Last month, Western Growers Foundation in collaboration with the California Department of Education (CDE), Nutrition Services (NSD), awarded 100 garden grants of $1,000 each to eligible child care centers /preschools participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
This is a time of great uncertainty for employers facing implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Health benefits providers, insurance agents, brokers and trade associations are trying to draw your attention to their version of what the Affordable Care Act requires, how they alone have discovered a way to avoid some of those requirements and costs, or how they might convince the federal government to change the law to make things better for you.
(Editor’s Note: Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D) was elected in November 2012 to represent the 20th Assembly District, which consists of a good portion of the southern part of Alameda County. The answers and questions have been edited and consolidated for clarity and brevity.)
In recent years, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have aggressively enforced the anti-bribery and accounting provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, targeting industries as wide-ranging as energy, health care and Hollywood. Since 2009, FCPA settlements have netted more than $2 billion in penalties from companies and individuals.
What a critical time for the Western Growers’ Washington, D.C., board meeting! At the end of May, Western Growers’ Board of Directors joined the fray in Washington to fight for immigration reform, push for a farm bill and engage on the food safety legislation issue. The nearly week-long stay featured a number of critical meetings and discussions and I want to highlight the work that was done.
With organic production anticipated to keep growing in future years, and more than 78 percent of producers indicating that they plan to maintain or increase organic production levels, the USDA recently announced significant changes to the organic crop insurance program. On May 14, 2013, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the changes in an effort to support the continued growth of organic agriculture. Price elections, organic transitional yield (T-Yields), and removal of the 5 percent surcharge are the most significant changes.
Employee salaries and costs associated with employee benefit plans, cash and non-cash reward programs comprise a large percentage of an organization’s operating expenses. Current, reliable market data provides business leaders with a point of reference to the competitive market to assist in reviewing an organization’s compensation philosophy and total reward programs. Western Growers Compensation and Human Resources Practices survey data provides a resource for executive management to compare cash compensation and benefit plan levels with their peers.
Pete Aiello admits that he’s “kicking myself for not getting it done earlier. We investigated it for five years,” he said, “before we pulled the trigger. It’s been positive cash flow from day one so we should have done it sooner.”
“You can’t fall in love with one crop,” Jon Vessey says as he drives down a canal road on his way out to the field. It’s here on his family ranch in Holtville, Calif., where that advice goes hand in hand with Vessey’s success.
Republicans aiming to be relevant in California state politics today are like strangers in a strange land fraught with peril. It’s a very blue state where the Democrats hold a super majority in the Legislature; not a single Republican holds a statewide office; Governor Jerry Brown, who has been somewhat friendly to our industry, will almost certainly be reelected next year barring something completely unexpected; and political scientists point to demographic trends that paint a very dim future for Republicans in the state.