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Bill on expanding pollinator habit up for a critical vote

Source: Agri Pulse

bill in the Assembly that would encourage farmers to provide forage and habitat for pollinators through incentives grants is facing a key vote in the Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

The measure would allocate $5 million to CDFA for the program, which would cover technical assistance and outreach along with the grants. It has gained broad support among agriculture groups as well as conservation organizations like the Pollinator Partnership. The Almond Alliance of California is sponsoring the bill.

“Without honeybees there would be no almonds,” said Almond Alliance President Elaine Trevino during a recent hearing on the legislation. “Working land offers an opportunity to expand habitat and forage for pollinators, which helps sequester carbon and contribute to climate risk reduction.”

The bill’s author, Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua of Stockton, said the measure aligns with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 30x30 order to conserve 30% of the state’s land and coastal waters by 2030 in an effort to promote biodiversity. 

The bill is also in coordination with a new public-private partnership known as the California Pollinator Coalition, which is bringing the industry, the Newsom administration and conservation groups together to establish more on-farm habitat.

The rationale for the bill is growing concern about the decline in pollinators, according to a state analysis of the measure.

“Bees, as the best documented species, can be seen to be suffering from chronic exposure to a range of stressors, which include a loss of abundance and diversity of flowers, a decline in suitable habitat to build nests, exposure to pesticides and infection by parasites and pathogens,” the report reads.

The bill passed the Agriculture Committee with a unanimous and bipartisan vote.