Ag Industry Archives - West Coast Nut

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Ag Industry



California Legislative Wrap-Up for 2019


Well this legislative year is in the books…almost. In what could have been a disastrous year from a business perspective, things weren’t nearly as bad as they could have been. But that doesn’t mean it was good either! California definitely continued on its anti-business trend; but, it just didn’t go off the deep end! As we went into the legislative session for 2019, we were looking at numbers in the Assembly of 61 Democrats, 18 Republicans and 1 vacancy. That’s not just a majority, it’s a supermajority! Similarly in the Senate, California has 29 Democrats and 11 Republicans. Again, a supermajority, and not a good sign for business. So with that in mind, let’s look at how we fared. Keep in mind there were over 2,600 bills introduced this year. Let’s look at the most pertinent. AB 5: (Gonzalez): Worker status: employees and independent contractors. This bill would state the...

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Expanded Cal/OSHA Reporting Requirements for the New Year


This year’s legislative session ended as most due, amongst a flurry of activity and last-minute wrangling to ensure bills reached the governor’s desk. In the pile, since signed by Governor Newsom, were Assembly Bills (AB) 1804 and 1805, which meaningfully modify key definitions associated with worker illness, injury and exposure. As a result of those changes, employers can expect an increase in the number of workplace incidents that now must be reported to Cal/OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health). It’s important to understand what’s different and how this will impact your operation in the new year. Key Definition Changes While modifications to how something is defined may not sound like a big change, in this case, a few words removed and added will have a potentially meaningful impact for employers. AB 1805 modified California Labor Code Section 6302(h) defining “serious injury or illness” by removing the caveat that incidents requiring hospitalization...

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Farm Spotlight: Burroughs Family Farms


Like many of the farms in California’s Central Valley, Burroughs Family Farms is the current iteration of a generational legacy spanning all the way back to the early 1900’s. A humble start as milk delivery service in the East Bay soon grew to a dairy, then a move to the Valley allowed for expansion. Three generations and 1,100 acres in, what was once the old way of farming is now becoming new—organic and regenerative. Transitioning to Organic “We were conventional farmers up until 2000,” says Benina Montes, owner and manager of Burroughs Family Farms. “We farmed almonds conventionally, but used compost and manures to fertilize the trees.” Growing up around beef cattle, dairy, and almonds, Montes was familiar with a cyclical agricultural structure, but her family partnership was interested in ways to diversify the almond aspect of the farm. At the time the family was becoming interested in organic farming...

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Honey bees, Small but Impactful


The honey bee may be small in size, but the impact it has on agriculture is enormous. It has been reported the value of the European honey bee, Apis mellifera L., to pollination services is estimated to be more than $217 billion globally and $20 billion in the United States annually. In California alone, about one-third of agricultural revenue comes from pollinator-dependent crops. In the world of nut crops, the honey bee is as important to the crop as the crop is to the bee. And no nut crop needs them more than California almonds. And likewise, no single crop matters more to beekeepers’ bottom lines than the state's almond pollination, which is reported to make up over a third of U.S. beekeeping revenues. The critical role of the honey bee is well researched and documented at the E. L. Niño Bee Lab at University of California (UC Davis). The...

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With SB1 in the Rear-View Mirror, California Can Now Look Toward the Future


We applaud Governor Newsom’s veto of SB1, legislation that would have blocked efforts aimed at finding collaborative solutions to water supply and ecosystem challenges. He chose to calmly focus on the long-term rather than get caught up in the politics of the moment, which is often difficult. But it’s critical because what’s at stake is nothing short of California’s water future. Voluntary Agreements Now that the path is clear, the Voluntary Agreements (VAs) on water can move forward. These agreements represent a completely new way to manage our water supply and environment because they are cooperative efforts between all water users including farms, cities, conservationists and rural communities. The process of developing a framework for the VA’s is close to completion. According to a July update letter by California Secretary Jared Blumenfeld and California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot, by mid-October they expect, “to have the modeling and scientific...

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