WG&S February 2016

This past year Western Growers Foundation was awarded a $10,000 grant from Driscoll’s as a part of their Regional Community Grants Program.  After a competitive application process, WGF is excited to announce the 20 grant winning schools.  Each school will receive a $500 check, a copy of our California Gardens for Learning book, seeds and Producepedia recipe cards to help them create or sustain an edible school garden.

Sabrina Blair

The current 30 percent federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a nice incentive for companies pursuing solar power options.  Last year, some working in the solar industry were concerned about the potential expiration of the ITC at the end of 2016, which meant solar systems had to be placed in service before December 31st, 2016, limiting this benefit.  However, this is no longer a concern.

Sonia Salas

Technology and society seem to be evolving at an ever-accelerating pace.  Just consider the following:  Twenty years ago few people had cell phones; the internet was used only by academics and the only way you could send a document electronically was by facsimile machine, which required a person to load the document page by page for several minutes in order to transmit it.

Greg Nelson

Doug Ducey has not wasted any time accomplishing the goals he set forth when he was elected as Arizona’s 23rd governor in the fall of 2014.  Priorities such as reducing government regulations, enhancing the economy and lowering taxes dominated the platform during his inaugural speech in January of 2015.  With the help of leadership in the state Senate and House in the shortest legislative session in nearly 50 years, Governor Ducey checked numerous items off of his to-do list.

Tim Linden

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

Steve Montenegro, a Republican, was first elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2008 to represent District 12.  Redistricting has changed his districts to now be number 13.  He is currently serving his fourth term.  He was chosen by his colleagues to serve as Majority Leader at the beginning of the 2015-17 session.  Following in his father’s footsteps, he is also a pastor at the Surprise Apostolic Assembly.

Tim Linden

The Brown Administration and local water and irrigation districts are well into the process of implementing the 2014 groundwater management legislation.  With mandated deadlines looming, members who depend on groundwater need to get involved at the local level to provide input on the best way for your local groundwater management agency to attain sustainability in your basin and to protect your pumping rights.
The following lays out what you need to know and what you need to do to help set up a plan that’s in your best interest.

The University of Southern California made national news last fall when it publicly fired its head football coach Steve Sarkisian.  Sarkisian was on shaky ground even before the season started, when he showed up drunk at a preseason rally, slurring a profanity-laden speech before a stunned audience of university supporters and parents.  He apologized soon after, announcing he planned to get treatment of some kind.  Yet he also said he didn’t believe he had a drinking problem.  His outburst, he said, was due to his mixing alcohol and medication.

Though several Western Growers members are using the U.S. Department of Labor’s H-2A Program, which is the only agricultural worker visa program, they seem to be doing it reluctantly and even after years of use, still call it “cumbersome” and “very difficult to use.”
“We use it because it is our only option,” said Carmen Ponce, vice president of human resources and in-house counsel for Tanimura & Antle (T&A), which is headquartered in Salinas, CA.  “We have no other way to fulfill our contracts.”

Tim Linden

Western Growers has hired David Duvall, who will join the insurance services team as program development director.  In this role, Duvall will be responsible for developing association-based property and casualty solutions for our members.

I have said many times that the politics of immigration reform can be summed up by the following maxim: “Democrats want immigrants to vote and not work, Republicans want immigrants to work and not vote.”

While this adage may be an oversimplification, it characterizes the ideological divide that has prevented any type of meaningful immigration reform from passing Congress in nearly three decades.  Rather than working together to repair an obviously broken system, we have instead seen our elected officials trade barbs and retreat to their partisan corners.

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