Last week we summarized the CCM Directors and members of the Government Relations committee trip to Sacramento to meet with legislators, regulatory agencies, and the administration on key policy issues impacting the industry. This week we have put together an in-depth description of the meetings that took place on the second day of the trip to give an update on the regulatory agencies.
CCM first met with Michael Boccadoro, President of West Coast Advisors and Executive Director of the Agricultural Energy Consumers Association (of which CCM is a founding member). Mr. Boccadoro provided the group with an overview of the current energy issues in California and what the future holds with respect to energy costs. Mr. Boccadoro gave an overview of current legislation that has the potential to affect the cost of doing business in California.
CCM then met with Patrick Pulupa, the Executive Officer of the Central Valley Water Quality Control Board. During the meeting with Mr. Pulupa, CCM shared their concerns about water quality issues in the Central Valley and the impact to their communities and businesses. Mr. Pulupa discussed the Central Valley Water Quality Control Board’s efforts in moving ahead with the Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long-Term Sustainability initiative (CV-SALTS) and the citrus industry’s proactive approach in improving management practices that improve water quality.
In CCM’s meeting with Steve Patton, Branch Chief for the Inspection and Compliance Division at the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), Mr. Patton gave an overview of the current state of implementation of the Produce Safety Rule, one of seven rules created under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). CCM was particularly interested in pointing out the citrus does not have the same level of risk as other fresh commodities. For example, there has never been a foodborne outbreak for fresh citrus. We came away with some avenues to explore with CDFA and the Food and Drug Administration for streamlining audit activities. CCM will keep you updated on this activity.
CCM met with CDFA Secretary Karen Ross to discuss support for Governor Newsom’s budget for building a dedicated division within CDFA for the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program which works to enhance ACP and HLB detection, suppression and eradication activities throughout the state. Currently, the program has to share staff when there is a different pest outbreak. CCM stressed the importance of creating this program with Secretary Ross who is a supporter as well.
In the newly created position of Agriculture Liaison in the Office of the Governor, Bill Lyons is a welcomed addition to the Governor’s cabinet and is a necessary voice for the agricultural industry. CCM held an informative discussion on SGMA and what the future looks like for agriculture during our meeting with Mr. Lyons. Mr. Lyons explained his vision for the position in the Office of the Governor and the commitment the Governor has made to the Central Valley, and agriculture. CCM has enjoyed a very positive working relationship with Lyons during his tenure at CDFA Secretary and we look forward to working with him again.
In order to maximize the number of meetings, CCM split into groups to meet with the newly appointed Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, Wade Crowfoot. The discussion centered mostly on water supply and water quality issues. Secretary Crowfoot discussed his commitment to having continued stakeholder involvement on these issues. Namely, the development of the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund which CCM supports through the Governor’s Budget Change Proposal, which is consistent with the policy framework in SB 623.
While the meeting with Secretary Crowfoot was taking place, another group was meeting with Rachel Machi Wagoner, Deputy Legislative Secretary in the Executive Branch of the Governor’s Office. At this meeting, CCM discussed the importance of the Governor’s budget for building a dedicated Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Division within CDFA and how the ongoing funds will greatly contribute to the fight against HLB.
The last group met with newly appointed State Water Resources Control Board member Sean Maguire. Sean Maguire was appointed to the State Water Resources Control Board in December 2018 by Governor Brown and as a registered civil engineer, has both public and private sector experience. In our meeting with Mr. Maguire, CCM discussed the future of water for the Central Valley both in terms of water supply and quality. Mr. Maguire was very candid in his willingness to work with us as a stakeholder and stressed his understanding of the impacts agriculture is feeling and will feel – both economically and socially. We also discussed the need for additional stakeholder involvement when it comes to issues that affect business and livelihoods. CCM looks forward to its continued working relationship with Mr. Maguire.