January-February 2020

By Hank Giclas

“Influence”, or more specifically “influencers”, is the theme for this month’s magazine. It is a timely subject as Western Growers and the industry struggle with how to stem the ongoing outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with key commodities such as romaine.

By Matthew Allen and Gail Delihant

The California Legislature will soon be returning to Sacramento to begin the second year of their 2019-2020 legislative session. The capitol hallways will be bustling with lawmakers, staff and lobbyists, as they scurry to meetings and committee hearings to address the thousands of new bills that will most assuredly be introduced. The second year of the two-year session also gets off to a much faster pace since those bills that became two-year bills in the previous year have to meet specific legislative deadlines by January 31st to remain active.

By Tracey Chow

This past year, the industry was once again kept on its toes with trade; some commodities were pushed clear back onto their heels. As we reflect on some of the year’s most notable events, we can expect this new decade to start off with significant trade matters being removed, and added, to the industry’s wish list.

By Jason Resnick

It’s that time once again for the annual summary of new California employment laws. The California Legislature was active as ever in 2019. 2,576 bills were introduced of which 1,042 bills made it to Governor Newsom’s desk. Of those, the Governor signed 870 bills and vetoed 172.

By David Zanze

People like having a choice rather than a single option—it’s basic human nature. When it comes to healthcare, no one wants to make the wrong choice—especially employers—when so much of their spend goes to healthcare for their employees.

By Ken Cooper

Did you know the injury rate for agricultural workers is more than 40 percent higher than the rate for all workers? This shocking statistic comes straight from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration and should be one that both business owners and employees remember. Workplace injuries not only affect workers physically, but they can also have long lasting financial and emotional effects on workers and their families. Additionally, there is the financial impact on your business in the form of lost productivity and higher workers compensation costs.

U.S. Representative Doug LaMalfa represents California’s 1st Congressional District, located north of Sacramento in California’s Central Valley. Known as a champion for agriculture, LaMalfa is dedicated to addressing agriculture’s most pressing issues.



By Chardae Heim


By Stephanie Metzinger


The United States has the largest economy in the world and has retained this impressive position since 1871. The U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018 amounted to $20.58 trillion and is only expected to increase in the coming years, with a GDP forecast to exceed nearly $25 trillion in 2024. For comparison, the GDP of China (which ranks as the second-largest economy in the world) reached only $10.43 trillion U.S. dollars in 2018.

Dave Puglia is a political veteran and public policy expert and now the leader of one of the most influential trade associations in agriculture


By Stephanie Metzinger


The blaring ring from the phone pierces through the hotel room, nearly knocking the headset off of its base. A second ring sends vibrations that echo off the walls, nearly knocking Dave Puglia, press secretary to Dan Lungren, out of bed. It’s 4 a.m. on November 6, 1990.

By Dave Puglia


As I complete my 15th year with Western Growers, I am filled with gratitude and anticipation. On February 1, I take over as President and CEO. In just about every way possible, 2020 will be an unusually interesting year, and I am eager to jump in.

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