San Diego County Farm Bureau News
February 2008: Vol. 21. No. 2
- President's Message -Now’s a Good Time to Service Irrigation Systems, Pressure Our Lawmakers.
- From the Executive Director - Serious State Budget Constraints May Put Pest Exclusion Programs on Chopping Block
- From the Ag Commissioner -Red Imported Fire Ants (RIFA)
- Farm Bureau has been working for you . . .
- FFA Ag-tivities - San Marcos High School FFA
- Ask the Farm & Home Advisor
- Ag News Bites
- Feature Articles
- Ag Water Conservation Expo Set
- Union Bank of CA Foundation Donates to Farm Bureau Scholarship Program
- Mike Babineau Joins Farm Bureau Board of Directors
- Bin Location Program Launched
- Local Farm Bureau Members Do Their Part for Farm Team
- County DA Launches Newly Upgraded Check Enforcement Program
- Joining Farm Bureau Group Benefits You-And Agriculture
Now’s a Good Time to Service Irrigation Systems, Pressure Our Lawmakers.
by Chuck Badger
With the arrival of Valentine’s Day, we’ve all had a little time to deal with our water cutbacks. Fortunately for some, the early and, at times, heavy rain this winter has been a Godsend. But not all San Diego farmers have been helped by the rain as much as others. While we tree fruit growers haven’t had to irrigate, some nursery growers and greenhouse growers are, of course, unable to profit as much from the local rain. So, regardless of the blessing of this early weather, we all still have plenty of work to do on the water issue.
Of course, while we’re not irrigating as much, now is the time to service all of our irrigation systems. It may also be wise to spend some money to install moisture sensors tied to a computer to give a history of soil moisture and water needs. February is always a great time to head to the farm show in Tulare to check out innovations such as this.
Winter is also a good time to contact your state representative again. Right now, the Sierra snowpack is above normal. But with the pumping restrictions in the Delta, our benefit from this early season surplus will be minimal come spring. Not only do our representatives need to fix the Delta, they likewise need to fix our state’s budget woes. At a most critical time in our state’s water history, we may not see a water bond on any of the ballots this year. Not only are across-the-board budget cuts discouraging legislators from earmarking money for capital improvement water projects, but voters may be reluctant to approve any new debt in a time of financial “crisis.” I put crisis in quotation marks because the problem is self-inflicted!
We need to pressure our lawmakers to spend within their means. I recently heard Tom McClintock on the radio saying that the state’s revenue has actually grown more than the combined increases in needs caused by population growth and inflation. But our state government’s spending has outpaced our revenue growth. It’s not a revenue problem—it’s a spending problem! And while our representatives waste money, our neglected reservoir and water delivery systems threaten to harm our farming way of life. So enjoy the early rains we’ve had, but realize the heavy lifting is still ahead of us.
Serious State Budget Constraints May Put Pest Exclusion Programs on Chopping Block
by Eric Larson
When you produce a product out under the blue sky, you know you will take your lumps at times. Relatively new growers in San Diego County learned three new lessons in the past 12 months, while “seasoned” producers got a great reminder on those same three lessons: low areas may freeze; wind makes fires explode; and California doesn’t have enough water. While we accept that temperatures, Santa Anas, and drought are beyond our control, dealing with natural problems—while painful—is one thing, but preventable calamities are another.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture has been conducting a pilot inspection program at its Needles Border Protection Station for more than one year intensely searching for agricultural products in passenger vehicles entering the state. Based on the data gathered, the scary result is that they project 4,569 lots of plants and plant products infested with actionable pests capable of causing infestations in California will arrive at our borders in passenger vehicles in 2008. That wouldn’t be so bad if we knew the border protection stations surrounding the state were up and running 24 hours a day and inspecting both commercial and passenger vehicles. The truth is that budget constraints mean some of the stations are only open intermittently—a smuggler’s delight. Now, with the governor’s call for across-the-board cuts in state spending to help solve the state’s fiscal emergency, it could get worse.
As Californians, we all want to see our state solvent, and we know cuts have to be made. There will be passionate arguments to protect the budgets of schools, care providers, and parks. Defending funding to keep bugs out of the state and eradicate those that have arrived may sound frivolous compared to important social programs, but there is reason to speak up. A congressional study in 1993 showed that every dollar spent on pest exclusion prevented $17 ($24 in 2006 dollars) in future costs for treatment and eradication. Add to that the environmental impact of increased pesticide use in the community or the risk of lost farmland and the argument gains stature. Also, if we allow a pest like the Diaprepes root weevil to become a permanent resident, not only will farms be at risk, but native and residential landscaping will also be destroyed.
