The Crush November 2022 - 5

Robotics & Autonomy in Farming Continued...
option and additional back up batteries can be cost prohibitive. Additionally, in some areas that have no broadband, the
use of GPS for improved and more sustainable vineyard management may not be an option.
There are also regulatory obstacles to using this equipment. To our knowledge, California is the only place in the world
where regulators require a person to be physically on board an autonomous tractor when it is in use. On its face, this
workplace safety regulatory requirement seems counterintuitive for the following reasons: 1) No remote-controlled
tractor is made safer by having two operators; 2) By design, that same tractor is to be controlled remotely and not by
an operator on board the tractor; and 3) If there is no one physically located in the vineyard, it's not a worksite and
workplace safety requirements should not apply.
It is important to remember that this regulation was written in the 1970's when regulators had no idea that today's
technology could one day be reality. This regulation was originally intended to apply to self-propelled furrow-guided
tractors, which is very different from the technology available today.
However, regulators at the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board continue to fight to keep the regulation in
place exactly as it is. They have already voted down two efforts by manufacturers to update this regulation.
Interestingly, some manufacturers, whose equipment has no onboard operation ability, believe that their equipment
complies with California's workplace safety regulation. However, that could be a risky proposition for growers. This is
because if Cal/OSHA issues a citation, it wouldn't be against the manufacturer, it would be against the grower.
This is why CAWG continues to push for an amendment to California's workplace safety regulation to allow for the safe
use of this equipment in a way that reflects the technology available today. Bringing this regulation into the 21st century
will be a priority for CAWG in 2023.
CAWG Elects New Directors, Reappoints Officers
The CAWG board of directors has reappointed the following officers for an additional one year term.
Your 2023 officers are as follows:
Chair: Tom Slater, Slater Farms, Clarksburg
Vice Chairs: Jeff Bitter, Madera and Gregg Hibbits, Grapevine Capital, San Luis Obispo
Secretary: Jason Smith, Valley Farm Management, Salinas
Treasurer: Kendall Hoxsey-Onysko, Napa Wine Company / Yount Mill Vineyards
CAWG welcomes the following new directors to the board:
Paul Goldberg, Bettinelli Vineyards, Napa
Lucas Shoffner, RL Shoffner Harvesting, Selma
And the addition of two new directors at large:
Amy Blagg, Lodi District Grape Growers
Joel Peterson, Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance
CAWG thanks the following outgoing directors for their years of service:
John Balletto, Balletto Vineyards, Santa Rosa
Paul Wulf, Wulf Vineyards, Fresno | Page 5

The Crush November 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Crush November 2022

The Crush November 2022 - 1
The Crush November 2022 - 2
The Crush November 2022 - 3
The Crush November 2022 - 4
The Crush November 2022 - 5
The Crush November 2022 - 6
The Crush November 2022 - 7
The Crush November 2022 - 8
The Crush November 2022 - 9
The Crush November 2022 - 10
The Crush November 2022 - 11
The Crush November 2022 - 12