County farmers, officials request state pesticide fee waiver |

County farmers, officials request state pesticide fee waiver

Nevada County farmers and ranchers have received strong backing from county elected officials who hope to convince a state board to waive a costly fee aimed at those who irrigate their land.

The fee, which took some farmers and ranchers by surprise in November, would threaten to put small operations out of business, said Supervisor Robin Sutherland at the board of supervisors meeting. The fee is an attempt by the state to prevent pesticides and other harmful materials used by farm and ranch lands from harming California watersheds.

Sutherland introduced a letter to be sent to the governing board, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, with the hopes of convincing them that Nevada County’s use of pesticides is “low-threat.” This is especially the case when compared with large-scale operation farming in the Central Valley, explained the county’s agricultrual commissioner, Paul Boch.

The request was not only supported unanimously by the entire board, but it also received approval from the Nevada County Resource Conservation District.

Lisa Osterholm, manager of the district, said she agreed the fee was an unnecessary cost. She also added that there are already 66 monitoring groups in place that are able to indicate when pesticide usage in the area becomes an issue that needs to be seriously addressed.

A decision is not expected to be reached until March.

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