IRVINE, Calif. (August 23, 2017) – Western Growers Executive Vice President Dave Puglia released the following statement following the press conference that was held in support of SB 623 (Monning -- Carmel), a bill that provides clean drinking water to disadvantaged communities that do not have access to or cannot afford clean drinking water:
“The act of farming necessarily requires nutrients in the soil to be replenished to allow for the continued production of crops. The use of organic and commercial fertilizers are necessary to replenish soil nutrients to allow for crop production. We believe it is in the best interests of the people of the state of California to have a safe and secure food supply grown in California for the benefit of people everywhere. To accomplish this, agriculture must be able to continue to use nitrogen-based fertilizers to replenish soil nutrients and ensure healthy crop production.
The United States’ government and the land grant universities encouraged and guided farmers on application of nitrogen fertilizer for over half a century to increase food production and efficiency, and farmers have relied on and used that advice and guidance, which represented the best management practices of the time.
Even though agricultural practices of today significantly reduce or eliminate the potential for nitrates to reach the groundwater, farmers and researchers are continuing to seek opportunities to improve management practices.
Due to the challenges of reconciling nitrogen use by agriculture with human health and water resource protection, we have been working with the environmental justice community, as well as other stakeholders, for over a year in an effort to address the critical needs in disadvantaged communities relating to safe drinking water. Since these challenges are numerous, both from naturally occurring contaminants and human sources, we believe the solution should be shouldered by a broad array of stakeholders.
SB 623 strikes the needed balance between providing the necessary resources for addressing critical drinking water needs, while protecting agriculture from certain nitrate related enforcement actions in the short-term.”
About Western Growers
Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico. Our members and their workers provide over half the nation's fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including nearly half of America's fresh organic produce. Some members also farm throughout the U.S. and in other countries so people have year-round access to nutritious food. For generations, we have provided variety and healthy choices to consumers. Connect with and learn more about Western Growers on our Twitter and Facebook.