Considering the depth of the state’s financial problems, we have to reduce our expectations on what programs the state will provide for us. However, cuts in preventative programs that protect against higher future costs and damages to the community would be foolhardy.
by Bob Atkins, Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures
Red Imported Fire Ants (RIFA), also known as Solenopsis invicta,have been discovered in the Rancho Penasquitos area of San Diego County. The infested site, a recreational park near Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, is approximately 1.5 miles from a previous infestation thought to have been eradicated in early 2000. Dr. David Kellum, County Entomologist, believes the resurgence is not unexpected, and in fact, follows the same pattern of repeated discovery that has occurred in Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles counties. Since the late 1990’s, fire ants have been regularly intercepted on shipments of goods coming into California. Areas Orange, Los Angeles, and Riverside counties are now infested with RIFA, causing increased quarantine regulations for nurseries wanting to ship nursery stock out of these areas. The quarantine limits the movement of articles, including plants and soil, and requires commercial nursery growers to take steps to ensure their products are free of RIFA.
A resident who lived in an infested state recognized the pest and submitted the initial ant sample to the Agricultural Commissioner’s office in December. A follow-up investigation confirmed the infestation, and the field was immediately closed down and treated. San Diego City Parks and Recreation staff weretrained about RIFA, and pamphlets in Spanish and English were distributed as well.
Most of the activity to control this outbreak will occur in the spring during peak activity. A survey using one-inch cubes of sliced SPAM® bait to attract the ants will be used to assess the neighborhoods surrounding the infested area and previously infested areas. Residents will be contacted, asking them to notify us if suspect RIFA sites are found. Once the infestation area is delimited, insecticide-treated baits will be applied. Fortunately, the infested area is surrounded by canyons which limits the spread of RIFA.
Native to South America, this pest has become widely established in 11 Southeastern U.S. states. RIFA swarm out of mounds stinging nearby people and pets, and interfering with outdoor activities in urban and rural settings. They affect productivity on farmlands by building mounds in the soil preventing the growth of the intended crop. In grazing land, they sting cattle which may reduce weight gain. These ants attack young nesting birds and other vulnerable creatures. Although fire ants are known to be formidable predators in some situations against pest insects such as flea larvae, ticks, and Diaprepes larvae, the problems they cause outweighs any benefits.
The native Southern Fire Ant closely resembles the Red Imported Fire Ant. RIFA are between 1/16 to 1/4-inch in length, reddish-brown in color and extremely aggressive in behavior. They usually produce mounds of soft, crumbly soil that contain their colonies. When these colonies are disturbed by ground vibrations from footsteps, flooding from watering, or being uncovered and exposed to sunlight, the worker ants characteristically “boil out” of the mound and aggressively swarm over a victim and sting repeatedly.
San Diego County, we hope to swiftly eradicate this pest, which we estimate will take about a year. If you see this or any other unfamiliar insect or disease, please contact my office at (858) 694-2741.
The following resources were used for this article and are recommended for further information: CDFA Web site for RIFA Program (www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/pdep/rifa/) and Extension.Org Web site on RIFA (www.extension.org/fire+ants).
If you have questions about the new respirator regulations, please contact your pesticide inspector at (858) 694-8980 or check our website at www.sdcawm.org for more information.Top of Page
Met with Senator Barbara Boxer’s D.C. staff, while in San Diego, to discuss ag issues.
Wrote and distributed issue paper on pest exclusion to state and federal elected officials.
Facilitated meeting with USDA’s Risk Management Agency on improving crop insurance for avocado growers.
Worked with county staff on several issues including grading violations and General Plan Update.
Provided interviews for local and national press on water cutbacks.
Traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with congressional representatives.
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San Marcos High School FFA
Even with all of the harsh events that took place in 2007, the San Marcos FFA had an outstanding year. Last February, the San Marcos School Board chose to keep the agriculture department intact on the high school’s campus. New faculties and improvements continue to be made on the grounds. The agriculture students look forward to having projects in the coming years.
Over the summer, students stayed busy preparing for the San Diego County Fair. The San Marcos FFA had 21 determined individuals show 28 animals in both showmanship and market classes during the long week at the fair. Students Kyle Armes and Lisa Ascencio both won the title of Reserve Grand Champion with their swine and poultry projects.
