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February 14, 2007

CDFA APPOINTS MARKETING AGREEMENT ADVISORY BOARD, ANNOUNCES FIRST MEETING

California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura named the 13-member advisory board of directors for the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement in a press release yesterday. Each board member represents a signatory to the agreement, except for the one public member. The appointees are as follows:

Salinas-Watsonville-San Joaquin Valley-Kern County District

Tom Nunes, The Nunes Company
Joe Pezzini, Ocean Mist Farms
Jamie Strachan, Growers Express LLC
Alec Leach, Taylor Farms
Eric Schwartz, Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc.
John D’Arrigo, D’Arrigo Bros of California
Dave Eldridge, NewStar Fresh Foods

Oxnard-Santa Maria District

Chris Deardorff, Deardorff Family Farms
Ryan Talley, Talley Farms
Mitch Ardantz, Bonita Packing Company

Blythe-Imperial Valley District

Jack Vessey, Vessey and Company
Eric Wexler, Tanimura and Antle
Joe Colace, Five Crowns Marketing

10 alternates have been named as well. They are:

Salinas-Watsonville-San Joaquin Valley-Kern County District

Bardin Bengard, Bengard Ranch Inc.
Charles Sweat, Natural Selection Foods
Tom Russell, Pacific International Marketing
Andrew Cummings, Metz Fresh
Ron Ratto, Ratto Bros Inc.
Steve Church, Church Bros Produce
Phil Adrian, Coastline (Sunridge Farms)

Oxnard-Santa Maria District

George Boscovich, Boscovich Farms
Glenn Teixera, Teixeria
Victor Tognazzini, Gold Coast Farms, Inc.

A public member will also be named to the board.

The board will work together to make recommendations on the operation of the marketing agreement to the secretary and CDFA, which act as facilitators as defined in the California Marketing Act of 1937.

The first meeting of the board has been scheduled for Friday February 23 at 9 a.m., at the Heidrick Ag History Center, 1962 Hays Ln., Woodland, CA.

The agreement was created by the leafy greens industry and will call on a state-enforced inspection program to verify that leafy greens handlers are complying with the Leafy Green Best Practices metrics.

To date, signatories participating in the Marketing Agreement represent more than 90 percent of leafy greens produced in California .  To demonstrate industry unity, all leafy green handlers should sign on to the Agreement as soon as possible.  Any leafy green handlers who have not received their copy of the Marketing Agreement and signature form should immediately contact CDFA and request those documents.  The contact at CDFA is: Lynn Morgan (LMorgan@cdfa.ca.gov), CDFA Marketing Division; she can be reached at (916) 341-6005 (phone) or (916) 341-6826 (fax).

For more information, contact WG’s Jasper Hempel (jhempel@WGA.com) at (949) 885-2252.  A MA Summary, a list of MA Advisory Board members, a letter to WG members and a copy of the DRAFT Leafy Green Best Practices can be found here.

A link to the marketing agreement may be found here:  California Leafy Green Products Handler Marketing Agreement (PDF)

IS AGRICULTURE DOING ENOUGH TO HELP PASS AGJOBS?

Senators Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Larry Craig (D-Idaho) and Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) have all passionately called on their colleagues in Congress to pass AgJOBS, but one sentiment out of Washington, D.C., is that the industry is not doing enough to apply pressure to those Senators and Representatives who are not eager to pass the bill.  Feinstein made it clear she wanted agriculture to weigh in on AgJOBS, and Western Growers has made it simple for members to apply that pressure. 

To contact your representatives in Congress and call on them to pass AgJOBS, click here.  ; Please contact both your Senators and House representative today (even if they already support AgJOBS).

Meanwhile, Western Growers will continue to do whatever is necessary to see this groundbreaking bill pass in 2007. 

2007 ANNUAL WAGE/BENEFIT SURVEY NOW AVAILABLE

Western Growers is again collaborating with FELS on the annual wage and benefit survey. This survey is conducted annually to provide a market reference for growers making wage and benefit decisions. Your cooperation in completing the form (anonymously) will make the tabulated results more useful for everybody. Please base your responses on what you are now paying or expect to pay in 2007.  To download and complete the survey, here.

The survey can be downloaded and completed on your PC or printed out and completed on paper, and returned by email, fax or mail to Western Growers.

Save completed form to your computer, then attach the completed form to an email and send to khansen@wga.com, or send directly to Karen Hansen at

17620 Fitch St., Irvine, Ca., 92614.  To send by fax, send to (949) 260-6611.  Please return the completed survey form by Feb. 28, 2007. 

