Does UFW Cause Farm Closures?

Legal Explanation of Anecdotal Farm Closure Reports

By Laurie Greene, Founding Editor

Scores of farms in California have gone out of businesses over the last four decades, and many suspect that UFW pressure was to blame for farm closures. But there is no definitive reported evidence that this has happened.

“There are no specific facts that you can cite or any empirical evidence you will find that growers who closed down their businesses did so because of the UFW,” responded Robert Roy, president/general counsel for the Camarillo-based Ventura County Agricultural Association, when asked about such verbal reports.

Roy explained that it is not illegal for a business to claim it shut down, such as a farm closure, due to a union, according to a recent Supreme Court of the United States decision.

“But people just don’t talk about that in general,” he clarified.

“Generally, if someone’s been under a UFW or other union contract for a number of years, you see the cost of that contract makes them very noncompetitive with other non-union employers, both in-state and in other states,” Roy said. “In the past, UFW contracts had considerably more costly items in their employment packages, usually starting with higher wages, plus [non-wage] costs such as paid vacation, paid holidays, a union pension plan, and a union medical plan. So cumulatively, as the years go by, these costs are a pretty heavy hit for a lot of these employers.”

“Such costs are probably the only thing you can look to determine whether a farm went out of business because of the union,” he explained. “Of course, this is anecdotal evidence because you are not going to find people out there who will tell you directly they went out of work specifically to avoid the union.”

food safetyRoy said the public would not encounter those types of situations in which a business owner will assert the UFW caused their farm closure.

“I would think if a business had to stop operating,” Roy said, “maybe the owner of the business might put out a statement that explains what caused the farm closure. But we did not see that either.”

“When I first came here to Ventura County as a young attorney back in 1977,” Roy recalled, “there were somewhere between 30 to 40 UFW contracts in this area. Now there is only one—Muranaka Farms,” the largest U.S. grower and shipper of bunched green onions, according to their website. I think they have a very small workforce of perhaps 50 people here in Moorpark, California. I believe the rest of their operation is in Mexico, but I do not know if that operation is covered under the UFW contract.”

Roy continued, “Then last year, you had the closure of all of the strawberry operations for Dole Food Co. They shut down all of their strawberry operations in Ventura, Santa Maria and Watsonville. At one time, they had a very large UFW contract with over 1500 workers since the mid-1990s.”

“It is a tough deal for a union to convince workers to pay three percent of their wages in dues,” Roy said, “for many of the benefits that farmers now provide. I think farmers have basically caught up with many of the provisions covered in these UFW contracts. So, selling the union to the workers is a much more difficult proposition, especially when they have to pay three percent of their wages.”



Ventura County Agricultural Association is a business trade association that concentrates on providing services to agricultural employers, packing sheds, and labor contractors in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties since 1970. The organization’s services include training, dealing with union matters such as grievances and arbitrations,  representing members in administrative and court proceedings, and creating handbooks and policies. The Association keeps its members up-to-date on any federal, state or local laws that affect their operations.


Resources

Guild, Todd. (Updated 2017, July). Dole Berry Co. to close doors,” Register Pajaronian.

Mohan, Geoffrey, (2017, Sept. 3). Pulling back from strawberry market, Dole Food Co. to lay off 402 workers in Northern California,” Los Angeles Times.

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Thomas Fire Assistance Needs Improvement

Thomas Fire Assistance is Slow

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

The Thomas Fire in Ventura County was the largest wildfire in California history. We recently spoke with Henry Gonzalez, the Agricultural Commissioner for Ventura County, whose own home was affected by the fire, about the ongoing fallout from the disaster.

“I could see from my kitchen window the flame just onto the hill there, and fortunately, we’re protected by some of the orchards. Also, the wind was blowing in a favorable direction, so we were part of a voluntary evacuation area, so we were very fortunate,” Gonzalez said.

