(559) 674-5661 - Madera County | Farm Bureau

Madera County
Farm Bureau
5 things to look
for as govt
writes new
dietary advice
agriculture today
January 2015
Vol. 5, No. 1
See Page 3
Front Page
Call Today to RSVP for our
CPR/First Aid Training – Spanish
February 17th 9:00 am-2:00 pm
Madera County Farm Bureau
Upcoming Safety Trainings
February 10, 2015 - Spanish
Supervisor & Farm Worker Safety
Time: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Farm Bureau Member - $100 per person
Non-member - $200 per person
This course includes: Supervisors are
an integral part of a company’s success, ensuring worker efficiency and
operational effectiveness. In this seminar, supervisors learn critical information covering:
• Heat Illness Prevention Training
• Sexual Harassment Prevention Training (AB-1825 & AB-2053 compliant)
• Safety and Health Laws & Regulations
RSVP By: February 6, 2015
February 19, 2015 - English
Manager Training
Time: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Farm Bureau Member - $100 per person
Non-member - $300 per person
This course includes: Managers are an
integral part of a company’s success,
ensuring worker efficiency and operational effectiveness. In this seminar,
managers learn critical information
• MSPA Compliance Training
• Workers Compensation Training
• Joint Employer Liability
RSVP By: February 16, 2015
March 12, 2015 – Spanish
Supervisor & Farm Worker Safety
Time: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Farm Bureau Member - $100 per person
Non-member - $200 per person
This course includes: Supervisors are
an integral part of a company’s success, ensuring worker efficiency and
operational effectiveness. In this seminar, supervisors learn critical informa-
tion covering:
• Hiring and Intake Process Training
• Wage and Hour Overview
RSVP By: March 9, 2015
March 26, 2015 - Spanish
Pesticide Handler
Train – The – Trainer
Time: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Farm Bureau Member - $100 per person
Non-member - $200 per person
This course, which is required by the
California Department of Pesticide
Regulation, is designed specifically for
pesticide handlers and fieldworker
training. This seminar will cover topics including pesticide exposure, signs
and symptoms of illness, emergency
medical care, proper use of personal
protective equipment, safe handling
and transportation of pesticides and
laws and regulations regarding labels
and safety data sheets. In addition,
participants will learn effective training techniques. Once participants
have successfully completed this
training, they will be able to submit an
application to the state to be able to
issue the blue WPS cards.
RSVP By: March 23, 2015
Please call the MCFB office to get your
name on the RSVP list at (559) 674-8871
or send us an email at [email protected]
com. You can also visit our website www.
maderafb.com and print out the registration forms and fax them to (559) 6740529.
(559) 674-8871
Executive Committee Meeting,
1:00 p.m., MCFB Conference
Room, 1102 South Pine Street,
Madera (559) 674-8871, info @
17 MCFB & American Red Cross
CPR/First Aid Training, Spanish
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Ben Hayes
Hall, 1102 South Pine Street,
Madera (559) 674-8871, info @
19 MCFB & AgSafe Managers Meeting: MSPA Compliance, Workers’
Compensation Insurance Requirements, English 8:00 a.m. – 12:00
p.m. Ben Hayes Hall, 1102 South
Pine Street, Madera (559) 6748871, info @ www.maderafb.com
Executive Committee Meeting,
1:00 p.m., MCFB Conference
Room, 1102 South Pine Street,
Madera (559) 674-8871, info @
10 MCFB Board of Directors Meeting,
12:00 p.m., MCFB Ben Hayes Hall,
1102 South Pine Street, Madera
(559) 674-8871, info @ www.maderafb.com
12 Supervisor & Farm Worker Safety
Training, Hiring & Intake Process,
Wage & Hour Overview: Spanish
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., MCFB
Ben Hayes Hall, 1102 South Pine
Street, Madera (559) 674-8871,
info @ www.maderafb.com
26 Supervisors & Workers Pesticide
Handler, Train–The–Trainer, Spanish 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., MCFB
Ben Hayes Hall, 1102 South Pine
Street, Madera (559) 674-8871,
info @ www.maderafb.com
2 | January 2015
Madera County Farm Bureau
President’s Message
Happy New Year and may 2015 be a bountiful one for all!
With the glow of the
holidays fading into
the sunset of last year,
January has always
been a good month to
look forward to a long
period of new prosAl Sheeter
pects, possibilities, and
choices. One way to
make the necessary decisions needed
during the next twelve months is to
base them on an inventory of one’s
assets and liabilities.
Membership in the Madera County
Farm Bureau certainly has only one
place on your inventory list—the
asset column! I know of few, if any,
commitments that return more value
for your dollar that belonging to our
area’s only comprehensive agricultural
advocacy organization!
Just looking over the past month,
there have been numerous meetings,
both public and private, that have
concentrated on groundwater changes
that have the potential to impact
every farmer in Madera County.
