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California Farm Bureau Praise And Concerns Over State Budget Plan

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Sonora, CA – The California Farm Bureau responded to Governor Gavin Newsom’s state budget plan with cheers and a bit of concern.

On Wednesday, the governor released his proposed $291 billion budget, as reported here. The plan outlines a strategy to address California’s projected more than $37 million deficit while also including funding to combat the fruit fly threat to agriculture, noted Farm Bureau President Shannon Douglass.

“Over recent years, our California farmers and ranchers have endured both prolonged drought and catastrophic floods. They have persevered in the face of often onerous regulations to produce America’s most bountiful food supply while managing farm and family budgets amid difficult times.” Douglass said, adding, “As California faces a budget crisis, we appreciate Gov. Gavin Newsom recognizing the importance of investing $22 million to combat the fruit fly invasion and protect our state’s critical farming economy. We also hope the governor and the Legislature will ease regulatory burdens affecting farmers and ranchers producing our food supply. And just as our farm families must balance their budgets, we hope our political leaders recognize that it is time for California to get its fiscal house in order as well.”

Four decades ago, the Mediterranean fruit fly, an invasive pest, threatened to destroy California’s agricultural economy. To fight the fly, the state launched controversial aerial pesticide spraying campaigns and set up roadblocks and quarantine zones. Today, the fruit fly threat to California is back. The USDA reports that if established, these flies could cause significant economic losses, requiring costly treatments to protect fruits and vegetables and reducing the marketability of infested fruit both locally and abroad. What’s at stake? The market value totaled approximately $11.7 billion in the United States in 2022. Approximately $8.3 billion of that was from California and $2.9 billion from Florida.

The California Farm Bureau has nearly 26,000 members statewide and is part of a nationwide network of 5.3 million Farm Bureau members.