November 2014: Drought Diagnosis--Difficult Year Ahead

“The worst drought we’ve seen in modern records,” reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.  The U.S. Drought Monitor says nearly 60 percent of California is in “exceptional drought,” the top of the scale it uses to measure severity, with the entire state in some sort of drought and 95 percent in severe drought or worse.

Greg Nelson

I know that the health care employer mandate is right around the corner, but I have some lingering questions.  What size employer is subject to pay or play mandate 2015?  How do I know if I’m a large or small employer?  What’s this news about California doing away with waiting periods?  Is there anything else I should know?

Have you ever been confused by the use of the term Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) scheme or what a GFSI audit entitles? Did you miss our September 25, 2014, webinar related to three different perspectives on GFSI audits?

Sonia Salas

California Governor Jerry Brown recently vetoed the most hostile bill to agriculture to reach his desk this year, SB 25.  This bill would have expanded mandatory mediation and conciliation (MMC) under the Agricultural Labor Relations Act and would have disenfranchised workers by imposing union representation upon them regardless of whether those workers chose to be represented.

“Chaptered.” 

That is the term of art used in Sacramento to signify a bill has been approved by the governor and is now the law of the state.  On September 16, 2014, the governor’s signature on three bills created Chapters 346, 347 and 348 of the Statutes of 2014, establishing a state regulatory regime for groundwater.

For about 80 years, Canadian produce shippers have received preferential treatment as they filed Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) claims against U.S. buyers.  For almost 30 years, they also have been able to take advantage of the PACA Trust amendment and received priority status, along with all other produce shippers, when a U.S. bankruptcy occurred that involved any fresh produce.

In mid-September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released its latest iteration proposing changes to four crucial “rules” in the regulations needed to implement the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA): Produce Safety, Preventive Controls for Human Food, Preventive Controls for Animal Food, and Foreign Supplier Verification Programs.  The first two areas are of most concern to Western Growers.

John Botsford and Bob Goodfellow were produce brokers in Portland, OR, working together for another company when the owner decided to retire.  In 1965, the two men bought the firm, changed its name and Botsford & Goodfellow Inc. opened its doors.

Tim Linden

ami just started at Western Growers, but she is no stranger to agriculture. Having grown up in the agriculturally-rich area of Skagit County, WA, Tami spent her teenage summers in a variety of crop production roles — from picking spinach and cucumbers to grading and packing cauliflower, broccoli and potatoes — to earn school clothes money.

John B. Smith, 84, father of WG Senior Vice Chairman of the Board Vic Smith, passed away Sunday, October 12, in Yuma, AZ, from complications due to an extended illness.  John was the founder and chairman of Skyview Cooling Company, a member of JV Smith Companies, based in Yuma, AZ.

Western Growers

What are the business problems that keep you up at night — the ones that might have some potential to be solved and alleviated with new technology?  This is the conversation we at Western Growers want to have with you.  We have been charged by our Board of Directors to find ways to identify and develop technological tools or methods that will solve the problems you are facing and then accelerate the availability and affordability of that technology.

Tom Nassif

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Western Growers members care deeply for the food they grow, the land they sustain, the people they employ, and the community in which they live.