Central Coast Water Board Collecting Input on Ag Orders Nov. 27, 28, and 30

The Central Coast Water Quality Control Board is holding a series of stakeholder meetings in Watsonville, Salinas, and Santa Maria next week to update the public on the next version of the region’s agricultural order and to gather public comment.
The Central Coast Water Board needs to hear from farmers, particularly organic farmers, about the steps they already take to reduce nitrogen application and protect water quality. The board also needs to hear farmers’ ideas on how to reduce ground and surface water impairment without creating an overly burdensome regulatory structure.
Agricultural orders regulate discharges from irrigated agricultural land with the goal of protecting surface and groundwater. Currently, growers in the Central Coast region operate under Ag Order 3.0, which was approved in March 2017. The regional board is working on the new set of rules, Ag Order 4.0, which will be developed throughout 2019 and implemented in March 2020.
Each successive Central Coast region Ag Order has added increased monitoring and reporting requirements for growers. Ag Order 3.0 requires all farms to monitor private domestic wells and the primary irrigation well on each ranch for nitrates and other nutrients. It also requires farms larger than 50 acres which grow crops with high potential for nitrogen loading to report total nitrogen applied for all harvested crops. Ag Order 3.0 includes many additional monitoring and reporting requirements.
Because the regional water board’s water monitoring program continues to detect high nitrate and salinity impairment in most sampled areas, Ag Order 4.0 is likely to increase regulations on irrigated farms in the region.
CCOF policy staff continue to advocate for commonsense regulation of organic farms by regional boards around the state.
Consider attending one of the upcoming stakeholder meetings: 
November 27, 2018, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Watsonville Public Library
Meeting Room, 2nd Floor
275 Main Street, Suite 100
Watsonville, CA 95076
November 28, 2018, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. 
Agricultural Center Conference Room 
1432 Abbott Street
Salinas, CA 93901
November 30, 2018, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Santa Maria Public Library
Shepard Hall
421 S. McClelland Street
Santa Maria, CA 93454
Contact jsooby@ccof.org for further information.