Cal/OSHA Proposed 2nd Readoption – COVID-19 ETS

One day prior to the October 21st Standards Board meeting, Cal/OSHA published proposed language for the second readoption of the COVID-19 ETS.  If approved at the December Standards Board meeting, the readoption would provide for the proposed regulation to be in place from January 14, 2022 through April 14, 2022.   Proposed updates include:

  • Screening: During screening, both vaccinated and unvaccinated employees are to wear face coverings
  • Testing: If COVID-19 case occurs in the workplace, testing for all non-symptomatic close contacts, including those who are vaccinated.
  • Close contacts: currently employees who have had close contact but are fully vaccinated and remain asymptomatic do not need to be excluded from the workplace.  Under the proposed – these employees must now wear a face covering in the workplace for 14 days, social distance for 14 days, and get a COVID-19 test 3-5 days after the close contact.
  • Return to Work: The proposal revises if an employee returns to work before 14 days, they must wear a face covering and maintain social distancing until 14 days have passed.
  • Outbreaks: employers will be required to test all employees regardless of vaccination status.
  • Employer provided housing: housing ventilation must be maximized regardless of vaccination status.  All employee residents must be tested if there were 3 or more cases in their housing in a 14-day period; the quarantine policy to exclude asymptomatic vaccinated close contacts has been removed.
  • Employer provided vehicles: all employees must be provided and wear face coverings regardless of vaccination status.

WAPA will continue to monitor changes of the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 regulations in the workplace and provide comments at the December Standards Board meeting.

Governor Newsom Issues Executive Order Tackling Supply Chain Crisis

October 20, 2021

This morning, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-19-21, which aims to alleviate congestion at California’s shipping ports and tackle the state’s truck driver shortage. 

The Order directs state agencies to:

  • Find state, federal and private land for short-term container storage.
  • Identify priority freight routes to be considered for a temporary exemption to current gross vehicle limits to allow for trucks to carry additional goods.
  • Create workforce training and education programs. This includes expeditingAB 639’s (Cervantes, 2020) implementation.

Specifically, Governor Newsom's Order states:

  1. "The Department of Transportation, in partnership with the California State Transportation Agency, within 30 days of this Order, shall, in collaboration with industry stakeholders, evaluate and identify priority freight routes to be considered for a temporary exemption to current gross vehicle weight limits.
  2. The Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development shall identify non-state sites, including private, locally owned, and federally owned parcels, that could be available to address short-term storage needs to address the supply and distribution chain crisis.
  3. The Department of General Services shall complete its review of state-owned property in proximity to impacted ports that may be made available to address short-term storage needs to address the supply and distribution chain crisis by no later than December 15, 2021. To meet this deadline, all agencies under my direct executive authority shall support this effort by timely responding to all inquiries made by the Department of General Services.
  4. The Department of General Services shall collaborate with other state agencies to expedite leasing for the purpose of storing cargo containers on state-owned parcels identified pursuant to the Department of General Services' review.
  5. The California Labor and Workforce Development Agency shall use existing resources to identify potential high road training partnerships to increase education, career technical education, job training, and workforce development opportunities for port workers and other workers across the supply chain. In identifying such opportunities, the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency shall first consider whether such partnerships can be funded through existing sources, such as the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
  6. By December 31, 2021, the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency shall take all necessary actions to constitute and announce the membership of the industry panel required by AB 639and codified at Government Code section 12893.1 (a). The Secretary of Labor shall convene the panel for its first meeting by March 1, 2022.
  7. The Department of Finance shall work with state agencies and departments to develop longer term proposals that support port operations and goods movement for consideration in the January 10 Governor's Budget. Proposals may include port and transportation infrastructure improvements, electrification of the goods movement system from port to delivery, workforce development, and other actions to support goods movement.
  8. The Department of General Services, California Department of Food and Agriculture, the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development, California State Transportation Agency, Department of Transportation, and the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency shall use all existing legal and financial authority to expedite and prioritize these activities, including by giving them preference in the award of state funding, pursuant to my further direction. Agencies not under my direct executive authority are requested to do the same.
  9. The California State Transportation Agency, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development, and the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency shall continue to execute actions in coordination with the Biden-Harris Administration Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force."

