Join Almond Alliance for Preseason Training June 19

June 14, 2018 – – The Almond Alliance has partnered with the safety experts at Borretti, Inc. to provide members with comprehensive safety and instructional training.

Date: Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Time: 8:30 a.m.— 11:30 a.m.

Location: Stanislaus County Farm Bureau

1201 L Street, Modesto, CA 95354

RSVP: staff@almondalliance.org or call 209-300-7140.

Heat Illness:

* Attendees will be able to identify situations when heat illness can become a factor

* OSHA requirements, rules, responsibilities and updates pertaining to Heat Illness

* What to do to prevent the onset of Heat Illness

* Heat Illness warning signs and stages

* Treatments for Heat Illness

* Setting up an emergency response process (Includes what should be covered in a Heat Illness Prevention Program)

* Indoor Heat Illness

Cal / OSHA Inspection: What to do and How to Handle:

* Properly handling a Cal / OSHA Inspection: onsite, during the tour and policy & procedure

* Overview of safety programs and most common Cal / OSHA requirements

* Enforcement versus consultation

* Types of inspections

* Classification of violations

* Citations and penalties appeal process

* Accident Visit: Before, During and After

* What happens after a Cal / OSHA Inspection

CV-Salts Water Quality Regulations Approved

June 8, 2018 – -Last week the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board approved on a 5-0 vote a package of proposed amendments to the Central Valley Water Quality Control Board’s Water Quality Control Plan.

More than 10 years in the making, the proposed regulatory changes are joint recommendations of a large stakeholder group, known as CV-SALTS (www.cvsalinity.org), which includes agricultural representatives, food processors, cities and other water users. CV Salts water quality regulations were developed as part of a long-term plan to assure safe drinking water for the Valley’s residents, while protecting Valley agriculture from an increasing trend of salt buildup in soils and groundwater.

The approved regulations will next be considered by the State Water Resources Control Board.

View Plan Here

One Down, One To Go on Parks/Water Bonds

June 8, 2018 – – Californians this year will vote on not one but two park/water bond measures totaling $13 billion. Given that the state still hasn’t spent all of the $7.5 billion from the Proposition 1 water bond passed in 2014, it raises a crucial question: Does California really need another $13 billion in water bonds? As of December 2017, the state had allocated only about $1 billion from Proposition 1. About half of the total money available from the bond is dedicated to new water storage under a complicated new process that funds only the “public benefits” of such projects. The first dribble of money from that pot is expected to be awarded later this year.

Proposition 68, a $4.1 billion bond measure known as the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018 passed by 56% on the June ballot. Nearly two-thirds of the money is destined for park and wildlife projects, not water projects. However, much of this money would indirectly benefit state water resources, such as projects along specific river corridors that would improve water quality. The Water Supply and Water Quality Bond (proposition number not yet designated) has qualified for the November 6 general election ballot and would allocate $8.9 billion for water projects. This bond is more strictly focused on water and wastewater projects. There is no money for parks, but there is money for watershed improvements all over the state.

The bonds do have some overlap in their funding. Both include funding for wastewater recycling (up to $390 million in Prop. 68 and $650 for the November proposition), an increasingly important source of drinking water for the state as public acceptance grows. There is also some overlap in funding to protect and enhance watersheds and rivers. For example, a state agency, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, is designated funding in both bonds for river restoration projects. Numerous other waterways across the state would get money under both bonds, including the American River, the Russian River, the Guadalupe River and the Santa Margarita River. Notably, neither bond includes any funding explicitly for traditional water storage projects like new dams.

A lot of the funding from both bonds will only benefit select regions in California. For example, the November bond measure includes $200 million to help pay for repairs at Oroville Dam, which was heavily damaged by storms in February 2017. This money is being made available in case the Federal Emergency Management Agency doesn’t cover all the repair costs. The Oroville Dam is part of the State Water Project, which provides some water for about two-thirds of the state’s residents. The same bond includes $750 million to repair the Friant-Kern Canal. The canal is buckling because of heavy groundwater pumping in the San Joaquin Valley that caused the land to subside. This has compromised the canal’s water-delivery capacity which serves about 14 agricultural irrigation districts, which was damaged by a handful of groundwater users.

Similarly, a lot of the money for park projects in Prop. 68 will be spent in locations that most Californians will never visit. This is particularly so with the $725 million set aside to develop and improve local community parks. Virtually all bond measures contain funding like this that benefits a local area and not the state as a whole. Partly this is done to ensure voters in every part of the state find a reason to vote for it. It’s up to each voter to decide if the bond measure, on balance, is a good investment of their tax dollars.

California Midterm Election Results in Some Surprises

June 8, 2018 – -The June 5th primary was the first test for many statewide and district politicians.  While the statewide races provided little surprise and drama, a few of the Assembly and Senate races exposed some challenges for each party come November.

State-wide Offices

This year Gov. Jerry Brown is termed out after four terms in office. Brown is not only the longest serving Governor in California’s history, but perhaps more notably he has also governed California for 10% of its history. While many candidates fought to replace Brown in June, only two advance to the November ballot – –  Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox. Cox’s second-place finish in Tuesday’s primary ensures Republicans won’t be shut out of the race. But the San Diego businessman faces long odds against Democrat Gavin Newsom in a state where Democrats dominate.

As for Lt. Governor, Former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary Eleni Kounalakis finished with a hold on first in a tight three-way race to qualify for the November general election. State Sen. Ed Hernandez, a Democrat from LA County and a practicing optometrist, is the second-place finisher with 20.8%.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra won his primary fight Tuesday to defend the job he was appointed to last year. The Democrat had an almost 20% lead over retired Republican judge Steven Bailey in second place. Current Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones ended up in last place, behind two Republicans.

