WG&S August 2016

Scientific findings can provide practical solutions to solve many of the food safety challenges the produce sector is facing. Last month, the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) hosted their seventh annual Research Symposium in Seattle. This event covered subjects such as: 1) Listeria, 2) surrogates and indicators, 3) irrigation water management, 4) process validation and verification; and, 5) animal intrusion and on-farm pathogen detection. Many of the key research findings and potential food safety solutions are very relevant to ag operation.

What is coming down the pike?


By Terrence O'Connor

Smartphones, laptops, and other portable devices are ubiquitous among today’s workforce.  The use of such devices for work-related tasks presents potential issues for employers, including wage and hour problems, compensation problems, confidentiality and possible trade secret issues.  Employers clearly benefit from employee use of mobile devices.  Employees can be contacted at any time and have access to the “office” through their computers.

However, the use of mobile devices raises a variety of issues for the employer.

Agricultural law has evolved tremendously over the years with attorneys representing Western Growers members in a wide variety of disciplines from labor concerns to water issues to trademark infringement.  Today there are dozens of law firms  that are members of Western Growers, more than half of which participate in the Western Growers Ag Legal Network (WGALN).  Participants in this referral service agree to give Western Growers members a 15 percent discount off of their normal legal services rates.*

It was in 1986, with the PACA Trust Law newly enacted and ag labor cases at the forefront that Western Growers attorneys Patricia Rynn and Lew Janowsky started their private law practice with one secretary between them.

Tim Linden

Interviews with a handful of attorneys specializing in agricultural work revealed that there is a new area of law gaining momentum in that sector: cannabis law.

While the old standbys—labor issues, water law, wage and hour violations, PACA work—still garner much of the attention, more and more ag attorneys are dealing with issues surrounding the legal cultivation of marijuana.  And if California voters approve a ballot measure in November legalizing personal marijuana use, and the polls indicate they will, legal work on this agricultural crop will surely rise to new highs.

Tim Linden

Old town Salinas was transformed into an agtech hub on July 13-14 when the most ambitious and auspicious of innovations were showcased during the 2016 Forbes AgTech Summit. This exciting event brought together more than 600 fresh produce leaders, Silicon Valley’s technology industry, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to network and discuss solutions to the most critical issues affecting food production globally.

On a late summer afternoon more than 50 years ago, Miles and Garland Reiter had just finished up a hard day’s work on the farm and jumped into their Jeep to head to the barn. Garland dared his older brother Miles to hop onto the back of the car and when he did, Garland hit reverse in full speed.

“I just wanted to scare my older brother and planned to stop right in front of the barn,” Garland reminisced. “Instead of hitting the brake, I hit the clutch and the Jeep went right through the barn. Thank goodness Miles jumped off before. We had a good laugh about it afterward.”

In truth, we should be allies. The environmental and agricultural communities share more in common than conventional wisdom might suggest. Both desire to preserve our planet and its resources for future generations. I am not shy about saying farmers are the original environmentalists.

Tom Nassif

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