Standing up against onerous regulation
During 2013, Farm Bureau:
- Won a court ruling that a "fee" charged to holders of water rights is actually an unconstitutional tax; encouraged water right holders to continue to pay the charge under protest while the court case continues.
- Co-sponsored successful legislation to extend a part of state endangered-species law that protects farmers and ranchers from accidental impacts to protected species during routine agricultural activities.
- Joined in a lawsuit intended to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to act on status reviews of six protected species, after the reviews indicated the species should be removed from protection or placed in a less-restrictive category.
- Protested proposed federal protection for two frog species and the Yosemite toad, joining with other organizations in charging a federal agency with ignoring scientific findings that livestock grazing is unlikely to have caused declines of the species' populations.
- Joined in a petition seeking a new hearing for Drakes Bay Oyster Co. to pursue the chance to continue its sustainable aquaculture operation in the Point Reyes National Seashore despite efforts by the U.S. Department of the Interior to oust it.
- Continued to support Siskiyou County water users in an appeal by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, following a favorable court ruling that the department exceeded its authority by trying to require farmers and ranchers to obtain a permit before exercising their longstanding water rights.
- Maintained support for water users along the Russian River watershed in an appeal by the State Water Resources Control Board, following a favorable court ruling that the board had issued unconstitutional regulations restricting irrigation for frost protection in order to benefit fish.
- Monitored development of new air-quality rules affecting farm equipment. State officials decided to limit the first phase of the rules to eight San Joaquin Valley counties, with the next phase due to be developed in 2014.
- Persuaded a state agency not to pursue changes in the successful heat illness protection standard.
- Supported timber producers by opposing state protection for the northern spotted owl and by advocating for legislation to simplify timber thinning to reduce fire risk and to create a working forest management plan program.
- Called for improvements to an updated state wildlife plan, saying the plan needs to recognize the habitat values provided by agriculture and to find ways to support those activities.
- Engaged in the Brown administration's efforts to reform parts of Proposition 65 by ending "shakedown" lawsuits against businesses for allegedly failing to warn Californians about potential exposure to hazardous chemicals.