California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a farm worker overtime bill that that industry advocates say would have hurt the state’s farm workers and growers.

Schwarzenegger vetoed SB 1121 July 28, which would have given farmworkers overtime pay after 40 hours in a week, putting it on a par with other non-management jobs in California.

The law will remain as it has been for farmworkers — time-and-a-half pay for more than 60 hours a week under an exemption that goes back nearly 70 years.

Tom Nassif, president of Irvine, Calif.-based Western Growers, said the veto was the right thing to do for agriculture and for farmworkers.

“Some people in government are more interested in adding regulations than in helping businesses and jobs survive,” he said in an statement. “A bill like SB 1121 would have imposed costs on farmers at a time of economic uncertainly, put farmers at a competitive disadvantage to those in neighboring states and in countries that export to California and jeopardized the ability of farmworkers to earn a decent living.”

Wendy Fink-Weber, director of communications for Western Growers, said the group asked its members to write letters to the governor about the issue.

“They did and we thanked them for that,” she said.

Fink-Weber said Schwarzenegger considered both sides of the issue before deciding to issue the veto. In addition to talking to labor advocates supporting the legislation, the governor asked Nassif, Barry Bedwell, president of the Fresno-based California Grape & Tree Fruit League and Rich Matteis, administrator of the Sacramento-based California Farm Bureau, for input on the issue.