House Ag Committee defeats Goodlatte-Scott amendment
The Goodlatte-Scott amendment was the first amendment defeated when the House Ag Committee started markup of its version of the 2013 Farm Bill, May 15, according to Bob Gray, with the Northeast Dairy Farmers Cooperative. U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and David Scott (D-Ga.) joined in offering the amendment, which would have stripped the Market Stabilization provision from the Dairy Security Act. Goodlatte/Scott went down to defeat, 26-20. The amendment would have removed Subtitle D Part I (Dairy Producer Margin Protection and Dairy Market Stabilization Programs) and replaced it with a stand-alone "Dairy Producer Margin Insurance Program." Six Republicans on the Committee joined 20 Democrats to vote against the amendment. (more) May 15, 2013 DairyBusiness Update
New I-9 form for employers released
By Anthony P. Raimondo
All employers in the United States must use the new I-9 form for all new hires beginning in May 2013. Employers are not required to complete new forms for employees who are already working, but must use the new form for all new hires. To download the instructions for employment eligbility verification, please click here.
The form makes mostly cosmetic changes, but does require some additional information that was not required on the previous form. Most significant, the list of acceptable documents for employment eligibility verification has not changed. There is also a new Handbook for Employers (M-274) that answers common I-9 questions.
Critical steps to I-9 compliance are as follows:
1. Take your time! Many employers rush through the form and do not fill it out completely or correctly. Make sure you have read the instructions, and understand how to fill out the form. Make sure you give the employee a copy of the instructions when you give them a copy of the form – it is required by law.
2. Section 1 must be filled out after the employee is hired, but before the employee performs any work. If anyone helps the employee with that section, make sure that person signs the Preparer/Translator certification. Review Section 1 after the employee fills it out to make sure it is completed correctly.
3. Make sure you know how to fill out Section 2 of the form. It must be completed within 3 business days of hire. List A documents show a person’s identity AND their eligibility to work in the U.S. If the worker has a List A document like a U.S. Passport or a Permanent Resident Alien card, they do not need to produce other documents. If they offer additional documents, simply return them to the employee and inform the employee that they are not needed. A List B document shows identity only, like a drivers’ license. List C documents show eligibility to work but not identity, like a Social Security card or certified Birth Certificate. You must record one document from List A OR one from List B AND one form List C.
4. All documents must be current on hire, but you do not have to reverify the I-9 when a Permanent Resident Alien card expires.
5. The I-9 is available in Spanish, but the Spanish form may only be used in Puerto Rico. Employers in California should not use it.
6. Periodically review and audit your I-9s to ensure you remain in compliance.
The goal of this article is to provide employers with current labor and employment information. The contents should not be interpreted or construed as legal advice or opinion. For individual responses to questions or concerns regarding any given situation, the reader should consult with Anthony Raimondo at McCormick Barstow LLP in Fresno at (559) 353-2270.
California Dairy Leaders Class XII selected
A new year for Western United Dairymen’s highly regarded California Dairy Leaders program is underway with the selection recently of the members of Class XII. This year’s group includes five women and one man. This will be the twelfth year for the nationally recognized leadership development program designed to provide an in-depth study of the major issues faced by California dairy families. California Dairy Leaders Class XII members are:
* Elysha Bergwerff, Bergwerff Farms Inc., Escalon
* Melissa Lema, Western United Dairymen, Sacramento
* Deanna Martin, USDA Farm Service Agency, Stockton
* Katherine Nissen, Nissen Dairy Inc., Escalon
* Paul van Puijenbroek, De Snayer Dairy, Lodi
* Cristina Vieira, A & C Vieira Dairy, Turlock
The first session of the year will be held May 28-30 in South San Francisco for an introduction to leadership by Dr. Neil Koenig, a hands-on media training workshop, social media overview and industry leaders discussing their roles in dairy promotion, advertising, marketing, and research. Subsequent sessions will cover: state regulatory processes and legislative advocacy on location in Sacramento; the California pricing system and how it relates to national dairy pricing; and the gamut of environmental issues facing the state’s dairy farmers. The highlight of each year’s program is a trip to Washington, DC, for a quick immersion in federal legislative processes. All sessions will cover the main topics and relate them to customers and communities beyond the farm gate.
