Why is there an Ag Order?
The California Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Diego Region (San Diego Water Board) is responsible for making certain that local government and businesses are in compliance with state and federal runoff regulations. Locally, for commercial agriculture the General Agricultural Orders (Ag Order) format was selected to replace Waiver No. 4, the previous regulation.
Does my farming operation require compliance?
Meeting any one of several tests requires Ag Order compliance:
Intent to make a profit.
Owner or operator files an IRS Form 1040 Schedule F Profit or Loss from Farming.
Owner or operator is required to have an Operator Identification Number for pesticide use reporting.
Operator receives agricultural water pricing (residential/ag meters may be exempt)
What are the compliance boundaries?
The Ag Order covers all of Region 9 which includes the San Mateo Watershed in southern Orange County, the Upper Santa Margarita Watershed in southern Riverside County, and all watersheds in San Diego County that drain to the west.
How do I comply with the Ag Order?
The San Diego Water Board gives you the option of compliance through a third-party group or as an individual. The San Diego Region Irrigated Lands Group (SDRILG) was formed as a third-party group so Farm Bureau members would have the easiest path to compliance.
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I was already in the SDRILG for Waiver No. 4. Am I covered for the Ag Order?
Yes, if your Farm Bureau membership has been continuous your coverage for the Ag Order will be secured with new and renewed documents.
Why is Farm Bureau membership required?
Membership organizations would be working against the interests of their own members by providing services for non-members. SDRILG is affiliated with the Farm Bureau and was created to be a third-party group solely as a member benefit offering a path to compliance for runoff regulations.
What if I would rather not be a Farm Bureau member?
Individual compliance is an option.
Is Farm Bureau just working hand-in-hand with regulators in order to make money?
As a recognized non-profit organization Farm Bureau has no motivation to be profitable, but costs must be covered. It was Farm Bureau’s volunteer leaders who decided members needed a path to compliance with the regulations. Non-members are welcome to join and participate.
Why has San Diego been targeted by the regulators?
These regulations are not unique to San Diego. Farmers across the state and nation face similar, and often more onerous, runoff compliance regulations.
Do I have to pay any fees?
If you have maintained continuous Farm Bureau membership since enrollment in Waiver No. 4 there are no additional enrollment fees due for the Ag Order. For growers new to Farm Bureau and/or SDRILG there is an enrollment fee of $250 per acre capped at $1250. On June 1, 2017 that fee will be raised to $300/$1500.
The San Diego Water Board has instituted a $200 fee that will be set aside for everyone meeting the August 7, 2017 enrollment deadline.
I was enrolled in SDRILG, but let my Farm Bureau membership lapse. Can I get back in?
Absolutely. You will have the choice of paying all back Farm Bureau dues (which protects your previously paid enrollment fee) or coming in as a new Farm Bureau member and paying the current enrollment fee.
Will there be other fees in the future?
At some time the SDRILG will be charging members a fee to cover annual operating costs.
Do I have to pay for all my acreage or just the planted acreage?
Just the planted acreage.
My farm is certified organic. Do I still have to comply?
State and federal runoff regulations do not contain compliance exemptions and the Ag Order applies to all farms regardless of production technique.
What if there is no runoff from my farm?
The state and federal clean water rules for agriculture make the assumption that even if there is no irrigation runoff from a farm there will be storm events when all properties experience runoff.