This week, The Water Agency, Inc. reported that as of April 28th, precipitation levels recorded at the 8-station index show that 28.1 inches of precipitation fell from October to April in Northern California.  The amount represents precipitation levels that are 2.5 times more than the amount of precipitation received during 1977 – one of California’s worst droughts on record.  That year south of delta Central Valley Project Ag contractors received 25% of their allocation and State Water Project Ag contractors got 40%.  Yet this year, having started with more water in the major dams than in 1977, CVP south of delta contractors received zero percent and SWP contractors will receive five percent but not until September at the earliest.  Clearly, the impact of federal Endangered Species Act regulations on pumping water from the Delta is exacerbating the current drought.

Western Growers

With temperatures across the state soaring well into the 90’s and with some areas possibly reaching 100 degrees, the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) issued its first high heat warning of the year.  Cal/OSHA, the division of DIR that protects workers from health and safety hazards, issued the warning to employers as temperatures in both northern and southern California are expected to be 15-25 degrees above normal. The unseasonably high temperatures make the risk of serious injury from heat illness to outdoor workers, such as farm laborers, a serious threat.

Greg Nelson

With temperatures rising into the 90s in some areas of the state, workers could easily be affected by the heat in the fields.  A number of factors can help employees avoid heat illness such as access to cool, clean water; proper rest and shade; training for all supervisors and workers on heat illness symptoms and treatment - as well as making sure there is a heat illness program in place that includes emergency procedures for the treatment of any medical emergency.

Greg Nelson

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced import fee increases in order to recoup the cost of fee inspections conducted at U.S. ports of entry.  APHIS, which is part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), proposed the rule on April 25, 2014.  The proposal provides a 60-day comment period that will take into consideration all submitted comments.

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