Bill aimed at repurposing farmland is a step closer to passing

 •  by Jesse Vad, SJV Water reporting intern
A Kern County wheat field turns golden in this 2019 file photo. Pending groundwater restrictions may force 1 million acres of Central Valley farmland to be idled. A bill in the state Legislature would create a program to fund new uses for that land. CREDIT: Lois Henry

Lawmakers may be close to passing a bill aimed at helping farmers cope with water restrictions.

Assembly Bill 252, the Multibenefit Land Repurposing Incentive Program, would set up a program under the California Department of Conservation to use grant money for repurposing former ag land in critically over drafted groundwater basins. The bill was authored by Assemblymembers Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) and Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield.)

The bill has passed the Assembly and is heading to the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 23 where it will likely go to the Suspense File.

“I think everyone recognizes we’re locked into a certain amount of irrigated land becoming idled in the next few years,” said Miles Horton, legislative director for Rivas. “Let’s make the most of this opportunity.”

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Jesse Vad, SJV Water reporting intern
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