CENTRAL VALLEY TOPS LIST OF U.S. AG COUNTIES

Published On April 11, 2019 – 2:13 PM
Written By David Castellon

California once again led the nation in agricultural sales in 2017, with six Valley counties — along with one along the state’s Central Coast — topping ag sales across the nation.

This according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2017 Census of Agriculture, which gathers information annually on U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them.

Agricultural sales in California exceeded $45 billion in 2017 — about 12 percent of total U.S. ag sales — far outpacing the No. 2 state, Iowa, which had sales totaling about $29 billion, followed by Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Indiana.

But while the USDA lists the same top ag counties as the California Department of Agriculture, they don’t list them in the same order.

Most notably, the federal agency lists Fresno County as the top ag county in the nation for 2017.

CDFA placed Fresno County as third in sales that year, behind Kern and Tulare counties, respectively.

CDFA officials couldn’t be immediately reached to determine if the USDA census used different criteria in determining total ag sales.

The other four top ag counties were, in order, Monterey, Stanislaus, Merced and San Joaquin, all of which also are among the top seven ag counties on the USDA’s list.

The top commodities produced on farms nationally were cattle and calves, followed by corn, poultry and eggs, soybeans and milk. California lead the nation in milk production, a total of 18 percent.

Other California highlights from the farm census:

– The state’s top commodities were fruits and nuts, with $17.5 billion in combined sales; vegetables, with $8.2 billion; milk, with $6.5 billion; cattle and calves, with $3.1 billion; and horticulture, with $2.9 billion.

– Total farm production expenses for California totaled $37.8 billion.

– The average age of the California farmer was 59.2 years old, compared to the national average of 57.5 years old.

– Military veterans accounted for 10 percent of California farmers, compared to about 11 percent, nationally.

– At 14,552 farms, California was the top state using renewable energy-producing systems in agriculture. Solar was the most common renewable energy-producing system on farms and ranches in the state.

Central Valley tops list of U.S. ag counties

1,000 jobs coming to Central Valley

Central Valley Business Times

April 8, 2019

• They’ll be at a new T-Mobile customer call center in Kingsburg
• Company says it will offer a new level of customer service

T-Mobile U.S. and Sprint have picked Kingsburg in Fresno County as the location for their previously announced Central Valley “Customer Experience Center.” The new call center will have more than 1,000 employees. The companies say the new workers will earn wages on
average over 50 percent higher than the average wages in Fresno County, which will also make the the call center one of the highest-paying employers in the area.

The Kingsburg call center is to have what T-Mobile terms its “Team of Experts” service model, which provides customers direct personal access to a dedicated team of specialists when they call or message for assistance. The specialists are to work with local retail and engineering  eams to address a wide variety of topics and tackle complex challenges for customers primarily based in California.

The combined company will have 7,500 more customer care workers in 2024 than the two stand-alone companies would have employed, they say. It all depends, however, on the closing of their merger to become what the companies want to call the “New TMobile.”

https://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/aa2510f6-dfc0-42b6-af7e-db406cf9132c.pdf

 

Merced College receives $5 million gift. It’s the largest donation in school history

 

CCVEDC Conducts Annual Mission to State Capitol

For Immediate Release

CONTACTS:

Lee Ann Eager, Co-Chair CCVEDC, 559-476-2513

Mark Hendrickson, Co-Chair CCVEDC 209-385-7686

Jennifer Faughn, Executive Director, 661-366-0756

CCVEDC Conducts Annual Mission to State Capitol


Photo 1 and 2: CCVEDC awaits introduction in the CA Assembly. Left to Right, Bobby Kahn, Mike Ammann, Lee Ann Eager, Lance Lippincott, Wil Oliver, Richard Chapman           Photo 3: CCVEDC Board meets with CMTA

March 25, 2019 Representatives from EDC’s throughout the Valley met with more than 20 legislators and top government officials to bring the voice of Central Valley businesses to the Capital. On the list of top priorities for the valley were Workforce Development, Infrastructure Development, Regulatory and Tax Reforms, Opportunity Zone and Tax Incentives. Central Valley priorities were presented in comparison to a list of top site selection factors for business.

