Ag Innovations

Regulations Affecting Agriculture

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Regulations continue to be a hot topic among producers of our food and fiber as they are oftentimes at odds with growers’ and ranchers’ ability to feed their local communities, practice conservation efforts, and be economically viable, all at the same time.

In an effort to address increasing frustration about the complexity and effectiveness of the regulatory system affecting agriculture, Ag Innovations held focused listening sessions with agricultural, conservation, and government agency representatives and leaders to build a better understanding of the experiences, challenges, and recommended solutions of each stakeholder group in 2014.

Additionally, Ag Innovations consulted with numerous regulatory agencies and organizations to create plans for addressing regulatory disparities.

“Ag Innovation's work gets multi-stakeholder groups to the table for discussions that result in scaled shifts in how food is produced, packaged, shipped and consumed fairly. ”
Karen Karp, President, Karp Resources

Results


Image representing Regulating for Agricultural and Public Outcomes: Perspectives and Recommendations

Regulating for Agricultural and Public Outcomes: Perspectives and Recommendations

Regulating for Agricultural and Public Outcomes: Perspectives and Recommendations summarizes the perspectives conveyed by stakeholder groups, identifies areas of agreement among the groups, and presents recommendations for constructively addressing key regulatory challenges in both the short and long term.

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Resources


Regulatory Publications and Analysis

The Annual Environmental Report and Message of the Governor highlights the actions and accomplishments of the Wilson Administration during 1997 and 1998 to improve environmental protection and natural resource management, including permit and regulatory reform.

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The Annual Environmental Report and Message of the Governor highlights the actions and accomplishments of the Wilson Administration during 1995 and 1996 to improve environmental protection and natural resource management, including permit and regulatory reform.

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"Creating a Statewide Program for Voluntary Restoration on Private Lands: Promoting Statewide Permit Coordination" (2011) assesses the Partners in Restoration Program, and recommends the advocacy of a statewide approach to increase the number of voluntary restoration projects across California.

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This study on "Reactive Nitrogen in the United States" (2011) was published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board (SAB), and analyzes sources and fate of reactive nitrogen in the environment, and provides advice to the EPA on integrated nitrogen research and control strategies.

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This report on the "Environmental Science Associates, Economic Feasibility of Dairy Manure Digester and Co-digester Facilities in the Central Valley of California"(2012) was prepared by ESA for the California Regional Water Quality Control Board.

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"The Analysis of the Regulatory Effects on California Specialty Crops: An Examination of Various Issues Impacting Selected Forest Products, Tree, Fruit, Nut and Vegetable Crop Industries" (2006) is a report prepared for the California Institute for the Study of Specialty Crops exposing the regulatory environment as overly complex and recommending that governmental agencies should make an effort to simplify the regulatory compliance process.

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"The Regulatory Compliance Costs and California Specialty Crop Producers Profitability, Summer" (2009) is a report by the Western Agricultural Economics Association that evaluates the cost of regulatory compliance on the profitability of agriculture

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The "Cal/EPA: The Streamlined Permitting Process"(1993) report describes the initial efforts of the Cal/EPA to initiate a plan to streamline the environmental permitting processes. The author draws the conclusion that though streamlining the process is a good theory, it has not yet come to fruition in practice, and will take a long time to be achieved.

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The "Workplan for Resource Alignment Phase 2" (2012) outlines the strategies that will be used to assess opportunities for reducing the costs of compliance for dischargers subject to Water Board regulation under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System’s (NPDES) wastewater, stormwater, irrigated lands, and waste discharge requirement programs.

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State Water Resources Control Board Resource Alignment Project intends to identify and implement opportunities to reduce the costs of compliance in NPDES wastewater, stormwater, irrigated lands, and waste discharge requirement programs.

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Recommendations

"The California Economic Summit Action Plan" (2012) is a roadmap for promoting California’s jobs through seven initiatives that will streamline the regulatory process.

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The "California Fish and Wildlife Strategic Vision: Recommendations for Enhancing The State’s Fish and Wildlife Management Strategies" (2012) describes the objectives of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the California Fish and Game Commission and then recommends strategies in order to achieve these goals.

