CAFF’s public comment for the California Assembly Ag Committee Hearing, February 10, 2021:
Good Afternoon Chair Rivas and members. Jamie Fanous for the Community Alliance with Family Farmers. CAFF has represented small and mid-scale family farmers in California for over 40 years, working to preserve family-scale agriculture and promote environmental sustainability. A few priority opportunities CAFF sees for the legislature to support the farmers we represent:
- CAFF supports the Governor’s proposed transition to safer, sustainable pest management. Pesticide mill fees haven’t increased since 2004, and tiering based on human health toxicity is a rational and fair way to generate the funding for key programs like CDFA’s Biologically Integrated Farming Systems Program, UC and California state Integrated Pest Management research, education, and extension programs. We need these valuable investments to support growers as they reduce harmful pesticide use and on-farm costs while growing healthy food, improving ecosystems, and developing more resilient agricultural systems.
- CAFF is also an early supporter of the Chair’s Assembly Bill 125, a bond proposal to accelerate economic recovery and improve the state’s climate change readiness while increasing healthy food access and protecting our essential food and farm system workers. AB 125 will provide critical investments needed to support environmental farming programs to improve soil health and on-farm climate resilience, as well as programs serving historically underserved farmers and ranchers, including their need for better access to land. Mr. Chair, your AB 352 would also importantly address that.
- Finally, CAFF supports the Governor’s early action proposals for technical assistance for small farmers through CDFA for the UC Cooperative Extension and increased financial relief efforts for small businesses. These are critical efforts to keep vulnerable small-scale farms afloat.
CAFF looks forward to collaborating with the Chair and the Assembly Agriculture committee.