BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 1891
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 6, 2010

                                 Marty Block, Chair
              AB 1891 (Committee on Higher Education) - As Introduced:   
                                  February 16, 2010
          SUBJECT  :   Sustainable agriculture research: agricultural  

           SUMMARY  :   Restores statutory mention of two University of  
          California (UC) sustainable agriculture programs that were  
          inadvertently deleted by legislative action in 2009.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Restores Food and Agricultural Code sections 550 through 555,  
            which define the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and  
            Education Program (SAREP). 

          2)Restores Food and Agricultural Code sections 591 through 600,  
            which authorize the Biologically Integrated Farming Systems  
            (BIFS) program.   

           EXISTING LAW  establishes UC as a public trust with full powers  
          of organization and government, as provided, and administered by  
          the UC Board of Regents.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown

           COMMENTS  :    Double-referral  :  This bill is double-referred to  
          the Assembly Agriculture Committee.

           Background  :  Last year, AB 1182 (Brownley) was signed into law  
          (Chapter 386, Statutes of 2009), streamlining higher  
          education-related reporting requirements.  However, late  
          amendments inadvertently deleted the authorization of two  
          sustainable agriculture-related programs at UC when it was too  
          late in the legislative process to correct the error.  At the  
          request of UC, the author and Assembly Higher Education staff  
          agreed to support legislation in 2010 to restore the statutory  
          authorization for the two UC programs.   

           Need for this bill  :  SAREP and BIFS did not cease to exist when  
          they were deleted from statute, since legislation is not  
          necessary to create programs at UC (as a result of UC's  


                                                                  AB 1891
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          Constitutional autonomy).  However, statutory authorization of  
          SAREP and BIFS provides assurance to the sustainable agriculture  
          community that UC is committed to these programs.  

           SAREP and BIFS  :  In the 1980s, the Legislature established  
          SAREP, which was instrumental in helping a new generation of UC  
          agricultural researchers to incorporate sustainable and  
          environmentally-friendly practices into their vocabulary and  
          their scientific investigations.  It also went a long way toward  
          building credibility for UC with the environmental community and  
          organic and transition growers and ranchers.  SAREP has a  
          national reputation for developing new practices, disseminating  
          this information on agricultural sustainability, and conducting  
          research with growers on public and private land.
          In response to growing interest in reducing risks associated  
          with pesticide exposure and reducing reliance on agricultural  
          pesticides, AB 3383 (Bornstein), Chapter 1059, Statutes of 1994,  
          was enacted, requesting the UC Regents establish BIFS and  
          providing $250,000 to fund five pilot programs to provide UC  
          Cooperative Extension services, training, and financial  
          incentives to farmers who voluntarily participated in pilot  
          projects to reduce their use of chemicals for agricultural  
          production.  UC no longer receives funding for the BIFS program,  
          which is administered by SAREP.  However, since 2000, UC has  
          collaborated with partners/project leaders throughout the state  
          to apply for funding of specific BIFS projects through United  
          States Environmental Protection Agency-Region 9's Food Quality  
          Protection Act competitive grants program.    


          Food  & Water Watch
          University of California

          None on file.

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Sandra Fried / HIGHER ED. / (916)