The California Cotton Ginners and Growers hosted its 2024 Annual Meeting at the International Agri-Center. (Photo: Valley Ag Voice)

By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice 

The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association hosted its annual meeting on May 14 at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, providing insights into CCGGA’s activities this year as well as regulatory updates on water, pesticides, and zero-emissions vehicles. 

According to Chris McGlothlin, director of technical services for CCGGA, the State Water Board is proposing a fee increase for the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program by 5.9% on a per acre charge. 

“I guess there’s three certainties in California: death, taxes, and State Water Board increases,” McGlothlin said. 

SWB also petitioned the legislature for $7 million from the general fund to pay for 38 additional staff members. 

“And while they’re proposing that the $7 million be paid out of the state legislature’s budget, undoubtedly that fund will then shift over to ratepayers, whether it be processing facilities that utilize stormwater, permit holders, or ILRP stakeholders that pay into the overall program,” McGlothlin explained. 

The CCGGA staff — comprised of President and CEO Roger Islom, Assistant Vice President Pricilla Rodriguez, and McGlothlin — have been heavily involved in legislative advocacy and pushing back against new or unfeasible regulations. 

In May, several CCGGA staff and leadership traveled to Sacramento to address key areas of concern including pesticide bans, SWB fees, and new zero-emission vehicle truck and forklift rules. 

“We are down in the weeds,” Islom said. “But we’re not just down in the weeds on these issues, we are leaders on these issues.” 


The CCGGA conference addressed California’s next ambitious goal — 80% Electrical Vehicles by 2035. California Air Resources Board’s Zero-Emission Forklift Regulation was proposed to help meet the state’s goal by eliminating the use of Class 4 and 5 internal combustion forklifts and concert fleets to ZEV beginning in 2026. 

In a legislative update, George Soares of the law firm Kahn, Soares & Conway, explained that the state’s goal to transition to ZEV is aspirational, but there has been little logistical work to reach compliance by 2035. 

According to Rodriguez, the CCGGA successfully advocated for an extended compliance period for agriculture operations from 2026 to 2029. She explained that due to discussions with CCGGA, CARB recognized the statewide infrastructure problem in converting over to electric vehicles as well as the sizeable costs it entails. 

CCGGA and others oppose the regulation plan to continue advocating for the interests of farmers and ranchers.  

“We’re going to be unrelenting on this because if we’re not, we’ve got another SGMA, we’ve got another overtime pay rule, we’ve got another mess on our hands,” Soares said.  


Several pesticides utilized by cotton growers are facing a potential ban or stricter regulations, Islom explained. One bill — AB 1963 — is proposing the ban of any pesticide product containing paraquat

According to Islom, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation previously approved the use of paraquat, and political moves to remove the resource from farmers are not based on science. 

“There’s nothing else out there that works even close to the way the paraquat does and we are doing everything we can to fight it,” Islom said. 

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