Henry Gonzalez

“We were ready to flee,” he explained. “We packed up our most prized possessions and were ready to leave at a moment’s notice. I stayed up until 2:00 in the morning that night of the fire, monitoring to see what was going to happen and then in the morning we saw that there was indeed still fire very close to my home.”

Gonzalez said that disaster assistance for agricultural losses is in need of reform.

“It’s a bit frustrating because some of the disaster assistance that’s out there through FSA, the Farm Service Agency wouldn’t pay until 2019,” he said.

“Any farmers or ranchers that had losses from the fire needed to have the money up front to pay for things, and that’s really not acceptable,” he continued.

“We need to have a disaster assistance program that meets the magnitude of the disaster,” Gonzalez said. “With the drought, that disaster happened slowly so people could make adjustments accordingly. But with something like this fire, it was so quick and of such magnitude that the assistance needs to also be as quick and matched the magnitude of the disaster.”

“And that’s where we really need to rethink what the FSA is doing and how they are doing it. It’s just a bureaucracy that goes so slow that by the time we get the assistance here, there’s going to be a number of agriculturalist that have gone out of business,”Gonzalez said.

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Agriculture Created Buffer During Thomas Fire

Southern California Thomas Fire Hurt Agriculture

By Brianne Boyett, Associate Editor

The Thomas Fire that burned through Ventura County last December led to some major agricultural losses. California Ag Today spoke with Henry Gonzales, the Agricultural Commissioner of Ventura County, about the situation.

“There were 6,603 acres of avocados and then another 1,800 acres of lemons, about another 540 acres of oranges, and another dozen crops were affected,” Gonzales said.

“One of the things that we’ve seen is that these orchards actually provided a buffer between the fire and urban areas. They really saved us quite a bit. Some of the avocado orchards experienced significant losses; the very efficient irrigation systems that we have are sadly made out of plastic, and so they melted and we’re actually looking at two different disasters,” Gonzales explained.

“We’re still suffering from the impacts and effects of the drought … so everything was very dry, and then we had the Santa Ana winds, and it really created the perfect firestorm,” Gonzales said.

The rain this last year did help, but then it created more problems.

“It did help. No doubt. We didn’t get as much rain as many other areas. In Southern California, we were very happy to get the amount of rain that we did get,” Gonzales said. “But then it created mudslides that we’re now dealing with.”

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Growers Face Fire Damage on Avocado Trees

Avocado Growers Should Not Cut Down Trees With Only Fire-Damaged Canopies

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Avocado growers should not make quick decisions on what to do with fire damage on avocado trees. There are right decisions and wrong decisions.

Wildfires in Ventura County have burned over two hundred and thirty thousand acres, and avocado growers are among those affected by the fires;  many orchards have been burned. We spoke with Ben Faber, a UC cooperative extension farm advisor in Ventura County. He told us about this devastation, and how it’s affected avocado orchards.

“I’ve been out looking at burned orchards, and it’s really too early to look. It looks worse than you see, so you see the burn canopies and it looks devastating, but they’ll come back,” Faber said. “It’s when you look at the orchard and see the green canopy and and you say, Oh gosh, I’m saved. But if you get down on your knees and you see these pustule, or boils round the base of the tree, that means the tree is gone.”

“This is tree sap underneath that’s boiled out,” Faber explained. “The cambium is damaged, and you may think, ‘Oh, everything is looking fine,’ and then you get a nice dry wind and the tree collapses all of a sudden because the can’t carry enough water to meet transpirational demand. Oftentimes, that means it was a crown fire and burned around the base of the trunk.”

“Some of the trees that looked the most damaged actually might be much better off than those showing little signs of damage. That’s why it’s important for growers to wait to assess the damage in their orchards,” he said.

In trees showing canopy burn, you’ll have to prune the tree. It’ll come back fine, according to Faber.

“What we are afraid of is that growers will respond in the wrong way. They’ll probably start cutting down trees that have lost their canopies and leave the ones that have a green canopy, and it might be the other way around,” he said. “We’re telling people, don’t do anything. Water if they need to and let nature take its course.”