Despite the focus on what MCFB
Executive Director Anja Raudabough
calls “the biggest issue of our time,”
attendance at these gatherings by
farming representatives has been
minimal save for the staff and board
members of MCFB. Groundwater
regulation and control is but one issue that our Farm Bureau vigilantly
focuses on every day to make sure
that our rural way of life in Madera
County is protected and preserved!
There’s also poorly planned urban development, high-speed rail intrusion,
suspect governmental actions, questionable endangered species rulings…
the list goes on and on.
Madera County Farm Bureau News
2014 - 2016 Executive Committee
President: Al Sheeter
First Vice President: Jay Mahil
Second Vice President/Treasurer: Michael Naito
Secretary: Nick Davis
Appointed by President: Dennis Meisner Jr
Appointed by President: Tom Rogers
Immediate Past President: Tom Coleman
Directors at Large
Mathew Andrew
Robert Cadenazzi
H. Clay Daulton
Stephen Elgorriaga
Jim Erickson
Michele Lasgoity
Neil McDougald
Jeff McKinney
Dino Petrucci
Pat Ricchiuti
Robert Sahatjian
Chris Wylie
California Farm Bureau - District 9 Director
Anthony Toso
California Farm Bureau Committee
Policy Recommendation – H. Clay Daulton
Air & Environmental Issues – H. Clay Daulton
California Farm Bureau Commodity Representatives
Bee – Ryan Cosyns
Beef – H. Clay Daulton
Grape – Jay Mahil
Specialty Crops – Tom Rogers
Office Staff
Executive Director: Anja K. Raudabaugh
Executive Assistant: Normalee G. Castillo
Madera County Farm Bureau
1102 South Pine Street
Madera, CA 93637
(559) 674-8871; www.maderafb.com
Just stop for a second and put a
value on your time for the equivalent
of one hour. Then multiply that value
by one hundred. That conservatively
is the number of hours spent by the
MCFB staff and Directors in local
meetings in December 2014 representing your agricultural interests in
Madera County. Then you can double
that result to factor in the time spent
on issues of statewide and national
importance that will also influence
your farming operation. And this
is for only one month of the year in
terms of meeting attendance! Do you
think that the return on investment
(in this case your annual dues) is
worth it? As the late, great comedian
Dick Martin used to say, “You bet
your sweet bippy” it is!
The Madera County Farm Bureau
is the only voluntary, non-govern-
Farm Bureau
Membership Benefits
Allied Insurance, Health Net,
Nationwide Agribusiness,
State Compensation Insurance Fund,
VPI Pet Insurance
News and Entertainment
AgAlert, California Country Mag & T.V.
Mid-Valley Publishing
1130 G Street, Reedley, CA 93654
Dodge Trucks, Vans and SUV’s, Vehicle Rentals,
Avis, Budget, Budget Trucks, Hertz
Advertising Sales
Debra Leak
(559) 638-2244
Grainger, Kelly-Moore Paints,
Dunn Edwards Paints
Normalee G. Castillo
Periodical Postage
Paid at Fresno, California 93706
Send address changes to:
Madera County Farm Bureau
1102 South Pine Street, Madera, CA 93637
The Madera County Farm Bureau
does not assume responsibility for
statements by advertisers or for products
advertised in Madera County Farm Bureau.
Choice Hotels, Wyndham Hotels
Business Services
Anderson Marketing,
Farm Bureau Bank,
Farm Employers Laborers Service,
Land’s End Business Outfitters
Health Services
Clear Value Hearing,
Farm Bureau Prescription discount program,
LensCrafters, Preferred Alliance
Contact the MCFB Office at (559) 674-8871
or www.maderafb.com for details.
mental, non-profit organization that
is dedicated to the support and preservation of agriculture throughout
Madera County. Your membership
should be at the top of your asset list.
Make sure your enrollment is up to
date, encourage and advocate membership to your fellow farmers and
citizens at large, and let’s all get ready
for another year of successful farming!
MCFB welcomes the following new
Agricultural (producer), Associate
(consumer) Collegiate, and Business
Support members who joined in
December & January:
Cody Chytka
D & J Ag Labor Services Madera
Thomas Deniz
Michael McClaran
Nancy McLaskey
Patsy Pope
Samra Sarbjit
Yua Thao
To become a member call
New MCFB Donors
MCFB would like to thank all of our
members who help support our work
through their voluntary contributions
for the months of December &
Diepersloot Dairy
Duane G. Blech
Gary Foth
Gerald W. Cederquist
Helen Ford
Marion Overgaard
Midland Tractor Company
Muir Trail Ranch
Poythress Farms
Ryan A. Cosyns
To become a Donor
call 674-8871
January 2015 | 3
Madera County Farm Bureau
Executive Directors Address
Happy New Year from the Madera County Farm Bureau!
With well wishes
and prayers of hopeful rain to come in the
forecast –we’re hoping
for another year of
peace and plenty.