“Each year, the CCVEDC Board meets with legislators to discuss mutually beneficial priorities for economic prosperity. This year we were very optimistic after speaking with Valley representatives, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and the new Lieutenant Governor. It was a very busy and constructive two days in Sacramento,” according to Lee Ann Eager, Co-Chair of the California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation, comprised of the eight EDC’s from San Joaquin to Ke

In addition to valley legislators, the group met with the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy; the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GoBiz), and California Manufacturing & Technology Association officials.

 

As manufacturing is a large and still growing economic part of the Central Valley, the role of investing in Workforce Career Technical Education (CTE) has never been more important. CCVEDC supported the  State in continuing to invest and, if possible, increasing investment in Career Technical Training. Specifically, advanced manufacturing, value-added agriculture, logistics, and technology development.

“Workforce and Economic Development in the Central Valley have worked together hand in hand for more than 30 years, leveraging each other to the benefit of business and residents.  The legislators from the Central Valley understand and support the continued investment in this collaborative effort and the positive economic effect produced by this partnership,” stated Lace Lippincott, CCVEDC and CCWC Board Member.

The Central Valley is experiencing significant economic growth and activity. Yet, infrastructure development has been left behind and is needed to attract and grow jobs in this critical transportation corridor. The Central Valley is a prime location for advanced manufacturing, distribution, energy development, water technology among other sectors which support California’s identity as an innovation leader.

“It is important for our state legislators to be aware of the unique issues of the San Joaquin Valley. Water issues effect more than just farming operations, it effects all the other ancillary industries that thrive because of agriculture.” noted Bobby Kahn, CCVEDC Board Member and Treasurer.

Of California’s four million businesses, 3.1 million are sole proprietorships and 87% of companies have 20 or fewer employees. A complex regulatory process creates a significant burden on small businesses, causing many to consider leaving or expanding outside of the state.

“A vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Valley and the State is vital to the economy. Indeed, a region’s startup activity is a key factor in overall economic growth. It is critical to for these companies to be provided with relief from onerous regulations that hinder future investment and job creation,” according to Richard Chapman, CCVEDC Board member.

According to business, tax credits and other incentives can go a long way toward boosting capital — especially when the project involves job creation or a major capital investment. The new Opportunity Zones program is attractive, but hard to access and understand. Incentives allow manufacturers a chance to recover costs expended for workforce, research and expanding/staying in California.

“We encourage the legislature to conform state tax law to federal tax law treatment of Capital Gains under the Opportunity Zones incentive which will bring new investment and jobs into center city areas in need of redevelopment. Thirty-four other states have adopted state tax conformity provisions, but California has not. The Central Valley is home to over 150 Opportunity Zone census tracts that represent some of the most disadvantaged communities in nation,” stated Mike Ammann, CCVEDC board member representing San Joaquin Partnership.

CCVEDC is a not-for-profit Corporation whose mission is to attract and retain jobs and investment in the Central San Joaquin Valley counties of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern. They are supported by the 8-counties in the Central Valley, Central California Workforce Collaborative, PG&E and Central Calif/Central Mother Lode Regional Consortium (CRC) Partnership.

How to Meet Workforce Demands? Duncan Poly Leads the Way.

For years, there has been a nationwide shortage of workers in vocational and technical careers, largely caused by society adopting a more college-going culture.

According to Adecco, an estimated 31 million career tech jobs will be left vacant by the year 2020 due to Baby Boomer retirements.

Portrait of Bob Nelson

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the city of Fresno and the Central Valley. If this is the thing of stuff to come, I am incredibly proud of this start.” — Bob Nelson, superintendent of Fresno Unified

Fresno Unified, the fourth-largest school district in California, is working to change the narrative of career tech and the looming worker shortage.

The district showcased its efforts last Thursday with an open house displaying $12 million worth of improvements to CTE facilities at Duncan Polytechnical High School.

New Heavy Trucks Facility

Perhaps the biggest upgrade is a new, 10,000-square foot heavy trucks facility large enough to fit eight semi-trucks.

“It’s the first of its kind in the nation,” said Vanessa Ramirez, Fresno Unified’s public information officer. “The facility provides the most modern equipment for preparing students for jobs in the Valley’s growing transport industry.”

Ramirez said students in the school’s heavy truck maintenance and repair program will utilize the facility. To ensure it met the needs of employers, Fresno Unified worked closely with industry partners on designs, she said.