In October, the chapter stepped in at a time of need. With fires blazing all around the county, the San Marcos agriculture department became an animal fire evacuation facility. The farm became home to over 70 animals during an eventful week of chaos. Students stepped in and cared for animals ranging from lizards and goats to horses and llamas. Not only did they learn much about animals they usually don’t come across, but they also saved many that had lost their homes.
The San Marcos FFA looks forward to another successful year. We continue to thank community for the support we needed over the past year. Without the help and guidance of individuals and businesses, we would no longer be here today. It takes a group effort to be able to sustain a quality agriculture education program in high schools, and San Diego Farm Bureau members play an integral part with your support and assistance.
San Marcos FFA Wish List
- San Diego Section FFA Project Competition sponsorship needed. This would help support awards and offset banquet costs for county agriculture students with exceptional ag -related projects who are recognized in May;
- Continued support for the San Marcos High School agriculture program and facilities;
- Buyers for students’ offseason market hog projects
- Truck driver to transport gravel and soil
- Avocado or citrus crates for composting
- Red worms for vermicomposting
- Water hoses and reels
- Garden hoes, shovels, rakes, and wheel barrels.
If you can help the San Marcos FFA by providing any of these items, please contact the Farm Bureau at (760) 745-3023 or High School FFA Advisor Rob Gaebe at (760) 290-2238.
by Valerie J. Mellano, Ph.D.
UC Cooperative Extension, San Diego County
Contributed by: Carl E. Bell, Joseph M. DiTomaso , and Matthew L. Brooks*
Q: In light of the recent fires, I am wondering how the native vegetation will recover in the seriously burned out areas. How about other, less desirable plants taking over?
A: Wildfires are a regular and natural occurrence in most of Southern California. The most common native vegetation types, including chaparral, coastal sage scrub, and valley grasslands, occur from near the coast to elevations of 3,000 feet and are well adapted to fires. These ecosystems will return to their natural state within a few years of a fire under normal conditions. Conifer forests and oak woodlands can tolerate low intensity fires that burn through the undergrowth, but are severely damaged by intense fires like those occurring in Southern California in 2003. Riparian (river and creek) vegetation often re-sprout vigorously following fire, possibly as an adaptation to historical fires that occurred during drought years or due to frequent flooding events that usually top-kill plants. Of all native ecosystems in Southern California, deserts have the least history of wildfires because of the sparse and discontinuous vegetation. As such, the native species in this habitat are the least adapted to fir e.
In all of these different areas or habitats, the presence of weedy non-native invasive plants creates an abnormal situation that can influence wildfires. Invasive plants often increase the frequency of fires by providing more continuous fuels that are easier to ignite. After fires, these weedy invaders typically re-establish more rapidly than native plants, suppressing the recovery of the natives and allowing the weeds to expand their range. In addition, if fires occur too frequently, some of the native vegetation become so severely damaged that they can no longer recover. This effectively converts high diversity native plant communities into low diversity non-native communities.
Invasive plants can expand the window of opportunity for burning and increase the intensity of fires in riparian areas. Fires in native riparian vegetation tend to occur only during periods of extreme drought. They typically remain in the surface vegetation and are of relatively low to moderate intensity. In contrast, fires that are supplemented by invasive vegetation can occur under a broader range of environmental conditions and climates, often spread into the canopies of riparian woodlands and forest, and can reach very high intensities. Native riparian trees, such as sycamores, cottonwoods, and willows, do not generally recover well from high intensity fires that reach into their canopies, whereas non-natives plants such as saltcedar (Tamarix spp .), Russian-olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia ), and giant reed (Arundo donax ) recover quickly from even the highest intensity fires.
Wildfires can directly affect animals as well, especially species that are small or with limited mobility. However, the habitat changes caused by fires can exert an even greater influence on animal communities. For example, when shrubland is converted to grassland, shrubland animals are replaced by grassland animals. This is not always negative, especially if the shrublands and grasslands exist in a patchwork distribution across the landscape, allowing regional coexistence of animals adapted to each community. In addition, under a natural fire regime, grasslands may persist for only a few decades before they are replaced by shrublands . This allows for different animal species to coexist in the same space, but during different post-fire time periods. When invasive plants lead to larger or more frequent wildfires, the overall diversity of animal communities typically declines.
