Farmer Equity Bill Moves into Senate

The Farmer Equity Act of 2017 (AB 1348) passed out of the California Assembly and moved into the Senate on May 31, 2017. The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), would require the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to ensure the inclusion of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in its policies and programs. CCOF supports the bill. 
 
AB 1348 codifies the definition of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and requires CDFA to provide support for members of socially disadvantaged communities. The bill defines socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers as members of a socially disadvantaged group along the definitions provided in the 1990 Farm Bill. Socially disadvantaged groups are a group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic, or gender prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities. These groups include African Americans, Native Indians, Alaskan natives, Hispanics, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, and members of “urbanized areas” (areas with populations of at least 50,000 people).
 
AB 1348 would ensure CDFA focuses technical assistance or resources to target and deliver assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. California’s farmers are diverse in both rural and urban communities. California has the largest population of Asian American farmers and ranks third in the nation for Hispanic farmers. Data from the 2012 census shows that farmers of color tend to farm on smaller farms, earn less money on average, and receive 36 percent less in government funding than their white counterparts. 
 
Further support for the bill will be necessary as it makes its way through the Senate. Those interested in supporting the bill can call and contact their senators. Please contact CCOF’s Policy Department for any questions.

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