Mask Rule Dropped for Ag Employees

Cal/OSHA Votes To Drop Workplace Mask Rule For Fully Vaccinated Workers

On Thursday, June 17th, California regulators approved revised worksite pandemic rules that allow fully vaccinated employees the same freedoms as when they are off the job. The revised regulations adopted come after weeks of confusion. They conform with general state guidelines by ending most mask rules for people who are vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order enabling the revisions to take effect without the normal 10-day approval period by the state Office of Administrative Law. See the COVID Prevention Emergency Readoption Standard here.

The key change in the revisions is abandoning a controversial provision where all employees would have had to wear masks indoors if there were unvaccinated employees in the workplace. Physical distancing and barriers are removed from the ETS, regardless of vaccination status. Physical distancing rules in employer-provided housing and transportation also are eliminated, if all employees are vaccinated.

Watch for additional details of the revised standard in Monday’s edition of the Update and register for the “Impacts of New COVID Rules on Ag Labor” webinar (see below).

2021-06-18T08:28:35-07:00June 18th, 2021|

Center for Land-Based Learning Increases Growth

Center for Land-Based Learning announces Unprecedented Organizational Growth

As the need for new farmers, agricultural leaders, and natural resource stewards continues to increase, the Center for Land-Based Learning is announcing its unprecedented organizational growth in response to this need.

The Center, which started offering its FARMS program in 1993, has remained committed to inspiring, educating, and cultivating future generations of farmers, agricultural leaders, and natural resource stewards in California over the long haul.

In 2017, the Center set forth a multi-year strategy plan to, among other goals, “build a new home in a new place.”

In May 2020, the Center moved to Woodland, after a successful capital campaign. The Center for Land-Based Learning’s Headquarters at Maples Farm is a 30-acre campus that houses their new offices, the Best Classroom where they will hold in-person classes when it is again safe to do so, and productive farmland and associated infrastructure. Beginning farmers in the Center’s California Farm Academy Farm Business Incubator Program can lease plots of farmland on Maples Farm or in West Sacramento, to grow their nascent agricultural ventures.

“We have been overwhelmed by the incredible support and the ability to propel innovative new programs and services at our new facility”, says Jeana Hultquist, Chair of the Center’s Board. “This also meant aligning our leadership with comparable forward-looking non-profit organizations.”

In the fall of 2020, the Board promoted Mary Kimball from Executive Director to CEO. Mary was the first employee hired to work with the Center back in 1998 and has served at its helm since 2003. Under Kimball’s leadership, the move to Maples Farm positions the Center for growing success for another 25 years.

The Center has also created several new positions in recent months. These include their new Director of Operations, filled by Jesus Zavala since December, their West Sacramento Urban Farm Program Coordinator, filled by Heather Lyon since April, and their Beginning Farm and Ranch Management Apprentice, filled by Erin Morris since April.

California Farm Academy Director, Dr. Sridharan (Sri) Sethuratnam, added, “At the Maples Farm, we have access to quadruple the amount of land, and dramatically improved infrastructure and equipment. The land and infrastructure provide us with the capacity to better support the beginning farmers in the region and will eventually contribute to growing the next generation of farmers that our country needs.”

To learn more about the Center for Land-Based Learning, or to give to their mission, please visit


The mission of the Center for Land-Based Learning is to inspire, educate, and cultivate future generations of farmers, agricultural leaders and natural resource stewards.

2021-06-18T08:37:57-07:00June 17th, 2021|

Prop 12 Problems

Prop 12 a ‘Tough Situation’ for the Pork Industry

By Tim Hammerich with the Ag Information Network

Proposition 12 was passed by referendum back in 2018 and is scheduled to come into effect in 2022. There’s still a lot of uncertainty about how the law, which establishes new standards for confinement of specified farm animals, will be executed. Christine McCracken is executive director and protein analyst at Rabobank.

“The industry is kind of put into, you know, this difficult position of being faced with a rule that will make a lot of the pork that we raise here in the U.S. ineligible for sale in California without some pretty major legal consequences and financial consequences,” said McCracken.

The controversy is surrounding the fact that the law requiring certain growing conditions applies to all pork sold in California, regardless of where it is raised.

“It’s a tough position to be in for everyone: the retailer obviously, and not knowing whether or not they’ll have a lot of pork to sell. It’s tough for the processor, you know, with the potential of not having the visibility to encourage those changes and not knowing whether or not they’ll have enough pigs to process for California,” said McCracken.

