New Book Shows Grapes a Top Food for Immunity and Brain Health

By California Table Grape Commission

Grapes are a top food for immunity and brain health, according to a new book soon to be released by dietitian and author Patricia Bannan.

The book is titled “From Burnout to Balance: 60+ Healing Recipes & Simple Strategies to Boost Mood, Immunity, Focus & Sleep.” The book lists top foods in several categories, among them brain and immune health, with grapes on the list for both.

In addition to the recipes, Bannan includes grapes in her “Nearly No-Cook Meal Ideas” section of the book.

“Grapes are my go-to ingredient for color, hydration, and nutrition. As a snack or recipe ingredient, grapes are an easy, healthy choice for wellness. Studies show that grapes are linked to benefits in multiple areas of health, including support for brain and immune health,” said Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN, author of “From Burnout to Balance.” “Three of my favorite recipes with grapes in ‘From Burnout to Balance’ are my Simple Salmon Burgers with Grape Salsa, Lemony Farro and Lentil Bowls with Shrimp and Grapes, and my Kale, Sweet Potato & Grape Salad with Walnuts. Not only are these recipes delicious, they are packed with nutrients to support both brain and immune health.”

Bannan will promote her new book throughout the upcoming California table grape season.

2022-01-20T08:13:24-08:00January 20th, 2022|

UC Davis Doctoral Student Alison Coomer Wins Global Nematode Thesis Competition

UC Davis doctoral student Alison Coomer is an international champion

By Kathy Keatley Garvey, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology

UC Davis second-year doctoral student Alison Coomer is now a global champion.

Coomer, a member of the laboratory of nematologist Shahid Siddique of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, just won a world-wide competition sponsored by the International Federation of Nematology Societies (IFNS) for her three-minute thesis on root-knot nematodes.

She delivered her video presentation virtually on “Trade-Offs Between Virulence and Breaking Resistance in Root-Knot Nematodes.” She will be awarded a busary and plaque at the 7th  International Congress of Nematology (ICN), set May 1-6 in Antibes, France.

Coomer earlier was selected one of the nine finalists in the 22-participant competition, vying against eight other graduate students from the University of Idaho, Moscow; and universities in England, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Kenya, Belgium and South Africa.

“Our entire lab is glad for Alison winning this award,” said Siddique. “This is an outstanding performance and Alison has really been working hard for that. I feel proud about it. I am also looking forward to Alison’s presentation at ICN.”

Judges announced that Rhys Copeland of Murdoch University, Australia, won second, and Laura Sheehy of Liverpool John Moores University England,  scored third. They also will receive busaries and plaques at the 7th  International Congress of Nematology.

IFNS hosts the competition, IFNS 3-Minute Thesis, “to cultivate student academic and research communication skills, and to enhance overall awareness of nematodes and the science of nematology.”

The competition began with 22 participants. Each was required to present a single static slide, and not use any props or sound-effects. In the finals, a panel of judges–six nematologists and three non-experts from other areas of plant sciend science–scored them on the quality of their research presentation, ability to communicate research to non-specialists, and the 3MT slide.  (See the winning videos at https://bit.ly/3naarTe)

In her presentation, Coomer related that: “Root-knot nematodes, specifically the MIG-group, consisting of Meloidogyne incognita, javanica, and arenaria, are the most damaging of the plant parasitic nematodes causing severe yield loss in over 2,000 different plant species including tomatoes. The Mi-gene, which is a resistance gene in tomato, has been used in commercial farming and has been praised for its effectiveness towards the MIG group. This gene has been cloned but the mechanisms of how it’s resistance works is still unknown.” (See video at https://www.ifns.org/alison-coomer)

Coomer, a doctoral student in plant pathology with an emphasis on nematology and advised by Siddique, is working on her dissertation, “Plant Parasitic Nematode Effectors and Their Role in the Plant Defense Immune System.”

Coomer, originally from the St. Louis, Mo., area, received two bachelor degrees–one in biology and the other in chemistry–in May 2020 from Concordia University, Seward, Neb., where she won the Outstanding Graduate Student in Biology Award. She served as a biology lab assistant and taught courses in general biology and microbiology.

