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SB-1247 Agricultural innovation zones: voluntary incentive program.(2015-2016)

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SB1247:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  April 13, 2016

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2015–2016 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 1247


Introduced by Senator Jackson

February 18, 2016


An act to amend Sections 564 and 566 of, and to add Section 563 to, add Part 3 (commencing with Section 1000) to Division 1 of the Food and Agricultural Code, relating to food and agriculture.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 1247, as amended, Jackson. Environmental farming: agricultural Agricultural innovation zones. zones: voluntary incentive program.
Existing law requires the Department of Food and Agriculture to establish and oversee an environmental farming program that provides incentives to farmers whose practices promote the well-being of ecosystems, air quality, and wildlife and their habitat.
This bill would also include practices that promote public health, water quality, and soil health and would require the department, as part of that program, to establish agricultural innovation zones, as defined, and to give priority to agricultural innovation zones for incentives to farmers, with special priority for agricultural innovation zones in disadvantaged communities. The bill would state the Legislature’s intent relating to environmental farming practices and the establishment of agricultural innovation zones, as specified. would, by January 1, 2018, require the Department of Pesticide Regulation, in consultation with the Department of Food and Agriculture, to establish a voluntary incentive program for farmers who use environmental farming practices, as defined, within an agricultural innovation zone, as defined. The bill would require priority be given to projects in agricultural innovation zones located in disadvantaged communities, as defined. The bill would require the Department of Pesticide Regulation, by January 1, 2021, and by January 1 every 3 years thereafter, to issue a report to the Legislature that details the impacts of the voluntary agricultural innovation zones incentive program and includes successes and challenges regarding the process for distributing incentives and the projects that use the incentives. The bill would require the departments to conduct these activities with existing resources, to the extent they are available.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Part 3 (commencing with Section 1000) is added to Division 1 of the Food and Agricultural Code, to read:

PART 3. Agricultural Innovation Zones Incentive Program

1000.
 The Legislature finds and declares both of the following:
(a) It is the intent of the Legislature to support farmers in adopting environmental farming practices near schools and senior health care centers that are more resilient to the unavoidable consequences of climate change and that offer other societal and ecosystem benefits.
(b) It is further the intent of the Legislature that the department establish a voluntary agricultural innovation zones incentive program to provide incentives to farmers to adopt an agricultural innovation zone and employ environmental farming practices within that zone to protect the health and cognition of future California generations. The establishment of agricultural innovation zones in disadvantaged communities should be the highest priority.

1001.
 Unless the context otherwise requires, the following definitions govern the construction of this part:
(a) “Agricultural innovation zone” means an area within ___ miles of the boundary of a school or senior health care center where farmers follow environmental farming practices.
(b) “Department” means the Department of Pesticide Regulation.
(c) “School” means any public or private facility used as a child day care facility, as defined in Section 1596.750 of the Health and Safety Code, or for kindergarten, elementary, or secondary school purposes. The term includes the buildings or structures, playgrounds, athletic fields, or any other area of property visited or used by pupils. “School” does not include any postsecondary educational facility.
(d) “Senior health care center” means any facility that is a licensed skilled nursing facility or licensed intermediate care facility, as defined in Section 1250 of the Health and Safety Code, or any facility that offers assisted living services, as defined in paragraph (5) of subdivision (a) of Section 1771 of the Health and Safety Code.
(e) “Disadvantaged community” has the same meaning as defined in Section 39711 of the Health and Safety Code.
(f) “Environmental farming practices” means practices that promote the well-being of ecosystems, air quality, public health, water quality, soil health, biodiversity, and wildlife and their habitat. Environmental farming practices include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) The following federal Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation practices:
(A) Integrated pest management, practice code 595.
(B) Cover crops, practice code 340.
(C) Crop rotation, practice code 328.
(D) Reduced tillage, practice code 345.
(2) Federal Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation enhancements regarding plantings, soil quality, and water quality.
(3) Practices that improve soil health, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, or sequester carbon.
(4) Practices that avoid applications of pesticides other than those authorized as part of organic certification pursuant to the federal Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. Sec. 6501 et seq.).