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"In Better Regulation: Improving California’s Rulemaking Process" (2011) the Little Hoover Commission studied the way state agencies develop regulations and concluded that to better protect California’s citizens and encourage economic development, the State must improve its regulatory process.

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The "California Restoration and Enhancement Permitting: Challenges to California’s Permitting Process for Restoration and Enhancement Projects" (2008) survey results determine the complexity of the permitting process, and recommend permitting reform.

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Guidelines and Manuals

"Support Safe Drinking Water on the Central Coast" (2012) is a guide that outlines the Ag Waiver for Central Coast farmers, and educating them on a new regulation that will implicate them to begin monitoring surface water quality. The waiver was adopted by the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board on March 15, 2012, and supported by Clean Water Action.

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"Who does what?" (2012) is a draft table created by the UCCE Sonoma County Agriculture Ombudsman Karen Giovannini identifying the different arenas requiring permitting and the governing bodies associated with them.

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Cal/EPA, with the help of the Central Valley Regional Water Control Board, has developed this "Permit Guidance for Anaerobic Digesters and Co-Digesters" (2011).

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The County of Sonoma Permit and Resource Management Department published the "Sonoma County Residential Construction Manual" (2011), which provides information on the permits necessary for construction projects in Sonoma County.

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The "Permit Streamiling Guidance Document" (2011) was created by the California Air Pollution Control Officers’ Association (CAPCOA) and the California Air Resources Board (ARB), working to streamline the permit process so that businesses can obtain permits more quickly, without compromising air quality.

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The "Navigating the Permitting Process Brochure" (2010) was published by the Sotoyome Resource Conservation District introducing the permitting process to individuals intending to begin environmental conservation projects in Sotoyome.

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"Small-scale On-farm Food Processing in Marin County" (2008) is a custom factsheet developed for Marin County farmers by the University of California Cooperative Extension, Marin County outlining the permits and approvals needed for food processing.

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The "State and Federal Approach to Control of Nonpoint Sources of Pollution," (2006) details the responsibilities of agriculturists and natural resource managers with regard to water quality regulation compliance in California. This publication is part of an outreach program designed by the University of California Cooperative Extension and the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.

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The "Capay Valley Conservation and Restoration Manual" (2002) presented by the Yolo County Resource Conservation District provides practices to support solutions to resource issues for landowners in the Capay Valley.

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The "Oregon Environmental Restoration Permit Guide" (2000) coordinated by the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds and Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board gives an overview of the state and federal permitting process for landowners who want to implement a watershed restoration project, protect a species, manage water ways, etc.

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The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Research Foundation (NASDA) wrote the "Environmental Laws Affecting California Agriculture" in 1999 through the National Center for Agricultural Law Research and Information with the help of funding from the Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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This "Grower's Regulatory Compliance Guide" is a map to help to inform growers of the government agencies and permits that must be contacted and obtained in order to ensure regulatory compliance.

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The "Business Assistance Resource Guide for California Environmental Management" comprehensive reference highlights the government agencies that provide assistance to businesses related to air, solid waste, hazardous waste, pesticides and water.

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The "Overview of the California Environmental Review and Permit Approval Process" (2012) outlines the roles of the California Permit Streamlining Act and the Office of Permit Assistance as resources created to compensate for difficulties created by CEQA.

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"The Guide to Watershed Project Permitting for the State of California" assists in beginning to navigate the permitting process, and to direct readers to other sources to find more permitting information and was released by the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts.

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Streamlining the Permitting Process

CalAgPermits, a county-based reporting system, was created in 2011 by the California Agricultural Commissioners and Sealers Association to streamline reporting procedures for pesticide users and upgrade data management capabilities of county departments of agriculture.

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The purpose of the "Permit Streamling Guidance Document" (2011) is to share information among the Air Pollution Control Districts (APCDs) and Air Quality Management Districts (AQMDs) on the types of programs that can be implemented to streamline the air permitting process.

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"The California Economic Summit Action Plan 2012" is a roadmap for promoting California’s jobs through seven initiatives that will streamline the regulatory process.