As a biological science aide/intern, Coomer did undergraduate research in the Sorghum Unit of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. Lincoln, Neb.  Her work included collecting, prepping and analyzing DNA, RNA and proteins to identify genes that contribute to an under- and over-expression of lignin in sorghum plants.

 

2022-01-11T13:12:33-08:00January 11th, 2022|

Suppliers, Retailers Warn California Grape Growers of Herbicide Shortages

Supply-chain Crisis Forces Some to Pivot to Mechanical, Biocontrol Measures

By Mike Hsu, UCANR Senior Public Information Representative

Driving through her vineyards on a chilly morning in December, Hortencia Alvarado is taking comfort – for now – that the weeds she sees are all yellow. But there remains a nagging worry that, like the pesky plants, is merely lying dormant for the season.

When March rolls around, and the first signs of new green growth appear on the vines, Alvarado and other vineyard managers will again have to confront the ongoing shockwaves of the global supply-chain crisis.

Growers of grapes – the third-highest valued agricultural commodity in California at $4.48 billion in 2020 – likely won’t be able to access the herbicides that they usually apply.

“I definitely need to start thinking and considering it because I don’t want to be in that situation where I don’t have [the herbicide] when I need it,” said Alvarado, a vineyard manager in the San Joaquin Valley.

Imperfect alternatives

She first noticed the effects of the shortages this past August, during the application following the harvest of early varietals. Alvarado’s agricultural pest control adviser had recommended a different product, instead of their usual standby, Rely – because none of the handful of suppliers in California could find it. Then Alvarado’s foreman started reporting that the substitute wasn’t controlling the weeds.

“We were using some other stuff that wasn’t as good, so basically we were wasting money on stuff that wasn’t doing what we wanted it to do,” Alvarado explained.

They quickly pivoted to their mechanical weeder to chop up the weeds, but that’s been an imperfect solution. They only have one machine and it would take three or four machines to adequately weed the nearly 3,000 acres that Alvarado manages.

The need for more machines or labor is just one result of the herbicide shortage, said George Zhuang, University of California Cooperative Extension viticulture farm advisor in Fresno County. Zhuang has received “a lot” of calls from growers about the chemical supply issues, which are also affecting fertilizers. He’s been urging them to move away from traditional herbicides to mechanical means or biocontrol such as sheep or fowl – even though they might be more expensive.

Zhuang estimates that while a weed program comprises 5% to 10% of total production costs in a normal year with the usual herbicides, the use of nonchemical alternatives could hike that percentage up to 10% to 20%. In addition to their impact on the bottom line, effective herbicides are especially crucial to grape growers because vines – unlike tree crops – cannot naturally shade out weeds with expansive canopies.

“Right now, people can still scramble around and find some limited chemicals to make sure the crop is successful for the harvest, but if the situation goes for another year, I think there’s going to be a panic in farming communities,” Zhuang said.

Herbicide challenges expected to linger

Unfortunately, the availability of certain products is likely going to be “challenged” into at least the middle of 2022, according to Andy Biancardi, a Salinas-based sales manager at Wilbur-Ellis, an international marketer and distributor of agricultural products and chemicals. Biancardi said that the suppliers he talks to are advising people to make preparations.

The supply of glyphosate, the key component in products such as RoundUp (used by many Midwestern farmers), appears to be most affected, Biancardi said. As a result, that shortage has put the squeeze on alternatives such as glufosinate, used in products like Rely – the herbicide favored by many California grape growers.
“The cost of glufosinate has definitely gone up because there just isn’t enough, so everyone is obviously marking it up,” said Biancardi, who estimates that prices for both glyphosate and glufosinate are up 25% to 30% for growers.

“And that’s if you can get it,” he added.

Alvarado said that while large commercial operations are able to pay the premium prices or shift to other weed control measures, some smaller growers have essentially given up the fight – simply letting the weeds take over.
“They’re just letting it go wild until the dormant season,” she said. “They’re hoping that – by when they do start to spray [around March] – they’ll hopefully have that Rely.”

