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Newsom Vetoes Hurtado’s Bill Banning Foreign Control of Farmland

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Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed state Sen. Melissa Hurtado's SB 1084 Food and Farm Security Act on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. (Shutterstock)
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Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill on Tuesday by state Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Bakersfield) that would have prevented foreign governments from buying or otherwise acquiring California farmland.

portrait of state Sen. Melissa Hurtado

“If foreign actors were to gain control of our land and water, the results could be devastating — we could see food shortages, water profiteering, and even higher prices at the grocery store. It’s a risk we can’t afford.” — State Sen. Melissa Hurtado, D-Bakersfield

Hurtado’s SB 1084 also would have required the state Department of Food and Agriculture to issue an annual report on foreign ownership of California farmland and water rights.

In his veto message, Newsom noted that federal law requires foreign governments to report investments in U.S. farmland. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture compiles the information into an annual report.

“The additional data reporting required by this bill is beyond CDFA’s purview and would create new and arduous responsibilities for the department,” Newsom said in his veto message.

Hurtado: Bill Would Ensure Ag’s Survival

Hurtado said in a news release that her “Food and Security Act” bill was “fundamental” to the survival of California agriculture.

“My bill would have helped California maintain our strong agriculture industry and allow us to remain resilient, even during times of global unrest or international conflict,” Hurtado said. “If foreign actors were to gain control of our land and water, the results could be devastating — we could see food shortages, water profiteering, and even higher prices at the grocery store. It’s a risk we can’t afford.”

California has more than 40 million acres of privately held agricultural land, with 2.7% of that land held by international owners, according to Hurtado.

 

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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