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The "Cal/EPA: The Streamlined Permitting Process" (1993) describes the initial efforts of the Cal/EPA to initiate a plan to streamline the environmental permitting processes. The author draws the conclusion that though streamlining the process is a good theory, it has not yet come to fruition in practice, and will take a long time to be achieved.

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In San Luis Obispo County, the RCD negotiated with the Department of Planning and Building developed "The Guide to Agricultural Grading" (2010) that, if followed, allows a streamlined authorization.

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Permit Coordination

The "California Agricultural Vision: From Strategies to Results Report" (2012) documents the continued efforts of the Ag Vision Advisory Committee and other stakeholders’ work in addressing the strategies outlined in the 2010 report for California’s agriculture and food sector, including reducing the regulatory burden.

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Prepared by the Bioenergy Interagency Working Group, the "Bioenegry Action Plan" (2012) updates the 2011 Plan and outlines strategies, goals, objectives and actions that California state agencies will take to increase bioenergy development in California.

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The "California’s Rangeland Water Quality Management Plan: An Update" (2011) provides information regarding the progress of the objectives outlined in the California Rangeland Water Quality Management Plan including the steps required by landowners and agricultural producers in order to obtain regulatory compliance.

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The CDFA’s 2010 "California Agricultural Vision: Strategies for Sustainability Report" outlines a recommended set of strategies to address the critical challenges and assure the sustainability of California agriculture.

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"The Office of Regulatory Assistance Strategic Plan 2009-2011" (2009) outlines the methods the Office of Regulatory Assistance will employ in order to help people navigate Washington State’s environmental and business regulatory system.

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The "Salinas Valley Watershed Permit Coordination Program" (2007) was executed by the Monterey County Resources Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service and enumerates sixteen on-farm water conservation practices that have been pre-approved for permits.

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The Alameda County Permit Coordination Program is a coordinated permitting process aimed at assisting private landowners who would like to implement practices that will restore and enhance the natural resources on their property.

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The "Permit Assistance Center/Trade and Commerce Agency Assistance Program Report" outlines the permit assistance activities executed by the California Environmental Protection Agency and the Trade and Commerce Agency during the year 2000.

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Consolidated Permitting is a process whereby a permit applicant can request to have all of their state environmental permits issued by one agency.

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Permit Assistance

Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) are "special districts" of the state of California, set up under California law to be locally governed agencies with their own locally appointed or elected, independent boards of directors.

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The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s principal agency for providing conservation technical assistance to private landowners, conservation districts, tribes, and other organizations.

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The working group’s paper provides suggestions and next steps to overcome regulatory barriers in permitting for dairy digesters, including a Unified Web Portal for the application process and an online "Dropbox" for managing permit applications.

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Developed by Cal/EPA, CERS is intended for businesses which have standardized electronic reporting around data sets to help with recordkeeping. The objective is to unify programs, training information, and electronic reporting, before January 2013, when businesses will be required to submit and report to the State through this online system. CERS is capable of being expanded to other programs but a decision to do so has not yet been made. It was initially deployed on September 30, 2009.

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Due to the outstanding success achieved by the Permit Assistance Center program and in an effort to expand program coverage to the entire state, Cal/EPA created California Government: On-Line to Desk-tops (CalGOLD) to provide permit assistance on the Internet. Special software has been developed to provide customized responses to businesses’ permit requests with the click of a mouse. The CalGOLD site also offers direct Internet links to state, local, regional, and federal permitting authorities. A project of GO-Biz, the CalGOLD system was created in 1998, and in the process of being revamped.

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Technical Notes are one of the nine types of permanent NRCS directives (written communications that initiate or govern actions, conduct, or procedures). Also referred to as "Assistance Notes," this type of directive is used by NRCS National Headquarters and State offices to transmit technical, scientific and procedural information and may not be used to transmit administrative, managerial, or public information materials. Because they are a collection of miscellaneous information that is produced over time by various authors, they require careful maintenance. This interactive map demonstrates practical applications of Technical Notes.

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The Joint Aquatic Resources Permit Application, is a one-stop shop coordinated permit for aquatic environmental permitting in Washington State. It is a collaborative effort between multiple regulatory agencies intended to streamline the environmental permitting process.