Silver lining to supply crisis?

Large-scale growers and retailers are buying up those scarcer products when they can, in anticipation of future shortages during critical times. Biancardi said that while his company traditionally runs inventories down at the end of the season, they are instead stocking up on herbicides that customers will demand.
“Careful planning and forecasting is going to be more important than ever, that’s really the key,” he said. “At this point we can’t guarantee ‘business as usual,’ based on what we’re hearing.”

Shaking off old habits might actually bring some benefits to business, according to Alvarado, as a forced shift away from chemicals could prove to be a selling point for customers, from a sustainability and marketing standpoint.

“Out of this shortage, there might be some good, some wins,” she said, “but at the same time, we’re going to need some answers – I think it’s going to be a bumpy road.”

Calling the confluence of drought, record heat and a shortage of chemicals a “perfect storm,” Zhuang said that consumers could start feeling those jolts as well.

“Eventually, somebody is going to eat the costs – either the farming community or the consumer is going to eat the cost, I hate to say it,” he said.

2021-12-20T15:42:14-08:00December 20th, 2021|

A New WOTUS Rule?

US EPA and Army Propose New WOTUS Rule

Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of the Army (the agencies) announced a proposed rule to re-establish the pre-2015 definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) which had been in place for decades, updated to reflect consideration of Supreme Court decisions.

This action advances the agencies’ goal of establishing a durable definition of WOTUS that protects public health, the environment, and downstream communities while supporting economic opportunity, agriculture, and other industries that depend on clean water.

This proposed rule would support a stable implementation of “waters of the United States” while the agencies continue to consult with states, Tribes, local governments, and a broad array of stakeholders in both the implementation of WOTUS and future regulatory actions.

According to EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan, “Through our engagement with stakeholders across the country, we’ve heard overwhelming calls for a durable definition of WOTUS that protects the environment and that is grounded in the experience of those who steward our waters. Today’s action advances our process toward a stronger rule that achieves our shared priorities.”

EPA claims that recent court decisions have reinforced the need for a stable and certain definition of WOTUS. The U.S. District Courts for both Arizona and New Mexico have vacated the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.  Considering the court actions, the agencies have been implementing the pre-2015 regulatory regime nationwide since early September 2021.

EPA claims that the proposed rule would solidify the rules of the road for a stable implementation of “waters of the United States” while the agencies continue to consult with stakeholders to refine the definition of WOTUS in both implementation and future regulatory actions.   EPA further states the proposed rule would maintain the longstanding exclusions of the pre-2015 regulations as well as the exemptions and exclusions in the Clean Water Act on which the agricultural community has come to rely.

The agencies are taking comment on this proposed rule for 60 days beginning on the date it is published in the Federal Register.  The Association is currently reviewing the proposed rule in preparation of making comments.

2021-11-24T11:07:29-08:00November 24th, 2021|

Bohart Museum of Entomology Celebrates 75 years!

Photo: Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and a UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology at UC Davis, addresses the crowd at its 75th anniversary celebration. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Bohart Museum, Founded in 1946, Celebrates 75th Anniversary

With spider decorations dangling from trees and entomologists representing everything from a horse fly to a tortoise beetle to a lamp, the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology recently celebrated its 75th anniversary at an outdoor Halloween party hosted by the Bohart Museum Society.

Rain dampened the Crocker Lane event but not the enthusiasm as the crowd toasted the work of the Bohart Museum and its director Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology. She has administered the Bohart Museum since 1990.

The UC Davis museum traces its origins back in 1946 to two Schmitt boxes filled with insect specimens collected by noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007), UC Davis professor of entomology and museum founder. Named the Bohart Museum in 1982, it is now the home of nearly eight million insect specimens, collected worldwide.

“We should take a moment to not only express our appreciation of the Bohart Museum and the legacy that Dr. Richard Bohart left, but to all the work Lynn has done to make events like this possible and to continue the important work,” emcee Jason Bond, the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair and professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, told the crowd.

