Agriculture

Agriculture

South Valley water coalitions to study nitrate leaching from farms

The Kings River Water Quality Coalition along with several other South Valley water quality coalitions received a $2 million grant from the federal government to address nitrate leaching from irrigated agriculture. The U.S. Department of Agriculture grant will be used to launch a program to quantify and minimize the nitrate leaching from farming operations in the southern San Joaquin Valley, including portions of Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties.

Agriculture

In historic move, California expands overtime to farmworkers

Farmworkers in the nation’s largest agricultural state will be entitled to the same overtime pay as most other hourly workers under a law that California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Monday. Valley growers and farm groups, however, said the law will cost farmworkers money, saying farmers will move to more mechanization or less labor-intensive crops, or cut hours for crews to avoid hitting the overtime threshold.

Political Notebook

Central Valley assemblymen give opposing views on farmworker overtime bill

California Assemblymen Joaquin Arambula, D-Kingsburg, and Devon Mathis, R-Tulare, offer opposing views of the farmworker overtime bill that was sent to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk. Agricultural workers already receive some overtime pay under California law thanks to a 2002 state directive that entitles them to extra wages if they work more than 10 hours in a day or more than 60 hours in a week. AB 1066 will expand that to bring it more in line with other industries, offering time-and-a-half pay for working more than eight hours in a day or 40 in a week and double pay for working more than 12 hours a day. Gov. Jerry Brown announced Monday, Sept. 12, that he had signed the bill into law.

Agriculture

Bill that expands overtime pay for farmworkers passes Assembly

The California Assembly voted 44-32 on Monday in favor of a bill that would make California the first in the country to give farmworkers the same overtime pay afforded to people in other industries, effectively reversing a decades-old practice of exempting field hands from wage rules. The state Senate had passed a similar bill. The measure now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown, who hasn’t said whether he will sign it.

Agriculture

Almond farmers unshaken by lower prices, cooling markets amid bumper crop

Almond harvest has begun in the San Joaquin Valley and with it comes the hope of better prices, expanding markets and stronger consumer demand. Growers could be looking at a bumper crop, but that comes as the industry faces falling prices and cooling demand in some previously hot markets. Despite that, growers remain optimistic that they can develop new products and find new markets to ensure their nuts keep flying off the store shelves as fast as they are shaken off the trees.

Agriculture

Feds sue garlic grower after contractor’s crash kills migrant workers

The U.S. Labor Department is accusing a Coalinga-based garlic grower of violating worker-safety and transportation laws in connection with a 2015 van crash that killed four farm laborers on Highway 152 in Merced County. The government says the unusual move in U.S. District Court in Fresno is aimed at sending a sterner message to growers that they cannot use a labor contractor as a screen to absolve themselves from responsibility for complying with federal safety laws covering employees being driven to fields.

Videos

San Joaquin Valley raisin harvest underway

Watch workers at Del Rey Packing Company sort and process raisins while Gerald Chooljian, president of Del Rey Packing Company, talks about the 2016 California raisin harvest.
John Walker The Fresno Bee
San Joaquin Valley raisin harvest underway 1:00

San Joaquin Valley raisin harvest underway

Central Valley assemblymen give opposing views on farmworker overtime bill 7:41

Central Valley assemblymen give opposing views on farmworker overtime bill

Hmong farmers struggle in drought 2:14

Hmong farmers struggle in drought

Farm adviser helping improve wine grapes in San Joaquin Valley 1:11

Farm adviser helping improve wine grapes in San Joaquin Valley