Apr. 17—The Sutter County Board of Supervisors handed an ordinance this week establishing requirements regulating the annual licensing of commercial hemp cultivation and processing services.
Under the ordinance, growers will now be required to pay an annual $500 price to the Agricultural Department — a price along with a $900 registration price due yearly to the California Department of Food and Agriculture required by state regulation. The ordinance may also require processors to pay an annual $500 price to the Development Services Department, in addition to a $500 fastened price to the fireplace division for plan verify and inspections and a $218 price for any reinspection.
“The fees proposed are to pay for staff time to process and implement the license that the Ag Department will issue for cultivation, and Development Services would collect the fees for any processing facilities, so that would pay for staff time to review the application for the license, prepare to issue the license, any communication or issues, that’s what that is to pay for,” stated Sutter County Principal Planner Doug Libby.
Sutter County at present has 18 companies registered to develop industrial hemp inside the unincorporated components of the county, in line with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. In 2019, Sutter County had 19 growers cultivating hemp on 1,587 acres, in line with the latest Sutter County Crop Report.
Justin Eve of seven Generations Producers spoke to the board forward of their vote this week. He questioned whether or not or not the implementation of the ordinance would impression his develop this yr, which he stated has already been set in movement. He requested a continuance to permit an advert hoc committee to evaluation the charges and the method transferring ahead.
County counsel suggested Eve that he’d be higher off deferring his planting till the ordinance is in impact, or it will be at his personal danger contemplating growers have been seen concerning the ordinance coming into impact.
Eve additionally introduced up the state’s present dry circumstances and the way a water scarcity might result in rice farmers not planting a large portion of acreage this yr, saying hemp solely makes use of a portion of the quantity of water wanted for rice — one of many space’s main commodities.
“So you’d be able to plant every single acre of rice in hemp this year if you were planting a different crop, and I think that’s our opportunity in this county,” he stated.
J.R. Thiara of Hemp Guru, LLC stated the price construction is not equitable for growers as a result of it should seemingly result in a rise in prices added by the processors themselves, along with the price growers will likely be on the hook for, and the growers get nothing out of the extra charges.
“The fees are not insurmountable, but these are new fees being added to an already $900 a year fee that we pay as growers, but I’d really like to encourage you to consolidate this issue with the ad hoc committee so we can discuss those fees, the justification of those fees, and how they are going to be applied,” stated Thiara, who can be a member of the Live Oak City Council.
The board first mentioned establishing requirements for industrial hemp in April 2019. A research session was held, however no actions had been taken by the board to ascertain an ordinance, which meant industrial hemp may very well be handled as another agricultural crop topic to complying with federal and state laws.
In order to recoup prices related to regulating the business, the board launched an ordinance in late March of this yr. The ordinance, which was formally authorised at Tuesday’s assembly, establishes license necessities for each cultivation and processing, requirements, protocol for destruction of non-compliant hemp crops, charges and price restoration, and violations and treatments.
The ordinance will take impact 30 days after the date of its adoption, or in mid-May. The county plans to trace prices and may make revisions to charges, as wanted, sooner or later. Board Chairman Dan Flores stated the plan is to have an industrial hemp advert hoc committee convene in May.