WG&S March 2016

Western Growers Foundation has once again proudly partnered with the Arizona Department of Agriculture to award K–12 Arizona schools with $37,500 in edible school garden funding.  We are excited to announce the 25 winning schools that will receive $1,500 each—plus seeds and educational materials—to grow and sustain their edible gardens. The grants will be awarded in time for the 2016 spring planting season.

A report released in January of 2016 indicated that training needs, and the states where Equal Employment Opportunity charges are most likely to be filed, are highest in Texas, California and Florida.

Here are some of the results:

•   The highest number of national-origin discrimination charges were filed in Florida at 1,353 with California following at 1,101 and Arizona at 382.

•   Gender discrimination charges were high in California at 1,705

•   Disability discrimination charges are an issue in California at 1,988 claims and in Arizona at 908.


By Gail Delihant

Director, Western Growers California Government Affairs

Regulating farmers in California could morph to new heights if the current draft (Draft Order) of the State Water Resources Control Board’s (State Water Board) revisions to the Eastern San Joaquin Waste Discharge Requirements is adopted.  The State Water Board itself recognizes the breadth of this proposal in its explanation that a final adopted order will set a precedent that will be applied statewide.

The topic of joint employment is certainly in vogue at the moment.  The U.S. Department of Labor is the latest government agency to get in on the action, proclaiming an expansive new interpretation of joint employment.  Specifically, on January 20, 2016, the DOL issued an Administrator Interpretation (AI) providing guidance as to what constitutes joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA).  The memo states that joint employment should be defined expansively under these laws.

The FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most comprehensive reform of the United States food safety laws in more than 70 years, was signed into law on January 4, 2011.  Following a nearly five-year rulemaking process, five of seven major FSMA rules are now effective.  These five rules addressing key food safety areas include:

•   Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption (Produce Safety Rule)

Sonia Salas

It all started with a “How to Start a Business in 6 Weeks” course.  After supporting product design development and deployment for different farm equipment manufacturers for more than a decade, Patrick Zelaya started to notice a trend. “Technologies that were being developed for the equipment weren’t solving major operational challenges for farmers,” he said.

It is often said that the first step in recovery is to acknowledge the problem with honesty and candor.  We usually think of this in the context of someone battling alcohol or drug addiction.  But the usefulness and necessity of this first step can be applied well beyond that aspect of our society.

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