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Protecting The Rights Of Farmworkers

President's Message

Friday, July 30th 2010

CFFA President,

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.

We are now well into the 2010 harvest season and thus far I would report that the results for our members are mixed at best to this point. Marketing wise we have witnessed a season that was delayed for up to two weeks by cool weather in the spring and early summer. Timing on harvest was impacted and competitive pressures were intensified for some commodities such as peaches.

In addition, the sheer number of issues facing membership seems to be growing exponentially. Invasive species, currently in the form of the European Grape Vine Moth and Light Brown Apple Moth, create not only a scenario of quarantines and increased cultural and monitoring costs but limited shipping options as well. Legislation at both the state and federal levels target agriculture while seemingly oblivious to the cumulative impact and the fact the end result of such proposals will invariably result in more production being sourced for consumers from outside of California and the United States.

However, thankfully there are still elected officials who understand the importance of agriculture to all Californians and Americans. During the last week of July, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill authored by Senator Dean Florez (D-Shafter) that would have changed the overtime requirement for agricultural production workers which is currently at 10 hours a day and six days a week to 8 hours a day and five days a week. California is one of only three states that have any ag overtime provisions at all and it is already considered the most progressive. Reasonable people understand that agriculture employment is for the most part seasonal and is completely subject to the whims of Mother Nature and cannot be scheduled the same way that businesses can that work indoors. In addition farmworkers, who sent in a petition with approximately 10,000 names requesting a veto, understood that farmers lack the economic wherewithal to pay overtime and the most likely result of Senator Florez’ ill-conceived legislation would be a net reduction in the amount of individual income for farmworkers. The Governor recognized these facts and continues to be an advocate for farmworkers and farmers alike.

So while there are victories to be obtained, the amount of challenges continues to grow. Protecting the right of farmworkers to the secret ballot, removing harmful tariffs, immigration reform, water infrastructure, food safety, produce traceability, air and water regulations, facilitating new trade, transportation as well as energy costs remain as issues that impact our members and California agriculture. We remain committed to addressing these concerns for the benefit of our membership and their employees. Thank you for visiting.

Thank you for visiting our site and we sincerely hope that you will visit again soon.