November 2016

By Rich Hines

As 2016 draws to an end, it’s important to prepare for upcoming changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). To remain in compliance with the law and avoid tax penalties, there are several details about ACA marketplace notices, appeals, forms, and new ACA reporting deadlines of which you’ll need to be aware.


Health Insurance Exchange Notices

Using high-tech genome sequencing, a San Francisco start-up company is beginning to offer growers a much more detailed, and quickly achieved, look at their soil profile before planting.

Trace Genomics, which won an innovation award at the July Forbes AgTech conference in July, is currently offering growers a pathogen panel test for $199, which delivers a snapshot of soil-borne diseases.  Results from the soil test are available within three weeks, which allows a grower the opportunity to make important cultural decisions before the plants are in the ground.

Last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Fair Pay Act (SB 358) into law, which took effect on January 1, 2016.  Legal pundits called it one of the most aggressive gender pay equity laws in the country.

One year later, on September 30, 2016, Governor Brown signed the Wage and Equality Act of 2016 (SB 1063) into law, which prohibits employers from paying lower wages for substantially similar work because of an employee’s race or ethnicity.  The new law will go into effect on January 1, 2017.

Jason Resnick

A siege mentality is taking hold in California’s agriculture community. The state’s farmers have never confronted so many existential threats at one time.  The most well-known to people outside the industry are the lack of a legal and stable workforce to harvest crops, and the lack of water that has been brought about by a historic drought and made much worse by failed environmental policies that cause water to be flushed out to sea.

Join Western Growers

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.