California Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation that requires California officials to focus on and address the challenges facing farmers of color in the state by making access to state and federal resources more equitable. The Farmer Equity Act, AB 1348, authored by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), directs the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to better provide resources, outreach, technical assistance, and decision-making power to "socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers," so called because they have been subjected to historic racial discrimination. These groups include people who are African American, American Indian, Alaskan native, Hispanic, Asian-American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander. The California bill will take a holistic perspective across the CDFA, including how it creates new rules, forms governance committees, and manages grantmaking programs. AB 1348 will add the federal definition of "Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers" and "Socially Disadvantaged Group" to the California Food and Agriculture Code. This legislation will also increase access to "climate smart" technical assistance among small and mid-size farms.
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