For more information, contact WG's Jason Resnick (jresnick@wga.com) at (949) 885-2253.

2007 FREEZE

Please visit www.wga.com and click on the "2007 Freeze" link for up-to-date information regarding the cold snap that ravaged the west's agriculture industry last month.

TAIWAN’S NEW PHYTOSANITARY PROPOSAL

The Taiwan Bureau of Animal Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) is proposing new procedures to strictly inspect and regulate U.S. exports of fresh produce commodities for the Western Flower Thrip.

The proposal includes requiring an infected shipment to be returned or destroyed.  No fumigation treatment at port of entry will be permitted.  A fifth interception on the same commodity, within 30 days, will require mandatory treatment prior to export.  Also, shipments without a phytosanitary certificate will be returned or destroyed.

BAPHIQ expects to complete their draft after they finish collecting comments from importers/exporters in early March 2007. They subsequently plan on submitting a notification to the WTO for comments from member economies. USDA-APHIS would most likely receive an advance copy of the proposed rule from BAPHIQ once it is completed.

Please let us know if you are exporting to Taiwan and whether your shipments would be subject to this proposed action.  For more information, contact WG’s Ken Gilliland at (kgilliland@wga.com) at (949) 885-2267.

CHLOROPICRIN UNDER REVIEW, SURVEY AVAILABLE ON-LINE

Western Growers still needs assistance on developing feedback to the United States Environmental Protection Agency on the importance of chloropicrin toCalifornia and Arizona agriculture.  The USEPA announced in late November the availability of their current risk assessment for the fumigant chloropicrin and opened a public comment period to receive feedback and inform decisions on risk management and eligibility for continued registration of chloropicrin. After requests from Western Growers and other organizations, a 30-day extension was granted extending the comment period through February 28, 2007.

USDA and USEPA have encouraged organizations such as Western Growers to compile information on behalf of their members and submit this information to them as a package. Western Growers is working with other organizations to compile as much information on critical uses as possible and we need your help to do this. If you rely on chloropicrin as an important part of your pest management program please complete the attached survey on specific use practices and return it to WG via fax at (949) 809- 6205. We specifically need information on uses in lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, and celery crops.  The survey is available on Western Growers web site athttp://www.wga.com/Default.aspx?tabid=178 or you can access it directly by clicking here: Survey

For more information access the Federal Register Docket athttp://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main and select Environmental Protection Agency in the “Agency” dropdown box and type in EPA-HQ-OPP-2006-0661 in the “Keyword or ID” box or contact WG’s Hank Giclas (hgiclas@wga.com) at (949) 885-2205.

CALIFORNIA STRAWBERRY COMMISSION HOSTS PACA WORKSHOP

The California Strawberry Commission is hosting a PACA workshop Tuesday, Feb. 20th from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Freedom Center , located at 516 Eubanks Rd., Camarillo,Calif.

WG’s Tom Oliveri is scheduled to speak at the workshop — discussing the new USDA temperature guidelines.   

For more information or to RSVP, contact CSC’s Kathy Garnett (KGarnett@calstrawberry.org) at (831) 724-1301.

WESTERN GROWERS UNIVERSITY VISITS MODESTO, SALINAS

Western Growers University will be providing workshops in the following cities:

Modesto : February 27th – March 1st
Salinas : March 6th – March 9th

Your employees can earn continuing education units by participating in WG University’s supervisory skills program which comprises topics ranging from effective planning and interviewing skills to coaching and communication.  Three workshops on AB1825 compliant sexual harassment prevention training will also be offered (in both English and Spanish).  Please contact WG’s Anthony M. Magno (amagno@wga.com)  at (949) 885-2297 for detailed scheduling and member pricing or click here to learn more.

IWTC ANNOUNCES INAUGURAL CONFERENCE

The inaugural Int ernational Water Technology Conference, presented by Cal stateFresno, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the International Center for Water Technology, is scheduled for April 2-4 at Cal State Fresno.  The topics to be covered will range from water supply and reuse to irrigation to antimicrobial ozone: agri-foods.

The $260 early registration fee is available until March 1.  To register, visitwww.icwt.net or call (559) 278-2066. 
 

CURRENT PUBLICATIONS
WGFS Newsletter: 20/20— Click here to have access to Western Growers Financial Services' monthly newsletter. Contact Matt Lewis (mlewis@wga.com) at (949) 885-2379.