A law is now in place allowing nursery growers in California to create a California Nursery Producers Commission, which would be a new government body under the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 2695, which previously was approved by the California State Assembly.
The signed bill did not create the commission. It only approved the mechanism by which the commission could be created if producers agree to it. However, according to the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers, which urged passage of the bill, there are many good reasons to create such a commission:
“A commission provides a predictable funding mechanism for nursery growers to respond to the increasing pressure and business impacts they are experiencing from invasive pests, regulatory actions, employer issues, research needs, and environmental threats. A broad-based, equitable funding platform is needed because the traditional mechanism of passing the hat for individual issues is inefficient and unsustainable for the long term.”
If the commission is actually created, only wholesale growers sell more than $2.5 million in plants per year would be assessed. Retail nurseries would be exempt entirely. The law allows an assessment of up to six tenths of a cent ($0.006) per dollar of plants sold, but CANGC said the likely assessment actually would be one tenth of a cent ($0.001). CANGC has posted a FAQ (PDF) explaining how it would all work, as well as a flow chart showing the process of creating the commission. The commission is an idea that has been talked about since the 1980s.