November/December 2017

Harvey, Irma, Maria and now Nate.

Major hurricanes have ripped through the United States and Caribbean these past months, leaving thousands of people homeless and millions of lives disrupted. Though the full extent of the damage is still unknown, social media has shed light on how victims have been affected and has acted as a mechanism to help those impacted by these tropical storms.

By Chris Oerman

 

With low unemployment rates and all-time stock market highs, Americans have many reasons to feel confident in their personal finances. However, according to a recent survey from Financial Engines, America’s largest independent investment advisor, a majority of Americans lack the basic financial knowledge they need to properly prepare for retirement. A mere 8 percent of respondents were able to pass a quiz about the many financial decisions they will likely encounter during the course of their lifetimes.

Among the more challenging questions:

Gone are the days when the only option an employer had to provide its employees with health insurance coverage was through a fully-insured health insurance policy. With this conventional health plan, an employer pays a fixed monthly premium to an insurance company to cover the anticipated costs of healthcare claims. The insurer collects the monthly premium for all participants enrolled on the health insurance policy, regardless of whether employees use the plan.

David Zanze

It’s a very simple concept, but it can have a huge impact on business decisions when executed properly.

For more than 100 years, Blue Book Services has been the leader in providing credit and marketing information for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry. By synthesizing financial and rating information, Blue Book has continuously provided credit data to all segments of the industry’s supply chain so that well-informed business decisions can be made.

And now, they have come up with a better and faster mouse trap.

Tim Linden

Five years after the California Supreme Court in Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court clarified standards regarding an employer’s duty to provide meal and rest periods, many employers continue to find these rules challenging to implement in the real world. Moreover, because the Brinker court was applying the law under a statute that until recently did not apply to agriculture (Labor Code section 512) and a different wage order than the wage order covering agricultural occupations, ag employers need to be aware of how ag may be treated differently in some respects.

By Matthew Allen and Gail Delihant

 

The California Legislature completed its annual business in the early morning hours on September 16 and have departed Sacramento for the remainder of the year. At the time of this writing, those bills that have passed out of the Legislature have now been submitted to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for his review. He has until October 15 to issue his signature or veto.

Matthew Allen

This January, the California Legislature will begin the second year of its 2017-2018 session. The first session, which adjourned in September, was one of the most colorful and contentious in recent memory. Marked by bitter, often personal, interparty and intraparty attacks, the session’s animosity was spawned by two key factors: a Democrat supermajority in both houses of the Legislature and the election of Donald J. Trump as president.

Jeff Janas

By Dan Morash Founder, California Safe Soil

 

We read with interest the July/August 2017 Western Growers article entitled: “Cause for Concern Over Organic Fertilizer Made from Food Waste?” by Stephen Meyer & Thomas Marrs of the Downey Brand law firm.  The article raises concerns for organic growers that may currently be using, or considering use of, registered organic fertilizer manufactured from recycled food. We think those concerns are unfounded. California Safe Soil, LLC (“CSS”) appreciates the opportunity to offer our point of view.

Last year, FieldIn saved specialty crop growers millions of dollars in pest management by monitoring spray applications and providing alerts, in real time, on more than 6,000 application errors. More impressively, this agtech start-up company has only been up and running for three years and it already monitors almost five percent of the almond crops in California.

In early November, the National Organics Standards Board will meet in Jacksonville, FL, and on its agenda are proposals that will move the ball forward toward declaring hydroponics and other greenhouse-type growing methods as ineligible to receive organic certification from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Observers think the series of proposals have a fairly good chance of passing.

Food recalls, product defects, contamination events, oh my.

These are just a few examples of the potential food contamination disasters that can detrimentally disrupt the supply chain and quickly become a major financial nightmare for all parties involved. Costs from a product recall or contamination can easily cripple even the most conscientious organizations, and understanding the roles and purposes of the different types of insurance coverage involved can be the difference between losing money and losing your company.

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