1002.
 (a) By January 1, 2018, the department, in consultation with the Department of Food and Agriculture, shall establish a voluntary incentive program for farmers who use environmental farming practices within an agricultural innovation zone and shall give priority to projects in agricultural innovation zones located in disadvantaged communities.
(b) The types of incentives available may include, but are not limited to, loans, grants, technical assistance, education, and demonstration projects.
(c) The department, in consultation with the Department of Food and Agriculture, shall establish specific criteria for determining which farming practices qualify as environmental farming practices. To be eligible for the program, applicants shall introduce at least one new environmental farming practice that qualifies pursuant to this subdivision.
(d) The department shall establish procedures for applicants to access the program and include a ranking system to determine which projects may have the greatest impact toward improving soil health or sequestering carbon.
(e) At least 50 percent of any funding available for the program shall be given to projects that avoid applications of pesticides other than those authorized as part of organic certification pursuant to the federal Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. Sec. 6501 et seq.).
(f) The department may determine whether an applicant may access incentives on the portion of their property that extends beyond the agricultural innovation zone on a case-by-case basis.

1003.
 (a) By January 1, 2021, and by January 1 every three years thereafter, the department shall issue a report to the Legislature that details the impact of the voluntary agricultural innovation zones incentive program and includes successes and challenges regarding the process for distributing incentives and the projects that use the incentives. The report shall include, but not be limited to, data on all of the following:
(1) The total number of acres of farmland that have adopted environmental farming practices under the program.
(2) The total number of acres of farmland that have adopted each specific environmental farming practice under the program.
(3) The counties where projects under the program are located and how many projects are within those counties.
(4) The reduction of pesticide use achieved under the program.
(b) This report shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

1004.
 The department and the Department of Food and Agriculture shall conduct the activities specified in this part with existing resources, to the extent they are available.

SECTION 1.Section 563 is added to the Food and Agricultural Code, to read:
563.

The Legislature finds and declares both of the following:

(a)It is the intent of the Legislature to support farmers in adopting environmental farming practices near schools and day care centers that are more resilient to the unavoidable consequences of climate change and that offer other societal and ecosystem benefits.

(b)It is further the intent of the Legislature that the department establish agricultural innovation zones and prioritize incentives to farmers who maintain or intend to adopt an agricultural innovation zone to ensure the health and learning of future California generations and that the establishment of agricultural innovation zones in disadvantaged communities should be the highest priority.

SEC. 2.Section 564 of the Food and Agricultural Code is amended to read:
564.

Unless the context otherwise requires, the following definitions govern the construction of this article:

(a)“Agricultural activities” means those activities that generate products as specified in Section 54004.

(b)“Agricultural innovation zone” means an area within one mile of a school or day care center where farmers follow environmental farming practices, including organic farming practices, that promote the well-being of ecosystems, air quality, public health, water quality, soil health, and wildlife and their habitat and that do not rely on synthetic inputs.

(c)“Department” means the Department of Food and Agriculture.

(d)“Panel” means the Scientific Advisory Panel on Environmental Farming.

(e)“Secretary” means the Secretary of Food and Agriculture.

SEC. 3.Section 566 of the Food and Agricultural Code is amended to read:
566.

(a)The department shall establish and oversee an environmental farming program. The program shall provide incentives to farmers whose practices promote the well-being of ecosystems, air quality, public health, water quality, soil health, and wildlife and their habitat.

(b)As part of the program, the department shall establish agricultural innovation zones and shall give priority to agricultural innovation zones for incentives to farmers, with special priority for agricultural innovation zones in disadvantaged communities.

(c)The department may assist in the compilation of scientific evidence from public and private sources, including the scientific community, industry, conservation organizations, and federal, state, and local agencies identifying the net environmental impacts that agriculture creates for the environment. The department shall serve as the depository of this information and provide it to federal, state, and local governments, as needed.

(d)The department shall conduct the activities specified in this article with existing resources, to the extent they are available.