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California Labor Commissioner's Office Posts Guidance on Agricultural Overtime Pay Schedule in Effect This Year

by California Department of Industrial Relations; California Labor Commissioner’s Office

Posted on Friday February 22, 2019, 9:13 pm

The Labor Commissioner's Office has posted guidance for agricultural employers and workers on an overtime pay schedule that went into effect January 1. The law's overtime pay requirements will be phased in.

"We encourage large and small agricultural employers in the state to note the new farmworker overtime pay requirements that will phase in until a 40-hour standard workweek is reached," said California Labor Secretary Julie A. Su.

For the first year of the phase-in, agricultural workers at large businesses earn overtime pay for all hours worked over 9.5 hours in a day or over 55 hours in a workweek. Small employers have an additional three years before the changes to daily and weekly overtime pay take effect.

The Labor Commissioner's Office has also posted answers to frequently asked questions regarding overtime for agricultural workers at: www...

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CDFA’S Produce Safety Program Prepares For Food Safety Inspections To Begin In Spring

by CDFA

Posted on Friday February 22, 2019, 9:12 pm

Beginning this week, thousands of California produce farmers will receive a letter from CDFA containing important information about on-farm food safety inspections that will begin this spring for a number of fruit, nut and vegetable farms in the state. A questionnaire seeking background information about farms is included in the mailing and will be utilized to help coordinate inspections.

The inspections are part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA. Since the law was passed, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been working with states across the U.S. to assist them in performing on-farm inspections. These inspections are set to begin at some produce farms in California.

In April, CDFA’s newly-established Produce Safety Program is scheduled to begin inspections on behalf of the FDA as a means of verifying that produce farms in Califor...

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Renewable Natural Gas Now Flowing into SoCalGas Pipelines from Calgren Dairy Digester Pipeline Cluster

by SoCalGas

Posted on Friday February 22, 2019, 9:06 pm

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and biogas producer Calgren Dairy Fuels (Calgren) announced that renewable natural gas produced at Calgren's dairy digester facility in Pixley, California is being injected into SoCalGas pipelines. The project marks the first time that carbon-negative renewable natural gas produced from cow manure has been injected directly into SoCalGas' natural gas system. In August 2018, SoCalGas began receiving renewable natural gas into its system from CR&R, Inc.'s anaerobic digestion facility in Perris, California. The renewable natural gas from that digestion facility is already being used to fuel about 400 waste hauling trucks. Renewable natural gas is a carbon-negative fuel produced from waste and agriculture that can be used in trucks and buses, to generate electricity, fuel heating systems in homes and businesses, and for cooking.

"Developin...

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Citrus: Preserve it now to serve it safely later

by Jeannette E. Warnert

Posted on Friday February 22, 2019, 9:00 pm

Winter is the time when many backyard citrus trees and roadside fruit stands are laden with mandarins, lemons, navel oranges and limes. A UC Cooperative Extension expert is traveling the state to teach how the fresh taste of citrus can be preserved for year-round enjoyment.

UC Cooperative Extension Master Food Preserver coordinator Sue Mosbacher recently taught a roomful of attentive Mariposa County residents how to safely make marmalade jam, preserve lemons in salt to add flavor to savory dishes, and can grapefruit and orange sections with a little sugar to produce a fresh-tasting citrus cocktail high in vitamin C.

Mosbacher is a community education specialist based in El Dorado and Sacramento counties. But she has been driving up and down Highway 99 to bring research-based food preservation lessons to residents as far south as Madera County as part of a specia...

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Starship Nematode: One Tiny Step for a Nematode, One Big Step Toward Sustainable Agriculture in Space

by Sharon Durham

Posted on Friday February 22, 2019, 8:57 pm

An exciting collaboration between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Pheronym (Alachua, FL), will send nematodes (small round worms) into space to the International Space Station (ISS). The mission represents a look into the future where food crops will be grown in space.

The goal is to develop environmentally friendly methods for space travel that are not harmful to humans. This will be the first biological control experiment in space. The nematode’s send-off, funded by the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, hopes to launch to the orbiting platform as early as 2019.

ARS research entomologist, David Shapiro-Ilan at the Fruit and Tree Nut Research Station in Byron, Georgia, is co-project director of an experiment that will be conducted on the ISS. The experiment will test the movement and infection behavior of benef...

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