Bond, who on Oct. 25 was named Associate Dean for Research and Outreach for Agricultural Sciences, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences,  drew attention to the “remarkable planet that we live on and the diversity of animals and plants we share” and museum collections.

“Collections have a tremendous educational value,” Bond said, “and they also have amazing research value as well. Discoveries of new species don’t actually happen in the field, they happen in the museum collections. New species on the average spend about 25 years on the shelf before a graduate student, undergraduate student or a researcher pulls them off shelf and describes or discovers them.”

The specimens are an amazing resource, Bond told the crowd. “They not only record the diversity of insects in the past but sometimes we can use them as a key to solving problems associated with human diseases and agricultural pests and the like.”

He offered a toast to Kimsey, who in turn praised the thousands of collectors “who have their names” on the specimens. “We’ve been doing this for a long time. Eventually we’ll be able to serve the public again like we should. Otherwise it would just be a dead collection in a building somewhere.”

Kimsey interviewed “Doc” Bohart, then 82, in 1996 as part of the Aggie Videos collection. (See https://bit.ly/2Zv8rvO.) Bohart, who began his UC Davis career in 1946, chaired the Department of Entomology from 1963 to 1967.

Kimsey, an alumnus of UC Davis, received her undergraduate degree in 1975 and doctorate in 1979. She joined the UC Davis faculty in 1989. A two-term president of the International Hymenopterists, and a recognized global authority on the systematics, biogeography and biology of the wasp families, Tiphiidae and Chrysididae, she won the 2020 C. W. Woodworth Award, the highest award given by the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America, for “her 31 years of outstanding accomplishments in research, teaching, education, outreach and public service.”

A colorful 75th anniversary banner greeted the attendees. The work of entomologist Christine Melvin, who received her bachelor’s degree in entomology from UC Davis in 2017, it features a hover fly, sphecid wasp, snake fly, bumble bee, aphid, twisted wing parasite and a tardigrade (water bear). The Bohart Museum’s tardigrade collection includes some 25,000 slide-mounted specimens. A  2,112-pound tardigrade sculpture, crafted by artist Solomon Bassoff of Nevada County and considered the largest in the world,  graces the front of the Bohart Museum

Bond urged the crowd to help support the outreach mission of the museum. Bohart Museum scientists are seeking donations for their traveling insect specimen displays. They aim to raise $5000 by 11:59 p.m., Oct. 31 for their UC Davis CrowdFund project to purchase traveling display boxes for their specimens, which include bees, butterflies and beetles, Students will compile the boxes, which are  portable glass-topped display boxes that travel throughout Northern California to school classrooms, youth group meetings, festivals, events, museums, hospitals–and more–to help people learn about the exciting world of insect science.

“Now that UC Davis is open again to students we have all these bright, students on campus with fresh and diverse perspectives,” said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum’s education and outreach coordinator. “We want to support their talent, so the funds we are raising will go to students for the creation of new traveling displays

Donors can do so in memory of someone, a place, or a favorite insect. Bond donated $500 in honor of Lynn Kimsey, and Lynn Kimsey donated $500 in memory of the founder, Richard M. Bohart. The donation page and map are at https://bit.ly/3v4MoaJ

The Bohart Museum, currently closed to the public due to COVID-19 precautions, is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. In addition to its insect collection, which is the seventh largest in North America, the museum houses a live “petting zoo,” comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas, and a gift shop (now online), stocked with insect-themed t-shirts, hoodies, jewelry, books, posters and other items. Further information is on the website at https://bohart.ucdavis.edu.

 

2021-11-01T10:46:04-07:00November 1st, 2021|

Fresno Chamber of Commerce Announces Ag Awards

Fresno Chamber is Proud to Announce the 2021 Ag Award Winners

This year’s expanded award platform will feature four honorees at the Ag Awards celebration on November 10th at PR Farms

 The Fresno Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Fresno County Farm Bureau, is proud to announce the winners of the 2021 Ag Awards, a long-standing tradition that honors and celebrates our region’s agricultural industry leaders. This year’s expanded award platform includes two new award categories including the Ag Employee of the Year Award and the AGvocate of the Year Award, in addition to the Moss Adams Agribusiness of the Year Award and the Agriculturalist of the Year Award. The honorees will be recognized at the Ag Awards Celebration on November 10th at PR Farms.

