May/June 2020

By Tony Francois, Pacific Legal Foundation

This piece originally published in The Hill.

In World War II, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers played a proud role in the Allied victory over totalitarian aggression in Europe and the Pacific theater by building bridges, clearing beaches and harbors, and creating the conditions for military units to hit fast and hit hard. The Corps’ resourcefulness, creativity and engineering expertise no doubt was a critical weapon in that victorious military campaign.

Nearly five years ago, Western Growers launched its Center for Innovation and Technology (WGCIT), housed in the Taylor Farms building in downtown Salinas. WGCIT brings together the ag industry and firms operating in the technology space to actively work on some of agriculture’s most vexing problems.

Most commercial contracts have a force majeure clause. This little-used provision generally allows a party to escape their obligations under the agreement if performance under the agreement is stymied due to an “Act of God” or other unforeseeable event. During the coronavirus pandemic, many produce agreements have been terminated. But the pandemic is not a universal “get out of contract” card. It is anticipated that legal disputes will test the bounds of these clauses and boilerplate “Act of God” clauses will be supplemented with the now foreseeable pandemic as a force majeure event.

Jason Resnick

By Ken Cooper

In January 2020, Western Growers Insurance Services formally launched the Connected Worker Program, which monitors body mechanics in order to improve safety practices, develop injury prevention methods, and reinforce awareness of safety and a positive safety culture.

Both businesses and the regulatory community are adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the connected worker platform is uniquely designed to address key changes in the workplace. For example, in its guidance from March 19, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:

On February 12, 2020, all the major U.S. stock market indexes finished at record highs. Since then, we have witnessed an unfathomable run, with global market volatility unlike anything any of us have ever experienced. How exactly should we handle our investments in such uncertain times?

Even during times less extraordinary, we hear all of the stock market jargon: Stay the course. You won’t lose your money unless you sell. It will come back, it always does.

Matt Lewis

We are all facing unprecedented challenges and obstacles related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. First and foremost, I want to assure you that Western Growers Assurance Trust (WGAT) is here for you. Regardless of the hurdles this pandemic has created for all of us, WGAT will continue to ride the storm and support the agricultural community as we have throughout our 60 years of service. After all, our WGAT members are not just our clients; they are members and part of the Western Growers family.

Just a few months ago, no one knew that SARS-CoV-2 existed. As of April 17, 2020, the virus had spread to 185 countries, infecting more than 2.2 million people worldwide. By the time you read this, those numbers will have increased even more. SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has disrupted our society, crashed economies, broken health-care systems, filled hospitals and emptied public spaces around the world.

Sonia Salas

By Mark Petersen, Vice President of Temperature Controlled Transportation, C.H. Robinson

Do you know how your supply chain will recover after the disruption of the COVID-19 health crisis has passed? There are several important steps you can take now to address this concern and be prepared for the future.

By Cory Lunde and Stephanie Metzinger

When Boaz Bachar and Iftach Birger founded Fieldin in Israel seven years ago, the millions of dollars they saved growers in pest management in such a short amount of time was impressive. The start-up company has now brought its smart sprayer to the California market to help Western Growers members and the specialty crop industry achieve the same results.

The world is currently facing a pandemic that has severely shaken every industry, company and employee. It is during these high stress situations that a company’s workforce either flourishes or falters. Luckily for Loren Booth, she had the right players in place before coronavirus infiltrated the world. These employees are leading the charge in adapting the company’s protocols to prevent and minimize the spread of COVID-19. Among them, many are women.

Stephanie Metzinger

It’s been nearly five years since Western Growers shook the future of farming as it set out to open one of the first agricultural technology centers in the United States. December 10, 2015, marked an important moment in agtech history as the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology (WGCIT) became the only technology center in Monterey County aimed at bringing innovative entrepreneurs together with farmers to facilitate creative solutions to the biggest challenges facing agriculture.

Eric Reiter

Vice President, California Operations

Reiter Affiliated Companies LLC

Oxnard, CA

Member Since 1972  |  Director Since 2019

Tim Linden

“Change is inevitable.”

Like many clichés, this one suggests a certainty of outcome, but is it? Is change—in the aftermath of a historic global pandemic that took many thousands of lives and crashed a vibrant economy—really inevitable in all sectors of our society?

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