2016/17 Annual Message
Friday, June 23rd 2017
Welcome to the California Fresh Fruit Association’s website. We hope you find the information here valuable and we encourage you to contact us with any suggestions or questions.
As I conclude my first year as President of the California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA), I am humbled at the opportunity to represent such an amazing segment of California agriculture. In my previous political life, my public service included Mariposa County and Washington D.C. My experience in Sacramento was very limited. I quickly learned that agriculture was not held in high regard by our state leaders and that there was much work to be done. From my first day on the job, it has been my goal to get California agriculture back on offense. With that in mind, we have begun to make inroads on issues such as labor relations, immigration and water. These are not easy or new issues but we are trying to deal with them in new and innovative ways.
I was baptized by fire when A.B. 1066, the Ag-Overtime bill, came to a vote during my first month on the job. During our struggle to defeat AB 1066, we met with Joe Garcia, of Jaguar Farm Labor Contracting to discuss farm employee advocacy efforts. Inspired by the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation, Joe created the Central Valley Farmworker Foundation (CVFF), a services-based 501(c)(3) foundation for the farm employee community that identifies and provides immigration, English language, health, and professional development services. It is Joe’s belief, and now ours, that by providing a sustainable array of services and developing trust within this community, farm employees can be empowered to serve as their own advocates and diminish the influence of ineffective labor unions like the UFW.
It is our goal here at the Association to support CVFF in any way that we can. They are currently focusing on Kern, Kings and Tulare counties but have hopes of becoming a statewide organization benefitting all farmworkers.
In an effort to address the longstanding immigration issues that have plagued our industry and nation, we have begun working with the new Trump Administration to make sure there is no interruption of labor as a result of any new immigration law. After reviewing the history of our current worker visa system, we identified that both the H-2A program and the Bracero program began as treaties between the U.S. and the host countries. With the news of the Administration’s desire to renegotiate NAFTA, the opportunity to include a worker visa program and adjustment of status in those negotiations, is viable. Finding solutions to this problem is not easy, but it is imperative that we explore every option to insure that a guest worker program and the adjustment of status of our current workforce is included with any enforcement measure.
And then there is water. CFFA is uniquely positioned, as a statewide organization, to identify and advocate for comprehensive solutions to our broken water system. The ever increasing pressure on water quality and quantity, together with the need for water in times of drought remains paramount. The Association continues to push for major above ground storage projects, such as Temperance Flat and Sites Reservoir, which make the most sense for Association members and for many Californians. At the federal level, our organization continues its close contact with members of both political parties in Congress to increase the opportunity for increase flows south while protecting the water rights and avoiding adverse impacts to Delta stakeholders.
The need for efficient, protective and effective public policy representation is the ongoing mission for CFFA and will become more important with each passing year. The Association is committed to advocacy at the local, state and federal levels so that the multi-generational families that make up the vast majority of our membership can continue to produce, into the future, the fresh fruits that are so important to our domestic food supply and our national security.
Thank you to all of our members who did so much to set the direction and focus for our organization by your faithful service on committees and the Board this past year. Your dedication and input is sincerely appreciated. On your behalf, we look forward to continuing the representation of the best fresh fruit growers and shippers in the world.
Thank you for visiting our site and we sincerely hope that you will visit again soon.