The Board of Director’s has officially
lodged a Notice of
Default against the
California High
Speed Rail Authority
(Authority) –based on serious defaults
and violations of the Court-Approved
Settlement Agreement between the
Authority and the Farm Bureaus –
Madera and Merced. The defaults
are associated with the Authority’s
acquisition of property in Madera
County. Failure to timely remedy the
violations will result in the Authority
being required to go back to Court for
judicial enforcement of the Settlement
Agreement. A copy of the Notice of
Default and other related materials can
be found on the MCFB website, www.
On a brighter note –please save the
date for our Annual Wine Tasting
event, which will be held on Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 –at Appellation
California (ApCal). This year’s event is
introducing a new local specialty –Beer!
We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with our outstanding local wineries as well. This event is entirely tax
deductible and proceeds go toward our
Scholarship Fund. Please contact the
office for more information or if you’re
interested in sponsoring the event.
Our office is also busy setting up our
new and improved wave of Spring safe-
ty trainings –sponsored by Agri-Land
Farming and Foster and Parker Insurance. We are offering many different
types of compliance trainings this year;
including train the trainer pesticide and
hazards awareness, overtime and wage
law compliance, heat stress and sexual
harassment training –and CPR and
First Aid. Please call the office or visit
our website for more information.
We look forward to serving our
membership in the upcoming year –
Keep Planting, Growing, and Picking!
By Mary Clare Jalonick
Associated Press
advice. They also
form the basis for
the government’s
“My Plate” icon,
which replaced
the food pyramid
a few years ago.
A government
advisory committee made up of medical and nutrition experts is set to issue
preliminary recommendations this month.
It indicated in draft recommendations
circulated in December that it may suggest
some changes in current dietary advice.
The secretaries of the Agriculture and
Health and Human Services Departments
will take those recommendations into account as they craft the final 2015 guidelines, expected by the end of the year.
Five things to watch for as the government begins writing the new guidelines:
The 2010 dietary guidelines recommended generally reducing caloric intake
from sugars added during food processing
or preparation. Those sugars act the same
in the body as naturally occurring sugars,
but add empty calories.
In its draft recommendations, this year’s
advisory committee is suggesting specific
limits on added sugars for the first time,
advising that only 10 percent of calorie in-
5 things to look for as govt writes new dietary advice
See Advice; Page 10
Foster & Parker
• Home • Farm • Business
• Auto • Health • Life
Call for your FREE heat safety
training materials package
Steve Barsotti
www.fosterparker.com CA Lic. #0551757
1643 N. Schnoor Ave • Madera
WASHINGTON — You’ve heard it
before: Eat fewer calories, more fruits and
more vegetables. Those recurring themes
as well as some new advice about sugar,
salt, meat and caffeine could be part of the
government’s upcoming dietary guidelines
for healthy eating.
Whether individuals listen or not, the
dietary guidelines affect nutritional patterns throughout the country — from
federally subsidized school lunches to
labels on food packages to your doctor’s
4 | January 2015
Madera County Farm Bureau
Advocacy Group’s Video of Hens Raises
Questions, but Not Just for Farms
By Stephanie Strom and Sabrina
New York Times
An animal rights group released
Thursday a disturbing video of laying
hens at a farm in Northern California
that supplies eggs to Whole Foods and
Organic Valley, among other retailers
and distributors.
The group, Direct Action Everywhere,
contended that the hens’ treatment was
inhumane and said it planned to protest
this weekend at Whole Food stores in a
number of American cities.
The hens in the video belong to
Petaluma Farms, whose owners assert
that the group is distorting and exaggerating the conditions under which its
organic and conventional eggs are raised
and sold under the brands Judy’s Family
Farm and Rock Island. It also supplies
eggs sold by Whole Foods stores in
Northern California under the grocer’s
365 label, and it accounts for more than
4 percent of the eggs sold by Organic
This latest dispute over the treatment
of animals used in food production
provides an example of how prevalent
the use of graphic videos as a publicity
tactic is becoming. (This week, the Humane Society unveiled its own “exposé”
of conditions at a slaughtering facility
in Minnesota.) But these videos can
also be mystifying, if not misleading, for
consumers paying attention to the varying certification standards of humane
treatment available to producers and
companies selling animal-based food.
According to Wayne Hsiung, a
founder of Direct Action Everywhere,
the video footage was obtained by a
small team of activists who climbed over
a barbed wire fence into a Petaluma
Farms facility at 700 Cavanaugh Lane,
in Petaluma, Calif., about 10 times
between the summer of 2013 and this
past fall.
Barns there house hens raised according to organic standards, producing eggs
certified as organic, as well as laying
hens that are raised conventionally, according to Steve Mahrt, the owner of
Petaluma Farms. The welfare of the organic birds at the Cavanaugh Lane facility, as well as a few organic hens housed
at another Petaluma Farms location,
has also met the standards of Certified
Humane, an animal welfare certification program operated by the nonprofit
group Humane Farm Animal Care.
