March/April 2019


Western Growers Retirement Security Plan

The diversification, cost efficiencies and robust technology offered by the Western Growers Retirement Security Plan (RSP) gives it a competitive edge in the 401(k) industry. Based on the following three key metrics, Western Growers members may want to compare and contrast their current 401(k) plan with what can be offered by the Western Growers RSP.

Investment Choices

Matt Lewis

As a person who grew up in an agriculturally diverse area of Washington state and who spent every summer working in the fields and packing houses in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s earning money for school clothes and my horse hobby (a hobby my dad tried and failed spectacularly to avoid), the amount of change that has happened in agriculture between then and now is incredible.

Whether an early adopter or among the last to join in on the latest technology offering, few can argue against the overwhelming benefits it continues to offer the agriculture industry.

From the simplest in-cab control upgrades to advanced systems for automation, data management, and remote machine monitoring, technology advancements are constantly coming from one end of the spectrum to the other—and everywhere in between.

Unlike many others working in the agriculture industry, Matt Jones was not born into a family of farmers. Though born and raised in Salinas, known as the “salad bowl of the world,” Jones was not raised in the fields. However, he vividly remembers his father working for various ag-related businesses, including Western Growers in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Chardae Heim

New rules affecting the state minimum wage and the payment of overtime to agricultural workers have one important number in common—26. That is the number by which, for purposes of these laws, you are either a so-called “large” employer and pay a higher minimum wage and overtime after a lower threshold, or you are a “small” employer and can pay a lower minimum wage and no change to overtime, at least for awhile. But getting to 26 is easier than you might think—especially if you are a “small” employer that uses the services of a farm labor contractor.

Minimum Wage

By Gary York

Vice President, Global Sales, C.H. Robinson


Recognizing how much the U.S. trucking market can influence transportation budgets is one of the most critical steps to managing spend. Temperature-controlled shipments can be especially affected—both in price and service—as market forces shift across the truckload landscape.

Predicting the future for supply chains may be impossible, however certain industry trends can help us forecast and plan. Prepare for whatever 2019 has in store by understanding the major factors influencing today’s market.

The California Legislature returned to Sacramento in January to begin the first year of the 2019-2020 legislative session. Most notably, its arrival coincided with the inauguration of Governor Gavin Newsom. Governor Newsom’s inauguration marks the completion of Governor Jerry Brown’s historic political career and signals the opening of a new chapter in California executive leadership.

Matthew Allen

By Dennis Nuxoll, Jonathan Sarager and Stephanie Metzinger


When Washington, D.C., greeted the 116th Congress in January, it welcomed a new slate of Arizona Capitol Hill delegates, who represent a shift in the state’s political landscape.

Ann Kirkpatrick and Greg Stanton were added to Arizona’s nine-member contingent in the U.S. House of Representatives, flipping the 5-4 majority from Republican to now Democrat. This is the first time there has been a majority Democratic Arizona House delegation in half a century.

Cruising through California’s San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys in late February, you will see orchards lined with almond tree buds that have burst into lush pink and white blooms in preparation for pollination. Honey bees buzz from tree to tree foraging for nectar, while pollinating the sea of almond blossoms along the way. Come September, almonds are vigorously shaken off of the trees by farm machines that, coincidentally, are colored like the black and yellow of bees.

Bob & Nathan Bender

Tasteful Selections

Bakersfield, CA

Member since 2010


In the 1990s, Bob Bender was a chip potato grower in Nebraska for a major manufacturer. He and his teenage son, Nathan, would often bring home the baby size potatoes that didn’t make grade because of their size.

“It was only the large ones that you could make into potato chips,” said Nathan. “We would bring them home and cook them on the grill or prepare them in some other way. Friends and family loved them.”

Director Profile

Neill Callis

Sales & General Management

Turlock Fruit Company

Turlock, CA

Director Since 2019 | Member Since 1944



New Western Growers Board Member Neill Callis isn’t a rocket scientist, but he rubbed shoulders with plenty of them during a 17-year career at NASA prior to joining Turlock Fruit Company a half a dozen years ago.

Tim Linden

While the time-honored tradition of passing the family farm from one generation to the next holds strong, the scene on today’s farm is much different than what may have been familiar in the past. These days, you are just as likely to see a young farmer swiping quickly through multiple screens on a smartphone as seated on a tractor or plowing a field.

Stephanie Metzinger

If the recent, record-setting partial government shutdown is any indication, it may prove difficult to achieve much in the way of policy substance during the 116th Congress. Despite President Donald Trump’s call for an end to the “political stalemate” in his State of the Union, there is likely little chance of that happening in advance of the 2020 elections.

Tom Nassif

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