In late March, members of the Western Growers’ Board of Directors engaged over several days in a series of Sacramento meetings and discussions with administration officials and state legislators on key issues affecting the specialty crop industry. Additionally, Governor Jerry Brown visited with Executive Committee members prior to the week’s events. Water, labor and workplace rules dominated the discussions.
Secretary Matthew Rodriguez of the California Environmental Protection Agency, Secretary John Laird of the California Natural Resources Agency, CDFA Secretary Karen Ross and Cal/EPA Undersecretary Gordon Burns met with the board throughout the week. In addition, William B. Gould, chair of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) and former head of the National Labor Relations Board, presented his take on labor issues.
Members also heard from Senate Republican Leader-elect Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield), Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) and State Water Resources Control Board member Dee Dee D’Adamo. The meetings were followed by a reception with members of the Latino Caucus and a dinner featuring members of the new bipartisan Central Valley Caucus.
The board wrapped up its Sacramento event with a regularly scheduled board meeting with Chairman Vic Smith leading members through a comprehensive discussion of issues affecting the industry, including water, labor and workplace rules, food safety, trade and transportation issues.