Almond Alliance Convention Opens Its Doors April 30- May 1 in Napa

April 29, 2019 – – The Almond Alliance’s 2019 Annual Convention at The Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa gets underway April 30 to May 2, 2019

Almond Alliance’s priority for the 2019 convention is to provide an agenda packed with interactive and informative seminars in the areas of trade, biomass, almond co-products, water, labor laws, pesticide, food safety, regulations and politics. Sessions include:

Wednesday, May 1st:

Biomass and Co-Products Panel – “Expanding markets for hulls and shells: using science and establishing best standards”

Platinum Sponsor  – “California’s Energy Horizon: Disappearing Solar Tax Credits, PG&E Future, and Energy Storage”

Food Safety Panel – “Updates in food safety, enforcement discretions and overall compliance for California almonds.”

Almond Ports and Transportation Panel –“From coast to coast- “how infrastructure updates, labor relations and aflatoxin rejections will impact the industry”

Lunch Keynote Address  -“USDA 2019 Outlook for Agriculture” USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach

Thursday, May 2nd:

Almond Alliance Annual Business Meeting

Labor Law – “2019 Changes to employment law overview- everything you need to know to keep your business in compliance”

Water Panel – “Water overview for 2019: a deep dive into the issues that the industry faces in the year ahead”

Legislation and Policy Panel – “Sacramento and Washington DC Update”

In true Almond Alliance spirit, networking opportunities are abundant at this year’s convention. Social events include receptions, dinners, a casino night, a wine festival and the annual golf and tennis tournaments. Plus, an incredible trade show with exhibitors providing the best equipment and services to the almond industry.

If you have any questions about the convention or interested in sponsorship opportunities please email ahollis@almondalliance.org 

A big THANK YOU to our 2019 Metal and Media Sponsors for their continued support!

 

 

 

Valley Air Board approves funding for two pilot programs important to the California almond industry

April 18, 2019 – – The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District Board has approved funding for two pilot programs very important to the California almond industry.

The Board voted unanimously to approve an additional $1 million of funding for the on-field alternatives to open burning of agricultural materials pilot incentive program.  This pilot program provides incentives to commercial agricultural operations located within Valley Air District boundaries to chip or shred agricultural material. The material must be used for soil incorporation or land application on agricultural land as an alternative to the open burning of the agricultural materials. Complete applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis while funds are available.

To learn more about this program and view the application, click here. 

The Board also voted unanimously to approve an additional $1 million of funding for the low dust nut harvester pilot incentive program.  The District is offering funding for the replacement of older, conventional harvesters or sweepers with new, low-dust technology equipment. This incentive funding can also be packaged with the Tractor Replacement funding to upgrade your tractor used to pull harvesting equipment.

To learn more about this program and view the application, click here.  

California’s Ban on Chlorpyrifos Passes First Committee

April 11, 2019 – -A California Senate bill calling for a complete ban on the broad-spectrum pesticide chlorpyrifos passed the Senate Health Committee April 10, 2019  by a vote of 5-1, with three members abstaining and will now be heard in the  Environmental Quality Committee.

The hearing was heavy on science from both ends of the argument and brought up questions over the separation of powers between the legislature and regulatory agencies.

The bill’s author, Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, was concerned about the impacts of brain development among children in her district. She also posed the bill as a resistance against the Trump administration, which had “contradicted the overwhelming scientific evidence” by refusing to finalize a ban on chlorpyrifos through the Environmental Protection Agency. Durazo cited four epidemiological studies—two of those involving agricultural use—that found traces of chemicals presumed to be chlorpyrifos in children, infants and pregnant women.

Testifying on behalf of the bill was the senior author for one of those studies, Dr. Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a UC Davis epidemiologist specializing in autism.

“Now there are over three dozen studies that have demonstrated this link between prenatal exposure and overwhelmingly have shown the outcomes of lower IQ and the impairments of learning, as well as symptoms of autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit disorder,” she said.

In opposition to Picciotto and the bill was Dr. Carol Burns, an epidemiologist retired from Dow Chemical. She said that the studies came before new regulations began restricting chlorpyrifos use in California about 20 years ago. She pointed out that two of the studies involved indoor applications and that chlorpyrifos is only allowed now in the use of agriculture and by certified applicators.

Burns also said the exposure in the animal studies mentioned by the proponents were millions of times higher than anything found in humans, adding that new technology has also allowed much more refined detection for discovering increasingly tiny amounts. Burns spent much of her time explaining the evaluation processes for the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). Sen. Jeff Stone, R-La Quinta, said he was dismayed that an official from DPR was not at the hearing.

Sen. Melissa Hurtado, D-Sanger, abstained from the vote, saying she was conflicted over which side better represented her agricultural district and that neither had answered her questions. Hurtado listed those questions, which ranged from whether jobs are lined up for the farmworkers who may lose their jobs from the ban to what’s taking so long for DPR to complete the chlorpyrifos evaluations.

“We do need the regulatory process to go and weigh in, and have the opportunity for the science to be analyzed,” concluded Committee Chair Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, adding: “If we think the regulatory process isn’t rigorous enough, we can certainly pass laws to change that.”