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The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is a compliance assistance program via education and outreach that helps to navigate through the numerous rules and regulations that govern the dairy industry.

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Ombudsperson Positions

The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), Sonoma County piloted an Agricultural Ombudsman program in 2011 and hired Karen Giovannini to help agricultural producers navigate the permitting process, and facilitate meetings between the different county, state and federal agencies. The program is modeled after Marin’s highly successful eight year old Agricultural Ombudsman Program.

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The Monterey County Ombudsperson is housed in the Resource Management Agency, and "serves as a resource that provides confidential, neutral, informal and independent dispute resolution and mediation services to constituents and the RMA on issues related to land use processes; recommends steps towards problem resolution and appropriate action consistent with County policies and procedures; identifies and evaluates systemic issues, trends or policies that affect organizational efficiencies and makes appropriate recommendations to modify policies or practices to reduce or eliminate recurring problems." The position was established in 2008. It is now a "part time" job in the sense that it represents about 23% of a staff person’s time.

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Marin County established a part-time ombudsman position in order to aid farmers and ranchers in understanding the permitting process and overcoming permitting hurdles. The ombudsman is aided by staffers of the Marin County Community Development Agency, who underwent workshops and field seminars in order to better understand the needs and limitations of the agricultural producers they serve. The program began in 2003, and is now used as a model for other county ombudsperson programs across California.

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Currently, the Yolo County Ag and Food Alliance has been supporting the process of establishing a farmbudsman position in Solano/Yolo County to assist agricultural producers navigate the regulatory process. A Farmbudsperson Forum was held on June 21, 2012, in which the participants recommended the hiring of a farmbudsperson and the next steps. This position would be shared between Yolo and Solano Counties. For information on the program, and a study evaluating the reason for the project’s unsustainability, read Stephen Pierce, Measuring Performance: A Study on How to Evaluate a Proposed Farmbudsman Program to Serve Solano and Yolo Counties, (County of Solano) June 2012.

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The Pennsylvania Agricultural Ombudsman Program According "serves state-wide as a liaison to communities for conflict management on issues affecting agriculture, land use, environment, and planning. Created in 2000, the program expanded in 2007 to include an Agricultural Permit Ombudsman who facilitates the understanding of permit requirements.

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Incentives and Funding

Trout Unlimited is currently collaborating with other partners to explore novel habitat recovery credit trading systems that will be focused on increasing private landowner participation in conservation and restoration efforts through inventive-based approaches. The effort was first mentioned in October 2012.

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The development of a water quality trading market that will offset the damage caused to the watershed. The Sotoyome Resource Conservation District is establishing this program with the City of Santa Rosa thanks to a federal grant. The grant and effort was announced August 27, 2012. To learn about the beginning of the effort, read Kevin McCallum’s article in The Press Democrat.

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Santa Cruz RCD in conjunction with SusCon and Driscoll’s Strawberry Associates Inc. and funded by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Innovation Program, initiated a pilot program in the Pajaro Valley to investigate how incentives can motivate positive change in the condition of the aquifer and watershed through the use of standardized metrics to measure water quality and quantity of water used. The project was first mentioned in the 2010-2012 Annual Report.

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The San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District’s Technology Advancement Program provides grants to assist in demonstrations and commercialization of innovative technology.

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The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) encourages land stewards to improve their conservation performance by installing and adopting additional activities, and improving, maintaining, and managing existing activities on agricultural land and nonindustrial private forest land.

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The Agricultural Water Quality Grant Program (AWQGP) provides funding for projects that reduce or eliminate non-point source pollution discharge to surface waters from agricultural lands.

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The Department of Conservation awards competitive grants to special districts, nonprofit groups, and local governments to promote watershed management and local watershed improvements.

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Fish Friendly Farming is a third-party certification program for agricultural properties managed to restore fish and wildlife habitat and improve water quality.

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The Carl Moyer Program provides incentive grants for cleaner-than-required engines, equipment and other sources of pollution providing early or extra emission reductions.

