Although many compromises are being made amongst employers and employees it is nice to know that California is fully vested into food safety is unwilling to waiver from their rules and requirements when it comes to production of a safe and healthy product. In fact, California has been working with the Food and Drug Administration in the development of their federal food safety regulations (FSMA). In 2007 the leafy greens industry adopted the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA). Since its inception, the entire vegetable industry has been flowing the science based guidelines that has been set forth. Despite the hesitation amongst the industry to implement certain practices farmers and producers have actually found the LGMA to be beneficial in assisting them with advancements and overall farming successes. During the most recent comment period for the FSMA the LGMA proposed that growers who comply with the LGMA would be exempt to the FSMA rules due to its requirements being science based, doable and even above and beyond what the FDA is proposing. You ask why would someone what to follow guidelines that are above and beyond what the FDA is proposing? Well, the answer is simple. The LGMA is DOABLE and SCIENCE BASED, unlike many requirements that are contained in the FSMA. I am proud to say that the American Farm Bureau as well as the California Farm Bureau has played a critical role in commenting and working with the FDA to help implement ideas and changes. This shows how the grassroots system of Farm Bureau pays off.
I could not write this blog in regards to issues that are concerning in the coming year without bringing up water quality. This is also the main reason I decided to write about issues in 2014. Yesterday before I could leave my office and head home to pack for my trip there was a HUGE pile of regulatory papers that I was working on completing. These regulatory papers were in regards to agriculture discharge. On January 15 the Regional Water Quality Control Board is requiring all growers on the Central Coast to report and monitor their fertilizer, irrigation, pesticide, and sediment management on each and every speck of land that they farm. Along with this, they require Nitrate reporting, practice implementation, effectiveness reporting and GIS maps of all your ranches, nearby waterway and drainage systems. So much for “private business”. Now everyone’s business is public! This is a prime example as to why it’s imperative for AFBF to be involved in lawsuits such as the recent one in regards to water issues with the Chesapeake Bay.