While Mr. Hsiung criticized Whole
Foods’s animal welfare policy, calling a
five-step program “five steps of cruelty,”
the egg producer took exception to the
generalizations made by the group.
Mr. Mahrt said the video produced
by Direct Action Everywhere “isn’t
anywhere indicative of our operation
— they had to go through 15 barns off
and on over a year to find three chickens
they could use to make their point in
this video.”
He said he was confident that only
three birds were featured in the video
and that none of them were from his
organic flock.
“This scares me to death because
there’s avian influenza out there, salmonella, all sorts of things these people
could have tracked into those barns,”
Mr. Mahrt said, accusing them of
trespassing. (On Wednesday, Politico
reported that about 30 countries have
banned imports of American poultry
because of an avian flu outbreak in
Washington State and Oregon.)
For his part, Mr. Hsiung said Direct
Action Everywhere had found dozens
of chickens in poor condition but had
highlighted only a few in the video.
Still, experts debated exactly what was
wrong with the hens depicted in the
video. Is the forlorn-looking, nearly bald
hen a victim of feather pecking, a behavioral tic acquired by chickens in close
quarters? Or is the hen simply molting?
Andrew Gunther, program director of
Animal Welfare Approved, another certification group, said he saw signs in the
video of feather pecking, molting and
treading, which happens when a rooster
cleans its claws on a hen’s back while
having intimate relations. “It’s pretty difficult to audit by photograph, but what
I’m seeing is very poor management, not
systemic failure,” Mr. Gunther said.
And what Direct Action Everywhere
called “debeaking” was described by Mr.
Gunther and other experts as “beak
trimming” or “tipping,” in which a portion of the beak is removed to prevent
a chicken in close quarters from feather
pecking and cannibalism.
Trimming is allowed by Certified
Humane, but only when done by an
expert and before a bird is 10 days old.
“With any group of more than 110 hens
together, you have feather pecking and
the risk of cannibalism, and we don’t
think that’s good animal welfare,” said
Adele Douglass, the founder of Humane
Farm Animal Care.
Ms. Douglass said Petaluma Farms’s
certification had expired in June. She
said it had applied for recertification but,
because of staffing issues at her organization, the inspection required to renew
the certification has not yet been done.
The video also pinpoints differences
that arise through certification from one
source or another. Certified Humane
allows trimming, Animal Welfare Approved does not. “A lot of the behaviors
that you’re trimming beaks for are the
result of tight confinement,” Mr. Gunther said. “Instead of trimming, you can
let birds go outdoors, you can change
the breed.”
A consumer, however, has almost no
quick way of recognizing the varied criteria amid a number of groups offering
Only organic certification is designated by a single seal, indicating compliance with a federal law. “Other than
doing some personal research and going
online to see what different certification
labels require, it gets tricky for consumers — and for us, too,” said A.C. Gallo,
president and chief operating officer of
See Video; Page 11
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Pole and Chain Saws
Coveralls and Footwear
Pruning Tools
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(559) 352-0926
Madera, CA
January 2015 | 5
Madera County Farm Bureau
IMMIGRATION: Farmworkers may seek greener pastures
President Obama’s initiative to provide work permits to potentially millions of
undocumented immigrants could lead some to leave fields.
By David Olson
Riverside Press-Enterprise
Every summer, Ben Drake scrambles
to find enough workers to pick wine
grapes in his fields outside Temecula.
He worries that President Obama’s
executive action on immigration, which
will allow potentially millions of undocumented immigrants access to three-year
work permits, could make it even more
“I can provide good wages for three
months during the harvest,” Drake said
of migrant workers. “But I don’t have
work for them year-round.”
Like other growers, Drake believes
some of his migrant employees may
abandon farm work for more stable
About four million people are expected
to be eligible for the executive action, ac-
cording to estimates from the Migration
Policy Institute. The main beneficiaries
are parents of U.S. citizens and legal
residents who can prove they have lived
in the United States for at least five years.
The executive action will protect recipients from deportation and allow them to
work legally in the United States.
“Legal status tends to help workers
get better jobs,” said Todd Sorensen,
an expert on the economic effects of
immigration and until recently an assistant professor of economics at UC
Riverside. “Agricultural jobs are not the
better jobs, so I would expect people who
are undocumented would move out of
Other jobs that typically pay low
wages -- such as dishwashing and other
food-service work -- also may lose some
immigrant workers, said Sorensen, who
is now at the University of Nevada.
CA High Speed Rail Authority holding following meetings:
Chowchilla Fairgrounds,
Little Theater
Tuesday, January 20
4:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
1000 S. Third Street
Chowchilla, CA 93610
Fairmead Elementary School,
Wednesday, January 21
4:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
19421 Avenue 22 ¾
Chowchilla, CA 93610
Without work permits, many undocumented immigrants avoid switching jobs,
because of the risks of working illegally,
he said.
