in the KNOW

February 3, 2012

State Legislation

Assembly Passes Bill Targeting State Ethanol Subsidies

This week, the state Assembly approved Assemblymember David Valadao’s (R-Hanford) measure, AB 523, to end state funding for corn-based ethanol. Valadao, a dairy farmer, secured a vote of 73-2 in favor of the legislation.

The bill prevents further funding for the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program after July 1, 2013, which is the date the program is set to expire.

Ag Council supports AB 523 given that corn-based ethanol subsidies contribute to the high cost of corn, a vital staple for many livestock producers. The measure will next be considered in the state Senate.

Click here for a Capital Press article about the bill.



Vacancies Announced for Milk Inspection Advisory Committee

Applications are being accepted for the Milk Inspection Advisory Committee within the Milk and Dairy Food Safety Branch at the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The Committee advises CDFA Secretary, Karen Ross, on regulatory and food safety issues relating to milk production and processing.

Applications are being accepted for all positions on the seven member Committee: dairy producers (2 openings), milk products plants (3 openings), Approved Milk Inspection Services (1 opening) and the general public (1 opening).

Committee members do not earn compensation, but are entitled to payment of necessary traveling expenses. Further details and Committee requirements are listed here.

Interested applicants should send a letter of interest and a brief resume by February 24, 2012 to the CDFA Milk and Dairy Food Safety Branch, Attention: Kristen Dahl, 1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 or email kristen.dahl@cdfa.ca.gov.


Member Activity

Blue Diamond Young Leaders Lobby in State Capitol

The 2012 Blue Diamond Young Leader Class, along with board members and staff, spent an afternoon in the state Capitol building last week to learn about the Legislature and meet with close to 20 legislative offices.

The Young Leaders heard from speakers including Ag Council President, Emily Rooney, Chief of Staff to Assemblymember Bill Berryhill (R-Stockton), Julia Berry, and Chief Consultant to the Assembly Agriculture Committee, Jim Collin, in addition to advocacy staff with the California Farm Bureau Federation and others.

The Young Leaders also met with various legislative offices to discuss issues of importance to them, such as water supply and regulatory reform. In addition, Blue Diamond held a dinner featuring two keynote speakers: Assemblymember Bill Berryhill (R-Stockton) and California Department of Food and Agriculture, Deputy Secretary for Legislation and Public Engagement, Jim Houston.

Ag Council congratulates the Young Leaders on a successful trip to Sacramento. As background, the program helps participants further develop communications skills, encourages networking, assists participants in the creation and operation of a successful farming business, prepares participants for leadership roles with Blue Diamond and raises participant awareness with external factors affecting their business.


Cooperative Training

New Program Launched for Cooperative Directors and Managers

The California Center for Cooperative Development is offering, along with cosponsors CoBank, USDA-Rural Development and FCCServices, a new educational program for cooperative directors and managers March 14-15, 2012 at the Visalia Convention Center.

The 2012 program features new speakers on advanced topics in governance and finance and a new track for senior management on Strategic Talent Management. On March 15th, Ag Council members Sunkist and Sunsweet will be presented as case studies in the Advanced Strategic Thinking course. For newly seated directors, the program offers Basic Cooperative Finance, as well.

For more information about the upcoming program, please click here.


Ag Council Events

Join Us for Breakfast at the World Ag Expo Featuring Columnist Dan Walters

Ag Council members and friends are invited to breakfast at the World Ag Expo in Tulare on February 15, 2012 at 9 a.m. in the Hospitality Event Center tent located at Median and S Streets on the Expo showgrounds.

Ag Council’s breakfast will feature journalist and columnist, Dan Walters, as the keynote speaker. We encourage you to attend this exciting event as Ag Council kicks off 2012.

There is no charge for the breakfast other than entry into the Expo. RSVP is required as seating is limited. Please email Rebecca Osumi at rebecca@agcouncil.org if you’d like to attend.

Register for Ag Council’s Annual Meeting in La Jolla

Ag Council members, allied members and friends can register online for our 93rd Annual Meeting March 5-7, 2012 in beautiful La Jolla, California at the Estancia Hotel and Spa. The Annual Meeting and Golf Tournament are held jointly with CoBank’s 2012 Pacific West Customer Meeting.

Ag Council’s annual dinner will feature Assemblymember Henry Perea (D-Fresno) as the keynote speaker. We also have an exciting line-up for the General Session this year. Highlights include: former Senator George Runner, Member of the Board of Equalization (BOE), who will discuss opportunities for agriculture to work with BOE and Charlie Arnot, CEO at the Center for Food Integrity, who will discuss recent consumer research completed in California focusing on how consumers look at our food system.

Click here to register online for the Annual Meeting. To reserve your hotel room, please call Estancia Hotel and Spa at ph. 858-550-1000 and ask for the special Agricultural Council of California rate of $199 per night. The hotel rate is valid through February 10, 2012.

We look forward to seeing you in La Jolla.

Golf Tournament

This year, Ag Council’s golf tournament and PAC fundraiser is at the picturesque Torrey Pines, North Course overlooking the Pacific Ocean and is held during the Annual Meeting on March 5th. Click here for further information and to sign up for the tournament. Ag Council is also seeking sponsors for the tournament. The benefits of sponsorship are detailed in the brochure here.