The 2021 Ag Awards Honorees include:

  • Moss Adams Agribusiness of the Year Award – Baloian Farms
  • Agriculturalist of the Year Award – Bill Smittcamp, President & CEO, Wawona Frozen Foods
  • AGvocate of the Year Award – Jose Carlos Ramirez, 2012 Olympian and former WBC and WBO Unified Super Lightweight Champion of the World.
  • Agricultural Employee of the Year – Emilio Leon Coronel, Superintendent, Indart Group and Indart Enterprises.

“This year’s Ag Awards Celebration is especially significant, as it marks the first time that we will present the Agricultural Employee of the Year Award and AGvocate of the Year Award. The event’s new location and dinner format will also provide a fitting backdrop for celebrating the people that are essential to Fresno County’s agriculture industry,” stated Scott Miller, President and CEO and the Fresno Chamber of Commerce. “We are truly honored to recognize the extraordinary people and businesses that make Fresno’s ag industry world-class.”

The Moss Adams Agribusiness of the Year Award is presented to Baloian Farms, a business that has made innovative contributions to the agricultural industry and has demonstrated true leadership in Fresno’s the agricultural community. With a proven track record of finding innovative ways to implement sustainable practices including water conservation, recycling, and solar power, Baloian Farms has become known for developing a program that has enabled the year-round production of peppers and is expected to increase the production of several other crops.

“Providing a platform to recognize leaders in this industry is critically important not only to the mission of the Chamber and the Farm Bureau, but to the growth and prosperity of our region’s agriculture industry,” said Janell Attebery, CPA, Partner, Food, Beverage and Agribusiness, Moss Adams. “It’s why we are proud to continue the tradition of partnering with the Chamber as a way to honor the Moss Adams Agribusiness of the Year Award recipient along with other Chamber award recipients. Moss Adams is delighted to announce Baloian Farms as the recipient of the 2021 Agribusiness of the Year Award; we look forward to celebrating their growth, success and contributions to the agriculture industry and community at the Ag Awards Celebration.”

Bill Smittcamp, President & CEO of Wawona Frozen Foods, and the recipient of the 2021 Agriculturalist of the Year Award, has a demonstrated history of dedication to agriculture and contributed significantly to the agriculture industry in the greater Fresno area. Under Smittcamp’s leadership, his family-owned farm grew to be the largest frozen peach processor in the Nation, processing over 75 million pounds of peaches along with 20 million pounds of strawberries and other fruits. Collectively, the company handles more than 125 million pounds of frozen product annually.

“I am honored and truly humbled to be even considered for this award. So many names come to mind of those who have been awarded before me: Phil Larson, Manuel Cunha, Mark Borba,” Smittcamp said in a statement. “Agriculture in California, peaches specifically, has been in my blood all my life. I am just happy to be a part of the agriculture industry here in the valley.”

For the first time in the Fresno Chamber’s Ag Awards history, the Agricultural Employee of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has played an instrumental role in the success of their organization. Emilio Leon Coronel, Superintendent at the Indart Group and Indart Enterprises, began his career as a humble sheep herder and, through diligence and dedication, rose through the ranks to become a leader within their businesses and essential to its success. A South American immigrant, Cornel embodies the American dream.

This year also marks the first AGvocate of the Year Award; an honor that recognizes an individual who plays an integral role in the agricultural community through advocacy, leadership and service. Jose Carlos Ramirez, a 2012 Olympian and former WBC and WBO Unified Super Lightweight Champion of the World, has used his status as a world-class athlete to bring attention to important local agricultural issues, naming seven of his fights, “Fight for Water,” bringing regional, state and national attention to the need for more water and water storage.

