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October 7, 2015

Almond & Dairy Tour with Asm. Alejo & Karina Alejo

Pictured from L-R: Darrin Monteiro (CDI), Karina Cervantes Alejo, Assemblymember Luis Alejo, and Paulo De Carvalho (De Carvalho Brother Dairy)

Pictured from L-R: Darrin Monteiro (CDI), Karina Cervantes Alejo, Assemblymember Luis Alejo, and Paulo De Carvalho (De Carvalho Brother Dairy)

Ag Council was pleased to host Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) and his wife Karina Cervantes Alejo, who is running for the 30th Assembly District seat, for tours with our members in the dairy and almond industries on September 29.

Ag Council had a great day connecting with the Alejos, and we appreciate California Dairies, Inc. (CDI) and the Almond Hullers and Processors Association (AHPA) for their help in coordinating the tours.

The Alejos began the afternoon touring De Carvalho Brothers Dairy in Modesto, which is a member of CDI. Paulo De Carvalho hosted the group and discussed his Portuguese roots and talked about his family’s heritage in the dairy industry. The group discussed feed, water quality, food safety and other issues facing the industry while touring the dairy. Assemblyman Alejo and Karina also learned how almond hulls and shells are used in dairy feed and bedding and the connection between the dairy and almond industries was discussed. Darrin Monteiro Director of Member Relations at CDI joined the tour, as well.

Pictured from L-R: Assemblymember Luis Alejo, Karina Cervantes Alejo, Kelly Covello (AHPA), and Dexter Long (Hilltop Ranch)

Pictured from L-R: Assemblymember Luis Alejo, Karina Cervantes Alejo, Kelly Covello (AHPA), and Dexter Long (Hilltop Ranch)

Next, Ag Council member, AHPA, hosted the Alejos at Hilltop Ranch Inc., an AHPA member based in Ballico. The gathering was an opportunity to discuss water use efficiencies and water related issues in the almond industry by connecting with Dexter Long VP and General Manager at Hilltop Ranch, John Eisenhut Grower Relations Manager at Hilltop Ranch, who is also a member of the California Air Resources Board, and Kelly Covello President at AHPA. After discussing water and other issues, the group toured Hilltop Ranch, which is a privately owned processor of almonds, handling about 30,000 tons annually.

Ag Council thanks our members who participated in helping to coordinate the tours, and we greatly appreciate the Alejos for spending the day with us to learn more about our members.

Gov. Brown Signs Clean Energy & Pollution Reduction Act

Today, Governor Jerry Brown signs SB 350 by Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) mandating that 50 percent of power generation derive from renewable fuels and requiring a 50 percent increase in energy efficiency in existing buildings by the year 2030.

A provision in the bill to reduce petroleum in motor vehicles by 50 percent in California was removed from SB 350 in order to garner enough votes for passage in the Legislature. Ag Council opposed this provision and is pleased the section was removed from SB 350 before legislators passed the measure.

Ag Council awaits the outcome of numerous other bills pending on the governor’s desk. Policy issue areas include climate change, labor and water, among others. Governor Brown has until October 11 to sign or veto the bills. If he takes no action, the measures become law. Ag Council will be sure to update our members when Governor Brown makes his decisions on these measures. To view a list of key bills, please click HERE.

Coming Up on the Regulatory Front

Ag Council will participate in several upcoming regulatory workshops regarding critical issues affecting our members. First, Ag Council is attending the Air Resources Board (ARB) workshop on methane emissions from livestock and fluorinated gas emissions from refrigerant systems (short-lived climate pollutants). Second, the ARB is holding a workshop on a proposed strategy to help the state meet federal clean air standards and achieve greenhouse gas reductions from mobile sources such as cars, trucks, and a myriad of off-road equipment.

In addition, Ag Council is attending additional workshops in the coming weeks at the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). The first is focused on the Center for Environmental Health’s petition to repeal or amend Prop 65 regulations pertaining to the safe harbor level for lead. The second workshop pertains to potential new regulations that would establish background levels for certain ubiquitous chemicals, such as lead that are naturally present in unprocessed foods. OEHHA is hosting additional workshops regarding changes to Prop 65 on October 19, as well.

Ag Council will update members regarding our involvement on these issues as the regulations are developed. Please contact Ag Council if you have any questions about the regulatory workshops at ph. (916) 443-4887.