Keeping Agricultural Interests Prioritized in Sacramento

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Funding, Legislative

At the recent Annual Meeting for the Western Agricultural Processors Association, partner with the Law Offices of Con, Soares, & Conway, Louie Brown provided insight on some of the agricultural interests to pay attention to at the state capitol.  Fine-tuning the details of the $300 billion state budget will be an ongoing process through the summer. Brown said the negotiations are taking place right now to better define some of the funding allocations and offers the ag industry to engage with lawmakers on the most effective use of state funds.

Agricultural Interests
Louie Brown speaking to industry members at the 2022 Western Agricultural Processors Association Annual Conference

“In both the Senate Democratic plan and the governor’s plan for the budget, they both have areas that are important to agriculture: money for SGMA compliance, money for conveyance, money for groundwater recharge,” Brown noted. “The $21 billion for climate change, drought, and water resilience will be top of mind and we’ll definitely be working with leadership to try to get those monies spent in the right place.”

Brown cited an example of a disconnect between lawmakers and the agricultural community as to what the most effective use of funding is to mitigate complications related to the drought.  In the governor’s budget, there is $100 million allocated for the Save Our Water public relations campaign to encourage urban water users to conserve water. At the same time, $75 million has been set aside for grants to support small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the drought. “It comes back to priorities. I think the way we see it from the agricultural perspective that maybe the priorities coming out of Sacramento aren’t right on the mark when it comes to protecting our communities,” said Brown.

Staying engaged during an election year is also particularly important for agricultural interests. Brown acknowledged that as California’s Democratic majority is unlikely to change soon, it is important to support the best available individual regardless of party affiliation. The farming community is encouraged to stay educated on all the potential candidates that prioritize agricultural interests.

“As I’m working on behalf of clients in the capitol, I’m working with democrats and republicans and the party affiliation is not important. It’s finding those people that have a like mind and are wanting to find solutions and get things done,” Brown explained. “We need to be looking for more of those people as we move into the November ’22 election.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West