Republican-turned-independent Steve Poizner and Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara were the top vote-getters for Insurance Commissioner, advancing to the November election. Poizner, the former Insurance Commissioner, would be the first independent to win such an election and Lara would be the first openly gay statewide officer holder. It will be a tight race in November with Poizner holding only a 2% lead.

Marshall Tuck and Tony Thurmond will face each other in November for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in what will be a closely contested and very expensive race funded by wealthy individuals who back charter schools and labor unions that want to restrict their growth. Tuck received 37.1% of the vote while Thurmond received 34.3%.

State Senate 

In the state Senate, Democrats suffered the biggest loss with the successful recall of Fullerton Senator Josh Newman. The Republican-led recall came after Newman’s vote in support of increasing gas taxes and vehicle registration fees. Newman is replaced by Former Assemblywoman Republican Ling Ling Chang. More importantly, the success of this recall means that the California Democrats have lost their supermajority in the state Senate which is needed to pass tax and fee increases.

The special election in district 32 (Artesia) came after Senator Tony Mendoza’s resignation following a sexual harassment investigation and inevitable expulsion from the Senate. Mendoza’s attempt to go from resignation to re-election was rejected when he finished third behind Republican Rita Topalian and Democrat Vanessa Delgado. With this being a strong Democratic district Delgado is favored to win in November.

There will be an interesting contest in District 12 (Monterey) in November to replace termed out state Senator Anthony Cannella. Current Democratic Assembly Member and Assembly Ag Committee Chair Anna Caballero leads the race heading into November after receiving 41.2% of the votes. Republican Rob Poythress – a farm business owner – received 26.8% of the vote and will advance to the November election as well.

In another noteworthy race in District 22, former Assembly Member Mike Eng will face Baldwin Park Councilwoman Susan Rubio in November. The race has divided Democrats. Rubio has been endorsed by the Democratic Legislative Women’s Caucus, but legislative leaders — including Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon — are supporting Eng for the seat. Additionally, Rubio shook up the Capitol last year when she obtained a domestic violence restraining order against her estranged husband, then-Democratic Assemblyman Roger Hernández. Eng holds a safe 16% lead over Rubio but nevertheless this race will be one to watch in November.

State Assembly

In the Assembly all incumbents made it to the November ballot. The biggest surprise came from district 76, a conservative region in San Diego, which has been lost to Democrats. The district’s current Assembly Member Rocky Chavez had hopes of becoming the next Representative from the 49th Congressional District so he did not seek reelection. Despite the district being historically held by Republicans, two Democrats – with each receiving approximately 25% of the vote – will progress to the November ballot.

In the central valley, San Benito County Supervisor Robert Rivas is in the lead to replace termed out Assembly Member Anna Caballero in district 30, which includes Watsonville and Salinas. Rivas will face conservative Republican businessman Neil Kitchens in November. Rivas received 44.1% of the votes and Kitchens received 31.4%.

Current Democratic Assembly Member Rudy Salas faces a tough reelection in November to hold on to his seat in district 32. In a split Dem/Rep district, Salas came in second with 48.2% of the vote and his Republican challenger Justin Mendes received 51.8%.

Meanwhile 58th district Assembly Member Cristina Garcia, who was under fire after reports of sexual harassment but ultimately cleared by an Assembly investigation, came in first place with 28.7% of the vote. While her Republican challenger Mike Simpfenderfer received a close 27%, the race won’t be so close in November since six other Democrats running split the vote this time around.

To see the election results from the Secretary of State you can go to https://vote.sos.ca.gov/  .

California almond delegation discusses trade topics in DC visit

June 8, 2018 – –By Elaine Trevino, President, Almond Alliance of California – – After spending several days as part of an Almond Board of California delegation in Washington DC meeting with officials from USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service, United States Trade Representative and California’s Congressional delegation, here is my perspective about the recent retaliation against U.S. agriculture, including California almonds, in response to tariffs placed by the U.S. on steel and aluminum imports. The delegation’s goal was to speak with lawmakers and agency/department officials about the potential short-term and long-term impacts of Chinese tariffs on California almonds.

Members of the California almond delegation to Washington DC pose for a photo.

The message to leadership is that China is the third largest market for California almonds and the demand continues to grow. The Almond Board of California has invested close to $40 million dollars in marketing activities over the past 5 years to expand almond consumption in China. Year to date shipments are up over 20%. We expressed that trade with China matters and is vital to the California almond industry, those employed by the industry and the economies and communities that depend on them. It was also expressed that the largest competitor to California almonds in the Asian Pacific region is Australia; noting that China and Australia recently finalized a free trade agreement that will eliminate almond tariffs to 0% in 2019. This will make California almonds at least 25% more expensive than Australian almonds.

Our presence in D.C was to educate, educate, educate. I consistently heard from the administration appointed and career staff that the future is uncertain as it pertains to trade and tariffs. Japan, Russia, and Turkey have joined the EU, India and China in notifying the WTO of potential retaliation to the steel and aluminum tariffs. Please see the “Trade and Retaliatory Tariffs” fact sheet  provided by Almond Board of California below for more detailed information.

Click HERE to view fact sheet.

Based on our DC visits, it is clear that leadership is not fully aware of how recent tariff decisions impact the California almond industry. In conjunction with our membership, other trade organization, coalition members and the Almond Board of California, the Almond Alliance is working to articulate these anticipated impacts.

If you have a story to share, whether it is not having commitments during a time when you traditionally have contracts in place, feedback from buyers/brokers in China and India markets, an abnormal vessel delay or inspection, or changes in businesses decisions based on the recent tariffs, please share this information with the Almond Alliance. We are compiling these impact stories and data, in order to help the administration and leadership better understand the economic and relationship impacts to the California almond industry.