March 19, 2014The Honorable Susan Talamantes Eggman State Capitol, Room 2003 Sacramento, CA 94249–‐0013 Fax: 916–‐319–‐2184
RE: SUPPORT – AB 1961
Dear Assemblymember Talamantes Eggman:
On behalf of Roots of Change, I am writing in support of AB 1961, the Sustainable Farmland Strategy Act. California is home to one of the world’s five Mediterranean–‐climate growing regions, enabling year–‐round agricultural production. California is the number one agricultural state in the country, generating over $40 billion in sales on over 25 million acres. Recent studies find that agriculture provides multiple benefits to the state, including climate protection. Research funded by the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program found that an acre of irrigated cropland emits 70 times fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than an acre of urban land.
Despite farmland’s significance to our state and nation, we continue to lose it to non–‐agricultural uses at an alarming rate of 30,000 acres annually. This loss is unwise. The world population is approaching its expected peak of over 9 billion, while resources upon which that population depends are rapidly depleted or degraded. Abundant, healthy soils for farms and ranches are the key to feeding people. The resilience of our state and nation will be greatly enhanced by a sustainable farmland strategy in California.
The desire for local food and farm products is not a fad. It is logical human response to a growing awareness of 21st century threats and a desire for community health and resilience. Counties have jurisdiction over the majority of the state’s agricultural land and play a vital role in regulating its use. AB 1961 creates the opportunity at the county level to discuss and plan for the future of agricultural lands and therefore the long–‐term health and wellbeing of county residents. We think there will be widespread support for your proposed law.
Roots of Change provides funding and staffing for the California Food Policy Council and we look forward to working with you to support the passage of AB 1961. Thank you for your leadership.
Michael R. Dimock