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In brief for California on July 22, 2011


Williamson Act contracts limited


SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill by Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, to temporarily scale back Williamson Act contracts to make them more affordable to counties.


The legislation allows counties to enter contracts with landowners for nine years rather than 10, and reduce their tax relief by 10 percent to help keep the program afloat.


The state has cut reimbursements to counties under the four-decade-old Williamson Act, which offers lower tax assessments to landowners who agree to keep their properties in agriculture.


The governor's signature July 15 came after Nielsen's bill passed unanimously in both the Assembly and Senate.




Sunsweet promotes leaders


YUBA CITY, Calif. -- Sunsweet Growers Inc. has promoted Brad Schuler to vice president of global sales and Trent Maple to vice president of North America retail sales, the company announced.


Schuler will oversee all Sunsweet sale channels globally, including branded retail, private label, bulk food service and industrial ingredients, according to a news release.


Maple will handle North American retail after having overseen the Western United States division as well as handling key account development responsibilities, the release stated.


The two joined Sunsweet after having worked with Dole Food Co.




Farm Bureau sets up seminars


FRESNO, Calif. -- The Fresno County Farm Bureau is inviting people to apply to be part of the 2011-12 Future Advocates for Agriculture Concerned about Tomorrow leadership development program.


The comprehensive eight-month program highlights agriculture-related issues during daylong seminars on the second Monday of each month from October through June, according to a Fresno County Farm Bureau news release.


The program, which is geared toward people inside and outside of agriculture, covers such issues as air quality, land use planning, water regulations, immigration and economics.


Tuition is $350 and applications can be submitted through Aug. 26 at www.fcfb.org . Questions: 559-237-0263 or info@fcfb.org




Crop loss aid deadline nears


DAVIS, Calif. -- The deadline to apply for assistance for 2009 crop losses under the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments program is July 29.


The program compensates producers for production or quality losses during times of disaster, California USDA Farm Service Agency director Val Dolcini explained in a news release.


To be eligible, a farm must be in a county that was included in a 2009 secretarial disaster declaration, must have suffered at least a 10 percent loss on a crop of economic significance and purchased crop insurance through the Federal Crop Insurance Act of the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.


A farm that's not in a declared county can also apply for SURE benefits if production was less than 50 percent of normal because of the qualifying disaster, which in this case was drought.


For information, contact a Farm Service Agency office or visit www.fsa.usda.gov/ca .



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