Governor Brown today signed Assembly Bill 1066 (D-Gonzalez), a measure that will require farmers to pay overtime after eight hours or 40 hours per week. Vice Chair of the Senate Budget Committee Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber), a life-long farmer and advocate, issued the following statement:
“Last year’s agriculture production was down from the previous year*. Farmers continue to suffer from the historic drought and ongoing burdens of the state’s regulations.
“It is inarguable that this new mandate will have significant negative impacts on farmers and farm workers.
“Farmers, ranchers and growers cannot afford this mandate. To keep their family farms in operation, they will hire one crew for eight hours or less; and a second crew for another.
“Farm workers will end up working for one farm in the morning, getting back in their cars to drive to another farm to work the afternoon shift.
“I am disappointed at the insensitivity to this vital industry. And sadly I say, stay tuned for loss in salary for workers and higher prices for consumers.”
*This first set of data indicates that production value fell by $9.5 billion, or nearly 17 percent compared to 2014, to a total of $47,071,513,000 as stated in an August 30 report by the California Department of Food and Agriculture