Editor’s note: Photos by Ben Faber

 

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ACP Found Near Juice Plant

More Asian Citrus Psyllids Found in Tulare County, 10 ACPs near Juice Plant

 

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor, and Laurie Greene, Editor

 

Announced Today, more Asian Citrus Psyllids (ACP) were found recently in several Tulare County traps, two of which were adjacent to an orange juice plant near Tipton.

“There were a few [ACPs] on sticky traps on a residential tree, one in a commercial grove, and even more concerning, four on one and six on a second sticky card near the juice plant,” said Marilyn Kinoshita, Tulare County ag commissioner.” ACP is known to vector Huanglongbing (HLB) disease, a disease that is fatal for citrus trees.

Marilyn Kinoshita, Tulare County ag commissioner
Marilyn Kinoshita, Tulare County ag commissioner

“The juice plant ACP finds could have come from southern California trees, most likely from Ventura, Orange, Riverside, and Imperial Counties, that were stripped of crop and did not go through a shed,” said Kinoshita, referring to a necessary cleaning protocol. “It’s very frustrating because there’s a certain protocol in shipping citrus but not everybody follows it.”

“When citrus is field-run [from the field to the packing shed],” continued Kinoshita, “the fruit should be separated from stems and leaves—which may harbor ACPs—then cleaned and manipulated over rollers before being packed for shipping or transported in bulk by truck to the juice plant.”

“So it’s a real concern finding ACPs at the Tipton juice plant,” Kinoshita explained, “because it is isolated from our citrus belt and they are the first ACPs found near a plant. It means that the psyllids possibly hitchhiked to the plant in Tipton, which is right along Highway 99. Even if the fruit had been cleaned, the psyllids, which are strong fliers, could have ended up in the cab of the truck and transported to Tulare County,” noted Kinoshita.

Kinoshita noted protection spray protocols are now in motion. “We’ve got two active programs, residential treatments in unison with our orchard treatments, and those are all managed by a treatment coordinator who works with our treatment groups. These are smaller groups of growers, so their treatments are hopefully done within a 2-week period to cover an area and try to control this pest.”

“The Number One citrus county in California doesn’t need ACP,” said Kinoshita, “and heaven forbid they come in while infected with HLB disease! Already about 20 trees have tested positive for the fatal HLB—all in southern California, starting with Hacienda Heights in April 2012, with more found in and around San Gabriel residential areas, last year in July and this year in February.”

Kinoshita advocated for everyone to stay vigilant and keep educating—not only the citizens of the state, but these transporters too. “They need to be more careful,” said Kinoshita. “All equipment that moves though the citrus groves must be cleaned before moving into another grove. It’s going to take everyone’s cooperation.”

“There is so much capability for [ACP] hitchhiking into this County where we are ground zero for potential problems—for the sheer number of packing sheds, orange groves and juice plants. So it’s a pretty difficult situation, but fortunately we’ve got a system that is in place; we just have to keep at it and not let our guard down,” she said.

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Water and Nitrogen Use Research

Andre Biscaro on Water and Nitrogen Use Research

By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor

 

Many jobs exist solely for the improvement of agriculture. Andre Biscaro, agriculture and environmental issues advisor at the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Cooperative Extension, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties said his job is to find ways to improve water and nitrogen use in fertilizing crops such as strawberries and celery.

“We’re measuring how much nitrogen the plant takes in and at what time,” Biscaro said, “so we can make more accurate recommendations for nitrogen fertilizers. It’s the same for water. We’re monitoring the crop growth of the strawberry plants—how deep the roots go and how the canopy develops—so we can make more accurate water recommendations. We’re assessing fields in Santa Maria and we are implementing the second phase here in Ventura County, Santa Maria and Watsonville.”

