By Vicky Boyd 

BRAD GOEHRING JOKES that he doesn’t seek issues to battle – they find him. For more than a decade, he has advocated for a common sense approach to the federal Clean Water Act, and particularly the Waters of the United States section. More recently, the Clement area winegrape grower and vineyard manager has worked to bring reason to a state wetlands definition as well as state minimum wage and overtime rules.

For his long-time efforts, the California Association of Winegrape Growers recently presented Goehring with its Leader of the Year Award.

“Brad has demonstrated true leadership and has shown us that a principled commitment to advocacy can make a difference,” said Bill Berryhill, CAWG chair and a Clement area winegrape grower. “For many years – as a CAWG director and more recently as a leader on water quality.

“For the last seven months, we worked pretty much full time on it,” he said. “We walked away with 95% of what we asked for in terms of personal property rights and agriculture. We were really happy with it.”

For the past five years, Goehring has served on a California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board advisory committee that examined nighttime ag labor safety regulations. The result was “Outdoor Agricultural Operations During Hours of Darkness” – proposed standards that set minimum illumination requirements and mandate employees wear Class 2 high visibility garments, among other requirements.

In addition, he has testified before legislative groups and met numerous times with lawmakers about how increasing minimum wage and changing agricultural overtime thresholds would affect the industry.

When asked why he devotes so much time to advocacy, whether flying to Washington, D.C., or traveling to Sacramento, Goehring calls it a matter of survival.

“If nobody does it, we’re not going to stay in farming because government is attacking us through regulations and laws from all angles,” he said. “None of these topics I chose to work on – they chose me. It’s just a matter of doing the right thing and fighting for survival and the right to stay farming.”