Forklift Train-the-Trainer Workshops 2018

The Western Agricultural Processors Association in partnership with other Ag Organizations are now conducting the Forklift Train-the-Trainer Workshops. The first workshop began in Reedley to a great start with already 70 participants trained!  These workshops are for Owners, Farmers, Managers Supervisors and those who are responsible to conduct training on forklifts.  The training will review what is needed for the trainer to cover with their forklift operators at their facility.  Be sure to visit our website www.agprocessors.org for registration.  If you have any questions, please contact our office at (559) 455-9272. 

Registration Form and Flyer

 

SJVAPCD Governing Board Hearing Today

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s Governing Board held a hearing today where the issue of agricultural Biomass was discussed.  The Association’s President/CEO Roger Isom testified that this is a crisis issue that’s needs everyone’s attention.  Isom spoke to the different technologies currently underway including biogas plants such as the one at West Biofuels, renewable diesel such as that being tested by Technikon, and air curtain burners like the one recently permitted at an Almond Huller in the valley.  Isom thanked the Air District for helping push these technologies and support of the projects the Association is working on.  The Governing Board voted to support these types of solutions as an alternative to open burning.

Association Opposes Proposed Indoor Heat Illness Standard – Again!

Once again, the Association voiced its opposition to CalOSHA’s proposed Indoor Heat Illness Regulation.  President/CEO Roger Isom spoke at the most recent CalOSHA workshop in Oakland expressing our opposition to not only the proposed standard but also to opening up the existing outdoor heat illness standard.  But as has occurred on numerous occasions, CalOSHA allowed the workshop to be overrun by labor activists espousing accusations and unsubstantiated claims of employers not providing water and/or breaks to employees allegedly suffering heat illness.  Furthermore, the labor groups also voiced their opposition to the proposed standard saying it did not go far enough, including asking for a temperature threshold of 70 degrees Fahrenheit!  This is the third draft of the proposed regulation which was mandated by the California State Legislature.  This effort was precipitated by a single case that stemmed from a 2012 serious citation issued to a warehouse and distribution center for the heat illness suffered by an employee who was working inside a metal freight container with a temperature of over 100 degrees.  In this latest draft, unfortunately, DOSH is not “limiting the applicability” and is including any and all employers with an indoor place of employment where the temperature is equal to or greater than 80 degrees.  This means farm shops, packing houses, hullers and processors would all be subject to the new regulations, even if they haven’t had a single incidence of heat illness.  These operations must provide access to water and a “cool-down area”.  The cool-down area must be open to the air or “provided with ventilation or cooling”.  A cool-down area must be provided when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and employees shall be allowed and encouraged to take a “preventative cool-down rest” in a cool-down area when they feel the need to do so.  We remain opposed and will continue to push CalOSHA to limit the applicability of this regulation to only those specific jobs where indoor heat illness has proven to be a significant health risk. 

Upcoming Seminars

WAPA along with other Agricultural Associations and Organizations are sponsoring two upcoming seminars.  These seminars are provided at no charge to WAPA Members! 

The first is the Heat Illness Prevention Training which will be held on Friday April 13th at the C.P.D.E.S Portuguese Hall, see attached flyer registration. 

The second is Sexual Harassment Prevention Training which will be held on Thursday, April 26 at the Fresno County Farm Bureau, see attached flyer for registration.

Heat Illness Prevention 4-13-18 Easton

Sexual Harassment Seminar 4-26-18 FCFB

State Water Board Releases 2018-2019 Proposed Fee Schedule

Earlier this month, State Water Board (SWB) accounting staff released their proposed fee and accounting information for Fiscal Year 2018-2019.  To no surprise, the presentation that was provide displayed an increase in fees for both the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) as well as the Waste Discharge Requirement (WDR) Program.  Increases for the WDR program were proposed at 10.2%, whereas the ILRP program is facing a 14.4% increase in cost for compliance.  These programs are grouped along with several other programs that make up the enforceable programs covered by the State Water Board.  Fee collection goes toward staff time to evaluate the information submitted, enforcement of programs, as well as the increasing amount going for SWB employee benefits. The Association’s Director of Technical Services, Chris McGlothlin, made comments to staff in opposition of any proposed fee increase or restructuring.  This is a preliminary proposal, and there will be follow up meetings where the proposal numbers are adjusted based off of the kind of reserve amounts that have amassed in SWB program accounts.  We will keep you updated. 

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.).