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California rice industry is asking growers, handlers vote on an assessment hike to cover waste discharge requirement costs administered by the California Rice Commission

Todd Fitchette, Associate Editor

July 7, 2020

1 Min Read
California rice growers and handlers are being asked to vote on an assessment hike to cover the growing costs to the California Rice Commission of administering the waste discharge requirements program as ordered by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.Todd Fitchette

A second round of ballots were recently mailed to California rice growers by the state Department of Food and Agriculture on an increased assessment cap. That vote is asking growers and handlers to approve a requested hike from 15 to 20 cents per hundredweight in the assessment cap and will be split evenly between handlers and growers.

Ballots must be returned to the CDFA by Aug. 3.

The industry must vote in sufficient numbers to qualify the initiative, or the entire process will need to be repeated. This means at least 40 percent of eligible handlers and producers representing at least half of California rice acreage must cast a ballot. It also means that of those voting, at least 65 percent of those votes must be affirmative for the increase to take place.

The California Rice Commission has told growers at various grower meetings that the increased cost of administering the rice waste discharge requirements, and associated regulatory costs necessitates the increased assessment.

All information provided in the ballots is kept confidential.

About the Author(s)

Todd Fitchette

Associate Editor, Western Farm Press

Todd Fitchette, associate editor with Western Farm Press, spent much of his journalism career covering agriculture in California and the western United States. Aside from reporting about issues related to farm production, environmental regulations and legislative matters, he has extensive experience covering the dairy industry, western water issues and politics. His journalistic experience includes local daily and weekly newspapers, where he was recognized early in his career as an award-winning news photographer.

Fitchette is US Army veteran and a graduate of California State University, Chico. 

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