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The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District Experimental Research Permit Exemption intends to allow public agencies the opportunity to experiment with new air pollution control technologies without requiring a permit. The exemption was adopted May 21, 1992 and amended December 17, 1992.

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The Clean Water State Revolving Fund was created with the intention to serve as a long-term funding source for projects that restore the nation’s waters. The Fund is currently promoting loans targeting publicly owned treatment works, non-point source pollution control, national estuary management and other plans focusing on water quality. The program was created by Congress in 1987.

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The DFG Fisheries and Restoration Grant Program has invested millions of dollars to support projects from sediment reduction to watershed education throughout coastal California. The competitive grants can assist with permitting for projects such as salmonid restoration and fish passage improvement. The DFG program provides all assistance with permitting and CEQA compliance.

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Small habitat restoration projects are exempt from provisions set out in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Although this exemption has been in effect for some time, it has been underutilized by landowners and RCDs. The language of the exemption can be accessed here.

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The National Water Quality Initiative will work in priority watersheds to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners improve water quality and aquatic habitats in impaired streams.

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A Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA) is a voluntary agreement involving private or other non-Federal property owners whose actions contribute to the recovery of species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

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The Natural Resources Conservation Service sponsors numerous conservation programs. This website provides a comprehensive list of the programs with up-to-date application information.

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San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District Incentive Grant Programs are voluntary programs intended to reduce admissions and positively impact the air quality in the San Joaquin Valley.

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IR-4 is a publicly supported funding program that registers pesticides for use in minor crops/specialty crops with the EPA. This program helps growers to register pesticide products for crops that the pesticide manufacturers wouldn’t normally spend money on getting their products registered in because the acreage is too small for it to be worth the company’s investment. This may be a model for working with new technologies that progressive farmers want to implement.

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BACT refers to the pollution control method that is recognized as the one removing the greatest amount of air pollutants for a particular industry or process. In some instances, such as air quality standards for new polluting equipment, the methods are performance-based rather than technology-based. Due to the fast-pace of change and innovation, California’s Air Resource Board has developed a Statewide BACT Clearinghouse in order to document new BACTs being developed around the state.

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Collaborative Problem Solving

The California Agricultural Leadership Program (CALP), offered by the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation, provides an advanced leadership development experience for emerging agricultural leaders.

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The Environmental Protection Agency has developed a Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters to help communities, watershed organizations, and local, state, tribal, and federal environmental agencies develop and implement watershed plans to meet water quality standards and protect water resources.

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The California Biodiversity Council (CBC) published the Strengthening Agency Alignment for Natural Resource Conservation Resolution with the goal of increasing interagency coordination, cooperation, efficiency and alignment.

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The Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel reviews and documents ag’s positive impacts to the environment, with the goal to ensure that environmental impacts of ag activities are accurately portrayed and identify incentives.

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The California/Federal Dairy Digester Working Group is a partnership of state, federal and local agencies has the common goal of identifying and removing barriers to the wide spread adoption of dairy digester systems in California. It has helped to forge an understanding among agencies to catalyze and improve interagency coordination, communication, consultation, joint funding, collaborative action, and provide needed leadership on key priorities.

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Through the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program, the Central Valley Water Quality Control Board has allowed growers to combine resources by forming water quality coalitions to provide assistance in conducting surface water monitoring, complying with water quality requirements, and many other tasks.

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Founded in 2004, the California Roundtable on Ag and the Environment is a broad coalition of agriculture, environment, labor, and public agency leaders working to promote an agriculture that is economically viable, environmentally sustainable and socially responsible. CRAE works primarily at the policy level, providing information and perspective to state and federal legislators and regulators.

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The Alliances are doing the best thing possible: getting everyone together in one room in order to make progress towards a vibrant, healthy and durable food system.

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The EPA, in partnership with the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), created an initiative to harmonize federal and state pesticide registration programs. The goal of this interagency cooperation was to reduce needless duplication, bring safer products to market faster, and remove hazardous products more quickly.

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The NOAA Restoration Center is dedicated solely to the restoration of the nation’s coastal, marine, and migratory fish habitat.

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Agri-Culture, in partnership with the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau, promotes mutual understanding between urban and agricultural communities on a wide range of topics affecting agriculture.

