May/June 2017

By David Zanze

If you don’t offer them already, could it be that you consider wellness a lightweight option when it comes to reducing health care spending and not worth the additional cost? The reality is that many employers offer wellness benefits to keep costs down and employee morale up. Wellness initiatives can cover a variety of services including health risk assessments, gym discounts, chronic disease management, company health centers, wellness challenges, health newsletters, and more.


By Chris Passarelli

One cannot overstate the importance of packaging to your overall brand. The most successful agriculture companies leverage their packaging brands as premium consumer value-adds to differentiate their commodities and gain a competitive advantage in the market. Marketers use creative elements and innovative packaging to set their products apart from the pack, build individual brand identity and assure commercial success. This often opens up future business opportunities, such as the sale of a brand or business.

By Jeff Gullickson

Costs from a product recall or contamination can easily cripple even the most conscientious organizations. Western Growers Insurance Services is working hard to reduce the exposure of your brand and balance sheet to losses due to a contamination event.

Problems with nitrates in your wastewater or well water? Tailwater Systems has you covered. The agtech start-up company designs, builds and operates high-performance bioreactors for removing nitrates and other contaminants from field drainage and drinking water wells. The systems are compact and can be placed anywhere—in a field, next to a greenhouse or near a lift station.



Salinas may be proximate to Silicon Valley, but it certainly does not mean that technology has to originate there. To be successful, tech must expand to all areas where specialty crops are grown.

Though many farming operations throughout California have been open to working with agtech startups, the testing and use of new products and services is still the domain of the “early adopter.” Agtech must be more widely adopted as a means of accelerating the pace of technologies that will serve the entire industry. Western Growers is working to affect that change.

With California setting new records this year with regard to rainfall, one might think that irrigation concerns would be a lower priority item for the time being. But that really never is the case.

Creating efficiencies in one’s irrigation program is always top of mind for the grower…and for the manufacturer, who is constantly trying to stay a step ahead and anticipate the growers’ needs. Whether dealing with innovations with drip, sprinkler or any other irrigation method, reducing grower costs is typically the horse that pulls the wagon.


By Matt Lewis

In my experience as a financial professional, one seemingly simple task often creates significant unintended consequences for individuals with retirement and other investment accounts: the proper designation of beneficiaries.

By Brandt Brereton and Jared Hanley

Brereton, Hanley & Company


The western U.S. produce industry appears to be experiencing an accelerating rate of mergers and acquisitions. Brandt Brereton and Jared Hanley are experts on this topic, having spent the last 22 years advising owners of agricultural assets on various types of corporate finance transactions. Recently WG&S discussed with them the influences and trends that they are observing.


We take a break from our regularly scheduled program, “California Needs More Moderate Democrats in Sacramento,” to bring you this news flash:  California—and especially its private sector economy—needs more Republicans in Sacramento.

As everyone now knows, the Democrats won two-thirds supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature last November. They briefly held a slim supermajority in 2013, but for various reasons they didn’t flex those muscles and soon fell back below two-thirds. This time, however, looks to be different.

In place for 23 years now, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is widely considered to be the most significant trade pact ever entered into by the United States. A source of both derision and applause, the agreement’s positive impacts have been felt unevenly depending on the region of the country or sector of the economy.

Earlier this year, Uber made headlines…not for its ride-services mobile app, but for its lack of diversity. The transportation network company released its first diversity report in March, revealing that women are underrepresented at the firm, in particular when it comes to jobs related to technology. While women make up 36 percent of Uber’s overall workforce, only 15 percent of the company’s tech jobs are held by women.

By Kim Sherman

Western Growers Director of Membership


Western Growers has one mission: to enhance the competitiveness and profitability of our members. Over the past 91 years, we’ve lived up to this vision through committed advocacy in public policy and political action, and by offering diverse educational opportunities and affordable business services designed from the ground up to help you thrive in a constantly changing environment.

Contrary to the predictions of some “sages” of consumption preferences, organic produce sales are still soaring in the United States. In many instances, there are double digit increases with produce equaling 40 percent of ALL organic sales. So who are the visionaries that foresaw this continued upsurge in consumer desires for organics? That answer is clear. Our growers and shippers who now provide approximately 50 percent of the organic produce in the nation.

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