The mission of the California Dairy Leaders program is to develop informed producers who will provide the next generation of leadership in organizations such as Western United Dairymen. The California Dairy Leaders Program would like to acknowledge the financial assistance and support of this program by the Professional Dairy Producers Foundation. For more information on PDPF, go to www.dairyfoundation.org. May 13, 2013 WUD Friday Update
Assembly panel considers bill on milk pricing
A bill that would have established a formula for determining the whey value in the California milk pricing system to bring prices closer to those paid under the federal milk marketing order has been amended, to allow California dairy farmers and processors to work on an agreement. The Assembly Agriculture Committee voted unanimously last week to keep Assembly Bill 31 moving, so the parties could continue to work on agreed-upon language before the end of the month, the deadline for moving a bill out of its house of origin. Nearly 100 supporters of the bill attended the hearing to urge passage of AB 31 in its original form, but committee members expressed concern about moving the bill forward without a resolution from producers and processors. "This has been an incredibly complicated issue for everybody," said Committee Chair Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton, noting the committee had been working with stakeholders on the bill up until the last minute, with each side offering its own version. But no agreement could be reached prior to the hearing. (more) May 7, 2013 Ag Alert
Win Michael Marsh’s money at June 3 golf tourney
Golfers will have an opportunity to win $100 when they go up against Western United Dairymen CEO Michael Marsh in a closest-to-the-hole competition at the 11th annual North Valley Fed-PAC Golf Tournament Monday, June 3, at Diablo Grande Golf Course. Marsh, noting the recent sharpening of his skills to the likes of Aussie, Adam Scott, and Tiger Woods, said that competitors may need to card a hole-in-one if they hope to pocket his cash. To download a registration form, please click here.. All proceeds from the popular event will benefit Western United Dairymen’s federal political action committee. The four-person scramble gets underway with a noon shotgun start. The day culminates with a dinner at which awards and prizes will be presented. The grand prize for the raffle is a flat screen television. The cost is $150 per player and includes green fees, golf cart, practice balls, lunch, tee prizes, refreshment. May 3, 2013 WUD Friday Update
California lawmakers seek consensus on whey pricing
An Assembly panel unanimously approved a watered-down whey pricing bill May 1 and asked producers and processors to come to the bargaining table to reach solutions. An overflow gathering of dairymen from around the state listened nervously as the Agriculture Committee considered Assembly Bill 31, which seeks to bring California's pricing formula for milk going to cheese vats more in line with producers' operating costs. However, language mandating that California whey bring at least 80 percent of the price for similar milk nationwide was gutted from the bill late April 30 as committee chairwoman Susan Talamantes Eggman and others expressed hope that producers and processors would come up with a formula they agree on. The deadline to move policy proposals to the Senate is May 21, giving proponents about three weeks to develop new bill language. Western United CEO Michael Marsh was generally upbeat after the hearing, expressing hope the bill will bring processors to the table. "The challenge is the cheese processors have refused to negotiate with us," he said. "What this is going to do is allow the bill to move." (more) May 2, 2013 Capital Press
CDFA issues call for May 20 hearing on milk prices
The CDFA has issued a call for a public hearing May 20 to consider temporary amendments to the Stabilization and Marketing Plans for Market Milk for the Northern California and Southern California Marketing Areas (Plans). The hearing will be held on May 20 at 8 a.m. in the Department Auditorium, 1220 N Street, Sacramento. The hearing will consider proposed amendments to the Class 1, 2, 3, 4a, and 4b prices. Specific proposals that would amend the provisions contained in Article III, Section 300, paragraph (H) of the Plans will be open for consideration at the hearing. The hearing notice can be downloaded at
http://cdfa.ca.gov/dairy/pdf/hearings/2013/NoticeOfConsolidatedPublicHearing05.20.13.pdf April 30, 2013 CDFA Notice
Ferndale dairy producer selected as regional winner in national “Farm Mom” contest
Mary Ann Bansen, a Western United Dairymen member from Ferndale, has been named Monsanto’s 2013 America’s Farmers Mom of the Year regional winner for the Southwest. One of five regional winners, Bansen was selected by judges from American Agri-Women and Monsanto in recognition of the contributions she makes to her family, farm, community and the agricultural industry. Along with the four other regional winners, Bansen’s nomination will be featured on www.AmericasFarmers.com through May 11, where online voting will determine the national winner. Ballots can be cast at http://www.americasfarmers.com/farmmom/vote.aspx
Mary Ann and her husband, Pete, are owners and operators of Bancrest Dairy, a pasture-based dairy farm that has been in the Bansen family for almost 100 years. In addition to maintaining records and compliance with dairy farm requirements, and to raising Jersey calves and making silage, Mary Ann has been an advocate within the Ferndale community for environmental stewardship, water quality, and animal welfare issues.
