Current through the 2021 Legislative Session
The Legislature finds and declares the following:(a) Agriculture is a major industry in California, with 81,700 farms and ranches. California agriculture is nearly a thirty-seven-billion-five-hundred-million-dollar ($37,500,000,000) industry that generates one hundred billion dollars ($100,000,000,000) in related economic activity.(b) In 2010, the United States Department of Agriculture Secretary cited that the aging of principal farm operators across the nation is rising. The USDA Census of Agriculture, 2012 Census Highlights, finds that the average age of America's principal farm operators is 58.3 years of age and one-third are 65 years or older.(c) An 8-percent national decrease in the number of farmers and ranchers is expected to occur between the years 2008 and 2018.(d) Recognizing the growth of America's food production needs, and low proportions of beginning farmers and ranchers nationwide, the USDA Secretary identified America's returning military veterans as a promising population to enter careers as farmers and ranchers. The 2014 United States Farm Bill contains various landmark incentives to assist military veterans and disadvantaged populations to become farmers and ranchers.(e) In November 2014, the USDA announced the designation of the nation's first USDA Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison to coordinate information, resources, and support for active duty military and veterans interested in entering careers as farmers and ranchers.(f) The 2014 United States Farm Bill, also known as the Agricultural Act of 2014, contained various incentives designed to assist the nation's returning military veterans to acquire skills needed to start and manage a farm. Incentives include, but are not limited to, farm loans and microloans, education and training and technical assistance, including training in natural resource conservation techniques and practices.(g) Eight percent of the nation's homeless population are military veterans and 45 percent of homeless veterans are African American or Latino, while less than 10 percent are women.(h) More than six million veterans reside in rural America and approximately two million veterans are residents of California.(i) California veterans use fewer benefits than their peers at the national level. While all veterans report only partial awareness of benefits for which they are eligible, some states have more advanced outreach programs to connect veterans to these available resources.(j) The Legislature recognizes the opportunities to the state through landmark funding contained in the 2014 United States Farm Bill and subsequent United States Farm bills to assist military veterans in entering careers as farmers and ranchers.(k) The Legislature acknowledges opportunities offered through a state and federal partnership to strengthen and enhance these resources to benefit California's veterans and historically underserved populations.
Ca. Mil. and Vet. Code § 1008Added by Stats 2017 ch 188 (AB 376),s 1, eff. 1/1/2018.