A Central California water board is poised to do something rare in American agriculture: It is trying to establish enforcement mechanisms — not just toothless regulations — to limit the use of farm fertilizers that contribute to dangerous levels of groundwater pollution. If the effort is successful, within a few decades it will have reversed or at least stopped adding to the pollution of groundwater beneath the Salinas and Santa Maria valleys.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, few industries have been quite as essential to the nation as agriculture.
From pickers crouching for nine hours a day to scoop up strawberries to CEOs making handshake deals to keep their companies afloat, hundreds of thousands of workers are feeding America. But, in many ways, the pandemic is forcing farmers to reevaluate how they do business.
The state’s largest agricultural organization will oppose a proposed “split-roll” ballot measure that would increase commercial property taxes, saying it will cost farmers and consumers billions by mandating costly reassessments for California barns, wineries and processing plants.
Jamie Johansson, president of the 34,000-member California Farm Bureau Federation, said in an interview that it was highly unusual for his organization to oppose a ballot measure at this early stage, “but our board of directors is very concerned about the impact this initiative would have on rural California.”