This Has Been Needed For a Long Time

Hugo Rodriguez, the service manager at Fresno Truck Center, hopes the new facility is the first of many local high schools will construct for students.

“It is 20 years (late), but it is a great start,” Rodriguez said. “I am anxious to see what kind of kids we can get out of the program.”

Rodriguez said he’s also concerned about how many students he can get to fill vacant positions.

“The trades died out of the high schools years ago, and we’ve struggled for years finding technicians to come in and fill the voids,” Rodriguez said. “This facility is definitely needed.”

The district also expanded Duncan’s existing facilities in manufacturing and construction technology, automotive, welding and fabrication.

Students Give Thumbs-Up

To fund the work, the district utilized $7 million from Measure Q — a $280 million bond measure passed in 2010 — along with $5.2 million from a California Career Technical Education Facilities Program grant.

“In addition to better serving the Duncan students we already have, we absolutely expect attendance will grow from here for all of our Duncan pathways.” — Amy Idsvoog, Fresno Unified’s interim chief information officer

With the new improvements, Josiah Montijo said he’s not worried about whether he’ll be adequately prepared for a career in programming.

“(The improvements) will prepare you for your career or for any job you are trying to go into,” said Montijo, a senior in the school’s manufacturing pathway. “I don’t think I would be as prepared if I didn’t come to Duncan.”

Nathaniel Martinez said the new and updated facilities will definitely help him expand his knowledge in Duncan’s construction pathway.

“Previously, we were working in little portable classrooms and using the construction site that we already had to do anything that we needed,” said Martinez, a junior. “This new building is going to help us expand out more and attract new students.”

Return On Investment

There are 1,048 students at Duncan. Amy Idsvoog, Fresno Unified’s interim chief information officer, said the district is hoping the new improvements will help increase enrollment to 1,400 students in the next three to four years.

Seeing the new equipment and taking in the aroma of gas and oil reminded Trustee Veva Islas of the days she spent with her father, who was an agricultural mechanic.

“(My father) would have been so excited to have been a student here,” said Islas, who represents the area in which Duncan is located. “I am excited for those that are going to have the opportunity to come to this program, and just really have a fantastic experience.”

“I think the improvements are incredible. I think we should duplicate it in other areas.” — Brooke Ashjian, former Fresno Unified trustee

Once-In-a-Lifetime Opportunity

With all the new upgrades, Esli Cardenas said she is confident she will develop the skills necessary to land her dream job at Vanir Construction Management.

“It will definitely help me in the future, and hopefully I can start my own private business and build companies and more buildings like what we have here,” said Cardenas, a senior in Duncan’s construction pathway.

Superintendent Bob Nelson said the new facilities at Duncan is about opening doors.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the city of Fresno and the Central Valley,” Nelson said. “If this is the thing of stuff to come, I am incredibly proud of this start.”

More CTE in the Pipeline

Former Fresno Unified trustee Brooke Ashjian was instrumental in boosting career technical education during his four years on the board. Seeing his vision come to life at Duncan, he said, is satisfying.

“I think the improvements are incredible,” Ashjian said. “I think we should duplicate them in other areas.”

That’s just what Fresno Unified plans to do, Idsvoog said.

The district, she said, has been approved for state grant funding, requiring a local funding match for CTE facilities at Fresno, Hoover, and McLane high schools.

Idsvoog said the district has also applied for funding for CTE facilities at Edison and Sunnyside high schools.

Such projects, Idsvoog said, are pending future board approval. She said the local match would likely come from Measure X construction bonds.

https://gvwire.com/2019/03/25/how-to-meet-workforce-demands-duncan-poly-leads-the-way/

Here’s why Foster Farms will be adding new jobs at its Livingston chicken plant

Foster Farms employee’s protest for better wages, affordable insurance, new contract
Employees at the Foster Farms Livingston chicken plant protested on Thursday, April 27, 2017, for better wages, affordable insurance and a new labor union contract. (Monica Velez/mvelez@mercedsun-star.com) 

Central Valley EDCs Partner with Workforce Collaborative to Boost Business

For Immediate Release

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark Hendrickson, Chairman of Internal Affairs, CCVEDC Board of Directors

Phone: 209-385-7686

February 1, 2019

MERCED ­- California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation (CCVEDC) announced today it will receive a $50,000 contract with the Central California Workforce Collaborative (CCWC) in a collaborative effort to boost effectiveness in serving employers.

