Republican Sen. Brian Dahle of Lassen County ran through a list of grievances for the Newsom administration during a budget subcommittee hearing this week. CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld and Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) Director Val Dolcini were testifying on behalf of the governor’s budget proposals.
Dahle, a seed farmer, described the training he undergoes for a pesticide applicator’s permit, the role of the county ag commissioner, and how he takes over the spraying to protect his employees. Dahle mentioned a local strawberry nursery that required certain pesticides to stay in production. To compete in a global marketplace, Dahle reduces his pesticide use to drive down costs.
“In Sacramento, we talk about farming. When you get on the farm, it's a whole different ballgame,” he said. “If we want to be leaders in California, you have to keep the farmer on the ground.”
Dahle took issue with a proposed overhaul of the state’s mill assessment fee on pesticide sales and “the enormous amount of growth” proposed for DPR. He was also frustrated by the recent ban on ag burning in the San Joaquin Valley.
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“You can't force everybody into the same box,” he said about pushing almond farmers to chip and reincorporate old trees into the soil. “There has to be more than one tool to get where we want to go.”
Dahle said he has seen firsthand the impacts of Sacramento policies.
“I can't tell you how many people I know that have been farming in California for a long time who just put a conservation easement on their land and walked away from it,” he said.