Madera County’s financial future is booming. David Rogers, a Madera County supervisor, is excited to know that Madera County is the fastest and number one growing ag economy in the United States.
“I represent most of the farming, and Madera County, which is the fastest growing our economy in the U.S. and has been for the last three and a half, four years,” Rogers said.
Madera is a business-friendly county.
“We’ve been number one in small jobs, manufacturing growth for the last nine years in a row, and all of that is ancillary to agriculture,” he said.
Pistachios and almonds have aided in Madera County’s financial growth.
“Some of those orchards that were planted five years ago are going to mean big revenue,” Rogers said.
Expansions to the Triangle T System have aided in the conveyance.
“The expansions were in wide areas, and conveyance is so critical to that,” Rogers explained.
There is also a new tunnel system that goes under the river for delivery.
“There was a lot of money that went into developing their system, and it’s paying off big time. I believe it’s almost 50,000 acres. It was 30,000 originally, I think, and it’s expanding more all the time,” Rogers said.
He also commented on the need for proper forest management that will allow more water into the system.
“One of the most important things that we can do right now is continue to emphasize forest management because that is a source of more water,” he said. “The better the management, the faster the forests can return to a healthy state. With a healthier forest, that means more water in the system and more water in our ground.”
CAPCA has recently become more active in the capitol. Ruthann Anderson, CEO and president of California Association of Pest Control Advisors (CAPCA), said the association has PCAs in every legislative district all over the state of California.
“Whether it’s in turf and ornamental or in production agriculture, you know, we have a voice, and we have a lot of ability to influence some of the decisions or at least advise on some of the decisions that might be happening.,” she said.
Anderson said that CAPCA’s capitol visits have been positive.
“We’re on a first name basis with a lot more people than we have been,” she explained.
CAPCA is working with both urban and agricultural legislators.
“I am trying to prioritize both. I think that it wouldn’t be fair for us to neglect our local legislators just because we know that the urbans are a little bit more of our moderate Dems that we’re trying to pursue relationships with,” she said.
CAPCA would like to balance both and continue educating them on the field.
“Our Northern California Chapter is meeting with Senator Nielsen’s office from time to time, just letting them know exactly what’s happening in the field and making sure that they are in the loop,” Anderson said.
This way, if any questions arise, there is open communication between the office and the local CAPCA chapter.
“I know that they are asking a lot of questions about specific crop protection materials, and I think that is important for us to be able to tell the story,” Anderson said.
Sometimes, there is not an alternative, and CAPCA is there to explain.
“When controlling the Asian Citrus Psyllid that can spread the Huanglongbing disease in citrus, sometimes there is not an alternative; sometimes we’re quarantined and forced to do scheduled spraying. That is just a part of protecting the industry,” Anderson explained.
California Exported $20 Billion in Food Products in 2016
By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor
It’s no secret that California’s agricultural exports are a huge part of the state’s economy—but to put it in perspective, over $20 billion worth of food and agricultural products were exported in 2016 alone (the latest figures). With numbers like these, people like Glen Roberts of the U.S. Department of Commerce and International Trade Administration are kept busy.
Roberts, who is part of the Global Markets sector and based in Fresno, not only works with what he calls “easy” exports like Mexico and Canada, but other places across the globe, shipping anything and everything from food to machinery.
When it comes to his role in California, Roberts explained, “Our office covers from the top of the Grapevine, Kern County, all the way up to Stanislaus County from San Louis Obispo over to Nevada.”
His sector, which handles more of the commercial side of things, acts as a gateway to other government programs that help out with international trade.
Although Roberts’ main focus is commercial, he’s still one of the go-to guys in agriculture exports.
“What happened when the almond prices dropped? I got the calls because Foreign Ag Service doesn’t handle contractual disputes,” he said.
Roberts further added, “I had to help out our local almond growers because the buyers didn’t want to pay the higher contracted price. They wanted to buy the new lower market price.”
