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February 6th, 2013 by Temple City Tribune
Introduces AB 199 “Choose California Act”
Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) has introduced a bill to help boost the state’s agricultural economy by putting California’s farmers and ranchers first.
Under AB 199, state-owned or state-run institutions would be required to Choose California farm products. Public institutions – such as public schools, prisons or hospitals – would have to buy agricultural products grown in California before buying from out-of-state suppliers.
“It just makes sense to put California-grown crops first,” said Assemblymember Holden. “It’s a win-win for everyone. The public institutions get a locally-grown product, we’re helping create opportunities for our farmers and a new appreciation for local food helps stimulate the economy.”
Choose California is similar to the federal Buy America Act that requires government entities to buy American. In order to get preferential treatment, state-grown products must not exceed the price of those grown out-of-state by more than 5%. School districts must purchase California grown products first as long as they aren’t more expensive than out-of-state products.
“California farmers strongly support having California government institutions purchase food grown in our state,” California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger said. “This bill would introduce more Californians to the amazing variety of agricultural products grown in the state and help them develop the healthy habit of seeking out nutritious, affordable California-grown foods, which will have long-term benefits to farmers and the agricultural economy.”
According to the Department of Food & Agriculture, California is the number one state in agricultural output with farms and ranches earning a record $43 billion last year.