Representatives of California’s sheep industry are appealing to Senate Pro tem Toni Atkins for relief from the state’s new agricultural overtime law. Sheep producers say they face wage cost increases of more than 50% next year unless regulators soften the new requirements. 
Industry leaders, who scheduled a meeting Tuesday with Atkins, are trying to get the state’s standard work week for sheepherders set at 48 hours. They argue that the 168-hour work week set to begin in January will actually limit jobs and pay. 

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“Tell me any industry that can survive a 52% increase in wage overhead,” said Ryan Indart, a sheep producer from Clovis, Calif., who spoke at the Agri-Pulse Food & Ag Policy Summit West on Monday. 
Andrée Soares, vice president of the California Wool Growers Association, said the wage rule is a bigger threat to producers’ survival than the drought.