“This is a historic partnership between workforce and economic development in an area that encompasses a quarter of California.”  stated Lee Ann Eager, CCVEDC Chairman of External Affairs. “The Central Valley is a rapidly expanding region for business, and workforce is the number one factor in business success and longevity.”

The business engagement program will use existing economic development networks to deliver information on workforce programs, tax incentives and other resources that can maximize the competitiveness of businesses and the productivity of the local workforce and increase regional economic prosperity.

“The CCVEDC is proud to work hand in hand with our workforce development partners,” stated Mark Hendrickson, Chairman of Internal Affairs.  “This contract not only solidifies our collaborative relationship but also strengthens our position as California’s leading location for economic development opportunities.”

CCWC is comprised of eight (-8-) local Workforce Development Boards representing ten (-10-) counties of Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Mono, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare.

CCVEDC is a not-for-profit Corporation supported by the 8-county region in the Central Valley, PG&E and Central Calif/Central Mother Lode Regional Consortium (CRC) Partnership, whose mission is to attract and retain jobs and investment in the Central San Joaquin Valley counties of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern. For more information,  www.centralcalifornia.org.

Report: California tops $50 Billion in ag revenue

Central Valley Business TImes

January 8, 2019

  • Nearly 6 percent higher than in 2017
  • “These are still exciting times for agriculture”

California’s farmers and ranchers had more than $50 billion in cash receipts for their output last year, an increase of almost 6 percent compared to 2016, according to the new California Agricultural Statistics Review for crop year 2017. That is nearly double the next highest state, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

The Number 2 state is Iowa, followed by Texas, Nebraska and Minnesota. Seven out of the top ten counties for agricultural output value are in the Central Valley: California’s agricultural abundance includes more than 400 commodities.

Over a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in California. California is the leading state for cash farm receipts, accounting for over 13 percent of the nation’s total agricultural value. The top producing commodities for 2017 include: Dairy products, milk — $6.56 billion Grapes— $5.79 billion Almonds— $5.60 billion Strawberries— $3.10 billion Cattle and calves — $2.53 billion Lettuce— $2.41 billion Walnuts— $1.59 billion Tomatoes— $1.05 billion Pistachios— $1.01 billion Broilers— $939 million.

“As you know, farming and ranching can be a tough business. But these are still exciting times for agriculture,” says Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture in the report.

“As we move further into the 21st Century we see a worldwide demand for food that is growing rapidly, and a corresponding demand for Californiagrown products that will bring tremendous opportunity for producers able to maintain sustainability in the face of climate change.”

California agricultural exports totaled $20.56 billion for 2017. Top commodities for export in 2017 included almonds, dairy and dairy products, pistachios, wine and walnuts.

https://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/a854fb07-0e00-4ef3-8c8b-cfc37345e907.pdf

Bitwise gets grant for job readiness program

Central Valley Business Times 

December 19, 2018

• James Irvine Foundation ponies up $350,000

 • “Unexpected people and places have huge contributions to make”

Bitwise Industries Inc. of Fresno says it has received a two-year grant of $350,000 from the James Irvine Foundation to help pay for its Geekwise Academy web developer job readiness programs.

The programs train unemployed and underemployed workers in the San Joaquin Valley for middle-wage jobs in the tech industry.

“The assumption that to be successful in technology, you must be a computer scientist in the Silicon Valley with a degree from a high-profile university, is one that has kept people in the Central Valley from exploring computer programming as a career,” says Irma Olguin Jr., co-founder and CEO, Bitwise  Industries. “We know that, if given an opportunity, unexpected people and places have huge contributions to make to the technology industry.”

One of the biggest problems facing the tech industry is the inabilityto find talent fast enough to keep up with demand. The purpose of Geekwise, theeducational arm of Bitwise, is to train software developers in Fresno. To date,Geekwise says it has educated 3,500 students and intentionally cultivated astudent population that is more than 50 percent female, 50 percent minority and20 percent first-generation immigrant.

https://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/3834d3d7-5da2-43f5-aa83-1088bc4a2dc0.pdf