A new tarping regulation for citrus loads has been put on hold by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Ag leaders say the industry should still make plans to comply, since the rules will eventually be enforced.
New tarping regulation, which was supposed to go into effect March 1, requires all citrus loads traveling throughout the state to be fully tarped. However, that has changed. “The regulations were delayed. We still do not have a finalized date yet,” Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita said.
Kinoshita said CDFA notified the industry that it needed more time to coordinate the compliance agreements. “This happened very, very quickly. In order to get all of those compliance agreements reissued with new requirements for moving citrus under tarps, they need more time,” she said.
Kinoshita said this has increased questions coming into her office. “(We are) answering a lot of questions about when (to tarp) or ‘Is this tarp okay?’ We are getting a lot of questions like that,” she said.
It’s important for growers to still plan on complying with this regulation, as Kinoshita said it will be enforced at some time, and it’s a practice that will only help protect California’s citrus industry. “We’ve also gotten questions like ‘Well, we only have three acres, and I can see the packing shed from here,’” she said. “Unless you have access by a dirt road to a packing shed, this requirement applies to everybody — fruit peddlers, guys with a bin of fruit in the back of their pickup, everybody.”