in the KNOWN

In the Know Newsletter

April 13, 2013

Ag Council Hosts Dairy Lobby Day

Asm. Adam Gray (D-Merced) & Asm. Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley)

This week, fifteen dairymen and staff from Land O’Lakes, California Dairies Inc., and Dairy Farmers of America joined Ag Council for a Dairy Lobby Day at the state Capitol to support AB 31, which is a measure regarding dairy pricing authored by Dr. Richard Pan (D-Lodi).

The dairymen convened in Sacramento on Wednesday for a morning briefing with Ag Council staff before heading into the Capitol for meetings. The farmers met with legislators who sit on the Ag Committee, as well as others, to urge their support for AB 31. The meetings included visits with: Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), Assemblymember Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), and Assemblymember Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto), among others. In addition, Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced) and Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley) stopped by to meet the dairymen during lunch, and Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) swung by to say hello as the farmers wrapped-up their day.

As background, AB 31 would implement needed changes in the Food and Agricultural Code to set a minimum price for California milk sold to cheese manufacturers and would also provide a credit to the cheese makers. The bill is being opposed by some entities in the cheese processing industry. Ag Council and our dairy members support AB 31 given that California has not kept pace with price opportunities in the formula used to price whey (a protein created when cheese is produced).

The measure is scheduled to be considered in the Assembly Agriculture Committee on May 1st.

CA Trade Office Opens in China

Governor Jerry Brown is in China this week on a trade and investment mission, and he spoke at the opening of the California-China Office of Investment and Trade in Shanghai. It is California’s first foreign trade office in China since the state closed 12 offices in 2003.

The privately funded office, which will operate via resources from the Bay Area Council, will serve as a central place for California-based companies to seek advice and assistance in order to expand in China. It also will work with Chinese companies looking to invest in California.

The creation of the office was made possible after legislation by Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles), AB 2012, was signed into law last year. The bill authorized the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development to establish a public-private partnership in order to open trade and investment offices.

Read more HERE on Governor Brown’s website.

Impact Report

Ag Council believes it is vital that we keep you apprised of the legislative, regulatory and political issues we’re engaged in on your behalf. With this in mind, if you haven’t had a chance to review our Impact Report, please click HERE.




April 5, 2013

Governor Brown Heading to China

Governor Brown-photo courtesy of SF Examiner

Governor Jerry Brown is traveling to China on a trade and investment mission next week to connect with Chinese government and business leaders to pursue greater collaboration in the areas of trade and investment between California and China.

About 75 business, investment, economic development and policy leaders from California are joining the Governor on the trade mission, including California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross and several other leaders from the agricultural community.

“We’re going to facilitate billions of dollars of investments,” the Governor said in a speech at the California Trucking Association this week. “Not overnight, but over time.”

The itinerary includes the opening of the California Trade and Investment Office in Shanghai and a California-China Agricultural and Export Forum, among other activities and meetings.

Is Maldonado Running for Governor?

Former Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) created a campaign committee this week, which allows him to raise funds for a statewide race, potentially as a challenger to Governor Brown. He also began assembling a campaign team.

Maldonado said a committee allows him to “raise some seed money as I make my final decision. And as I do that, this race is going to be a very clear choice: the son of immigrant field workers versus the son of Sacramento.”

Abel Maldonado - photo courtesy of the SF Chronicle

Maldonado is Latino, and he is the child of Mexican American immigrant farmworkers. He is a former mayor, assemblyman and state senator. Maldonado was appointed to the Lt. Governor position in 2009 by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger after John Garamendi was elected to Congress. In 2010, Maldonado ran for reelection in the Lt. Governor spot, but he lost to current Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom.

With GOP registration in California now below 30 percent, winning a statewide election will be challenging for a Republican. Currently, Republicans do not hold one statewide office in California.

Click HERE to read more.

Food Safety Modernization Act Listening Sessions

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is hosting two listening sessions on April 9 and 11 on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Proposed Fresh Produce and Preventive Control Rules.

Listening Sessions

April 9 – Proposed Fresh Produce Rule listening session is set to be held from 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the International Agri-Center, 4500 S. Laspina Street in Tulare, CA.

April 11 – Proposed Fresh Produce Rule listening session is scheduled from 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the Heidrick Ag History Center. 1962 Hays Lane in Woodland, CA.

April 11 – Proposed Preventive Controls Rule listening session is scheduled from 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Woodland location listed above.

The purpose of FSMA is to ensure a safe U.S. food supply through the prevention of incidents. Earlier this year, FDA released two major proposed FSMA rules regarding preventive controls in human food and produce safety. The April listening sessions pertain to the proposed rules and will focus on providing the ag industry an overview of the proposed rules, soliciting comments, responding to questions and informing the public about the rulemaking process.

Invited speakers for the listening sessions include officials from FDA, CDFA and the California Department of Public Health.

Click HERE for more details regarding the FSMA listening sessions, including an agenda and pre-registration information.  Pre-registration is required and there is no cost to attend.

Annual Meeting Survey

If you attended Ag Council’s 94th Annual Meeting in Napa, we appreciate your attendance and your feedback matters to us. Please help us plan future meetings by responding to a brief survey HERE.

We hope to see you next year for our 95th Annual Meeting, March 2-4, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa.

In Case You Missed It

To read a wrap-up of Ag Council’s successful 94th Annual Meeting in Napa, click HERE.