- Aaron Vad
- Chief of Staff
- (916) 319-2012
Transformational Organic Farming Bill Package Announced by Connolly
AB 404, AB 405, and AB 406 will modernize state systems to support growing organic farming industry
SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Assemblymember Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael) introduced an organic farming package, which includes three bills that will substantially reduce barriers and obstacles faced by organic farms and farmers. AB 404 [Reporting Requirements for Organic Farmers] would require the California Department of Food and Agriculture to evaluate duplicative reporting requirements that unnecessarily burden organic farmers and streamline the pathway for these farms to gain official certification. AB 405 [Streamlining Requirements for Organic Businesses] would require California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to move from a slow, inefficient paper-based registration and payment process for organic businesses, to an online system that will serve as a one-stop destination for California’s organic farming industry. Lastly, AB 406 [Healthy Soils & Farmland Conservancy Programs] would allow organic farmers whose management practices contribute to better land quality and result in greenhouse gas reductions to apply for grants from the Healthy Soils Program and California Farmland Conservancy Program – potentially bringing millions of new grant funding to organic farming projects throughout the state.
“Organic farming not only provides healthier food for our families, it also makes a healthier environment and improves our local ecosystems,” said Assemblymember Connolly. “California must ensure that we support small organic farmers and their business the same way we support the rest of the agricultural industry. These practices will allow California to continue to be the breadbasket of the world while fighting climate change and making our spectacular working lands more sustainable.”
“Marin and Sonoma Counties are home to approximately 375 certified organic farms. Thanks to this home-grown package of legislation introduced by Mr. Connolly, organic farmers will finally get some relief from antiquated registration and unnecessary reporting processes. This legislation will also help more farmers access organic certifications by linking organic farming with healthy soils, thereby producing nutritious foods for healthier communities,” said Andy Naja-Riese, Chief Executive Officer of the Agricultural Institute of Marin.
“Organic agriculture is a vital part of California’s economy, with organic food sales more than doubling between 2020 and 2021,” said Rebekah Weber, Policy Director for California Certified Organic Farmers. “The package of bills Assemblymember Connolly has introduced come directly from organic farmers and food manufacturers and will spur continued growth in the organic sector.”
Over the last 20 years, organic farming has grown in popularity and is now a $53 billion industry. Organic food is grown and processed using no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, and creates crops with higher levels of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. Federal law requires certified organic farms to maintain or improve soil health on their lands, and healthier soils reduce the amount of water needed to raise crops and stores more carbon in the land itself.
AB 404, AB 405, and AB 406 now sit in the Assembly Rules Committee awaiting referral to their first policy committee.
Assemblymember Connolly represents the entirety of Marin County and Southern Sonoma County