McCarthy Introduces Legislation to Repurpose High-Speed Rail Funding to Water Infrastructure Projects
Congressman Kevin McCarthy introduced legislation recently that would repurpose recovered federal funding from the California High-Speed Rail project to critical water infrastructure projects in California and the West. McCarthy released the following statement on this legislation, H.R. 1600, the Repurposing Assets to Increase Long-term Water Availability and Yield (RAILWAY) Act:
“The California High-Speed Rail project is a boondoggle that California and American taxpayers must move on from. Since its inception, the project’s costs have ballooned while oversight and accountability within the California High-Speed Rail Authority has been nonexistent. Last month, Governor Newsom in his State of the State rightfully recognized these shortcomings and announced an end to the project as it was put to the voters.”
“The RAILWAY Act would end the Federal government’s involvement in this failed endeavor by repurposing up to $3.5 billion in recovered Federal funding for the California High-Speed Speed Rail project to water storage infrastructure projects as outlined in the bipartisan WIIN Act. Under the WIIN Act, five storage projects in California are advancing, and when completed, could provide 5 million acre-feet of additional water storage in our state. This is a far better use of taxpayer money that can address more important needs in our state.
“California has experienced over five years of drought, and people across the state have felt the consequences, with entire communities on the brink of disaster due to lack of water. The RAILWAY Act would address this crisis head-on by providing significant funding for what California really needs: infrastructure projects that help our state capture and store water during wet years for use in dry ones. The RAILWAY Act builds on the success of the WIIN Act by continuing to increase California’s drought resiliency and helping ensure our communities, families, and farmers have access to life-sustaining water.”
Every Republican Member of the California Congressional Delegation joined McCarthy as cosponsors of the RAILWAY Act. Below are their quotes:
“California farmers and families need a reliable water supply, not an extravagant high-speed rail line. This bill will redirect crucial funds and resources where they’re most needed—particularly in water infrastructure projects—to help ease the burden on Central Valley communities struggling through the water crisis.”–Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22)
“The RAILWAY Act repurposes funding from the most wasteful project in California’s history and invests it into some of our most critical water storage projects. That’s a win for taxpayers and a win for California’s future. We know California experiences periods of droughts followed by periods of significant rainfall. The RAILWAY Act provides a common sense solution to this problem by building storage projects to capture more water in wet years in order to sustain California families and our economy through the dry years. Building water storage is long overdue. It’s time to stop watching water be diverted into the ocean and start acting to capture and store that water.”–Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42)
“Years of drought in California brought entire cities within months of exhausting their water supplies. In extremely wet years, we have watched our dams spilling millions of acre feet of water to the ocean because of lack of storage. The infrastructure funding provided in the RAILWAY Act will begin to turn this tide in support of water abundance.”–Congressman Tom McClintock (CA-04)
“California’s high-speed rail project has been a very expensive disaster, with costs ballooning so much that voters are no longer getting anywhere close to what they were sold. I agree that all federal funding given to California for this project should be promptly returned and invested in commonsense projects people need, be it water storage or transportation. I have a bill, the High-Speed Refund Act, with a similar goal of reinvesting these funds into useful transportation infrastructure, such as widening Highway 70, three lanes for I-5, improving Highway 99 or 395, or many other real world projects that are actually useful to people in Northern California. Almost any type of infrastructure will be more beneficial and, one way or another, taxpayers deserve a stop to additional waste for this misguided pipedream of high-speed rail.”—Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-01)
“The last major reservoir in California was built forty years ago. Since then, our population has grown significantly, and we’re ill-prepared to endure droughts. It’s time we take action to increase our water supply and modernize our water infrastructure. This bill makes good use of funds that were already going to be spent in California. I hope that Congress will pass this legislation quickly.”–Congressman Paul Cook (CA-08)
“Efficient water storage and management is California’s greatest need. The high-speed rail project is California’s greatest waste of time. The RAILWAY Act corrects this problem by implementing a common-sense plan to address a significant concern in our state by investing significant and critical resources to ensure we have water availability for the future. I am proud to be part of this effort and will continue working with my colleagues to lead on this important ongoing issue.” –Congressman Duncan Hunter (CA-50)
The Federal Railway Administration (FRA) made two grant awards to the California High-Speed Rail Authority for the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project totaling approximately $3.5 billion.