*The above article is an excerpt from a brochure titled “Invasive Plants and Wildfires in Southern California,” which is available from the Farm and Home Advisor Offices in San Diego (858-694-2845) and San Marcos (760-752-4724).
Carl Bell is the Regional Advisor-Invasive Plants, University of California Cooperative Extension, San Diego, CA
Joseph DiTomaso is the Cooperative Extension Weed Specialist, Cooperative Extension, University of California, Davis, CA
Matthew Brooks is a Research Botanist with the Western Ecological Research Center, US Geological Service, Henderson, NV.
For more information on these meetings, please call (760) 752-4724.
Editor’s note: If you have a subject you would like addressed in this monthly column, please contact Val Mellano at (760) 752-4717 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RWQCB accepts draft of Rainbow Creek plan
Several years ago, Rainbow Creek was identified by the state as one of several water bodies in San Diego County that is “impaired or threatened” by excessive pollutants—primarily total nitrogen and total phosphorus, with agriculture named as a major contributor of those pollutants. In December, the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) accepted a Draft Nutrient Reduction Management Plan for Rainbow Creek. The plan accepted by RWQCB was written by the U.C. Cooperative Extension with extensive input from Farm Bureau, Department of Ag, Weights and Measures, the County Environmental Health Department, Mission Resource Conservation District, the Natural Resources Conservation Service as well as residents of the Rainbow Creek area.
The plan is expected to help in meeting the RWQCB mandate to reduce total nitrogen and total phosphorus levels in the Rainbow Creek watershed by 77 percent and 90 percent, respectively, over a 16-year period which began in 2005. The plan addresses water conservation; runoff prevention; minimizing fertilizer use; and maintenance/good housekeeping practices for nurseries, field agriculture and orchards, residents and animal owners living or working in the Rainbow Creek watershed. Such reductions to help restore the creek’s beneficial uses are required by the Total Maximum Daily Load report. The complete report is available at www.rainbowcreek.org.
DHS creates new ag -oversight position
Concern expressed by the agriculture community, including the San Diego County Farm Bureau, has led to the creation of a new position within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS): Deputy Executive Director, Agriculture Operational Oversight. This individual will be responsible for a more consistent approach towards agricultural inspections at all U.S. ports of entry to ensure against the introduction of exotic pests. Making certain that agriculture specialists have adequate equipment and resources is also in the job description. In 2003, all United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) agricultural specialists who worked on the borders were transferred to DHS, which resulted in a documented decline in agricultural pest inspections and interdictions at the ports of entry. The documentation came in the form of a report from the Government Accountability Office at the request of Congress. The creation of this new position falls short of the agriculture community’s request that the specialists be put back under the jurisdiction of USDA.
On Feb. 20, 2008, from 1-5 p.m., the San Diego County Farm Bureau will be holding the San Diego County Ag Water Conservation Expo at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. This tradeshow-like event will give growers an opportunity to discuss water saving strategies with irrigation experts, irrigation equipment vendors, and mingle with fellow producers who are also working to carry on in the face of the mandatory 30% cuts in water use.
The February date was selected because all growers will have completed their first month under the allotments and will have a sense of the work they need to do. February is also early enough for growers to make adjustment to their irrigation systems in order to meet their 70% allotment for the year. It is also important for growers to have strategies in place before the warm months arrive.
At the Expo, attendees will have several hours available to talk one-on-one with innovative equipment manufacturers and suppliers about the latest technology in water conservation. Also on hand will be University of California Cooperative Extension crop specialists and resource agencies.
For more information on the Ag Water Conservation Expo, call the Farm Bureau office at (760) 745-3023.
by Nancy Walery
One of the silver linings in the aftermath of the disastrous October wildfires that swept through San Diego County has been the widespread outpouring of community support to help those adversely affected. From individual citizens to national and international corporations, people from all levels of society have felt compelled to contribute.
After learning about how heavily the agriculture community was impacted by the disaster, Union Bank of California (UBOC) Foundation contacted Farm Bureau asking for a way to directly help farmers and farmworkers. As a result, at the January 3 board meeting, Union Bank of California Foundation presented San Diego Ag in the Classroom with a $25,000 grant to help the children of farmers and farm workers who were impacted by the wildfires.
Whether the disaster affected them by loss of income, housing or livelihood, farmers and farmworkers who have children attending college now have some relief available, thanks to the UBOC Foundation. The grant funds will be awarded over the next five years, until exhausted, to students of farm families who are entering or attending a two- or four-year college or university with any declared or undeclared major. Recipients do not have to be enrolled in agricultural courses of study to qualify for a UBOC Foundation scholarship.
