Press Conference on FARMER Air Quality Funding

A special press conference to highlight the new “Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions (FARMER) Program” will be held next Monday, October 22nd at 10:00 am at Bruno’s Iron and Metal located at 3211 S. Golden State Blvd., in Fresno.  Federal, state and local officials will gather to showcase how $108 million from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is helping to fund the FARMER incentive program in the Valley and assist farmers in replacing their older tractors and ag equipment with cleaner low emissions technology. The funding assists growers and agricultural processing facilities to replace tractors, trucks and ATVS.  The Association’s own President/CEO Roger Isom will be speaking at the event.  The entire speaker list includes:

 

  • Autumn Burke, Assembly Member, District 62
  • Heath Flora, Assembly Member, District 12
  • Buddy Mendes, Fresno County Supervisor, Valley Air District Board Chair
  • Mike Stoker, Regional Administrator, EPA Region 9
  • Samir Sheikh, Executive Director/APCO, Valley Air District
  • Manuel Cunha, President/CEO, Nisei Farmers League
  • Roger A. Isom, President/CEO, California Cotton Ginners & Growers Association & Western Agricultural Processors Association
  • Hector De La Torre, Board member, California Air Resources Board
  • Jenny Lester Moffitt, Undersecretary, California Department of Food & Agriculture
  • Carlos Suarez, USDA-NRCS California State Conservationist

 

FARMER funding comes from the California Climate Investments that takes Cap 7 Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  The Association was one of a handful of organizations that sought to bring that money to the valley to help address air quality issues with agricultural equipment. 

 

Funding for Electric ATVs Now Available!

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (District) has just announced the opening of the Zero Emission Ag UTV Voucher Program for the replacement existing diesel or gasoline-powered UTVs with new, zero-emission UTVs to qualified individuals, businesses, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations involved in California agricultural operations as defined by The California Air Resources Board.  Incentives will pay up to 75% of the cost of the new electric ATV.  Applications and Guideline documents are available on the District's website at http://valleyair.org/grants/utv.htm.  This funding was a result of the Association’s involvement in the Cap & Trade negotiations that created the FARMER incentive funding program.  If you have any questions, please call our office at (559)455-9272 or contact the District's Ag UTV Program Staff at 559-230-5800 with additional questions.

 

South Valley Nut Conference

The South Valley Nut Conference hosted by West Coast Nut will be held on October 26th at the Tulare County Fairgrounds. You can call (559) 352-4456 or visit online at wcngg.com/events to pre-register for the event.

 

FSMA Preventive Controls for Human Food (PCQI) Food Safety Training  

As part of AgSafe’s partnership with SCS Global Services to provide food safety training to the agriculture community, they will be providing courses to be held at our office. SCS Global will be offering a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual Training (PCQI) on November 7-8, 8:30 am - 5:00pm and November 9th, 8:30am - 12:30pm at Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) office in Fresno. It is a two and a half days training in person with Technical Training Manager, Radojka (bilingual). The cost is $750, or $725 each for more than one! (Regular $825)

For more information or to register click here.

 

Congratulations to the Former Ms. Jodi Raley!

This past month the Association’s own Director of Regulatory Affairs, Ms. Jodi Raley, became Mrs. Jodi Devaurs when she married Mr. Nick Devaurs in a beautiful wedding ceremony in Fresno. On behalf of all of us here at the Association we wish Jodi and Nick a lifetime of love and happiness as they embark on this wonderful new journey in their life together!

Welcome to WAPA

Governor Signs Ag Overtime Bill

Ignoring the pleas of real farmworkers and the agricultural industry, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed AB 1066, the ag overtime legislation. This means that California will have the most stringent trigger of any state in the country for overtime for farmworkers, with 45 states having no overtime protection at all. The Governor signed this bill, supposedly to bring “equality to all workers”, yet taxi cab drivers, commercial fishermen, car salesmen, student nurses, computer programmers, and carnival workers all work without any overtime provisions whatsoever. The Governor signed this ag overtime bill in the same year that minimum wage legislation was also passed that will take California to the highest minimum wage as well as legislation forcing California to adopt additional greenhouse gas regulations for businesses in California. California is the only state in the country subject to such regulations. Today’s signing occurred despite numerous requests by the agricultural industry to meet with the Governor to discuss our concerns. The message is clear. California simply doesn’t care. These provisions will be phased in over the next few years ending with the overtime provisions to be triggered at 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week.

In the Beginning As folks transitioned out of cotton and into tree nuts, the industry recognized the need to have active and effective representation at the local, state and national levels. Having enjoyed such effective representation over the years from the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations, these folks yearned for the same representation in the tree nut processing industry. Issues such as air quality, food safety, labor, taxes, employee safety, and environmental concerns are at the forefront, and there is a significant need for an aggressive and dynamic Association to lead the industry into the next decade and beyond. In recognition of this, the Western Agricultural Processors Association was created in 2009. The Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) shares staff and office space with the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations taking advantage of a unique and opportunistic situation. WAPA is a voluntary dues organization with four shared staff and one dedicated staff person. Regulatory, legislative and legal issues fall under the purview of this new organization for the tree nut processing industry, which includes almonds, pecans, pistachios and walnuts. From air quality permits to conditional use permits, from regulatory hearings on greenhouse gases to federal legislation on food safety, and from OSHA violations to assisting members on hazardous materials business plans, no issue is too small or too large for WAPA. WAPA has assembled one of the best and most capable staffs in the industry, and the results are already starting to show Membership The Western Agricultural Processors Association represents facilities involved in the processing of almonds, pecans, pistachios and walnuts.Membership in the Association is classified as Regular memberships are limited to almond hullers or processors, pecan and pistachio processors, and walnut dehydrators and processors. Associate memberships are limited to any individual or business entity which is not engaged in agricultural processing, but which provides products or services directly related to the agricultural processing industry. WAPA Associate members include, but are not limited to, commodity brokers, accounting firms, and insurance brokers. Organization The Western Agricultural Processors Association is governed by a Board of Directors, elected by its membership.The Board consists of up to 15 members from throughout the state, and throughout the industry.The Board meets on a quarterly basis and conducts an Annual Meeting in the spring of each year.WAPA, in conjunction with the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations, conducts a special training school for its members focused on safety.In combination with the school, the Association holds a Labor Management Seminar for all of the managers. Consulting Services In researching and considering the concept of forming a new organization, the Boards of Directors for the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations instructed staff to perform some of the work on a consulting basis first. The point was to determine the workload from consulting and to determine if there was sufficient interest. In November of 2007, the Association began conducting services under consulting contracts for such services as air quality permits and safety plans.The effort has been so successful that demand has progressed outside the tree nut industry into other agricultural processing facilities, including vegetable dehydration facilities, tomato processing facilities, and wheat mills, as well as cotton gins in Arizona.It was determined by the new Board of Directors of WAPA, that WAPA would maintain the consulting services to provide offsetting income to help with the expenses of getting the new organization up and running.Today, WAPA provides for a long list of satisfied clients in the agricultural processing industry, by providing critical services such as air quality, safety, food safety, and environmental issues (Hazardous Materials Business Plan, Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plans, etc.).