Strawberry Industry Thankful for Flood Assistance

Brian GermanBerries, Fruits & Vegetables, Industry


California Governor Gavin Newsom has taken action to expedite recovery efforts in the central coast region following devastating floods in March. The floods, caused by record rainfall in the Pajaro and Salinas Rivers, resulted in historic flooding and levee failures. Flooding impacted nearly five percent of local farms and caused millions in damage to crops, property, and equipment.

Working in collaboration with the California Strawberry Commission (CSC), Governor Newsom signed an executive order aimed at expediting critical work such as levee repairs and debris removal. This proactive approach is designed to safeguard local communities in anticipation of potential wet seasons in the future. CSC played a pivotal role in advocating for relief measures. They worked closely with former California Agriculture Committee chair and current Assembly Speaker, Robert Rivas, to convene a special meeting of the Ag Committee. During this meeting, Peter Navarro, a California strawberry grower and Commission Executive Committee member, provided firsthand testimony about the levee breaches and the extensive damage incurred by the strawberry industry.

Navarro expressed gratitude for CSC’s efforts in raising awareness of the flooding’s impacts and collaborating with lawmakers to secure much-needed relief funding and executive action. He acknowledged the resilience of local communities that are still in the process of recovery. The executive order not only allows affected communities to accelerate the restoration of levees and river channels but also streamlines emergency repair and debris removal efforts by public agencies. Certain regulations and criteria are temporarily suspended, provided agencies adhere to specified environmental and resource protection requirements for emergency projects.

“The much-needed repairs to the Pajaro and Salians River levees have been a long-time coming and beginning these repairs allow growers to focus on producing the high-quality, sustainably grown strawberries that drive local economies and produce 90% of the nation’s strawberries,” said CSC President Rick Tomlinson.

Brian German
Ag News Director / AgNet West