"San Diego County’s farm community was hit harder than any other business sector,” said Joe Benoit, UBOC’s market president for retail banking. “We hope to help provide a safety net for those families whose livelihood was affected and who have a long recovery ahead.”
UBOC Foundation has donated $300,000 to wildfire relief efforts in Southern California, with nearly 80 percent of it going to San Diego County organizations including the local American Red Cross, 211 San Diego, the Farm Worker CARE Coalition, Interfaith Community Services, Vista Hill Foundation, ElderHelp of San Diego, San Diego Burn Institute, and San Diego Ag in the Classroom.
San Diego County Farm Bureau Scholarship Chair Janet Silva Kister was thrilled with UBOC Foundation’s interest in providing assistance that would specifically benefit members of the agriculture community.
“Although the impact of the October 2007 wildfires have been felt by many in the county, we found that it was the rural areas and farmers that were disproportionately affected,” Kister said. “Unfortunately, many farmers lost their farms and their major source of income. In many of these cases, it will be three to five years before the replanting process will return income to them again. In addition, unlike storefront businesses and homeowners, farm losses from a fire are almost all uninsurable. So this grant is a great opportunity to help our agriculture community recover from this crisis.”
The Union Bank of California Foundation scholarship application and eligibility information are available on the Farm Bureau Web site at www.sdfarmbureau.org. In addition, information about many other agriculture-related scholarships are also posted on the Farm Bureau Web site.
by Nancy Walery
Mike Babineau has worked his entire career in the wholesale nursery industry since graduating from Cal Poly, Pomona with a degree in ornamental horticulture in 1979. Working his way up the professional ladder, he was a manager and general manager for a number of wholesale nurseries in Orange County, including Sea Tree Nurseries and Hines Horticulture located in the Irvine area.
For the last 15 years, Babineau has been with Village Nurseries, a wholesale grower of ornamental trees and shrubs, color flats, annuals and perennials with sales offices and growing grounds in Northern and Southern California. As the company’s Vice President of Southern Operations, he oversees the daily operations of seven growing grounds located in Brea, Orange (2), Escondido, Pauma Valley, Huntington Beach, and Steele Valley in Perris (as well as the Steele Valley Distribution Center), totaling about 500 acres of the company’s 700-acres of growing operations. The company has a workforce of about 600 and sells to a number of well-known retailers like Home Depot, Lowes and Costco, but the biggest share of their business goes to commercial landscape contractors who develop homes, businesses and parks.
Babineau, who served on the Orange County Farm Bureau board of directors in the 1980s, recently joined the San Diego County Farm Bureau board of directors as its bedding plants representative. For the past five years, he has also been treasurer of the Nursery Growers Association of Southern California. He signed up Village Nurseries as a San Diego County Farm Bureau member about five years ago as the company’s holdings in San Diego County grew.
“With Village Nurseries having such a large local presence, it’s important to be part of organizations that support your industry,” explained Babineau , who two years ago initiated a Village Nurseries Tom House Memorial Scholarship through the Farm Bureau Scholarship Program to recognize the company’s founder as well as support local ag students pursue degrees in agriculture.
“Farm Bureau has also been instrumental in helping us build our business here and work through a number of developmental issues with the County. When I learned there was an opening on the board of directors, I was eager to join the organization and get better acquainted with the local ag community and its leadership.”
While he has only been a board member a short time, Babineau , who lives in Valley Center, already sees that being part of Farm Bureau is a very good fit, both personally and professionally.
“We share the same causes and concerns, and we can troubleshoot thorny issues as a group,” Babineau said. “Plus, I really like ag people. Ag people are good people.”
A Web-based tracking system to report located produce bins is up and running. A joint project of the California Farm Bureau Federation and the California League of Food Processors, this system allows those involved in the processing of specialty crops a simple way to communicate with one another and keep track of bin inventory.
Each year, hundreds of bins from dozens of different owners can accumulate at a packing facility. Short of calling each individual owner based on the brand information found on the bin, there is no simple method for an individual to communicate with the rightful property owner so they may retrieve their property, said Danielle Rau, CFBF director of rural crime prevention.
“In many cases, bin theft has been suspected,” Rau continued. “This first step in creating an inventory tracking system will help members of the agriculture industry as well as those in law enforcement in their quest to secure property.”
