April 2013 - WG Tool Box to Aid Growers with Data

For several years now, Hank Giclas, Western Growers senior vice president of science, technology and strategic planning, has had a vision for a web-based platform that could help growers accumulate, store and regurgitate the data they need to provide to both government officials and the buyer community about the products they grow and ship.

The product traceability pilot projects required by the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act have been completed and, not surprisingly, the overarching finding is that the current traceability systems that are typically being used today make it “very challenging” for the Food and Drug Administration to conduct a successful investigation following a food-borne illness outbreak.

As a result of the traceback pilot projects authorized by the Food Safety Modernization Act, the Institute of Food Technologists, which conducted the projects, formally listed 10 recommendations to the Food and Drug Administration.  The recommendations are as follows:

Tim Linden

As the 2013 berry season begins, the team at California Giant is focused squarely on continuing its leadership in food safety.  The Operations and Food Safety staff members are working to further enhance programs already in place while adding new elements to benefit everyone through the supply chain from the field to the consumer.

Wendy Fink-Weber

For years, agriculture has been seeking solutions to our broken immigration system.  Since the election in November, we have seen a sea change on immigration reform.  Republicans in Congress have become increasingly open to the fact that any reform will include giving legal status to the 11 million that are currently falsely documented, and Democrats recognize the need for guest worker programs and enforcement measures.

Ken Barbic

During the past decade, many public health, consumer and even agricultural advocates have been calling on government to “protect the public health” by passing legislation, creating new rules and regulations and taking other actions to institute stronger command and control over food safety by the federal government.

Hank Giclas

On February 5, 2013, a federal judge in the Eastern District of California issued a decision in Arredondo vs. Delano Farms1 following a seven-day bench trial on the limited issue of whether Delano Farms employed the field crews of its farm labor contractors under the Migrant Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act (“MSPA”), and under applicable California law.  Even though the judge agreed that Delano Farms had little power to direct the work of the farm labor contractors’ crews, and that the contractors were true independent contractors, the court found Delano Farms employed the contractors’ employees under the MSPA and California law.

Jason Resnick

As we approach the spring months and warming temperatures, companies may begin to consider how they can be more productive and generate more profits.  One way to increase productivity is to increase the use of your fixed resources by adding additional work shifts, including shifts that work through the night.

Greg Nelson

Background: Sonia began working at Western Growers in 1994 — and customer service has always been her top priority.  Today, she’s a WGIS Account Manager servicing Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, working to ensure all her customers have the best benefits and/or workers’ comp policies.

Wendy Fink-Weber

Western Growers Foundation (WGF) and Tanimura & Antle (T&A) teamed up to host the Plant-a-Pot booth at the Yuma Lettuce Days event on March 9-10 in Arizona.  The event, which celebrated Yuma agriculture, was held at the Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park and attracted more than 25,000 festival goers.

Paula Olson

Are you happy with the government you have?  Is this the government you deserve?  I asked these questions in this column last October.  I then asked you for fund-raising support.  Many of you responded.  Thank you.  Your contributions made quite a difference.  While some of the political campaigns we supported did not prevail, we were quite successful with others.

 

Tom Nassif

Join Western Growers

Western Growers members care deeply for the food they grow, the land they sustain, the people they employ, and the community in which they live.