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in the KNOWN

In the Know Newsletter

October 21, 2015


Ag Council Member Meets with Pres. Obama & Signs Climate Pledge

President Barack Obama meets with business leaders, including Ag Council member Jeannine Campos Grech, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Oct. 19, 2015. Photo credit: AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Barack Obama meets with business leaders, including Ag Council member Jeannine Campos Grech, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Oct. 19, 2015. Photo credit: AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Jeannine Campos Grech with Ag Council member Campos Brothers Farms was among other business leaders from across the U.S. who met with President Obama on October 19 to sign the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. The pledge shows support for carbon reductions prior to the finalization of a global agreement on climate change in Paris this year.

Since 2009, Campos Brothers Farms has been actively focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, realizing a reduction of 19.7 million pounds of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere. This is in addition to other work to lower the business’ overall impact on the environment.

Building on its existing efforts, Campos Brothers will make further progress on greenhouse gas emissions as well as reduce its environmental footprint through the following actions: taking additional steps to lower carbon emissions, increase solar power utilization, reduce waste, improve the recycling rate, and lower water usage even further, among other activities.

To read more about the climate pledge, click HERE.

State Sen. Glazer Tours Blue Diamond’s Almond Innovation Center

From L-R: Blue Diamond’s Director of Research and Development Steve Morgan speaks with Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) during a tour of the Almond Innovation Center.

From L-R: Blue Diamond’s Director of Research and Development Steve Morgan speaks with Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) during a tour of the Almond Innovation Center.

Ag Council appreciates Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) for visiting Blue Diamond Growers and its Almond Innovation Center in Sacramento on October 7. Senator Glazer was elected during a special election this year and is a former city council member and mayor of Orinda.

During the visit, Senator Glazer met with Blue Diamond Public Affairs Director Alicia Rockwell and talked about the cooperative’s leadership role in the industry, the various operations and also discussed water issues relating to the almond industry.

Senator Glazer toured the Almond Innovation Center with Director of Research and Development Steve Morgan. The Innovation Center is a research facility working to initiate new almond product concepts. Morgan showed Senator Glazer the state-of-the-art 6,500 square-foot facility, including a laboratory, dedicated to almond research and development.

Ag Council thanks Senator Glazer for connecting with Blue Diamond to learn more about its role in the almond industry, and we look forward to continuing to work with him in the State Senate. Click HERE to learn more about Senator Glazer.

Ag Council Comments on Air Resources Board 2030 Target Scoping Plan

On October 16, Ag Council submitted comments regarding the Air Resources Board’s (ARB) 2030 Target Scoping Plan presented in early October.  The effort is a follow up to the 2013 Scoping Plan Update and reflects Governor Jerry Brown’s Executive Order to establish greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets for California of 40 percent below 1990 GHG levels by the year 2030.

This is the very beginning of the process, and Ag Council will be working to ensure our members’ views are heard as the ARB moves forward to create a 2030 Scoping Plan. Ag Council will remain involved as the Scoping Plan is developed throughout the next year and will provide regular updates to our members.

Click HERE to read our initial comments in an informal letter to the ARB.

Upcoming Stakeholder Meetings on Groundwater

The Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board are holding stakeholder meetings to provide details to the public on the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which was signed into law in 2014.

Stakeholder meeting dates and locations include: Visalia on October 22, Sacramento (meeting & webinar) on October 27 and Redding on November 5. For each stakeholder meeting, technical sessions geared toward local public agencies and organizations begin at 1 p.m. and the public forums begin at 6 p.m. For the agenda and further details, click HERE.

Specialty Crop Block Grant Workshops

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is holding workshops and webinars in early November on the 2016 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The program funds projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. The workshops and webinars provide an overview of the program, a review of the concept proposal questions and grant writing advice. Applicants are urged to participate. Click HERE to view the locations and dates and for registration information.

 

 

 

October 12, 2015


Gov. Brown Decides Fate of Legislation Over the Weekend

State Capitol

State Capitol

With October 11 the last day for Governor Jerry Brown to sign or veto legislation this year, the fate of hundreds of bills pending on the governor’s desk was decided over the weekend. In the end, the governor vetoed about 14 percent of the measures before him in 2015. Bills acted upon over the past few days include the following:

Antibiotics Use in Livestock

The governor signed SB 27 by Senator Hill (D-San Mateo). SB 27 addresses antibiotic resistance in humans via changes in how medically important antibiotics are used in livestock and poultry. Ag Council participated in negotiations on behalf of our members and has a neutral position on the bill.

Labor

AB 1513 by Assemblyman Williams (D-Carpinteria) was signed into law. It creates a voluntary “safe harbor” for employers paying piece rate to affirmatively defend against claims for failure to pay employees for rest and recovery periods and non-productive time.

Climate Change

Governor Brown signed AB 1288 by Speaker Atkins (D-San Diego) into law. AB 1288 expands the current Air Resources Board (ARB) membership from 12 to 14 and requires the two new board members to be individuals who work directly with pollution burdened and vulnerable populations. Ag Council did not support this measure because, unlike other ARB members, AB 1288 does not require that the two new individuals have any experience, interest, and proven ability in the field of air pollution control.

Excavation

Governor Brown vetoed SB 119 by Senator Hill (D-San Mateo). It dealt with the 811 – “Call Before You Dig” program in California relating to the safety of subsurface installations. Ag Council had a neutral position on the bill due to amendments treating agriculture as a unique industry with input from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).

