March/April 2017

By Richard Alpert, Raub Brock Capital Management

In achieving better stock market returns without taking unnecessary risk (the Holy Grail for stock investors), dividends matter. Over the past nine decades for which there is data, the majority of real returns from stocks have come from dividends. To pay a dividend, a company must deliver cold, hard cash to its shareholders. Corporate boards of directors that undertake the discipline of paying and increasing their dividends make better business decisions.

In early February, the fourth class of Future Volunteer Leaders assembled at the Western Growers Irvine headquarters for the inaugural activities of the two-year networking and leadership development program.

Class participant Heather Mulholland, chief operating officer for Mulholland Citrus, said the program “provides a unique opportunity to collaborate with, and learn from, a diverse network of industry leaders working for the common good of agriculture.”

By Ken Cooper

Workers’ compensation insurance is too often thought of as a generic commodity; a mandatory purchase that is simply part of the cost of doing business, with little to differentiate one program from another.

The truth is that a workers’ comp policy is just one of many tools for mitigating the financial risks of workplace injuries. The policy itself is only designed to deal with the effects of an injury claim, but does nothing to help you minimize the risk of accidents or manage the costs of claims and future premiums.

The food safety landscape continues to change in the produce sector. Producers normally use microbial testing to measure water quality and potential issues related to a process and environment. Produce testing is mainly conducted to meet customer requirements.

It is well known that produce testing cannot guarantee produce safety alone. However, there is still confusion about what product testing can and cannot ensure. Produce testing can only ensure the product tested is pathogen-free if 100 percent of the product is tested rendering it a cost-prohibitive, impractical option.

The California Legislature descended on Sacramento in January to begin the 2017-2018 session. This is a challenging and busy time for Western Growers staff as we meet with the new members of the Assembly and Senate to introduce them to WG and to the myriad of daily challenges that our industry faces.

Matthew Allen

Assemblyman Vince Fong representing California 34th which includes most of Bakersfield

(Editor’s Note: The questions and answers have been paraphrased for clarity and brevity.)

Your official bio says that you “wanted to positively affect the region you have always called home.” Where were you born and where were you raised?

Jeff Janas

When Chris Terrell, a strategic energy manager, walked through farm fields and processing plants six years ago, he started to notice a trend: farmers were spending an exorbitant amount of money on electricity consumption.

At the time, he worked for EnerNOC, Inc., a global cleantech company in partnership with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), and noticed there were few, if any, technologies available to help agriculturalists curtail energy usage, cut costs and save time on labor. He wanted to change that.

By Jonathan Siegel, Jackson Lewis P.C.

Agriculture employers continue to be challenged by Assembly Bill 1066, the groundbreaking new California law that, among other things, extends the state’s daily and weekly overtime requirements to agricultural workers over a period of time. However, the new legislation also has created many questions regarding its interpretation and impact based on some questionable drafting of the law.

Following the retirement of Randy Hause on January 3, 2017, Western Growers brought in Kim Sherman to head up the Membership Department.  Kim comes to Western Growers with a rich and varied background that will make her an immediate asset to the association and its members.  We recently sat down with Kim and asked her to help us get to know her better.


Tell us about your background and professional experiences.

By Hilario Garcia

WGIS Loss Control Consultant

Pesticide safety is a constant agricultural concern as it pertains to both the effect on food products as well as the effect on workers working in and near areas where pesticides are applied. In light of recent events, businesses utilizing pesticides in their operations may face increased scrutiny by regulatory agencies.

By John Stenderup

Director of Business Management, Sourcing, C.H. Robinson.

It’s about that time of the year again…time to gear up for peak season on the West Coast. Despite some recent rain delays, let’s assume that most of your crops are planted and you are in the stages of finalizing pricing with your customers. What is left to be done? Have you considered recent trends in the freight industry? Over the past two years, depressed pricing and an overabundance of supply has caused transportation to become an afterthought, but it shouldn’t be in 2017.

There are 60,000 new job openings in agriculture each year in the United States, but there are only 35,000 graduates available to fill them, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Together with our members, Western Growers (WG) is trying to fill the workforce gap by investing in the ag leaders of the future, today.

By Karen Timmins

WG Senior Vice President, Human Resources

Your company’s success depends on the ability to compete for, attract, and retain exceptional employees. Unfortunately, as the entire agriculture industry faces a tightening labor market, it’s more difficult than ever for the fresh product industry to fill essential positions.

CA Director Profile

Don Cameron

Vice President

Terranova Ranch Inc.

Helm, CA

Director Since 2016


NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ROOTS: Don Cameron grew up in Redding in Northern California, a couple hundred miles north of San Francisco. His father worked for the Public Utilities Commission and it was his dad’s transfer to Fresno when Don was in high school that brought him to the San Joaquin Valley.


Tim Linden

You and those who farmed before you are not industrial polluters.

It seems odd to have to say that, but thanks to the state of California, which evidently believes otherwise, we must repeat this truth, and we must retrace some very important history to put the problem of nutrients in groundwater into the proper framework.

Tom Nassif

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