On February 12, the Governor of California, in his State of the State address summarized the reality that the HSR project costs too much, will take too long to build, and that “there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego.”
On February 19, the FRA notified the California High-Speed Rail Authority it is de-obligating $929 million in unspent FRA grant funding for the HSR project after determining that the Authority “has materially failed to comply with the terms of the funding agreement and has failed to make reasonable progress on the HSR Project.” The FRA also indicated it is “exploring all available legal options” to recover approximately $2.5 billion in Federal funds already expended on the HSR project.
Ends the California High Speed Rail (HSR) Project: The RAILWAY Act would reflect reality and end Federal participation in the HSR project—consistent with the FRA notification of February 19—in the Central Valley and repurpose funds to critical water infrastructure projects.
Increases Drought Resiliency in California and the West: The RAILWAY Act would provide significant funding to the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act program that the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) uses to design and construct various large-scale water infrastructure projects in California and the West, including expanding existing and building new reservoirs, thereby increasing drought resiliency in western states.
Helps Keep Federal Funds in California: By providing significant funding to the WIIN Act program that the DOI is using to advance the Shasta Dam and Reservoir Enlargement Project, the Sites Reservoir Storage Project, the Upper San Joaquin River Basin Storage Project, the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Phase 2 Expansion Project, and the Friant-Kern Canal subsidence correction project, all which are located in California, the RAILWAY Act would help ensure repurposed Federal funds remain in California to create jobs and build needed infrastructure.
The RAILWAY Act would also repurpose a portion of HSR project funds to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to award grants to projects designed to help small, rural communities by:
Developing new sources of water when residential wells run dry; and
Reducing or eliminating elevated nitrate levels in drinking water.
Statement from Westlands Water District on Bureau of Reclamation’s Water Allocation Announcement
Today, the Bureau of Reclamation announced that the water allocation for South-of-Delta Central Valley Project (CVP) agricultural water contractors has been increased from 35 percent to 55 percent. The increase is an improvement for the farmers and farmworkers in the Westlands Water District, but, given the healthy hydological conditions throughout the state, today’s announcement is a disappointment.
For years, we have been told that the farmers served by south-of-Delta ag service contractors received water allocation reductions due to water shortages. But this year, water is abundant, which is why today’s announcement is so frustrating. A 55 percent allocation, during a year with snowpack and reservoir levels well above average, further illustrates the extent to which California’s water supply system is broken and how important it is that we find long-term solutions to problems plaguing the water deliver system in California.
As of today, Lake Shasta is at 85 percent capacity and 111 percent of its historical average. San Luis Reservoir is at 99 percent capacity and 113 percent of its historical average. Yet, despite the availability of water, the rigid regulatory constraints imposed on operations of the CVP continue to prevent Reclamation from making common-sense water management decisions.
The joyful reunion of two 4-H children, Leia and Caroline Carrico, with their parents after spending 44 hours lost in the Humboldt County wilderness in early March has raised awareness about the benefits to youth involved in the UC Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development Program.
Established more than 100 years ago, UC Cooperative Extension launched 4-H to teach children research-based agriculture and rural living skills. Over time, it has evolved dramatically, reaching children in urban centers, inner cities, suburbs as well as rural communities with leadership opportunities, life skills, nutrition education and other information to help them grow into resilient adults.