“Each of the awards presented represent an integral facet of Fresno’s agricultural community,” Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen said. “With the addition of the AGvocate and Agricultural Employee of the Year Awards, the Ag Awards Celebration now recognizes an additional set of people who are key to the success of the local industry and Fresno itself. Because of these amazing leaders, Fresno County is the agricultural capital of the nation.”

Ag Awards Celebration Event Details

Agriculturalist of the Year Past Recipients

Moss Adams Agribusiness of the Year Past Recipients

2021-10-20T14:19:16-07:00October 20th, 2021|

Veto of AB 616 A Big Win for Ag

Special OP-Ed 

Vetoing of Bad Farmworker Bill a Win for Ag Community and Republicans

By Jesse Rojas

 

California is home to the most industrious, plentiful, and fresh food supply thanks to hardworking men and women who serve as farmworkers, ranch hands, and workers in our food supply chain. These workers, like many employees, have the right to unionize or not unionize. In recent years, a union has been out for revenge on workers who chose not to join.

The United Farm Workers (UFW) was once a mighty force, but it’s largely become a greedy organization pushing a liberal agenda. Workers part of the union saw little to no results for their dues for decades and UFW paid the price.

In 2013, workers at a Fresno-based farm voted on whether or not to belong to the UFW. Afraid of the results of the election, the UFW brought the issue to court and forced taxpayers to spend millions before the votes would finally be counted in 2018, five years later. The UFW was rightfully afraid. After settling the issue, the results overwhelmingly showed that workers did not want to join the UFW. The state even formalized a decision ensuring that the election protocol used to opt-out of the UFW, a secret ballot election, would be the exclusive means for recognizing a union. In fact, the Court of Appeal called the attempted suppression of the workers’ votes a civil rights violation by the state agency and the UFW.

This secret ballot election process reflects workers’ fundamental right to choose their representation free from intimidation or coercion. The UFW’s attack on this right this year, via Assembly Bill 616 (Stone), would’ve prohibited the secret ballot and enacted a process called a “card check.” Under this new process, union organizers could have approached a worker and asked them in person to sign a card representing their vote for the union. Since the union would know how the workers vote, they could then intimidate or coerce those who chose they do not want to unionize. It is common for 75% or more workers to sign such cards in advance of a union election, only for a majority to reject the union at the ballot box.

Oddly enough, in a statement in support of the bill, the UFW said that farmworker representation elections should be allowed to be conducted the way political elections are.  If they truly believed this, why did they sponsor a bill to eliminate a secret ballot? Could you imagine what that would look like in a presidential election?

When AB 616 faced a final legislative hurdle, all Senate Republicans voted against the measure while only two Senate Democrats joined them in opposition. That split, while not surprising given the makeup of the legislature, is indicative of a massive failure from Central Valley Democrats.

The California Legislature consists of individuals from across the political spectrum, including what has been dubbed the “Mod-Dem Caucus.” This caucus has previously played a role in killing bad bills on the wishlist of progressive Democrats in the Capitol, including some that disproportionately harm the Valley. So what happened this time?

The so-called “Mod-Dems” failed to whip the votes of their fellow moderate Democrats. While they may have messaged on the bill on social media, or debated against it on camera, they failed to get the job done behind the scenes and allowed it to reach the governor. Thankfully, Gov. Gavin Newsom heard pleas elsewhere. Senate Republicans and farm advocates loudly expressed opposition to the measure.

In a veto letter request to the governor, Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk(Santa Clarita) made an argument that the governor actually used when he rejected the measure on his desk and Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno) put out a statement arguing that this measure “contradicts the principles of our American system of Representative Government.”

Borgeas is right. Farmworkers, farmers, Republicans, and now two governors have also agreed. Intimidation is no way to play fair in any election – including union elections.

Time to give it up, UFW. This is a fight you should not win. No se puede!

 

 

###

Jesse Rojas is a farmworker rights activist, spokesperson for Pick Justice, founder of California Farm Workers & Families, and a Central Valley Taxpayers Association board member. Rojas, an immigrant, also launched Mi America En La Radio, the first conservative Spanish-language radio show in the Central Valley. As CEO of The Redd Group, LLC, his organization offers labor relations, human resources consulting, public relations, and political consulting.