Biscaro is researching in strawberries and celery how to push salts in the soil beyond the root zone, the point beyond which plants will generally seek water unless they are stressed. “It’s essential to install soil moisture sensors at the end of your root system,”Biscaro said, “to make sure the soil is saturated every time you irrigate and then you need to push the water down. And it’s also really important to calculate the amount of water you’re applying because a lot of growers are irrigating without knowing how much water they are applying.”

“We calculate the leaching fraction [the portion of irrigation water that infiltrates past the root zone] based on the sensitivity of the crop to salinity and to the salinity of the water,” Biscaro explained. “And by only knowing how much water you’re applying, you can add a certain leaching fraction to your crop,” Biscaro said.

Nitrogen and water

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Everyone Plays a Part in Protecting California Citrus

Protecting California Citrus

By Victoria Hornbaker; Ag Alert 

Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its final crop estimate for the Florida orange crop, reflecting a reduction of 30 million cartons in total production from the previous season. There is no denying the devastating impact that Huanglongbing has had on the Florida citrus industry since the disease was first discovered in 2005. A drive through Florida citrus country will offer vastly different scenery than that of California’s premier citrus-producing regions.

In some respects, the California citrus industry has been fortunate to learn from the situation in Florida and has taken a very proactive approach to protect itself from a similar fate. In 2009, the industry supported a mandatory self-assessment to fund a comprehensive treatment and trapping program to manage the insect carrier of HLB, the Asian citrus psyllid, and prevent HLB from taking hold.

The Asian citrus psyllid is now endemic throughout a majority of Southern California, particularly in dense, urban areas where citrus trees can be found in six out of every 10 backyards. In March 2012, HLB was discovered for the first time in a backyard citrus tree in Los Angeles County. Although there have not been any additional confirmed cases of HLB since then, as an industry we must remain vigilant statewide in order to protect our $2 billion citrus crop.

Currently, there are eight counties in California that are entirely quarantined for the Asian citrus psyllid: Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura. Additionally, portions of Fresno, Kern, San Luis Obispo and Tulare counties are also under quarantine for the Asian citrus psyllid.

The total quarantined area statewide is now 46,530 square miles. Maps are available online at www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/go/acp-quarantine.

With a large portion of the state’s commercial citrus production now within quarantine zones, it is increasingly important that growers and packers are up to date on current regulations and protocols, to best manage psyllid populations and prevent the pest from spreading any further.

There are two approved options under the Bulk Fruit Movement Performance Standard available for commercial citrus growers and packers to comply with the quarantined regulations: Remove all leaves and stems/plant debris using a field cleaning machine, or apply a University of California integrated pest management-recommended material within 14 days prior to harvest.

There are no restrictions on moving fruit with leaves and stems if shipping to a packinghouse or processing facility located within the same quarantine boundary.

Asian citrus psyllids can easily “hitchhike” on citrus plant debris, so it’s important that we all do our part to minimize the movement of plant material between work sites. It is strongly recommended that growers and packers work with farm labor contractors, picking crews, pesticide applicators and hedging/topping services to ensure that all equipment, picking bags, field bins, clothing and gloves are free of stems and leaves before leaving the field.

We all have a commonality in agriculture and can understand the pressures posed by invasive insects and diseases. This is a fight that no commodity can win without the support of homeowners and consumers, which is why everyone with a backyard citrus tree should:

  • Not move citrus—Do not move citrus plants, plant material or fruit into or out of a quarantine area or across state or international borders.
  • Inspect your trees—Inspect your citrus trees for signs of the psyllid or HLB whenever watering, spraying, pruning or otherwise tending to trees.
  • Plant responsibly—Plant trees from reputable, licensed California nurseries.
  • Talk to your local nursery—Ask about products that are available to help stop the Asian citrus psyllid.
  • Graft with care—Use only registered budwood that comes with source documentation.
  • Be mindful of clippings—Dry or double-bag plant clippings prior to disposal.
  • Cooperate—Cooperate with agricultural officials who are trapping and treating for the Asian citrus psyllid.

