California ag council members participate in Legislative Day

May 31, 2013
by WLJ

More than 30 members of the Agricultural Council of California (Ag Council) visited Sacramento last week to meet with legislators and their staff about issues affecting California’s number-one industry—agriculture.

“This is a critical time to interact with legislators as they participate in budget negotiations,” said Emily Rooney, president of Ag Council. “It is critical that our membership visits faceto-face with policymakers, as well as regulatory officials to make sure our concerns are being heard.”

Ag Council’s Legislative Day began with a briefing session on May 14 that included an update from Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D- Watsonville, regarding his legislative priorities. Ag Council members also heard from DeeDee D’Adamo, who was recently appointed to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). Ag Council has worked closely with D’Adamo in her previous appointment to the California Air Resources Board from 1999 to 2013. During the briefing session, D’Adamo discussed SWRCB’s work on the Bay- Delta Water Quality Control Plan to update flow objectives for Delta tributaries. She urged Ag Council members to stay engaged with their local irrigation districts as the plan progresses.

Members also heard from Dr. Gina Solomon, deputy secretary for Science and Health at CalEPA who spoke about Gov. Brown’s Prop 65 reform plan that was recently released. This is an issue that Ag Council has been actively working on for some time to keep consumers’ best interests in mind while ensuring that labeling requirements do not impede the sale of California products. Jason Peltier, chief deputy general manager of Westlands Water District, rounded out the morning session and gave members an update on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

In the afternoon, Ag Council members met with elected officials and their staff to discuss current and pending legislation related to air quality and ag transportation. The group also voiced their support of Brown’s proposed reforms to Prop 65.

“There is no substitute to meeting face to face with elected officials and regulators to tell them firsthand how their decisions and policies impact our businesses,” said Rich Hudgins, president and CEO of the California Canning Peach Association and the current chairman of Ag Council. “It is important that members of our organization understand legislators’ priorities, and help educate them about our businesses and the role that agriculture production and processing plays in this state.”

Legislative Day concluded with a reception at the Citizen Hotel where legislators, state officials, and their staff had an opportunity to visit with Ag Council members. — WLJ