About half of U.S. agricultural workers
are not authorized to work in the United
States, according to U.S. Department of
Labor estimates.
Drake said he checks the identification
documents that his workers present him
and hires them if the documents appear
to be legitimate. But he acknowledged
that the government has in the past notified him of workers who had social security numbers that did not match up with
their names, indicating they were in the
country illegally. He said he dismissed
those workers.
Drake, 65, grows grapes and avocados
on 1,150 acres near Temecula. Every
July, he gets nervous about finding the
12 to 14 temporary workers he needs for
the grape harvest, in addition to about a
dozen employees who work year-round
in the vineyards.
He typically pays between $9.75 to
$10.50 an hour for pruning and other
off-season work. But during harvests, he
said he pays an average of $14 to $16 an
hour -- well above the $10.80 average
farmworker wage that the Department
of Labor found in 2012.
But that can’t compete with a yearround job, including positions in construction, which often pay more, he said.
“I had two guys who just left me and
then went to work in construction,”
Drake said.
During Riverside County’s torrid
growth in the early and mid-2000s,
when seas of new homes seemingly went
up overnight, many farmworkers left the
fields for construction sites, said Steve
Pastor, executive director of the Riverside
County Farm Bureau.
“During the boom years of construction, it was awfully hard to find workers,”
he said.
That was without a presidential executive action that allows many undocumented immigrants to legally work in
the United States.
As the Inland region’s economy
See Immigration; Page 8
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6 | January 2015
Madera County Farm Bureau
Fallowing used to be a dirty word, but not anymore
By Lois Henry
Bakersfield Californian
A few years ago, no one in the ag or
water worlds would dare utter the “f ”
word, even amongst themselves.
Yesterday, I heard it used openly. On
the radio, no less.
I’m talking about “fallowing,” or
purposely retiring productive farmland.
(What “f ” word were you thinking?
Dirty birds.)
Fallowing productive land used to
be anathema to just about everyone
involved in agriculture.
But outlooks have changed, largely
due to the groundwater sustainable act
passed last year.
“The ag community has known
longer and better than anyone that our
groundwater is not sustainable. The
basin is greatly over drafted. We aren’t
putting water back in the bank as fast
as we’re taking it out,” said Tricia Stever
Blattler, director of the Tulare County
Farm Bureau, who told Joe Moore on
Valley Public Radio’s “Valley Edition”
Tuesday that land fallowing will have
to be a part of how groundwater is
managed in the future.
I was struck by Stever Blattler’s
matter-of-fact summation of such a
delicate topic. So I called to ask her
more about this heretofore heretical
She’s not in favor of fallowing, she
stressed. But it can’t be ignored in this
new age.
“It is going to have to be a big part of
the conversation going forward. And it
will be a tough conversation.”
And it’s not just all about ag, she said.
Real estate developers, cities, counties
and others are all groundwater extractors. Their land uses will come under
scrutiny as well.
She predicted the law will be a major
game changer in how the San Joaquin
Valley does business in the future.
The law gives broad policing authority to each region’s groundwater sustainability agencies (which must be in place
by 2017, with a sustainability plan to
the state by 2020.)
Those agencies will have the ability to require well monitoring, receive
information about extractions, limit
or allocate water based on a safe yield
formula, curtail where wells are placed,
and consider land fallowing.
That’s a lot of power, Stever Blattler
“So it may not be easy, but ag must be
involved in the conversation and make
it as broad and transparent as possible,”
Stever Blattler said. “It’s better to be at
the table than on the menu.”
Here in Kern County, a Groundwater
Authority has already been formed and
most players are on board.
When I asked Eric Averett, director
of the authority, about Stever Blattler’s
views on fallowing, he agreed it will
be one of the tools to achieve sustainSee Fallowing; Page 7
January 2015 | 7
Madera County Farm Bureau
Continued from Page 6
How much land are we talking
He couldn’t say other than to note
that in some areas of Kern where
groundwater depletion is significant,
fallowing could be significant as well.
When farmland goes out of production, it takes jobs and taxes with it so
this isn’t just a theoretical discussion. It
will have real effects.
Averett said some agricultural water
districts have already begun fallowing
land but in a more “market-based” approach.
That means the water is more valuable than the crops it used to grow.
Up north, the Oakdale Irrigation
District is proposing to pay farmers
to voluntarily fallow more than 1,100
acres so it can sell about 4,000 acre feet
of water to out-of-county buyers for an
estimated $1.6 million (about $400 per
acre foot).
That’s similar, with one major difference, to a deal Buena Vista Water
Storage District, here in Kern County,
put together last year.
Buena Vista made headlines when it
sold 12,000 acre feet of water for $14
million (about $1,000 to $1,350 per
acre foot).
None of that water left Kern County.
