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February 26, 2016

Paul Martin to be Honored with California Cultivator Award

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Paul Martin, Ag Council’s 2016 California Cultivator Award recipient

Paul Martin, a lifelong dairy producer and champion of agriculture, will be honored with Ag Council’s 2016 California Cultivator Award at a lunch held during Ag Council’s Annual Meeting at the Meritage Resort in Napa on March 8, 2016.

“Paul received enthusiastic nominations because of his reputation for stepping up to the plate,” said Emily Rooney, president of Ag Council. “His work with Western United Dairymen (WUD), first as director of environmental services for 13 years, and then as interim CEO in 2015, characterized his reputation as someone who creates collaboration among stakeholders. He helped guide the California dairy industry through several challenges related to environmental regulation during his tenure at WUD to create workable solutions for producers and regulators.”

Martin was an owner-operator of Paul and Jill Martin Dairy for 30 years before he became director of environmental services for WUD in 1999. He held that position for 13 years before being appointed to Governor Brown’s Office of Business and Economic Development from 2012 to 2014. Martin’s leadership skills were again called upon by Western United Dairymen to serve as interim CEO in 2015.

“Mr. Martin is the true embodiment of agricultural leadership, so much so that he has had to ‘retire’ three times, since his capabilities are so in demand,” wrote Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross in her letter of support for Martin’s nomination for the Cultivator Award. “He has served the agricultural industry for so many years as an effective leader who has developed effective partnerships addressing environmental concerns of air and water quality. At times of crisis or extreme challenges, Mr. Martin is a level-headed leader, always thoughtful and proactive.”

This special award is given to individuals who clearly have made significant contributions to agriculture, or have demonstrated leadership and personal commitment to the industry. These contributions can be in areas such as proven leadership and dedication, innovation and/or environmental stewardship.

For more information about Ag Council’s Annual Meeting March 7-9, 2016 in Napa, where Paul Martin will be honored, please contact Jennifer Johnson at jennifer@agcouncil.org.

Bill Proposes New Ag Overtime Wage Requirements

321626901Ag Council opposes a bill recently submitted in the California State Legislature to establish new overtime wage requirements for agricultural workers.

AB 2757 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) repeals the current overtime wage law in California for agricultural workers, which pays overtime after 10 hours, and phases in a new overtime wage law for agricultural workers over the course of four years culminating in a requirement to pay overtime after eight hours in one day or 40 hours in a week by the year 2020.

California law already requires overtime pay for agricultural workers after 10 hours in one day, which recognizes the flexibility that farmers and employees need given the variable nature and seasonality of farming. Our state is only one of four in the nation to provide overtime for agricultural workers.

AB 2757 adds an unnecessary regulatory burden onto agriculture and makes it difficult to remain competitive. A hearing has not yet been scheduled for the bill.

TAKE ACTION – Please join Ag Council in opposing AB 2757 by clicking the link HERE to send an opposition letter to your state legislator.

Draft Groundwater Regulations Released

321998601The Department of Water Resources (DWR) released draft groundwater regulations on February 19 to guide local agencies and Groundwater Sustainability Agencies in the management of groundwater basins as required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2014. Ag Council is reviewing the regulations and will be submitting comments to DWR in March.

Per SGMA, local control remains the focus. As the DWR program manager for the groundwater sustainability program, David Gutierrez, told Ag Council members during a meeting at the World Ag Expo recently in Tulare, “Groundwater is best managed at the local level.” The locals “should be in the driver’s seat and will make the new law successful.”

To read more about the draft regulations, click HERE.