An Assembly committee has unanimously approved a measure that would provide grants to farmers and ranchers for cleaning up waste from illegal dumping.

Asm. Robert Rivas of Hollister said the dumping “threatens food safety, can cause crop loss as well as the loss of certification for organic farmers.” Existing funds for waste cleanup often go to land zoned for agriculture that is not in use, he explained. The California Farm Bureau is sponsoring his bill.

“With the recent increase of illegal dumping—possibly associated with the recent COVID-19 pandemic—this fund has become oversubscribed,” said Farm Bureau policy advocate Katie Little, adding that the bill supports Gov.  Gavin Newsom’s initiative to clean up California.

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Meanwhile, a Senate committee has advanced a measure to provide cash assistance to farmworkers. The supplemental pay program would offer $1,000 a month to workers who have lost wages during the drought.

“We must do more for those that have historically been left behind,” said Sen. Melissa Hurtado of Sanger, the bill’s author.

Citrus and fresh fruit groups supported the measure.