It had to be used on farms in this basin,
said Maurice Etchechury, Buena Vista’s
general manager. The out-of-county
aspect of Oakdale’s plan is causing a lot
of controversy.
Along with the water sale last year,
Buena Vista also introduced a voluntary fallowing program in which
But Etchechury said, anecdotally, farmers have told him they were stunned by
how quickly the groundwater rebounded after the peak irrigating season.
Buena Vista has also bought easements on 1,100 acres to take it out of
production permanently. That’s only
about 2 percent of the district’s 50,000
“We’re taking measured responses
and reevaluating everything we do,”
he said. “We didn’t get in this mess
overnight and we’re not getting out of
it overnight.”
Buying land to take it out of producSee Fallowing; Page 9
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the district paid some of its farmers
$400 per acre not to farm last summer.
About 4,000 acres were taken out of
production for that season.
The district decided on the fallowing program after the state announced
it would deliver only 5 percent of
each State Water Contractor’s alloted
amount. And that water wouldn’t come
until September.
“We realized we couldn’t effectively
deliver surface water to our farmers,”
Etchechury said. And that would mean
massive groundwater pumping.
The district is still evaluating the effects of its one-time fallowing program.
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8 | January 2015
Madera County Farm Bureau
Continued from Page 5
recovers and developers again build new
homes, demand for construction workers is rising. Inland employers in a range
of other industries also are hiring again,
as reflected by an unemployment rate
that has fallen from a peak of 15 percent
in July 2010 to 8 percent in November
2014. The new permits that allow undocumented immigrants to work legally
may make non-agricultural jobs even
more tempting for farmworkers than in
the past, Pastor said.
“We do think that more workers will
leave migrant labor for more stable jobs,”
Pastor said.
That worries anti-illegal-immigration
activists such as Joe Guzzardi, spokesman for the anti-illegal-immigration
Californians for Population Stabilization.
He predicted that the influx of so
many new people into the legal work
market will make it more difficult for
unemployed U.S. citizens and legal residents to find jobs.
It also will undercut earnings for lowwage workers, he said. For example, an
employer may reduce wages from $12
an hour to $10, knowing that someone
in the country illegally earning $9 an
hour would view it as a step up. Meanwhile, citizens could be forced to accept
the lower wage because of the increased
competition, he said.
It’s unknown how many immigrants
will apply for protection from deportation. About a third of those potentially eligible under a more limited 2012
executive action never applied for the
program. That executive action has granted deportation relief and work permits to
more than 600,000 young undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United
States as children.
It’s also unclear when undocumented
immigrants covered under the new
executive action will start receiving work
permits. The government doesn’t expect
to begin accepting applications for the
bulk of those covered under the new program until May, although the estimated
300,000 immigrants included in an
expansion of the 2012 executive action
may be able to apply next month.
Conducting a background check for
each applicant and verifying residency
could take months, meaning the effect
on this year’s labor market -- and agricultural harvests -- is uncertain.
But the eventual result may be a labor
shortage that could devastate some farmers, growers say.
Drake said if a labor shortage is severe
enough, he could be forced to either cut
back on the number of acres he farms
-- some of the farming he does is on
contract for wineries -- or go out of business.
Some previous shortages have led to
crops rotting in the fields, said Ken Barbic, senior director of federal government
affairs for the Western Growers Association, which represents fruit and vegetable
farmers in California and Arizona.
Crops in Georgia and Alabama went
unpicked a few years ago after the states
enacted strict anti-illegal-immigration
laws, and pears rotted in California in the
mid-2000s amid a labor shortage, news
reports at the time said.
“In agriculture, if you don’t get the
labor you need at harvest, it means all the
investment you made is lost,” Barbic said.
The number of farmworkers in California already has been steadily declining for years, in part because of stricter
border enforcement, he said.
Guzzardi is skeptical of growers’ claims
of labor shortages. But, he said, if growers
want to attract more U.S.-born workers,
they should pay them more.
Barbic said U.S. growers have a limit to
what they can pay, because of competition from countries where farmworkers
earn much less than in the United States.
And Pastor said more money won’t
lure many more U.S. citizens to the fields.
“Agriculture is a very difficult job to
do,” he said. “You work long hours. You’re
out in the elements. My experience from
my farming days is a lot of people don’t
want to do that job. They say, ‘I can make
that money working at a computer in an
Obama’s executive action will grant
work permits for only three years at a
time, and a future president could nix the
Pastor and Barbic said growers need
more long-term certainty. They said an
overhaul of the immigration system that
allows growers to legally hire the workers
they require is necessary.
“We need something that guarantees
we’ll have our crops picked,” Pastor said.
“When you have a crop ready to be harvested, it can’t wait for people in Washington messing around with immigration
See Immigration; Page 12
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January 2015 | 9
Madera County Farm Bureau
Continued from Page 7
tion has been going on quietly in the
Semitropic Water Storage District for
several years. When I first asked General Manager Jason Gianquinto about
it a couple years ago, however, he was
reluctant to talk about it.
