National Editor Tom Karst chatted with Rayne Pegg on March 29. Pegg is manager of the California Farm Bureau Federation’s National Affairs and Research Division.
11:04 a.m. Tom Karst: What are the top two or three issues you are dealing with in California right now?
11:05 a.m. Rayne Pegg: With the governor’s current budget proposal that will equal a $31 million cut to the California Department of Food and Agriculture over the course of two years, the Farm Bureau, along with some other farmer representative groups, have been sitting down with the department and saying, “How can the department maintain strong programs for protecting against pests and diseases with few dollars?”
That’s a big challenge, but I think it is actually a good question because it forces you to look at (whether) we need to do things like we have always done them. Can the pest and disease prevention programs function better or function differently? Do we need to make better investments in other areas for the long term? I like looking for answers to those questions, and that’s probably the biggest (issue) we are facing.