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The California Biodiversity Council is a forum for communication between landowners and agency staff on agricultural issues as well as allows for interagency alignment and partnership. Founded in 1991, the forum has lead the way for improving interagency coordination, and working on joint funding, policy making, and collaborative action.

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The Agricultural Liaison Advisory Board is a forum for discussion of matters that relate to local agriculture and land use or as directed by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.

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The State Water Resources Control Board convenes programmatic roundtables, such as for Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) and the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP). This is a coordinating and communications mechanism to engage the local Regional Water Quality Control Boards and partnering state regulatory agencies, such as the Department of Pesticides Regulation and the Department of Fish & Wildlife, to ensure consistency, foster collaboration and try to avoid duplication and support implementation at the local level.

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California Rangeland Trust has reached out to urban entrepreneurs who are not affiliated with agriculture to form a legacy council. They are seeking advice from urban people outside of the industry about how urban people perceive ranchers and how to raise funds for easements in a bank for people who want to preserve their land.

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Carlsbad Conservation Partnerships Program provides voluntary, cooperative opportunities in habitat restoration for migratory bird and endangered species conservation, as well as environmental education with non-federal groups or entities. It is a collaborative approach to conservation by empowering people to become stewards of the land. In this non-competitive process, matching funds can be in-kind (such as tractor use), which makes it easier to come up with a match.

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The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, in collaboration with key ag industry representatives, developed the Ag Issues Workshop Program.These Valley-wide roving workshops will be used to introduce new incentives or regulations to the greater Valley community.

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Legislation

The primary focus of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee is to provide oversight of legislative bills related to environmental quality, air quality, toxics, and hazardous waste and was charged with policy jurisdiction over legislation relating to water quality during the 1999-2000 legislative session.

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The California State Water Resources Control Board produced this outline that describes the local, state and national laws, policies and regulations governing water quality and planning, zoning and development, in California.

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The City of San Mateo established the Green Building Ordinance in order to ensure that the city’s future planning and development process is done in a sustainable manner. The Green Point thresholds are reasonably achievable required baselines and include incentives for higher levels of performance. The ordinance was published in November 2009, and went into effect January 1, 2010.

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This new Sonoma County zoning ordinance was adopted to allow small-scale processing in the "Agricultural and Residential" (AR) zoning district. It provides land for raising crops and farm animals in areas designated primarily for residential use. This is current and implements new policy within the Sonoma County General Plan (adopted in 2008).

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Agritourism ordinances can help strike a good balance between farmers’ interest in additional revenue from tourism, and the public’s interest in not having amusement parks on farms and its effect on non-farm neighbors. Sacramento County, Santa Barbara County, San Luis Obispo County, and Santa Clara have all adopted various Agritourism Ordinances.

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SB 599, Agricultural products: direct marketing: certified farmers’ markets, would extend authorization for the farmers’ market program to 2018. SB 599 was sponsored by the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF). The bill was introduced on February 22, 2013, and is currently being reviewed by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

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AB 996, Agricultural products: direct marketing: certified farmers’ markets, would establish harsher penalties for fraud by vendors at Certified Farmers’ Markets (CFMs). Vendor stall would be increased from $0.60 to $1.50 and applied to all vendors in order to enforce these stricter laws. AB 996 was sponsored by the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF). The bill was introduced on February 22, 2013, and later died in the Assembly.

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AB 224, Agricultural products: direct marketing: community-supported agriculture, would establish law regulating Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) allows CSAs to register with CDFA and declare that they are following certain food safety practices through the state’s direct marketing program. Under this law, CDFA would be required to provide technical assistance to ensure that the participating CSAs are in regulatory compliance. The bill was introduced on February 4, 2013, and was passed by the Governor on September 28, 2013.

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AB 1961, the Coho Salmon Habitat Enhancement Leading to Preservation Act (Coho HELP Act) empowers the California Department of Fish and Game to use a one-stop process for approving immediate on-the-ground habitat restoration projects proposed by governmental and non-governmental partners to aid California’s struggling coho salmon populations. The bill was introduced February 23, 2012 and was chaptered September 25th of the same year.