This online system allows members of the agriculture community to enter a report and view a spreadsheet of located bins reported from around the region. In its beginning phase, well over 1,000 located bins have already been reported.
Reports can be made and the list of located bins can be viewed at www.cfbf.com/bins. For questions related to this program, please contact Rau at email@example.com or (916) 561-5598.
Where did 2007 go? It seems that we just elected a new class of elected officials, and now we are already heading into the second year of the legislative session.
Once again, Farm Team members contributed to a number of wins for agriculture in the past year. Whether it was writing letters, making phone calls or visiting their elected officials’ district or capitol offices, Farm Team members stepped up to the challenge.
Communication through Farm Team by Farm Bureau members and friends complement the work done by your Farm Bureau staff, making sure that agriculture’s voice is heard when it comes to policy that impacts your ability to do business.
San Diego County Farm Bureau wishes to thank the Farm Team members for sharing their stories with lawmakers during the last legislative session. More than 140 local Farm Team members responded to the call to communicate.
Looking to 2008, Farm Team members will be busy! On top of working legislative issues, Farm Team members have the opportunity to help with campaign activities during three separate elections:
- February 5 Presidential Primary: Seven ballot measures will appear, including Term Limits Reform and Indian Gaming.
- Primary election for state legislative and congressional seats will be held. Also, expect to see the Farm Bureau sponsored California Property Owners & Farmland Protection Act on the ballot.
- November 4 General: General election for state legislative and congressional seats will be held, and a water bond could appear on this ballot.
Every action counts! Whether you help with campaign activities, write letters to your elected officials or simply vote, you are making a difference.
To learn more about Farm Team, visit www.cfbf.com or contact the San Diego County Farm Bureau office at (760) 745-3023.
by Nancy Walery
If you are vulnerable to receiving bad checks, the District Attorney’s Office’s new and improved County Check Enforcement Program has been launched to help you not only improve your odds of not becoming a victim, but also to give you some leverage to recuperate your losses.
The primary goal of the program is obtaining restitution for businesses and individuals who have lost money to bad checks, with a secondary goal of educating those offenders to prevent future bad checks. (Checks must be returned by the bank marked “Insufficient or Non-Sufficient Funds” or “Closed Account” to qualify for the Check Enforcement Program.) To avoid prosecution by the District Attorney’s Office, bad check writers are required to pay full restitution, including all costs associated with the bad check, as well as complete an education and intervention class regarding personal accountability and financial responsibility as citizens. Because the offender pays for the costs of his actions, no tax money is used to pay for the program, and victims will promptly receive 100 percent restitution from the DA’s office on any check successfully recovered.
“Because this is a pre-complaint diversion program, there is a strong incentive for check writers to comply, and for the victim the process is easy,” explained District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis . “Diversion programs such as this dramatically reduce the caseload for law enforcement and the courts, freeing up time and resources that can be devoted to more serious crimes.”
When you register to participate in the Check Enforcement Program, you will receive a Bad Check Protection Kit, which includes everything you need to help avoid receiving bad checks and to properly handle the bad checks that slip through. Registration can be done in one of three easy ways: Pick up and complete a mail-in registration form available at the Farm Bureau office, call (888) 240-6495, or go to www.hotchecks.net/sandiego .
by Brian Watson, SCIF Group Insurance Manager
It’s not common knowledge among farmers and ranchers, but when they obtain their workers’ compensation insurance coverage through the State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF), they are not only helping themselves, they are also helping support all of agriculture through contributions that State Fund makes to county Farm Bureaus.
Members of the SCIF Farm Bureau Group enjoy an automatic 6 percent group discount, which is in addition to any other discounts or credits for which they may qualify. Unlike the plans of other workers’ compensation insurers, the SCIF-Farm Bureau group discount applies to most farm operations and classifications in every county of the state.
In addition, every farm operation is underwritten differently based on a number of factors, such as size of the operation, how the operation is run, whether health care is offered and the operation’s safety record. So each quote is going to be different, and quotes will also differ from one year to the next. So even though you may have received a quote in the past that may not have been competitive, that may not be the case this time.
Further, SCIF has a dedicated agricultural group that is experienced in agricultural operations. Participants in the group have an advocate for any insurance problems that arise.
SCIF has a lot to offer and it may be worth an investment of your time to check us out. For more information, ask your insurance broker, or give us a call at (800) 773-7667.