September 2016

Growers located in the western United States have some of the most diverse agricultural products and operations. The crop insurance program managed by the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) and administered by private crop insurance agents has provided a reliable farm safety net as growers face severe drought, freeze, insect, disease and negative market conditions. Improved options that have expanded over the past years have protected diverse farming operations such as organic producers and beginning farmers and ranchers.

In 2015, employees filed 39,757 charges of unlawful retaliation, which is 44.5 percent of 89,385 charges of workplace discrimination filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) last year. Retaliation charges increased by nearly 5 percent over the prior year and continues to be the leading concern raised by workers across the country, followed by race discrimination (34.7 percent) and disability discrimination (30.2 percent).

Since opening its doors last winter in Salinas, Western Growers’ Center for Innovation & Technology (WGCIT) has quickly created a reputation of agtech excellence throughout the local community, state and nation.

The Center is home to 21 start-up companies that are already developing groundbreaking innovations and achieving impressive results. With the $30,000 Wells Fargo grant recently received, WG will be able to provide scholarships to additional startups looking to join the Center and develop creative solutions to the biggest challenges facing agriculture.

Stephanie Metzinger

By AnnaMarie Knorr

The unions have not been shy in taking advantage of Arizona’s low threshold to refer laws to the ballot.  In 2006, they created Arizona’s first minimum wage law through the initiative process.  Ten years later, they are at it again.

(Editor’s Note: The questions and answers have been paraphrased for clarity and brevity.)


Mike McGuire first ran for elective office at the age of 19 and became a state senator in 2014 at the age of 34.  In both instances he was one of the youngest ever elected to such a position in California. (Senator McGuire was interviewed prior to the devastating August Lake County fire.)


Where did you grown up and tell us about your early years?

Tim Linden

WG&S recently sat down with Will Feliz, president of /Duncan Family Farms of Arizona to discuss precision farming and the use of data.

By Yvete Minor

Duncan Family Farms has been farming for decades. Tell us a little about your history.

By Dennis Nuxoll

On July 31, 2016, President Obama signed legislation into law that addressed a long running debate: Are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) safe and should genetically modified food be labeled?

A trio of experts will discuss the issues surrounding liability when a foodborne illness surfaces at the Western Growers 91st Annual Meeting in November.

The meeting will take place at the beautiful Grand Hyatt in Kauai in Koloa on the island of Kauai, November 6-9.  The “Foodborne Illness: Criminal & Civil Liability” workshop will be held on the afternoon of Nov. 7, beginning at 2:30 p.m.  WG Board Member Stuart Woolf of Woolf Farming & Processing, Fresno, CA, will be the moderator for the all-important session.

For this column, I would like to step back from my usual focus on agricultural policy and touch on a subject of profound personal significance. Given my Lebanese heritage and deep involvement in the Orthodox Church, I am particularly sensitive to the plight of Christians in the Middle East.

Tom Nassif

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