changes and more options available in commodity programs, disaster programs, and a new milk income loss program.

    Risk Management Agency: Broadened federal crop options, especially for organic and specialty crop producers; new supplemental coverage options for cotton producers.

    Rural Development: Simplified application for several programs. New home loan eligibility for rural areas with population up to 35,000.  New grant program for business development with priority for local food projects, new partnership with community colleges.

    ###

  • USDA Announces Details of Assistance Program for Farmers Impacted by Trade Issue

    U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced details of actions the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation by foreign nations. USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, consistent with our World Trade Organization obligations.  These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets:

    • USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will administer the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, and wheat producers starting September 4, 2018.  An announcement about further payments will be made in the coming months, if warranted.
    • USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will administer a Food Purchase and Distribution Program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will distribute these commodities through nutrition assistance programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and child nutrition programs.
    • Through the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP), $200 million will be made available to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The program will help U.S. agricultural exporters identify and access new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions.

    Background on Market Facilitation Program:

    MFP is established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and administered by FSA. For each commodity covered, the payment rate will be dependent upon the severity of the trade disruption and the period of adjustment to new trade patterns, based on each producer’s actual production. Interested producers can apply after harvest is 100 percent complete and they can report their total 2018 production. Beginning September 4th of this year, MFP applications will be available online at www.farmers.gov/mfp. Producers will also be able to submit their MFP applications in person, by email, fax, or by mail.  Eligible applicants must have an ownership interest in the commodity, be actively engaged in farming, and have an average adjusted gross income (AGI) for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000. Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the “Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation” regulations. On September 4, 2018, the first MFP payment periods will begin.

    Market Facilitation Program

    Commodity Initial Payment Rate Est. Initial Payment**

    (in $1,000s)

    Cotton $0.06 / lb. $276,900
    Corn $0.01 / bu. $96,000
    Dairy (milk) $0.12 / cwt. $127,400
    Pork (hogs) $8.00 / head $290,300
    Soybeans $1.65 / bu. $3,629,700
    Sorghum $0.86 / bu. $156,800
    Wheat $0.14 / bu. $119,200
    Total $4,696,300

    ** Initial payment rate on 50% of production

    The initial MFP payment will be calculated by multiplying 50 percent of the producer’s total 2018 actual production by the applicable MFP rate. If CCC announces a second MFP payment period, the remaining 50 percent of the producer’s total 2018 actual production will be subject to the second MFP payment rate.  MFP payments are also capped per person or legal entity at a combined $125,000 for corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans and wheat.  For more information on the MFP, visit www.farmers.gov/mfp or contact your local FSA office, which can be found at www.farmers.gov.

  • USDA Farm Service Agency Limited County Office Hours January 17th, 18th, & 22nd

    U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that many Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will reopen temporarily in the coming days to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers. [CLICK HERE to read official press release.] The following California FSA Offices will be open for Farm Loan Program Service only January 17th, 18th, and 22nd from 8am-4:30pm.

     

    Farm Loan Program services available include Processing Payments made on or before Dec. 31, 2018, Continuing Expiring Financing Statements, and Responding to General Loan Inquires. Producers are encouraged to call their nearest FSA Farm Loan Program Service Center listed above with any questions.

    Farm Program services, such as MFP, will not be administered at this time. However due to the extension previously granted on MFP, I’d encourage your producers to email their applications to their FSA county directors whose contact can be found here. MFP applications will be processed as soon as normal operations resume upon conclusion of the shutdown. Producers who already applied for MFP and certified their 2018 production by December 28, 2018 should have already received their payments.

    In California, USDA County Service Centers NRCS offices are open daily.  Any NRCS inquires or business, producers can call or visit their county NRCS service center.

    If you have any questions, please contact Aubrey Bettencourst at USDA- Farm Service agency at  Aubrey.Bettencourt@CA.USDA.GOV or 530.792.5540.

  • USDA Proposing Changes to Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing to improve the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), one of USDA’s largest conservation programs. The interim final rule includes program changes authorized by Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill.   USDA has established a 60-day comment period for the rule.  “This interim final rule provides a roadmap to help streamline and simplify EQIP for farmers and ranchers,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “We strongly encourage agricultural producers, private forest landowners and stakeholders to provide comments on our implementation processes. This feedback will help us improve our operation and deliver technical and financial assistance more efficiently to our nation’s agricultural producers and forest landowners.”   The changes are intended to simplify the EQIP regulation regarding conservation practice scheduling, payment limitations and other administrative actions. Highlights of program changes in this rule include the following:

    – Requires at least 5 percent of available EQIP funds be targeted for conservation practices that promote wildlife habitat;

    – Establishes EQIP as a contributing program for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program;

    – Increases the advanced payment from 30 percent to 50 percent for eligible historically underserved producers, including beginning farmers, to help purchase material or contract services;

    – Targets assistance to veteran farmers and ranchers including eligibility for the new 50 percent advance payment and up to 90 percent of the cost to implement EQIP conservation practices;

    – Increases the payment limitation for EQIP from $300,000 to a maximum of $450,000 for benefits received during 2014-2018 and removes the option for a waiver to exceed payment limitations;

    – Eliminates the requirement for a program contract to remain in place for one year after the last practice has been implemented, allowing practices to be scheduled through the tenth year of a contract;

    – Includes an option to waive the irrigation history requirement under certain conditions;

    – Incorporates the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program functions into EQIP.

    USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers EQIP, a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to eligible agricultural producers and forest landowners to help them address soil, water, air and related natural resource concerns on their lands in an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective manner. Resulting conservation and environmental benefits include improved water and air quality, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, improved energy conservation, improved grazing and forest lands, and created or improved wildlife habitat on working farms, ranches and non-industrial forestlands.

  • VIP Town Hall Meeting with Sonny Perdue, US Secretary of Agriculture

    You are invited to a VIP Town Hall Meeting with the United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. The meeting will take place on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. in the Heritage Complex Banquet Hall (4500 S. Laspina Street, Tulare, CA). Seating is limited. Please RSVP to info@farmshow.org. For more information about this event please call 559-688-1030.
    Click here for event flyer.

  • Water Announcement Tempers Enthusiasm on California Cotton Acreage Increase

    The good news is that cotton acreage looks like it will increase for the 2nd year in a row.  Record rainfall and snowpack, coupled with stable cotton prices and falling prices from other commodities are leading to an increase in cotton acreage.  However, that increase is being tempered by a disappointing, less than expected water allotment from the Central Valley Project (CVP) of only 65%, and the potential flooding in the Tulare lake bottom in Kings County.

    As of today, all indicators of water supply are above normal.  Way above.  Currently, the statewide snowpack is at 164% of average, while statewide rainfall is over 200% of average to date, with Blue Canyon in the northern Sierras at 245% and Mariposa in the central Sierras at 211% of average to date.   Reservoirs are all higher than average with Shasta at 87%, Oroville at 74%, New Melones at 77%, Don Pedro at 88%, and most importantly San Luis is at 98%.  Flood releases are occurring at many of these dams including Shasta, Oroville, Folsom, and Millerton.

    Yet, with all of these positive factors, farmers relying upon the CVP water are only going to receive 65% of their allotment.  While industry is thankful for the water, it is inconceivable that the number isn’t closer to 80% or more.  Unfortunately, this will have a direct impact on the cotton plantings for this coming year.

    According to preliminary planting intentions survey conducted by the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association this past month, the Association is currently estimating approximately 186,000 acres of pima and 70,000 acres of upland statewide for the 2017 cotton season.   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 22% increase in pima acreage and a 6% increase in upland acreage in California as compared to 2016.

  • Water Bond Negotiations Come to a Close

    Association President/CEO Roger Isom has spent the past two days in Sacramento walking the halls seeking the most money possible for a water bond this state sorely needs.  In particular, the effort focused on getting as much funding for storage as possible, hopefully $3 billion.  This $3 billion figure was contained in the original bond, but the Governor had only committed to $2 billion.  In the midst of the negotiations, several groups came out in favor of $2.5 billion, but the Associations (CCGGA & WAPA) along with California Citrus Mutual, the California Fresh Fruit Association, California Dairies Inc., Nisei Farmers League and the California Rice Commission held fast; and due to these groups, and only these groups, it was eventually increased to $2.7 billion!  In addition, there will be some additional news in the near future on a separate effort to help fund a “cross valley connector” canal to help the entire water system.  This too was an effort of these organizations.  This was a tremendous achievement to get to $2.7 billion, and several Central Valley legislators deserve credit for holding strong including Assemblywoman Connie Conway, Assemblyman Rudy Salas, Assemblyman Henry T. Perea, Assemblyman Adam Gray, Assemblywoman Kristen Olsen, Assemblyman Jim Patterson, Senator Andy Vidak, Senator Jean Fuller, Senator Tom Berryhill, Senator Anthony Cannella, and Senator Jim Nielsen.  It truly was a bipartisan valleywide effort to try and secure as much funding for water as we could possibly get.  Now the effort to secure passage by voters in November begins…

  • We Already Pay the Highest Utility Rates in the Country

    California manufacturers already pay 118% more for electricity than any other western states. Increased rates impose greater operating costs on agricultural, commercial, and industrial ratepayers. #holdutilitiesaccountable #noWildfireBailout

  • Western Cotton Shippers Association – Cotton Conference

    The upcoming Western Cotton Conference to be held in conjunction with the Supima Annual Meeting on August 27, 2014 at Harris Ranch Inn, Coalinga, California.

    The speakers for this year’s event are Anthony Tancredi, Chairman of the American Cotton Shippers Association, with a market outlook; Paul Brown, Agricultural Meteorologist, University of Arizona, on weather trends in the Far West and the implications for agriculture; and Kevin McDermott, WCSA President, with issues regarding Far West cotton.

