September/October 2020

In American politics, the term “aisle” refers to the ideological and partisan differences that separate the two major parties. Interestingly, the term is rooted in the actual physical division of Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate, where the desks are arranged in a semicircle with a wide central aisle. As viewed from the presiding officer’s chair, tradition dictates that Democrats sit to the right and Republicans to the left.

Five years ago, Western Growers launched its Center for Innovation and Technology (WGCIT), housed in the Taylor Farms building in downtown Salinas. WGCIT brings together the ag industry and firms operating in the technology space to actively work on some of agriculture’s most vexing problems.

Participants in this referral service agree to give Western Growers members a 15 percent discount off of their normal legal services rates.* The WG-member law firms listed below specialize in a wide array of legal issues to fit virtually any need a member may have, from business contracts to labor issues to food safety liability. WG law firm members who advertise in this issue have earned bold face designation and a descriptive phrase explaining their scope of practice.


Barsamian & Moody

Ronald H. Barsamian

By Stephanie Metzinger
Manager, Communication, Western Growers

When iTradeNetwork formed in 1999, its mission was simple: to help companies in fresh perishables leave pen-and-paper ordering processes behind and embrace digital procurement. What started as a modest idea has now morphed into a sophisticated system that can construct a complete end-to-end story of a commodity’s path down the supply chain and include important information in that journey, such as product quality at different points and real-time issue management.

Change. It requires confidence. It requires trust and most importantly, a solid plan of action that propels you forward. We know this because we have changed. Western Growers Insurance Services has evolved into an organization of insurance experts that recognize the need for change. The need to embrace innovation, technological advances, and transformational shifts in the way we do business with our customers. Now more than ever, Western Growers Insurance Services is focused on the ever-changing landscape of our industry.

Jeff Gullickson

Diabetes is one of the fastest-growing chronic diseases in the U.S. An estimated 34.2 million Americans have diabetes—that’s nearly 10.5% of the U.S. population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of that 34.2 million, more than 7 million Americans remain undiagnosed. What do these numbers mean for employers and their workforce? It means health care costs are on the rise. It also means that the increasing costs and rising diagnoses can be reduced if more people were educated about diabetes and its risk factors.

In January 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released its Final Rule on the often-litigated joint employer issue under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which took effect on March 16, 2020. Prior to the publication of the Final Rule, the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (“FLSA”) joint-employer standard had not been substantively changed in over 60 years.

Over my career in product safety and compliance, I’ve had the opportunity to work for a variety of businesses, large global corporations to smaller regional producers. These companies have made everything from cleaning products to medical devices, skin lotions, cheeses and fresh-cut salad blends. Yet, my role in each organization has been the same: to design, execute and measure product safety management systems that assured an outcome of consumer safety and trust.

Our daily life routines consist of many activities including work, school, recreation, and travel. Hopefully, we go about engaging in these activities with a focus on the opportunities and benefits that they will bring to our lives and livelihood. Engaging in life’s opportunities brings both rewards and risks. As a society, we have studied many of those risks and have developed tried and true mitigations to minimize them to a realistic and practical level.

What an upside-down time we are living in with the pandemic overturning all of our normal lives. Our industry has been battered with this virus but we continue to grow food for our nation—all thanks to your hard work. In Washington, Western Growers has been trying to do everything we can to support you. We have been working to make sure you can access guest workers if you need them. We have been trying to make changes to the Payroll Protection Program to make it work better for you. And we have been trying to secure more federal resources for you.

By Tim Linden

While many of the trends regarding legal issues in the agricultural space do not appear to have changed significantly in the past year, the coronavirus, and the pandemic it has unleashed, is certainly top of mind and has greatly impacted the legal process. Civil cases are not going to trial, lawyers and clients are not meeting in person, depositions are being taken by Zoom and government agencies are not operating in the same manner as they were a year ago.

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