“And for the producer, you know, they obviously have the added risk of not having markets for their pigs. So it’s, it’s a tough kind of industry situation at the moment,” noted McCracken.

Industry groups have filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the measure.

2021-06-14T18:07:00-07:00June 14th, 2021|

Newsom Gets Letter Regarding Drought

David G. Valadao and  State Senator Melissa Hurtado Contact Governor Newsom

This week, Congressman David G. Valadao and California State Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) sent Governor Newsom a letter to ensure that Fresno, Kings, Kern, and Tulare counties, whose jobs depend directly on farms, are given full consideration when contemplating actions to mitigate the negative impacts of a second year of a critically severe and dangerous drought. President Biden’s Interagency Working Group was copied on the letter.

“Central Valley farmers are doing everything they can to mitigate this crisis, and we need you to do everything you can to help them,” said Congressman Valadao. “Senator Hurtado and I understand the challenges both state and federal officials currently face in allocating extremely limited water supplies to meet all the demands of the state. There is no doubt that the agriculture industry can, should, and currently is playing a role in reducing water use during these difficult times. Not only have many farmers in our districts implemented more modern technology and irrigation practices to efficiently use water, but farmers across our districts have already fallowed fields and prematurely ripped out permanent crops in an effort to reduce water use further. We strongly urge you to think about our Central Valley farmers when making critical decisions on drought mitigation.”

“California is one state of many, including countries around the world, that is experiencing a drought unlike any other,” said Senator Hurtado. “Farmers of the Central Valley are world leaders and have been at the forefront of the fight against climate change. Support for our farmers equals support for our food—we may not be able to avoid this water crisis, but we can work to avoid a food crisis. There is no room for partisan politics in addressing this enormous challenge. Congressman Valadao, myself, and the Valley Delegation have been working tirelessly to address the needs of our constituents, farmers and farmworkers. We will continue to do so.”

2021-06-17T10:44:30-07:00June 14th, 2021|

CFLCA To Host Feeding the Future June 26

California Farm Labor Contractor Association Event Will Support Scholars While Celebrating 33 Years of Service

The California Farm Labor Contractor Association (CFLCA) will host, “Feeding the Future: Supporting Scholars & Celebrating 33 Years of Service,” at the California Agriculture Museum in Woodland on Saturday, June 26.

The event combines fundraising activities for CFLCA’s Farm Worker Scholarship fund along with an opportunity to bid a fond farewell to CFLCA’s Executive Director and organization co-founder Guadalupe (Lupe) Sandoval, who is retiring from the non-profit FLC association.

When incorporated in 2009, Lupe’s vision for CFLCA was to help farm labor contractors provide safe, respectful, and compliant places of work for essential workers. He leaves a legacy of progressive influence in the agricultural arena. According to CFLCA’s president, Blanca Wright, “Lupe has dedicated over 33 years to consulting with and educating farmworkers, supervisors, their employers, and others on safety, management, and compliance issues. We will certainly miss his tenacity on behalf of the farm labor contractor and farmworker communities. The CFLCA Board of Directors is committed to building on Lupe’s vision which includes the development of programs to promote gender equity and best practices along with growing participation by our members in the legislative arena.”

The CFLCA scholarship fund was established in 2016 and has provided over $200,000 in financial assistance to the children of FLC-employed farmworkers since that time. “Feeding the Future: Supporting Scholars & Celebrating 33 Years of Service,” includes dinner and drinks, a silent auction to fund scholarships, admission to the museum, and an opportunity to visit with old and new industry colleagues. 

Limited tickets are available for $60. For admission information or to learn about CFLCA’s scholarships and fundraising efforts, visit or call 916-389-1246. Scholarship applications must be submitted by June 12th


Established in 2009, California Farm Labor Contractor Association (CFLCA) represents members who employ over 250,000 farm workers engaged in agricultural production throughout California. For over a decade, CFLCA has served a vital role in helping members to navigate complex labor laws. We promote educational opportunities and best management practices to help our members provide safe, respectful, and compliant work environments benefiting employees and grower clients.

2021-06-14T15:11:28-07:00June 14th, 2021|

Almond Shipments Set New Record

Increased Demand Helps Almonds Overcome Port Issues, Tariffs, and COVID-19 Limitations


California almond shipments to consumer markets in the U.S. and across the globe hit a new record this year, despite port and trade issues and COVID-19 complications.


The May 2021 Position Report from the Almond Board of California (ABC) shows that the California industry shipped 219 million pounds in May – a record for the month – bringing the total this crop year to 2.45 billion pounds, setting a new record in just 10 months. The crop year for almonds runs from Aug. 1 to July 31.

