March 22, 2019 – -Two Ag bills passed their first policy committees. AB 202, by Assemblymember Devon Mathis, protects landowners from additional regulations when undertaking conservation measures to protect endangered species by extending indefinitely the safe harbor for the accidental “take” of an endangered species.
SB 62 by Senator Bill Dodd, saves agricultural operations time and resources by extending until 2024 the safe harbor for the accidental “take” of an endangered species during lawful routine and ongoing agricultural activities.
Both bills are significant and deal with a section of the California Endangered Species Act that provides farmers and ranchers the ability to produce food and fiber without fear of penalties if they accidentally take a candidate, threatened or endangered species in the normal course of farming or ranching. In exchange, the farmers and ranchers voluntarily manage their lands in a manner that contributes to the recovery of a listed species. The program has been successful for the agriculture industry and beneficial to various species.