Ag Today September 13, 2018

Five years later, Gerawan workers may finally have votes counted in disputed election [Fresno Bee]

After five years of waiting, workers who voted to get rid of the United Farm Workers union from Gerawan Farming may finally find out the results of their disputed election. The state Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a request from the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board to review a lower court’s ruling that found fault with the ALRB’s decision to impound the ballots. The election took place in 2013 and the results have been mired in legal challenges and charges of unfair labor practices.


‘Things got a little rowdy.’ Sun-Maid plant reopens amid labor strife [Fresno Bee]

Several dozen temporary workers and non-union employees were put in place Wednesday to reopen the strike-plagued Sun-Maid plant in Kingsburg….The workers, about 500 of them, have been out on strike since 3 p.m. Monday. The workers, represented by Teamsters Local 431, are unhappy with their salary increase and new requirement to contribute to their health care coverage….If the strike isn’t resolved soon, the situation could intensify as Sun-Maid growers are a few weeks away from peak harvest.


Company fined $5.3 million for ‘ripping’ Tehama County field [Redding Record Searchlight]

Another farming company has been fined millions of dollars for “ripping” land in Tehama County. The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that a farming company has agreed to pay $5.3 million in civil penalties and costs to perform work to repair disturbed streams and wetlands on property near the Sacramento River. The property is adjacent to land whose owner, John Duarte of Modesto, last year agreed to pay $1.1 million in civil penalties and costs to repair damage from using deep rippers to break up soil on his 450 acres south of Red Bluff, according to the U.S. Department of Justice….Goose Pond Ag. Inc. of Florida and its operations manager, Farmland Management Services Inc., an affiliate of John Hancock Life Insurance Co., purchased the 1,500 acres from Duarte in 2012 for $8.7 million.


Salt River restoration gets $1.13 million boost [Eureka Times-Standard]

A $1.13 million restoration award from a state agency will buoy efforts to excavate the Salt River watershed, the seven-mile channel of the Eel River that local conservationists have spent decades trying to restore….The new financial boost will help the Humboldt County Resource Conservation District work toward restoring an additional mile-and-a-half stretch of the river during its next construction season….Navigating the Salt River channel became impossible some time in the 20th century, when decades of logging and agricultural work had deposited too much clay sediment into the watershed for water to continue flowing. In 1987, the RCD was formed by popular vote to restore parts of the Eel River.


How tariffs, river flows, and NAFTA have caused a stressful 2018 for farmers [KXTV, Sacramento]

The region’s farmers are dealing with a host of issues this year, but, while some consider the flow to be normal, the national and local issues have been undeniable stressors. “We haven’t seen anything yet as far as any major downfalls on any of the major crops that we grow here, but there’s certainly uncertainty out there,” said Wayne Zipser, Executive Director of the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau. “I think there’s a lot of uncertainty that really puts a lot of stress on farmers.” “What we’ve seen is a lot of things, especially federally related, kind of in the background for a while, just come into fruition this year,” added Lindsey Liebig, Executive Director for the Sacramento County Farm Bureau.


Canada’s Freeland won’t hold NAFTA talks, says more work needed [Reuters]

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on Wednesday said officials needed to do more work before she could hold fresh talks with the United States on renewing NAFTA as time runs out to reach a deal….”We decided that in order to have another productive conversation, it would be best to give our officials some time to hold technical discussions,” she told reporters late in the day, but gave no details….Canada and the United States are still arguing over cultural protections, an American demand for more access to the Canadian dairy market and a dispute resolution mechanism that Canada wants to keep and Washington insists be scrapped. Asked whether the talks had hit a stalemate, Freeland replied: “Absolutely not”.