Monthly Archives: May 2014

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Labor Series: Pt 6 ~ Anyone Believe in the Market Anymore? Immigration Reform & Bracero Program Redux

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Written by guest writer Dave Runsten, Policy Director of Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF).

What is happening with immigration reform, an issue vital to farmers across the country? In fact, nothing of consequence has happened since the Senate passed its immigration bill in June 2013. Some piecemeal legislation has passed House committees, but no floor vote has been allowed on any immigration bill, and it is unlikely that any will be taken this year.

The Obama Administration has deported over 2 million undocumented immigrants and, without immigration reform, farmers will continue to face an ever-shrinking labor force.

One of the great ironies of the immigration debate is the conflicting voices of people who profess to believe in free markets, yet demand more government intervention when it comes to policing immigrants. Another irony is the tech industry with their H-1B visas.  But, the worst examples are the farm labor guest worker programs — both the House Judiciary Committee’s program as well as the one included in the Senate immigration package.

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FarmsReach Social Media Roundup

On the FarmsReach Facebook and Twitter pages, we post a mix of news, inspirational quotes, photos and more each day.

For those who shy away from the information overload of tracking each of these social sites, here is your biweekly “best of” roundup of posts.

If you like, you can “Like” us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter to access the information flow. Otherwise, we hope you enjoy our digest of best picks!


How Vermont plans to defend the nation’s first GMO law, Washington Post
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The state is expected to be sued over the law that would require labels on genetically modified food.

More Spin Than Science: The Latest Efforts to Take Down Organics, Civil Eats
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Several weeks ago, a group called Academics Review published a report harshly attacking the organic industry and its nonprofit allies for what they called “deceptive marketing practices.”

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Get the Most Out of Online Tools for Marketing Your Farm

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The following article appeared on the Good Egg Marketing website in 2013. Good Egg Marketing is a Massachusetts-based business that specializes in promoting good food and good causes. Good Egg clients are based nationally and include farms, food enterprises, small businesses, nonprofits, and consultants. Founder and “Top Egg” Myrna Greenfield works with associates in graphic design, web development, video production, and social media to create effective, affordable marketing campaigns.

Feeling overwhelmed by all the different social media networks? Wondering how to choose the best ones? You’re not alone.

Unfortunately, no single network or application will enable you to reach all of your customers. You need to employ at least a few different approaches to be effective. Although it may seem repetitive to post similar messages on your website, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, very few of your customers—if any—will see them all. In addition, you can use one channel—for example, an email newsletter—to drive traffic to your other channels, such as an article on your website or a Facebook special. While the content you post in each place can be targeted to take advantage of that channel (for example, an infographic works great on a visual medium like Facebook or your website, but might not work as well in an email message), you should try to have a consistent look, feel and language in everything you produce.

Ask your customers how they search for information online, which social networks they use regularly, and how they’d like you to communicate with them. Choose the top two or three and build your relationship with your customers on those channels. To make sure that new customers, journalists, and suppliers can find you, don’t neglect the “old” standbys, like your website or online directories.

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The Farmers Guild Expands to the Sierra Region!

Tim Van Wagner & Leo Chapman

Tim Van Wagner & Leo Chapman

Next Thursday evening, Nevada County will carry on a long legacy of agricultural community-building with the launch of a brand new Farmers Guild!

Over a century ago, Grange Halls emerged all over California to serve the growing farming community. Three of these halls still stand in Nevada County today. The county has changed a lot since the Gold Rush, but the miners of the past and the new tech workers who call the Sierra foothills home today have one thing in common: they all must eat.  And, in order to eat, you still need farmers.

Robbie & Deena, Sweet Roots Farm

Robbie & Deena, Sweet Roots Farm

Welcome Living Lands Agrarian Network (LLAN). Founded by Leo Chapman in Nevada City a few years ago, this organization formed to provide mentorship for a new generation of farmers. Their distinctive model is a combination of cooperative sustainable agriculture education, resource sharing, community partnerships and celebration around the food they grow.

From this movement arose a popular series of Soup Nights, aimed at bringing together their whole community (consumers and producers) in the name of local food, both grown and shared.

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Press Release: FarmsReach & CCOF Offer Financial Assistance to Aspiring Organic Farmers

FR_CCOF_FGMay 12, 2014

Berkeley, CA – Today FarmsReach and California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) launched a new program to attract more California farmers to get their organic certification.  Any member of FarmsReach and their Farmers Guild Network can request a CCOF application fee-waiver, which saves farmers $325.

While many believe the application fee is a small investment for the premium prices earned selling certified-organic products, for many farmers the $325 application fee is cost-prohibitive.

“We’re excited about our new partnership and serving community-minded farmers that need financial assistance,” says Elizabeth Whitlow, CCOF Inspection Operations Supervisor.  “Often, a farmer may want to apply for certification, but they simply can’t afford it, may be misinformed about the process, or are overwhelmed by the application paperwork. We like the idea of building a community of aspiring and currently certified organic farmers through FarmsReach and its Farmers Guild Network.”

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Labor Series: Pt 5 ~ Cal/OSHA Sample Procedures for Heat Illness Prevention

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Photo by: Cal/OSHA

The checklist below was first published by Cal/OSHA in August, 2011.

Today our Labor & Worker Safety Series continues with tips on heat illness prevention! Summer in CA is heating up, which means farmers and ranchers need to think about how to avoid heat illness among their employees.

By law, CA employers with outdoor places of employment must comply with the Heat Illness Prevention Standard T8 CCR 3395. These procedures have been created to assist employers in crafting their own heat illness prevention plan, and to reduce the risk of work-related heat illnesses among their employees.

In working environments with an even higher than normal risk for heat illness (during a heat wave, or other severe working or environmental conditions), it is the employer’s duty to exercise greater caution and additional protective measures beyond what is listed below.

Remember this is not a one-size-fits-all guide. In order to implement these procedures in your operation, you’ll need to evaluate and consider the individual conditions present at your farm, such as the size of your crew, length of the work-shift, and the ambient temperature.

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FarmsReach Newsletter ~ May 1, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 2.49.41 PMCheck out our latest newsletter! Topics in this edition:

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Note: If you’re not in the agriculture industry, please sign up for our general newsletter.

Labor Series: Pt 4 ~ Be Prepared for a Government Inspector

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Farm workers, CA

Written by Patrick S. Moody, of the law firm Barsamian & Moody, for Farm Employers Labor Service (FELS). FELS is a subscriber organization affiliated with the California Farm Bureau Federation that assists members in complying with labor laws and avoiding costly labor management mistakes.

Today our Labor & Worker Safety series continues with tips on how to prepare for an inspection and what your rights are as an employer should one occur. With some preparation, these tips will be easy to implement and hopefully save you the cost of fines and other legal trouble!

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