Late last week, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the final 2012 Census of Agriculture results.  The statistics from the census provide a variety of information regarding agriculture production throughout the country.  As expected, California farmers and the state’s agriculture industry played a prominent role in the statistics that were released, showcasing an agriculture industry with sales topping $42 billion -- an 8.7 billion dollar increase in sales from 2007 ($33.9 billion).

 

Matt McInerney

Yesterday, the California Water Foundation (CWF) released a report, “Recommendations for Sustainable Groundwater Management: Developed Through a Stakeholder Dialogue,” that outlines policy proposals for consideration by the Legislature and Governor.  The recommendations were informed by a stakeholder dialogue process that commenced earlier this year.  CWF held sessions with multiple interest groups, including production agriculture, and convened a steering committee to help guide its understanding of the complex issues involved in any discussion about changes to the state’s groundwater laws.  WG’s Dave Puglia, a member of the steering committee, offers his thoughts on the CWF report:    

 

Dave Puglia

State and federal courts in California have recently held that piece-rate employees must be paid at least minimum wage for all non-piece rate activities, including those to which the piece rate doesn't apply. This is true even when employees receive, on balance, at least minimum wage for all hours worked. While agricultural employers have generally adjusted their compensation systems to comply with the changing legal landscape, many employers are in jeopardy due to the retroactive application of these court-ordered rules.

Jason Resnick

As the drought continues to intensify in California and neighboring states, owners of rural and urban properties need to take steps to protect their properties and avoid fire losses.   This is especially true in California where the number of wildfires has increased to historic proportions.  In 2013, there were 9,907 wildfires recorded in California, more than any other state.  Arizona had 1,756 wildfires which represented the fifth highest number of wildfires in the country.

Greg Nelson

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