    Members planning to attend should register in advance in order for us to provide an accurate guarantee for lunch. Please return your registration form to the WCSA office no later than August 24!

    August 27th Event Flyer and Registration Form

  • Western Cotton Shippers Association 2018 Annual Convention  
    REMINDER:

    Join the WCSA in Monterey, CA for the 2018 Annual Convention, April 9-11, 2018 at the Monterey Plaza Hotel.
    Please register soon with the hotel as March 15, 2018 is the cut-off date!  Also, if you would like to play in the Golf Tournament there are still a few spots remaining.  Click here for more information.

  • WHEEL PATH RECOVERY

    L. M. Carter and J. H. Chesson

    OBJECTIVES: To determine the degradation of wheel paths (roads) over time with normal tillage. To determine number of years of normal tillage and cropping to return soil to original or comparable state.

    PROCEDURE: The paths to be studies were created in 1984 and used for conduct of system studies with the wide tractive research vehicle (WTRV) until 1989. In 1990 the guidance wire was removed and the paths only were subsoiled on 15 inch centers to a depth of about 18 inches. The entire field was then disk harrowed twice with all traffic east to west to prevent movement of path soil into plot areas. The field was then bedded, preirrigated, and planted to black-eye beans which were allowed to grow until late July. The field was then irrigated to wet the soil to beyond 3 feet and penetrometer measurements made in plot and path areas.

    RESULTS: The penetrometer data was analyzed for difference in means and differences in data distribution by treatments. When an accumulative distribution of data by treatments was plotted it was apparent that more variability existed among path data than

    in plot data. Using an univariate analysis it can be shown that the standard deviation for the path areas was between 1.38 and 1.43 MPa compared to the treatment areas with 0.64 MPa or 2.14 times greater. Using F-tests the probability that these are not the same exceeds 99.9%. The data could be from normal distributions but the data is skewed with less than expected low values. The path data could be fitted as a uniform distribution. The standard farmer approach to removing compaction (subsoiling) is not sufficient to remove the compaction within the fractured consolidates. There was no difference in the mean penetration resistance among paths and plots in the zone between the surface and 20 em. This may be explained by the disk tillage which probably extended to 20 em. At depths below 20 em the mean penetration resistance for the paths was 15 to 18 MPa compared to 7 MPa for the plot areas which represents a very large difference and could easily explain the poor growth of beans.

    Deep tillage with subsoilers will not remove compaction of road-ways within 1 year. Perhaps the bad news is that variability among zones within the tilled path zones is much greater than old plot area and no tillage machinery is available to directly influence this variability.

    FUTURE PLANS: The field has been mapped to locate the old path areas. After normal tillage operations in 1991 and a crop, another series of penetrometer reading will be made. These data will be compared to the 1990 data to access any improvement in soil variability or penetrability.

    SUMMARY OF UNIVARIATE STATISTICS FOR PATH AND PLOT AREAS PENETROMETER DATA IN MPa

    STATISTIC PATH AREA
    POOR GROWTH
    PATH AREA
    W/ NO GROWTH
    PLOT AREAS
    mean 2.29 2.44 1. 26
    S.D. 1.38 1.43 0.64
    variance 1.922 2.054 0.407
    cv 60.7 58.7 50.6
    W:NORMAL 0.93 0.93 0.93
    Skewness 0.57 0.51 0.99
    Kurtosis -0.41 -0.43 2.61
    Mean: top zone 5.6 6.2 5.0
    Mean: till zone 15.5 17.5 6.9
    Mean: deep zone 15.5 15.4 8.3

    For PDF Copy, Click Here.

  • Whitefly Education Materials Available!

    Early in the month of June, the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations paired with UC IPM to hold three regional whitefly meetings to address and prevent the issue of sticky cotton. Many growers in the SJV region experienced an uncharacteristic increase in whitefly populations in the 2013 growing seasons.  The “Whitefly” meetings took place in Tulare, Five Points, and Shafter and included guest speakers and longtime cotton experts Pete Goodell (Cooperative Extension Advisor, IPM) and Larry Godfrey (UC Extension Entomologist). The meetings focused on whitefly biology, effective management strategies, and the serious negative impacts of sticky cotton at the mills.

    Godfrey and Goodell have provided excellent information on whitefly biology and management for growers, PCAs and other interested parties. They are available to you below.

    The biggest take home message for growers and PCAs who attended the meeting was to carefully watch and sample developing populations and to treat timely and appropriately!

    If you have questions regarding sampling methods or whitefly management, or hear about potential problems, Pete Goodell has graciously offered his help and can be contacted through the association or at pbgoodell@ucanr.edu.

    Whitefly Management Review

    Whitefly & Aphid Biology

  • You’re needed in Sacramento!

    Sacramento SWRCB WATER MEETING 2-18-15 NEEDS YOU

    Printable Version