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Legislative Update: Holden Bill Puts CA Farmers First

The San Gabriel Valley assemblyman has introduced a measure under which state-owned or state-run institutions would be required to choose California farm products.

Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) has introduced a bill meant to boost the state’s agricultural economy, by putting California’s farmers and ranchers first.

Under AB 199, state-owned or state-run institutions would be required to choose California farm products, according to a press release from Holden's office. Public institutions – such as public schools, prisons or hospitals – would have to buy agricultural products grown in California before buying from out-of-state suppliers.

“It just makes sense to put California-grown crops first,” Assemblymember Holden said in a prepared statement. “It’s a win-win for everyone. The public institutions get a locally-grown product, we’re helping create opportunities for our farmers and a new appreciation for local food helps stimulate the economy.”

Holden represents the 41st Assembly District, which includes South Pasadena, Altadena, Pasadena, Sierra Madre, Monrovia, San Dimas, La Verne, Claremont, Upland and Alta Loma (part of Rancho Cucamonga).

Holden's "Choose California'' measure is similar to the federal Buy America Act that requires government entities to buy American. In order to get preferential treatment, state-grown products must not exceed the price of those grown out-of-state by more than 5 percent.

School districts must purchase California grown products first as long as they aren’t more expensive than out-of-state products.

California is the number one state in agricultural output with farms and ranches earning a record $43 billion last year, according to the Department of Food & Agriculture.

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D Shelley February 06, 2013 at 03:09 PM
Here's the problem. They ARE more expensive!!
S. Ray February 06, 2013 at 05:56 PM
This is feel good liberalism at its finest, with the tax payers footing the bill! First of all, if a grapefruit grown in Arizona costs 50 cents and a grapefruit grown in California costs $1, California taxpayers will have to buy the more expensive one? Would you do that yourself? All this is, folks, is a forced subsidy of California farmers. Cash strapped local school boards should be balking at this one. What is more, it removes market forces from the pricing process since California farmers know that they have a captive audience, and therefore, regardless of what the market dictates prices should be, e.g., in years of bumper crops, they can raise the prices well beyond what they should be. This is just absurd, and we all should be upset about it.

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