 

Gov. Brown Vetoes Two Labor Bills Detrimental to Ag & Business

Ag Council thanks Governor Brown for his veto of SB 406 by Senator Jackson (D-Santa Barbara). SB 406 would have created an additional 12 weeks of protected family leave for employees. The bill would have increased costs, risk of litigation and was out of conformity with federal law by expanding the type of family members (in-laws, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and others) for whom leave may be taken. Ag Council and many other ag and business groups opposed this measure. Click HERE for a SacBee article.


Ag Council appreciates that the governor also vetoed AB 561 by Assemblywoman Campos (D-San Jose). The bill would have placed limits on due process at the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) by requiring an employer, seeking a review of an ALRB decision, to post a bond in the amount of the entire economic value of the order as determined by ALRB. Ag Council opposed AB 561.

 

Groundwater Adjudication Bills Signed into Law

On October 9, Governor Brown signed two groundwater adjudication bills into law: AB 1390 by Assemblyman Alejo (D-Watsonville) and SB 226 by Senator Pavley (D-Agoura Hills). Ag Council supported these measures and thanks the governor for his support.

AB 1390 improves the efficiency of groundwater adjudications during the court process and is a procedural bill that does not alter water rights. SB 226 ensures the adjudication process does not conflict with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which was signed into law in 2014.

Click HERE to read Assemblyman Alejo’s statement on AB 1390.

 

October 7, 2015


Almond & Dairy Tour with Asm. Alejo & Karina Alejo

Pictured from L-R: Darrin Monteiro (CDI), Karina Cervantes Alejo, Assemblymember Luis Alejo, and Paulo De Carvalho (De Carvalho Brother Dairy)

Pictured from L-R: Darrin Monteiro (CDI), Karina Cervantes Alejo, Assemblymember Luis Alejo, and Paulo De Carvalho (De Carvalho Brother Dairy)

Ag Council was pleased to host Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) and his wife Karina Cervantes Alejo, who is running for the 30th Assembly District seat, for tours with our members in the dairy and almond industries on September 29.

Ag Council had a great day connecting with the Alejos, and we appreciate California Dairies, Inc. (CDI) and the Almond Hullers and Processors Association (AHPA) for their help in coordinating the tours.

The Alejos began the afternoon touring De Carvalho Brothers Dairy in Modesto, which is a member of CDI. Paulo De Carvalho hosted the group and discussed his Portuguese roots and talked about his family’s heritage in the dairy industry. The group discussed feed, water quality, food safety and other issues facing the industry while touring the dairy. Assemblyman Alejo and Karina also learned how almond hulls and shells are used in dairy feed and bedding and the connection between the dairy and almond industries was discussed. Darrin Monteiro Director of Member Relations at CDI joined the tour, as well.

Pictured from L-R: Assemblymember Luis Alejo, Karina Cervantes Alejo, Kelly Covello (AHPA), and Dexter Long (Hilltop Ranch)

Pictured from L-R: Assemblymember Luis Alejo, Karina Cervantes Alejo, Kelly Covello (AHPA), and Dexter Long (Hilltop Ranch)

Next, Ag Council member, AHPA, hosted the Alejos at Hilltop Ranch Inc., an AHPA member based in Ballico. The gathering was an opportunity to discuss water use efficiencies and water related issues in the almond industry by connecting with Dexter Long VP and General Manager at Hilltop Ranch, John Eisenhut Grower Relations Manager at Hilltop Ranch, who is also a member of the California Air Resources Board, and Kelly Covello President at AHPA. After discussing water and other issues, the group toured Hilltop Ranch, which is a privately owned processor of almonds, handling about 30,000 tons annually.

Ag Council thanks our members who participated in helping to coordinate the tours, and we greatly appreciate the Alejos for spending the day with us to learn more about our members.

Gov. Brown Signs Clean Energy & Pollution Reduction Act

Today, Governor Jerry Brown signs SB 350 by Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) mandating that 50 percent of power generation derive from renewable fuels and requiring a 50 percent increase in energy efficiency in existing buildings by the year 2030.

A provision in the bill to reduce petroleum in motor vehicles by 50 percent in California was removed from SB 350 in order to garner enough votes for passage in the Legislature. Ag Council opposed this provision and is pleased the section was removed from SB 350 before legislators passed the measure.

Ag Council awaits the outcome of numerous other bills pending on the governor’s desk. Policy issue areas include climate change, labor and water, among others. Governor Brown has until October 11 to sign or veto the bills. If he takes no action, the measures become law. Ag Council will be sure to update our members when Governor Brown makes his decisions on these measures. To view a list of key bills, please click HERE.

Coming Up on the Regulatory Front

Ag Council will participate in several upcoming regulatory workshops regarding critical issues affecting our members. First, Ag Council is attending the Air Resources Board (ARB) workshop on methane emissions from livestock and fluorinated gas emissions from refrigerant systems (short-lived climate pollutants). Second, the ARB is holding a workshop on a proposed strategy to help the state meet federal clean air standards and achieve greenhouse gas reductions from mobile sources such as cars, trucks, and a myriad of off-road equipment.

In addition, Ag Council is attending additional workshops in the coming weeks at the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). The first is focused on the Center for Environmental Health’s petition to repeal or amend Prop 65 regulations pertaining to the safe harbor level for lead. The second workshop pertains to potential new regulations that would establish background levels for certain ubiquitous chemicals, such as lead that are naturally present in unprocessed foods. OEHHA is hosting additional workshops regarding changes to Prop 65 on October 19, as well.

Ag Council will update members regarding our involvement on these issues as the regulations are developed. Please contact Ag Council if you have any questions about the regulatory workshops at ph. (916) 443-4887.