APG Advocating for Members on the Political Front Lines
APG Hires New Director of Government Relations
In October, APG welcomed Rob Nash to the team as Director, Government Relations. Prior to APG, Rob worked in Sacramento in the State Senate as a policy advisor for Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa). Rob has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a J.D. and Capitol Certificate in Public Law & Policy from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law. Please feel free to contact Rob at RNash@AmericanPistachios.org.
Congress Passes Sweeping Federal Tax Overhaul
In the final weeks of 2017, Congress passed H.R.1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Several items of note for APG members are as follows:
- The Interest Charge – Domestic International Sales Corporation (IC-DISC) was retained. In earlier versions of the bill, the program was eliminated; however, strong lobbying efforts, including those from the agricultural community, helped to keep the IC-DISC program intact.
- Cash method of accounting was preserved and, in fact, the universe of taxpayers and farming C corporations, who may use the cash method of accounting, was expanded.
- Estate Tax was saved, and the “Death Tax” exemption increased to approximately $11 million per individual ($22 million per couple), and it is indexed.
APG Backs 2018 Water Bond Effort
APG has been part of an effort to place a water bond on the November 2018 ballot, which will invest nearly $9 billion in California water infrastructure. Realizing the incredible benefit this investment would mean for the agricultural community, APG contributed financially to the signature-gathering effort and has been an active participant in the Water Bond Steering Committee, which directs the activities of the bond effort. As of mid-December, it is anticipated that the requisite number of signatures to qualify for the November 2018 ballot will be gathered by the end of January, which is very promising news. The measure is being sponsored by a diverse coalition that includes conservation, agricultural, water and civic organizations, and includes funding for Friant-Kern Canal restoration and Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) implementation, among other important projects. There will be subsequent updates on the bond as the process moves forward, and please don’t hesitate to contact Rob Nash with questions regarding this effort.
For specific information on what the water bond will fund, please visit www.waterbond.org, specifically the section titled “Benefits to agriculture” & the ag section at https://waterbond.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/agriculture-benefits-of...
FSMA Produce Safety Rule Grower Training Opportunities
As a reminder, most farms are required to have at least one designated supervisor who has been trained in accordance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety rule.
All pistachio growers are reminded to turn in the 2017 Pistachio Acreage Survey.
The forms were sent out to all growers by the Administrative Committee for Pistachios (the federal Marketing Order), in order to calculate and maintain pertinent grower information along with other accurate acreage figures and information for the industry. All individual data obtained is maintained as confidential by the federal Marketing Order.
For more information, contact the Administrative Committee for Pistachios at 559-255-6480 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
APG Government Relations Trip to Arizona
In mid-December, Rob Nash had the opportunity to take a trip down to Phoenix, Arizona to learn about the issues facing APG’s Arizona members. With Board Member Richard Searle as legislative guide, Rob had meetings with representatives from the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation and the Arizona Cattlemen’s Association, where he got a crash course in water issues currently facing Arizona along with an overview of the current political landscape and how that might affect the agriculture community. Additionally, Rob and Richard were able to do a meet-and-greet with State Senator Gail Griffin (R-Hereford), who is the Majority Whip in the Senate and the Chair of the Natural Resources, Energy & Water Committee. The Senator’s water priorities are in line with the agriculture community, and while some of the Governor’s potential solutions may not be ideal, APG has a strong and powerful ally and advocate in Senator Griffin.
APG Represented at California Water Commission Presentation on Temperance Flat Reservoir Project
On December 13, the California Water Commission heard presentations from eleven water-related projects from across California that are requesting Proposition 1 (2014) Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP) funding to further the projects. Along with a coalition of state legislators, county supervisors, water districts, and agriculture representatives, Rob Nash appeared before the Commission to advocate for funding to be provided to the Temperance Flat Reservoir Project. In a show of support, Rob aligned APG and its membership with both the presentation and the preceding comments. The Commission will have final decisions on funding later on in 2018.
PAC Updates: Events for Assembly Members Catharine Baker and Heath Flora
In December, the APG State PAC made contributions to and participated in events for California Assembly Members Catharine Baker (R-Dublin) and Heath Flora (R-Ripon). Both events were informational luncheons where APG had the opportunity to participate in Q&A’s and have one-on-one conversations with the candidates. Events such as these give APG invaluable exposure to State policy makers. In the coming months, Rob will be encouraging APG members to get involved with the PAC, both financially and with their time. The more APG can be viewed as a strong participant in the political process, the greater the opportunities for influencing that process will be.