LAS VEGAS – The official start of the Western Growers Association’s 84th annual meeting Nov. 9 was marked by a change in leadership.

Western Growers starts annual meeting with year in review

Dawn Withers

Outgoing Western Growers Association chairman Kevin Andrew, chief operations officer for Sun World International LLC, Bakersfield, Calif., addressed the group Nov. 9 during the annual meeting in Las Vegas.

Outgoing chairman Kevin Andrew, chief operations officer for Sun World International LLC, Bakersfield, Calif., offered his welcome to his successor, Robby Barkley, president and chief executive officer of Barkley Ag Enterprses LLC, Yuma, Ariz., and recapped his year tackling everything from California’s protracted water problems to fighting changes to federal union laws.

“It’s been a whirlwind year,” Andrew said.

Under Andrew’s chairmanship Western Growers continued to increase its lobbying efforts to solve California water supply problems, including backing the successful passage of legislation mandating drops in water usage and an $11billion bond package going before voters that next year that would pay for water storage and environmental improvements. Andrew said the association’s focus on water represented one of the most important tasks during his time as chairman.

Andrew said the group’s lobbying efforts didn’t end in California extending all the way to Washington, D.C., where he and other association leaders met with legislators about card check legislation.

Western Growers is meeting at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas through Nov. 11.