Government Regulation: California Agricultural and Environmental Leaders Agree on Need for Improvement
The California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment (CRAE) has released a new report called “Permitting Restoration” that details regulatory obstacles that deter or prevent farmers and ranchers from improving fish and wildlife habitat. It underscores the increasingly burden that government regulation places on many aspects of agriculture, and highlights the need to avoid regulatory duplication, delay and other administrative problems – without compromising environmental quality.
As a member of CRAE, American Farmland Trust endorses its recommendation that a high-level systematic review be conducted to further assess obstacles to voluntary habitat restoration. Such a review, but with a broader scope, is also a recommendation of California Agricultural Vision, a set of strategies for sustaining the state’s agriculture and food system that emerged from a stakeholder process coordinated by AFT for the State Board of Food & Agriculture. (See related article on this web page.)
Regulations are among the biggest challenges facing California agriculture. It is estimated that regulations cost California agricultural producers $2.2 billion annually or roughly 6.5 percent of the total market value of the state’s agricultural production. A recent survey found that regulatory compliance costs are increasing and now account for about 11 percent of capital and operating costs of fruit, nut and vegetable growers.
“If we want to save farmland,” said AFT California Director Edward Thompson, Jr., “Then we have to address problems like the regulatory burden on farmers. But we also need to make sure that it doesn’t undermine the purpose for which the regulations were adopted in the first place. That is the spirit in which both CRAE and Ag Vision are approaching the issue.”
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