Nightmare Issues For California Growers

California Grape and Tree Fruit League Roundtable

Agriculture’s influence has waned through the years in California, said an influential industry lobbyist at the 2013 meeting of the California Grape & Tree Fruit League.
At the meeting, held in Laguna Beach in March, George Soares with Kahn, Soares & Conway, LLP, moderated the keynote discussion which centered on what keeps growers and shippers awake at night. There are a whole host of problems as the state has transitioned away from an economy totally dominated by ag, said Soares, noting that in 1950 the state’s leading ag county was Los Angeles. “We were once California,” he said.

Still, the state’s nearly $40 billion ag sector is not without influence, as was reflected by the comments of an esteemed lineup of panelists: Brian Leahy, director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR); Sylvia Torres-Guillén, general counsel of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB); Charlie Hoppin, chairman of the State Water Resources Control Board; and Richard Schmidt, president & CEO of the United Agribusiness League.

Leahy — In his time as head of DPR, Leahy said he has found pesticide company leaders very responsive, and when he asked them why, they had a simple answer: “Where California goes in pesticides, the rest of the world follows.”

The only drawback to that high profile is that ag attracts a lot of attention, not all of it necessarily welcome. For example, Leahy said the president of the state’s Senate, an urban Democrat, recently asked him specifically when chlorpyriphos and chloropicrin would be phased out.

Torres-Guillén — Conceding the deep distrust of ALRB, Torres-Guillén said audience members should know that three of the eight attorneys on her staff are farmers, two of them walnut growers. She urged growers to be more aware of what’s going on in their orchards and vineyards, as many of her investigations into complaints have turned up the fact the grower wasn’t even aware of what was going on. “There’s not a single grower I’ve come across who’s not interested in peace and justice,” she said.

Hoppin — It may sound surprising to learn that Hoppin is the first grower to head up the state’s water agency, as Soares noted, but maybe that’s why he’s so quick to notice the waste. “Urban use is our biggest challenge,” he said, “especially the non-professionals.”

Being in a minority, growers face some serious problems in the future regarding access to water. “Ag is a scapegoat,” he said. “It’s easier to blame someone else than take care of your own problems.

Schmidt — What keeps him up at night is the Affordable Health Care Act. Schmidt said it’s simply not designed for a business like agriculture, with its seasonal employment. “It is anything but affordable; it’s very expensive,” he said. “At the end of the day, the ones who find it least affordable is you — the employers.”

Schmidt, who said he’s still working with other agribusiness lobbyists on getting a waiver for agriculture, is especially frustrated that conscientious employers get the short end. “What this law does is penalize the employers who’ve been providing health insurance all along,” he said. “I wish I could be more optimistic about it and tell you that it will reform health care in a meaningful way.”

Chairman Re-Elected

At its 77th annual meeting, the California Grape & Tree Fruit League re-elected Chairman of the Board Ryan Zaninovich, V.B. Zaninovich & Sons, Inc., as well as the current Board of Directors, which includes First Vice Chair David Jackson, Family Tree Farms; Second Vice Chair Harold McClarty, HMC Farms; and Secretary/Treasurer Louis Pandol, Pandol Bros., Inc.

The five new members who joined the Board of Directors are: Bo Brett, Mountain View Fruit Sales, Inc. (Reedley); Mike Jackson, Kingsburg Orchards (Kingsburg); Blair Richardson, Rivermaid Trading Co./WesPak, Inc. (Dinuba); Matt Surber, M. Caratan, Inc. (Delano); and Russ Tavlan, Moonlight Companies (Reedley).

