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2017 Annual Meeting

Ag Council Members Gather for 98th Annual Meeting

Agricultural business leaders from throughout the state met in Carlsbad, Calif. for Agricultural Council of California’s Annual Meeting, which was held March 8-9 in conjunction with CoBank’s Pacific West Customer meeting.

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Sen. Scott Wilk (R – Santa Clarita)

“Ag Council has continued to grow by partnering with vertically integrated agricultural businesses,” said Brendon Flynn, outgoing Ag Council Chairman and member of Sunsweet Growers, during his opening comments. “That growth is important as we continue to try to navigate the complexity of California’s legislative and regulatory environment.”

Flynn thanked Ag Council’s staff, including President Emily Rooney and Vice President of Government Affairs Tricia Geringer for their tireless work in reviewing the more than 1,000 bills that came before Governor Brown in 2016. Flynn added that 2016 seemed especially challenging when California is “leading the way once again by passing minimum wage and overtime measures that far exceed what is required in other states.”

“It is very apparent that there is a lack of understanding by our elected officials about agriculture and the impacts these laws will have on our producers and processors,” he added. “It is so critical that we continue to be at the table and have input and participation in the process.”

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Steven Crass, Attorney with Baker Manock & Jensen

In her annual address, Emily Rooney, president of Ag Council, commented on the challenges of working within California’s political climate. This state was built on dreams,” she said.  “California is the place where big ideas take hold. However, we are living in a highly urbanized society and some of those urban dreams may not work within the bounds of our realities. With 95 percent of the state’s residents living in urban areas, the challenge to us is, how do we fit within their dreams?”  Citing topics from homelessness to transportation as priority issues for urban legislators, Rooney went on to say, “If you took your aggie hat off for a minute and thought of yourself only as a Californian, I would think that these priorities are also concerns for you.  We probably have more in common than we think.”

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Richard Corey, Executive Officer at the California Air Resources Board

During the 98th Annual Meeting, Ag Council honored Clinton Shick with the 2017 California Cultivator Award. Shick is a life-long farmer from McFarland and served on the board of Blue Diamond Growers for more than 30 years during which time he helped lead the cooperative through unprecedented growth as chairman from 2006 through 2014. Sincere congratulations to him for this deserving award, which honors an individual who has made significant contributions to agriculture or who has demonstrated leadership and personal commitment beyond the normal expectations of a person serving the farmer-owned business sector.

California Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) was the keynote speaker during Ag Council’s Annual Dinner held March 8. “The California I grew up in believed in the individual. So many industries have grown out of our state, including film, aerospace and most notably agriculture,” he said. “Unfortunately we are now the state with the highest income tax rate, the highest corporate tax rate and the highest sales tax. How do we get back to the California that we were born and raised in?”

Citing the vast difference in backgrounds between most Republican and Democratic legislators, Wilk emphasized the need to provide information and facts in a compelling way that will help legislators, especially those from urban districts, understand agriculture. “Help them understand how important you are, by showing them how important you are.”

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Jim Pelley, Laughter Works Seminars

The General Session held the following day, and moderated by Jackson Gualco of The Gualco Group, featured Steven Crass, an attorney with Baker Manock & Jensen who spoke about labor issues; Richard Corey, Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board discussed his agency’s initiatives and their impact on agriculture; and, Jim Pelley, a former stand-up comedian and writer for Saturday Night Live who now specializes in working with major U.S. and international corporations to “smarten up by lightening up.”

A new slate of board members and officers were also seated during the annual meeting. For the next two years, Ag Council will be chaired by Carl Hoff, President & CEO of Butte County Rice Growers Association. Pete Garbani with Land O’Lakes, Jeannine Campos Grech of Campos Brothers Farms and Darren Hoff with Sun-Maid Growers will serve as Vice Chairs. Brendon Flynn will continue to serve as part of the executive committee as the Immediate Past Chairman.

A more detailed accounting of Ag Council’s recent advocacy work can be found in the organization’s 2016 Impact Report, which was released during the annual meeting. A full copy can be accessed at HERE.

Clinton Shick Honored with California Cultivator Award

During the 98th Annual Meeting, Ag Council honored Clinton Shick with the 2017 California Cultivator Award. Shick is a life-long farmer from McFarland and served on the board of Blue Diamond Growers for more than 30 years during which time he helped lead the cooperative through unprecedented growth as chairman from 2006 through 2014.

Sincere congratulations to Clinton for this deserving award, which honors an individual who has made significant contributions to agriculture or who has demonstrated leadership and personal commitment beyond the normal expectations of a person serving the farmer-owned business sector.

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From L to R: Emily Rooney, Ag Council President, Clinton Shick, & Brendon Flynn, Ag Council Chairman

Click HERE to read more about Clinton Shick.

Take the Annual Meeting Survey

If you attended Ag Council’s 98th Annual Meeting in Carlsbad, please help us plan future meetings by responding to a brief survey available HERE.Thank you, in advance, for your feedback.