By Michael BalsamoJune 1, 2018 – 9:07amThe new California farm bureau is the most ambitious agricultural watchdog the state has seen in decades, but the group has also stirred controversy, sparking protests and lawsuits that have led to a flurry of court cases.
The California Farm Bureaus new executive director, Bill Lacey, said the organization is focused on the “vast majority of farm products and the fact that we are the largest consumers of food.”
Lacey said the bureau is trying to protect farmers from overproduction and price gouging.
The group was founded in 2013 to protect California farmers from the oversupply of feed and other commodities in the wake of the 2016 drought, and has taken on a broader mission of promoting farm-friendly farming practices.
Lacey said they were founded to protect “the very fabric of our farming community,” as well as the ability of local farmers to compete in the global marketplace.
The bureau has worked with local growers and the California Food Marketing Association to help them produce more of their products at home.
Lacy said they aim to promote a “strong, diverse and inclusive agricultural industry that supports the economic prosperity of all Californians.”
The new group is an expansion of the agency established in 2011, which worked with farmers to combat excess feedstock, increase their yields and increase profitability.
The new bureau, which was established to focus on “local, sustainable and socially responsible agriculture,” is one of several agencies that were established by California Governor Jerry Brown in a bid to help farmers improve the quality of their agricultural products.LACA President John Carlin said the new bureau has been a boon to local farmers, as they have a lot of new opportunities to grow their crops, improve their yields, and improve their profits.
He said the state will spend up to $400 million in the first six months of 2019 to help local growers with these new initiatives.
California has been hit hard by the drought, with an average of nearly 1.4 million acre-feet of rain falling per day, according to the state’s Department of Agriculture.
The drought also forced more than 800,000 farms to close for a period of time.