The deadline to make any further Ag Order 4.0 revisions is quickly approaching. The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board is currently working on another draft of the measure. The Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program known as Ag Order 4.0 has already undergone several draft revisions. Industry members are concerned that with the adoption deadline coming up soon there will be limited time to make any further changes.
“It has to be adopted by early April, so we are running out of time,” said Norm Groot, Monterey County Farm Bureau Executive Director. “After this revision at the end of January, we’re not sure that there’s going to be much opportunity for revisions after that, at least not substantial revisions. There may be some language that could be updated, but I don’t think there’s going to be a larger revision after the one we see at the end of January.”
The most recent Ag Order 4.0 revisions were discussed earlier in January during two days of workshops. Groot has indicated that a lot hinges on the draft that is expected by the end of the month. Throughout the development process for the rule, there has been significant concern on how it will impact agriculture in the area. There was not a lot of optimism surrounding the most recent draft. The compliance requirements of the regulation are expected to be a substantial challenge for producers to navigate.
“If we’re going forward with a nitrogen application per crop, that’s so many different data points that have to be captured not only by the grower but then reported. And how is the regional water board staff going to manage that multitude of data points that they’re going to receive?” Groot asked. “I think we’re heading into a much more complex order that’s going to be very difficult for the average farmer to understand and comply with.”