Cost of Regulations Crushing California Citrus Industry
A study commissioned by the Citrus Research Board says new regulations are expected to cost California citrus growers an average of $701 per acre per year, or $203 million annually statewide.
“Compliance with environmental regulations not associated with groundwater sustainability is estimated to increase costs by $17.7 million, or $67 per acre of citrus,” said Bruce Babcock, a Professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside, who authored the study. “New labor requirements will increase costs by $112 million, or $357 per acre, once they are all phased in.”
The report, “Impact of Regulations on Production Costs and Competitiveness of the California Citrus Industry,” indicates Asian citrus psyllid and huanglongbing control will increase costs for the industry $65 million a year. The report says control efforts would amount to a cost of $39.5 million yearly.
“As I read and reread Dr. Babcock’s report, two things kept jumping off the page: one, ‘Cost increases borne by California’s citrus but not by … other citrus growing regions decrease the future competitiveness of California’s citrus industry’; and two, ‘’future compliance with these regulations is estimated to increase costs by $203 million, or $701 per acre per year,’” said California Citrus Mutual President Joel Nelsen. “When the cost of citrus at store level gets too expensive, consumers look for lower-priced fruit. This report paints a clear path for policymakers if their goal is to drive the citrus industry out of California and onto off-shore production areas.”
The full report, as well as more information about the Citrus Research Board, is found at www.citrusresearch.org.