The Carrico children, ages 5 and 8, had participated in a 4-H outdoor training training program. They lived in a rural area and were well acquainted with the redwood forest surrounding their home. Recalling lessons they learned, the sisters stayed in place when they realized they were lost – a key survival skill, said Yana Valachovic, director of UC Cooperative Extension in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. There were more things they learned from 4-H project leader Justin Lehnert’s teaching that helped them survive unscathed.
“Justin told them to leave signs. Searchers found granola bar wrappers and deep boot marks. They knew that they should shelter in a dry place,” Valachovic said. “They knew to keep positive and how to find safe drinking water without endangering themselves by drinking from a creek.”
The 4-H program in Humboldt County has been inundated with calls for a curriculum that can be used elsewhere to teach these valuable skills. The UC 4-H Youth Development advisor for Humboldt and Del Norte counties, Dorina Espinoza, is working with Lehnert to develop a project sheet so the survival skills used by the Carrico sisters can be made available in 4-H and other settings to young people throughout the U.S.
The sisters’ odyssey and its happy conclusion shows the hoped-for result of the research-based 4-H learning model, Espinoza said.
“The sisters are smart girls,” Espinoza said “They attribute their application of survival skills to family camping trips, movies about people who get lost and 4-H adventures. 4-H reinforced new or existing skills. We know kids learn with multiple exposures. 4-H is a hands-on approach to learning that other settings don’t offer.”
In 4-H, children choose “projects” they are interested in. The projects are led by adult volunteers from the community.
“What’s different about 4-H is we have adult volunteers who develop partnerships with youth. They partner in learning, leadership and decision making,” Espinoza said. “That’s a beautiful part of 4-H.”
Lehnert is a 4-H parent and volunteer who operates a business in Humboldt centered on enjoying the outdoors.
“Justin brings years of personal and professional experience, having completed a Wilderness First Responder Course of the National Outdoor Leadership School. He studied outdoor recreation at Feather River College and has been an outdoor recreation enthusiast for years,” Espinoza said. “We are so very grateful to Justin for sharing his expertise with our 4-H community.”
Jim Maxwell founded Agriland Farming, Inc., a dynamic farm management company based in Madera County, which has grown from less than 2,500 acres in 1990 to oversee more than 25,000 acres of pistachios, almonds, walnuts, grapes, citrus, kiwis, and figs across seven counties, from Stanislaus to Kern.
Agriland’s clients range from individual owners with 40 acres to some of the largest institutional farm owners in the U.S. Their clients include several large nut processors and marketers and individuals from almost every major ethnic background. Maxwell believes that one of the critical strengths of the company is found in the consistent high ethical and business standards of its clients.
Maxwell, Agriland’s CEO, and its innovative management team have built the company into one of the largest nut growers in the U.S. In addition to the farm management divisions, Agriland has expanded specialized mechanical services available to outside clients.
“We originally started pistachio and almond harvesting companies to help our clients avoid the risks associated with late harvests, and we have ended up harvesting for many of our neighbors,” Maxwell said.
This same philosophy is why Agriland now runs a deep-well pump company; a farm supply company; and a more recent start-up dedicated to mechanical hedging and topping, mechanical stacking of pruning brush, mummy nut shredding, setting floors for a “no-till” approach to orchard floor management, and AF36 spreading to control aflatoxin in pistachios.
There is no doubt that talented managers and staff across all agricultural production disciplines have helped the company excel in providing “state of the art” farming services to owners of permanent crops. The approximately 275-full-time farm employees, some of whom have been with the company from the beginning, are asked to treat the trees and vines as though they are their own.
It is this mentality of employee responsibility and ownership that has helped Agriland excel in the farm management industry. From top to bottom at Agriland, all workers are considered to be part of the “family” and are often referred to as “associates”—as opposed to the traditional term “farmworkers”—and they are recognized as the company’s number one resource.
Maxwell and his team try to treat every member of the Agriland Family with dignity, respect, and compassion.
“We believe that it is not only the right and proper thing to do but that our clients and company will succeed based on how we treat each of its members.”