2021-09-30T07:58:53-07:00September 30th, 2021|

Gov. Newsom Vetos AB 616 (Card Check)

California Fresh Fruit Association Applauds the Veto of AB 616

 

The California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) would like to thank Governor Gavin Newsom for his veto on AB 616, the most recent version of card check legislation for employee unionization. This bill would have stripped agricultural employees of the right to an impartial, secret ballot election.

President Ian LeMay stated, “On behalf of the Association, we would like to thank Governor Newsom for his veto on of AB 616 today. We appreciate his understanding of the impact this bill would have had on agricultural employees and their right to choose whether or not to have union representation. As stated in the Governor’s veto message, CFFA leadership is ready to work with the Administration, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) and the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) in protecting the rights and advancing the opportunities for all California farmworkers.”

LeMay continued, “The Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA) has long protected the right of agricultural employees to a secret ballot election supervised by the ALRB, free of intimidation and influence by any interested party. Today’s veto of AB 616 preserves the right to a free and fair election process for all California farmworkers from those who sought to take that right away from them.”

2021-09-22T17:35:03-07:00September 22nd, 2021|

California Grapes Get Air Time

On the Air with California Grapes

Radio commercials for California grapes created with major influencers are live and on the air.

Four radio show influencers have recorded radio commercials focused on choosing Grapes from California as a healthy snack.

Amy Brown voiced radio spots that are running on stations airing The Bobby Bones Show and Women of iHeart Country radio shows, plus on the 4 Things with Amy Brown podcast.

Enrique Santos is reaching Spanish-speaking consumers on stations that air the Tu Mañana program and English-language stations that air On the Move, plus on the Hola, My Name Is podcast.

Mario Lopez voiced California grape spots that are running on stations airing On with Mario Lopez and iHeartRadio Countdown, plus on the On with Mario Lopez podcast.

On stations that air The Steve Harvey Morning Show, California grape spots featuring Nephew Tommy are airing.

The ads will run through mid-December.

You can listen to the August and September spots here. The influencers will record new spots each month.

Photo is  Mario Lopez who voiced a spot

2021-09-22T11:41:13-07:00September 22nd, 2021|

Industry Calls for Governor to Veto Card Check (AB 616)

 

California Fresh Fruit Association Calls on Gov. Newsom to Veto AB 616

On August 26, the California State Senate voted 24-11 to pass AB 616 (Stone), commonly referred to as “card check.” AB 616 would alter the traditional petition and secret election process overseen by the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) in which farmworkers can vote for a union. The California Fresh Fruit Association joined a broad coalition of agricultural organizations to oppose AB 616, which proponents have misleadingly characterized as “vote by mail” legislation. Unlike mail-in voting, AB 616’s process would allow for interested parties to select the timing and manner of a union election, as well as who receives a card check form, and would limit the ability of the ALRB to provide impartial supervision of an election.

 

CFFA President Ian LeMay stated, “the California State Senate’s vote to pass AB 616 and undermine the integrity of the secret ballot in union elections is beyond disappointing. The right to an impartial, secret ballot election, free from undue pressure, is foundational to the democratic process that all of us cherish as Americans. AB 616 would allow for interested parties (union) to deliver a representation card to a select group of employees to sign in their presence smacks of voter coercion and intimidation – an anathema to the democratic voting process. The bill fails to even require that every employee of a company have the opportunity to vote on who or if they want to be represented.”

 

LeMay continued, “At the same time that our state legislators are smacking the pulpit regarding protections needed for our state and national voting processes, it is unfathomable that they would strip our farmworker community of that same basic right. We now call on Governor Newsom, to have the same foresight as his predecessor Governor Brown did when he vetoed the previous card check attempt. Veto AB 616 and protect California farmworker’s right to a free and fair election process.”

2021-08-27T11:49:27-07:00August 27th, 2021|
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