California Farmers Adapt to New Agriculture Laws with Minimal Impact on Sentiment

SACRAMENTO, California – As new laws and regulations take effect in 2024, the California agriculture industry is set to undergo changes. Senate Bill 389 grants the state authority to investigate the validity of water users’ rights and impose penalties for unauthorized diversions. Meanwhile, Assembly Bill 1016 will streamline the certification process for farmers who wish to utilize drones for pesticide spraying and beneficial biological treatments. Additionally, the Advanced Clean Fleets rule aims to gradually phase out most diesel trucks in California over the next twenty years.

Despite these impending changes, farmer sentiment remained relatively unchanged in December. The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer reported a reading of 114, just one point lower than the previous month. Both the Index of Current Conditions and the Index of Future Expectations also saw a one-point decrease compared to November. The Current Conditions Index for December was 112, while the Future Expectations Index stood at 115. It is worth noting that all three indices were weaker than in December 2022.

Looking back at the agricultural highlights of 2023, the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule rewrite was the top issue for the National Agricultural Law Center. However, as we enter 2024, California’s Proposition 12 has taken second place on the list. The one-year extension of the Farm Bill came in third. Other significant issues in the agricultural landscape included the Environmental Protection Agency’s rollout of the Endangered Species Protection Program and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

In summary, California’s agriculture sector is set to face changes as new laws and regulations come into effect in 2024. These changes include increased oversight of water usage, streamlined certification processes for drone use, and the gradual phasing out of diesel trucks. Despite these developments, farmer sentiment has shown little change. Additionally, the Waters of the U.S. rule rewrite, California’s Proposition 12, and the Farm Bill extension have emerged as key issues in the agricultural landscape. As the year progresses, it remains to be seen how these changes and concerns will shape the future of California agriculture.