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AB-838 Agriculture: small- and moderate-scale diversified farms and ranches: assistance program.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 03/28/2019 09:00 PM
AB838:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 28, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 838


Introduced by Assembly Member Eggman

February 20, 2019


An act to add Article 6.5 5.5 (commencing with Section 516) 505) to Chapter 3 of Part 1 of Division 1 of the Food and Agricultural Code, relating to agriculture.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 838, as amended, Eggman. Agriculture: technical assistance. small- and moderate-scale diversified farms and ranches: assistance program.
Existing law requires the Department of Food and Agriculture, headed by the Secretary of Food and Agriculture, to promote and protect the agricultural industry of the state. Existing law requires the department to seek to maintain the economic well-being of agriculturally dependent rural communities in the state.
The California Constitution provides that the University of California constitutes a public trust administered by the Regents of the University of California, a corporation in the form of a board, with full powers of organization and government, subject to legislative control only for specified purposes.
This bill would require the department to establish university, no later than July 1, 2021, to ensure the continued economic viability of small- and moderate-scale diversified farms and ranches, as defined, by creating a coordinated, statewide program to provide technical assistance for support the operators of those farms and ranches, prioritizing limited resource farmers and ranchers and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, as defined. The bill would require the university to establish the Farmer Equity and Innovation Center to administer the program. The bill would require the center to include the university’s Small Farm Advisors, and would require the university to increase its Small Farm Advisor positions to 6 in number. The bill would require the program to include applied research on specified subjects, outreach regarding those subjects, and informational services on assistance provided by or through the center or specified nonprofit organizations. The bill would authorize the program to include special training for new and beginning farmers and ranchers, as provided, with priority given to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The bill would require the university to conduct a study to determine, and issue a report containing, a demographic breakdown of farmers and ranchers who participate in the program, as specified. The bill would make all of these provisions applicable to the university only if the regents act, by appropriate resolution, to accept the responsibility for creating the program, and would make implementation of these provisions subject to the availability of funding.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Article 5.5 (commencing with Section 505) is added to Chapter 3 of Part 1 of Division 1 of the Food and Agricultural Code, to read:
Article  5.5. Farmer Equity and Innovation Center

505.
 For purposes of this article, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Center” means the Farmer Equity and Innovation Center established pursuant to Section 506.
(b) “Limited-resource farmers and ranchers” has the same meaning as defined by the United States Secretary of Agriculture.
(c) “Program” means the program created pursuant to Section 506.
(d) (1) “Small- and moderate-scale diversified farms and ranches” means that term as defined by the center pursuant to paragraph (2).
(2) The center shall establish a methodology to determine whether a farm or ranch is a small- or moderate-scale diversified farm or ranch for purposes of this article based on an assessment of various factors over the preceding three-year period.
(e) “Socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers” has the same meaning as defined in Section 512.

506.
 (a) To ensure the continued economic viability of small- and moderate-scale diversified farms and ranches and promote diversity and equity in California agriculture, the University of California shall, no later than July 1, 2021, create a coordinated, statewide program to support the operators of those farms and ranches, prioritizing limited resource farmers and ranchers and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
(b) (1) The university shall establish a center, to be known as the Farmer Equity and Innovation Center, to administer the program.
(2) The center shall include the university’s Small Farm Advisors. The university shall increase its Small Farm Advisor positions to six.
(c) The program shall include, but not be limited to, the following activities:
(1) Applied research on the following subjects:
(A) Effective farm and ranch management using culturally relevant practices.
(B) Effective marketing of culturally relevant crops.
(C) Efficient water management.
(D) Management practices to conserve and promote air quality.
(2) Outreach regarding the subjects in paragraph (1), including, but not limited to, the following:
(A) Operation of extension programs.
(B) Publication of educational materials.
(3) Informational services on assistance provided by or through the center or nonprofit organizations with a track record of helping the operators of small- and moderate-scale diversified farms and ranches.
(d) Services and materials provided under the program shall be multilingual, in appropriate languages.

507.
 The program may include special training for new and beginning farmers and ranchers, prioritizing socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, through means, including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) Grants and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations with a track record of supporting and training socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
(b) Partial reimbursement of internship costs for on-the-job training at farms and ranches with successful business models for innovation, diversification, and economic viability.

508.
 No later than five years after the creation of the program, the university shall conduct a study to determine, and issue a report containing, a demographic breakdown of farmers and ranchers who participate in the program. The breakdown shall be by categories, including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) Location.
(b) Race and ethnicity.
(c) Acreage of farmland or rangeland.
(d) Acreage of total land owned.
(e) Crops grown and the acreage of each crop.
(f) Crop yields.
(g) Gross profits.

509.
 (a) This article shall apply to the University of California only if the Regents of the University of California act, by appropriate resolution, to accept the responsibility for creating the program pursuant to Section 506.
(b) Implementation of this article shall be subject to the availability of funding.

SECTION 1.Article 6.5 (commencing with Section 516) is added to Chapter 3 of Part 1 of Division 1 of the Food and Agricultural Code, to read:
6.5.Technical Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers
516.

The secretary shall establish a program to provide technical assistance for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, as defined in Section 512.