“This shows continuing high demand for California almonds among consumers around the world,” said ABC President and CEO Richard Waycott. “People love almonds because they’re a remarkably sustainable plant protein, they’re versatile in a range of cuisines, they have outstanding health and beauty benefits, and they’re delicious.”


Record shipments across the globe


California almonds ship to more than 100 countries, and export growth has been impressive with a 30% overall increase over last year to date and record shipments in a number of markets.


tradeA month ago, India made history for California almonds. For the first time ever, a single market exceeded 300 million pounds of imports in one crop year. The current May report shows that India has now received 322 million pounds and is up 54% over the previous year to date.


The entire Asia-Pacific region continues its strong growth with a 46% increase overall. In that region, the China/Hong Kong market is up 72% year-to-year despite tariffs, South Korea increased by 42% and Vietnam is up an astounding 132% from last year.


Almost all European markets, east and west, continued their impressive growth in response to the high demand. Germany and Spain posted strong gains as did the Netherlands and Italy. Overall, European imports are up 18% from 2019-20.


The Middle East and North Africa are also regions with strong growing markets. Countries of note include the United Arab Emirates, which grew 31%, Egypt with 20% growth, and Morocco, which has a year-to-date increase of 148% over last year.


Growth in the U.S. continues to be strong, especially considering that the domestic market is large and well established. The year-to-year increase stands at 4% for the crop year.


“The world-wide appetite for almonds and our range of products continues to grow,” Waycott said. “Almonds outpaced all other nuts in new product introductions ranging from dairy alternatives and snacks to confectionery, bakery and bars. Our industry members have done a terrific job of moving the current crop and meeting the demand from consumers here in the U.S. and around the world.”

2021-06-14T13:53:28-07:00June 14th, 2021|

This Growing Season Could Be Similar to 2015

Low Water Allocations Remind Growers of 2015


By Tim Hammerich with the Ag Information Network

The year 2015 is not a year most farmers remember fondly. The severe drought-affected California agriculture in profound ways and alarmingly 2021 is looking very similar.

Mike Wade is the executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, which is a non-profit educational organization to help inform the public about agricultural water use.

“We’ve got quite a situation in California this year, similar to what we saw in 2015. And if we use that as kind of an example of what we might expect this year, we had over 540,000 acres of fallowed farmland back in 2015,” said Wade.

“And we’re expecting probably as much, or maybe more this year. Most of the state in agriculture has had significant water supply cuts. Probably one in four acres is facing a 5% water allocation this year. And huge other swaths have had 25% cuts – or they’re getting about 75%. But it’s affecting every corner of California agriculture and in a way that we’re starting to see impacts on our food supply this summer and into the fall through acreage reductions,” noted Wade.


2021-06-13T20:47:16-07:00June 13th, 2021|

Blueberries and Walnuts Combine for Brain Health

Blueberries & Walnuts Partner to Give Brain Health Month a Boost at Retail 

 June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, and the California Walnut Board (CWB) and U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) are collaborating with a select group of retailers, including Coborn’s, Rouses Markets and Weis Markets, to encourage consumers to “grab a boost of blue and walnuts, too!” Activations will include unique opportunities such as local TV segments, e-newsletter features, Facebook Lives, and more, led by retail registered dietitians. There’s no better time to consider brain benefits through snack food choices.

“Power periods like Brain Health Month are timely opportunities to get consumers thinking in new and different ways about the products they love,” said Jennifer Sparks, V.P., Marketing and Communications at USHBC. “This strategic collaboration helps both the walnut and blueberry industries reach new audiences and increase demand. It’s a win-win.”

“While the health benefits of blueberries and walnuts are compelling, this campaign clearly demonstrates how agricultural groups can come together through combined thought leadership and resources, to bring exceptional value and benefit to retailers, consumers and their growers,” said Jennifer Olmstead, Senior Director of U.S. Marketing & Communications at the California Walnut Board. “By working together, we can educate consumers about the benefits of consuming walnuts and blueberries while providing simple snacking solutions that they can implement in their daily lives.”

Just about all Americans snack daily (97%), and 22% of snackers (53 million people) are looking for snacks that promote cognitive health, according to a new snacking survey conducted by California Walnuts in partnership with Kelton Global.  Diet may have a role to play in bolstering brain health and mitigating potential risks. A growing field of research is looking at the connection between certain foods like walnuts and blueberries and cognitive function. Snacking on walnuts provides important nutrients, like ALA omega-3 fatty acid (2.5 g/oz), that have been studied in connection with brain health. A growing body of scientific evidence is examining how blueberries can be part of eating patterns to support brain health, especially as part of an overall healthy lifestyle.1-4

Perfect as on-the-go snacks to enjoy all month long, blueberries and walnuts are easy to add into any routine and are sure to become a family favorite. For recipe inspiration, the CWB and USHBC created a new blueberry & walnut recipe collection.