CalEPA Secretary Confirmed by California State Senate

April 11, 2019 – -The California Senate confirmed Jared Blumenfeld as Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA). Blumenfeld was confirmed with a bipartisan vote of 32-3.As Secretary, Blumenfeld oversees the state’s efforts to fight climate change, protect air and water quality, regulate pesticides and toxic substances, achieve the state’s recycling and waste reduction goals, and advance environmental justice. As a member of Governor Gavin Newsom’s cabinet, he also advises the governor on environmental policy.

In addition to being confirmed, Secretary Blumenfeld recently did an interview with Planning Report who has been the preeminent trade publication where the region’s leaders engage in substantive debate about urban planning, growth, design, and public infrastructure investment. The interview discussed Governor Newsom’s Water & Climate Priorities and how the Secretary looks to find solutions to the issues.

To read full interview, click here.

 

The U.S.- Mexico-Canada Agreement Fact Sheet

April 11, 2019 – -Canada and Mexico are the United States’ top export markets for U.S. agriculture, totaling a combined $40 billion in 2018. In fact, more than 28 percent of all U.S. farm and food exports went to our North American neighbors last year. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, will make a good trade relationship even better, ensuring preferential market access for U.S. agricultural exporters and solidifying commitments to fair and science-based trade rules.

For Fact Sheet, click here.

Air Board extends Ag Tractor and Mobile Equipment Survey to May 15

April 11, 2019 – -The California Air Resources Board (CARB), with the support of the California agricultural community, has extended the deadline for participation in the 2019 agricultural equipment survey. The survey has been extended until May 15, 2019.

CARB contracted with CalPoly San Luis Obispo to handle and completely anonymize all survey data, which includes removal of all identifying information. CalPoly is administering a web-based survey and offering an identical paper survey available for download or from your industry representative. The online survey may be completed on a computer or phone in just a few minutes. The paper survey should be returned to your local farm bureau or representative.

The 2019 agricultural survey, similar to one from 2008, covers all mobile agricultural equipment, including tractors, combines, balers, agricultural use ATVs and forklifts, and many more. The survey is intended for the agricultural sector, including producers in the field, custom operators, and first processing facilities, and covers equipment using any type of fuel or electricity, of any horsepower.

Results from the previous survey helped determine allocations for millions of dollars in equipment turnover programs across California, from federal and air district incentive programs.

Survey Link, click here.

Biomass and Co-Products, Almond Ports and Transportation on Alliance Convention agenda

 April 11, 2019 – -Almond Alliance’s priority for the 2019 convention is to provide an agenda packed with interactive and informative seminars in the areas of trade, biomass, almond co-products, water, labor laws, pesticide, food safety, regulations and politics. Sessions include:

To view the complete agenda, please click here

Wednesday, May 1st:

Biomass and Co-Products Panel – “Expanding markets for hulls and shells: using science and establishing best standards.”

Platinum Sponsor – “California’s Energy Horizon: Disappearing Solar Tax Credits, PG&E Future, and Energy Storage.”

Almond Ports and Transportation Panel– “From coast to coast- “How infrastructure updates, labor relations and aflatoxin rejections will impact the industry.”

Lunch Keynote Address – “USDA 2019 Outlook for Agriculture” Greg Ibach, USDA Under Secretary, Marketing & Regulatory Programs

Thursday, May 2nd:

Almond Alliance Annual Business Meeting

Labor Law – “2019 Changes to employee law overview- everything you need to know to keep your business secure.”

Water Panel – “Water overview for 2019: A deep dive into the issues that the industry faces in the year ahead.”

Legislation and Policy Panel – “Sacramento and Washington DC Update”

Register today for the 38th Annual Convention

REGISTER HERE

Thanks to Yosemite Farm Credit for being our Registration Sponsor for over 15 years!

2019 Annual Convention at The Meritage Resort & Spa

Napa, California April 30 to May 2, 2019

In true Almond Alliance spirit, networking opportunities are abundant at this year’s convention. Social events include receptions, dinners, a casino night, a wine festival and the annual golf and tennis tournaments. Plus, an incredible trade show with exhibitors providing the best equipment and services to the almond industry.

To Reserve Room, click here or call the hotel directly for reservations at (707) 251-1900. Please ask for Group Reservations and mention that you are with the “Almond Alliance”.

Registration will be open until April 22, 2019. For more information on the convention, click here. 

If you have any questions about the convention or interested in sponsorship opportunities please email ahollis@almondalliance.org 

A big THANK YOU to our 2019 Metal and Media Sponsors for their continued support!

 

 

 

Gov. Newsom Appoints Val Dolcini as Deputy Secretary for Ag at Cal EPA

April 1, 2019 – -Val Dolcini, 56, of Washington, D.C., has been appointed Deputy Secretary for Agriculture at the California Environmental Protection Agency. Dolcini has been president and chief executive officer at Pollinator Partnership since 2017. He was administrator for the Farm Service Agency at the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 2014 to 2017, where he was state executive director for California from 2009 to 2014. Dolcini was a senior manager at Accenture LLC from 2004 to 2009, policy director in the Office of Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante from 2003 to 2004 and deputy legislative secretary in the Office of Governor Gray Davis from 2001 to 2002. He was a legislative assistant and district chief of staff in the Office of Congressman Vic Fazio from 1995 to 1999, and a legislative assistant in the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi from 1994 to 1995.