Olive trees to be added to ag assessment program

May 4, 2011

The California Senate Agriculture Committee has approved a bill that would add oil olive trees to the list of crops that are subject to a 1 percent state levy, according to a statement released by Sen. Anthony Cannella, one of the two sponsors.

The release said the bill, SB 707, will add oil olive trees in the CDFA Foundation Plant Services program at UC Davis. The service helps provide the industry access to disease-free, virus tested, and true-to-type certification for oil olive trees developed through extensive research. SB 707 also expands the membership of the Fruit Tree, Nut Tree, and Grapevine Improvement Advisory Board, which oversees the program, to include representatives of licensed olive nursery stock producers.

According to AroundtheCapitol.com, existing law imposes an annual assessment of 1 percent on the gross sales of all deciduous pome and stone fruit trees, nut trees, and grapevines, including seeds, seedlings, rootstocks, and topstock, including ornamental varieties of apple, apricot, crabapple, cherry, nectarine, peach, pear, and plum, produced and sold within the state or produced within and shipped from the state by any licensed nursery dealer, and provides that for packaged or containerized stock.

The new bill would include olive trees within the plants that are subject to the assessment.

Cannella's news release said another bill, SB 515, also passed by a unanimous committee vote. SB 513 would reinstate pre-existing, self-imposed industry fees that help ensure the safe and proper disposal of animal by-products, as well as to prevent the theft of kitchen grease.

“Agriculture is a $35 billion industry in California, and it’s important that we work together to ensure consumers can buy our state’s home-grown products with confidence,” Cannella is quoted. “I’m pleased to have earned the committee’s support for these two bills, and I remain committed to working with all interested parties to ensure these bills are approved by the Legislature.”

By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist