A statewide agricultural cargo theft task force is one step closer to being formed as nut thefts continue to be a problem throughout the producing areas of California.
Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) has led the charge to educate the agriculture industry on a common crime trend that is focusing on nut crops. WAPA held an emergency nut theft summit back in December when a $500,000 cargo load was stolen out of the Central Valley. There the industry learned more about the scope of the crimes and that the communication lines between the areas hit were not operating effectively.
WAPA President Roger Isom talked with AgNet West at the association’s recent tree nut theft training seminar, stating WAPA is pushing for legislation that would create a statewide task force to help the communication challenges and put some pressure on these criminals.
The group received good news as the House Agriculture Committee passed AB 2805 unanimously and the bill will now head to the Assembly Public Safety Committee. WAPA issued a press release about the passage that stated, “AB 2805 would form a statewide Agricultural Cargo Theft Task Force geared to bringing law enforcement together on a statewide basis and create a mechanism to receive funding to support activities to help fight agricultural cargo theft, such as the over 30 loads of tree nuts that have been stolen in the past six months.”
Isom said this is just the first step for creating change that will help this problem. Another issue is that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime and WAPA hopes to address that with legislation also in the future.