He wasn’t so reticent this time
“Fallowing more land is a real possibility,” he said. Semitropic has bought
and retired about 10,000 acres so far.
“Fallowing is the negative side of
managing our groundwater. But if we
can’t develop new sources, we will be
forced into it.”
I asked what “new sources” he
thought might be in the offing considering how difficult new dams and even
banking projects have become.
“Well, when prices came up like they
did last year and people were still willing to pay, I think that opened up a lot
of other alternatives.”
That could mean recycling more
water or treating brackish water, both
considered too pricey in years past.
“The new groundwater regulations
were a wake up call to the value of water,” he explained. “When groundwater
was unlimited, $100 an acre foot was a
Yep, things have definitely changed.
Opinions expressed in this column
are those of Lois Henry. Her column
runs Wednesdays and Sundays. Comment at http://www.bakersfield.com,
call her at 395-7373 or email [email protected]
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Roger Anthony
Bill Shubin
10 | January 2015
Continued from Page 3
take come from added sugars. That’s about
50 grams of sugar, or 12 teaspoons a day,
for a person eating a normal diet, according to the nutrition advocacy group Center
for Science in the Public Interest.
Currently, Americans get about 16
percent of their total calories from added
sugars, much of it from sugary drinks.
The Food and Drug Administration
proposed last year that added sugars be
included in the nutrition facts labels on
food packages.
Lowering sodium is important for heart
health, and the 2010 dietary guidelines
recommend reducing sodium intake to less
than 2,300 milligrams a day, reducing that
to 1,500 milligrams for people who are 51
and older, African-American or those who
have hypertension, diabetes or chronic
kidney disease. Those subgroups amount
to about half of the population.
While the committee’s draft recommendations appear similar, it is unclear if
their advice on sodium will be as strong as
the 2010 guidelines. A 2013 report by the
Institute of Medicine said that while low-
ering salt intake is important for health,
there is no good evidence that eating less
than 2,300 milligrams a day of sodium
offers benefits.
The dietary guidelines advisory panel
noted that years of public pressure to lower
sodium levels has not had much effect. The
average American consumes more than
3,400 mg of sodium a day, or about 1 1/2
Current guidelines advise that people
eat a variety of proteins, including lean
meats. The beef industry in particular has
expressed concern that the panel’s recommendations will no longer encourage
eating lean meats.
A draft recommendation discussed at
the panel’s Dec. 15 meeting says a healthy
dietary pattern includes fewer “red and
processed meats” than are currently consumed.
After that meeting, the National
Cattlemen’s Beef Association sent out a
statement by doctor and cattle producer
Richard Thorpe calling the committee
biased and the draft meat recommendations absurd. He said lean beef has a role
in healthy diets.
The advisory committee indicated it
may propose guidelines that would urge
pregnant women to limit caffeine intake.
The 2010 guidelines don’t address caffeine
The panel said it supports advice from
medical organizations that pregnant
women limit caffeine to less than 200 milligrams a day, or around two cups of coffee.
“Limited evidence suggests that moderate caffeine intake is associated with
a small increased risk of miscarriage,
stillbirth, low birth weight, and small for
gestational age births,” the committee said
in its draft recommendations.
Over the past year, the committee has
discussed the idea of including sustainability as a dietary goal. The advisory
panel said in its draft recommendations
that there is “compatibility and overlap”
between what is good for health and what
is good for the environment.
The committee has framed the issue in
terms of ensuring food access for future
generations, and also what foods are
Guidelines addressing the environment
could be another blow for the meat industry. A diet higher in plant-based foods
and lower in animal-based foods is “more
health promoting and is associated with
lesser environmental impact than is the
current average U.S. diet,” the draft recommendations said.
State to double
down on AB 32’s
U-T San Diego
Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to
double down on AB 32 — the state’s
landmark 2006 anti-global warming
law — is stark testament to the power
of the green religion among California Democrats. It is also a rejection of
basic economics and logic.
In 2006, the key rationale for AB
32 and related laws was to inspire the
world to take aggressive action to cut
the emissions believed to help cause
global warning. Supporters acknowledged that one state going it alone
against global warming wouldn’t even
begin to solve the problem.
The laws required California to
get 33 percent of its electricity from
cleaner-but-costlier sources by 2020,
using a cap-and-trade system in which
emission rights were bought and sold.
The risk this posed was acknowledged by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, AB 32’s loudest supporter,
and confirmed by economists hired
See AB 32; Page 12
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Madera County Farm Bureau
January 2015 | 11
Madera County Farm Bureau
Continued from Page 4
Whole Foods.
Whole Foods, which also sells Petaluma’s Rock Island, Uncle Eddie’s and
Judy’s brands, has just begun giving
suppliers its own set of required humane
standards for laying hens. As part of that
process, a Whole Foods executive toured
Petaluma Farms in February, but did not
see anything like what was depicted in
the video, Mr. Gunther said.
