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in the KNOWN

In the Know Newsletter

February 22, 2013


Sen. Michael Rubio Resigns

Sen. Michael Rubio-Photo Courtesy of ABC News 23 KERO Bakersfield

In a surprise move to many, state Senator Michael Rubio (D-Shafter) announced this morning that he is resigning from the state Senate effective immediately.

Rubio said, “I have realized that my current professional path has left little opportunity to be home for those who are most important to me, which is why I am making a change.”

Rubio has accepted a position as manager of government affairs in California for Chevron.

A moderate Democrat in the Senate, Rubio recently became Chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee and was sponsoring a bill to reform the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) this legislative session. In addition, Rubio worked with Ag Council to support our members on cap-and-trade related issues.

A special election will be held to fill the remainder of his term (through 2014).

You can read Senator Rubio’s full statement HERE.

Impact on the Supermajority
Due to the immediate resignation of Senator Rubio, and two other existing vacancies in the state Senate, there is no longer a Democrat supermajority in the state Senate. With 26 Democrats in the chamber, the state Senate is now one vote shy of the two-thirds supermajority it held after the election.

However, once special elections are held to fill each of the three vacancies, a Democrat supermajority is expected once again.

Bill Introduction Deadline

Today is the final day that legislation can be introduced in the Legislature for consideration this year. Over 300 bills were introduced yesterday alone with many more expected today.

After today, bills can still be amended as they move through the committee process. Next week, Ag Council will provide members a brief overview of some of the key measures introduced.

Tractor Regulation in the San Joaquin Valley

Staff with the California Air Resources Board (ARB) announced recently that implementation of the first phase of the ag equipment rule, known as the tractor rule, will be limited to the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) and its eight counties.

Background
In 2007, ARB committed to developing a plan for in-use ag equipment by 2013 with the goal to accelerate fleet turnover to equipment with engines meeting the cleanest new engine NOx standard. This commitment was made by the state in order to meet federal Clean Air Act requirements.

The type of ag equipment being considered for the rule includes diesel equipment 25 horsepower or greater that is self-propelled, such as tractors, harvesters, combines, balers, swathers, sprayers, forklifts and all-terrain vehicles.

Previous Voluntary Actions
In developing the SJV rule, ARB staff is taking into account voluntary actions by the ag community to lower emissions via incentive programs. Given this, the SJV rule on ag equipment will incorporate emission reductions already achieved in agriculture through the Carl Moyer Program, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and the federal Environmental Quality Incentives Program. As a result, we anticipate that mandatory equipment upgrades will not be needed in the SJV rule, however, this is not certain until the rule is released.

Workshops
Workshops on the SJV rule will be held by ARB to hear stakeholder input and discuss how the rule meets state ozone obligations. A Fresno workshop is scheduled on March 14 at 1:30 p.m. at the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District office, and a Sacramento workshop will be held on March 15 at 1:30 p.m. at Cal/EPA. ARB will consider the SJV rule in December 2013.

Please contact Ag Council at ph. 916.443.4887 if you have  questions regarding the tractor rule.

Conway Remains Assembly GOP Leader

Assemblywoman Connie Conway (R-Tulare)

This week, the Assembly GOP Caucus voted to keep Assemblywoman Connie Conway (R-Tulare) as their leader. According to the Sacramento Bee, a motion to vacate the chair garnered just one vote after a Caucus meeting with the 25 GOP members of the Assembly.

Conway has been the GOP leader in the Assembly for the past two years. The November 2012 election swept in a two-thirds Democrat supermajority in the Assembly, which dealt a blow to Republicans in the Legislature.

February 15, 2013


World Ag Expo Breakfast a Success

Former Assemblyman and current state Senate candidate, Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), spoke to over 40 Ag Council members and friends at Ag Council’s breakfast at the World Ag Expo in Tulare this week.

Mendoza termed out of the Assembly last November and is now running for state Senate in 2014 in a legislative seat comprising Artesia, Cerritos, Whittier, Downey and Buena Park among other cities outside of Los Angeles.  Mendoza is the former Chair of the Latino Legislative Caucus.

