May/June 2019

By Stephanie Metzinger

As you insert the coin in the arcade game, you ready your fingers to quickly and nimbly move around the maze. You swipe the joystick right, right, right, then up, up, up. Your goal? To swiftly maneuver your PAC-MAN around the screen, capturing as many small yellow dots as possible while avoiding the brightly colored ghosts.

Stephanie Metzinger

By Darcie Floyd

My understanding of the agriculture community and industry started from the very beginning. I grew up on a five-acre ranch in Sanger, CA, and participated in non-profit organizations like Girl Scouts and 4-H, which provide hands-on learning and education programs that teach children about responsibility, resiliency, hard work, and other life skills. Being the oldest, I was required to help take care of the various needs of the family ranch. Most of my time was spent dealing with many different animals and my (not so) favorite, walnuts!

By Jennifer Schiffers, M.D.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a chronic disease is defined as a condition that lasts one year or more and requires ongoing medical attention or limits activities of daily living or both.

It’s a simple definition to a serious and pervasive problem in America. Currently six in 10 Americans have at least one chronic disease, making it one of the leading drivers of higher health costs. As an employer, here is what you need to know about chronic conditions:

The High Cost

By Chardae Heim

Congressman TJ Cox represents California’s 21st Congressional District. The District includes all of Kings County and portions of Fresno, Kern, and Tulare Counties. He ran unsuccessfully for the 19th District seat in 2006, but won during his second try for Congress in 2018. Rep. Cox was sworn into the 116th Congress on January 3, 2019.

What personal accomplishments are you most proud of?

Looking back on the 25-year history of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the data and stories of success are plentiful. In our sector alone, U.S. fruit and vegetable suppliers are exporting nearly triple what was being done pre-NAFTA. That said, NAFTA has long received its fair share of criticism, including from the specialty crop industry.

By Stephanie Metzinger

On any given day, farmers face a number of unpredictable variables that can take a heavy toll on their bottom line, including labor strikes, changes in consumer preferences, currency swings, drastic weather conditions, market crop pricing and more. A predictive analytics startup has come up with a tool that aggregates immense amounts of data and simplifies it down to key factors to improve decision-making for farmers, suppliers and buyers.

Based on data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (FDA) Global Agriculture Trade System, it is evident that the importation of fruit and vegetables has dramatically increased in the last 10 years. As a result of a growing global produce industry combined with FDA’s newly implemented rule on Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FVSP) for Importers, the focus on foreign produce suppliers is greater than ever.

When Vice Chancellor Linda Thomas surveys the challenges facing the students at West Hills Community College in Coalinga, CA, lack of economic stability nears the top of the list. Few students can afford full-time, uninterrupted studies. They have to go to class, do homework and complete their coursework while working, taking care of family and just putting food on the table.

By Chardae Heim

Diversity in leadership is often a key asset to any company or industry, and while agriculture may lag others in diversity at the top, the industry is poised to make great strides and more closely reflect the demographics of the world it feeds. Just as a farmer understands the value of diversifying his or her crops, the industry as a whole is benefitting from efforts to include women and minorities in positions of management and ownership.

By Gail Delihant

The concept of having safe and affordable drinking water may seem simple, considering all the advanced technology we have available today. However, nothing is simple when it comes to water in California.

For more than four years, Western Growers staff has been cultivating relationships with environmental justice organizations to forge pathways that would ultimately protect growers from onerous drinking water replacement orders issued by the State Water Board Office of Enforcement (OOE). Odd as it may seem, adversity does make strange bedfellows.

Director Profile

Kelly Strickland

Vice President of Operations

Five Crowns Marketing

Brawley, CA

Director Since 2018 | Member Since 1985

Growing up in San Jose, CA, Kelly Strickland was quite the baseball player. He was heavily recruited out of high school as a pitcher and continued his planned path to the Major Leagues at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California.

Tim Linden

By Stephanie Metzinger

In a society where stereotypes and myths are king, tales of heroines can often be overlooked. Social norms have long dictated how women are seen in the workplace, stymying the potential for significant progress in gender equality. These perceptions perpetuate phenomena such as the “gender gap” and “glass ceiling”—the invisible barrier to professional advancement of females—and undermine the success of women.

The “football gag” was a recurring joke featured in the comic strip, Peanuts. In the skit, Lucy van Pelt tells Charlie Brown that she will hold a football for him while he kicks it. After Charlie expresses some initial skepticism, Lucy always manages to persuade him to give it a try. Of course, every time Charlie approaches the football, Lucy pulls it away at the last second, causing him to fall flat on his back in pain. Lucy usually wraps up the gag by telling Charlie that he should not have trusted her.

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