BILL ANALYSIS SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION Gloria Romero, Chair 2009-2010 Regular Session BILL NO: AB 1891 AUTHOR: Committee on Higher Education AMENDED: May 27, 2010 FISCAL COMM: Yes HEARING DATE: June 16, 2010 URGENCY: No CONSULTANT:Daniel Alvarez SUBJECT : UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. KEY POLICY ISSUE Should the Legislature restore, in statute, the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program that is operated by the University of California? SUMMARY This bill restores, in statute, the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP) operated by the University of California. This program was inadvertently deleted from statute in 2009, as part of an overall higher education technical cleanup measure. BACKGROUND The California Constitution establishes the University of California (UC) as a public trust administered by the Regents of the University of California (Regents). The Constitution grants the Regents full powers of organization and government, subject only to such legislative control as may be necessary to insure the security of its funds, compliance with the terms of University endowments, other procedures as specified. (Article IX, Section 9) ANALYSIS This bill requests the UC Regents to establish the SAREP to support competitive grants to promote research and education on sustainable agricultural practices, and to support the giving of instruction and practical demonstrations in agriculture. AB 1891 Page 2 (This program was inadvertently deleted from statute in 2009, as part of an overall higher education technical measure.) STAFF COMMENTS 1) Need for the bill : Chapter 386, Statutes of 2009 (AB 1182, Brownley) primarily streamlined higher education related reporting requirements. However, late amendments inadvertently deleted the authorization of the SAREP. Though the SAREP program did not cease to exist when it was deleted in statute, since legislation is not necessary to create programs at the UC (given the university's constitutional autonomy) - however, statutory authorization of SAREP provides assurances to the sustainable agricultural community that UC is committed to this program. At the request of the UC, the Assembly Committee on Higher Education agreed to support legislation in 2010 to restore the statutory authorization for this UC program. 2) Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP) . SAREP is a statewide program within UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. It was created through the grass roots efforts of organizations and individuals concerned about the environmental impacts of agriculture, the health of rural communities, and the profitability of family farming operations in California. At the request of the California Legislature, the University of California established SAREP with three mandates: administer competitive grants for research on sustainable agricultural practices and systems, develop and distribute information through publications and on-farm demonstrations, and support long-term research and sustainable farming systems on UC farmlands. 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. SUPPORT The University of California OPPOSITION None received.