With the changing demographics of the state, Ag Council is focused on building bridges with elected officials to help educate them on agricultural issues. Given this, Mendoza discussed how the agricultural community can best work to reach out to Latino legislators, as well as urban and suburban elected officials.
One of Mendoza’s suggestions was to extend an invitation to the families of legislators when they are invited on farm tours. This resonated with the audience because our families are a core part of the farming business.
In addition, he spoke about the party-politics that come into play in the Legislature and the political realities faced by elected leaders. Mendoza, who is a teacher, also discussed his core values, including family, as well as his desire to continue in public service.

We appreciate Tony Mendoza for sharing his insights, and we thank our members and friends for their attendance.  We look forward to returning to the Expo in 2014.

 

Mendoza Visits Ag Council Members

Earlier this week, prior to the World Ag Expo breakfast, Tony Mendoza toured two family farms and a processing facility.

Mendoza started the day at Chandler Farms in Selma, which is a family farm growing for the following Ag Council members: Sun-Maid Growers, Blue Diamond Growers and Central California Almond Growers Association. John Chandler–who is a next generation farmer following in the footsteps of his parents Bill and Carol Chandler–introduced Mendoza to the farmworkers who were pruning vineyards on the farm. Mendoza spoke with the workers, learned many had longstanding jobs with the farm, and they talked about how their children are now in college. Mendoza also toured the farm’s almond and citrus crops and learned how they are grown.

Mendoza then visited Rib-Arrow Dairy in Tulare owned and operated by the Ribeiro family, which is a farmer-owner of Land O’Lakes. Dairymen Dave and Tyler Ribeiro graciously showed Mendoza the milking facilities, where the cows rest and eat, and discussed the various feed that is provided to the cows. Importantly, Mendoza learned about the current difficulties facing the dairy industry, including high feed, energy and regulatory costs, among others.

During a brief lunch stop at Superior Dairy in Hanford, Mendoza met local Land O’Lakes dairyman Dino Giacomazzi who discussed the reasoning for opposition against high speed rail among the ag community in Kings County.

Mendoza then finished his day of ag tours at Valley Fig Growers in Fresno where he learned how the farmer-owned cooperative processes locally-grown figs. In addition, Mendoza learned about the wastewater and anaerobic digester facility at Valley Fig Growers, which serves as an environmentally-friendly model in the food processing industry. The digester uses wastewater to produce renewable energy, reduces disposal costs for the plant and frees up energy needs for thousands of homes. Gary Jue and Jim Gargiulo of Valley Fig Growers also discussed food safety and other issues with Mendoza.

The day concluded with a dinner in Fresno with Ag Council’s local board members in the area who talked with Mendoza about labor, education and other key policy issues.

We greatly appreciate Tony Mendoza’s time and interest in our industry.  Also, a special thanks to all of our members and farmer-owners involved with the coordination of the tours.

 

Join Us in Napa for our 94th Annual Mtg.

Ag Council’s 94th Annual Meeting is just around the corner, March 18-20, 2013, at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa. To register for the Annual Meeting, please click HERE. Information regarding hotel reservations is below.

Ag Council’s annual dinner will feature Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) as the keynote speaker. We also have a great line-up for the General Session this year, including: David Garfield, Managing Director at AlixPartners, who will discuss the recent consumer study “Trouble in Aisle 5” and Kish Rajan, Director for the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz), who will discuss Governor Jerry Brown’s prospective on boosting business in California.

To make your hotel reservation online, please click HERE. Ag Council’s special group code is automatically entered when you use this link. Or, you can call the Meritage Resort and Spa for reservations at ph. 866.370.NAPA. Mention “Ag Council” to receive the preferred room rate of $179. After the reservation deadline of February 22, 2013, the group rate will no longer be available.

If you have any questions, or if you need registration assistance, feel free to contact Rebecca Osumi at ph. 916.443.4887 or email: rebecca@agcouncil.org.

Ag Council looks forward to seeing you in Napa.

 

2013 Golf Tournament in Napa

Ag Council’s 2013 Golf Tournament and PAC Fundraiser will be held in conjunction with our Annual Meeting on March 18 at the Chardonnay Golf Club, set among the vineyards in Napa’s Jameson Canyon. Registration for the golf tournament can be completed when you register for the Annual Meeting HERE.

Ag Council is also seeking sponsors for the tournament. The benefits of sponsorship can be found by viewing the brochure HERE.

