A CDFA assessment found the regulations, over the course of the five-year implementation, would impact more than 70,000 growers and cost them as much as $166 million. Though a steep price, DPR reasoned that it would only cost each grower an extra $470 per year and is a minimal price tag within the context of one of the world’s largest economies.
“While the proposed regulations will have a statewide economic impact, the impact will not be significant,” DPR determined in its report.
It notes the regulations would hurt the ability of California farmers to compete with those in other states. The department hopes the regulations would push growers to adopt more sustainable pest control practices for almonds, walnuts, citrus, strawberries, grapes, tomatoes, cherries and cotton.
Last week DPR released more details on detections of one neonicotinoid found in several drinking water wells in agricultural counties. The findings could propel the department to add further restrictions on the pesticide ingredient or even cancel its registration entirely, effectively banning it in California.
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The Newsom administration, meanwhile, has been placing more policy focus on promoting organic agriculture. First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom last week released her proposal for expanding the state’s new farm-to-school grant program. The report promotes organic farming as a climate-smart alternative to conventional agriculture and recommends a procurement approach for school meals that promises to “reduce or eliminate synthetic pesticides and fertilizers” for foods in schools.
This reflects findings from a workgroup composed of hedgefund billionaire and Newsom donor Kat Taylor along with a prominent organic farmer and an organic food activist who runs a celebrated Berkeley restaurant.
Along with the $70 million already committed since Gov. Gavin Newsom launched the program, an additional $30 million is proposed for the next fiscal year.