The California Natural Resources Agency gathered feedback from stakeholders last week over the Newsom administration’s plans to conserve 30% of the state’s land and coastal waters by 2030, known as a 30x30 commitment.
San Diego County Farm Bureau Executive Director Hannah Gbeh raised concerns about provisions on repurposing retired or fallowed cropland and rangelands for conservation efforts. The county has been at the frontlines of urban development encroaching on farmland.
“We really need to make sure that we are solidifying California production of food, so that we don't see empty grocery shelves and we don't end up in a food scarcity issue,” said Gbeh.
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Victoria Rodriguez, a policy advocate for the California Cattlemen’s Foundation, pointed to trust issues with government programs like this. She said the plans lack clarity and transparency with implementing the actions, and raised questions over how the agency will work with private landowners. Rodriguez argued the definition of conservation does not include rangeland already under permanent easements.
“There really needs to be an effort to work with private landowners, rather than just acquiring land, letting it go to the wayside and not getting conserved,” she said.
Environmental groups called for converting more conventional farms to organic practices to reduce pesticide use.