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in the KNOW

November 30, 2012

Creating our Niche in the Next Legislative Session

By Emily Rooney, Ag Council President

As we approach the holiday season, we can all be thankful for the post-election peace, free of political advertising and posturing. As we reflect on the recent election, there are some lessons the staff and members of Ag Council must keep in mind.

The results of the most expensive election on record helped validate the approach Ag Council has taken in reaching out to California lawmakers. Party affiliation is a line we have to continue to bridge and cross in order to make sure all of California’s lawmakers know the value of agriculture to the state’s success.

In the Legislature, Democrats now hold a two-thirds supermajority in the state Senate, which was anticipated. Democrats also have a two-thirds veto-proof supermajority in the Assembly. A supermajority gives one political party the ability to override vetoes, avoid deadlines and more easily place constitutional changes on the ballot. This underscores the need to reach out to moderate legislators to ensure that California’s position as the number-one ag economy is secure.

We are hopeful that through continued advocacy, we will be able to influence the more reasonable lawmakers to vote with us on our key issues pertaining to labor, water, environmental and fiscal matters. This will not be an easy task, but through consistent outreach, perhaps the most-savvy legislators will be encouraged to employ more moderate behavior.

Ag Council thanks our membership for continued support of our advocacy efforts. With a single political party having a supermajority in the state Legislature, our advocacy efforts are more important now than ever.

Ag Council staff recently held a webinar to provide post-election analysis for our members. If you are an Ag Council member, and you would like information from the webinar, please contact our office at ph. 916.443.4887 or email us at: protectag@agcouncil.org .

Sun-Maid Honored with Ag Business Award

Ag Council congratulates its member, Sun-Maid Growers, for being honored with the 2012 Ag Business Award at a recent ceremony in Fresno. The annual award, sponsored by the accounting and consulting firm Baker, Peterson and Franklin, acknowledges an ag organization that has provided substantial contributions to agriculture and the Fresno community.

Upon receiving the award at the Greater Fresno Area Chamber of Commerce Ag Awards Luncheon, Sun-Maid president Barry Kriebel said, “Fresno County is the number one agricultural region in the state and the nation and there are so many deserving businesses in the area. We are honored, especially in light of this being our 100th anniversary.”

Sun-Maid is a farmer-owned business, with over 750 family farmers, and employs over 800 members of the local community. Sun-Maid production averages 100,000 tons of raisins per year generating net annual revenue of $360 million.

Sun-Maid is one of Ag Council’s founding members.  In addition, Sun-Maid’s Chairman, Jon Marthedal, is also Ag Council’s Chairman.

Debbie Jacobsen was also honored at the Fresno Chamber event as the 2012 Agriculturalist of the Year. The annual award is given to a person who demonstrates leadership and integrity in the agricultural business community. Among her many activities, Debbie is a grower with Ag Council member, Allied Grape Growers.  Ag Council extends our congratulations to her.

To watch a video recognizing Sun-Maid for the Ag Business Award, click HERE.  For a video of Debbie Jacobsen, click HERE.

Let it Snow

The National Weather Service is predicting heavy rains and gusty winds through the weekend in Northern California due to a string of storms. Rainfall of 10-20 inches is possible as well as several feet of snow in the Sierra Nevadas.

Amidst the Northern California storms, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced an initial allocation of 30 percent for State Water Project contractors in 2013. This initial allocation will likely be increased as storms continue.

DWR Director Mark Cowin said, “This week’s storms are giving us an early water supply boost, while at the same time putting our flood center on alert.”

The State Water Project’s main storage reservoir, Lake Oroville, is currently at 50 percent of capacity and 81 percent of normal for the date. The principal Central Valley Project storage reservoir for federal contractors, Shasta Lake, is at 54 percent of capacity and 88 percent of normal for the date, according to DWR.

Read more in the DWR announcement HERE.