By working together, we can help stop the Asian citrus psyllid and protect California citrus from Huanglongbing.

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CAPCA’s Terry Stark: Biopesticides More Mainstream

Stark Speaks About CAPCA and its Role in the Biopesticide Industry.

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

 

Terry Stark, President and CEO of California Association of Pest Control Advisors (CAPCA,) told 140 attendees at the Biopesticide Industry Alliance semi-annual early April meeting in Sacramento, what his organization thinks about the softer pest and disease control products.

“CAPCA represents 3,000 members of the 4,000 licensed-PCAs in California.

We have expanded our educational outreach through CAPCA-ED. We run 40 seminars annually throughout the state to aid all license-holders to improve their categories,” Stark announced,” said Stark.

“The regulatory burden pushes us to be better and more advanced,” Stark said. “CAPCA has 16 chapters, and each chapter has a director seated on the state board. My Chairman of the board is Jeremy Briscoe a Certis USA national manager. So I believe CAPCA is very well integrated with the biopesticide industry. Jeremy is the first representative that is a non-retail, non-independent to serve as the chair of CAPCA. This is a big move in the mentality of what we do,” said Stark.

CAPCA has traditionally centered on the San Joaquin Valley – production agriculture – the heart and soul of diversified agriculture and the money. “However, in the last 10 years, the wine industry has taken a step higher than the our other crops. All of a sudden we have Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles, and southward to Santa Maria and Ventura County.”

Stark explained that everything west of I-5 tended to be the “softer side” of PCAs and chemical use in California. “I say that with respect because the wine industry was looking for ways to use less conventional products, ways to brand both organically and sustainability and with lower tolerances for their products. That caught on solidly seven or eight years ago.” Stark continued, “My largest independent PCAs are between Mendocino and San Francisco.”

“Like my Ventura guys and gals, they use more biological controls by releasing a lot of beneficials,” said Stark. “And it’s hard to come in with a hard-core application and maintain your beneficial populations,” he said.

When Stark was asked to speak at the Biopesticide Alliance meeting, he was asked to talk about perceptions. “I reflected on what I saw as a manager when they hired me to come to CAPCA. You talk about perception of biopesticides, with all due respect to my membership, 30 percent think that it’s one way or the highway.

In the central part of the state, from Kern County and throughout the desert valleys, it’s still spray and run. It’s big business, big acres. But it has its place,” said Stark.

He spoke about California being a hodgepodge of the most invasive species in the world, with many new pests coming in seemingly every week.

“Our entire citrus industry is facing Asian Citrus Psyllid which vectors the deadly citrus greening disease; we just survived the Glassy-winged sharpshooters in the wine industry; and, we’ve got Shot-hole bores coming to avocados. This represents huge production areas,” he said.

CAPCA has recognized that there are new ideas in pest and disease control and has moved towards being able to incorporate other chemistries, pheromones, and other items into the tool chest.

 

CAPCA’s Aging Demographics

Stark shared some demographics of CAPCA. “In CAPCA meetings, I don’t see a lot of dark-haired people sitting in the room. I don’t see a lot of females sitting in the room.

Our gender is 10-15 percent females,” he said.

Seventy five percent of my membership has 16-plus years of experience as PCAs. CAPCA also manages 1,000 Certified Crop Advisor (CCAs) who focus on nutrient recommendations, and the same demographics carry over to them. Of that, 35 percent have 30-plus years of experience. Do you think many will work past 30 years?

CAPCA’s last membership survey was done in 2010. We are projecting a 20% loss of membership by 2015. And that continues outward in a five-year cycle.

Through the Department of Pest Regulations we are only testing maybe 12-15 percent maximum replacements with young PCAs coming into the cycle.

How do we survive? We are turning to electronics, iPhones, and iPads.

PCAs have to be licensed in California if you are using restricted-use materials, soliciting for sale, and/or acting as an expert thereof. That takes care of the whole sales group too.

