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By Vicky Boyd

With the start of 2020 came a number of new state labor laws and regulations and updates to existing rules that will impact agricultural employers and their workers.

Bryan Little, CEO of Farm Employee Labor Services (FELS), recently explained many of the new employer requirements as well as possible labor legislation in the pipeline to a packed conference room at San Joaquin Farm Bureau’s office in Stockton.

By Vicky Boyd


Now that Gov. Newson has presented his proposed state budget, there will be much discussion at the Capitol about issues that impact agriculture.

On first glance, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed $222.2 billion state budget appears to be a win for agriculture with funding for a number of programs that benefit the industry. But delve deeper into the document, and much of the funding is designed to minimally offset the cost of regulations and laws imposed on growers, say San Joaquin Farm Bureau leaders.

“There are a lot of assumptions in this budget that aren’t necessarily positive for ag and not good for ag,” said SJFB Executive Director Bruce Blodgett. “When you start allocating funds to teach farmers how to trade their water and sell their water, it implies people are going to be short of water because of SGMA (Sustainable Groundwater Management Act), and water marketing may not be the answer.”

By Craig W. Anderson

More than 300 farmers, supervisors, foremen, other farm employees and interested ag organizations filled the main hall of the Robert J. Cabral Ag Center for the 12th annual Spray Safe pesticide review. Experts in the pesticide realm and associated arenas discussed a variety of pesticide issues.

According to San Joaquin County Agricultural Commissioner Tim Pelican, the farmer-generated Spray Safe program “protects workers and the population from pesticide accidents” and that the program’s importance has grown because “more people live in areas where they interface with pesticides, so there are more reports. There’s a lot of scrutiny now and I expect more restrictions are on the way.”

By Craig W. Anderson

Third-grader Lorenzo Bruno entered Bonnie Plants Third Grade Cabbage Program because, he explained, “My brother [Tino] entered [in 2018] and he won so it inspired me to enter the contest.” Lorenzo then proceeded to win his contest and the prize money of $1,000.

“No siblings have ever won the same competition,” Lorenzo explained; his mom Ester commented, “No one thought it possible for members of the same family to win, considering the odds.”

“I was surprised by the news that I won,” remarked Lorenzo.

“I was excited about it,” Tino said.