Governor Newsom presents 2024-25 January budget proposal. (Photo: Office of Governor Gavin Newsom)

By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice

Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced his 2024-25 state budget proposal, reflecting $18.4 billion in budgetary reserves including the $11.1 billion in the Rainy-Day Fund. The budget also requested a $33.3 million increase in funds and 117 new positions at the Department of Pesticide Regulation. 

This funding comes predominantly from an increase in the pesticide mill fee responsible for roughly 80% of DPR’s funding. Further, Newsom proposed a cut of $2.6 million from the statewide pesticide notification system project which was originally passed with $10 million in 2021. The budget maintains $7.3 million for the project.

The notification system has been adamantly opposed by the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association as well as several other agricultural organizations and farmers. CCGGA president Roger Isom explained that the regulation should be limited to those impacted by the application itself, not open to any person who wishes to sign up. 

The regulation requires application plans for an agricultural commodity to be submitted through the statewide information system 24 hours in advance, while soil fumigant-restricted materials must submit information 48 hours beforehand.  

Along with increased funding to DPR, Newsom’s budget plan includes funding to combat the current fruit fly threat to agriculture. In a press release, California Farm Bureau President Shannon Douglass explained that the $22 million provided to combat the fruit fly invasion is appreciated.  

“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,” Douglass said. “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.” 

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