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AB 1616: Cottage Food Industry Bill establishes the California Homemade Food Act to help small businesses produce and sell food made out of their homes under a more streamlined regulatory structure. The bill was signed into law on September 21, 2012. For more information visit the Sustainable Economies Law Center's FAQ.

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The CA Senate Bill 617: Financial and Administrative Accountability revises the current California Administrative Procedure Act to require regulatory impact analysis. The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development will be assisting agencies with implementation. The bill was signed into law on October 6, 2011 and took effect in 2013.

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Assembly Bill 900 (Buchanan) amends a former version of A.B. 900, and streamlines judicial review of projects. This is one of the three CEQA streamlining bills that were initiated in order to address the time consuming and costly regulatory requirements mandated by CEQA. The bill was amended on September 8, 2011. For more information on CEQA updates, visit the CEQA webpage .

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Senate Bill 292 (Padilla) limits the time for judicial review and precludes data dumping. This is one of the three CEQA streamlining bills that were initiated in order to address the time consuming and costly regulatory requirements mandated by CEQA. The bill was introduced on February 14, 2011.

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Senate Bill 226 (Simitian) intends to expedite infill development and renewable energy projects. This is one of the three CEQA streamlining bills that were initiated in order to address the time consuming and costly regulatory requirements mandated by CEQA. The bill was introduced on February 9, 2011 and passed on September 9, 2011.

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The State Water Board adopted the Wetland and Riparian Area Protection Policy (Resolution No. 2008-0026) in order to protect and improve water quality and fish and wildlife habitat through the support of data collection and analysis. The policy, which is watershed-based, will de developed in three phases. The policy was agreed to on April 15, 2008.

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Assembly Bill 2534 (Pavley), (Public Resources Code Section 30901-30909), known as the Watershed, Clean Beaches, and Water Quality Act, provides for a program of loans and grants to public agencies and nonprofit organizations for projects designed to improve water quality at public beaches, improve water quality monitoring and sewer capability, protect water quality by reducing runoff pollution, and controlling nonpoint source water pollution. The Bill was introduced on February 21, 2002, and chaptered on September 20 of the same year.

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Pursuant to Senate Bill 1299 enacted in 1995, Cal/EPA will take the next step towards comprehensive reform of the environmental permitting process. This facility permitting pilot program will allow a permit applicant for a new or expanded facility to substitute a facility compliance plan for all required individual state and local environmental permits and create a process to coordinate inspection and enforcement. The legislation was introduced February 24, and enacted October 13, 2005.

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The California Public Resources Code Section 71001 requires the streamlining of the process of achieving environmental standards and requires the Secretary of Cal/EPA "to institute new, efficient procedures which will assist businesses and public agencies in complying with the environmental quality laws in an expedited fashion, without reducing protection of public health and safety and the environment." Effective January 1, 1994.

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SB 1082 simplifies the hazardous materials regulatory environment and provides a single point contact for businesses to address inspection, permitting, billing and enforcement actions. Pursuant to the Bill, the Cal/EPA established a unified hazardous waste and hazardous materials management regulatory program (Unified Program) in 1995. The bill was introduced on March 5, 1993, and was chaptered on September 21st of the same year.

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Senate Bill 1185 (Bergeson/ Chapter 419) requires the Secretary of Cal/EPA to adopt regulations establishing an optional consolidated permit agency process whereby one permit agency would be designated to issue a single facility permit covering the requirements of all the other applicable permit agencies. The bill also mandates that the regulations establish expedited time limits for the review, approval, or denial of a permit and provide for a public hearing process.

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California Government Code Section 65952: Approval of Development Permits requires agencies in California to issue permits within 180 days of receiving all necessary information, or the application can be considered approved. This applies to nearly all development projects requiring a permit. This article was amended in 1988.

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The 1987 amendments to the Clean Water Act established the Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program, a grant providing funding for non-point source pollution to Resource Conservation Districts.

