The Western Growers Board of Directors held its spring meeting beginning Tuesday in Sacramento. After numerous visits with legislators in the state Capitol, directors held a reception with the Latino Legislative Caucus. Caucus Chairman Ricardo Lara (Senator, D-Long Beach) applauded WG members for their perseverance in providing healthy and nutritious food for the world under challenging regulatory conditions. Caucus Vice Chairman Luis Alejo (Assemblymember, D-Watsonville) also addressed the group, noting the critically important role agriculture plays for his constituents.
Guest speakers during the directors’ meetings this week included Felicia Marcus of the State Water Resources Control Board, who has just been elevated to Chairman of the powerful regulatory agency (see related story). Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) spoke to the group Wednesday. Levine defeated incumbent and fellow Democrat Michael Allen (author of AB 1313, last session’s ag overtime bill) in a highly-charged campaign that included independent expenditure activity by a group of agriculture organizations in support of Levine. That independent expenditure committee, Family Farmers Working for a Better California, was strongly supported by WG and its members. Levine emphasized his desire to create a healthier economic climate by bringing a more balanced public policy approach to legislation. Karen Ross, Secretary of the Department of Food and Agriculture, joined the group Wednesday night, describing her highly active coordination with state regulatory agencies that impact agriculture.
In Wednesday committee meetings and the board meeting Thursday, directors focused on immigration reform, responses to nitrate in drinking water, labor union legislation, the federal Food Safety Modernization Act, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, the state water bond and several other matters.
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