The League also honored Herbert Kaprielian, owner of Reedley-based CRJ Farming Co. LP with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Doug Hemly of Courtland-based Greene and Hemly, Inc. presented the award to Kaprielian. The award recognizes individuals who are service-oriented, have provided long-term, consistent service to the California Grape & Tree Fruit League by serving on the Board of Directors or various committees for an extended period of time throughout their career and a person who, through their time and effort, has influenced CGTFL in a positive way. The first recipient, named in 2008, was long-time grower member and past Board chairman, Sarkis Sarabian of Sarabian Farms.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fruits Stories
Apples & Pears
April 24, 2017
Researcher Uncovers the Origins of ‘Honeycrisp’ Apple
Thanks to the scientific data available through gene sequencing, a graduate student unlocks the mystery parentage. Read More
Citrus
April 23, 2017
Bio Huma Netics, Inc., and Mesa Verde Resources Expand Product Selection
Strategic alliance between the two companies is designed to offer customers greater access to products. Read More
Washington Capitol building
Citrus
April 21, 2017
Alliance Stepping Up Efforts to Protect Specialty Crops
The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance has kicked off its efforts to communicate to Congress its priority needs for the Read More
Apples & Pears
April 21, 2017
Interpera Congress Heads to Pacific Northwest in June
International pear conference comes to the U.S. for the first time. Read More
glass of red wine
Grapes
April 20, 2017
Would You Be Willing to Pay More for Organic Wine?
While consumers might be ready to fork over more for organic produce, study says the feeling isn't quite the same when it comes to the adult beverage. Read More
UF/IFAS scientist Jonathan Crane inspects avocado trees in South Florida
Crop Protection
April 20, 2017
Beetle Battle Burgeoning for South Florida Avocado Growers
Scientists identify more species of pests that vector deadly fungus. Read More
farm labor pic for web
Citrus
April 20, 2017
Farm Labor Is in Crisis
To have a great crop potentially rot in the field because workers can’t be sourced is probably worse than a weather event taking out production. Read More
Grapes
April 19, 2017
Donnell Brown Named President of National Grape & Wine Initiative
New president brings experience in wine industry communications. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 19, 2017
Young Apple Growers Meet with Lawmakers
Apple leaders from across the country discuss ag issues such as labor, trade, and research. Read More
Barnes Farm cabbage field in Hastings, FL
Citrus
April 18, 2017
Florida Growers Seeking Inspiration Need Not Look Far
The firsthand experience of speaking with farmers and actually seeing all the hard work, knowledge, ingenuity, and people behind where our food comes from is invaluable. Read More
Farm Management
April 18, 2017
Survey Says New York Growers Lost More than 70% of Crop Last Year
Growers say they suffered more than 50% crop losses in Western New York. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 18, 2017
Researchers Say it is Time to Scout for Apple Diseases
With bloom underway, the risk for fire blight and scab are high. Read More
Fruits
April 17, 2017
How Fruit Growers Use Biocontrols [Infographic]
The editors at American Fruit Grower and Western Fruit Grower were curious about how biocontrols are impacting the industry. So we took a look at our 2017 State of the Fruit Industry Survey to see what patterns are emerging. Here's what we learned. Read More
drought management; irrigation; water management
Citrus
April 17, 2017
Florida Flush with Water Shortage Warnings
Conservation practices preached throughout the state as exceptionally dry pattern persists.  Read More
Citrus
April 17, 2017
Natural Enemies for Asian Citrus Psyllid
The eventual spread of Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening, to commercial groves in California seems inevitable. But the devastation seen Read More
The Latest
Citrus
April 24, 2017
Who Will Be Florida’s next Woman of the …
Nomination period now open for longstanding recognition from FDACS. Read More
Citrus
April 23, 2017
Bio Huma Netics, Inc., and Mesa Verde Re…
Strategic alliance between the two companies is designed to offer customers greater access to products. Read More
Citrus
April 21, 2017
Alliance Stepping Up Efforts to Protect …
The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance has kicked off its efforts to communicate to Congress its priority needs for the Read More
Crop Protection
April 20, 2017
Beetle Battle Burgeoning for South Flori…
Scientists identify more species of pests that vector deadly fungus. Read More
Citrus
April 20, 2017
Farm Labor Is in Crisis
To have a great crop potentially rot in the field because workers can’t be sourced is probably worse than a weather event taking out production. Read More
Citrus
April 18, 2017
Florida Growers Seeking Inspiration Need…
The firsthand experience of speaking with farmers and actually seeing all the hard work, knowledge, ingenuity, and people behind where our food comes from is invaluable. Read More
Farm Management
April 18, 2017
Survey Says New York Growers Lost More t…
Growers say they suffered more than 50% crop losses in Western New York. Read More
Fruits
April 17, 2017
How Fruit Growers Use Biocontrols [Infog…
The editors at American Fruit Grower and Western Fruit Grower were curious about how biocontrols are impacting the industry. So we took a look at our 2017 State of the Fruit Industry Survey to see what patterns are emerging. Here's what we learned. Read More
Citrus
April 17, 2017
Florida Flush with Water Shortage Warnin…
Conservation practices preached throughout the state as exceptionally dry pattern persists.  Read More
Citrus
April 17, 2017
Natural Enemies for Asian Citrus Psyllid
The eventual spread of Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening, to commercial groves in California seems inevitable. But the devastation seen Read More
Citrus
April 14, 2017
How Florida Growers Are Agritaining and …
Come one, come all — big and small — there are multiple ways to benefit from Agritourism. Read More
Farm Management
April 12, 2017
How California’s No-Drought Status…
Find out which previous orders are rescinded as a result of the drought being declared over — and which ones are not. Read More
Fruits
April 12, 2017
An Organic Showcase Debuts at the 2017 U…
The Expo will feature more than 40 "innovative organic products." Read More
Citrus
April 10, 2017
BASF Licenses CRISPR-Cas9 Technology for…
Genome-editing from Broad Institute has potential to be a more precise tool to improve ag products. Read More
Citrus
April 6, 2017
Mild or Wild? Here Is Your 2017 Atlantic…
Possible return of El Niño climate phase could sap strength out of any stormy scenarios. Read More
Citrus
April 5, 2017
Chlorpyrifos’ Ban Reversed: Resear…
Last week, EPA declined to ban the pesticide, which had been recommended for removal during the Obama administration. Read More
Equipment
April 4, 2017
What’s New in Tractors for Vegetab…
Take a look at these new models and retrofit opitons ideal for specialty crop growing. Read More
Citrus
March 31, 2017
FMC to Acquire Portion of DuPont Crop Pr…
Deal makes FMC the fifth largest agriculture chemical company, valued at $3.8 billion annually. Read More