Hence, the company conveys compassion for its top resource by providing a wellness plan for every employee and their family. The company also hosts an on-the-farm health clinic, offers a 401K program, and gives holiday and paid time off to field employees.
The idea behind the health clinic began even before ObamaCare (the Affordable Care Act or ACA) was passed.
“I knew that although our associates would have access to ObamaCare, they would not be able to afford the subsidized insurance,” Maxwell explained. “Furthermore, they were not willing to buy coverage because most had not been to a doctor for many years and therefore did not see the need.”
“So, we entered into a joint venture with Camarena Health—a community-based healthcare provider,” he continued. “We built the small onsite brick and mortar clinic, staffed by Camarena doctors, nurses and other medical specialists regularly. Each company employee, individually and privately, meets with a doctor in a room equipped with an exam table and all of the important screening devices.”
“At the clinic, we do a biometric health screening for those associates who want it,” Maxwell said.
The screening measures physical characteristics such as height, weight, body mass index, vision, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and aerobic fitness, in addition to an A1C blood test to determine one’s risk of diabetes better. The screening and testing performed at the clinic are in addition to the health booths set up at picnics and harvest celebrations where employees can sit down and check their blood sugar and blood pressure.
“When we started testing, we wanted to identify the employees who were diabetic, pre-diabetic, or hypertensive, because we felt like these were health issues that, if identified early and treated properly, could help these ‘family members’ and make a meaningful, long term difference in their lives,” Maxwell explained
“The goal is to benchmark and evaluate changes in general employee health status over time,” he continued. “Once the metrics are understood, management establishes classes, such as nutrition and weight loss courses, which are presented during evening classes for employees and spouses to attend. We bring in instructors to teach those who are diabetic, pre-diabetic, or hypertensive what to do to protect their health.”
Of course, employees are not obligated to come to the clinic, but Maxwell encourages them by paying them for the time they are there.
“At first, very few employees signed up. Then I pleaded with them to go to the clinic to make sure they were healthy or to identify areas of health needing improvement. Still, very few stepped up.”
So Maxwell offered an incentive, a $50 Walmart or Save Mart gift card, “and that dramatically increased the signups.”
In addition to health-related classes, the company provides English as Second Language night classes for employees and their families.
“We built the Training Center for two purposes: to serve those who work here and their families and to serve the needs of the community.”
The company actively promotes the education of the children of their farm workforce by incentivizing academic excellence in middle school and high school, followed by college scholarships for those who qualify.
“We have to be able to tell seventh graders that if they get good grades and are qualified to go to college, we will be there for them by the time they graduate from high school. Our scholarships are generally $2,500 per student, per year, for four years of college attendance. When we give them the first scholarship check, we also present them with a new laptop computer for them to use in college,” Maxwell said.
Many farmworker families, going back generations, have never had a family member go to college.
“If a child of one of our farm employees works hard, gets good grades, and goes to college, he or she will likely be the first generation and possibly break the cycle,” Maxwell said. “And I believe that the children of these students will follow their parents and also go to college.”
4-H’ers Present Demonstrations, Educational Displays, Illustrated Talks, and Other Ideas
By Kathy Keatley Garvey, UCANR Communication Specialist
Seventeen Solano County 4-H members won gold awards at Solano County 4-H Presentation Day, and the Heritage 4-H Club of Vacaville won the plaque for the greatest member participation. In front (from left) are gold winner Darren Stephens, Sherwood Forest 4-H, Vallejo; William Parks, president of the Heritage 4-H Club (the club received the participation award for the greatest number of members presenting); and gold winners Daniel Taliaferro, Beau Westad, Grace Kimble and Irma Brown, all Suisun Valley 4-H. In back (from left) are gold winners Julietta Wynholds, Sherwood Forest 4-H; Zoe Sloan, Elmira 4-H; Braddison Beathem and Madisyn McCrary, both Tremont 4-H, Dixon; Miriam Laffitte, Vaca Valley 4-H; Celeste Harrison and Hannah Stephens, both Sherwood Forest 4-H; Jessica Carpenter, Pleasants Valley 4-H, Vacaville; and Alexis Taliaferro, Suisun Valley 4-H. Not pictured are gold winners Kailey Mauldin and Alissa Mauldin, both Elmira 4-H, and James George, Suisun Valley 4-H. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Solano County 4-H’ers Go for the Gold
They presented everything from “How to Take a Perfect Picture” to “The Secret Life of Bees” to “Anything is Pawsible: How I Trained My Doberman pinscher.”