 

State Releases Draft Guidelines for SGMA Implementation Grants

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has released the draft guidelines and Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) for the Sustainable Groundwater Management (SGM) Grant Program’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) Implementation Funding.

DWR plans to deliver the funding in at least two funding solicitations:

  • Round 1 will provide over $150 million by spring 2022 to regional groundwater agencies in critically overdrafted basins for planning and implementation projects to help comply with SGMA.

 

  • Future solicitation in 2022-2023 will provide over $204 million from various funding sources, including anticipated General Fund appropriations in Fiscal Years (FY) 2022/23 and 2023/24, remaining FY 2021/22 General Funds, remaining Proposition 68 Implementation funds, and any funds not awarded in Round 1, for planning and implementation projects to help comply with SGMA. If any funds are available after Round 2, future funding solicitations will be provided.

The public comment period began on October 13 and ends on November 29, 2021. Following the review and consideration of public comments, DWR will release the final 2021 Guidelines and PSP and solicit proposals for Round 1.  A public meeting will be held on November 16, 2021 at 2:00 PM. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, DWR will host the meeting as a Zoom webinar. The meeting will be recorded and a link to the recording will be posted on the website and e-mailed to subscribers of the SGM Grant Program’s email list (see subscription option below to subscribe) as soon as possible following the webinar. Please register for the public meeting at:

https://ca-water-gov.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcudu6rpzkqE9Z8XtCx17gINmFalDZI4cjI

For more information on document releases, new solicitations, upcoming workshops, and other grant-related announcements, subscribe to the SGM Grant Program mailing list.  If you have any questions, please submit to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

FDA Signs Mutual Reliance Agreement With California

This past week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) entered into domestic mutual reliance agreements with California, as well as Florida, Utah and Wisconsin.  Mutual reliance agreements mark a coordinated effort between the FDA and individual states with goals to reduce human foodborne illness outbreaks, reduce duplication of regulatory oversight, and increase public health protection by focusing on areas of higher risk.  These new mutual reliance agreements help the FDA to work in cooperation with the states of California, Florida, Utah and Wisconsin to rely on, coordinate with, and leverage one another’s work, data, and actions to achieve a safer national food supply.  The FDA will collaborate with partner states on data sharing, risk prioritization, inspections, outbreak investigations, development and monitoring of key metrics, and laboratory capacity, among many other key focus areas. The domestic mutual reliance framework provides opportunities for the FDA and partners to jointly identify needs to better protect the public and leverage work from other regulatory programs.

Associations Support AgOne BBQ

The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations (CCGGA) and the Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) participated in, and supported, the 2021 AgOne Foundation BBQ held at the Panoche Creek River Ranch.  The very successful event was held this past Sunday, September 12th.  The Associations hosted State Senator Melissa Hurtado, along with several members from both Associations.  Joining the Association was CCGGA Chairman Bryan Bone and his wife Linda, CCGGA 2nd Vice Chair Gary Martin and his wife Mari, CCGGA Board Member Wade Van Hooser and his wife Josie, WAPA past Chairman Butch Coburn and his wife Lori.  Also in attendance was CCGGA Board Member, and current AgOne Chairman, Jim Razor from the JG Boswell Company, WAPA Board Member and AgOne Board Member Jason Baldwin, and WAPA past Chairman Mike Kelley.  The Association was represented by President/CEO Roger Isom and Director of Technical Services Christopher McGlothlin, both of whom were put to work at the event manning the bar!  All proceeds from the event go to fund scholarships to ag students at Fresno State.  This year, AgOne will provide more than $950,000 in scholarships!
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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.).