Bancrest Dairy was the first dairy in California to be awarded the prestigious Buckeye Conservancy Award for Environmental Stewardship. It is also the only dairy farm in the area that is wheel chair accessible for school tours.
“Agriculture is important to me because it has offered a meaningful and enriching way of life for our family through four generations,” Bansen says. “I feel blessed to have grown up on a farm, and to have raised my children on a farm where they have been able to see firsthand the value of a day’s work and what it means to care for those around you.”
Nominations were submitted on each regional winner’s behalf by a friend, family member or loved one who shared a brief essay telling judges about their favorite farm mom and why she should be “America’s Famers Mom of the Year.” Each regional winner received a $5,000 cash prize from Monsanto. The farm mom receiving the most online votes will receive an additional $5,000 and the national title, to be announced on Mother’s Day.
“Reading regional winners’ nominations, it’s clear that no matter what and where they farm, farm moms work tirelessly to improve not only their farming operations and communities, but perceptions of agriculture in general,” says Lisa Safarian, U.S. Row Crops Lead, Monsanto. “While we may not say it as often as we should, we all love and appreciate this nation’s farm moms!”
In the nomination submitted on Mary Ann’s behalf, Jessica Bansen wrote, “Mom takes great pride in promoting agriculture and her life as a dairy farmer. Every year, there are up to 1,500 school aged children who visit the dairy. My mom has always inspired those around her. I can think of no other mom who is as deserving of this award as she is." The nomination is posted in its entirety at AmericasFarmers.com.
Monsanto’s America’s Farmers Mom of the Year is an extension of the America’s Farmers program, which celebrates the contributions of America’s farmers, who provide food, energy and clothing for a growing planet. Visit AmericasFarmers.com to vote for the 2013 national farm mom winner and to read about other ways Monsanto is recognizing the contributions of American farmers.
“American agriculture and its entities, such as dairy farming, have been the backbone of our country and it is our responsibility to make sure it is in great condition for future generations,” Bansen says. May 1, 2013 Monsanto Press Release
Pro-AB 31 video airing on You Tube
The Yes on AB 31 effort has posted a video featuring past WUD President Ray Souza, a Turlock dairyman, as he discusses the importance of protecting the legacy of California dairymen and women. To view the video, please click here. “If we lose the Pan bill (AB31) we will just continue the cycle of losing dairy farms,” says Souza in the three minute video. AB 31 recognizes that California is the only state that doesn’t pay the dairy farmer for the whey they produce. Consequently California dairy farmers are paid less than their counterparts in any other state. AB 31 will bring balance back to the marketplace. Assemblyman Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) points out, “I don’t think any of us want to live in a California where we no longer have family dairy farms.” April 23, 2013 WUD News
WUD praises agreement on immigration reform
Western United Dairymen today welcomed an agreement on immigration reform reached by the Agriculture Workforce Coalition, the United Farm Workers (UFW) and key Senators engaged in the process. WUD is a founding member of the AWC, an organization working toward a viable solution for America’s farmers and ranchers to have access to a legal workforce now and in the future. “The framework and objectives of this agreement represent a major step toward ensuring that,” said WUD CEO Michael Marsh.
“The coalition is committed to including an agricultural guest worker program and supporting the general framework negotiated in any final immigration reform package,” explained Marsh. “As members of Congress begin the process of drafting legislative language, we look forward to working with them to ensure that the bill details reflect the goals and intent of this framework agreement.”
Marsh praised Sen. Dianne Feinstein for her many years of work on immigration reform. “Senator Feinstein has been a tireless advocate on behalf of California’s dairy families in trying to find a comprehensive solution,” said Marsh. He also thanked Senators Marco Rubio, Orrin Hatch and Michael Bennet for helping to foster this agreement between agriculture employers and farm workers. April 12, 2013 press release