When it was all over, 17 4-H’ers, including seven from the Suisun Valley 4-H Club, won gold medal showmanship awards at the annual Solano County 4-H Presentation Day, held recently at the Sierra Vista K-8 School in Vacaville.
The presentations included demonstrations, educational displays, illustrated talks, an interpretative reading, and a cultural arts offering.
The 4-H’ers followed a four-pronged process involving research, organization, graphics, and sharing of knowledge, said Valerie Williams, Solano County 4-H program representative. Adult evaluators, all involved with the Solano County 4-H Youth Development Program, asked the youths questions and scored them on their knowledge and presentation.
Twenty-six 4-H’ers, representing eight of the county’s 11 clubs, participated.
In the junior educational display talk category, ages 9 to 10, the gold winners, all from the Suisun Valley 4-H Club, were Grace Kemble, “How to Take a Perfect Picture”; Daniel Taliaferro, “Perfect Pizza Pans”; and Beau Westad, “Reeling in Channel Catfish.”
In the intermediate educational display talk category, ages 11 to 13, evaluators selected six gold winners: James George of the Suisun Valley 4-H, “Event Planning”; Celeste Harrison of the Sherwood Forest 4-H Club, Vallejo, “Anything Is Pawsible: How I Trained My Doberman Pinscher”; Irma Brown, Suisun Valley 4-H, “Elements of a Movie”; Madisyn McCrary of Tremont 4-H Club, Dixon, “How to Shoe a Horse”; Alissa Mauldin, Elmira 4-H, for “This Little Piggy Has…” and Darren Stephens, Sherwood Forest 4-H, “Can Chickens Get Maggots?”
In the senior educational display talk category, ages 14 to 19, three took home the gold: Hanna Stephens, Sherwood Forest 4-H, “Living Life as a Guide Dog Puppy”; Jessica Carpenter, Pleasants Valley 4-H Club, Vacaville, “How to Trim Goats and Sheep Hooves” and Alexis Taliaferro, Suisun Valley 4-H, “College Tours: A Glimpse Into the Future.”
In the intermediate illustrated talk category, ages 11 to 13, gold awards went to Julietta Wynholds, Sherwood Forest 4-H, for “The Basics of Animation”; and Braddison Beathem, Tremont 4-H, “Let’s Talk Tack: How to Tack a Horse in English Tack.”
Senior demonstration, ages 14 to 18: Zoe Sloan of Elmira 4-H, for “Bomb Voyage.”
Senior/Interpretative Reading, ages 14 to 19: Kailey Mauldin, Elmira 4-H, “The Secret Life of Bees” by author Sue Monk Kidd.
Intermediate Culture Arts, ages 11 to 13: Miriam Lafitte, Vaca Valley 4-H Club, Vacaville, “Total Improv.”
The winners are now eligible to compete in an Area 4-H Presentation Day, a qualifying event for the California State 4-H Field Day. Area Presentation Days will take place in Antioch, Jackson, and California Polytechnic Institute (Cal Poly), all on March 23. Other Area Presentation Days will be held in Siskiyou County on April 6, in Mariposa County on April 14; in Walnut on May 4; and in Tehama County on May 11.
Solano County 4-H Ambassador Natalie Greene of the Sherwood Forest 4-H Club served as the emcee.