Rebecca Osumi is available to answer questions about the tournament at ph. 916.443.4887 or email: rebecca@agcouncil.org.

 

 

February 1, 2013


New Democrats Visit Ag Council Members

Pictured (from L-R) Blue Diamond Growers' CEO Mark Jansen with Assemblymembers: Perea, Eggman, Bonilla, Cooley, Dr. Pan and Frazier.

 

 

Ag Council members welcomed legislators from the New Democrats-a group of moderate Democrats in the Legislature-for site tours and a reception yesterday.  We express our sincere gratitude to the following Assemblymembers for joining us to learn more about our members: Henry T. Perea, Susan Bonilla, Dr. Richard Pan, Jim Frazier, Susan Eggman and Ken Cooley.

The legislators first visited Blue Diamond Growers in the heart of downtown Sacramento where they were greeted by CEO Mark Jansen. The group toured the plant, as well as the new Almond Innovation Center on its opening day where they had the opportunity to taste some of the latest almond products. The Center will increase the speed of innovation and lower the cost of developing new products. As they wrapped-up their tour, the legislators learned about the significant health benefits of eating almonds from grower, Dr. George Goshgarian.

Next, the group traveled to Lodi where Pacific Coast Producers hosted the legislators at its nearly one million square-foot distribution center. Dan Vincent, CEO of Pacific Coast Producers, welcomed the legislators to the farmer-owned cooperative, which is a cannery that distributes California-grown products such as tomatoes, peaches, and apricots for private labels. The legislators discussed issues such as cap and trade and food safety. They also toured the distribution center and tasted various products.

The day concluded with a reception where the New Democrats had an opportunity to connect with additional Ag Council members and farmer-owners at the Cellar Door in Lodi.

We greatly appreciate the support of our members who were able to attend the reception and meet this key group of legislators. In addition, we thank the legislators for the significant amount of time they devoted to learning more about our members.  And, a special thank you to Blue Diamond Growers and Pacific Coast Producers for their help in this outreach effort.

Gov. Brown Earns High Marks in Survey

Governor Jerry Brown’s job approval rating hit a record high of 51 percent, up from 46 percent from this time last year, according to a recent statewide survey by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). The Legislature’s approval rating is also up, at 41 percent, which is the highest it has been since December 2007.

The governor’s budget plan received support from 69 percent of those Californians surveyed with 22 percent opposed. The governor’s 2013-14 budget proposal would pay down state debt and create a reserve instead of restoring social services cut in recent years. The budget projects a small surplus and increases both K-12 and higher education spending.

In January, PPIC surveyed over 1,700 adults in California on public policy issues including immigration, health care, taxes, guns and others. Click HERE for more detailed results.

World Ag Expo Breakfast

Assemblymember Tony Mendoza

 

Join Ag Council for breakfast at the
2013 World Ag Expo in Tulare
February 12, 2013
9:00 a.m.

Featuring Keynote Speaker
Assemblymember Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia)

The former Chair of the Latino Legislative Caucus, Assemblymember Tony Mendoza, will discuss how the farming community can best reach out to Latino legislators and voters on ag issues.

The address for the Expo is 4500 S. Laspina Street in Tulare, CA. Once you’ve parked, the breakfast will be held in the VIP Event Tent (located on Expo Lane, between “S” and “T” Streets on the Expo showgrounds).

There is no cost to attend. However, RSVPs are required as space is limited. Please email rebecca@agcouncil.org or call Rebecca Osumi at (916)443-4887 to RSVP.

We hope to see you at this exciting event as Ag Council kicks off 2013.

Snow Survey

Water content in mountain snowpack is below average according to the second snow survey of the year conducted by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) this week. The survey reveals that statewide water content is 93 percent of average for this time of year and 55 percent of the April 1 average.

In releasing the snow survey, DWR Director Mark Cowin said, “We’re still seeing decent snowpack conditions due to storms in late November and early December. Those early season storms also erased the deficit in our reservoir storage, but relatively dry weather this month is once again a reminder that the weather is unpredictable, and we must always practice conservation.”

About one-third of California’s water for residental, ag and industrial use is provided by the snowpack as it begins to melt each year in the springtime.

Read more by clicking HERE.