Starting on January 1, 2018, State agencies and institutions will have to buy food from California farmers, so long as their bid is no more than five percent higher than a similar bid from out of State. California public universities, colleges, and school districts would have to purchase California grown food even if the bid is equal to the lowest bidder.
Assemblywoman Anna Cabellero from Salinas authored the bill in February, and by October 15, Governor Jerry Brown had signed AB 822 into law.
Ryan Jacobsen is a long-time Valley farmer, and the CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau. He said, “Obviously California farmers have made a large investment to stay in the State and grow our products here, and so it’s nice to see that California institutions will hopefully be purchasing California grown products.”
Jacobsen said when he heard about AB 822, he was thrilled. Because before this bill was authored, California farmers had to go up against out of state or out of country companies to feed State agencies, and most of the time, local farmers lost.
“It was one-hundred percent based off of the low bidder,” stated Jacobsen.
Caballero recognized that California farmers had had to bid a higher price, because they’re under so many state regulations. Bottom line, Caballero said it was getting expensive for farmers in our back yard to compete.
She said, “People in rural California feel like they’re falling further and further behind economically from the rest of the State.”
Brown agreed, and signed the bill into law almost two weeks ago.
“It’s a real recognition by the Governor that California agriculture is important and that we ought to be prioritizing purchasing from California,” stated Caballero.
Caballero said she expects the new law will increase the State’s agricultural economy by one-billion dollars a year.