TULARE – Agriculture industry representatives from across the Valley listened last Monday as water legislation expert Gary Sawyers, the keynote speaker for Horizon Nut Company’s Lunch and Learn grower education series, spoke on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The series was designed to prepare growers for the significant impact this legislation will have on the pistachio industry. The event took place at the International Agri-Center in Tulare and is the first in a scheduled series of grower education meetings.
The SGMA was approved by the California Legislature on Aug. 29, 2014, Sawyers said. It was an amalgamation of three smaller bills, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September of 2014 and made effective at the beginning of 2015.
“The bills were developed over just a few months in a process that can only be described as chaotic,” Sawyer said. “The organization of the bills is confusing, and many of the provisions are ambiguous. A substantial amount of litigation can be expected, and unintended consequences are inevitable. Nevertheless, the SGMA will govern groundwater in the State when it becomes effective next year.”
Holly Carter, CEO of Carter & Co. Ag served as Master of Ceremonies for the event.
“I’m very proud of Horizon Nut Company for taking this issue so seriously. The Central Valley Ag industry is in a fight for its very survival,” Carter said. “When it comes to the issue of water, we must speak with one voice: the voice of Ag. This is the kind of issue Horizon Nut Company is bringing into the spotlight as they unite not only pistachio growers, buut all growers as an expression of their commitment to community.”
Horizon Nut Company is a grower-owned pistachio processor. The company is known for finding innovative ways of dealing with industry-wide problems.
The unexpected lack of cooling hours caused blanking, which has devastated many of the pistachio growers who returned only half of the expected crop this year. Horizon Nut Company is committed to the future success of its growers and has responded by creating this grower education series to both educate and empower the industry.
Tulare City Council Member Craig Vejvoda, who led the opening remarks, welcomed the audience to the City of Tulare and congratulated Horizon Nut Company on on the success of this important educational event.
Despite the down year, General Manager of Horizon Nut Company, Andrew Howe discussed the “2020 Strategic Growth Plan” Horizon Nut Company is on task to achieve.
“Our goal is to reach capacity of 100 million pounds in five years,” Howe said.
Horizon Nut Company will host their next Lunch and Learn educational series with an emphasis on preparing the industry for any kind of industry related crisis. The event is scheduled to take place on February 29th, 2016.
About Horizon Nut Company’s “Grower Education Lunch & Learn Series”
Horizon Nut Company’s Grower Education Series provides industry-related education and advocacy to pistachio growers and strategic partners. The mission of this quarterly event is to offer resources to ensure that growers are prepared and equipped to thrive in an economy of uncertainty.
Horizon Nut Company is a grower-owned pistachio processing operation led by a diverse group of industry pioneers. California pistachio growers, including Horizon Nut Company, account for 99 percent of the pistachio yield in the United States. With processing facilities in Tulare, Lost Hills and Firebaugh, Horizon Nut Company provides hulling, drying and processing needs to growers throughout the state.