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Fish and Game Code Section 1602 requires any person, state or local governmental agency, or public utility to notify the California Department of Fish and Game before beginning any activity that will substantially divert or obstruct the natural flow of any river, stream or lake; substantially change or use any material from the bed, channel, or bank of, any river, stream, or lake; or deposit or dispose of debris, waste, or other material containing crumbled, flaked, or ground pavement where it may pass into any river, stream, or lake.

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In this resolution to amend the Administrative Procedure Act, H.R. 3010, the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2011 was initiated make important improvements to the 68-year-old act, primarily through increased transparency and greater public participation. The governing federal law, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), has not been significantly amended since its enactment in 1945. The bill was introduced on September 22, 2011. It passed through the House on December 2, 2011, but never made it through the Senate.

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Released by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Regulatory Reform, document proclaims the American Farm Bureau Federation’s support for H.R.3010, the Regulatory Accountability Act, which aimed to amend the Administrative Procedure Act by streamlining the regulatory process. The House passed the bill on December 11, 2011, but it eventually died in the Senate.

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A summary and analysis of AB 691, which designates the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) as an ombudsman responsible for reviewing all regulations promulgated by the state and other government agencies that affect agriculture, and for mediating disputes related to ag permits and projects. This press release from Assembly Member Henry T. Perea’s office announces the bill’s passing through the Assembly Agricultural Committee. The bill was introduced in February 2011 and later died in February 2012.

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Megain Stubbs’ report Environmental Regulation and Agriculture covers select federal environmental regulations that could affect agriculture. It was published by the Congressional Research Service in February 2011.

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Models

This report, "Green Infrastructure Opportunities and Barriers" (2013) published by the EPA and the Council for Watershed Health, explores green infrastructure by identifying its benefits. It also describes how green infrastructure can meet regulatory goals and requirements, and also identifies local, regional and state regulations that are barriers to green infrastructure implementation.

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The Directory of Useful Information is a resource listing agencies and organizations doing work in the Sacramento Delta. Created by Maven’s Notebook, an independent blog addressing water, science, and environmental policy, the directory also links users to social media sources in order to stay updated on interested agencies and processes. The Directory was introduced on July 15, 2013.

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The Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops Project is a multi-stakeholder initiative to develop a system for measuring sustainable performance throughout the specialty crop supply chain.

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Case Studies

The goal of the Frenchmans Creek Fish Passage Improvement Project was to restore steelhead passage by replacing the culvert with a clear-span bridge and boulder weir step pools. It also sought to restore a more natural hydrologic regime, protect existing species and habitat, and improve in-stream and riparian habitat in reaches directly affected by the project.

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The Partners in Restoration (PIR) Permit Coordination Program enacted in Santa Cruz County was the first county-wide initiative. Despite the obstacles encountered, the Santa Cruz Countywide Permit Coordination Program resulted in habitat benefits, as well as a substantial reduction in permitting fees and time to achieve project goals.

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Uses the Alameda County Conservation Partnership as an example of a program that effectively streamlines the permitting process for ranchers, and has resulted in an increase in the preservation of at-risk species habitat.

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The Apanolio Creek Fish Passage Project aimed to restore steelhead trout passage in Apanolio Creek by removing three stream barriers while maintaining agricultural water supply and access to both sides of the creek.

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General Resources

The Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis developed this report, "CSA in and around California's Central Valley" (2011), to present a comprehensive portrait of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in California’s Central Valley, including farm and farmer characteristics, farm-member relationships, economic viability, and information sources and farmers’ advice for starting CSA farmers.

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In May 2011, the USDA released a new report on the state of ag natural resources in the country. See the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s overview, which includes a link to the report.

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The Agricultural Water Stewardship Online Resource Center provides technical resources for farmers, describing key practices from environmentally sound water storage to recycling to efficiency measures.

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This Food Systems Glossary is a work in progress at the University of Wisconsin.

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Nourish California is designed to increase food literacy in schools by exploring the story of food from farm to table, this program provides California’s K-12 educators with free educational media and tools, including a DVD and companion curriculum guide.

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Eco Labels and Certifications

The Food Alliance is one of the leading certification organizations for environmentally friendly and socially responsible agriculture products.

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Protected Harvest is a non-profit organization that certifies farmers' use of stringent environmental growing standards.

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