Last week CCM partnered with members of the Agriculture President’s Council and Western Growers Association to host a group of California Senators for a tour of Central Valley agriculture.  Senator Glazer, a wonderful supporter of the industry, organized the tour as part of his personal effort to build a stronger moderate, independent thinking body of legislators.  A cornerstone of his mentorship is facilitating educational opportunities for newly elected members.  On this tour, Senator Glazer was joined by Senators Melissa Hurtado (Porterville), Bob Archuleta (Pico Rivera), and Henry Stern (Canoga Park).

Senator Hurtado is newly elected and represents a large agricultural constituency in Fresno, Tulare, and Kings Counties.  While she does not have an agricultural background, she has expressed a desire and willingness to learn. Senator Archuleta has a long and distinguished military and law enforcement background in Los Angeles County.  He previously served as Mayor of Pico Rivera and as such has a strong affinity for community engagement.  He is particularly interested in the nexus between his district and the citrus industry as he represents a large portion of the HLB quarantine zone. Senator Stern is in the second half of his first term in office, representing portions of LA and Ventura Counties.  He has already spent a considerable amount of time with the agricultural industry, and actually has a personal connection to the citrus industry (his parents farm mandarins in Somis). We find Senator Stern to be engaged and thoughtful and we look forward to working with him.

CCM member Mulholland Citrus hosted the Senators at their operation beginning at the insectary and nursery before visiting a grove location to meet with the Mulholland’s longtime Farm Labor Contractor for a crash course in mandarin harvesting.  The group then toured Wawona Packing.  Tom Mulholland and his daughter Heather Mulholland talked to the group about a range of issues including Asian citrus psyllid and Huanglongbing, water supply, and market concerns. Moreover, Heather and Tom did a fantastic job of providing a complete overview of the growing, harvesting and packing of citrus and how the industry has adapted and advanced over the years in terms of environmental stewardship

The group was also joined by newly appointed Fresno County Agriculture Commissioner Melissa Cregan.  Cregan talked to the Senators about pesticide regulations and enforcement, particularly relating to restricted use materials such as Chlorpyrifos.

It was an excellent tour and wonderful opportunity to engage with the Senators about the industry’s priorities.