CDFA Secretary Karen Ross fielded questions last week on how the department is approaching an Air Resources Board goal to convert 20% of agriculture to organic.
During a budget subcommittee hearing, Asm. Damon Connolly of San Rafael pushed back on budget cuts to CDFA’s incentive program for transitioning conventional farms to organic and called for more organic policies from CDFA. Ross responded that the administration is trying to be “realistic and practical about what growth [in organic] has been” and not propel the program too fast for farmers to make the transition.
She cautioned that a sudden leap in acreage would threaten to drop the premium pricing for organic products and crash the market.
Chair Steve Bennett of Ventura, meanwhile, agreed with arguments from environmental justice advocates that the Low-Carbon Fuel Standard potentially boosts cow numbers and leads to more air pollution. California, however, has seen an overall trend of its herd shrinking, with more cows moving to other states.