September/October 2022

Rhetoric is powerful. Repeated often enough, rhetoric has the power to shape the public consciousness and, in turn, public policy.

A recent policy proposal by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. David Scott, a Democrat from Georgia, illustrates a trend in rhetoric that’s been bothering me for some time.

Entitled the Small Family Farmer and Rancher Relief Act, Chairman Scott’s bill includes subsidies for small farmers and ranchers and targets the loss of small producers in the cattle industry.

Dave Puglia

In “East of Eden,” Nobel Prize-winning writer John Steinbeck wrote the following: “And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about.”

Ann Donahue

We can’t hold our cards too close to our vest anymore: You are invited to join the full house for the Western Growers Annual Meeting, which will be held at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas from Nov. 2-5, 2022.

(Fine, fine. We’ll stop with Vegas puns now.)

This will be the 96th WG Annual Meeting, and like every year before it, it provides an opportunity for our membership to gather for camaraderie and learning at the premiere event in Western agriculture. In 2022 the lineup of speakers, panels and social events is top-notch.

Ann Donahue

There is competition, and then there is competition with a quarter of a million dollars on the line in front of a live audience filled with people hanging on your every word.

We’re referring, of course, to the AgSharks® Competition, which will return to the 2022 Western Growers Annual Meeting. This year’s Annual Meeting will be held at the Venetian Resort Las Vegas from Nov. 2-5, 2022.

Ann Donahue

We’ve all been guilty of it, especially during the last six months: Doomscrolling.

With a near-constant grind of weighty, difficult news stories available 24-7 on your nearest screen, it’s easy to zone out as the grim parade of current events passes in front of us: politics, economic upheaval, pandemics, natural disasters and war.

With all this competition for eyeballs, how can we break through the doom and gloom to tell ag’s story in a way that resonates?

Ann Donahue

Bee Sweet Citrus President Jim Marderosian first opened the doors of the company in 1987 as an independent packer and shipper of California oranges. As time progressed and consumer needs shifted, the citrus line expanded to include approximately 10 different varieties.

Tim Linden

By Dennis Nuxoll, Gail Delihant and Robert Medler

Farmers throughout the West know it is dry this year and water supplies are sparse. Scientists who study such things tell us that the West is suffering through its most severe drought in more than 1,000 years. The Colorado River Basin, with its two historic dams, is not immune to this situation.

Arizona State Sen. Sine Kerr (R-13) did not grow up in a politically charged environment and did not have a burning desire to become an Arizona legislator. Instead, it was her love for agriculture and her firm belief that the political arena needed more people from ag at the table when laws and regulations are being written that was the impetus for the political career.

Tim Linden

By David Zanze, Executive Vice President of Western Growers Assurance Trust

The pandemic has changed the way employees view and access health care, specifically when it comes to telehealth. Although telehealth services have been available for quite some time, they have proven incredibly convenient as a substitute for office visits for those wanting to avoid unnecessary travel during uncertain times.

By Pat Moody, Catherine Houlihan and Vismaad Gondara, Barsamian & Moody

Can non-compliant paystubs in violation of Labor Code section 226(a) lead to an unfair labor practice under section 1153(a) of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act (the “Act”)? Shockingly, or not so shockingly in California, the answer is yes, according to a recent ruling by the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (the “ALRB”).

By Jeff Gullickson, President, WGIS

Western Growers Insurance Services (WGIS) is more than a broker. We are family.

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.

Utilizing a high-tech process involving thermal decomposition, Merced, Calif.-based Corigin Solutions LLC is turning crop waste into a biochemical plant growth enhancer that is proving to increase yields, reduce costs and sequester carbon.

“It is the epitome of a circular economy,” said Founder and CEO Michael Woelk.

He noted that the company is an investor-backed startup currently producing its liquid product on a pilot scale of one-half ton per hour. “As we scale our operation, we will produce 12 times that volume,” he said.

Tim Linden

AgNote

Now you can easily generate purchase orders (POs) in AgNote. Purchase order generation is the latest addition in the AgNote farm management software system. Just like many other management areas in AgNote, purchase order management also has quite a few features built in. Here are just a few highlights of what one will find inside AgNote’s Purchase Order management area:

•   Automatically generate seed purchase orders

•   Automatically generate crop input purchase orders

•   AgNote will automatically increment your unique purchase order number

Tim Linden

Hank Giclas

Henry Lee Giclas III, loving husband and father and chile connoisseur, passed away Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, at the age of 63.

Hank, as he was called by all who knew him, was born in Socorro, New Mexico, to parents Patricia “Patsy” and Henry “Hank” Giclas Jr. With a mother who earned her PhD in molecular biology and a father who was a mechanical engineer, Hank came by his widely-respected intelligence honestly, which he utilized in service of the Western fresh produce industry.

Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico. Western Growers provides a lobbying voice in state and federal government, affordable health benefits, technology and innovation development, transportation solutions, legal and human resources guidance and more.

Behind the association are more than 400 employees who are dedicated to serving America’s food heroes; here is an inside look at two of Western Growers’ champions.

Tim Linden

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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.