“Grab a Boost of Blue and Walnuts Too!” is designed to inspire and motivate consumers to enjoy more of the blueberries and walnuts they love, in more ways and more often – ultimately driving demand and increasing sales. Retailers are encouraged to participate and inspire their audiences to think about brain health using engaging, easy-to-use content developed by USHBC and the CWB, including recipes, social media images, digital ads and other resources.

California walnuts and blueberries are also teaming up for joint displays at two regional retailers.  In June, Giant Eagle will prominently integrate walnuts into their month-long “blueberry harvest” event and support the effort with a display contest awarding the stores achieving the largest sales increases.  In August, Jewel Osco will feature both California walnuts and blueberries in their circular ad and showcase both items with adjacent displays in-store.

2021-06-10T18:10:46-07:00June 10th, 2021|

Water Infrastructure Bill Passes Senate

Senate Passes Critical Infrastructure Bill


Recently, Federico Barajas, Executive Director of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, issued the following statement after the California Senate passed SB 559 – The State Water Resiliency Act – authored by Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) by a 34-1 vote:
“This year’s very real drought conditions reinforce the need for an all of government approach to drought response, both in the short and long-term. Today’s overwhelming vote, led by Senator Hurtado and the Valley delegation, puts the California Senate firmly in support of a strong state role in repairing California’s water conveyance infrastructure and increasing California’s drought resilience.
“The San Joaquin, San Benito, and Santa Clara Valleys need long-term water supply solutions if they are to remain global leaders in food production, high tech, and environmental stewardship. SB 559 offers a holistic, statewide approach to restore the conveyance capacity of California’s most critical water delivery infrastructure.
“We applaud Senator Hurtado for her leadership and support for increasing water infrastructure investments that better prepare us for future droughts by enabling the movement of water when Mother Nature provides it and look forward to working with the broad coalition of supporters urging passage of this bill in the Assembly.”
The State Water Resiliency Act of 2021 will allocate $785 million to repairing vital water delivery systems that provide drinking water to communities throughout California, water to sustain the state’s leading agricultural and technology economies, and wetlands of international importance. The funds would go to fixing the Delta-Mendota Canal, the Friant-Kern Canal, and major portions of the California Aqueduct, all of which have degraded and are losing water as a result of subsidence.
Key facilities of the Central Valley Project that convey water to member agencies of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority have lost conveyance capacity over time due to subsidence. This lost capacity, combined with higher operational and power costs, results in millions of dollars of increased ratepayer expenses to convey less water through the system and reduces long-term climate resilience. The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority is a lead sponsor of a broad coalition supporting Senate Bill 559 (Hurtado) and S. 1179 (Feinstein) / H.R. 2552 (Costa), companion state and federal legislation designed to address this issue.
2021-06-06T20:51:31-07:00June 6th, 2021|

Warning on Trespassers Gaining Pesticide Data

Urgent Advisory – Be on the Lookout for Trespassers During Pesticide Applications

This is an urgent advisory to be on the lookout for people trespassing on to farms in the towns of Raisin City, Cantua Creek and Caruthers during or immediately after pesticide applications.

According to the Western Ag Processor’s Association, participants of a study by the Central California Environmental Justice Network are being paid to carry backpacks with air monitoring equipment in these locations from May through August.  We are concerned these activists may attempt to enter a field or orchard during a pesticide application or immediately thereafter in order to make sure they get a “detect” on their air monitoring equipment.

This effort is led by the Central California Environmental Justice Network.  For years, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) has been conducting community air monitoring and there been very few detections of pesticides, and none that exceeded any risk levels of actual concern.   Frustrated with the lack of evidence, the environmental justice community is resorting to using unproven and unapproved methods and equipment to attempt to demonstrate pesticides are impacting residents in these communities.

Considering these activists are getting paid to prove detections, we are concerned with just how far these activists will go to attempt to prove pesticide exposures.  Should you see anyone in or around the edge of your field or orchard, we urge you to immediately contact the County Sherriff’s office and the county ag commissioner.  We have already warned the Sherriff and the Ag Commissioner of this potential threat.   

2021-06-11T18:26:30-07:00June 3rd, 2021|
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