May/June 2018

The 2018 California legislative year is proving to be very active for Western Growers staff on a wide variety of topics including the perennial issues of labor, water, and the environment. As we continue our engagement on these issues at the Capitol, WG staff is also focused on safeguarding the best possible outcomes for our members within the regulatory arena. It is interesting to note that Governor Brown is in his last year as the state’s chief executive.

Matthew Allen

By Jonathan A. Siegel, ESQ.  of Jackson Lewis P.C.

Employers managing for success should foster a culture of workplace compliance now more than ever. As operations expand, systems supporting the business should grow with it. Additionally, employers should consider reviewing their operations to ensure there are not systematic compliance issues which have not been previously identified or addressed.

Rick Lester Antle, president and CEO of Tanimura & Antle, the largest lettuce and vegetable producer in the Salinas Valley, died after a brief battle with cancer on Saturday, April 14. He was 61.

Tim Linden

Although rare, any company can come under the scrutiny of the media spotlight when faced with a food contamination event including a product recall. The media may converge on your facilities with reporters trying to get interviews with anyone they can—be they employees at the site, consumers, or people working at adjacent businesses.

Today, the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology is fulfilling its potential and helping connect agriculture and technology in a way that is moving the industry forward and tackling some difficult challenges.

Dennis Donohue, consulting director of the Center, played an integral role in the establishment of the concept when he was mayor of Salinas, and the city, through its Economic Development Department, was a founding sponsor and continues to support the center financially as well as through collaborative efforts.

Tim Linden

By Stephanie Metzinger

 

Envision a future where digital systems completely replace hand-written time sheets and where you can receive real-time visibility of crew time, production and labor costs. With Pago, that future is here.

A series of March and April storms helped California move much closer to a normal year in terms of precipitation and helped keep the dreaded “D-word” out of the conversation for at least another year.

“As of today’s date (April 16), we are still well below average with regard to snow depth,” said Doug Carlson, who is an information officer with the California Department of Water Resources. “We are only a bit over 41 percent of normal.”

SWIIM’s 2.0 in Beta Testing

With thousands of acres using its irrigation management software, SWIIM has its 2.0 version in beta testing and is in line for another round of funding to continue developing its cutting-edge water use tracking technology and add staff and offices.

Pam Marrone, a pioneer and leader in the bio-pesticide world, looks forward to the day when the majority of growers use biologicals because of their efficacies, not just because they offer other advantages.

She freely admits that biologicals are most often used today to stay below maximum residue levels (MRLs) and allow workers back into the fields more quickly. “Surveys tells us those are the top two motivators,” she said.

By Stephanie Metzinger

 

It’s the iconic depiction of agriculture—a farmer driving his tractor at sunrise, walking the fields to check on his budding crops and brushing the dirt off his freshly picked produce. Though this scene is thought to be the most common portrayal of farm life, something significant is missing: the women.

“California fruit will die on the vine after ICE raids.”

“Immigration raids scare California farmers, not just their workers.”

“Farm leaders say California’s sanctuary status makes them a target for ICE raids.”

These are just a few of the headlines that have splashed across regional and national news outlets in recent months.

They remind us of the years of inaction by our lawmakers, despite overwhelming voter support for immigration reform for agriculture.

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