Mr. Gunther helped establish the
humane standards for animal husbandry
used in the United Kingdom, which,
like other European countries, requires
farmers to adhere to a single set of standards for each animal.
Reaching a consensus standard
amenable to advocates and producers
however, can be difficult, he said.
There are at least three standards for
humane treatment of animals, and five
for fair trade. “That’s the problem with
many certification labels,” said Mark
Kastel, co-director and co-founder of
the Cornucopia Institute, a farm policy
research group. “Some are credible and
some are not.”
In a nod to that problem, Senators Dianne Feinstein of California
and Cory Booker of New Jersey, both
Democrats, sent a letter on Wednesday
to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
asking him to update federal policy to
set strong, uniform standards for the
labels “humanely raised” and “cage-free.”
Cornucopia took Petaluma Farms to
task in a 2010 report, “Scrambled Eggs,”
which rated organic egg producers.
Federal law requires organic egg producers to give their birds outdoor space, but
the Mahrts have an exemption because
of concern that wild birds might spread
avian flu to their flocks. Instead, their
organic birds have access to a small
screened porch attached to their barns.
Quality Compost &
Soil Amendments
Two years after the report, the Animal
Legal Defense Fund sued Petaluma
Farms for false advertising, contending
that the images of hens frolicking in
a field on its egg cartons suggested its
birds had outdoor access. The company
settled the suit last year, agreeing to
change its packaging and pay $44,000 to
three animal welfare groups.
The same year, the Food and Drug
Administration sent Mr. Mahrt a warning letter, charging him with lax recordkeeping that it said increased the risk of
salmonella poisoning. Mr. Mahrt said
the F.D.A.’s concerns have been addressed.
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12 | January 2015
Continued from Page 8
As growers worry about potential labor shortages, immigrant-rights activists
are celebrating the increased opportunities the executive action offers undocumented immigrants.
The work permits will open up skilled
jobs to many immigrants who previously had been shut out of them, said Luz
Gallegos, community programs director
of TODEC Legal Center in Perris.
She expects many immigrants to
come to organizations such as hers for
computer training and other vocational
Other immigrants already have the
skills needed for better jobs, she said.
After the 2012 executive action, many
beneficiaries moved from low-wage jobs
to better-paying, higher-skilled positions, Gallegos said.
She expects the same to occur with
the new executive action, as undocumented immigrants who were engineers, attorneys or other professionals
in their home countries -- or received
college degrees in the United States
-- and were forced to work in low-wage
jobs will be able to look for jobs in their
“Right now they’re working for
whoever will hire them and doesn’t ask
for documents,” she said. “They have to
settle for less.”
The executive action also will make
immigrants more comfortable with
reporting wage theft, below-minimumwage pay and violations of overtime
regulations, Gallegos said. Even though
state and federal labor laws on such
matters apply to undocumented workers, many of them are afraid to contact
government agencies, for fear it would
lead to deportation, she said.
“With the new work permit, they’ll
feel more comfortable coming forward,”
Gallegos said.
Contact the writer: 951-368-9462 or
[email protected]
AB 32
Continued from Page 10
Madera County Farm Bureau
by the state air board to analyze the law.
They warned that negative effects were
certain if California had higher energy
costs than rival states and nations.
We are well on our way to that reality — because California didn’t inspire
copycats around the world at all. Instead,
thanks to the booming economies in
China and India, greenhouse-gas emissions kept growing. And in addressing
global warming, academics and energy
experts alike gave up on cap-and-trade
in favor of a carbon tax approach that
could use tariffs to force broad global
compliance with international efforts to
limit emissions. (Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers makes the case
for this approach here.)
Meanwhile, AB 32’s failure to accomplish its key goal led its admirers to
airbrush history and say its real purpose
was job creation — as if much higher
energy costs were a net good for job
Against this backdrop, Gov. Brown’s
announcement Monday that he wants
half of the state’s electricity to come
from cleaner-but-costlier sources by
2030 — continuing with the failed unilateral approach of AB 32 — is incomprehensible.
What about the effects on California’s
economic competitiveness? The governor pretends this isn’t even a problem.
“Taking significant amounts of carbon
out of our economy without harming its
vibrancy is exactly the sort of challenge
at which California excels,” Brown said
The governor can’t offer evidence for
this claim because there is none. And
who will suffer the most from the higher
energy costs that are certain to result if
Brown gets his way? Poor people. California may look back at the years when
23 percent of the state was impoverished
as the good old days.
A policy that is supposed to be about
global warming but that doesn’t do
anything to stop it is odd. But when
that policy has the side effects of driving
away heavy industries, destroying jobs
and making the cost of living higher, it is
Yet Jerry Brown won’t even admit that
what he wants to do amounts to a risky
experiment with California’s economy —
and with people’s lives.
This isn’t shrewd or farsighted. It’s