So, in biopesticides, you’re outside of that umbrella in most ways. You have some products that you to play with, but overall, that gives a “softer approach” for the younger PCAs to look at.

 

 Working Areas of PCAs

Sixteen percent of PCAs work in field and row crops; 34 percent in trees & vines, the only ones getting water this year; vegetables at 12 percent; and turf and ornamentals –10 percent. Turf and ornamentals in California drop 50 percent in the last 5 years with the collapse of the housing and commercial real estate industries, plus golf courses, they have had a pullback. So our members have moved to retail and other areas.

If you are in PAC and you are in retail, you represent 30 percent of the industry. Eighteen percent are independents, and that means you truly do your own thing: if you have alfalfa, you have 20,000 acres you’re looking at; if you have citrus, you’ve got 3-5,000 acres; if you have vineyards, you’d better have 2-3000 acres to pay for it—if you want to make big money—and you’re working 7 days a week to do that. Seventeen percent are in-house; these are the Paramount’s and the Boswells of the industry. They hire CCAs and PCAs like full-time employee of the ranch.

The dynamics of I-5 is not moving into the Central Valley or into the southern counties. You have pockets of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara where you have nursery stocks, that‘s always been kind of open to the biopesticides industry and its products.

What I think has made the biopesticide industry successful, beyond all of your research, hard work and marketing, are the opportunities and the new wave of using your thumbs, and twitter, and communications, and Facebook, and social media in general. The outreach that you can do your business on the iPhone and still drive down the road, answering your clients’ questions has enabled the “boutique” industry in the last 5 years to come closer to the mainstream because customers don’t have to do any special work to find out about you. You are in their feed lines of information. These are important tools,” said Stark.

“California is a highly-regulated environment, so electronics has complemented other resources. I think the known fact that many products are less toxic is a huge benefactor,” he said.

“Take the Light Brown Apple Moth, which ended up being a environmental community PR campaign that kicked food and agriculture’s butt in California. And now every fruit tree in Santa Cruz is going to die from the apple moth. You can’t even move the firewood because it will contaminate the rest of the area,” Stark said.

The unknown elements of a pheromone to treat the moth were a big problem because the public did not understand, and the industry took it for granted. “The pheromone is about as soft and appropriate as you can get in the marketplace,” said Stark. “But we need to approach the public in a different way. And I think the biopesticide industry is doing a much better job,” he said.

“I’d be remiss with all of the large companies sitting in the room, the BASF’s, Syngenta’s, Bayer’s, the Valent’s—all have learned to adopt and bring into their tool chest additional products that can complement their conventional materials and usually make the grower more profit,” noted Stark.

“CAPCA doesn’t get into this much, but we have a lot regulatory obligation responsibility to protect the field worker. The toxicity and the life of the product go a long way in how you get back into the field,” he said.

“So, in the biopesticide world, you have a better opportunity of targeting the exact pest you need to target. It’s not a broad-spectrum-type deal. So that gives you the advantage. My PCAs see that– my 50 percent younger side in the house – sees that. And that’s a positive for this industry,” Stark said.

IPM is not a word that is understood until you get to California. CAPCA cannot do anything in his recommendation without being CEQA-oriented (California Environmental Quality Act) must look for alternative uses before any restrictive material can be made; otherwise he is in violation of his own recommendation. IPM, and biopesticide products fit that requirement to make that check mark when they do that.

“In addition, biologicals are lower priced than they ware 7-8 years ago. And that’s good because the grower doesn’t spend a dime more than they have to. If you think PCAs are out there pounding product or fertilizer on, and the farmer is not making any money, just three minutes later in the coffee shop, that guy is fired and another is hired,” Stark said.

“It is important to the sustainability in going forward, when you have a regulatory environment like we do in California. We have a built-in arena here and people are always listening to what can be done better and still make a profit. In my opinion, you are off to the races and biopesticides are mainstream now,” noted Stark.

