Harold Edwards might be the poster child for everything modern agriculture wants to be. He is a well-educated, fifth generation farmer from Ventura County, whose family has been farming the same land for many, many decades, and he also has much international businbess experience in the consumer products arena
In the last decade-and-a-half the U.S. Congress has not had the time to pass an immigration bill. Too many issues were and are more pressing, e.g. campaigning, congressional delegations traveling to foreign countries to find out where they are, fundraising, speaking engagements on TV, radio, Twitter and Facebook, to name a few.
In politics, it is almost always about timing, and the potential crisis in Syria along with congressional focus on funding for the government and raising the debt ceiling pushed the immigration reform debate off the front burner when Congress returned from its August recess.
Jim Leimkuhler, the president of Progressive Produce Corp. in Los Angeles, was conversing with a couple of his employees one day early this summer when he saw they were wearing an UP wrist band, which tracks several components of living a healthier lifestyle.
Though the notion that “I’m from the government and I am here to help,” tends to have negative connotations for most agricultural producers, that may not be the case when it comes to the Natural Resource Conservation Service.
The California Legislature closed down the first year of the 2013-14 session on September 12 with a flurry of activity between majority Democrats and Governor Brown that produced agreements on several major issues. Agriculture-specific legislation, however, was not as prevalent as in most years.
A federal district judge court for the Eastern District of Washington recently held that the Migrant and Seasonal Workers Protection Act (MSPA) gives the Department of Labor broad authority to investigate wage violations, and wrote that “an open field falls outside the protection of the Fourth Amendment.” The court granted the labor secretary a preliminary injunction prohibiting a blueberry farm from excluding investigators from DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) from entering the farm’s blueberry fields.
Produce contamination events continue to occur periodically throughout the industry, causing lost revenue and extra expense for producers. In spite of the best efforts of producers to protect produce from contaminants, produce recalls are going to happen, even though many of the recalls are ordered on a precautionary basis and not the result of people actually getting ill. Western Growers Insurance Services recently found a product recall policy with “produce refusal” coverage that addresses this specific issue.
The Western Growers 88th Annual will be held Nov. 10-13 at The Sheraton Hotel in Waikiki. As always, the event will be filled with many different opportunities for networking, learning about industry issues and socializing with your colleagues in the fresh produce industry. Following is a brief synopsis of many of the major events that will be held.
Sergio Loya is a 15-year veteran of Western Growers and dedicated safety expert. He works out of WG’s El Centro office, serving more than 40 clients in the Imperial Valley, San Diego, Los Angeles, Oxnard, Coachella, Indio, and all of Arizona, providing customized worksite bilingual training and consultative services that keep workers accident-free and insurance costs low.