The newly formed and soon-to-be-chartered Heritage 4-H Club of Vacaville won the participation award for having the greatest percentage of participants. The club is affiliated with the Heritage Christian Academy, Vacaville.
Six 4-H’ers participated in the primary educational display talks category, ages 5 to 8. The primary group is not evaluated. Receiving participation certificates in that category were four Heritage Club members: Dale Harder, “The Perfect Picnic,” Sunny Harder, “Camping”; Christopher Parks, “Model Trains”; and William Parks, “Dog Man: My Favorite Book and How to Draw the Characters.” Certificates also went to Nevaeh Tiernan-Lang of Elmira 4-H, “How to Build a Christmas Tree” and Alia Wynholds of Sherwood Forest 4-H,“On the Trail.”
Receiving participant certificates in the junior educational display talk category, ages 9 to 10, were Addelyn Widmer of Suisun Valley 4-H, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears of Photography”; and Jonny Tiernan-Lang, Elmira 4-H, for “AKC Toy Breeds.”
In the intermediate educational display talk, ages 11 to 13, Heath Moritz of the Westwind 4-H Club, Fairfield-Suisun, received a participation certificate for “Watch Me Now.”
During the Presentation Day, attendees also had the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities, including designing and launching a paper rocket through the STEM activity; making slime at the Slime Station; and learning how to sew a blanket, “Cuddle Me Close,” for hospital patients.
Solano County has 11 4-H clubs, with a total membership of 400
Vacaville: Vaca Valley, Pleasants Valley, Elmira and Heritage
Fairfield-Suisun: Suisun Valley and Westwind
Dixon: Maine Prairie, Tremont, and Dixon Ridge
Rio Vista: Rio Vista 4-H
Vallejo: Sherwood Forest
The Solano County 4-H Youth Development Program, part of the UC Cooperative Extension Program, follows the motto, “Making the Best Better.” 4-H, which stands for head, heart, health, and hands, is open to youths ages 5 to 19. In age-appropriate projects, they learn skills through hands-on learning in projects ranging from arts and crafts, computers and leadership to dog care, poultry, rabbits and woodworking. They develop skills they would otherwise not attain at home or in public or private schools. For more information, contact Valerie Williams at email@example.com.
Meeting March 21, 7 am -11 am at Hodel’s Restaurant in Bakersfield
By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor
Jesse Rojas, the founder, and CEO of The Redd Group; Michael Saqui from the Saqui Law Group; and Raul Calvo from Employer Services are the presenters of an upcoming important seminar. It will specifically focus on agriculture and farm labor contractors, growers, packers, and shippers, regarding ALRB and UFW access. Attendees will learn what to do when the United Farm Workers union is wanting to take access and speak with farm employees to try to unionize them.
“The reason why we wanted to do this now before the season started is that the UFW has been very active this year, said Rojas. “The union is trying to get out of the hole that they’ve been in after so many losses. They pulled a big PR stunt earlier this year at Wonderful in Delano, and we also heard that they’re continuing to hire multiple organizers, which indicates that they’re trying to get more active in our industry this year.”
The dos and don’ts will be discussed when it comes to the union trying to take access to your employees or trying to gain access in your fields. Saqui will be presenting his hot topics in labor and employment. He will also delve into the overtime pay in agriculture, which is confusing and ever-changing.
“Raul Calvo will speak about how to improve employee relations and communications with your employees out in the field and avoid having a third party attempt to step in and become the medium of communication between you and your employees,” Rojas said.
State Senator Shannon Grove will also be speaking at the event at 8:30 in the morning, and she will be focusing on some of the legislation—the good and bad law that’s currently happening at the capital that’s going to affect agriculture.
“She will also speak about the general overreach of state agencies such as the ALRB,” Rojas said.
The location of the meeting is Hodel’s Country Dining at 5917 Knudsen Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93308.
For more information and to register, RSVP at Jesse@reddgroup.org or call 844-946-7333. Seating is limited.