2024/25 Annual Message

Daniel Hartwig

CFFA President

As we begin our 88th year, I think it’s valuable to remember why we’re here: CFFA’s role is to serve as the primary public policy advocate for fresh fruit growers and shippers in California.

What are we advocating for? In California, in 2024, it’s our livelihoods. Make no mistake about it, there are plenty of folks that wish we weren’t here. At the moment, this year’s slate of bills doesn’t seem as bad as what we’ve seen lately, but we are still dealing with the consequences of the last two years.

We are starting to see the consequences of an ill-drafted, backward-looking card check bill. We’ve all experienced or know someone that has experienced the insanity of a PAGA suit. The Association is part of a coalition that’s fighting to change this law.

There are upcoming battles that we are fighting on water, pesticides, air quality and multiple other fronts. I could go on with the challenges, but I’d rather focus on some of the positives.

Last year, CFFA helped advocate for $75 million dollars that went to the Air District in the form of incentive dollars for tractors, trucks, pumps and ag burn subvention funding. Combined with funding in previous years, these efforts ensured that the Valley wouldn’t be looking at things like, “No Farm Days.”

We helped kill two bills which would have eliminated the Air District incentive programs and turned it into a puppet for the environmental justice community.

This year, CFFA has two bills, HR 5061 and HR 5062, being carried by David Valadao which would provide for domestic marketing and mechanization research funding.

We also have a bill, AB 2658, being carried by Jasmeet Bains that would provide an exemption for food producers and processors that are not sending waste to landfills.

We wouldn’t be able to do any of these things without the support of our membership and board.

I am also deeply, deeply grateful for the wonderful staff that we have on board here: Adam, Allyson, Caroline, Courtney and Mary. They are a tremendous resource for this organization.

All of ag must be united – our opponents are too organized and too well-funded for each ag group to be doing its own thing. I’m grateful to have so many of our ag partners and look forward to continuing to collaborate with them over the next year.

Benjamin Franklin remarked at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “We must all hang together, or assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” He could have easily been talking about California agriculture. CFFA is going to continue to fight for our members and we will win every battle we can.