May 2016

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Can you believe it’s May already? The year is almost half way over, and yet there is still so much to do. The Farm Bureau continues to stay busy by trying to keep up to date with all of the new regulations the state is attempting to impose. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Agreement (SGMA) is well under way with water agencies working to form groundwater sustainability agencies (GSA) in order to prepare a groundwater sustainability plan (GSP). While this is happening, farmers need to be aware of how SGMA will affect them in the future, and start preparing before it’s too late. I am working on setting up some public outreach meetings with the County in both Madera and Chowchilla, so be on the lookout for upcoming meeting dates. Also be on the lookout for information about the proposed changes to the Irrigated Lands Program, and the pesticide buffer zones. There will be two public comment meetings regarding the proposed order revising the East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition’s General Waste Discharge Requirements to address runoff from irrigated agriculture. According to the State Water Board, this proposed order is precedential in nature and will apply to the entire state, changing the current Irrigated Lands Program. I urge everyone to attend one of these meetings or provide written comments to voice their concerns. The first meeting will be on May 4th in Sacramento, and the second on May 17, 2016, at 9:00 a.m., at the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District in Fresno. As for the pesticide buffer zones, DPR has not released much information, so we are unsure as to what to expect. As information becomes available we will disburse it. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact the office, and we will do what we can to help. On another note, be mindful of the temperature changes and how it affects your employees. OSHA requires an annual course, so the Farm Bureau will be hosting a Heat Illness, Slips, Trips, Falls and Back Safety meeting on May 12th. We will also be having a Tree and Vine Harvest Safety on June 28th. As for those of you who meet your safety requirements in other ways, we will be hosting a Land is Your Legacy and Farm Policy 101 workshop, where you can come and get information about estate planning, and proper insurance coverage. This workshop is free of charge to our members. Please contact the office for any additional information regarding the safety trainings or the workshop.

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