If you can hit 15-20% of the marketplace, it’s been a great quarter-century run for you to get there and I think the CAPCA membership is looking forward to a long-lasting relationship.

He reminded attendees of the popular CAPCA Conference, Oct. 19-21, 2014 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. “I have 1,300 attendees and 150 exhibitors. What better place to be than with 800-900 license holders. It’s all relationships. Once you get the relationship, your social media, and your electronics, your product will sell itself,” Stark concluded.

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Ventura County ACP Report Less Than Uplifting

Joanne O’Sullivan, a licensed PCA and QAL (Qualified Applicator), and a Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program Grower Liaison in Ventura County, reported TODAY that four new urban settings with 25 or more citrus trees on the property have been discovered in Asian citrus psyllid treatment areas in recent weeks. These four finds are within the same area as the commercial Camarillo find in March.

CDFA deems these orchards also as commercial; therefore, the homeowners are financially responsible for the treatment.

O’Sullivan said, “The first two homeowners I contacted were more than willing to cooperate and take on the financial costs of spraying. They understand it is necessary for the benefit of both their trees and the health of Ventura County’s citrus industry. The third homeowner opted to remove 15 of his trees and CDFA then sprayed the remaining ten. The last and remaining homeowner will take a bit more convincing, but I am confident they will come to see the great benefits of working with us.”

“On a less uplifting note,” O’Sullivan continued, “it has been an unlucky month for Fillmore and Piru producers. Piru has been hit again in the Bardsdale area with two ACP confirmations in the same week. These same growers had completed the ACP psyllid spray protocol in November of last year. It goes without saying that the producers are less than delighted to be repeating treatment again so soon.”

She reiterated a very important element in the ACP/HLB program,
”The goal of the [Ventura County ACP-HLB] Task Force has been to delay as long as possible the introduction of HLB into Ventura County. As a result of the progressive and aggressive work from producers, packers, pest advisors, operators and the CDFA and county trapping programs, Ventura remains one of the most successful ACP/HLB programs in the state.

A critical element of ACP treatment protocol for organic growers is the importance of scouting post-treatment. All blocks must be aggressively monitored following applications, using the sampling protocol that is included in the ACP CONFIRMATION IN YOUR AREA packet.

Current protocol requires organic producers to sample every two weeks after the third treatment. Sampling every two weeks allows the grower to document control. Early detection and swift eradication is our best defensive against the introduction of HLB and its devastating effects on Ventura citrus producers.

Every producer – commercial and organic – should be familiar with the signs of Asian citrus psyllid. Literature on identifying ACP is available at the CRB, UCIPM, UC Cooperative Extension as well as from CDFA. Share it with your workers. If you have any doubts about your ability to identify adults, nymphs, and eggs, please contact me, I am always glad to meet with you on your ranch and help you scout.

In closing, I was forwarded an interesting short news article outlining the economic hit Florida has taken as the result of HLB, with annual production dropping from 1,000,000 boxes of fruit to 750,000. This news story is a not- so-gentle reminder of why it is vitally important that everyone working together in a cooperative spirit can keep Florida’s scenario from happening in California.

Take a look:

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/us-orange-production-hit-disease-041911170.html#rOCRoWr

And let’s all keep up the diligent efforts that help keep Ventura’s citrus industry strong.

 

CPDPP

The California Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program is a grower-funded program administered by the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Committee, which was established to advise the California Secretary of Agriculture and the agricultural industry about efforts to combat serious pests and diseases that could threaten our state’s citrus industry.

Key responsibilities are:

  • Develop informational programs to educate and train residential owners of citrus fruit, local communities, groups and individuals on the prevention/detection of pests, diseases and their vectors specific to citrus.
  • Develop programs for surveying, detecting, analyzing, and treating citrus pests and diseases.
  • Set box assessment to help pay for citrus pest and disease detection, treatment and educational outreach programs.

Photo Credit: UC ANR News Blog

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