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March 13, 2015

Ag Council Gathers for 96th Annual Meeting in San Francisco

More than 160 agricultural leaders met in San Francisco March 4-6 to discuss key issues impacting California’s number one industry during Ag Council’s Annual Meeting, which was held in conjunction with CoBank’s Pacific West Customer conference.

“The need for an organization like Ag Council has never been greater,” said Rich Hudgins, whose 2-year term as Ag Council’s chairman concluded at this meeting. Hudgins is the current president and CEO of the California Canning Peach Association.

Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, addresses Annual Meeting attendees.

Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, addresses Annual Meeting attendees.

In his opening remarks at the Ag Council Delegate Body Meeting, Hudgins said, “2014 was both challenging and rewarding for our membership. Challenging—because of the myriad of issues we faced, including the historic drought that is ongoing. Rewarding—because we have seen our organization continue to grow. Our success at Ag Council is sometimes difficult to measure as our metrics revolve around our ability to educate legislators and regulators. Oftentimes a win is simply avoiding an adverse outcome; however, the tireless work of our board and our staff has allowed us to continue to make important strides in Sacramento.”

During the Delegate Body Meeting, President Emily Rooney updated the membership about Ag Council’s accomplishments during the past year. The organization has had three years of consecutive membership growth, and has added additional staff to aid in strategic development.

Rooney highlighted some of Ag Council’s advocacy efforts, as well as legislative work, including the passage of Propositions 1 and 2—the water bond and rainy day fund measures—and the ongoing efforts that will now ensue with implementation.

Ag Council’s Annual Dinner on March 4, featured keynote speaker Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto). “This year we are faced with the ongoing challenge of sustaining our water supply. This is the number one crisis facing us in the state of California today, and it is connected to so many of our other problems—job growth being the most important. Economic recovery in California is not a reality as long as we continue to face a drought. We have to keep the water crisis top of mind with not just legislators, but with everyday consumers,” Olsen said.

During the General Session, water continued to be the primary focus. The session featured Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board; David Gutierrez, program manager for the Department of Water Resource’s Groundwater Sustainability Program; and Gordon Fowler, CEO and president of 3fold Communications, a multi-million dollar marketing agency with clients in 25 states.

To continue reading the Annual Meeting summary and to view photos from the event, click HERE.

Mike Emigh Honored with California Cultivator Award

Rich Hudgins, Ag Council chairman and president of the California Canning Peach Association, presents the California Cultivator Award to Mike Emigh, who is past president of Valley Fig Growers and who also previously served as Ag Council chairman.

Rich Hudgins, Ag Council chairman and president of the California Canning Peach Association, presents the California Cultivator Award to Mike Emigh, who is past president of Valley Fig Growers and who also previously served as Ag Council chairman.

Ag Council’s honored Mike Emigh as the recipient of the 2015 California Cultivator Award on March 5. Emigh was president of Valley Fig Growers, a grower-owned marketing cooperative of dried figs located in Fresno, Calif. from 1997 to 2013. He began working with the cooperative in 1984, first serving as vice president of finance. He is a past chairman of Ag Council.

“As chairman of Ag Council, Mike was critical to the successful transition between our executive presidents, setting us on the path that has brought us to our current success,” said Rich Hudgins during the award presentation. “Simply put, Mike was the right guy, in the right place at the right time for this organization.”

Since moving to the San Joaquin Valley in 1978, Emigh was heavily involved in agriculture in both his career that began with Sun-Maid Growers of California, and his civic work. He is a past chairman of the California Fig Advisory Board and also currently serves on the DFA of California Board.

During his tenure at Valley Fig Growers, Mike was instrumental in creating a more environmentally friendly footprint for the plant. An anaerobic digester was installed to reduce the amount of wastewater the facility discharged into the City of Fresno’s sewer system, freeing up sewer capacity to accommodate the equivalent of 2,500 homes. The digester also produces biogas, which is used to heat water for plant operations. Under Emigh’s management, the facility’s energy requirements were further mitigated with the installation of a solar array that provides 60 percent of its electrical power needs.

In accepting his award, Emigh described his roots in agriculture, growing up on a farm in Kansas, and then moving with his family to Nevada. “I love agriculture. The people who produce our food are the salt of the earth. I am very proud of my involvement in this industry, and especially my time involved with Ag Council. It has been one of the most fulfilling times of my career,” Emigh said.

Impact Report Revealed at Annual Meeting

ImpactReportCover_2014.114919On March 5, Ag Council released its 2014 Impact Report during the Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Ag Council’s regulatory and legislative advocacy work is detailed in the report, among other efforts.

Click HERE to view and read the 2014 Impact Report.

Thank You to our Sponsors

Ag Council expresses appreciation to the following members for their generous support of our Annual Meeting, as well as the Golf Tournament.  We thank you.

Ag Council extends a special thank you to our Annual Meeting partner, CoBank.

Annual Meeting Sponsors

Platinum
Farm Credit (American AgCredit, CoBank, Farm Credit West, Fresno Madera Farm Credit, and Golden State Farm Credit)

Fruit Growers Supply Company/Sunkist Growers
Nationwide

Silver

Allied Grape Growers
Blue Diamond Growers
Land O’Lakes
Pacific Coast Producers
Sunsweet Growers

General 
Butte County Rice Growers Association
DFA of California
Morrison & Company
Sun-Maid Growers of California
The Gualco Group, Inc.

Golf Tournament Sponsors

Platinum

Blue Diamond Growers

Gold

Butte County Rice Growers Association
CALAMCO
Farm Credit (American AgCredit, CoBank, Farm Credit West, Fresno Madera Farm Credit and Golden State Farm Credit)
Moss Adams, LLP
Paramount Farms
Raisin Bargaining Association

Silver
Almond Hullers and Processors Association
Bank of the West
Central California Almond Growers Association
Edgewood Partners Insurance Center (EPIC)
Farm Credit Leasing
Pacific Coast Producers